The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 4-14-13

Sunday Post

People filing tax forms in 1920
People filing tax forms in 1920

I wonder how many people in the U.S. are spending this weekend frantically doing their taxes? Not a pretty picture, is it? We did ours early this year, but last year we filed an extension, so I’m in the position of one of those people in the glass house not being able to throw stones.

And isn’t e-filing a wonderful thing?

Speaking of wonderful things, the winners of all the giveaways from last weekend are in the process of being notified. I haven’t heard back from everyone yet, so the announcements will be in next Sunday’s Post.

There is still plenty of time to enter Sheila Roberts’ tourwide giveaway of a $25 eHarlequin Giftcard and along with print copies of the latest book in her Icicle Falls series, What She Wants.

Big Boy by Ruthie KnoxThis weeks’ complete recap:

B+ Review: Lucky Like Us by Jennifer Ryan
A Review: Big Boy by Ruthie Knox
B Review: What She Wants by Sheila Roberts
Guest Post by Author Sheila Roberts + Giveaway
B+ Review: The Trouble With Sin by Victoria Vane
C+ Guest Review: Star Trek The Next Generation: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow
Stacking the Shelves (41)

What’s coming up this week?

First, I have to kiss a dog.

I Kissed a Dog by Carol Van AttaTomorrow my guest will be Carol Van Atta, the author of I Kissed a Dog, the start of a new paranormal romance/urban fantasy series about werewolves and other creatures. I’ll also have a review of this rather fun start to a series that just might fill the Sookie-sized hole in your reading schedule.

Thursday my guest will be Jenny Davidson, talking about her rather spooky book about immersion in real-life gaming, The Magic Circle. That story was one to read with the lights on.

And the week ends with The Magic Touch Blog Hop. But there’s magic all week long!

Guest Post: Christine Bell’s Top Ten Songs for Knockin’ Boots To + Giveaway

My very special, and very, very funny, guest today is Christine Bell. Christine is here to celebrate the release of the second book in her Dare Me series, Down and Dirty, with a Top Ten list that probably says a lot about Christine’s sources of inspiration. If her list doesn’t inspire, maybe her stories will dare you. Check out my reviews of Down for the Count and Down and Dirty to see just how daring Christine can be!

Christine, take it away!

DaD-500pxThanks so much for having me, Marlene! I’m thrilled to be here as part of the Down and Dirty Blog Tour. *drags in over-stuffed duffel-bag* *thunks it on the floor* I brought a LOT of stuff with me. *looks around* Nice digs you’ve got here, by the way. So where to begin?

First, I come bringing a CONTEST. *rifles through bag, pulls out CONTEST* It’s an awesome one, especially for readers who like clothes and shooz! My main character, Cat Thomas, is a fashion designer, and as such, she’s always decked out in the hippest fashions. Want to dress like Cat? Click on the rafflecopter and see all the ways that you can enter to win a $300 shopping spree at the clothing retailer of the winner’s choice!

[Coho Salmon male in spawning colors.  Picture by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Pacific Region, used under the CC-BY-SA 2.0 license]

Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – Pacific Region

The second thing I brought *digs through bag* *pulls out whole salmon* *frowns* *tosses over shoulder* Ah! Here it is. *holds up EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT proudly* A short, exclusive excerpt of Down and Dirty, which is the second book in my Dare Me series. Check it out, and stick around to see the THIRD thing I brought. (You will like it. Pinky swear. So will your husband or boyfriend).

Okay, so this is one of my FAVORITE scenes, where Cat has decided the best way to get over Shane is to fix him up with someone else. They’ve signed him up for an online dating service, and Cat is starting to realize maybe this wasn’t the best idea…

Forty-five minutes later, their bellies full of beef stew sopped up with thick slabs of buttered sourdough bread, they sat back in front of the computer with their coffee and Cat logged in.

“Okay, it looks like you’re in.” She clicked on his profile and the desktop dinged. “And you have a message. Probably them welcoming you to the site, maybe some tips about how t—”

Before she could finish, it dinged again. Then again.

“Maybe they have a welcoming committee,” Cat said, clicking into the message center. Eleven new messages stared back at them, one of which was indeed a welcome from the president of The rest had numbers next to the subject lines, along with tiny thumbnail pictures.

All of them of women, lining up for a piece of him. Nuts.


“Well,” Cat said brightly, pushing away from the table to let him get in front of the screen. “Seems like there was a hole in the market for someone like you at this place. You’re a hot commodity already.”

“So what do I do now?”

“Click on their avatars, read their messages, and see if you like any of them.”

“How will I know that from one message?”


“You won’t. But at least we can weed some out. The maybes we can put into a separate folder, and then the yeses you can set up short dates with.”


“Jesus H., can you turn that thing off?” she snapped. “It’s very distracting.”

He didn’t care that she sounded like a shrew, because her reaction could only mean one thing. She was jealous. Satisfaction surged through him, and he vowed to redouble his efforts.

“Sure thing.” He lowered the speakers, then clicked on the first message in the list. “Deedee Coruthers.”

An image of a waifish blonde filled the screen. Cat looked at it for a long moment, lips pursed. “Hmm…don’t you think her right eye looks lazy? Like it’s not really up on what the left one’s doing, and doesn’t care much to find out?” She made her eyes go slightly crossed. “It’s off-putting in person, I bet, because you don’t know which one to look at.”

He looked at the photo more closely, and while Deedee wasn’t a stunner, she didn’t look cross-eyed. More like tired. “I guess a little…”

She didn’t pay him any mind, already moving along to the next one. “Let’s see, what about her? Sara Mitchell. She calls herself an artist. That probably means she doesn’t have a job. She’s also a vegan, which means you’d have to deal with her meat-shaming you.”

He’d never been meat-shamed before. It sounded bad.

“And she probably does macramé,” Cat continued. “So that crap will be hanging all over your house before you know it.” She x-ed out Sara and pointed to another photo a few messages down. “She looks nice.”

“Her?” he asked incredulously, sliding the cursor to blink under a masculine face.

“Yeppers. She’s got an honest smile. I like that.”

“Greta Doyle,” he recited, clicking to enlarge her photo, which only succeeded in making her look even more like a man. “She likes sailing, waterskiing, and backpacking. Her favorite show is Nancy Grace, and she works as an occupational therapist.”

“Sounds perfect for you.”

So what did you think?! Cat really stepped in it this time, right? Okay, so I hope you enjoyed the all the thingz, and that brings me to my third and final thing, which I predict will be the MOST useful (aside from the salmon):

My “Top Ten Songs You Need to Add to Your Ipod in a Playlist Titled ‘Knockin’ Boots’ (That You Can Listen To While You’re Knockin’ Boots)™

If this doesn’t get things cookin’, I don’t know what will!

1. How Does it Feel – D’Angelo
2. Secret Garden – Quincy Jones featuring Barry White, Al B. Sure, DeBarge
3. Lost Without U – Robin Thicke
4. No Ordinary Love – Sade
5. Cry to Me– Solomon Burke
8. My Love –Justin Timberlake
9. Knockin Da Boots – H-Town
10. Electric Feel – Katy Perry (cover of MGMT song)

And a bonus one (because my husband is reading over my shoulder and MADE me add it).

11. Summertime – Miles Davis

Question for the readers! What should I add to that playlist????

christine bell picAbout Christine Bell

Christine Bell is a romance author and also writes erotic romance as Chloe Cole. She and her handsome hubby currently reside in Pennsylvania with a four-pack of teenage boys. If she gets time off from her duties as maid, chef, chauffeur, or therapist, she can be found reading just about anything she can get her hands on, from Young Adult novels to books on poker theory. She doesn’t like root beer, clowns or bugs (except ladybugs, on account of their cute outfits), but lurrves chocolate, going to the movies, the New York Giants and playing Texas Hold ‘Em. Writing is her passion, but if she had to pick another occupation, she would be a pirate–or, like, a ninja maybe. Christine loves to hear from readers, so please contact her through her website. You can also find her on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.


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The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 2-24-13

Sunday PostThis is the last Sunday in February. Yay! Spring is almost here. Double Yay!

In honor of the shortest month, I’l try for a short Sunday Post.

Celebrating St Valentine Blog HopSaint Valentine shot his arrow at the winner of the Celebrating Saint Valentine Blog Hop. The winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card was Sandy Borrero. Have fun spending that gift card, Sandy!

The winner of one book from Victoria Vane’s backlist is Gaile Kennedy. Whichever title Gaile picks, it’s bound to be deliciously decadent!

Holding Out for a Hero book coverSpeaking of winners, there’s still plenty of time to enter the giveaway for an ebook copy of Holding Out for a Hero! Four, count ’em, four terrific superhero romances by Nico Rosso, Adrien-Luc Sanders, Tamara Morgan and Christine Bell and Ella Dane. The book was terrific, so read Nico’s interview and throw your hat (or cape) in the ring for a chance at winning the book.


In other happenings last week:

Anything for You book coverB Review: Escorted by Clare Kent
B- Review: Maiden Flight by Bianca d’Arc
Review: Holding Out for a Hero: A-Review: From the Ashes by Adrien-Luc Sanders, A Review: Ironheart by Nico Rosso
Interview with Author Nico Rosso + Giveaway
A Review: A Good American by Alex George
A+ Review: Anything For You by Jessica Scott
Stacking the Shelves (35)

And what’s coming up this week?

Chosen book coverTeresa Meyers is on tour with the final book in her Book of Legends Chronicles, The Chosen. She’ll be stopping at Reading Reality on February 28 for an interview and I’ll finally review the last book in this spectacular western steampunk series. It’s been an action-packed adventure so far, so I’m looking forward to the thrilling conclusion.

I have some other reviews on my plate, well, my iPad. I’ll just have to surprise you this week!

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 1-20-13

No football metaphors this weekend. Not that you could tell that from the Seattle news–they’re still talking about the Seahawks dream season. It’s right up there with Boeing’s nightmare week.

Guess where Boeing’s headquarters are?

Let’s just say that the Seahawks were way more fun to watch than what’s going on with the 737 Dreamliner right now.

Although speaking of mad scrambles, there’s going to be a totally different kind of mad scramble going on in Seattle next week. The Librarians are Coming! The American Library Association Midwinter Conference will be here in Seattle next weekend, January 25-28.

Between 5,000 and 10,000 librarians, vendors, exhibitors and associated hangers-on will descend upon Convention Center and the environs. It’s agonizing on the feet. It’s a terrific learning and networking experience. And did I mention it’s in 5 days?!?!?!

Meanwhile, the Happy Endings Blog Hop started yesterday, it runs until January 26, right in the middle of my ALA adventure. You still have plenty of time to enter for your chance at a $10 Amazon Gift Card and lots of other fabulous bookish prizes. Think of me as I’m destroying my poor feet in the exhibit hall. (There are lots of lovely ARCs, but you have to walk miles of carpet over concrete to get them)

Enough about next week for the moment. What about last week?

B+ Review: Heels and Heroes by Tiffany Allee + Giveaway!
B Review: Sonata by Blair McDowell
Guest Post from Blair McDowell On Character Studies + Giveaway!
B- Review: Double Time by Olivia Cunning
B+ Review: King of Darkness by Elisabeth Staab
A Review: The Killings at Badger’s Drift by Caroline Graham
Happy Endings Blog Hop

And we’re off to another exciting week at Reading Reality!

Three author visits this week! On Tuesday, Lacy Danes will be here for an interview, talking about the first book in her new paranormal/fantasy romance series. The book is Waterfall, and the series is Dragon’s Fate. So yes, we have dragons, and even better, they’re living in an alternate Regency. The first book was a terrific introduction. I’ll be reviewing Waterfall as part of Lacy’s tour.

Wednesday it will be my pleasure to host Stacy Gail as part of her tour for Nobody’s Angel, the first book in her Earth’s Angels series. Stacy’s going to have a guest post, and I have a review of the book. This Angel may not exactly be angelic, but that just makes him a lot more delicious.

And on Thursday, Stacey Kennedy is going to be at Reading Reality to introduce the first book in her new series (yes, this looks like first books week!) The Cat’s Meow is the first book in Stacey’s new Witch’s Brew series. I’d have reviewed anything with a “cat” title, but this witchy book has all of Stacey’s trademark humor mixed with romance.

Looking ahead to the last of January (that’s after ALA madness), on January 31 we’ll announce the winners of the SFR Galaxy Awards! Woohoo! What are the SFR Galaxy Awards? They are annual awards (this is the first year) for science fiction romance. Yours truly is one of the judges. We want to recognize some of the terrific work in SFR and raise awareness of this fantastic genre.

Love and spaceships. We think they go together like chocolate and ice cream!

Guest Post: Tara Fox Hall on the Love of Books

I am very pleased to welcome Tara Fox Hall to Reading Reality. Tara is here on her Broken Promise tour. As part of the tour, I read and reviewed both Promise Me and Broken Promise (terrible completist, I hate starting series in the middle!) and the Promise Me series is a paranormal romance series with an interesting twist, the human heroine rescues the vampire, then the promises start getting made, and broken, over and over. 

But let’s hear from Tara about her love of books, and how she got started writing them!

The Love of Books: An Evolution 

A huge thank you to Reading Reality for having me here today!

I’m here today to promote Broken Promise, the second book in my paranormal romance Promise Me series. But before I get to that, I’d like to talk about my love of reading, and how I got hooked on books in the first place.

When I was in grade school, I remember loving my school library. Taking the long walk to the end of the school every Tuesday at 11AM, and the following hour when we could select books to check out. In those first years, I can’t remember many of the books I read, only that they almost always involved horses. Before I left grade school, I had read the entire Black Stallion series, including the Island Stallion books and related works, at least twice. I liked the library so much that I even entered the library’s weekly contest in my final year there, because I enjoyed the word finds and answering other questions about the books I selected. Much to my surprise, I got a library award at the end of the year, a small plaque I still possess.

My mother—as a teacher—was also the member of several book clubs for her class, and placed orders each month for books for her students. I remember being so excited each month to get the short double page pamphlet for each club, to see what was offered. Most times, my mom was able to get me free books, and I made good use of those coupons. I had a strict book budget of $10 a month, and remember deliberating over my choices, trying to stretch that to as many books as I could. In my later years, my mom would let me help her sort the books into piles with the orders. It was so exhilarating to see the piles, especially my own, form up. It was hard not to try to sneak in a little reading on the way home that night. But I still stuck rigidly to scary stories and horse stories.

Later on, in middle school and high school, my mother would take me to the public library near our house. It was there I picked up my first copy of Interview with the Vampire, and was forever hooked on vampires. That library was also where I discovered the many works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, and other horror authors. Eventually, I had read most of the books in the library that were horror…much to my lament. A year later, I was in college and working part time. The latter let me shift my habits to buying instead of borrowing, as I had money, but no longer the luxury of reading a book from cover to cover in a few sittings. Bookstores afforded many new delights, such as Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series, “other” Anne Rice Novels, Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World Series, and Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula series. Now my world had broadened to thrillers, horror, vampires, fantasy, and erotica. But there were still a lot of genres I wouldn’t touch….like romance.

As the economy tanked and the price of gas doubled, there was less discretionary income for books. To stretch my dollar even further, I began attending book sales, and also began buying used books through secondhand stores, yard sales, or anyplace they were cheap. Here I discovered a completely new world of books I’d never seen in the bookstores or libraries. It was here I discovered Michael Moorcock’s Elric, the Redwall series, and many new-to-me horror authors, like Andrew Neiderman and William Johnstone. I also tried a lot of genres I’d never tried before, like romance, true crime, western, action-adventure, and historical fiction.

Now is the next evolution in books: e-books! While I do not yet have a Kindle, I have the Kindle App for my computer, and I also enjoy books in PDF. Between reviewing for several sites and free e-books, I am awash in far more books than I can read. Like the other stages of my own evolution, I hope this one brings me even more new and exciting discoveries.

Tara is an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop in upstate New York. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University. Her writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Meseries. She divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.Visit her website or her Facebook page or her Goodreads blog, or follow her on Twitter.

Broken Promise by Tara Fox Hall


Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?


“Thank you,” Devlin said with a sigh. “Let us not speak of that. There is something that troubles me, Sar. There is more in your voice than sorrow when you speak of Danial. There is fear, too.”

“I’m not afraid of Danial,” I said quickly.

“Not this moment, no,” Devlin countered. “But at times I hear it, unmistakably. I expect you to fear me, but I find it odd you are scared of him. Tell me why.”

“We fought,” I said reluctantly.

“And?” Devlin prodded.

“He hit me.”

“Repeat your words,” Devlin said frostily. “And look me in the eyes as you say them.”

I turned to him defiantly. “He hit me,” I said bitterly. Then I turned from him again.

“I would not have believed it,” Devlin said slowly. “But you aren’t lying. Where and when did this happen?”

“In the face,” I said bitterly. “As for when, we were separated when it happened.”

Devlin fell silent, thinking.

I lay there in his arms, trying not to feel sorry for myself, trying to plan of what to say next, of some way to convince him to let me go. I tried scenario after scenario, and came up with nothing.

“That you were separated does not matter,” Devlin said suddenly. “You had taken an oath out of love to him, and he to you. It does not matter what you had done, or said. Oathed Ones are never to be struck.”

“I guess I picked the wrong brother,” I said sarcastically.

“Yes, you did,” Devlin said seductively. He turned me to face him, his hand on the side of my face. “I see no mark on your skin. When was this?”

Reluctantly, I grasped his cool hand in mine, and slid it upwards. “There is a tiny scar there from his ring.”

“Yes,” Devlin said, “I feel it.” He leaned in close, giving the scar a gentle kiss. “I’ll take him to task for this, Sar. You have my word.”

“Since when are you my champion?” I said sarcastically. “You kidnapped me. If you really want to help me, just take me home.”

“I’d love to take you home,” Devlin said meaningfully. He kissed me gently, his cool lips brushing mine.

“Stop.” I moved my head, breaking the kiss. “I meant my home.”

“Oh, kiss me,” Devlin said longingly. “There are several miles yet, and I’ve learned enough to know you are not oathed to Danial.” He raised his eyebrows in a meaningful motion. “I’ll restrain myself, I promise. We’ll wait to make love until later.”

Buy at Amazon

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 11-4-12

We cleaned out the closet yesterday. The walk-in closet in the master bedroom. There was crap in there that we’ve moved 6, count ’em, 6 times. Possibly 15,000 miles. From Chicago to Anchorage to Tallahassee to Chicago to Gainesville to Atlanta. And no, it wasn’t all my junk, either. But whew, what a job.

Movers will pack for you. We’ve learned this. What they won’t do is throw out for you. They pack everything. Oh do they ever.

We had a totally brilliant, or insane, flash when we decided what to concentrate on tossing out this time. We’ll deal with the books at the other end. Why? Because Seattle is only 3 hours from Portland, Oregon. Home of one of the truly great bookstores. That’s right. Powell’s City of Books. Anything we’re not keeping, we’ll see if they’ll take. For store credit. Which, of course, we’ll use to buy more books. The ultimate in recycling.

And we’ll listen to an audiobook on the trip.

But it’s a long time between here and there. We still have to find a place to live. Still, it’s fun to anticipate the good stuff waiting on the other side.

Speaking of the good stuff, let’s announce some winners! Donna Simmonds won the Jessica Scott giveaway, so Donna will receive ebook copies of Jessica Scott’s military-themed romances, Because of You and Until There Was You, just in time for Veterans’ Day. Jo Jones won the Wild Encounter giveaway, so she will get an ebook copy of Nikki Logan’s Wild Encounter from Entangled Publishing. Enjoy!

Plenty happened this week, too. There’s even a giveaway that still has time left!

Ebook Review Central, Multi-publisher, August 2012: #1 Love, Hypothetically by Anne Tenino (Riptide), #2 Skybound by Aleksandr Voinov (Riptide), #3 Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux (Riptide)
Cover Reveal: Mystically Bound by Stacey Kennedy
B+ Review: Night Thief by Lisa Kessler
Guest Post: Halloween and Paranormal Romance by Lisa Kessler + Giveaway
A- Review: The Gravedigger’s Brawl by Abigail Roux
A- Review: Kilts & Kraken by Cindy Spencer Pape
A Review: Moonlight & Mechanicals by Cindy Spencer Pape
Interview with Cindy Spencer Pape
A- Review: First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher
Stacking the Shelves (22)

Last week at this time we were looking at the Frankenstorm coming our way. For those affected by Hurricane Sandy, I hope that your problems were few and are now solved, or will be  soon.

It’s going to be another busy week at Reading Reality. Is it ever!

Monday’s Ebook Review Central will feature the Carina Press titles from September 2012. ERC started, all the way back in 2011, with Carina, and with their September 2011 titles. It’s been a whole year! Wow!

Tuesday we’ll have a guest, a giveaway and a review. Samantha Kane will be here to talk about her new historical romance, The Devil’s Thief. Romance at Random has graciously agreed to give away 2 NetGalley ebook ARCs of the book. And just to top things off, I’m going to have a review.

Wednesday my guest will be Aubrie Dionne, the author of the science fiction romance series, A New Dawn. I reviewed the first book in the series, Paradise 18, a few weeks agao here at Reading Reality, and Has and I dual reviewed the rest of the series (Tundra 37, A Hero Rising and Haven 6) over at Book Lovers Inc. Since SFR is one of my favorite genres, it was terrific to interview a fellow SFR Brigade member about her series.

Courtesy of the BlogHer Book Club, Thursday I’ll have a review of one of the hottest books around, Sylvia Day’s Reflected in You.

This Friday will really be a TGIF Friday, because this Friday is the first day of the Autumn’s Harvest Blog Hop. Make sure to check in for details on all the bookish treats at all the hop stops.

There is more coming the following week, I promise. But I’m exhausted just looking at this week. You’ll just have to come back next Sunday to find out what happens next!

What are you up to this week?

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 10-28-12

Welcome to the first of a continuing series of very crazy Sunday Posts at Reading Reality. Why are things crazy, you might ask?

We’re moving again. This time from the Atlanta, Georgia suburbs to Seattle, Washington. I am starting an absolutely wonderful position at the Seattle Public Library in early December. However, and I say this for the first time, but probably not the last, anything posted on Reading Reality should be considered to be my words alone, and never as any official position of the library where I work. (Or any library where I ever worked, for that matter).

Moving right along (no pun intended this time) what happened at Reading Reality last week?

We have winners to announce! Erin won the Blue Nebula giveaway from Diane Dooley. Lacey T. won the copy of Lori Foster’s Run the Risk. And the one everyone’s been waiting for, Jeanette Jackson won the $15 Amazon Gift Card in the Wicked Romances Blog Hop. Congratulations, everyone!

Now, what about this past week’s posts (including a couple of giveaways there’s still time to get in on)?

Naughty & Nice Blog Hop (one more day to enter!)
Ebook Review Central Featured Titles from Samhain Publishing for August 2012: #1 Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett, #2 Seven Sexy Sins by Serenity Woods, #3 Inside Bet by Katie Porter
A Review: Because of You by Jessica Scott
A- Review: Until There Was You by Jessica Scott
Interview with Jessica Scott + Giveaway
Interview with Nikki Logan + Giveaway
B+ Review: The Moonstone and Miss Jones by Jillian Stone + Giveaway
B Review: Wild Encounter by Nikki Logan
Stacking the Shelves

But this is Sunday, which means we have another week starting tomorrow. Unless you’re about to be hit with the Frankenstorm barreling towards the east coast of the U.S. Those folks are probably battening down the hatches.

Atlanta is inland, so all I have is a cold snap, boxes to pack, and a blog to write. Let’s take a look!

Monday’s Ebook Review Central for this week is the Hexapost wrap up for August 2012. It will cover Amber Quill, Astraea, Curiosity Quills, Liquid Silver, Red Sage and Riptide. Lots of publishers, but not a ton of books (thank goodness!)

Tuesday’s review will be Lisa Kessler’s Night Thief. This is a novella in her Night series, after Night Walker, which had an absolutely marvelous blend of gothic mystery, romance, and the paranormal (review here) along with a fascinating glimpse into early California history. I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes.

Thursday my guest will be one of my favorite steampunk authors, Cindy Spencer Pape, to talk about the latest entry in her Gaslight Chronicles series, Moonlight & Mechanicals. I can’t wait to see Cindy’s answers to the interview questions, I really want to know if she’s going to return to her Urban Arcana series (another favorite). But the Gaslight Chronicles have been such fun–they mix steampunk with the Knights of the Round Table!

Looking ahead (I always look a little ahead, it keeps the surprises to a minimum) there are some features to look forward to the week of November 5, too.

Samantha Kane will be here to talk about her new historical romance, The Devil’s Thief. Going from the past to the future, Aubrie Dionne will also stop by to talk science fiction romance and the conclusion of hew New Dawn series with Haven 6.

And rounding out the week will be the beginning of the Autumn’s Harvest Blog Hop.

As they say, never a dull moment. What about you?


Interview with Author Shiela Stewart + Giveaway

I’d like to welcome Shiela Stewart to Reading Reality today. Shiela is the author of The Naughty Angel, a title in one of my own personal naughty delights, the 1Night Stand series from Decadent Publishing. Shiela’s here to tell us about her devilishly decadent new book (review here), share our mutual love of J.D. Robb’s In Death series, (Wow!) and explain why she adores Halloween.

Take it away Shiela!

Marlene: Shiela, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Shiela: I’ve been married for 27 years to a wonderfully supportive man who has stuck with me through the good and the bad.  If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today as an author. He pushed me to get my work published and for that I am forever grateful. We have three grown children, 17, 20 and 24 who always keep me on my toes. I love to write, which is obvious, but aside from that I love to create in other forms such as drawing, painting and knitting. I have a wicked sense of humor and love to scare people. My children are never safe. I’m not sure if I should be proud or annoyed that they inherited my sense of humor. LOL

Marlene: Could you describe a typical day of writing for us. Are you a planner or pantser?

Shiela: Often my ideas come from my dreams. I have very vivid dreams that are quite in-depth.

My typical writing day begins after I’ve cleaned my house, showered and returned emails. I put on dance music—a must have for me—grab a class of iced tea and get started. I don’t have a desk or an office. I prefer to write in my living room seated on the loveseat.

Marlene: I’ve noticed that a lot of your books are paranormal romance, including The Naughty Angel. What draws you to write about the “things that go bump in the night”?

Shiela: Having lived in a haunted house plays a big part in that. Aside from that it would be having an older brother who thought it was hilarious to hide under my bed and when I went to get ready to go to sleep he would reach out and grab my foot. He also loved putting his glow in the dark skull head in my closet. I guess it’s just in my blood because even as a small girl I was intrigued by scary stories. Halloween was and still is my favorite holiday. 🙂

Marlene: Where did your inspiration for this book come from? An angel and a demon, that’s an unusual combination for a love story!

Shiela: And precisely why I wanted to write it. It’s not a typical love story. Good and bad, Heaven and Hell. Such complete opposites.  I always like to throw a curve in my stories and what better way than bringing a demon and an angel together. It stemmed from seeing an episode of Supernatural where an angel surprisingly kisses a demon.

Marlene: Was writing a story for the 1Night Stand series different from your usual writing style?

Shiela: The Naughty Angel is the second book on the 1Night Series that I’ve written. The first was Taste of Humanity. It was more difficult in that I tend to write longer works that range from 20,000 words to over a 100,000 words. Condensing everything I want to say into fewer than 10,000 is a bit of a challenge for me. But what is life without challenges. 🙂

Marlene: What projects do you have planned for the future? What is next on your schedule?

Shiela: Right now I’m editing a series I wrote a while back, and sharing chapters of it on my blog That’s What She Said. It’s a story of a woman who has the ability to see and speak to the dead (Shocker, it’s another paranormal lol) She’s visited by a deceased little girl seeking help in finding her killer. It turns out she isn’t the only victim and Samantha is suddenly bombarded by several more young victims. While searching for a killer, she becomes attracted to a married man in the midst of a nasty divorce.

I post two chapters a week on Monday and Friday. Curious, check it out.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Shiela: I like to give the readers an escape from the real world by sharing a glimpse into a fantasy I’ve created.

I create likeable realistic characters that draw the readers in and make them feel like they can relate to them.

And lastly–nothing more needs to be said for this one other than, my vampires don’t sparkle.

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why?

Shiela: Every one of my titles of course. LOL Aside from my books I recommend anyone who loves a good mystery with romance to check out JD Robb’s In Death Series.
For those who want a steaming erotic novel check out any title by Faith Bicknell Brow.
And for those who like Non-Fiction I recommend Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony by Jeff Ashton.

Marlene: After reading your journey to becoming a writer, I was wondering if you had any words of advice that you would want to give to aspiring authors?

Shiela: Never give up. Don’t let rejections bring you down and never stop learning and perfecting your craft.  There are plenty of groups out there where you can get your work looked at and critiqued for free. I strongly suggest finding someone to look at your work before submitting it to a publisher. But also be cautious in who you have looking at your work. If the person has nothing but negative things to say, find someone else. There is nothing more discouraging than hearing someone rip your work apart and not give you any positive feedback.

Marlene: Before I let you go, would you like to tell us a little bit about your artistic hobby?

Shiela: I love to draw. My specialty is faces. I find faces so interesting, how each one is so different.  I also love to draw nudes and animals. I find the art of drawing very relaxing.  If you’d like to check out my drawings go to my artwork page in my website.

Marlene: One last question: Coffee or Tea?

Shiela: Coffee.

From living in a haunted house to writing paranormal romances, that’s one fantastic journey. Thank you so much, Shiela, for sharing a bit of it with us.

~~~~~Tourwide Giveaway~~~~~

And speaking of sharing, 5 winners will get to share the deliciously naughty fun of The Naughty Angel by winning an ebook copy of the book. Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 10-7-12

Today has been a very sleepy Sunday. It would have been a terrific day to curl up with the cats and just let the day segue from the morning nap to the afternoon nap. And for all I got accomplished today I probably would have been better off if I had!

Two things I did manage to get done, with a little help from my friend Rafflecopter, was to pick the winners for recent giveaways.

Joy Flynn won the paperback copy of Carol Tibaldi’s Roaring 20s suspense thriller, Willow Pond. And the one that everyone was drooling over, Suzanne Selfor’s Chocolate Giveaway was won by Jennifer Stewart Shaw.

Let’s take a look at the wrap-up of this week’s posts:

Ebook Review Central Featured Titles from Carina Press for August 2012: #1 Men of Smithfield: Mark and Tony by L.B. Gregg, #2 The Guardian of Bastet by Jacqueline M. Battisti, #3 Planning for Love (Aisle Bound #1) by Christi Barth
B+ Review: Better Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts + Interview
Celebrate the Freedom to Read! (Banned Books Week)
B+ Review: Operation Endgame (When the Mission Ends #1) by Christi Snow + Interview
A+ Review: Local Custom (Liaden Universe #4) by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Last week is over. So what’s coming up this week?

There’s a Monday holiday (admittedly a minor one) so there’s no Ebook Review Central this week. Instead, I’ll be reviewing Zoë Archer’s Skies of Steel, the third book in the steampunk romance series The Ether Chronicles, that Zoë is co-authoring with Nico Rosso. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, and this was my treat to myself.

On Tuesday, my guest will be T. K. Anthony, the author of Forge, the first book of the Thrall Web series. If the phrase “Thrall Web” isn’t a hint, Forge is science fiction romance, a genre that is near and dear to my heart. I couldn’t resist this title. I’ll have an interview with T.K. as well as a review of Forge.

And Wednesday my guest will be my fellow SFR Brigade member Diane Dooley, to give us a peek into the science fiction world of her books Blue Galaxy (see review) and her latest Blue Nebula. Diane will be giving away copies of her books, as well as answering a few questions. I’ll have a review of Blue Nebula, too.

Thursday we’ll leave the future, science fictional or steampunk, to return to the contemporary world of Lori Foster’s latest romantic suspense novel, Run the Risk. Lori’s tour will be stopping at Reading Reality for an interview with Lori, as well as a review of the book and a giveaway.

It’s going to be another busy week! I also have two pretty intense historical fiction reviews that will be posted this week at Book Lovers Inc: Before Versailles by Karleen Koen and C.C. Humphreys’ A Place Called Armageddon.

And next week is shaping up to have a theme all its own! Courtney Cole’s Of Blood and Bone,  Louisa Bacio’s A Date with Death, and Sheila Stewart’s The Naughty Angel–all in the same week. Followed by the Wicked Romances Blog Hop. Sounds positively, well, wicked! And a perfect lead-in for the Halloween season.

Weren’t we just talking about chocolate?

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 9-16-12

It’s 83 and muggy in Atlanta. So much for Fall.

Maybe it has something to do with the books I reviewed this week. There was an awful lot of heat between some of those pages…

A Review: All He Ever Needed (Kowalski Family #4) by Shannon Stacey
B+ Review: Ravished Before Sunrise (1Night Stand) by Lia Davis
A- Review: Yesterday’s Heroes (Boomers #1) by Heather Long
B Review: Delusion in Death (In Death #35) by J.D. Robb

And for the curious, under my Rocket Lover alter-ego, I have two dual reviews over at Book Lovers Inc. this week as well as a Bookish Rant on “The Buying and Selling of Book Reviews.”

2.5 Star Review: The Last Victim by Karen Robards 
4 Star Review: Timeless Desire by Gwen Cready

I found the t-shirt with the “so many books, so little time” image. This classic version is by Edward Gorey, he of the marvelously creepy Masterpiece Mystery intro. The t-shirt image isn’t creepy at all, unless the poor boy is crushed by his pile of books. As mine often used to threaten me, before the advent of ebooks.

This week at Reading Reality, in addition to Monday’s regular Ebook Review Central (this week it’s Samhain) I’ll be having two special guests, and a treat!

Wednesday and Thursday are the guest days.

Wednesday’s guest will be Regan Walker, and she’ll be here to talk about her new book, Racing With the Wind. Racing is historical romance, and it’s all about spies and shadow warfare between England and France in the years after Napoleon is finally defeated for the second time. The hero and heroine are very interesting, because neither is willing to settle for someone who can’t accept all of what they are, when all of what they are is very, very secret, and dangerous.


Thursday my guests will be Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall. Kathleen and Clark are the co-authors of the Cowboy and Vampire series as well as husband and wife. The second book in the series, Blood and Whiskey, came out earlier this year, and I’ll be talking with them about how they got these two genres, the western and the vampire, to play well, or not so well, together.


On Saturday it’s blog hop time again at Reading Reality. My good friend and fellow blogger Nat at Reading Romances is hosting the Naughty or Nice Blog Hop, from September 22-29, and Reading Reality is part of the hop. Does that make me a hopper or a hoppee? I’ll be giving away an Amazon gift card, so the winner from Reading Reality can pick their own book, naughty or nice.


What else am I reading for the next couple of weeks? Well, I also have reviews scheduled over at Book Lovers Inc. I’ll be reviewing Suzanne Selfors’ The Sweetest Spell at Book Lovers Inc this week, and at Reading Reality next week (hint: that sweet spell is all about chocolate) and there will be giveaways both times!

To keep teasing, I’ll also be interviewing Sheila Roberts in a couple of weeks about her latest book, Better than Chocolate, about a chocolate company. I’m still not sure there’s anything better than chocolate, but the book is yummy.

Does just the mention of chocolate cast a spell on you? Mmm, I think I’ll go see if we have any.