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on the cover Caris Roane is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of seventeen paranormal romances.

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contents march/april 2014

columns

76 Felicity Heaton

HAIL TO THE KILT

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

19 Chic Trends in Romance 45 The Heat Diva

LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS

67 The Scrying Eye

GHOSTS, SERIAL KILLERS, AND DEMONS, OH MY!

87 Forever Young

WHO SAID THAT? POINT OF VIEW IN YA FICTION

features

26 Collette Scott

IF WE DARE TO DREAM SNEAK PEAK

28 Terri Talley Venters

BODY OF GOLD SNEAK PEAK

34 Michelle Smart

WHAT A SICILIAN HUSBAND WANTS SNEAK PEAK

36 Lauren Smith

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

78 Lisa Kessler

82 Teresa D’Amario

VISIONS OF FIRE & ICE SNEAK PEAK

94 Danielle Ellison AUTHOR INTERVIEW

stories & serials

41 53

Easy

by Karen Albright Lin

book reviews

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

17 CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS SNEAK PEAK

43 EROTIC

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

57 SciFi & Fantasy

SPIRIT SUMMONER SNEAK PEAK

65 PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE

WAKING THE DEAD SNEAK PEAK

85 YOUNG & NEW ADULT

38 Ruth Zavitsanos 50 Julie Shelton

58 Matt Campbell

72 Heather Graham

March/April 2014 | 5


Help Save

WINTER

Charity auction to help our staff member Babs Hightower help save her much loved pet Winter We are having an auction held on Facebook to help raise money for Winter’s treatment. The auction will have art, art supplies, crafts, craft supplies, handmade crafts, jewelry, ebooks, signed books by authors, paintings, and so much more. Auction items include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Full page standard ad value $50, Interview on website value $15, Feature value $100 from BTSeMag. Small book treat bag from Turning Pages Gold framed Painting (13x12) titled The Road to Autumn acrylic, on canvas by Noreen Merten 3- 6 oz. hand crafted 100% natural soy wax, color and fragrance 1 Lavender 1 Vanilla 1 Fir Balsm Eve from Mikki Wagner Jewelry by Diane Davis Bundles of books (fantasy bundle, paranormal/urban fantasy bundle, sword and sorcery bundle, anthology bundle, young audult bundle) fom Seventh Star Press: Autographed print copy of Kill Shot and Fire and Ash by Anne Patrick. The Mason Dixon Line (ebook) by Linda Morris Colonization (ebook) by Aubrie Dionne eBook for THE DYSFUNCTIONAL TEST and some swag from Kelly Moran 2 Wrangled Hearts ebooks and Summerhouse Blues in kindle format by TD Jones Trust and Betrayal and Truth and Deceit ebooks by Dani-Lyn Alexander Finding Justice ebook by Rachel Brimble 2 autographed copies of historical western books by JoAnn Smith Ainsworth Polite Enemies and The Farmer And The Wood Nymph Storm’s Interlude and Santa Wore Leathers ebooks by Vonnie Davis Her Knight in Black Leather by Joanne Stewart The Hourglass ebook by Sharon Struth Death of a Waterfall and Love & Other Games ebooks by Kara Leigh Miller Signed copy of Death Benefits by Sharon Stull Saracino

Many more items to come!

Visit Facebook to find out how you can help save Winter


From the Desk of

Myra Nour BTS CEO

Winter has slammed everyone this time around, including our area which is usually fairly mild. When you are stuck inside and getting a bit bored, it’s the perfect time to read a good book. We have many different ways for you to find an interesting read: Author features in the magazine Author ads in the magazine Book reviews in the magazine Columns covering great reads Heat Diva Chic Trends in Romance Forever Young The Scrying Eye Book Bargain on the website Free Book Depository on the website Changes to BTS Book Reviews magazine: Starting in this issue, we are going to a two-month issue. This is the March/April issue, and the next issue will be May/June and so forth. Why did we do this? It will give us more time to gather book reviews for the emag and give our hard-working staff more time to do the work needed to bring you great content. What does this mean to authors? You will have your ads, features, and reviews seen in the emag for two months at the same price for the one month issue. Deadlines to submit ads will be:

BTS Book Reviews Book & Trailer Showcase

Executive Coordinator Myra Nour Executive Designer Dawn Seewer Promotions Director Babs Hightower Production Assistant/ Designer Cyrene Olson Designer/ Review Team Assistant Nikki McCarver Designer Mike Milliken Editor Sheri Kraft Associate Editor Kellyann Zuzulo Review Coordinator Annette Stone Author Liaison Leslie Ferdinand Yahoo Promotions/ Ad Coordinator Simon Nour Scheduler/ Promotions Assistant Christy Wilhelm

REVIEWERS: Annette Stone, Nikki McCarver, Tim Davis, Drue DePompei-Hoffman, Francine Alli, Leslie Ferdinand, Lynda K. Frazier, Marie Haney, Kimberly Klemm, Niina Cord Rachel Flash, Rhonda Dennis Stephanie Phillips, Susan Frances, Michele Biring-Pani, Sally Manson, Krissy Malott, Shelly Schulz, Priyanka U. Patel, Nila Bi, Shan McKinney, Shelly Hammond, Beckey White, Iris Montalvo Pross, Patricia Costa Melo, Gypsie Holley, Anita Rivers, Cassandra G., Dave Franklin, Savannah Mae, Abbie Foxton, Nicky Peacock, Michelle Willms, Dianne Solberg, Julie L Canfield, Michele Page, Tobyann Aparisi, Adeshr, Danielle S., Babs Hightower, Taunya Wells, Crystal Guidroz, Ioana Giju, Christina Torretta, Udita Banerjee, Namrata Parakh, Colleen Cook, Joss Landry, Jake Trauberman, Michele Boylan, Steve Liddick, Karen Fainges, Satarupa-Biswas, Emma Mullins, Geri, Nancy Levine, Janice Ross, C. S. Johnson, Dm. L. Carter, SharaLee Podolecki,Brenda Lang, Elaine White, SharaLee Topnik, Kristy Nowinsky COLUMNISTS: Sandra Bunino, Christy English, Kelly Hudson, Tera Cuskaden Kleinfelter, Nicole Morgan, Kellyann Zuzulo

May/June 2014 Issue all materials and payment received by April 10th July/August 2014 Issue all materials and payment received by June 10th New Blogging Column for Website: BTS is proud to annouce that starting mid-March we will be offering the “Bloggin 101” column on our website, written by Babs Hightower.

BTSeMag.com info@BTSeMag.com facebook.com/BtsBookReviews No material in this magazine can be used or copied without BTS or the author’s permission. © Copyright 2014. 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.

March/April 2014 | 9


AUTHOR SHOWCASE

COVER feature

Caris Roane is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of seventeen paranormal romances. Writing as Valerie King, she has published over 50 sweet Regencies. Join BTS as we take a sneak peek at Trapped, Blood Rose Tales #1

CARIS ROANE

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| Cover Author |

Sneak Peek from USA TODAY Bestselling Author

CARIS ROANE Mastyr Vampire Zephyr, a one-man fighting force, struggles to save the life of a woman who despises his warrior ways. He won’t give up his warrior life to please a woman… Zephyr can’t keep away from Alesia and feels obligated to keep her safe. They’d broken up, unable to reconcile painfully opposing views on what should be done to the evil Invictus pairs. But when several wraith-pairs attack her diner, he flies her to safety, taking her home where they’re trapped together for the entire day. His chronic blood-starvation problem surfaces and it soon becomes apparent that she’s the key to taking away decades of suffering. But if she offers to take care of his needs, will he be drawn in once more only to have her disapproval ruin the moment yet again? Surrendering is dangerous…

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| Caris Roane |

Alesia wishes Zephyr would just leave her alone. She broke up with him months ago and wants to start a new life. The trouble is, he’s still the one man who can curl her toes. But when several deadly Invictus pairs attack her diner, Alesia has no choice but to go home with Zephyr, something she’s promised herself never to do. Trapped all day with the powerful warrior, she finds it hard to resist the comfort of his arms and the sensual feel of his lips pressed to hers. Will it hurt to offer to meet his blood-needs just this once or will surrendering leave her more vulnerable than ever. The Blood Rose Series poses one of my favorite questions ever: what if only one woman could meet the chronic and very painful blood-starvation needs of a mastyr vampire? I knew that providing an answer to this question, from story to story, including the shorter Blood Rose Tales, would give me a huge variety of story dilemmas. In TRAPPED, Alesia realizes that the one man she’s determined to hold at bay, is in desperate need of her “blood rose” gift. But fulfilling that gift on a regular basis, goes against her dislike of his warrior profession. At the same time, Zephyr wants to let Alesia go, but for him, the

woman is perfection. And now, a brief excerpt from TRAPPED… Zephyr wished like hell Alesia wasn’t the most beautiful woman he’d ever known, inside and out. For him, she was perfection with layered brown hair, neither dark nor light, just a soft shade between. She had large, green eyes, thick lashes. Her human genetics had softened her fae appearance so that her chin wasn’t as pointed as most of the fae he knew. The result somehow charmed him as no other woman ever had. She stood five-ten, a perfect armful. Damn all the elf lords, he missed the woman, ached for her, but she’d broken it off after their last big fight in which they’d called each other a few choice names, some of which fit. She could be opinionated as hell and he definitely, on occasion, fit the epithet of a stubborn, intractable male. Still, nothing he’d said, no amount of apologies could eradicate the sore point between them that he killed wraith-pairs on the spot. While she believed, with every ounce of her lovely self, that wraithpairs should be captured, not killed, and afterward rehabilitated. In the end, their differences had ruined their relationship.

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| Cover Author |

Now he served essentially as her bodyguard, escorting her home last thing before dawn, night after night. He had to know she was safe. He couldn’t sleep otherwise. She didn’t like that he looked after her in this way and was perpetually mad at him. But as long as she didn’t look to her own safety, in a part of Merhaine where wraith-pairs hunted more heavily than any other part of the realm, he’d fly her the hell home at dawn…

An Interview with the Author What inspired you to write your first book? I’d been a reader forever and fell in love with the Regency work of Georgette Heyer. One day, I was in a bookstore and saw all these novels set in Regency England and from that moment on I was hooked on the idea of being able to write in the Regency genre. For almost 18 years, I wrote Regency romance because of that fateful day and now I happily write paranormal. Do you have a specific writing style? That’s such an interesting question, which I don’t think I’ve ever been asked before. But the truth is that I don’t quite know how to answer it. On some level, I think every writer has a specific style, but I also think it’s hard to define. Mostly, I just try to see from each of my characters’ points-of-view and let the story flow from there.

TRAPPED is available now at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I never specifically set out to send a message or to advocate a certain philosophy or teaching in any


| Caris Roane |

of my books. However, I’m sure if you read a few of my stories, you’d soon see certain themes emerge because they reflect my core beliefs. What I want most for my readers, however, is to be able to get lost in my books and to experience a few hours of pleasurable reading.

Caris Roane is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of seventeen paranormal romances. Writing as Valerie King, she has published over 50 sweet Regencies. In 2005, Romantic Times honored her with a career achievement award in Regency Romance. Caris lives in Arizona with her two cats, Gizzy and Sebastien.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Jane Austen, but that would probably be true of most authors who’d ever explored her work. I value that with such limited personal choices because of the era in which she lived, she made an effort to tell her stories. And that will always inspire me. What are your current projects? I’m following the Indie path with my Blood Rose Series, of which TRAPPED is one of the shorter novellas, as well as working concurrently on the Men In Chains series for St. Martin’s Press. I’ll also be in a boxed set, called Dark and Deadly, with several of my wonderful writer friends, a project that launches on April 14th.

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ARC 2014 NOLA August 14-17 New Orleans, LA Are you ready for an awesome fun time? 3 days for authors and readers to interact face-to-face and have a great time!

A.L. Jackson & Heather Graham KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

• Badges • Swag Goody • Programs • Thursday Meet up Social • Breakfast • Lunch with Keynote Speaker and • Daily Raffles • Evening Event *Available Sponsorship for all these great items and more!

See full schedule of events here!

ACCOMMODATIONS Marriott New Orleans $125.00 Reservations can be made here.

REGISTRATION

A.L. Jackson

Heather Graham

ATTENDING AUTHORS: Shannan Albright Zoey Derrick Kris Austen Radcliffe Seraphina Donavan ML Guida Sylvia McDaniel Donna Michaels JT Schutz DN Simmons Barb Han Tonya Kappes BTSeMag will be providing all press coverage for this event! We hope to see you there!

Full Details at AuthorReaderCon.com

Reader - $225.00 Includes: Friday & Saturday Events, Panels, Book Signing, Intimate Chats and Evening activities. You are also eligible to participate in all raffles, games & door prizes! You will receive a free swag bag full of goodies provided by your favorite authors and publishers upon arrival. Additional Sponsored events may be added. Author /Industry Professional - $250.00 You will enjoy everything the Readers receive as well as the opportunity to join panels and intimate chats. Exhibitor / New author Table $ 225.00 You will be in the center of the action with 1/2 of a 6 foot table to display your items. If you are registering as an author you do not need this option. This is for authors who want to offer their swag and books to the readers all weekend OR if you have items to sell.

For more information or to register click here!


CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL

the HAPPILY ever AFTER

Featured Authors,

REVIEWS and more

BTS REVIEW RATINGS: 5 Stars awesome book, read it now! 4 Stars a must read 3 Stars really good read 2 Stars this was OK 1 Star hard to finish, flawed

March/April 2014 | 17


trends reading trends in romance

Chic Trends in Romance Sandra Bunino

Hail to the Kilt I’ve been a fan of men in kilts ever since reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Years later, Jamie Frasier still holds the top spot in my favorite book boyfriend list. He’s the ultimate package—brave, honorable, devoted, strong—and speaks with a sexy Scottish brogue (just imagine hearing these lines whispered in your ear: “Ye werena the first lass I kissed. But I swear you’ll be the last.” <~ my favorite Jamie Frasier lines), and oh, yes, he wears a kilt. *sigh* Outlander is the first book in an epic series of long novels and shorter novellas. If you’re not an epic fan, I’d still recommend you read Outlander, the story and resulting warm fuzzies will stay with you for a long time, I promise!

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| Chic Trends in Romance |

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Random House—available now) Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another . . . In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord . . . 1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life . . . and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire . . . and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. If you’re up for an Outlander-reading marathon, here’s the suggested reading order of the novels in the series: Outlander Dragonfly in Amber Voyager Drums of Autumn The Fiery Cross A Breath of Snow and Ashes An Echo in the Bone Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (to be released Spring 2014!) Then pop some corn because the Starz network partnered with Sony Pictures Television to produce sixteen episodes of Outlander to premiere sometime this year! Can’t wait for Diana’s new release or the television series to get your men-in-kilts fix? Here are a couple favorite kilt-y books...

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| Sandra Bunino |

The Devil Wears Kilts by Suzanne Enoch (Scandalous Highlanders, #1, St. Martin’s Paperbacks—available now) The Price of Passion . . . On a mission to rescue his runaway sister from the lure of flowery compliments and a useless lot of satin-clad scalawags disguised by their snooty titles, Ranulf MacLawry, Marquis of Glengask, has roared into British society like a storm across the Scottish Highlands. But he’s about to find out that satin has its appeal, especially when it covers the curves of Miss Lady Charlotte Hanover—whose tongue is as sharp as her skin is soft . . . . . . is Pure Pleasure Lady Charlotte Hanover has had her fill of hot-headed men, having lost her fiancé in an utterly unnecessary duel. When did brawn ever triumph over brains? And yet there is something solid and appealing about the brash Highlander who’s as dangerous in the ballroom as in battle. Sometimes bigger really is better . . . in The Devil Wears Kilts.

Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James (Fairy Tales, #5, Avon Books—available now) 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.

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| Chic Trends in Romance | 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? Need some visual encouragement? Visit my Pinterest board titled What? I Don’t Have A Sexy Man Kilt Board Yet? Must Fix That!

Now, to answer the age-old question posed above, I can’t say I know for sure, but when I asked kiltwearing Scot, he simply stated: “If I wore something under it, it’d be a skirt.” I really must get to Scotland!

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Sandra Bunino began a love of romance stories while penning a creative writing assignment in high school. The story ended with the heroine receiving a longstemmed red rose in her locker on Valentine’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


reviews

contemporary | historical | mainstream

The Bride Insists

Wicked Designs

When lowly governess Clare Greenough discovers she has inherited a fortune, she decides to hit the ton running—after all, they do call it the Marriage Mart! In order to gain control of her fortune from her shady cousin, Clare sets her sights on a “compliment” husband, and she thinks she’s found the perfect one in Jamie Boleigh, the impoverished seventh Baron Trehearth. Jamie agrees to the marriage of convenience to save his estate, and assumes that Clare will eventually allow him control of her fortune. But Clare stands her ground— igniting a feisty and sensual battle of wits and passion between them…

When Godric and his friends kidnap, Emily, an embezzler’s niece, intending to ruin the innocent young lady for revenge, he is unprepared for her blend of fire and sweetness. It makes him desperate for the one thing he never wanted: love, but will his dark past cost him Emily?

Jane Ashford Historical Heat Rating: 3

REVIEW: Clare Greenough is a governess working for an ungrateful bunch of brats and an equally ungrateful bossy, nosy, sour-faced employer. She learns that she has inherited a small fortune. The catch is she has a male relative that has also been listed as a beneficiary and they haven’t gotten along. Not since he forced her widowed mother out of the only home she’s known for most of her married life. She (The mom) left without taking anything. He’d make sure she’d get absolutely nothing or the barest amount that she could survive on. So she concocts a scheme after she leaves her employer to gain a husband and some kind of control and make sure it’s all legal and airtight. She also befriends and hires a companion who’s a little wary of the scheme and wants her to do something with her wardrobe to. She meets Jaime Boleigh, seventh Baron of Trehearth and he agrees to the scheme and eventually they fall in love. Simon tries his best to come between them and nearly succeeds. Clare’s upset, but after a while Jaime manages to get her to forgive him. It was nicely written and had great supporting characters (that deserve their own story too, Selina and the Vicar perhaps.)

Lauren Smith Historical Heat Rating: 4

REVIEW: Wicked indeed. When “the League of Rogues” kidnapped unsuspecting Emily Parr, little did they realize she’d be a fiesty as she was or as cunning, or for that matter even knew how to use her fists and her feet for her temporary advantage. That feat alone rather impressed the leader who was named Godrick. It had everything. 5 good friends who formed their own society and basically played by their own rules, up to a point. Fiesty, capable heroines who’d do what they had to regardless of the cost. It definitely had some steam. Well…Ok a lot of steam. Whether they were mad or otherwise. Even had loyalty, betrayal, family, friends and allies, spies and vilains. Definitely enjoyable and if the other friends get their own stories and they do deserve their own stories, they’d be just as good to. Pick it up and you won’t be disappointed and you just might have a wickedly good time with the “League of Rogues”. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |

| Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |

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reviews

contemporary | historical | mainstream Viking Fire

Andrea R. Cooper Historical Heat Rating: 3

Kaireen is the stubborn daughter of a Laird, and arranged to marry her enemyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a Viking. Will it matter, with a traitor deep within their ranks? Is Bram the tempting evil Kaireen fears him to be, or instead the fated soul with whom she would intertwine the threads of her own destinyâ&#x20AC;Śthe lone soul that could save them all? REVIEW: Surprisingly sweet, Viking Fire transports the reader centuries back into the age of conflict between the Irish and their Viking invaders. With two memorable

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and strong-willed characters, this novel shows each of their unique personalities and perspectives on what is right and what is wrong, making for an interesting, and sometimes bloody, clash of wills. Colorful and amusing dialogue entertains the readers and the suspensesaturated plot keeps them on their toes. A touch of the mysterious mystical fires up the story and helps turn the tides in every battle. Well-placed plot twists and revelations bring instant clarity to the scene. I was given an e-book copy by BTS for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review. All conclusions are my own responsibility. | Reviewer: Francine Alli |


reviews

contemporary | historical | mainstream

Up On The Roof and Other Stories

Judy Ann Davis Historical Heat Rating: 3

“Up on the Roof and Other Short Stories” is a unique collection of nineteen humorous and serious short stories that explores the lives and relationships of the young and old. A grizzled, old farmer, Pop, climbs up on his farmhouse roof to meditate, check his chimney and antenna, and ends up talking to God on his portable phone in “Up on the Roof”. In “Bald Revelations,” Maureen is convinced her husband of twenty years is planning to leave her when he purchases ten new pairs of black socks and starts singing Beach Boy songs. Greta Nielsen of Inuit heritage is searching for an amulet to remind herself of home, but her money-conscious boyfriend keeps thwarting her efforts in “The Amulet”. Storyteller Judy Ann Davis weaves her award-winning tales to make her readers laugh, maybe cry, but always able to relate to the unique characters and the dilemmas they encounter.

Gracie’s Holiday Hero Betty Jo Schuler Historical Heat Rating: 2

It’s the first day of December, snow is in the air, and Gracie Singleton Saylor’s shopping for a Christmas tree when she runs smack into Merett Bradmoore, her high school hero. She can tell at once he’s not the happy-go-lucky guy he used to be. Fifteen years ago, Gracie’s family faced a holiday without food or gifts and the handsome high school senior came to their rescue. Gracie, a freshman, fell a little in love with Merett that night and she’s believed ever since that dreams do come true. Seeing that Merett, widowed with a seven-year-old daughter, has changed, Gracie is

REVIEW: “Up on the Roof and Other Short Stories” is a unique collection of nineteen humorous and serious short stories that explores the lives and relationships of the young and old. A grizzled, old farmer, Pop, climbs up on his farmhouse roof to meditate, check his chimney and antenna, and ends up talking to God on his portable phone in “Up on the Roof”. In “Bald Revelations,” Maureen is convinced her husband of twenty years is planning to leave her when he purchases ten new pairs of black socks and starts singing Beach Boy songs. Greta Nielsen of Inuit heritage is searching for an amulet to remind herself of home, but her money-conscious boyfriend keeps thwarting her efforts in “The Amulet”. Storyteller Judy Ann Davis weaves her award-winning tales to make her readers laugh, maybe cry, but always able to relate to the unique characters and the dilemmas they encounter. | Reviewer: Karen Fainges |

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feature sneak peek

If We Dare to Dream

April 2006

Meet the Evans family: A family torn apart by war and misfortune meets a family held together by the bonds of love. Two families entwine after one fateful night changes their lives forever. Andrew Sheehan, former elite soldier, returns home from war and is suddenly accused of murder. Only Jamie Evans can prove his innocence. What would you do? A single meeting, the memory of one night, holds the key to a murder. If Jamie is correct, she gives a hero back his life. If she is wrong, she risks freeing a murderer from prison. Trusting her instincts, Jamie puts her life on hold and strives to free Andrew despite her family’s misgivings. Determined to do what is right, she vows to help him get his life back on track. Andrew, feeling betrayed by the country he nearly died protecting, fights the demons he carries in an effort to make things work with Jamie and repair the fractured relationship with his brother Adam, who bears his own battle scars. Dare he dream? With Jamie and her family’s help, Andrew begins to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. Realizing that there is more to life than bitterness and resentment, he starts over, determined to make the best of his experiences. But the killer is still out there, and Andrew soon finds that he is haunting him still.

He was staring again. Jamie felt the unmistakable pressure of someone watching her, and the weight of the stare was heavy and intent like someone preparing to devour a delicious desert. It was disconcerting, for the presence just would not go away, and Jamie had no desire to be consumed. While in the past she may have found it flattering and even had expressed interest, those days were long gone now. Tonight was supposed to be just the girls. No men allowed. Reaching for the beer bottle on the scratched and worn table, she raised it to her lips and peered over the neck to meet the stare head on. Just like before, as soon as she glanced at the shadowy corner table where the small group of people laughed with the loud influence of too many drinks, the shaded face glanced away guiltily. She set the bottle down slowly, her eyes remaining on him and a 26 | btsemag.com

slight frown on her lips. Once again she tried to make a point of letting him know in no uncertain terms that she was aware of his gaze and was not receptive. Bar scenes had never appealed to Jamie, especially late night ones. Meeting people while under the influence of alcohol was always a mistake in her opinion, leading to regrets the next morning. Besides, she was not interested in meeting anyone. How could she when she sported the shining diamond of a two carat solitaire engagement ring that Clay had given to her with a proposal for marriage just two weeks before? Nope, she was spoken for and happily at that. “That guy staring again?”

Growing up, Collette always knew that she would be a writer. She began composing stories in her head at the age of eight and was soon putting them down on paper for her friends to read. Since then, she has obtained her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s in education and writes fulltime. She uses her background to express her focus on the emotional growth of her characters, loving the interplay between people and their ability to face life with humor and strength through the good times and bad. The best-selling New England native now resides in Arizona with her children and multiple family pets.

ColletteScott.com


reviews

contemporary | historical | mainstream

determined to return his gift of optimism. But can she return his hope without losing her own? Enter the zoning board, an old enemy, and the personal problems of her two sisters Hope and Faith. Mix in a mischievous cat named Spook, a huge furry mutt named Dumbbell, and a man who’s showing the spirit of Scrooge, and you wonder. Can holiday magic triumph? REVIEW: Merrett and Gracie made a nice couple they had known each other years before but never got together. He was with somebody else, got married and had a child, and she was married to somebody else, as well. Unfortunately Merrett became a widower and Gracie’s marriage disolved into divorce. They met up again when they were looking for Christmas trees. Gracie for 2 and Merret just 1, but Gracie’s car wasn’t wide enough for two trees, so Merrett offered to take the other to her place on the top of his. And from there a relationship of sorts started and Merrett’s daughter Kirsten actually took quite a shine to Gracie. All the secondary players were great,from Merrett’s father Harry who had to contend with his wife having Alzheimer’s, to Kirsten who was smart and curious not to mention very inquisitive and the pets Spook and Dumbbell were just too cute. A nice warm satisfying holiday read that you will really like. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |

Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend

close is to seduce him… which will be difficult because she’s been in love with the Duke’s son for most of her life! Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington, wants to hate Lily for taking up with his father, but something about her intrigues him. Because she’s always with the Duke, Andrew and Lily are often together, and Andrew keeps finding her in the oddest of situations. Lily wants nothing more than to complete her mission, but Andrew is a handsome—and dangerous—distraction. But will Andrew still find Lily so beguiling when he discovers her secret past? And will she find the true traitor before it’s too late? REVIEW: The first two books in Galen’s Jewels of the Ton Trilogy gave readers high expectations for Lily Dawson dubbed the Countess of Charm for her refined demeanor and elegant mannerism even when dealing with the criminal element. Never one to lose her temper, Lily could charm a snake into a burning flame. Galen set Lily up to love one man from a far, the Darling of the Ton, Andrew-Booth Payne, the Earl of Darlington. The author draws the pair together naturally as Darlington’s father is suspected of helping a traitor of the British Crown. It is Lily‘s assignment to discover if the suspicions are true. Lily‘s secrets and clandestine work as a spy make her strong-willed and believable in the role; however Andrew’s high-mighty attitude is grating. He is a dandy who becomes a man but it’s not as satisfying as Lily finding true happiness in his arms. | Reviewer: Susan Frances |

Shana Galen Historical Heat Rating: 3

Lily Dawson, known as the “Countess of Charm,” is the last of the Three Diamonds—the most famed courtesans in all of England—and actually a spy, hiding a secret from her past. Tasked by the Foreign Office to find out if the Duke of Ravenscroft is a traitor, Lily knows the only way to get March/April 2014 | 27


feature sneak peek

Body of Gold Even in this post-Bernie Madoff era, it’s surprising how easily investors unknowingly hand over their money to con artists, also known as money managers. Chelsea Lynn Cobb earned the title of the youngest hedge-fund manager at Trans World Investments in Chicago. This charming southern beauty proved a financial genius, but her workaholic tendencies hinder her free time to meet men who match her impossibly high standards. When she’s not kicking ass at the office, she’s kicking ass at her Taekwondo class where she falls for her new instructor, Troy Camden. With the exciting distraction of a new and passionate relationship, she spends less time at the office until she discovers financial scams operating at Trans World. Someone is stealing millions from investors, but the evidence points towards her.

Chelsea looked at Troy with her big blue eyes. Their mouths were only inches apart. “Chelsea, now tell me how this feels,” Troy said. Then his mouth came crushing down on hers. Troy took complete control of her. His breath was hot. His lips moved so wonderfully against hers. His tongue glided smoothly inside her mouth. Troy pressed against her, and the warmth of his hot body consumed her. Their breathing intensified, and she moaned softly. Troy’s tongue moved faster inside her mouth and the pressure of his lips increased. He kissed marvelously. She ran her hands over his strong muscles. His skin felt so hot. Troy’s hands began to wander over her body. He grabbed her bottom and pulled her up towards his body. Troy groaned at the sensation and his breathing grew frantic. “Oh, Troy!” She moaned from the pleasure running through her body. Troy almost lost control, they both did. They knew they were seconds away from total abandon. Chelsea had never wanted anyone before in her life as much as she wanted Troy Camden at this very moment. Troy’s mouth broke away from hers. His lips moved over her ear and whispered. “If we don’t stop now. I am going to completely lose myself in you.” “I know, you’re right,” she said. But she didn’t care. She couldn’t tear herself away from Troy. She couldn’t stop. Her mouth crushed down on 28 | btsemag.com

his again. Troy kissed Chelsea back with heated fever. Then he pried her off of his lips. He grabbed both of her hands and gently kissed her fingertips. Then he pulled her hands towards his chest, and his heart. He looked at her tenderly. His eyes looked glassy, like he was on the verge of tears. “Oh, Chelsea, I want you more than anything right now. And even though we just met, you are so special to me. I want to do everything right with you. I don’t want to mess this up. I just know we’re going to be great together. So I really think we should at least share a meal together before we share a bed,” Troy said. “Oh, Troy.” Chelsea held back her tears of happiness. Troy acted so sweet and so right. This felt like the beginning of something special. “I have an idea. If you don’t have any plans for tonight, how about I cook you dinner?” Troy asked. Terri received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Florida. She is a licensed CPA and a Second Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. She lives on the water in Florida, with her husband, Garrison, and their two sons. Terri is the daughter of Leslie S. Talley, author of Make Old Bones and Bred In The Bone which are also available from Wild Child Publishing.

ElementsOfMystery.com


reviews

contemporary | historical | mainstream

Challenges

Alaskan Exposure

Fleeing ‘unpleasant entanglements with the law’ back East, Mark Stone and his lovely daughter Kellie have come to California’s San Joaquin Valley in 1872 to begin anew. The challenges they face and the people they meet have profound consequences, not only in their lives, but for future generations. The Kellys, the Hartley family, Beau Chandler, and others present life lessons sometimes hardlearned, but usually beneficial. Will Kellie and her father find happiness or heartache in California’s raw ranch country?

Finally recovering from a devastating divorce, Charley is given the opportunity of a lifetime when she’s offered a job shooting photographs for an Alaskan cruise catalogue. Kyle loves his life. The ship’s playboy first officer has his future all worked out and it doesn’t involve falling for the beautiful new photographer. The two find passion and comfort on the high seas and Charley learns the joys of being completely uninhibited when the partner is just right. But in eight short days she’s going to walk off the ship and Kyle’s going to start his next voyage without her. Can Kyle prove to Charley that they’re more than just hot sex? Sacrifice is the only way to stay together, but the price might just be too high.

Toni Cantrell Historical Heat Rating: 3

REVIEW: Challenges [Stone Family Saga Book 1] is the first book I read by Toni Cantrell. I found her to be a fantastic author. The writing was engaging and the story quickly became interesting. Mark Stone is a man trying to find a place for his family. Kellie his daughter wants to grow and explore and grow. As a young woman issues of the heart play a big role in her life. As Kellie, and her dad, Mark make a new life for themselves at California’s San Joaquin Valley in 1872, they are full of hope and have many expectations. But starting a new life in an unknown land comes with many hardships. Both Kelli and her dad struggle to make a new life for themselves. The Hartley family was a great group to read about. They played a huge part in both Mark and Kellie’s life. This story was very inspiring and emotional. There were many twists and turns that kept the pace of the story interesting and moving. There were so many unexpected surprises and the love triangle with Beau and Cliff was very intense. My favorite aspect of the story was the support that Kellie always received from her dad. They started their journey as a family and continued that way, no matter what came their way. The second aspect that I liked was seeing Kellie’s transformation. She went from a young girl to a young woman in this sweet tale about heartache and struggles. | Reviewer: Diana Silva | 30 | btsemag.com

A.S. Fenichel Historical Heat Rating: 4

REVIEW: Filled with beautiful descriptions of cruising Alaska, it would be worth reading for those alone. The characters were believable and likeable. Charley show passion for her work and friends as well as the love interest and I found that refreshing. I also loved that she was willing to admit that she had done the wrong thing at times and it was not all the man’s fault. Kyle was a gentleman in every sense of the word and showed respect, passion and loyalty, all the things I admire most in a man. The formula of girl meets boy, girl gets scared and runs, boy chases was obvious in this book, but it did not detract from the experience. Her reasons for running made sense and you wanted him to chase her for both their sakes. In short I devoured this book and highly recommend it. | Reviewer: Karen Fainges |


reviews

contemporary | historical | mainstream

Collision Force

Murder in Paradise

Badboy FBI agent Cole Lucas hunts a human trafficker to Texas, where he collides with Detective Andi MacLaren. Two murders, her partner shot and investigating on her own, Andi doesn’t need a cocky FBI agent. Attraction brings Andi to a place she left behind when her husband died. Her son wiggles his way into Cole’s heart, and he starts contemplating things he’s never planned for himself. Can working together make them stronger or jeopardize their case and their hearts?

Romance author Claire Jenkins suspects a murder occurred while attending the Hawaii Writer’s Conference. She and her writing partner, Sam Stewart, pose as a couple to get close to the suspects. Sam’s busy keeping Claire safe and finding the killer. Will it be too tempting for the both of them to act on the attraction they share, or will they throw caution to the island breeze and begin a new chapter in their lives?

C.A. Szarek Historical Heat Rating: 3

REVIEW: After his suspect-at-large turns up in a small Texas town and kills two cops, FBI Agent Cole Lucas might have met his match when he’s forced to partner up with and collides with the widowed Detective Andi Maclaren. The bad guy did something criminal, involving the mafia trafficking young girls and the FBI agent was undercover with this suspect, but no one really cares. The focus of the story was two cops falling in love. I had to check if the author was male. The strong masculine feel conveyed here made for interesting and authentic banter in the police station. This same male influence used at home was limiting in that it lacked the development of the widow’s thread, not fully diving into her painful hesitations. Halfway through the story became predictable. And yet, the romance and suspense were incorporated so well, I not only did not want to stop reading this, but I could not put it down. There might be a sequel. Heck, there might even be a movie. But don’t worry, this could be a stand-alone novel. With colorful language fitting of police, equally charged sexual content, yet virtually no violence, this is best suited for adult romance readers.

Carolyn Gibbs Historical Heat Rating: 3

REVIEW: Claire’s at a writer’s convention in Hawaii and when she goes on a solitary boat ride to another island she didn’t expect to find a man holding a blood y knife. Well she takes off running back to her little boat and rowing off the island, but she’d drops a vital clue for the killer in question, not realizing that she had. She tells her friend Amy and Amy is concerned especially when she starts getting the threatening calls that were actually meant for Claire. The also get help from Claire’s writing partner Sam, who wants to be a little more than that to Claire, if he’s lucky enough, of course. It had the right amount of suspense and very likeable characters and you couldn’t help but think it’ll make a good TV movie. Definitely a quick and very enjoyable read you’d definitely enjoy. Hope there’s another adventure in the works were the story is a little longer. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |

| Reviewer Michele Biring-Pani |

March/April 2014 | 33


feature inside scoop

What A Sicilian Husband Wants On his terms only! Moving countries, cutting all ties and giving birth to her baby alone, Grace Holden is desperately hiding from her past. But just when she thinks she might have broken free, it catches up with her in the form of her millionaire Sicilian husband! Grace swore her daughter wouldn’t grow up among the dark power and money of his family…but no one walks away from Luca Mastrangelo. Now, back within his reach, Grace is surprised to see new depths to the man she married, and each crack in his armor makes it harder to fight the desire still blazing between them.

What a Sicilian Husband Wants came about because I had an image in my head of a woman making herself coffee one cold frost morning. She’s distracted by a stranger at her front door and when she returns to her kitchen, she finds a man in her kitchen. Her husband. That was the complete image for me – I just knew she was hiding from him. I also knew she had a baby sleeping upstairs that she was desperate to keep hidden from him, and I knew she had a gun. All I had to think up were the whys… why was she hiding from her husband, why did she want to keep his child a secret from him and why was she armed? While I adore secret baby books, I occasionally have a problem with the reason why the heroine is keeping the hero’s child away from him. I needed to create a reason that was sympathetic to me – a reason I could understand and believe in. And it was this reason that became the very crux of the story… Thus, Grace and Luca were created. For them, love was instantaneous, a pure chemical reaction so strong that they dived into marriage without considering if it was actually right for them. Grace is an artist, a free-thinker and a free-spirit who sees the sun everywhere she goes, even when the sky is thick with clouds. Luca is a brooder, a man who sees danger at every corner – and with good reason. He’s Sicilian after all. He’s grown up in the 34 | btsemag.com

underbelly of Sicily’s darkness and has enemies he will do anything to protect his lovedones from. It was only when Grace discovered how deep in Sicily’s underbelly Luca was, and learned that there was something growing within her own belly that she needed to protect, that she ran away. And now Luca has found her and is determined that she and their child will return to Sicily with him. Whether Grace likes it or not.

Michelle’s love affair with books and the new worlds they transported her to began as a small child and has never left her. When not reading or pretending to do the housework, Michelle loves nothing more than creating worlds of her own featuring handsome heroes and sparkly, feisty women. She hopes her books can make her readers’ hearts beat a little faster, too.

Michelle-Smart.com


reviews

contemporary | historical | mainstream

Kiya, Hope of the Pharaoh

and with the guards, and amused by the constant conflict between her and Nefertiti. Though an enjoyable novel, I found faults in its repetitive nature and its lack of depth with the storyline focused solely on the wives without much information regarding the culture. Despite its faults, I would continue the series and the fascinating story of Kiya.

When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for… The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya. Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti who is out for blood.

| Reviewer: Stacie Carrier |

Katie Hamstead Historical Heat Rating: 3

REVIEW: Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh by Katie Hamstead is a historical fiction novel that examines the life of Naomi, an eighteen year old Hebrew woman, who takes the place of her two younger sisters and is sent to Pharaoh Akhenaten in Amarna. There, because of her education and lineage, she finds favor with the Pharaoh, and becomes not only a Queen, but the fifth wife, second only to Queen Nefertiti and her daughters. She is renamed Kiya and placed with the Pharaoh’s others wives and concubines. Here she must fight to live and to stay in the Pharaoh’s favor. I found this novel well paced and well written. The story of Kiya, her journey from Thebes to Amarna and the life she leads after arriving is told in first person, allowing the reader to be fully submerged in her emotional state and the conflicts she faced. Hamstead did a great job with recreating the lives of the Pharaoh, his wives, his concubines and the conflicts that emerged from such relationships. I was intrigued, throughout the novel, by the relationships Kiya formed with some of the other wives

The Lazy Bachelor Catherine Dove Historical Heat Rating: 2

Mr. Peregrine Tyndall has often been called the laziest man in London. But he is stirred to the enormous effort of matchmaking when a hunting accident suffered by his cousin, Lord Shipton, makes him realize that he stands in real danger of inheriting an earldom – with all its responsibilities. In his opinion, the perfect girl to marry his cousin and give the earldom another heir than himself would be their childhood friend, Portia Freestone. Mr. Tyndall doesn’t know what formidable obstacles lay before him, however, when he joins a house party at the earl’s country home with this match on his mind. In the first place, his normally obliging friend Portia has a secret. She has no wish to marry the earl – she likes him very well, but the man she secretly wishes to marry is Perry himself. An even bigger problem is Miss Frances Armitage. She and her little sister Eleanor had been left in Perry’s guardianship, a duty he had benignly and completely neglected. But now Miss Armitage, furious, is about to descend on Lakeford Hall to demand that Perry take up his duties in a responsible manner, even if she has to force him to do it. Thrust into just the sort of efforts he dislikes most, Mr. Tyndall tries his best to cope, and in the attempt, gets a great deal more than he bargained for. REVIEW: Peregrine’s life gets upturn when his cousin Ship gets injured and he looks in on him for a while. Ship was a March/April 2014 | 35


feature author interview

Lauren Smith Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets—a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a SemiFinalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. Check her out at http:// www.laurensmithbooks.com . You can follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ LaurenDianaSmith and on Twitter at @LSmithAuthor. Her blog is http://theleagueofrogues.blogspot. com.

How did you come up with the idea for the League of Rogues series? The League of Rogues was born out of a study abroad trip to Cambridge. I was moved by the University and its history and it connected with me. I wanted to write a story about men who were students there during the Regency era and how they became friends after a tragic near death experience. The series revolves around those men in later years and how that connection affects their lives. Who is your favorite character in the series? That is always a tough question to answer. I think my favorite rogue is whichever rogue I’m currently planning the story for. Currently, it’s Ashton. He’s the cool, calm, most business-minded of the group. But you know that all of that reserve will break down when he meets his heroine and sparks will fly and I can’t wait to write all of those scenes.   How many words a day do you generally write? I work full time as an attorney so finding time can be tricky. I shoot for between 500-1000 a day if I can.   What is your next release and when will it be out? I will have a release in September for a modern gothic romance series coming which at the moment is titled The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall. If you enjoy haunted castles and dangerous secrets from the past, this is definitely a series I think you will like. The second book in The League of Rogues Series is hopefully 36 | btsemag.com

going to come out in November but I don’t have an exact date yet. What do you do to unwind after a very intense scene in your book? Usually I go and watch a funny TV show or movie, something to make me laugh and release the tension from the scene. If the weather is nice, I love to take my dog on a walk, and just get outside and move around, that also helps. The trick is to do something positive and light-hearted.

The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much? For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books.

LaurenSmithBooks.com


reviews

contemporary | historical | mainstream

hoot. Portia was a girl who knew what she wanted and how to get it, even if the guy she wanted didn’t know it. Perry was not as wealthy as Ship, but then he wasn’t an Earl and lucky for him, he wasn’t on the poor man’s scale either. He came up with the plan to see Ship get the girl and that girl would be Portia. Ship and Portia however, had other plans. In a way, it worked out rather well for everybody, especially when Perry realized with whom it truly belonged. It was a nice regency read, just a little slow in parts, but Ship and Perry along with Portia, definitely make it work. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |

The King Maker Susan Frances Historical Heat Rating: 3

When American pilot Steve McKenna is murdered, he takes with him secrets about an international crime ring. Secrets that he only reveals to his friend Cullen Danes, an investigator for the British Aviation Ministry. Cullen is determined to find his friend’s killer, but his life is put in danger when the crime ring’s operatives learn he knows secrets that can expose them. When Cullen meets Nina Holt, a hostess at the International Aviation Convention, he comes to depend on her to save his life in more ways than one. Together, they uncover a labyrinth of illicit activities that involve government officials, financial institutions and global industrialists. The dangerous circumstances test Cullen’s and Nina’s mettle, but the true test comes when they to take a giant leap of faith. Torn between jumping into the unknown and remaining in a static position, Nina has to decide whether to take the biggest risk of her life or let this once in a lifetime chance go by, that is if the King Maker does not have them killed.

at Faversham Airport. Captain Steve McKenna, a friend of Danes, had stolen credit cards in his locker that were found after his death. Bruhn believes that Mckenna may have been part of a smuggling ring that had stolen over thirty million dollars. Danes, hoping to clear his friend’s name, begins helping Bruhn in uncovering information regarding the stolen credit cards. The hunt for information continues in the United States where he searches for Boris Rivkin and anyone who may be involved in the death of his friend. The King Maker is a well-paced novel with an intriguing storyline filled with mystery and suspense. The novel is told in third person and follows the lives of not only Cullen Danes and Nina Holt, who accompanied him in his investigation, but many of the antagonist involved in the death of Captain McKenna. Unfortunately, while information regarding the background of many of the characters was provided, the majority still lacked in development. That lack in character development became more obvious as the novel progressed and affected the intensity of the novel. Conversations between characters began to feel forced and lacked emotion. The novel began to feel disconnected towards its completion, with two different plots beginning to take shape that I assume will lead to a sequel. Frances still wrote an interesting novel even with its faults. | Reviewer: Stacie Carrier |

REVIEW: Cullen Danes, investigator for the British Aviation Ministry, has been contacted by Lieutenant Bruhn of Scotland Yard, after an American pilot has been murdered March/April 2014 | 37


feature sneak peek

Safe Encounter Jack Guardetto, handsome, successful and ambitious, had a job to do at All Appliance: keep the store out of the red. When he caught sight of Helen Steward, his focus all but disappeared because of her fascinating allure. When they get stuck in the store safe, their professional mantras cease to exist, unleashing an unforeseen passion.

“Helen Stewart,” she said. Taken aback by the handsome man, she offered her hand to keep with professionalism. His dark brown eyes framed by thick black lashes showed a tranquil strength. No facades here, she had thought. And, though early in the day, his jaw was already showing the darkening of a five o’clock shadow. She’d always found that to be so damned sexy. Long before George Michael came out of the men’s water closet, she’d loved his five o’clock shadow. During her preteen years, at bedtime, she’d gaze at the poster of him wearing oversized sunglasses, outfitted in black leather sitting on his motorcycle. She’d rub her cheek against his, feeling as if the picture had taken on human form. The pop singer was the first man to disappoint her. He would not be the last. “Jack Guardetto,” he replied, shaking her hand with a firm, yet comforting grip. Helen put a lot of emphasis on a handshake. Men usually had two kinds: weak and mushy or strong and with a grip that was almost painful. Jack’s was neither; it was firm but far from forceful. That, in itself, intimidated her, but she refused to show it, offering the same confident handshake back. “All right, then, Brent, I’ll go talk to the warehouse manager about expediting the deliveries,” Jack said, and, in an instant, he was gone. Anyone else might have thought him rude, but Helen knew better. She had not dealt with top-level management directly before, apart from her boss Charles, but she knew they considered themselves special. 38 | btsemag.com

An elite group that believed no explanations were ever needed to be made by them, only tothem. Such inter-office politics caused turmoil in her gut. She shook it off.

Ruth G. Zavitsanos began writing at the age of 12. Growing up outside of New York City, she attended many Broadway plays and musicals that served to stimulate her imagination. She has been published in Writer’s Digest magazine and had an indepth article in a Delaware Beach Life magazine. Ruth’s children’s chapter books published by Wild Child Publishing; The Villa Dog (an Epic Award and a Main Line Today staff pick) , The Old Fortress Dog and The Kona Dog (all third grade book club reads), have been embraced by children, parents and the educational community. Her contemporary novella, Safe Encounter, was also recently published by Wild Child Publishing.

RuthZonline.com


stories short reads

Easy

by Karen Albright Lin

Previously published by White Cat Publications October of 2011, “Easy” won 2nd place out of over 1100 entries in the March/April 2008 Writer’s Digest Your Story Competition and was a finalist in the flash fiction category of the Reading Writers Contest 2009.

People wiggle like bugs when I’m in my patched jacket and sitting on the sidewalk. If they say anything, it’s usually something like “Life’s difficult.” They’re wrong, I’d think. It’s easy. *** Last time the moon was a sideways smile, I only had change in my pocket. I walked into Food-Mart. Came out with three rib eyes and a bottle of steak sauce. In Newman Park I lit up some half-burned

March/April 2014 | 41


| Easy |

charcoals, then peeled the steaks and sauce from under my coat. Easy. The sky’s red was turning to black ash. Lightning was heading in. A backseat night, I thought, as I passed up a little unlocked Toyota. Didn’t feel like being cramped up after a three-steak evening. Found an old Buick, got in, and slept. Waking up as soon as light comes over the houses was always easy for me. Stretching, I rolled my neck about. Sore. Hadn’t rained after all, so it wasn’t worth it, except for no bug bites. A pretty lady came out of her house and got in the car. She didn’t notice me. Her dress was flowery and hid her neck. She looked pure like those pictures of Jesus’s mother at the Salvation Army. But prettier. I started spending my days in her house while she was away. In her mail, I saw her name was Emmy. It warmed me like a new coat to be eating her lunch meats and ice cream. I didn’t take so much she’d figure me out and get mad. Hoped to tell her someday. That would not be so easy. The next three weeks I went there, I studied her diplomas and pictures of herself with school kids. I touched her face through the glass. I dreamed about taking care of Miss Emmy, keeping her warm. I sniffed under my arm. Had to piss and wash up. Emmy’s bathroom smelled lilacky. Done. Wiped the shower walls and fog off the mirror. My face. Ugly, even clean. I’m in the sun too much. Curtains closed, I air-dried so as not to mess her flowery towels. Leaving the bathroom, I scrunched up my nose to a new smell. A bad smell I’d never expect in Emmy’s house. Like a street-wise mutt, I sniffed right to an ashtray on the kitchen table. It was full of cigarette butts. Sadness crawled on me thinking of that pretty teacher smoking. Damn, no filters. Found matches in a drawer. Lit a butt. It burned my throat. I opened the fridge. Emmy was cooking for a king! I’d seen magazines at the Food-Mart with swirly cheese-topped stuff like that. She’d figured me out, wanted to leave me nice food. I smashed shut my eyes and danced on my toes with my Miss Emmy.

42 | btsemag.com

I filled a china plate and took it into her bedroom. I flipped TV channels to a sexy show, ladies doing splits and stuff. Emmy must be happy with her things. I was happy with her things. I looked toward the closet. I would never invade her privacy, but there it was, wide open, men’s clothes touching her clothes. Pressure filled my ears. Where there are men’s clothes, there’s a man. I didn’t want to stay anymore. His suits were so straight and neat. I looked at my wrinkles. The smell of how close Emmy and I had been mixed with the smell of her lilac. I clicked off the TV, not meaning to bump the table. I knocked off her knickknacky things. Hated leaving a mess for her. But I couldn’t stand to stay. So, I left. Now I’m lying on a Newman Park bench. It’s sprinkling. Gonna sleep in it tonight. A backseat would probably belong to some woman who’s having an affair. Don’t want that stuff to touch me. I huddle as the rain comes heavier. I hope the sweet smell of Emmy’s soap washes off me. I want to be clean again, I want to go back to when things were easy.

Karen is an editor, ghostwriter, pitch coach, speaker, award-winning author of novels and cookbooks, and a produced screenwriter. She’s consulted on numerous projects and has written over a dozen solo and collaborative scripts (with Janet Fogg, Christian Lyons, and director Erich Toll); each has garnered international, national and regional recognition: Moondance Film Festival, BlueCat, All She Wrote, Lighthouse Writers, Boulder Asian Film Festival, SouthWest Writers Contest, and Pikes Peak Writers Contest. Find out more at www.karenalbrightlin.com


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BTS REVIEW RATINGS: 5 Stars awesome book, read it now! 4 Stars a must read 3 Stars really good read 2 Stars this was OK 1 Star hard to finish, flawed

March/April 2014 | 43


trends reading trends in erotic

The Heat Diva with guest columnist Tera Cuskaden Kleinfelter

Lions and Tigers and Bears If those words make you think of The Wizard of Oz, then you need to readjust the screen you’re reading on. When I think of lions and tigers and bears (and dragons and wolves and . . . ), I think of hot men (and women!) who become even hotter and more Alpha by turning into large, beautiful animals. Most women have an extreme soft spot for animals, and when a man can give me both of those in a book . . . Damn. Something about a man turning into an animal—literally!—to protect the ones he loves the most is such a turn-on.

March/April 2014 | 45


| The Heat Diva | One of my favorite shifter books is Cynful by Dana Marie Bell (Halle Shifters, #2, Samhain Publishing— available now). To save the woman he loves, he must push his gifts to the brink. Halle Shifters, Book 2 Julian DuCharme, a rare Spirit Bear with legendary healing powers, is finally free from the threat of death, finally free to claim his mate—but she’s not having it. While his Bear screams it’s time to mate, the love of his life wants to date. Holding his Bear in check while convincing her he’s not out to control her won’t be easy. She’s stubborn and a closeted geek—in other words, perfect for him. Cynthia “Cyn” Reyes, owner of Living Art Tattoos, thinks Julian is the hottest thing on two legs. That doesn’t mean she’s going to roll over for his masculine charm. She watched her mother flounder when her father passed away, and she’s determined to never lose herself to someone else. Not even a man who would jump the moon for her, if she asked that of him. When the women of Living Art are targeted by a killer, Julian doesn’t think twice about pouring out his last drop of power to keep Cyn safe. But it’s Cyn who’ll give up everything—her independence, even her humanity—to keep a terrifying vision from coming true. One of his death. Warning: This novel contains explicit sex, graphic language, a tattooed heroine and the Bear who loves her. Maybe he’ll finally convince her to tattoo him with “Property of Cyn.” Cyn is a feisty heroine who owns a tattoo shop. Her tattoos and multi-colored hair won me over, but when that’s added with a super-hot Native American 46 | btsemag.com

man who turns into a huge bear...Ooooh yeah. And (spoiler alert!) it makes me laugh my butt off when Cyn is changed into a bear, and she’s bigger than most of the male shifters she knows. How hilarious is that? And the humor Dana infuses into her stories is amazing. The hero and heroine in this one have some great banter. Plus, while I love almost any type of shifter, it’s a great change of pace to read about bears instead of tigers or wolves. Tigers and wolves are hot, but when’s the last time you wanted to curl up on a tigerskin rug? Am I right, or am I right? But there are times when shifter books can go terribly wrong. I’ve read things where a couple gets it on . . . while one of them is human and the other is animal. Or partially shifted. This is a trigger for me and makes me put down the book. Even books that are otherwise amazing, if this is in one of them, I can’t finish it. I know a lot of people are able to suspend belief and really immerse themselves in a different world, but that’s a place where I just can’t go, even if it’s just make-believe in my head. Even reading about a couple getting it on while both are in their shifted animals forms can sometimes have me wincing a bit. Though some authors are able to pull this off. When a writer is amazing with their characters, they can make you forget about the animal side of the scene and take you into the characters’ minds and emotions, can take you much deeper into their psyches. This is an amazing feat. Even Bella has use for a shifter! It wasn’t Jacob the man who kept her warm; it was Jacob the wolf. Even though I must say, he looks much yummier as a man to me. Those abs, that tan, that chest . . . But I digress. With this horribly snowy and cold winter we’ve been having, I’m wishing I had a wolf or a bear to cuddle up to, to keep warm!

As a lifelong resident of Indiana, Tera Cuskaden Kleinfelter learned to immerse herself in books at a young age. Feeling no desire for cows, corn, or soybeans, she quickly turned her passion into a profession. Tera began working in the romance field as a proofreader and reviewer in 2005 and quickly wanted more. After working for multiple publishers as a final line editor, she took the plunge to apply to Samhain. Once she was hired in 2007, she never looked back and is currently the Art Department Coordinator as well as an editor and works for Samhain full-time.


reviews erotic

Sex, Wolves and Rock ‘n Roll Mina Carter Paranormal Erotic Heat Rating: 4

Sav’s been in love with K for years, but the other rocker never gave him a second glance. Will a 1Night Stand date change that? Review: Now this was a very short read, and even though male on male isn’t really what I go for when I think ‘Hey lets read a book’. But this wasn’t as bad, I expected it to be crude, but it wasn’t. I actually quite enjoyed the read, not something that is usually found on my book shelf, but I enjoyed it which makes me want to seek out more books written by this author. I probably will when I have the time. By the title you know what this book is all about, so if this is your kind of thing, then go ahead and seek this book out, it is a short fun read. I think you will enjoy it, as much as I. Also, damn wolfs are sexy, I think I want one, haha. If only *sighs*. So brilliant read, very well written, cannot fault the writing style. | Reviewer: Nila Bi |

A Taste for Blood Yvonne Sarah Lewis Paranormal Erotic Heat Rating: 5

The author enjoys re-reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but thinks that poor Lucy Westenra is portrayed as a mere innocent victim. She feels it’s time to set the record straight, to tell Lucy’s story from her point of view, and show her as a determined, passionate woman, capable of harsh decisions in the pursuit of her desires. Review: Lewis wonders what Lucy’s thoughts really were about Stoker’s Dracula and his attentions to her. Not normally a fan of speculative fiction when it comes to the classics, I tried to approach the book with an open mind, and was delighted that I did. Written in the same first person style as Dracula, there was a pleasing use of period terminology and scenes and yet the voice was still completely Lucy’s (and the author’s) own. Lewis captured the possibilities of Lucy in a delightfully wicked way, drawing on the closeness of Lucy and Mina and showing how it could have easily been more. Victorian morals and values are seen throughout and the heavy velvet curtains are drawn aside to show the real goings on behind the scenes. A Taste for Blood holds nothing back, exploring a wide range of sexual and vampiric fantasies in a way that intrigued and titillated. Most of all, the book is almost entirely about the thoughts and feelings of the women involved with the men merely acting their part in the scene and almost discarded. Seeing the tables turned seemed to complete the journey for me. Well worth the read. It makes me wonder if more is to be had from this story. | Reviewer: Karen Fainges |

Lucy adores handsome nobleman Arthur, but when Count Dracula comes ashore in Whitby she falls under his influence. But Lucy is no feeble victim. She eagerly gives herself to the very male vampire and their enjoyment of each other is mutual. Her dark desires surprise even Dracula himself. But Arthur is prepared to fight for her. Will he defeat her vampire lover, or will her passion for Count Dracula conquer all? March/April 2014 | 47


reviews erotic

The Light in Her Eyes K. R. Haynes BDSM suspense Heat Rating: 5

Since the first night Officer Mick Huon met Mary J Sinclair down at the Convict Inn, fiery sparks of passion have flown between the two of them. After stealing one kiss from her, Mick decides it’s best if he keeps his distance from Mary J, mainly due to his steadily rising affection for her that was stirred up from one brief tender moment they shared. What Mick hadn’t counted on was for Mary J to seduce him. The woman has a fire within her that sets him ablaze with primal lust. To tame a stubborn redhead like Mary J, Mick will have to pull out all the stops if he’s planning on enticing her into his bed. But when Mary

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J’s dark past collides with the present, it stirs up more trouble than they were both prepared for. Can Mick conquer Mary J’s past in time or will he end up losing her forever? Review: Delectable alphas and bratty subs abound in K. R. Haynes new book, The Fire in Her Eyes. As the second book of the In Her Eyes series, the aforementioned novel did not just pick up from where the first book, The Light in Her Eyes, left off, it grabs hold of the series’ main plot and tightens it even more. Sexy, erotic, and emotional in its own right, this book should be read after the first book in the series. The story’s beautifully crafted suspense-filled plot draws readers in and each little tidbit of evidence that crops up at their precise moments throughout the book only serves to whet one’s appetite for more. Its climax built steadily until it concludes in an unexpected ending. Warning: light BDSM, anal play, flogging, and spanking. | Reviewer: Francine Alli |


reviews erotic

Portrait of Passion

Lynne Barron Historical Erotic Romance Heat Rating: 4

What’s a Viscount to do when a mysterious lady with a secret past and a reputation frayed around the edges suddenly appears in London in hot pursuit of his naive young cousin, setting the gossips’ tongues wagging, stirring his family into pandemonium, and driving him mad with her irreverent ways? If the Viscount in question is Simon Easton, the answer is quite simple. Seduce the beguiling Beatrice Morgan.

debts their parents incurred. Young lords and cousins, Easton and Hastings express a desire to marry for love but their parents raise them to believe that romantic love isn’t practical. Beatrice Morgan catches their eyes, an impetuous woman who acts on gut feelings, putting aside propriety frequently. She shocks society with her bluntness and living as a painter. The reader discovers she’s the illegitimate child of Hastings’s father. She has constructed a scheme to obtain Idyllwild, Hastings’s estate where his father kept Beatrice and her mother. The author takes her time unraveling the story keeping Beatrice’s secret a secret from audiences almost to the end. Though Easton and Hastings finally eschew the standards of the era, they lack chivalry. Easton forces himself on Beatrice and Hastings is wishy-washy, neither a strong hero. | Reviewer: Susan Frances |

Review: Lynne Barron portrays Regency England as a time when a generation of children had to pay for the

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feature author interview

Julie Shelton Julie lives in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Now retired after a 25-year dream career as a professional storyteller and puppeteer, she has time to devote to her new love, writing erotic romance, the steamier the better. Her first two novels, Loving Sarah, and its sequel, Owning Sarah are contemporary BDSM menages, while her third, Dark Warrior, is a menage set in 14th-century England. All three have smokin’ hot heroes and Heat Ratings of Sextreme.

Can you tell us about Owning Sarah? Owning Sarah is my second contemporary MFM BDSM ménage romance and is the sequel to my first novel, Loving Sarah. Sarah is in danger from an old enemy whose skinhead group, the Army of Righteousness, is planning one of the biggest arms for drugs deals in American history. When he kidnaps Sarah to sell her to a slave trader, the story becomes a harrowing race against time for Jesse and Adam, her two loving doms, to reach her before she’s lost to them forever.

Who are the main characters in this story? Jesse Colter has been in love with Sarah since she was fifteen. Surviving a brutally abusive childhood, he became a SEAL and is now the Police Chief of a small southern town. He’s tall, handsome, sexy, and dominant, with the black hair and eyes, aquiline nose, and high cheekbones of his Native American heritage. Even though he’s been out of her life for eight years, he now knows he can’t live without her. Sarah Marshall grew up ignored and unloved by her father, a wealthy and powerful judge. She fell in love with Jesse the summer she was thirteen, when he saved her from a deadly fall from a thirty-foot tree. He has been the nightly star of her increasingly erotic dreams for the last twelve years, and when he reappears after an eight-year absence, she still wants what he can give her. Sizzling hot sex, wild, fiery passion, and soul-deep love. The third member of this ménage is Adam Sinclair, fellow SEAL and fellow Dom, who’s fallen in love with Sarah just from hearing Jesse talk about her. Tall and blonde with the chiseled features of a Renaissance statue, he is light to Jesse’s dark, shining angel to Jesse’s brooding demon, sunshine to Jesse’s shadow. His and Sarah’s connection is instantaneous and unquestionable. Who is your favorite character in the book? It would have to be Jesse. When he sprang into my mind I spent months 50 | btsemag.com

thinking about him falling more and more in love with him myself. Can you give us a little insight into alpha hero, Jesse Colter? He is a man of character, high principles, deep loyalties, and what I like to call Dominant Deliciousness. He loves Sarah with every cell in his body and gives thanks every day that he didn’t miss his chance with her. Your readers will love him.

It’s been a month since Sarah Marshall was kidnapped and held at knifepoint by her ex-fiance. But Jesse Colter and Adam Sinclair, her two loving Doms, know that there is an even deadlier threat still out there--Ryder Malone. He blames both Sarah and Jesse for sending him to prison eight years ago for attempted rape, and he’s determined to make them pay. So, he begins a systematic campaign of terror and intimidation against them. But the danger he poses doesn’t end there.

JulieSheltonAuthor.com


reviews erotic

The Devil’s Lagoon

she has no idea, but she has always craved an adventure and tropical seas and a handsome lord might just fulfill her romantic dreams… One independent aristocratic lady and an enigmatic spy travel south together into an erotic journey of both love and danger.

Beau Fallon, Lord Auberville, has decided to flee England. It is much easier than facing his ever-growing fascination with the beautiful Lady Hannah. He isn’t interested in marriage—far from it—and she is a very eligible young woman. Instead he has decided to pursue the legend of the Devil’s Lagoon, a place so deadly none have ever returned… Stowing away on Lord Auberville’s ship is the most audacious thing she’s ever done, but Hannah is determined to find out once and for all how he feels about her. Can she seduce him and break that cool exterior? An innocent,

Review: Strip away the elegant ambience of the English countryside and the tropical vistas of a Caribbean island and the story is about a man and a woman who fall in love. The language is mild-mannered and the characters emotions are refined even when they’re expressing intense passion. With dialogues versed like Shakespearean sonnets, the hero Lord Beau Fallon of Auberville and the heroine Lady Hannah Lawson consummate their love early in the story. Their interlude reads like a love poem as the pair plays the rash pirate and the captured princess. A subplot brews as Beau embarks on a journey to find his cousin Lady Addison who has ventured into the Caribbean to locate a lost treasure from the sunken vessel

Annabel Wolfe Historical Erotic Heat Rating: 5

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reviews erotic

Persephone in an area known as the Devilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Lagoon. The authorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s effort at suspense is lukewarm and lackluster, though the romance has a sweetness about it. | Reviewer: Susan Frances |

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serials

| Nicole Morgan |

continuing stories

Nicole Morgan I drummed my fingers against the bar top as I stared at the game on the big screen television positioned above the bartender. The basketball game playing out before me and the other bar patrons was clearly a good one. Fans at the venue as well as the ones that surrounded me at the bar were all riled up and causing a ruckus over the final minutes. Despite the intensity of the nail-biter, I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite concentrate on it for more than a second or two. My eyes kept going to the second hand on my wristwatch. Each time I would just stare at it in disbelief, wondering why it was ticking by so unbelievably slow, when in fact I knew it was keeping just as good of time as it ever had. My real problem was my growing impatience. Kimberly was over a half an hour late, and even though I knew this to be her normal behavior, I had been waiting for this all day long. I really needed to talk

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| Sex & the Single Woman |

to her and get an unbiased opinion on the chaos that was plaguing my mind. After the week-long trip to the tropics with Jack, I came back down to earth and reality. Maybe it had been the heat or the fruity little umbrella drinks that gave me more than my share of a buzz, but the entire time we were gone I had somehow managed to forget every nagging worry that I had. There were far too many questions lingering in my mind to continue on this relationship and get in any deeper than I already had. The long plane ride home had offered me some time for reflection even though Jack was right by my side and holding my hand the entire time. His affectionate ways and his ability to say almost the perfect thing at all times were what plagued me the most. What man was that perfect? It was a question I’d asked myself a few times, and even something I could hear Kim asking me. Yet, I’d ignored those warning signs and just gone on as though I was living a fairy tale. Not really taking into consideration the fact that fairy tales just don’t exist. At least not in 2014 in New York City. The first thing I had done when I got home was call Kim and ask for her help. If anyone could help me, I knew she’d be the one. Courtney and Jen were great, and I loved them like sisters, but Kim had a way about her. She knew people that I’d probably never cross paths with in my life, much less ever find a way to contact. Kim was the perfect partner to have by my side. This soul-searching I’d finally done was long overdue. I was kicking myself for not having the guts to move forward with my plan sooner, but my insecurities and girlish fantasies got in my way every time. Maybe this whole thing would prove that he was just as perfect as he appeared to be. Maybe his wonderful nature wasn’t just a misleading characteristic which laid on the surface. Maybe I’d even find out he was everything he claimed to be, the ultimate and ideal boyfriend. It was the other part of those maybes, those unspoken what ifs that were trying me now. I knew any woman would most likely call me crazy for even doubting Jack, let alone having him looked into, but I’d been foolish long enough. It was now time to take action. And nothing and no one was going to stop me this time. Not even Jack.

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I impatiently checked my watch once again. Kimberly was nearing the hour mark of tardiness. I had figured I’d give her five more minutes before breaking down and giving her a call, when thankfully I saw her long blonde hair at the far end of the bar. I lifted my hand, waving her over, and saw that she brought a man with her. He was burly but much shorter than Kimberly’s normal date requisite of six feet tall and above. His beady eyes and unfriendly mannerisms told me that he was probably the man Kimberly had told me about. The one who could help me find out all I needed to know about Jack Dennison. “Kimberly, I was beginning to think—” “We don’t have time for formalities.” The man quickly interrupted me and motioned me over to a table in the corner. I followed them over and took a seat adjacent to Kimberly and across from the stranger. I considered opening my mouth to speak, but his quick silence just moments ago still had me rattled. I felt like I was sitting across from someone named Guido who was on the take with the mob. “Kimmy here tells me you need some information on someone?” He asked me while looking everywhere but at me. “Yes. I, uhh . . . well, there’s this guy I’ve been dating. And I’m not sure—” “Lady, do I look like a couple’s counselor to you? I don’t want to know your relationship problems. I just need the guy’s name, a few other details, and my fee, of course. Two hundred and fifty. Non-negotiable. I’m only doing this as a favor to Kimmy, otherwise you’d be paying full price.” “Right.” I nodded my head and reached for my wallet. Kim had told me the fee ahead of time, so I’d made sure to stop at the ATM on the way to meet her. He held up his hand. “Don’t give it to me now. Here. Damn.” He looked around at the bar spectators as if he was waiting for J. Edgar Hoover himself to jump out from the crowd and arrest him for whatever heinous crime he was guilty of. “Sorry, I’ve ever done this before. I just need answers. His name is Jack Dennison. He claims he’s divorced. His supposed former wife’s name is Mary. He lives at 568 W. Seventh Street. His offices are in


| Nicole Morgan |

the Roosevelt Building, but I can’t remember the suite number. What else do you need to know?” “Just meet me in three days. Same time. Same place. I’ll get you your information.” “It’s . . . that easy?” “Lady, I could do this job with my hands tied behind my back while blindfolded. I’ll find out who this Jack Dennison is. If he’s married, I’ll find out. If he’s a deadbeat dad, I’ll find out. If he’s a murderer, I’ll find out. Shit, if he’s a damn vampire, I’ll find out. Just be here in three days. And bring the money in a nice birthday card.” I looked over at Kim questioningly. “I’m sorry . . . is it your birthday?” He rolled his eyes at me. “No. But, handing me a blue envelope with balloons drawn on the outside of it with the words happy birthday looks a lot less suspicious than a white envelope with twenties sticking out of it.” “Right. Of course. Thank you, Mr.?” I inquired. “No names.” Kimberly interrupted me. “Thank you for doing this.” He stood up from his chair and bent down to kiss Kimberly’s cheek. “Anything for you, doll.” He turned attention back to me. “Just don’t go shooting the messenger if I come back and tell you that your boyfriend is a deadbeat dad, serial killer who is running from the law.” My mouth hung open in disbelief at his flippant way of addressing something that might very well be my deepest fear come to life. I looked over at Kim and then down at my drink. “I hope I’m doing the right thing.” “You are, honey.” She assured me. Was I though? Was I looking a gift horse in the mouth? Jack treated me wonderfully. If he was exactly who he claimed to be, and he ever found out what I’d done . . . the thought wasn’t something I cared to consider in the moment. The second guessing was over. The doubting and wondering were over. I’d taken that first step into answering all of my nagging questions. Whether or not I’d made the right choice, that had yet to be determined. “I think I need another drink.”

Nicole Morgan is an author of erotic romance novels, which more often than not, have a suspenseful back story. While she’s written everything from contemporary to paranormal, her leading men will more than likely be wearing a uniform of some kind. From military to police officers, she has a love for writing about those who protect and serve. From her very first novel (which turned into a four-book series) about Navy SEALs to her more recent releases, you will be sure to find a few twists and turns you were not expecting. She is a proud member of the wonderful group of gals known as Four Seduced Muses and is honored to be a part of Romance Books 4 Us Gold Authors. Find out more about Nicole and her books by visiting her website, blog, Google+ Page, Twitter, Facebook and her Yahoo Group, Nicole’s Think Tank.

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These BTS staff members help authors with editing, publicity and as an author assistant.


SCI FI & FANTASY

OUT of this WORLD

Featured Authors,

REVIEWS and more

BTS REVIEW RATINGS: 5 Stars awesome book, read it now! 4 Stars a must read 3 Stars really good read 2 Stars this was OK 1 Star hard to finish, flawed

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feature sneak peek

Spirit Summoner The Chosen of the Light: Book One Some Spirit Summoners can manipulate the Four Elements, turning the tide against the forces seeking unbalance, but such power comes at a cost. Focus is required, as is self-control. The Spirit Summoner, Darr Reintol, has to decide if he’ll be the world’s savior or its destroyer.

A fall breeze cut through the afternoon air, rustling tree branches and sending brightly colored leaves cartwheeling across the path along which Darr Reintol walked. The sun wouldn’t set for another hour or so, but already the day had grown cool enough to wrap his travel cloak tight against his body. Overhead, the tree limbs interlocked and screened away what little heat and light remained in the day, but Darr found he didn’t mind. He liked to get away from the confines of the village and his life there. Tyfor might be a prosperous farming community, nestled within the forests of the Valimere Peninsula, a virtual paradise to most of its visitors, but Darr saw a solitary island lost in a sprawling ocean. These journeys into the surrounding countryside, to deliver packages to the farmers along the coast, were a chance for him to pretend Tyfor existed in a completely different world. It allowed him to believe his old life had ended, ushering in a new era of travel and adventure. Darr sighed wearily to himself and let such thoughts drift away with the leaves at his feet. He couldn’t indulge in fantasies. Their lack of fulfillment simply hurt too much. The luxury of leaving Tyfor wouldn’t come any time soon. His obligations to his family would always come first. He found a loose stone along the path and kicked at it absentmindedly. He was stuck in place. The middle child, he did what he was told. His older brother, Erec, was a soldier in training, a warrior who would make the family proud. Jinn, his younger sister, looked to be the ghost of his mother, a woman loved and respected by many.

Darr was just a young boy grown only halfway to adulthood, yet still falling short with his scrawny limbs and awkward movements. He had a lot of trouble making his body do what he wanted it to, and being a Spirit Summoner added to those difficulties. Before he could catch himself, the voices of the spirits intruded on his thoughts. Their voices began as a faint whisper in the back of his mind, turning rapidly to a scattering of words carried over the rustling of the leaves until they were all around him.

Over the last twenty years, Matt has been putting his love for fantasy stories down on paper. With interests in writing, woodworking, parenting, comic books, movies, and video games, Matt always has something new to inspire him. He lives in Western Washington with his wife, Jen, and son, Jacobi.

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reviews sci fi | fantasy

Dangerous Waters CM Michaels Urban Fantasy Heat Rating: 4

The latest victim in a rash of abductions near the campus of Boston University, Emily waters is brutally attacked before being rescued by a powerful new friend. She survives the ordeal, only to find herself presented with an impossible choice. While preparing for the unimaginable life she must now embrace, clues soon emerge that Emily may not be entirely human, and her physical transformation awakens goddess-like powers that her new family cannot begin to explain. Review: I love the way C.M. Michaels delivers the

information about vampires. The main character is human and is learning so it makes the info all that more important but also it really relates to the story instead of just shoving mythology down our throats. Secondly, this isn’t just your run of the mill human wants to live forever plot. The main character wants to remain human, however, her life is in danger and she is given an ultimatum. She is already close to the vampires that are taking her under their wings so it makes the decision that much easier for her. And that’s when all hell starts to break loose! Emme is totally different and it’s that difference that drives everyone to like her but it’s also that difference that makes her stand out, even among vampires. She’s an amazing and very interesting character, full of depth. As are most of the characters in this. The tone and the writing have a lot to do with this plot being great as well. Although this isn’t a horrific vampire novel, this one is going to stand out in reader’s minds because it is so different from the

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reviews sci fi | fantasy

norm. The only slight problem I had was how easily Emme accepts and is accepted. She calls her new family her sisters and her mom and that just made me twinge every time. It’s a small thing but it was something that bothered me and stood out every time. Recommended to everyone who loves paranormal! I cannot wait to see what happens next! | Reviewer: Christina Torretta |

My Lady Quicksilver Bec McMaster Steampunk Romance Heat Rating: 3

In the mist-shrouded streets of a steam-fuelled London, a clockwork army is on the rise, vampire blue bloods rule the streets, and war is brewing… “I WILL COME FOR YOU…” He will find her no matter what. As a blue-blooded captain of the Nighthawk Guard, Sir Jasper Lynch’s senses are keener than most. Some think he’s indestructible. But once he finds the elusive Mercury, what will he do with her?

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reviews sci fi | fantasy

It’s his duty to turn her in—she’s a notorious spy and traitor. But after one stolen moment, he can’t forget the feel of her in his arms, the taste of her, or the sharp sting of betrayal as she slipped off into the night. Little does Mercury know, no one hunts better than the Nighthawk. And his greatest revenge will be to leave her begging for his touch… Review: McMaster has crafted two passionate and strong-willed characters in Rosalind Fairchild and Sir Jasper Lynch, each stirring heady emotions in the other. Deception is used for good when Rosalind poses as the fictitious Rosa Marberry to infiltrate the Nighthawks organization. She demonstrates the ideal qualities of a modern woman being brave in the face of danger, intelligent when called upon to strategize, and reverently compassionate. Jasper displays the traits of a man conjured from one‘s dreams, a respected and trusted leader, a staunch protector, and a valiant gentleman. Each sentence advances the story, pulling these two born-to-be enemies into becoming allies. Their internal monologues give readers windows into their souls as secondary characters broaden the circle of players engrossing the couple in a political web that makes them adversaries. A futuristic version of the Wild West, the story has the born-to-be lovers fight against the odds and win. | Reviewer: Susan Frances |

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PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE

BEYOND the EXPECTED

Featured Authors,

REVIEWS and more

BTS REVIEW RATINGS: 5 Stars awesome book, read it now! 4 Stars a must read 3 Stars really good read 2 Stars this was OK 1 Star hard to finish, flawed

March/April 2014 | 65


trends

reading trends in mystery & more

The Scrying Eye Kelly Hudson

Ghosts, Serial Killers, and Demons, Oh My! To the delight of all, spring is coming, and with it, the usual sweeping and cleaning, the clearing of cobwebs, and the growing of flowers. But do not be deceived, dear readers, for though spring brings new beginnings, it does not necessarily mean that all change is good. Do not despair, however, for the Scrying Eye has opened and wants to share with you its visions of reading glories as yet unseen and unheard of. So come, sit down in the parlor, rest your legs, and listen as the Eye speaks of worlds and events that can only exist in the imagination . . .

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| The Scrying Eye |

Science Fiction/Fantasy Fury of the Demon by Diana Rowland (Kara Gillian, #6, DAW—available now) takes up right after the events of the fifth book, in which Kara, still bearing the scars of the treachery of Rhyzkahl, resumes her efforts to recover the kidnapped Idris. Kara joins with demonic lord Mzatal in this search, and the pair finds that their pursuit leads them back to planet Earth. FBI agents aid in their search, and before long, they discover that the very fabric of the universe is at stake, as they plunge deeper into the mysteries surrounding the kidnapping of Idris and the evil of Rhyzkahl. A nice mixture of mystery and urban fantasy, this current installation of the Kara Gillian series puts the heroine back into familiar, and yet dangerous, territory. Will she and her companions be able to get to the heart of the terror that awaits, or will evil win the day? The Forever Engine by Frank Chadwick (Baen—available now) is the debut novel by the creator of the Steampunk roleplaying game Space: 1889. Jack Fargo, a scholar and former Special Forces operator in Afghanistan, is thrust back in time (or is it into another dimension? an alternate past?) to England, 1888, where airships patrol the sky, Iron Lords rule Britain, Mars has been colonized, assassins stalk through Europe, and somewhere to the East, the Old Man of the Mountains plots to destroy this world with his Forever Engine. Fargo, joining forces with an elderly Scottish physicist, a young British Officer, and a mysterious spy from the French Commune, races to stop Old Man not only from activating his machine, but also from using it to destroy not just this world, but possibly Fargo’s own future. Gritty Steampunk awaits readers as they plunge into this fully imagined and brilliantly created world.

Mystery/Crime Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter (The Profiler, #1, Harlequin MIRA— available now) concerns the story of Evelyn Baine, an FBI profiler and rising star of the Bureau, who is able to get under the skin of the serial killers she investigates, learning how to think like they do. But she’s never met anyone quite like the Bakersville Burier, who hunts young women, kills them, and then leaves their bodies half-buried in the woods to be discovered later. This investigation will put not only Evelyn’s career at risk, but also her very life. This is a classic modern mystery wrapped in the skin of a psychological thriller, so enter this dark world with great care, because great dangers await! 68 | btsemag.com


| Kelly Hudson |

The Wrong Quarry by Max Allan Collins (Quarry, #11, Hard Case Crime— available now) is another in the long-running series of Quarry tales, featuring everyone’s favorite, swaggering assassin. But what is that you say? You’re unfamiliar with the world of Quarry and the writing brilliance of Mr. Collins? Where have you been living? Under a rock? Ha, ha! To be fair, these tales have always lived a bit under the radar, which is really quite unfair when you consider how fantastic they are. This series is one everyone should enjoy: the stories are fast and to the point, filled with some great action and humor, and have, in Quarry, a character with whom almost anyone can identify. This particular tale takes place in the middle of Quarry’s career, before he retires and after working for the enigmatic Broker. Quarry targets other hitmen and then eliminates those persons who hired the killers, all for a fee, of course. In this case, Quarry’s target is the grieving family of a missing cheerleader. Does he have the wrong prey in his sights, or is he involved in a longer game that is far deadlier than he thinks it will be? Read on to find out. And once you do, check out the other titles in this series that has been ongoing since the 1970s, all recently reprinted and easy to find. You don’t have to read them in order, but you do have to read them if you consider yourself a fan of crime fiction.

Horror! The Vanishing by Wendy Webb (Hyperion— available now) is an old-fashioned gothic ghost story, featuring the tale of Julia Bishop, recently widowed and penniless. She takes an offered job to become the caretaker of Amaris Sinclair, an eccentric and famous horror novelist whom the world believes to be dead. When she arrives in Havenwood, home to Sinclair, Julia begins to realize that this dream opportunity is, in fact, a nightmare, when secrets begin to reveal themselves. She discovers not only why Sinclair abandoned a successful career, but also

mysteries involving Julia’s own familial lineage. And as these enigmas unravel, Julia’s sanity and safety come into question. Snowblind by Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Press—available now)is Golden’s return to horror after more than a decade. The tiny town of Coventry in New England was hit with the harshest winter storm it had ever seen. Icy figures danced in the blizzard and led men, women, and children out into its depths, only for the victims to disappear. Families were torn apart, and the town itself was almost abandoned. Twelve years later, the survivors are still haunted by those terrible events as another storm bears down on them, this one promising to bring the same sort of shock and fear. And then the old ghosts of the lost victims begin to show up, guaranteeing even more horror to come. Golden returns to his roots with another tale of terror that will keep you reading late through the night, unable to shut the book and go to sleep.

And thus the Eye closes, not to open again for another month, leaving you, dear reader, with the opportunity to go forth and discover some of these great stories and writers. Journey home, sit on the porch, enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea, put your feet up, luxuriate in the tender weather, and read on. Read on . . . Kelly M Hudson is the author of two horror novels and dozens of short stories, including a piece in the recent D.O.A. II collection by Blood Bound Books. You can find links to all of his works by visiting kellymhudson.com if you dare!

March/April 2014 | 69


feature sneak peek

Waking the Dead

The Shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland

They say a painting can have a life of its own? In the case of Ghosts in the Mind by Henry Sebastian Hubert, that’s more than just an expression. This painting is reputed to come to life—and to bring death. The artist was a friend of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, joining them in Switzerland during 1816, “the year without a summer.” That was when they all explored themes of horror and depravity in their art. Now, almost two hundred years later, the painting appears in New Orleans. Wherever it goes, death follows. Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn, occasional partners in solving crime, are quickly drawn into the case. The people in the portrait might be dead, but something seems to wake them and free them to commit bloody crimes. Cafferty and Quinn must discover what that is. And they have to destroy it—before it

LIGHTNING FLASHED, CREATING A JAGGED STREAK IN THE angry purple darkness that had become the sky—day and night at once, or so it seemed. Henry Sebastian Hubert hunched his shoulders against the strange chill that permeated the evening. The sky’s darkness was never-ending: the rain and the cold were foreboding. He’d heard that in America, there has been June snow in some of the northern states. Here, in Geneva, it always seemed dark, damp and wretchedly cold—but certainly no worse than it had been in England. Another twisted arrow of light slashed across the eerie black sky, illuminating the lawn that stretched before the lake. Percy Shelley, Claire and Mary Godwin, and George, Lord Byron had arrived. Mary was calling herself Mary Shelley on this Continental jaunt but Shelley had a legal wife in England. Claire—well, Claire was Claire. He could hear her laughter as they approached, high-pitched and sounding rather forced. The young woman tried so hard. She’d been Byron’s lover in London, and did not seem to understand that Byron sought northing more permanent. But through Claire, Byron had met Shelley, and his admiration for Shelley was complete and enthusiastic. And among their foursome, Claire was the only one who spoke French decently, making her a definite asset. 72 | btsemag.com

Henry was enamored of them all. “There they come,” he said aloud. “The brilliant, the enchanted.” Behind him, he heard a strange sound and turned. Raoul Messine, the butler who’d come with the castle, was also looking toward the water. “You were about to speak?” Henry demanded. “No, monsieur. It is not my place.”

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. Published in approximately twenty languages and honored with awards from Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times, Heather has been featured in The Nation, Redbook, People, and USA Today and appeared on local television and Entertainment Tonight.

eHeatherGraham.com


reviews paranormal | suspense

Shielding Her Heart

Chance Collision

After a brutal beating nearly killed her, Sheila Williams’ emotional recovery is at risk when she feels someone is watching her. The woman Rick Smyth desires shut him out of her life after being attacked in her home. But when Sheila feels threatened by a stalker, she turns to him for protection. This time, not only does he vow to keep her safe, he’s determined to win her heart as well.

Detective Pete Crane catches a news hooting case and considers it business-as-usual. When the lead witness is the Chief of Police’s fiery assistant, he never anticipated she’d challenge him— personally and professionally. Nikki Harper has been attracted to Pete since they met two years ago. Witnessing a brutal shooting throws her into a stigma that’s always been her greatest fear: victim. Can Pete protect her and solve the case, while fighting intense heat with Nikki?

Cheryl Yeko Suspense Heat Rating: 4

Review: It was another great story. It had tormented villains, a strong minded heroine, sexy hero and caring neighbors who look out for one another when tragedy or crime strikes. Sheila is living by herself and coping as best she could while dealing with the after effects of a vicious attack. Then she has to deal with not one, but two stalkers and that’s were detective Rick Smythe comes in. Her neighbors Pete and his wife keep an eye out for anything suspicious and so do a few other neighbors. The first stalker was someone she knew as a really nice guy, but apparently he had a screw or two loose when he went off his meds. She wasn’t sure who the 2nd stalker was though Rick knew about them and he tried to stop them. Al lot of non-stop action, great suspense and characters you really liked whether they were supporting or not and 2 sets of villains you really weren’t sure of, but they definitely got what they deserved. A must read if you’re a Cheryl Yeko Fan. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |

C.A. Szarek Romantic Suspense Heat Rating: 3

Review: Detective Pete Crane’s attraction to Nikki Harper might be toe curling, but he is over ten years her senior, she is practically the Chief’s own daughter, and totally off limits. Now a witness to a murder, Nikki is under Pete’s protection until he can solve the case. I bought into the sudden love which blossomed between colleagues in the middle of a shooting and was sucked into a fast-paced, intense story. Even though the pages are once again filled with wonderful authentic police banter, dead bodies and yellow crime tape, think of this as not really romantic suspense but a romance story involving a cop who happens to be solving a case. The investigation is there and clearer, simpler than the first book but just as before the true hero of this book is the love story, not any crime fiction. A definite improvement in writing from the previous book, this is a standalone yet with a nice continuation of the same strong, confident loveable characters. In short, this is a great example of the way I love reading books in a series. Steamy, heartwarming, real, and exciting in all the right ways and places, I am glad to have had my own chance collision with this book and look forward to reading any other book by the same author. Due to explicit sexual content (also includes oral sex) I recommend this for adults only. | Reviewer: Michele Biring-Pani | March/April 2014 | 73


feature author interview

Felicity Heaton Felicity Heaton is a USA Today and international best-selling British author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mindblowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons!

of elves to Thorne’s aid and Sable leads her band of mortal hunters from Archangel with him. Thorne has been dreaming of Sable since first setting eyes on her, and the huntress can’t seem to keep the burly demon king out of her wicked dreams either, but she isn’t about to sit back and let the demon king claim her without a fight. When is your next release coming out? My next release will be Hunger, which is the eighth book in the Vampires Realm series, and that novel will come out in May. After that, I’m releasing the first Guardians of Hades series novel, the next Her Angel series novel, and have the third Eternal Mates novel lined up for the end of the year.

What genres, (if any) besides paranormal, would you be interested in writing? I love writing science fiction romance. I’ve written a few and would definitely write more, if I wasn’t so into writing paranormal romance. I’ve actually dabbled in almost every main romance genre, but now I’m strictly paranormal. The only genre I would love to return to is sci-fi. What inspired you to start writing? An idea? A book? I was actually inspired by fanfiction. I was reading some for a show I loved, and decided to take the plunge and write some too. I wrote over a million words of fanfiction before writing a single word with my own original characters. What type of writing environment do you work best in? For instance, do you need music or do you need peace and quiet? I prefer to write to music, with my headphones on. My external environment can be anything then—a train, a café, my office. Absolutely anything goes as long as I have my headphones on. I can tune out everything. Please tell us about your most recent release. Claimed by a Demon King is the second book in the Eternal Mates romance series, following on from Kissed by a Dark Prince. It takes us down into Hell, to the Third Realm and the demon king Thorne’s war to protect his kingdom from the Fifth Realm. Things are heating up down there, with the Fifth King constantly pushing Thorne’s forces to their limit and weakening his numbers. Of course, things will be heating up for another reason when Prince Loren leads his legion 76 | btsemag.com

The moment the demon King Thorne of the Third Realm set eyes on the mortal huntress Sable, he knew she was his fated one. The fiery, dangerous female awakened hungers he had never experienced before, a dark craving and passion that has consumed him in their time apart. As the lunar cycle wanes, she enters his world again and nothing will stand in the way of him claiming his forever with her—not the relentless assault from the Fifth Realm or the dark elf male determined to seduce her out of his grasp.

FelicityHeaton.co.uk


reviews paranormal | suspense

Kissing with Fangs Ashlyn Chase Paranormal Heat Rating: 3

Featuring a cast of characters that includes werewolves, vampires and other supernaturals, Ashlyn Chase’s Kissing with Fangs will delight paranormal romance fans! At Boston Uncommon—the bar where everyone knows your name, and your paranormal identity—owner Anthony Cross is looking forward to getting more one-on-one time with manager Claudia Fletcher. But when the fangs come out, will she be willing to commit for all eternity? When Boston Uncommon burns down, bar manager Claudia Fletcher decides to stay… Even though she has her MBA and a stellar resume that could lead to a job

anywhere, something makes her stick around. And that something is Anthony Cross… Anthony has never revealed that he’s a vampire, or that Boston Uncommon was a safe gathering place for supernaturals of all kinds. Now that it’s nothing but ash, the tentative peace among warring paranormal factions is starting to crumble. The last thing he wants to do is put Claudia in danger, but he also knows there’s no way he can let her go… Review: The third book in the Flirting with Fangs trilogy, Kissing with Fangs is fun, quirky, and chalk full of adventure and romance. Claudia and Anthony are a fantastic duo couple in this epic installment. A mix of romantic mystery with some very honest reality Ashlyn approaches several topics with sincerity and realism. Ashlyn does a wonderful job creating characters that are just as real as you and me and a world full of twists and turns that will have you dancing in anticipation for what

March/April 2014 | 77


feature author interview

Lisa Kessler Lisa Kessler is an award winning author of dark paranormal fiction. Her debut novel, Night Walker, won a San Diego Book Award for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror as well as the Romance Through the Ages Award for Best Paranormal and Best First Book.

What books/authors have influenced your writing? There are so many! Off to top of my head, Anne Rice, Kelley Armstrong, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Patricia Briggs, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and the list goes on...

Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award. When she’s not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.

and I received so much reader email requesting his story that I decided to write it! NIGHT ANGEL takes place in Ireland right after the epic battle at the end of NIGHT DEMON. Colin is left permanently scarred for the first time in his immortal existence and he isn’t dealing with it well, but one night he meets Juliana who has lost her hearing, but still plays piano. Her injury from a bombing has not not doused the fire of her spirit, and through her, he learns to truly heal. Of course, being part of the NIght Series, there is also a wicked antagonist who has his sights set on destroying Colin, and now that he’s discovered his weakness, he’s determined to bring the immortal Night Walker to his knees. I loved writing this novella about Colin discovering his Angel, and Juliana has so much heart, I hope she’ll win reader’s hearts as well.

What genre do you consider your book(s)? Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. Do you write an outline before every book you write? No, I usually begin with a scene in my head and an idea of the ending, then I start writing and discovering more about the characters as I go. I feel like I’m watching a movie in my head. It makes writing fun because I want to know what happens next. What are your favorite books to give — and get — as gifts? I love to receive a book from a friend who LOVES the book and can’t wait to talk about it with me. My favorite book gifts are usually hard covers, but my favorite is out of print now! *sigh* It’s called THE LOCH by Steve Alten...  Such a fun book to discuss whether or not Nessie could really exist. Tell us about your latest release. I’m super excited about my March release because it’s an indie release for me, and it’s a novella I wrote because of reader requests! NIGHT ANGEL is Colin’s story from my Night Series. He wasn’t slated to get a book and the series will end in April with NIGHT CHILD, but between releases I wrote a short story for Colin 78 | btsemag.com

Sometimes the only way to heal is to love...

Lisa-Kessler.com


reviews paranormal | suspense

comes next. When the bar Claudia helps Anthony burns down they set themselves up for a new business venture together only their history together begins to complicate and thicken the plot. Claudia and Anthony set out on their path and secrets begin to unfold. The only thing is he is a vampire, and now the supernaturals are being hunted down and tested on. Needing to think of something quick to buffer the danger Anthony comes up with a plan but his secret won’t stay in the dark for very long. With a vengeful ex-girlfriend, friends that rely on him and a desire to be with the one woman he’s been in love with for years he longs to make things work. Ashlyn has done a fantastic job, her vampires are lush and full of life with a rare vibrancy that very few have been able to tap. I can’t wait for more! | Reviewer: Krissy Malott |

The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine Alexandrea Weis Paranormal Romance Heat Rating: 4

unexplainable deaths in recent years. She meets Pat the real estate agent who although very nosy, basically gives her a rundown of what has happened since she left the place all those years ago. It really did have a ghost whose name was Gaston and he even welcomed her back when she let him know that she had returned. Gaston was the first ghost she discovered upon her return. The 2nd one after she’d been introduced to the neighbor’s son from her first marriage and then the neighbor herself became one after dealing with dark the dark side a little to long and also dealing with sone unpleasant business with her family life. Gaston was basically the good ghost and tried to protect Danica as best he could under the circumstances. He was sauve, elegant,charming and very flirtatious when the right woman came along. He needs his own story. Just hope he doesn’t fall for a girl name Belle.(You know how that ended up!) It had romance, suspense, hauntings deaths, wise old people and some that kind of didn’t looke like they might hae sense, but they did. It was a good read with action that you didn’t quite see coming and a bittersweet ending hat was rather touching. But it was definitely a good read, so if you get the chance to pick it up and you like New Orleans ghosts stories, you’ll like this. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |

Ready to get her life back on track after ending a painful marriage, Danica Giles returns to the Creole cottage where she grew up in the New Orleans French Quarter. Danica is anxious to rekindle her friendship with a former resident from her old neighborhood, the seductive Gaston Deslonde. But Gaston isn’t exactly a normal guy. The charming man has been dead for over a hundred and fifty years, and the childish crush Danica once had on her ghostly playmate quickly turns into something much deeper. When a handsome new man enters Danica’s life, Gaston vows to do whatever he can to hold on to her. Danica soon discovers that the most forbidden of all desires cannot be satisfied without paying a grave price. Love can blur the lines between life and death when you are living among the ghosts of Rue Dumaine. Review: Danica Giles goes back home to the rented cottage that’s recently been plagued by a series of March/April 2014 | 79


reviews paranormal | suspense

A Mate’s Bite

Hanging By A Hair

Mission: Don’t fall in love After an explosive night of passion during a scenting ceremony, Karla Alves is sure she was just a one night stand for the man she’d been crushing on for years. She teased him and pleased him, and Nate hasn’t been around since. Her fear of becoming clingy kept her from risking her heart and asking for more than a few hours of skin sin. Mission: Crack her walls She. Is. His. Nathan Wolfe marked Karla. His mate. Deeply involved in pack politics, Nate has had to stay away. When his sister warns that Karla needs him more than he thinks, he’ll discover a bundle of secrets only his wolf can sniff out. But getting the woman he cares about to let down her guard may prove to be his undoing. Mission: Embrace the bite With Karla’s wayward sister wreaking havoc and friends needing more of his time than ever, Nate will have to rearrange his priorities if he ever hopes to earn Karla’s trust. But will time with her be enough? Only true love and a wolf’s promise can hold together a relationship created with a bite, a scenting, and a hope for tomorrow.

Marla’s joyous move to a new house with her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, is marred by their nextdoor neighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of the local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day. Dismayed when Dalton is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest, Marla decides it’s up to her to find the killer.

Milly Taiden Paranormal Romance Heat Rating: 4

Nancy J. Cohen Cozy Mystery Heat Rating: 2

| Reviewer: Nila Bi |

Review: I used to love mysteries. I grew up collecting the Nancy Drew series and could never get enough of them! But, I haven’t read mysteries in so long and honestly I don’t know what happened and why I got out of reading that genre. I have read and fell in love with the Cat Who books so when I read this synopsis it sounded like a mix of Nancy Drew and the Cat Who books, so I thought, why not? It was super cute, although, through most of it I was wanting to smack Marla upside her head. She’s intelligent but way too nosy! Of course I can’t say what I would or wouldn’t do had my neighbor that I had just fought with, suddenly died but I would think it would not involve pestering my husband who isn’t even on the case! Even as I was yelling at her to stop nagging him, there was a part of me that wanted to egg her on, that wanted her to find out what was going on. And this is the exact reason that they say curiosity killed the cat! Curiosity, plus persistence, and a bit of stubbornness makes for a terrible combination! Albeit a bit of a funny one. I was also quite worried that I had not read the previous books in this series, however, it did not seem to matter. This is book 11 and I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. I loved the plot even though it took me a little bit to get into it but once I did the read was fast and easy. I really enjoyed the characters and cannot wait to find out more about this series and read more from Nancy J. Cohen! A must read for anyone who loves a good mystery but I definitely recommend also to those who like a bit of romance and some intrigue in their stories!

80 | btsemag.com

| Reviewer: Christina Torretta |

Review: This book I think is a part of a series, as I was slightly confused from where it began, but I quickly caught up with what was going on in the book. I quite enjoyed this read, it wasn’t that long, but it had quite a story line in so little words, which is something I enjoy. Stories like these you can’t elongate without losing the reader’s attention. I wasn’t entranced by the read what so ever, but I did enjoy it. Like always, the characters were quite sexy and amusing, which I always love, hot guys that live in my mind. Over all, I liked the writing style as it flowed, and was focussed, I enjoyed the story line and I enjoyed the characters’ that is a recipe for a successful book and series. So if you like wolves, mysteries and sex, give this book a once over.


reviews paranormal | suspense

Silence of the Wolf

they even stood as a couple. It had suspense, a plane crash and a heroine and a dashing hero trying to survive the elements and the bad guys and you wanted to see how it was going to end. It was definitely a good read that you won’t be sorry, you read.

Tracking a sinister wolf pack terrorizing his pack’s territory, gray wolf Tom Silver inadvertently comes face to face with Elizabeth Wildwood, a half red wolf-half coyote shifter and journalist on assignment in Silver Town. Their attraction is immediate and neither can deny it. But after Tom takes care of her after a dangerous fall on the slopes and they share a passionate kiss, Elizabeth disappears without a trace… After her article explaining how red wolves are descended from both gray wolves and coyotes is published, Elizabeth angers the local red wolf population, and she’s kidnapped. When she’s finally saved, Elizabeth is surprised to see that none other than Tom Sliver has come to her rescue. With angry red wolves trailing her, she has no one to trust except Tom. Will their passion reignite? And will he be able to protect her from terrifyingly close threats?

| Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |

Terry Spear Paranormal Heat Rating: 3

Review: Can a silver wolf and a wolf/coyote shifter romance work? As a couple together or working as a team solving the disappearance of livestock and the mystery of her parents’ death? At first there’re a little apprehensive to one another, sizing one another up and trying to figure out where they stand with each other. Tom Silver is the brother of alpha leader who runs the town of Silver Town and is a man trying to find the rogue wolves or whatever it is that’s been terrorizing the community. He is sort of saddled with Elizabeth when she comes to town on business and on some family secret business. He knows what she is and thinks she doesn’t know and in his own way tries to protect her without her knowing that he’s doing so. Elizabeth is a reporter for the Canyon times in Texas and doing a story on a resort and also trying to tie up some loose family ends that deals with her family and some family members who’d wish that she’d just vanish herself. Tom and Elizabeth made an interesting couple and you could tell she wasn’t going to be scared or back down. Tom was protective and not too sure of where they stood, or if March/April 2014 | 81


feature sneak peek

Visions of Fire & Ice In the Egyptian desert, among mysticism and magic, hides an ancient, alien race. When sees Tamara, a human female with special talents of her own, he knows their lives are about to change. An ancient god has plans for Tamara, and Fire must meet Ice to save two worlds.

Ramose ducked and twisted his body, avoiding the flailing fist surging forward to contact with his jaw. With one quick upper cut, he cracked his opponent beneath his chin. The man’s head jerked back, blood spurting from a bitten lip. “Had enough yet?” asked Ramose. Darius spat, his bloody spittle spattering the blue floor mat. “I had enough a long time ago. But, then again, you need to have your ass kicked lately.” Ramose grinned. “Let’s see you try,” he said, snatching a pair of swords from the rack on the wall and tossing one to Darius. He was the Master of Defense for his people. He was responsible for teaching them the in’s and out’s of selfdefense. It was what kept them alert and safe. At least, he liked to think it was what kept them safe. It was probably more luck than anything. Unlike their arrival on this planet more than three thousand five hundred years ago. “I still don’t understand why you find it so necessary to teach me combat,” repeated Darius for what had to be the fifth time since they’d begun. Ramose sliced forward with his blade, and the man danced away. The sharp edge whizzed past Darius’s ear, slicing a few hairs from the side of his head. The man didn’t blink, but readied his sword for the next attack. “I’ve lasted this long without it, why now?” Impressed with his pupil’s quick defensive moves, Ramose charged, sending the man off balance. He needed this as much as Darius did. Inside, his nerves sang with an intensity he couldn’t begin to understand. Darius dodged his advance with a neat parry. “I’ve told you, things are changing.” Gods, how he wished he could give a good answer. So much remained hidden. Premonitions had haunted Ramose’s thoughts for most of his life. Tiny inklings of a future to come. Images or feelings which were never clear, details blurred beneath the mists of the unknown. Right 82 | btsemag.com

now, he had the odd sensation of danger. And the focus was Darius. “You’ve been dreaming about her again, haven’t you?” Ramose frowned, and parried, the slide of blade against blade vibrated through his muscles. “My dreams are unimportant and have no bearing on your future.”

Teresa, retired US Air Force, mom to two happy dogs, and wife to an amazing husband, began writing her first stories in 2006. Her first release, award winning SheWolf, hit the virtual shelves in December of 2007. Teresa produces intense, action packed stories filled with romantic eroticism.

TeresaDamario.com


reviews paranormal | suspense

Other People’s Skeletons Julie Smith Mystery Heat Rating: 2

What she’s about to learn will rock her world! Rebecca Schwartz, “Jewish feminist lawyer,” as she’s fond of saying, thought she knew her best friend--and her boy friend. Not to mention her family. But everything’s about to change. Secrets spill out of these pages like hornets out of a nest, each with its own distinct sting, as author Smith weaves a thrill-packed and complicated mystery that’s as much about how little we know about our nearest and dearest as it is about whodunit. Review: Initially, Rebecca meets a stranger and his wife who tells her she’d end up on a date with a friend of theirs once she gets to the city where the friend is. She’s a bit skeptical about the whole thing and then a friend of hers is implicated in a hit and run case and has some implicating information that she can’t reveal (or won’t) and that can hurt her case. It was a good quick cozy mystery you’ll really enjoy with a likeable lawyer with wit and common sense who also helps those she deems worthy of helping. Definitely a good read and if you like a cozy series, you’ll definitely like this one, so you should check out the series from the beginning and you’ll enjoy it and you’ll also see how it all began. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |

Dead in the Water Julie Smith Mystery Heat Rating: 3

What’s the etiquette when your hostess is arrested for murder? San Francisco lawyer Rebecca Schwartz has occasion to wonder when she and her weekend hostess, Marty Whitehead, find a body floating in the 30-foot kelp tower at the Monterey Aquarium, and Marty’s promptly dragged off to the slammer. Rebecca quickly grasps the Emily Post solution—sign on as Marty’s lawyer, try to keep her client’s two young kids out of the deep end, and somehow avoid drowning in the sea of lies gushing from Marty’s mouth--and everyone else’s. There’s a lot of intrigue among the aquarium’s oceangoing primates, as well as rumors of a pearl beyond price. For Rebecca, the sea and all its animals have always held huge attraction, but now her attention turns to a particularly fine specimen of homo sapiens--hot marine biologist Julio Soto. As her investigation picks up speed, she finds she better act fast to keep Julio from sleeping with the fishes he collects. Because if she doesn’t, he could be next in line for the shark tank—along with Rebecca herself. Review: A good cozy mystery with quirky characters and an interesting setting when her friend Marty becomes the possible prime suspectin the murder of a reviled co-worker, Rebecca does everything she can to prove her innocence. Why Prime suspect? 3 reasons. 1) The woman was found floating in a kelp aquarium forest tank wearing her jacket 2) A letter opener belong to Marty was sticking out the woman’s eye and 3) Marty’s husband left for dead woman in the tank.So what’s the girl to do but find the truth for her friend to prove she’s not the killer..It’s a good story with believable characters that you actually like.It’s definitely part of a very good series and if you haven’t checked it out from the beginning, you should give it a shot. You’ll like it. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham | March/April 2014 | 83


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reading trends in young adult

Forever Young Kellyann Zuzulo

Who Said That? Point of View in YA Fiction

Teen life is filled with angst, laughter, frustration, embarrassment, and hope. Emotion drives us through the years of adolescence and young adulthood. The emotions that we experience during these formative years influence our entire lives. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s powerful stuff. YA stories have to be able to successfully convey all of those feelings, or theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to fall flat on their skinny jeans.

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| Forever Young |

To really understand what’s going on, you have to know who is speaking, right? Both in life and in books. If you hear a disembodied voice drifting through a room, it’s very disconcerting, not to mention creepy. When the speaker in a narrative is unclear, readers may become confused, angry, angst-ridden . . . or they’ll just put down the book. There are basically five ways (yes, I’m adding one) to deliver a story to a reader: 1. Third-person omniscient. A godlike figure sees everything that is happening and narrates events, emotions, and even does some prophesying. This all-knowing narrator is able to intuit the thoughts of each and every character. It’s a very robust way to know what each character is thinking and to divine motivation. It can also be very confusing to keep track of who is thinking what about whom. This method of storytelling is not personal enough for young adults. Try telling them about all the people coming to your family barbecue on Saturday, and they’ll probably say, “Whatevs.” 2. Third-person limited. The story is told from the perspective of one person by using the pronouns he, she, it, they, etc. The reader is privy to that person’s thoughts and motivations. But the reader can only see what’s going on in the rest of the story through the direct experience of that one person. The author may change who the narrator is, but she has to be careful to only do it through a scene change. Otherwise, it will become confusing as to who is doing what and engenders the dreaded “head hopping.” 3. Second person. This is where the pronoun most used is “you.” I haven’t read a book that used second-person point of view (POV) since Bright Lights, Big City. It’s a difficult voice to maintain and can be confusing unless you know what you’re doing. You know what I mean? Young adults would probably hate it because it sounds like they’re being preached to . . . you, you, you.

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4. First person. This POV is probably the most popular perspective in YA fiction. The prevalent pronoun is “I.” Need I say more? Well, I will anyway. See below. 5. Free indirect. Combining third-person narrative with first-person perspective by embedding the inmost thoughts of a character into the narrative. With free indirect, you lose the need for a “she thought” clarifier to a statement about what a character is thinking or feeling. Free indirect is reporting thought rather than directly quoting it. Example: That was the reason boys always avoided talking about the important things. She slammed down her soda can. They were beasties. They could never be besties. It’s a good way to learn more about characters, not only through what they feel, but how they feel it. You can get a sense of their voice; as in this example, the protagonist calls boys beasties. The idiom tells you a little more about her. It only works if the narrator knows the characters well enough to know what they would be thinking. Thoughts and feelings are what YA fiction is all about and why you will find that the firstperson narrative is the best way to get inside one character’s head. The drawback is that you can’t see inside another character’s head, limiting the reader’s insight. However, a skilled writer can relate what another character thinks through the use of dialogue. A very skilled writer can combine a first-person narrative with some free indirect discourse to really expose the inner lives of a couple of characters at one time. A safer way to reveal characters using first person is through rotating first person. Just wait for a chapter change and give the perspective of an entirely new character speaking in first-person voice. Rotating can be a lot of fun, but do it too much, and both writer and reader will get dizzy. Third-person omniscient was the prevailing method of storytelling right up until the mid- to late-twentieth century. What happened then?


| Kellyann Zuzulo |

The me generation! Individualism impacted what readers wanted to know about the people around them. They wanted to know exactly what characters were thinking; not what they were supposed to be thinking. There’s a spirited discussion about What Killed Omniscient POV? at A Brain Scientist’s Take on Writing blog. I wouldn’t agree that the omniscient has been killed, but it definitely was wounded. The shift to first-person POV continued as two things happened: 1) YA became increasingly popular 2) Social networking became increasingly popular. The smartphone enabled the selfie, and the pronoun I became one of the most used words among young adults. Teens realized that not only could they share what they were feeling and fearing, but that they could read what others their age were feeling and fearing. YA fiction, when told from a first-person perspective, creates a sense of community . . . a sense of belonging. That’s not to say that third-person is out. Some of the bestselling YA books today use this POV. In City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments), Cassandra Clare uses third-person limited but makes use of scene changes to shift perspectives from character to character, as in this passage: (from Will’s perspective in third person) “Will liked Limehouse, liked the feeling of being on the edge of the world, where ships left each day for unimaginably far ports.” The very next section is not a chapter, but it’s separated from Will’s perspective by the heading Southampton. May., which indicates a change in setting and time and goes into Tessa’s perspective: “Tessa could not remember a time when she had not loved the clockwork angel.” It’s almost omniscient, but it’s not. As long as readers are in that section with Tessa, they will only get Tessa’s perspective. That’s consistent writing. That’s good writing. Young adult perspective is something that we all get to experience firsthand. We know how important a point of view is to a teen. They want to be heard. POV is just as important on the page. When it’s done well, and the readers know who said what and why, they will want to read more. Totes!

Kellyann Zuzulo is an editor and author. She doesn’t mind some swearing, as long as it’s not coming out of her kids’ mouths. Her novel, The Genie Ignites, was a finalist in the 2013 Abalone Awards, which recognizes “Outstanding Ethno-Cultural Romance.” The Genie Smolders is the second book in that series and was published in July 2013. Her novels, as well as her 101 Nights serial, are published by Boroughs Publishing Group. An anthology to which she contributed was selected by Joyfully Reviewed as one of the best of 2011. Kellyann is a member of International Thriller Writers, Backspace Writers Group, and Romance Writers of America. She lives on the East Coast with her husband, three children, and two terriers. Visit her at http://kfzuzulo.com.

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reviews young adult | new adult

Salt

Fallen Grace

Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon stole her magic. When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demonhunting force, she can get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.

Branded a witch and exiled after a dishonorable display at the king’s annual tournament, quiet Grace Hilren is forced to uproot her life of luxury as a lord’s daughter and move to the slums of the port city, Glenbard. But Grace carries a secret. Though trained to be a fine lady, she also learned to handle a sword and has made it her mission to eradicate evil and injustice where she finds it. Even in exile, Grace continues her work under the given name of Death Dealer. Her nightly deeds bring her to the notice of the self-proclaimed King of Thieves, Marcus. When the king’s power is threatened by a rival named Mac, the Death Dealer unwittingly becomes a pawn in the struggle between thieves for control of the lower city. The game becomes dangerous as Grace realizes she may not be able to best this usurper.

Danielle Ellison Paranormal Young Adult Heat Rating: 1

Review: Salt was everything a fast-paced, action packed, swoon-worthy, YA novel should be! Right from the very first pages we are introduced to Penelope-a witch-fighting a demon, and the fun doesn’t stop there… it continues like the rollercoaster ride teens love! The paranormal take on witches and demons was very intriguing, with witches being blessed from Heaven to fight and protect humans against hellish demons. The tragedy in Salt originates with Penelope’s parents being killed by a demon, an attack Penelope survives, but results in her losing her power, a fact she works endlessly to cloak from the witching community for fear of exile. During a demon fight, we’re introduced to Carter, the humble, charismatic, handsome hero of Salt. Carter has a mission of his own. Combine that with Penelope’s agenda to find the demon that killed her parents and stole her power and you have the perfect combination for a well dosed tense romance. Along with generous helpings of demon fighting action, the author delivers some very touching moments as well. The other supporting characters were fleshed out in great detail all with very distinct personalities making them relatable. The ending was a surprise I did not see coming, making Salt a top notch YA novel and leaving me highly anticipating the next installment. | Reviewed by: Sasha Hibbs |

Katie Roman Young Adult/New Adult Heat Rating: 1

Review: Fallen Grace by Katie Roman is an engaging and interesting Young Adult fantasy story that will keep readers guessing. It takes a fresh look at the story of Robin Hood, with a woman - Grace Hilren - as the oft-revered and sometimes feared hooded vigilante known as the Death Dealer. The characters, if rather stereotypical, nevertheless play their roles well in the narrative, and the character development of Grace through her fall from her place in court to her new life in the town of Glenbard is well written. Though a little too blatant for my preference in regards to presentation - Roman tells rather than shows the reader the issues at hand - the feminist theme throughout the book was something I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed the ever-beloved theme of stealing from the rich to give to the poor that Roman brings to light in her description of both the Death Dealer and of the Thieves’ Guild in Glenbard I would have liked to know how exactly Marcus became the King of Thieves in the Thieves’ Guild, and I thought the obeisance to him as such was a little out of character for the people in Glenbard since they were so against nobility of any kind, but the ending March/April 2014 | 91


reviews young adult | new adult

and the overall effect of novel did leave me wanting to read more of Katie Roman’s work. 4.5 stars! | Reviewed by: SharaLee Podolecki |

Shadow Of The Dragon Kyra Dune Fantasy Young Adult Heat Rating: 1

Micayta’s world has long been gripped in the thrall of an endless winter that has grown worse with the passing of time. Life is a constant struggle. Then catastrophe strikes the small town in which she lives, thrusting Micayta and her brother Pytaki alone into the snow laden countryside. To keep herself and her brother alive will take all the strength that she has. Then a mysterious stranger appears to complicate matters. Tech has an amazing story to tell, but is any of it true? Old wounds and betrayals make Micayta slow to trust, but without Tech she and her brother will never make it across the countryside alive. Through bandits, wolves, and snowstorms, the three struggle their way to the city of Phadra. But the real danger lies within the city walls, where Micayta becomes a player in a deadly game with a dark-eyed mage. Nothing is what it seems. As the truth unravels, Micayta finds herself drawn into a struggle much bigger than she ever dreamed. Choices must be made and sides taken. But the question of who to trust is one not easily answered. Micayta will have to open her heart and find a way to let someone else in, or the flames that destroyed her home will consume the world. Review: Shadow of the Dragon was an adventurous novel with fantasy appeal in epic proportions. In the opening scenes of the novel, the town of Talphan, has been destroyed. The main character, Micayta, discovers with horror the culprit behind the destruction of the only home she’s ever known, is none other than a mythical dragon. Setting off quickly in search of her brother, Pytaki,

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Micayta finds him alive, and tragically discovers that their father died during the pillage of Talphan. This is when the reader begins to understand the depth of Micayta’s strong character. At finding her father deceased, Micayta decides to harbor the tragedy on her own and let her younger brother hold out hope that their father is alive and has moved on to another town in wait for his children to rejoin him. Set against arctic conditions, food and shelter are imperative to the sibling’s survival. Along their journey to find a town unscathed by the fire breathing dragon, Micayta and Pytaki encounter a bird that eventually transforms into a wolf and then finally into a human. After meeting shapeshifter, Tech, Micayta warily allows him to escort them to the next town, Phadra, where the secrets and mysteries truly begin to unravel. Once there, Micayta finds herself caught up in a deadly game, conflicted on who to trust and who the real enemy is. Shadow of the Dragon was a fast-paced enjoyable read. | Reviewer: Sasha Hibbs |


reviews young adult | new adult

Shadow Allegiance Lacy Yager Action Romance YA Heat Rating: 1

They were her enemies. Until she became one of them. A Chaser born to kill vampires, sixteen-year-old Rachel Campton wakes up a vampire. Haunted by bloodlust and the loss of her beloved younger sister, lost in enemy territory, Rachel must rely on Alex Wellington, a former nemesis and centuries-old vampire. She quickly discovers there is more to Alex than a murderer and faces a critical choice: her new life or the family she left behind. Review: This was a hard read, even if it was only short. I thought that it lacked focus, and jumped from scene to scene, almost like a cinematic effect. It was hard to keep up with, and essentially I don’t think that such a short book should be so complicated. If you get fed up after 5 pages, you’re going to give up and miss out on an amazing story line. Which is what I thought, the story line was not half bad, but because of the way the book is written, my enjoyment was compromised. I am slightly gutted that I couldn’t enjoy this book as much as I would have liked. | Reviewer: Nila Bi |

As the years slip by… For every blissful balmy day, That once, as a child, Seemed so endless… Now there’s a pace And a harshness In the weather That it sometimes feels like Was never there before. And to think that Every crease In this kind landscape of ours Was once a vibrant river of sorts, Even if it was only the briefest, Most ancient of glacial rushes That caused the first scar. And so it is also On the terrain of the soul, Where sprites can dance So freely, The dice are rolled And energy bends time, Making daylight of passion. Though given All this froth and ferment, Perhaps discernment of risk, Is a curse, Or maybe it’s a blessing? For much as it maybe An uncomfortable truth, That most of us Would far rather renounce, Together we all live every moment On the very brink; The razor’s edge Of ecstasy or disaster. But rarely meet either, of course… That goes with the ticket though, Doesn’t it? The price of admission to so much: The chance of such warmth on our skin, As well as the sweet, sweet air We suck into our lungs to cry. Room to stretch, to grow, to dream… by Scott Hastie

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feature author interview

Danielle Ellison Danielle Ellison spent her childhood pretending to fly and telling stories. When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. You can find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

Where did you get your idea for Salt?  I got the idea while binge-watching Supernatural. It was the first time I’d seen it, and I watched the first season very quickly. I was obsessed! Anyway, I was straightening my hair and the first line of the book popped into my head. By the end of the day, I had all the characters, the plot, the voice and the rest is history! Who is your favorite author and why? My favorite author is Jennifer Donnelly (A Northern Light, Revolution, the upcoming Deep Blue. I even read her adult historical series.) I love her because there are some authors who control words and make them do these impossibly beautiful things. She’s that author for me. Plus, her book changed my life and inspired my path as a writer, so I’m biased. Share with us one humorous experience you’ve had. Will you ever incorporate it into one of your books? I like to make people laugh, and more importantly, make myself laugh. I think I already incorporate that into SALT because of my main character is laughable—mostly at herself. Her jokes are bad, but she thinks they’re hilarious. It’s a quirk she gets from me.  Tell us about your next release. My next release is the sequel to SALT, and I think people will be surprised about where this story goes. I’m not sure on that date yet! I also have FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS in October 2014, which is a story completely opposite of SALT about a girl risking everything for the people she loves and her quest for truth through a forgotten world. Where is your favorite romantic getaway? A cabin somewhere in the mountains with a fireplace and some coffee.

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Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away. When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. To take back what was stolen. Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret— but he also has one of his own. Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda… and they’re far too interested in her.

DanielleEllison.com


| BTS News |

BTS Goes Hollywood! Starting in our May/June issue, we are opening a new section called “BTS Goes Hollywood.” We’ll be featuring writers and Hollywood actors who bring characters to life in the movies. For our May/June cover we are excited to feature Tara Cardinal Hollywood actor, producer and writer. If you are a writer whose work has been optioned for a movie or already been made into one, contact me at Myra@btsemag.com. Also, if you know an author who fits this category, or by chance someone in Hollywood, send them my way. I’ve already got people lined up for this section but I’m always on the lookout for new talent!

BTS Issue Update Due to the increased popularity of our magazine among the book industry, we have selected to opt for a 2-month issue in lieu of our current monthly publication schedule. This new schedule will allow our staff and reviewers more time to bring our readers the quality content they have come to know and love. Our authors and publishers will also enjoy longer exposure for their ads and features with a 60-day cycle in each current issue. Back issues will always be available on our website, allowing our advertisers renewed visibility long after each issue has been initially published. Ads are the same price for 2-month issues as they currently are for the one month issue. The new schedule will be: March/April May/June July/Aug Sept/Oct Nov/Dec

Advertising deadlines have also changed, please see our website at btsemag.com for details.

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