My Books!

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Beyond the Book: Writing Book Reviews

I’ve written a few book reviews in my day, but not too many. I admire all of you who do them on a regular basis because I don’t like to.  Not long ago, I reviewed a book for another author. I thought the book was very well done, but it was awfully hard to be objective because I didn’t like the subject matter.  I write more on the sweet side of romance, but she leans toward the sizzling side. I ended up giving her a 4 out of 5, and I explained why she didn’t get a 5.  Some of you may have had the same problem.

So, here’s a list of what I think a book should have in order to get a 5.

First, characters should not be stereotypical and clichéd.  I dislike it when people assume that because a certain character is the heroine she has to be a paragon of virtue.  Some of mine certainly aren’t even though I try to show some growth as the book progresses.  

Second, I think internal conflict is often stronger than external conflict.  I hate it when someone says, “Oh, people don’t act that way.” Sure they do.  People act all kinds of ways.  The conflict has to be real, though. It shouldn’t be anything that can be sorted out with one quick, passing conversation.

Third, I think the plot should be tight and clean. It should flow smoothly linking all the scenes into a tight cohesive whole that isn’t too predictable. There should be enough action to keep people reading. 

Fourth, the supporting cast should add to the story and make it stronger. 

Fifth, I’m also very particular about description. If it goes on for page after page I get bored, yet there has to be enough to set the stage properly. This would probably be a good place to say that the pacing of a story matters. If it drags, I lose interest.

Last, there has to be chemistry between the hero and heroine, but it should evolve over time in the way it might in the real world. I also don’t care for erotic books. It would be hard to do an object review for the author.  

I’m sure your criteria is different from mine so what do you think it takes to get a five star review?

Monday, August 30, 2021

Silent Pretty Things

                                                         Silent Pretty Things

by O.J. Lovaz




GENRE: Mystery, Suspense






A small town…a prominent family…a secret. Only two people know the truth, and their silence will have murderous consequences.


Anna Goddard has spent a lifetime being the Good Daughter. Polished and primped into sleek, blond perfection, Anna learned from an early age that being a Goddard meant presenting a flawless façade to the world. But all that changes when Anna stumbles upon a private correspondence that leaves her reeling. With the help of Michael Donovan, a shy but charming local historian, Anna embarks on a journey to find the one thing her family has always denied: The Truth.


Propelled by her mission to protect those she loves, the young woman experiences a tantalizing taste of freedom. But in the process of unearthing the past, Anna and her family will expose a new threat so dangerous it could ruin them all.






A thunderous bang shocked Michael Donovan from his light doze. Heart thudding in his chest, he scanned the area and spotted a large brown tome, open face up on the floor. The darn thing must have been sloppily placed on its shelf. He picked it up—nineteenth-century courthouses, many of them still in use. He was fond of sharing such tidbits of information with anyone interested. Not many were these days.


The library of the Blake County Historical Society was otherwise utterly silent. There had been no visitors that day, or the day before, or the day before that. The small museum on the lower level occasionally still received visitors, but scarcely anyone ever made it up to the archives and library department.


Michael glanced at the clock on the wall: twenty minutes before closing time—finally! On his timeworn desk, a book he had been reading to pass the time, something about the unsung heroes of World War II, lobbied for his attention. He put it in the top drawer. In another instant, he would have turned off the lights, but he heard the distinctive sound of the door chime announcing that someone had come in.


He turned around to see a blond woman in her mid-twenties, very attractive, with green, catlike eyes, and a captivating aura of sophistication and grace.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


O.J. Lovaz is the author of Silent Pretty Things—the riveting suspense, mystery, and thriller novel that will keep readers turning pages late into the night. His background in Psychology has offered Lovaz a compelling insight into the human psyche, the raw matter for rich character development.


O.J. might be found reading Dostoevsky or Stephen King; sipping a White Russian or a latte. He’s a fan of drama, dark comedy, and suspenseful movies. His perfect lazy day includes a Quentin Tarantino movie, a stand-up comedy special, and classic hard rock.


His life journey has taken O.J. to New York, Michigan, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico; each holds a special place in his heart. He loves to travel, explore, go on road trips; and tries to be the best possible husband to his awesome wife and father to his brilliant daughter.






Amazon Author Page: 



Barnes and Noble:








O.J. Lovaz will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Saturday Sample and Weekend Writing Warriors

Today I'd like to share an excerpt from my new WIP. I started writing this a few years ago, but I put it aside in favor of other manuscripts. It's time now to pick it back up. I'm struggling to find a title for it, and I don't have a blurb yet, but here's the beginning of the book. If you see anything I need to fix please say so. I've given you ten sentences and a few more to spare.

On Sunday after you finish here you can find more excerpts from a talented group of authors at

Last Week

Brent shook his head to clear it. “We should be in Miami, but where did it go?”  

“Cities don’t pack up and move,” Healy objected.  “We must be off course.”

“Then we need to get back on course in a hurry.”

Brent pondered the seriousness of their situation.  The plane carried at least one injured person and probably more, the airport didn’t respond to their radio, and they couldn’t find Miami.  They had no idea where they might be because obviously something had happened to their navigational equipment.  They couldn’t stay in the air forever either.

“Let’s send out a distress call,” Frank said.

It couldn’t hurt even though Brent really didn’t expect anyone to answer.  “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. This is Transworld Flight seven niner four.  Our last known position was twenty-five degrees forty-two minutes north latitude, seventy-seven degrees fifty minutes west longitude.  We are cruising at an altitude of thirty-five thousand feet with airspeed of five hundred fifty miles per hour.  There are six hundred five souls on board. Our navigational equipment is not responding.  Come in please.”

No one answered.  

“I’ll try it in Spanish,” Brent muttered.

He did so, but the radio remained silent. Even the static and voice fragments were gone.

Brent gave up on the radio. “I think we should find a place to make an emergency landing,” he said.  “We have to be on the ground before dark.”

  “You got that right!” Frank exclaimed. 

They started looking for a cleared place to land.  “If we could find I-95 or US-1 we could try to make a landing there,” Healy said.

“Yeah, Frank, but if we could find those highways, we could find the airport too.  Anyway, you can’t land a plane this big on the highway without killing somebody.”

“Maybe along the beach, then.”

Excerpt: We've picked up at the place where I left off.

They debated the merits of a beach landing, but ultimately, they decided to try it.  The few small clearings they had seen didn’t look big enough for a safe landing. If they couldn’t stop in time they would crash into the forest.  

“Let’s make a belly landing,” Brent said.  If we don’t the landing gear’ll mire in the sand, and we’ll probably lose the wings.”

Healy’s head bobbed in agreement. “Yeah, and we might end up in a firestorm if the fuel tank…”

“Belly landing it is then.” 

They flew along the beach until they located a promising site and came around in a wide arc for their final approach. 

“Are you sure about this?” Frank wavered.  “Maybe…”

Brent turned a cool eye toward the copilot.  “I guess the odds are against us, but what else can we do?  Nobody answers the radio, we don’t know where we are, and we have about fifteen minutes before the fuel situation goes critical.”

Frank sighed.  “Yeah, I know.”  He offered his hand to Brent.  “Happy landing.”

“Dinner’s on me.  You pick the place.”

At this point the passengers would have to be told, and some of them were sure to panic. Brent set his jaw and spoke to the passengers over the intercom, trying to sound confident and unworried.  “Folks, this is Captain Holloway again.  It seems that the storm we went through pushed us off course.  We don’t have enough fuel to make it to the airport so we’re making an emergency landing on the beach.  The flight attendants will demonstrate the proper procedures for you to follow.  I urge you to listen carefully and follow all directions to the letter.  Above all, please remain calm.  We have every reason to believe we’ll land safely and without mishap.”

He turned off the intercom, and they began the emergency landing procedure.  

It seemed like only seconds until the ground rushed up to meet them. The plane flew ever lower and glided onto the beach.  And all hell broke loose. 

The plane charged across the soft sand, bucking and shuddering as its nose streaked toward the ocean.  They hit a small hump on the beach, and the tail whipped around, metal screaming in protest.  

The plane stayed upright, but it changed directions and slid sideways toward the trees.  It came to rest scant inches from the forest.

Brent let out breath he hadn’t been aware of holding and shakily rubbed his hands across his watery eyes.  The way his heart raced and thumped in his chest he’d be lucky to stand up without falling.  So many lives had depended on setting down safely.  

Beside him Healy fumbled with his seat belt.  “Brent?  You alright?”

“Yeah, I think so.”  Brent unfastened his own seat belt and leaned toward Anders who remained slumped in his seat.  He pressed a finger against Mike’s neck and felt a pulse.  “He’s alive.”

“He must have had a heart attack or stroke,” Frank worried. “Man, I hope he’s okay.”

“Me too,” Brent said.  “It shouldn’t be long before some rescuers show up, and they can help him.  By now we’re overdue, and they’ll be searching for us.”

Healy took a deep breath and blew out hard. “Thank God for the locator beacon. I hope someone gets here soon.”

So did Brent. “Why don’t we see about our passengers?  One of them might be a doctor.”

Frank brightened.  “Yeah, good idea, and maybe we can find Mike a more comfortable place to rest.”

Brent opened the cockpit door, but they didn’t see anyone in first class.  “Did everyone already deplane? Those flight attendants are good.”

Frank suddenly grabbed his shoulder and squeezed so hard it hurt.  “Brent, look!  The doors are still closed!”

They walked from one end of the silent, empty plane to the other, but nobody answered their calls, and nobody hailed them from the beach.  They were alone.



Friday, August 27, 2021

Christmas Comes to Morning Star

Christmas Comes to Morning Star

by Charlotte Hubbard




GENRE:   Amish/Inspirational romance






Founded by five unmarried and enterprising Amish maidels, the new Morning Star Marketplace in small-town Missouri is preparing for a joyous Christmas season. But will the holiday also bring
unexpected tidings of love?

Twin sisters Molly and Marietta Helfing are eagerly anticipating Christmas, with Marietta fully recovered from cancer and their noodle making business thriving. But Molly clearly misses having former tenant Pete Shetler and his rambunctious dog, Riley, around. Marietta can’t ignore Molly’s feelings for Pete—or the anxiety it stirs within her. Convinced her illness has made her unmarriageable, Marietta wonders what kind of life she’ll have if her sister marries—despite Molly’s promise never to leave her behind. . .

Then a fire destroys the home of Amish neighbors and Molly and Marietta graciously make room for widower Glenn Detweiler, his dat, and his two young boys. When Pete returns to help the family rebuild, Molly relishes her reunion with the handsome carpenter, while Marietta delights in mothering Glenn’s boys—and is surprised by her poignant bond with their quiet, brooding father. Soon everyone is wondering if this season will bring the blessing of a merry double wedding to Morning Star . . .







When she glanced at her sister, who was placing a strip of noodle dough into the roller, Marietta noticed a rare frown on Molly’s face. “Penny for your thoughts, sister.”


Molly shrugged. “Sure is quiet without Riley and Pete around.”


Marietta’s eyes widened at her sister’s wistful remark. For several months, Pete Shetler and his golden retriever, Riley, had rented one of their two dawdi hauses. Pete had done some much-needed maintenance around their farm—while his active young dog had mostly dug up Mamm’s flower beds, chewed the belts on their noodle making equipment, and found other trouble to get into.


Pete had moved into his uncle’s house, however. Although Marietta appreciated the return to a quieter routine without their renter, she sensed Molly had secretly adored the muscular blond carpenter and his rambunctious dog.


“Maybe you should pay Pete a visit,” she suggested. “I bet he’d be tickled if you took over a pan of noodle pudding—”


“Why would I do that?” Molly blurted. “It’s not as though anything would come of a relationship—even if Pete took the hint and asked me out.”



“Why not?” Marietta paused, hoping to express her concerns carefully. “Just because I’ll never marry doesn’t mean you should forfeit a potential romance. Sure, Pete’s clueless most of the time but he seems trainable. And he’s awfully cute.”


“Let’s not forget that Pete refuses to join the Amish church, so a romance would be pointless—even if he knew the meaning of the word,” Molly shot back. “Truth be told, I like Riley better than Pete, anyway. I intend to remain here on the farm with you, sister, like we’ve always agreed upon. We’re turning thirty-five next month, so why would I want to change my life—and my attitude—to accommodate a husband?”

A Word With the Author

Did you always want to be an author?


            No! When I was young, I wanted to compose music and become a concert pianist. Good thing my priorities changed, because my hands are too small/fingers way too short to handle major compositions written by mostly male composers who had a lot more reach (and talent) than I do. My dad was also a factor, because he informed me early on that he wouldn’t be supporting any starving artists. I came out of college with a teaching/school library degree, and I followed that career path for 10 years.


Tell us about the publication of your first book.


            My very first book, COLORADO CAPTIVE, came out in January of 1991 and was one of those racy Western “bodice-rippers” with a couple in a “clinch” on the cover that were so popular at that time. This was by no means the first book I wrote—but it was the first one a publisher was willing to pay me for.

Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?


            Confession: I don’t have a favorite Amish romance author because—except when I was first researching this genre to write these books—I don’t read them. I don’t want to inadvertently copy ideas from other authors’ books. I also want my plots and characters to be totally fresh and different from what any other authors are writing (and these days, a gazillion authors are writing some form of Amish fiction.)


What's the best part of being an author? The worst?


            I’ve come to love the freedom and schedule flexibility of writing in a home office, and now writing two full books a year instead of three. I cut down when my husband retired—one of the smartest decisions I’ve made—because we love to travel. Having my two deadlines each year, and knowing those ahead of time, means we can schedule our trips at times when I won’t have to work.

            The worst part of being an author is that you can’t predict when your checks will arrive, and you certainly can’t predict how much your royalty checks will be (unless you self-publish, which I don’t). Frankly, I can afford to be a writer because I have a husband who gets regular paychecks and who pays our other major household expenses. Contrary to what you might believe, many, many writers can’t live on their earnings!


What are you working on now?


            I’ve just completed a really fun Christmas novella called “Star of Wonder” for a Christmas anthology (AN AMISH CHRISTMAS STAR) that comes out in the fall of 2022. Next up is the 7th book in my Promise Lodge series, entitled HIDDEN AWAY AT PROMISE LODGE—first I’ll write up the complete synopsis my publisher requires, and then I’ll start in on the book. That book’s due February 1, 2022 and after that it’s time for a new contract. Maybe a whole new series…which I’m already conjuring on the back burner of my imagination.




AUTHOR Bio and Links:


In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 50 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.

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Zebra Books •• ISBN-13: 9781420151831 •• ISBN-10: 1420151835

Print: •• Amazon •• Amazon UK •• Amazon Canada •• Barnes & Noble •• Books-A-Million •• Chapters Indigo •• IndieBound ••Kensington •• Target •• The Book Depository ••Walmart •• 

Ebook: • Kindle •• Kobo •• Google Play •







Charlotte Hubbard be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. In addition to the GC, the author would like to select one female reader's name to use in her upcoming book, HIDDEN AWAY AT PROMISE LODGE.


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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Age of Ava

Title: Age of Ava
Series: Vested Interest: ABC Corp
Author: Melanie Moreland
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Family Saga
Release Date: August 26, 2021
Cover Design: Karen Hulseman of Feed Your Dreams Designs

Bookeverlasting Blog - “Age of Ava by Melanie Moreland is an EPIC read that will join the ranks of the BIBLIO-ARISTOCRACY!!!”
Goodreads Review - “This was an entertaining, emotional read, from the first chapter to the last I was drawn into the story that Ms. Moreland wove and had a hard time putting it down when real life got in the way.”
Goodreads Review - “I loved everything about Age of Ava, I was intrigued by the blurb and I fell hook, line and sinker for Ava and Hunter.”
Carol’s Review - “The chemistry between Ava and Hunter was electric.”

Ava Callaghan
A woman working in a male-dominated field.
Organized, strong, and tenacious.
That’s how she has to be to succeed.
Hunter Owens
A loner.
He needs no one, has no ties, and his future is an unanswered question mark.
It’s all he knows.

Until the day their lives intersect.
He sees the woman she hides from the world.
She nurtures the part of him he lost long ago.
But they both agree—their connection is temporary.
They are only for now.
Can their stubborn natures allow them to bend and accept that maybe, just maybe, there is more to life than they believed?
That love can heal.
That happiness can exist.
That for now can be forever.

As we got to the top of the bluff, the dog raced ahead of me, wagging his tail. I stood for a moment to catch my breath, and he stopped, as if waiting. I cocked my head to the side, studying the large black truck in front of me. It was familiar. My stomach clenched as I moved toward it, recalling why it was familiar.

Intense fire-and-ice eyes came to my mind. Strong arms and a wicked, passionate mouth that was possessive and gentle poked at my memories.

I rounded the back of the truck and stopped, the dog sitting down beside me.

There he was.


He didn’t see me at first. I didn’t interrupt him.

He was too busy dancing. I was too busy staring.

His jeans hugged his ass. His T-shirt was stretched tight across his back and arms. His hair glinted in the sunlight.

And his hips moved. Gyrated. His torso bent and swayed. His arms rose and fell with the beat of the music. He sang, his voice rich and deep, his feet and body keeping perfect rhythm with the song. He spun on his heels and froze. Our eyes locked and held.

And, unexpectedly, he smiled. Wide and carefree. He held out his hand.

“Dance with me, Little Dragon.”

I found myself taking his hand. Joining him under the sun. Letting him lead me, spin me around, pull me to his hot, sunbaked chest as we moved. He crooned in my ear, making me laugh. He joined me, the sound of our shared amusement fading away as the song ended and we broke apart. Slowly, carefully, as if neither of us wanted this moment to end.

New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat, Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys traveling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie loves stories, especially paired with a good wine, and enjoys skydiving (free falling over a fleck of dust) extreme snowboarding (falling down stairs) and piloting her own helicopter (tripping over her own feet.) She's learned happily ever afters, even bumpy ones, are all in how you tell the story.

Melanie is represented by Flavia Viotti at Bookcase Literary Agency. For any questions regarding subsidiary or translation rights please contact her at


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Death's Curses

                                                                Death's Curses

by Becca Fox & Martha Agundez




GENRE:   Urban Fantasy/Romance






After one screw up too many, Esmeralda Barnes is shipped off to Seattle to start her first semester of college while living under the strict guardianship of her great aunt. She’s prepared to serve her time in simmering silence when she meets Charlie Campbell, the only person worth talking to at the tiny community college she’s being forced to attend. His efforts to scare her away don’t work, not even when he lefts it slip that he has a psychic twin sister who helps their uncle—a police detective—solve murders. As the former member of a gang, Esmer’s confident she’s tough enough to take anything he throws at her in stride.

Then she has a near death experience. And Charlie is the first person on the scene. It turns out, his sister isn’t psychic but she does have a special connection to Death. She and Charlie both.So maybe this friendship will take a little more work than Esmer originally thought. But hey, it’s better than the gang. Even after being pulled into a string of grisly murder investigations, running with people possessing supernatural abilities, and dealing with the very real presence of a minor goddess, Esmer’s pretty sure hanging with Charlie is better than being back with the gang. Yep, pretty damn sure.








I threw the door open to the men’s restroom, skidded to a halt just inside, and fell back against the closed door. Straining my ears to hear over the pounding of my heart, I bit back a smile.


“Dammit!” Randi hissed.


“Let’s just go in and get her,” Karen snapped. 


“We are not getting caught in the guys’ bathroom! Let the bitch get a bad rep with Security. We’ll hang back and teach her a lesson when no one’s looking. Just keep an eye on the door for now.”


Mumbles and grunts betrayed the rest of the gang’s disappointment.


“Sorry, bitches. Not today.” I glanced at the guy standing at the urinal, giving me an incredulous look over his shoulder. “Hey. How’s it going?”


“Well, I was trying to take a piss before some girl decided to come barreling in.”


“I ain’t some girl,” I said, crossing my arms. “I’m Esmer.” 


The guy scoffed. “What kind of name is that?”


“The name a couple of gypsies thought would be wicked pissah,” I said with barely suppressed annoyance. 




“Pissah,” I repeated with a raised eyebrow. “Cool? Grand? Don’t you west coasters have a word for that?”


“Yeah. It’s cool or grand. Where are you from?” he asked, like he was pretty sure I’d been raised by wolves. 





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Becca Fox is a socially awkward introvert who loves to read and write, binge watch crime-solving shows and anime, and play videogames next to her gamer husband. She also loves to bake, and plan trips she hopes to one day take. She has a toddler and a crawler, which means that her house truly is as messy as you’re imagining.













Martha Agundez has a BA in English from Sacramento State University. She worked as a tutor at the Sacramento State University Writing Center for two semesters and was a journalist for The State Hornet Newspaper for one semester. She was also the Calaveras Station Literary Journal Fiction Section Editor for a semester. She has worked as a 916Ink manuscript copy editor for three years and counting, while also offering her editing services as a freelancer.


Buy Link:








Becca Fox and Martha Agundez will be awarding a custom made bookmark, a candle inspired by one of the characters in the book, and an ebook copy of the book (MOBI or EPUB), US only, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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