Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Publisher's Choice: The Killing Hour

The Killing Hour

eBook $4.95

For sale at:
Champagne Bookstore
Barnes & Noble

Midnight. A time for magic and a time for murder.

She is an ex-cop desperately trying to deal with the tragic loss of her husband and infant son. He is a successful screen star sought after by starlets and fans. They have absolutely nothing in common.

People are being murdered at Cedars Sinai. Systematically and quietly, a bolus of air injected directly into their jugular veins at the stroke of midnight. None are labeled as homicides and all appeared to be random.

It doesn’t take long to discover that fate has brought Fiona Caruso and Simon Martin together. The answers are there, but to discover them, each will have to bare their soul to the other.

Will they succeed, or will the murderer make them the next victims of the killing hour?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Savvy Saturday- Interview with Ute Carbone

Ute Carbone is one of our talented authors who likes to write both rom-coms and historical romances. She lives with her husband in Southern New Hampshire, where she spends her days drinking coffee, eating chocolate, walking in the woods, and dreaming up stories. Ute (pronounced Ooh-tah) is with us today to tell us a little about her start in writing and her upcoming book, Sweet Auralie, a historical romance in her Sweet Lenora series.

CBG: When and why did you begin writing?

Ute: I remember playing the game Candy Land with my mother when I was six or seven years old. I used to make up stories about the game—what happened in the gumdrop forest, where the princess got lost and had to be rescued by a fairy who came by on a cloud and brought her home—that kind of thing. My mom said "I think you're going to be a writer when you grow up." And I thought "No! Never!" I couldn't spell to save my life and my handwriting was terrible. How could I possibly ever become a writer? I was going to be either a zoo keeper or the lady on the flying trapeze, depending.

It took a lot of years to come to the realization that writing was more than just spelling, grammar, and printing out the alphabet. I wrote a bit in college, mostly songs and a few short stories, but I honestly never thought of myself as a writer. It wasn't until much later, when my kids were small, that I started writing poetry. I joined a group and was blown away when people actually thought the poems were good. From there, I took up prose. About a dozen years ago I finished my first novel. Now, a dozen novels and a whole bunch of stories and poems later, I can't imagine not being a writer. I guess my mom was right after all.

CBG: Tell us your latest news!

Ute: The final part of the Sweet Lenora historical series featuring Anton and Lenora Boudreauxm, Sweet Auralie, releases in October with Champagne Books. The books are set in mid-nineteenth century America, in and around clipper ships. This is a departure from the other (first) three books, in that is a full length novel, not a novella. The book begins about six months after the third novella (All Things Returned) leaves off and follows Anton and Lenora through the next ten years of their marriage.

CBG: Do you have a specific writing style?

Ute: I write a lot of different types of stories and a lot of different characters, often in first person, so I used to imagine I didn't have a 'voice'. Readers have told me this isn't so, at a poetry reading a while back another poet listened to me read and said of one line "Oh, that is so Ute Carbone". I like to think that all of my books have a style that is uniquely mine, whether serious or funny or romantic .

CBG: How did you come up with the title?

Ute: Sweet Auralie is the name of an imaginary ship in the book. It's a nice correlate to Sweet Lenora, the first novella and name of the series. Sweet Lenora is also the name of a ship—the ship named after the heroine, Lenora Brewer Boudreaux. Sweet Lenora was built by Lenora's father. Years later, Anton and Lenora have a daughter named Auralie and the ship they build is named for their daughter.

CBG: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Ute: I didn't set out to write a book with a message. I had, as I often do, these characters in my head with a story to tell. What is interesting, to me at least, was the way the character arcs of the two main characters played out. Lenora is in the beginning spunky and a bit headstrong. She remains headstrong throughout, but gains a great deal of maturity over the course of the series. She comes into herself, into her own, as time goes on. Anton is brave and daring and wants nothing more than to protect Lenora, which is admirable, but as an eighteenth century man, he also expects some meekness and obedience from his wife. Over the course of time, he learns not only to live with her headstrong nature, but to celebrate it and to trust her not only with his heart, but with his life. I'm not entirely sure there is a message in this, but it was good to see them grow into their relationship as they each grew in character.

CBG: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Ute: I'm distracted by shiny objects, so I find myself with multiple projects in my WIP file all the time. I have two projects I hope to finish drafts of in the next year or so—One is a romantic comedy with the working title "Second Hand Love". It's a contemporary, set in New York City, and the heroine is a young woman who writes a column about breakups and has her own troubles with romance. The other is a historical/Western called "The Stars All Have Names" about a young woman who goes west to marry a rancher sight unseen. It's set in Colorado in the 1890s. I've also got two finished drafts that I'm revising—a rom com called "Georgette Alden Starts Over" about a soap star who needs to reinvent herself after the character she's played for thirty years is killed off, and a contemporary called "The Fall Line" which is set in the same 'world' as an earlier book, "Dancing in the White Room", about a ski champion at the end of her racing career. There are a few other bits and pieces, but these should keep me busy for a while.

CBG: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Ute: Writing fiction is kind of like making a quilt. Bits and pieces of my own life experience, of stories I've heard, people I've known and places I've been, all get strung together and altered into something new, something that becomes a story. For the comedies, people I know will tell me funny stories they've heard or experienced and these often find their way into the narrative. The whale blowing up in The P-Town Queen is based on a real event that happened back in the seventies (you can find it under 'blown up whale' on youtube), the single shoes in Afterglow come from a story told me by a friend, and the theater in Searching for Superman is based on the history of a real theater near where I live. Sweet Auralie, too, has some basis in reality, as Anton and Lenora race from Boston to San Francisco down around the horn of South America to set the world record for fastest clipper ship. An actual ship of that era, the Flying Cloud, set a record that stood for over a hundred years. And, interestingly, had a woman navigator.

Ute: Note—my new book, Sweet Auralie, comes to Champagne Books on October 5. It's the final part of the Sweet Lenora Series, which includes Sweet Lenora, To the Wind, and All Things Returned.

Here's a blurb:

The unforgettable love story that began with three novellas is completed in the final, full length novel of the Sweet Lenora series. Sweet Auralie follows Anton and Lenora through the trials and tribulations that mark the next part of their journey. Over the course of ten years, they travel to Shanghai as they search for a long lost child, to New England where they confront Lenora's scheming relatives to gain a fair share of Brewer Brothers, and finally aboard the Sweet Auralie on an adventure filled voyage where they hope to break the speed record and make the ship they've build the fastest ever to sail from New England around the horn of South America to San Francisco.

As Anton and Lenora strengthen and thrive as individuals, the love they share becomes the cornerstone of a great family and a legacy that will be long remembered.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Publishers Choice: End of Normal

End of Normal

eBook $3.95
Print $13.95
Young Adult Sci-fi

For sale at:
Champagne Bookstore
Barnes & Noble

After surviving an alien invasion, a group of teens desperately search for answers and their world collapses around them.

Sixteen-year-old Olivia Richards’ last day of normal is just that, normal. She worries about impressing Sawyer Rising, the hottest guy in school, and argues with her mother. Everything seems fine except for that strange, glowing plant in the yard and her dad lying to her and deaf twin brother Charlie, which is the weirdest thing of all because their parents do not lie to them. Ever.

Normal ends as lights shoot out of the sky and turn into stinging drones, killing their parents. As he lay dying, their father gives them cryptic clues about coordinates and begs forgiveness before insisting they leave.

The twins join forces with Olivia’s boyfriend Axel, her best friend Clara, and heartthrob Sawyer. Together they go in search of answers only to find conspiracy, death, and an awful truth about their families.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Savvy Saturday- Interview with Brantwijn Serrah

Savvy Saturday strikes again! This time we managed to rope in an interview from the author of
steamy lesbian romances, Brantwijin Serrah. Her new books Goblin Fires and Lotus Petals will keep you on the edge of your seat with their hot passion. Today Serrah is going to tell us a little bit more about her books and their origin.

CBG: Tell us your latest news?

Serrah: With the sequel to Lotus Petals on its way, I’ve been working on the next book in my Chronicles of the Four Courts series: Elvyn Nights. Additionally, I’m hoping to put out a BDSM Fantasy novel in the next year, and compiling my current short ebook stories into a print books, including an exclusive erotic novella!

CBG: How did you come up with the title?
Serrah: Satin and Steel is the title to the second of the Books of Blood and Fire. The title is a reference to the love pairing: Rhiannon, the vampire warrior, is steel, compared to Vivienne, the sultry shadow-walker, who is satin. The original inspiration came from the tone and significance of the song Leather and Lace.

CBG: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Serrah: Satin and Steel is a book about grief and loss, and how we sometimes seek out toxic ways to end our grieving. There’s a lot in the book about bad relationships and bad choices, and bad love that feels so, so good. This book, being the second in a series of at least five, also continues the larger story-arc of Rhiannon and who she is to the vampire nation; it plants the seeds for future books, as well as revealing some of the fruit from the seeds of the first. Fans of Lotus Petals will be happy to know things in Japan are not over yet.

CBG: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Serrah: Right now I’m focusing on two novel-length works: Enslaved, a fantasy BDSM novel I think of as Conan the Barbarian meets Lady Heather’s Box. In addition, I’m working on the sequel for Goblin Fires, which will hopefully be ready to submit within a few months.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Publisher's Choice: Waxing Deadly

Waxing Deadly
Charles Pero
$4.95 eBook
$13.95 Print
$19.95 Audiobook

For sale at:
Champagne Bookstore
Barnes & Noble

Twice as big. Twice as aggressive. Twice as deadly.

As the 10th Annual Million Dollar Malibu Tequila Surf Off nears, Malibu is in a state of panic and it’s up to Dr. Jennifer Ferguson, head of the privately-funded Shark Understanding and Awareness Center (SUAC) to put their minds at ease. With a NAVY Seal’s background, a Ph.D. and a life spent studying the feeding behavior of sharks, Jennifer struggles to prove the attacks are isolated – and unrelated.

Surf shop owner and local legend Slade Kane isn’t so sure. He’s been surfing for four decades and knows a pattern when he sees one, even without all of Jennifer’s fancy credentials. When he’s approached by the paparazzo who took the shark-attack picture, the two agree. Something’s fishy in Malibu. And it’s twice as big, twice as aggressive, and twice as deadly as anything they’ve ever seen before.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Savvy Saturday- Interview with Elizabeth Fountain

Today on Savvy Saturday we have the author of You, Jane and An Alien's Guide to World Domination, Elizabeth Fountain. This eclectic author not only writes, but also teaches university courses in psychology and leadership. She uses her experiences as a counselor, instructor, and failed barista to help give her stories life and humor. Let's take a look at what she has to say about her

CBG: When and why did you begin writing?

Fountain: A few years ago, I was going through boxes in my garage, preparing to sell the house I’d lived in for about 10 years. I found one box oh-so-helpfully labeled “stuff.” Thank you, past self, I muttered, and opened the cardboard flaps to determine just what “stuff” it contained. I found some early poems and songs I wrote back in high school; that was in the early 80’s. I know I wrote stories before that, too, but (fortunately?) none seem to have survived.

Fast-forward from high school (prehistory, really) to January, 2008. I found myself complaining to a friend about the usual “celebration” of Martin Luther King Jr Day – sales of big-screen televisions at the local malls and big box stores. He challenged me: “So what will you do to celebrate MLK Jr’s life and message that’s different?” That night I started writing my first published novel; it’s a story of a sister and brother who lose and find each other, amidst a whole collection of eccentric humans and aliens who realize that no matter what planet they are from, they belong to one another. My own zany, interplanetary version of the “I Have a Dream” speech? I guess so, in a way. And it hooked me on writing fiction in a big way. Since then, I’ve had two novels published – that first one, An Alien’s Guide to World Domination, came out in 2013. A year later, You, Jane was released – a tale of the power of storytelling to really mess up a person’s life, until she realizes how to write her own happy ending.

CBG: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Fountain: As I prepared for the release party for my first novel, An Alien’s Guide to World Domination, I thought and thought about this. Because, at a launch party, the author is supposed to stand up and describe her book’s “big themes,” right? And this was a story about a main character who didn’t really want to save humanity, and her dog who helped her anyway. Big themes? I pondered. What are my big themes?

I hunted through the book for a bit to read out loud, and came across this phrase – twice. And the second time, it struck me.

“But, you tried anyway.”

That’s what we do, isn’t it? We try anyway, knowing that most of life is filled with the completely absurd and nearly impossible, we try anyway, like the characters in both my books do. Whatever color we are, even if it’s the color of lime Jell-O ™ gone horribly wrong, like the aliens in An Alien’s Guide; whatever powers we have, even if we can’t really control them, as Jane struggles to control her storytelling power in You, Jane - we just try anyway. We try anyway, we swing for the bleachers in left field, and every once in a while, we hit one out of the park.

CBG: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Fountain: It’s always been a source of joy to me, playing with words. When I can put them together in a particular order that pleases the eye and ear, and also tells a ripping yarn, it’s a high like no other. I must confess the power to create whole worlds, to bring people and things and places into being by writing on a page, is intoxicating, too. So maybe you could say I write because it’s the best form of self-medication I’ve ever found.

But that leaves out the best part – connecting with readers. In November 2012, I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the third time, writing 50,402 words in thirty days. I posted the novel as I wrote it, and toward the end of the month, I shared a chapter in which the faithful dog character is thrown out of a truck on a snowy road. I got a note from a reader who threatened never to read another word I wrote if the dog turned out to be dead. That was a deep thrill – someone was reading, and cared passionately about these characters. (And oh, by the way – of course the dog survived. Dogs always save the day in my stories, much like they do in real life.)

Being human is profoundly about communicating with one another, and writing stories is my way of doing that. I am grateful to have the opportunity and means to do it.

CBG: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Fountain: Work on your craft. Become the best writer you can be. Go to workshops, read great writing of all varieties and genres, and practice, practice, practice. Be open to collaboration with those who will critique and edit your work – we all need that. Writing is a strange art form – so much of it occurs in isolation, only the writer and her page or screen, creating little black squiggles on a blank page. But it can’t become fully realized without input from others. Painters, I imagine, just paint, and they know when the painting is done when it matches the one in their imaginations. But writers need readers before our work can be completed.

Listen carefully to all the “rules” about good writing and then break the ones you feel you need to break to tell the stories your heart wants to tell. Those stories inside you, they deserve to find their audiences. Your curiosity creates energy. Your imagination awaits your bidding. As Bill Kenower says, the writer’s job is only to ask two questions: what do I want to write? And, have I written it?

So don’t give up. A very good friend of mine who is an amazing singer, songwriter, and guitar player likes to say “there are two kinds of musicians: those who are making music, and those who are making excuses.” Then he looks at me and reminds me the same goes for writers. There are those who are writing, and those who are making excuses.

So yes, Dan, I’m writing… something. I promise.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Publisher's Choice: Adrian's Angel

Adrian's Angel
Angela Ashton
Paranormal Romance

For sale at:
Champagne Book Store

Saying goodbye to old ghosts isn’t easy, especially when Adrian Birichino comes face to face with a woman twenty years won't allow him to forget…
Plagued by baffling circumstances surrounding the loss of his childhood sweetheart, Adrian Birichino has spent the last twenty years trying to forget. When fate forces him to return to the town he loathes, his pervasive nightmares turn alarmingly real as a luminous angel steps out of thin air, inducing an accident that leaves his life in familiar hands. Real or not, she feeds a need burrowed deep in his soul. But if she’s just a figment of his hyperactive imagination, how had she managed to leave behind tangible evidence of her existence?

Having been catapulted to a sinister spot in time, Riley Gail must find a way to convince Adrian she is real and living in the heart of the infamous witch-hunt…else resign to be immortalized in the pages of history as one of Salem’s accused forever more.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy New Release Day!

Welcome to that happy moment once again where we bring you the best in newest fiction. Today we have four amazing novels to bring to your e-reader. Take a look, and I know you'll want to put them on your to-read list right now!

Courageous Cain
By DJ Davis
Romantic Suspense
Champagne Books:

Josie Shepherd loves running free, with no one and nothing to tie her down—until a new job at a kennel introduces her to both an unexpected friend and a vicious, abused dog named Cain.

When Josie stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman, she runs to Deputy Gordon Wolfe, a disfigured man hiding behind his badge. His shy smile and affection for dogs make her reconsider what she’s running from.

Now she’s on the run from a serial killer and her own heart. But when her friend is abducted and Cain appears to be the murder weapon, Josie’s attempt to save them both lands her in the killer’s lair. Josie’s strength and Cain’s loyalty are tested to the limit as they fight for their lives. Facing a killer is one thing, but facing her love for Gordon is Josie’s greatest challenge.

A Wicked Truth
A Cady Delafield Mystery
By Joyce Proell
Historical Romance
Champagne Books:

The wedding date is set, and life is magical for Doyle Flanagan and Cady Delafield. Then, honor bound to repay an old debt, Doyle agrees to help an old friend find her sister. As he searches for the girl, painful memories surface, stunning Cady when she discovers facts about Doyle’s hidden past.

Now mired in tragedy, can they overcome the turmoil with a fateful decision that changes their future forever?

Silent Autumn
By Veronica H. Hart
Science Fiction Romance
Champagne Books:

In 2179 Taylor Female 8635 is content with her profession as a cosmetics designer. She gave birth to the requisite two babies in her teens and now enjoys privileges beyond the norm. When stopping at a power station Taylor inadvertently overhears a conversation between the leaders of the North and the South. They have a plan to destroy the leader of the West in order to gain control over food production. When Maximilian Male catches her in the shadows, he uses her plight as his opportunity to leave the North.

Together they travel across the country, passing abandoned and derelict cities, countryside inhabited by uneducated tribes, villages with a minimum of social organization and barren wasteland in their quest to warn the leader of the West.

Without her prescribed medication laced meals, Taylor learns what it is like to feel emotions, to experience joy and feel heartbreak.

Traitor Knight
By Keith W. Willis
Champagne Books:

When Morgan McRobbie rescues a damsel-in-distress from a dragon, he expects she’ll swoon, murmuring “My hero!” Instead, Marissa has only loathing for the man everyone believes will betray Kilbourne. That’s fine with Morgan. A woman in his life would just complicate things.

A high-level informer threatens the kingdom’s security, and Morgan is out to stop him. Posing as a turncoat himself, he’s walking a fine line between honor and betrayal. A single misstep could result in disaster, and his mission is fraught with distractions: the pesky dragon, a pair of conniving courtiers, and the disillusioned damsel who’s certain Morgan can’t be trusted.

If Morgan’s going to save the kingdom, win the girl, and manage to stay alive, he’ll need to step up his game. Because the traitor is lurking in the shadows, and his scheme calls not just for the betrayal of Kilbourne, but also the destruction of Morgan McRobbie.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Unbalanced Book 1 Review from Paranormal Romance Guild



Novel: Unbalanced
Series: Unbalanced - Book 1
Author: Courtney Shepard
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating: Adult

In 1988, fifteen year old Emma ran for safety to have her children. With her was Greta, a nurse she trusted. When her four twin daughters were born, she was betrayed by Greta who led the very man she ran from to her home to take her children away.
At the age of sixteen, Asha was being watched over by Father Sean for whom she worked. Her power was fire, and he used her to eliminate rebels and drug dealers, or so Asha thought. Her last assignment was to destroy a rebel stronghold that turned out to be an orphanage. She was responsible for the deaths of children and the innocent people caring for them. It was a turning point in her life.
Asha is now twenty-seven. In an attempt to atone for her actions, she set up a clinic in South America caring for those who needed her. Unfortunately, in her pursuit to keep a low profile, hide her gift, and protect the people around her she gained a reputation as the Warrior Queen, a woman who cut out the tongues of those who opposed her, was planning on overturning the government and, worse yet, and was building an army with young children. When Clay Brent came to the clinic with medicine and an offer to help claiming he was from Doctors Without Borders, a desperate need to save her friend caused her to trust when trust was something she rarely did. It could also be that she has a strong physical attraction to him.
Asha's first inclination to distrust Clay proved right when he kidnapped her, and most of the villagers were attacked and killed. This was her first introduction to the Order, a group who wanted her dead. What Asha doesn't know is that she has three other sisters, Mere, whose element is water, Avia, who can control Air, and Ivy who controls earth. Not only do the Order want Asha dead, they want her sisters dead, as well. In spite of being locked in a dungeon with no use of her powerm she still can't understand her attraction to Clay. If she had a chance to escape could she kill him?
Ivy who learns about her sisters and is able to sense where they are. She finds all but Asha since Asha has lost her abilities. When Asha is told to accompany Clay on a mission to destroy three women she has no clue who they are. She was sent by Master Miles, the next in line to take over the Order, but he intended to save her, not have her killed. While on the mission, she saw three faces looking back at her, all with her face. Together they fight the men attempting to kill them. Clay has three brothers, Rio, Aron and Cole. Each of them have the same powers as the girls, only not quite as strong. Where can the girls be safe? Is Clay really trying to kill her?
I gave this book four stars because at times it seemed a little drawn out. I realize that there was a lot of information the author tried to impart on the reader, where were the girls before they met up with each other, who are the Order and why do they want the girls dead so badly, who is Clay and his brothers, why did Master Miles help them and who is actually in charge of the Order, etc. This is the first book in a new series that I look forward to reading. The author has created an amazing world, but there is much more coming. 

Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

Interview with Keith Willis

Another Saturday, another interview. Welcome back to Savvy Saturday with Champagne Books! Today Keith Willis shares with us a little about how he became a writer and his new book Traitor Knight. His book is for sale at our store, Amazon, and Kobo.

CBG: When and why did you begin writing?

Willis: I’ve always considered myself a writer. As far back as I can remember, I was always making up stories (and generally trying to write them down). In high school I would write stories for my friends’ amusement; in college, I tended more towards introspective poetry.

But it wasn’t until I turned 50 that I really began to write seriously. I’d always said I was going to write (and publish) a book one day, and I finally decided that if I was to realize this dream, I’d better get busy. But I really didn’t know what I wanted to write—I love both mysteries and fantasy, and was torn. But then for some reason I got inspiration in the form of the old Knight vs Dragon fantasy trope—but rather turned on its head. In my world things didn’t work out quite as anticipated. So my knight won his battle with the dragon by forfeit, as the dragon had to flee the field of combat with a case of the hiccups. And a damsel in distress who didn’t want to be rescued—at least not by this particular knight. The process (including approximately 67iterations of the book) took roughly seven years. Obviously I wasn’t working on it non-stop that entire time—the first draft probably took about six months. After that it was just revision after revision, in between bouts of saying ‘ah, the hell with it’ and putting it aside to molder for a while. But I kept being inexorably dragged back into that world again. There was always something about these characters that just resonated with me, and I couldn’t get away from them. I had to write about them. Actually, they kept coming to me and telling me their stories, and demanding that I write them down. I guess good characters just do that, huh?

CBG: Do you have a specific writing style?

Willis: I’ve always been a bit of a comic, (often to the dismay of my imminently patient wife) both in person and in my writing. I appreciate stories that have a good bit of humor in them—one of my favorite writers, and an absolute inspiration, is the great English comedic writer PG Wodehouse (creator of Jeeves and Wooster and Blandings Castle).

Also, I especially enjoy fantasy that blends in a humorous aspect—especially writers like Christopher Stasheff and Michael J. Sullivan. When I began to write my first novel, TRAITOR KNIGHT, I knew I wanted an element of humor in the story, along with the adventure, intrigue and romance. I just feel that the humor serves to leaven the story, and often gives it a bit of relief from the constant tension that otherwise pervades.

My writing style overall tends to be a bit wordy—I really have to watch myself or I end up with lots of long compound sentences. For TRAITOR KNIGHT, because it’s much more action oriented, I had to make a conscious effort to break things up into more short, punchy sentences that give the sense of urgency to the story. Varying your sentence structure is really key to keeping a readers interest—too many of either long or short sentences will tend to turn off potential readers. And again, I even with the action-oriented nature of the story, I tried to infuse it with that soupcon of humor that would catch the reader off guard.

When I entered TRAITOR KNIGHT in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest in 2014, one of the reviewers said that the opening read like something out of Looney Tunes. He meant it to be insulting—I took it as a great compliment. And one of my beta readers told me he thought the book read like a cross between Twain’s CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Jay Ward’s “Fractured Fairy Tales”. So I think I’ve gotten where I want to be.

CBG: How did you come up with the title?

Willis: For as long as I’ve been writing, I’ve always felt that a good title was key to a good end product. I’ve always believed that if I could come up with a good title, the book would follow. And that the title must reflect the nature of the book, and give the reader something to think about.

That being said, my original title was PASSION’S KNIGHT, back during in one of the earliest iterations, when I hadn’t really realized exactly what the story was or where it was going. At the time I was focused much more on the romance aspect (with a pretty high heat level). As I dug deeper into the story, I found the romance aspect became more a subplot rather than the major focus. I realized that the major focal point was really Morgan McRobbie, a man with a strict sense of honor who was forced by that sense of honor and loyalty to become (at least in appearance) his total opposite—a may who would betray everything he held sacred. One of the main conflicts became Morgan’s struggle with his own sense of honor in light of what he had to do to protect his kingdom. And thus he became the titular TRAITOR KNIGHT. In addition, I liked the dichotomy of the juxtaposition of the two words in the title—the concept of “knight” (honorable and just), paired with “traitor”. And finally, and this pleased the humorist in me, it was a bit of wordplay as well. A great deal of the story takes place during the night-time hours, thus lending itself to the notion of ‘traitor night’ as well.
CBG: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Willis: “DON’T GIVE UP!” That’s it, in a nutshell. Writing can often be a discouraging, disheartening, maddening craft. There are very few other endeavors where you work so hard to create something from nothing, and put so much of yourself out there on display. Where you allow complete strangers to stomp on your creation. And they will, en masse. I went through myriad rejections of my book TRAITOR KNIGHT over the years that I was querying it—86, to be exact. There were times when I thought about shelving it, but I believed too much in the story. Not that it had anything earth-shattering to say—just that it was a good, entertaining tale that I thought people would enjoy reading. So I kept going. I had faith in my story and my ability to tell it. And I was determined. Pig-headed, my wife would say. But I kept going, kept reworking and revising and tweaking, because I was certain that one day someone would see catch the spark in my book, and all the “no’s” would be offset by that one “yes”.

If you’re getting rejections, it may be that you need to rework things. That’s ok. Make those changes and keep going. Don’t give up on it. Take any nuggets of feedback you garner, and use them to help make your work better. Make connections with other writers, and find friendship and support in the writing community. They’ll help you get through those times you just want to throw in the towel and say “I’m not cut out for this”. And they’ll help you celebrate the successes when you have them. Just keep on making it better and better and better until one day someone says “I am happy to offer you…”

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Backwoods Justice by Chuck Walsh Review from LASR

Backwoods Justice by Chuck Walsh

Backwoods Justice by Chuck Walsh
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (262 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger
While fishing with her grandfather, Rubin Sawyer, five-year old Christina slips around the bend of Doe Creek to chase a butterfly. In a heartbeat, she is snatched away.
When Sawyer helped put an end to a series of killings on Iron Mountain a year prior, he had no idea the hornet’s nest he’d stirred, being labeled as a traitor by the locals.
When a series of killings takes place on nearby Appalachian Trail, notes left behind in blood as a cat and mouse game ensues on the whereabouts of Christina, the local sheriff turns to big city detective Thomas Jordan and local mountain guide Emma Douglas as they reunite in this sequel to Shadows on Iron Mountain.
Backwoods Justice takes evil to a new level, as the head of Rubin Sawyer is demanded in exchange for Christina’s life. Meanwhile, the assassin’s taste for killing hikers grows, a killer more cold and calloused than Burley Greer, the one who abducted and killed young women in Shadows on Iron Mountain.
Come again to Iron Mountain as Jordan and Sawyer endure the justice administered in the backwoods of East Tennessee.
Set amidst the backwoods of Tennessee, this striking novel spins a mesmerizing tale of vengeful foes, and raging passion that could lead to a murderous trail set along the mountain trails. This novel is action packed from the very beginning. The detailed description the author gives of the mountains of Tennessee were so vivid, I could picture the scenery and the action as I read along. This was a book that held my attention through out. I was so pleased as I continued to read that the author kept up the pace with the action and mystery within the storyline. I enjoyed the writing style; the author really knows how to tell a story. He painted a picture so clear of the town, the people, the lakes and woods of Iron Mountain area that after reading I feel like I’ve actually been to the area. The locals even though unfriendly I can actually picture their lifestyle, attire and attitudes from the awesome writing. Even though some of the tourist characters didn’t last long in the book, the author still gave details and gave them a life and personality.
During a family fishing outing Rubin Sawyer’s granddaughter goes missing. With a history of being the mountain outcast, Rubin is set on finding his granddaughter. The mountain people don’t take kindly to outsiders, which becomes evident when hikers are found killed and no one is willing to talk to investigators. Kidnapping and murder investigation calls for experienced police and investigators, which in turn calls for more confrontation with the locals. Having worked a prior case in the area Thomas Jordan and Emma Douglas team up to help stop the killer on the mountain. Will all the attention from the murders be enough to stop the killer or will he continue on his quest for revenge?
This is a book that I am glad that I picked to read. I enjoyed reading the storyline. I am not a hiker by any means, but reading about the satisfaction of adventure and self fulfillment displaced through the characters I may look into giving hiking a try, minus the bears of course. This book is full of action, it gives a complete story that isn’t predictable. I will be sure to check out other books by this author.
This is an adventure that is sure to please any reader who likes to read about twisted revenge that includes plenty of action.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Publishers Choice: Amber Gifts

Amber Gifts
Kevin B. Henry
Science Fiction/Fantasy

For sale at:
Champagne Book Store

A scavenger hunt through time turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse.

After a decades long downward spiral, Mitchell is at the bottom of life’s rungs. A stranger hands him a simple, amber vial and tells him to drink it. With that one act, he is now a time traveler and when asked to help some new acquaintances, he gladly agrees. A simple request to find some items left scattered throughout time. How hard could it be?

But someone wants to stop Mitchell’s efforts and it will take more than luck for Mitchell to find all the items and survive long enough to complete his mission.

Tattle & Wrye Column September 2015 edition



“I felt it!”  Wrye held up his index finger as they sipped sweet iced tea on the veranda outside their southern office.

Tattle barely raised her head.  They were supposed to be working, but the sweet September morning brimming with sunshine and humming birds lured them outside.  “What did you feel?”

“A breeze, a wonderful, hint of autumn-to-come breeze!” 

“Don’t hurry our lives away, it is still technically summer, m’literary-partner-in-gossip… I mean… ummm… blather… errr chatter….”  Tattle abruptly halted, noting the sound of coo-coo from the clock on the other side of the sliders.  “Ut oh, we’re late!”

Wrye picked up on their tardiness.  “We certainly are late for our Love of Literature Leap into duel interviews.”

With a rush, the two whisked off to the home office of J. C. MEAD, author of THE SILVER CORD.  

T:  Be not afraid, we come bearing cupcakes... and questions.  (Handed Jean a double-iced gooey treat)  Oh, everything in cyberspace, as you know, is calorie-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, allergy-free, and well, cost nada, too.

W:  (Interrupted) But not taste-free.  We use our imagination!

T:  So, J.C., let’s get this interview started!  (Noted J.C. still looked startled)  Ummm…. We’re Penza Dona Tattle and Associate Wrye Balderdash and we’re here for your CBG interview.  (Does a tap dance) Ta Da!

W:  Now, we know all about you.  (Wrye winks)  Or at least about THE SILVER CORD.  Mmmm, very interesting.  Supernatural meets witchcraft meets country with a bit of sleepy southern charm and a dash of romance sort of sums it up… perhaps?  Maybe?  Care to tell us more?

J.C.:  First off, this cupcake is divine! Now then (wipes mouth), I think you have most of it wrapped up. Its got best friends, hot men, interior design, and mommy-stuff, too.  OH! And there’s loads of Georgia history and some Cherokee info bits in it as well. So I guess historic paranormal romance would describe it best as far as genre. So, here’s the deal: After her husband’s death, single mom Kat Cambridge leaves bustling Boston and her high pressure interior design job to raise her kids in a sleepy southern town. Purchasing a run-down property with her best friend and fellow single mom, Jess Greenleaf, is the first in a plan of fixing and flipping homes. It was time for Kat to get back to nature, and back to being a witch.

Getting back into witchcraft was as easy as riding a broom, so easy that Kat begins to have reality-bending visions of a smokin’ hot Scottish soldier in their house. While exploring the house’s history, Kat meets charming & sexy Southern gentleman Colin MacKay, who unknowingly reveals the identity of the man in her visions. The soldier summons Kat and Jess to save his drifting soul before it is lost forever.  As challenging as that seems, creating the perfect spell is easy compared to choosing between the ghost who knows everything about her, and Colin, the real man in her life, who wants to.

T:  (Grins) Just knew you’d like the sweet, ‘cause you are sweet, but that book sounds even more than divine!  Wanna gobble it all up and know more.  Tell us is Kat Cambridge a little like you, or totally made up?

J.C.: A bit of both actually. Authors write what (and who) they know. I did move from the North to the South and there are a LOT of differences, so that part was totally me. I have been here 11 years now and still get a giggle over slang phrases and terms, but love it here.  So, that being said, I definitely know where Kat lives, but there’s a little of me in the character Jess as well. 

T:  So, be honest, it’s just us and all those readers, if you could make the oooh-sizzle hot Scottish soldier or the yummy yum-yum Colin Mackay real, who would be your personal pick for happily ever after?

J.C.:  That is a tough one. The benefit of being the writer of these characters is the fun I have creating these “perfect yet flawed” guys. I mean, let’s face it; Colin is a smooth talking, yet sweet, Southern gentleman (who, by the way, looks best with his shirt off).  The Scottish soldier is, well, Scottish (sigh) and lean and tan and just plain sexy…wait, what was the question again? Oh, yeah…um, I guess Colin (you’ll have to read the book for more info on these two – I can’t give it all away!).

W:  if you could be a character in any of your books, which one would you choose and why? 

J.C.: I love Kat and Jess.  They are women I could definitely kick back with and have a glass (or three) of mead with while watching our kids run amok, but when I grow up I want to be Lilly. She’s awesome, incredibly wise, funny, strong, and I wish she was MY neighbor!

T:  Now, that you've confided in who'd you'd like to be, tell us which antagonist in one of your books you loved to create and if there is any of you in the villainous character?

J.C.: There aren’t really any antagonists in this book other than time. But the cop and garden club cougars were fun to write about, they weren’t really antagonists, more like speed bumps in the grand scheme of things. And no, there is none of me in either.  As far as antagonists, the second book is when it starts getting really interesting. Spoiler alert:  Major trust issues…

W:  Does the tribe of weird and strange apply to you?  Or is logic your muse?  (Points to Tattle and mouths)  Weird.  (Thumbs his chest) Logical.

J.C.: I am pretty weird, and have my strange and exceedingly silly moments more often than not. BUT I’m also a librarian, so I guess that makes me logical as well. Can I be both? Say 80% weird and 20% logical…that was logical of me to come up with, right?

T:  Quite!  Though, personally, I am proud to be a member of the weird persuasion, but I guess, (let's out a long breath) there is a place for logic now and again.  After all I am quite fond of Data and Mr. Spock.  Which brings me to another question.  Do you read the type of stories you write? 

J.C.: Yes! While I read a bit of everything, I am currently reading “Brownies and Broomsticks” by Bailey Cates. There is also Laurell K. Hamilton (love the Merry Gentry series), Kim Harrison, and Charlaine Harris. I think my favorite genre to read is magical realism. Authors I love (to name a few) are Sarah Addison Allen, Erica Bauermeister, Alice Hoffman, and Susan McBride. Being a librarian, I read all genres but my guilty pleasure is rock star biographies.

W:  What does sci-fi characters have to do with....  Oh, never mind, like I mentioned earlier, weird!  Now, for a more sensible query.  If you could live on a planet of your own creation, what sort of planet would it be?

J.C.: Fun question! Let’s see, it would have loads of books, magic, oodles of forests with both coffee and mead waterfalls, music, puppies, and exceptionally nice people who don’t dog ear books or yell in libraries. 

T:  (Mutters) And he's the logical one? 

W: Did you say something?

T:  Yup.  Was just asking J.C., if there was an alien invasion, and you could only take one thing, would it be your laptop, best sneakers, heels or your stash of candy?

J.C.: ALIENS!? (shudder) My laptop.  Not only for writing, but music. I’m a music addict and can’t live (or write) without it! I even have a playlist that goes with “The Silver Cord”, it is on my website.

W:  Thank you so much for allowing us to steal a piece of your busy schedule.  You have been a dear.

T:  And exceptionally patient.  (Grinned broadly and pointed to Wrye) He sometimes asks strange questions.

J.C.: Thank you! Loved the questions -the stranger the better. See? 80% right there. 
Again, thanks for your time – and the cupcake.

J.C:  Note:  J.C. can be found at and loves questions and comments. If you would like to Skype with her for a book club, drop her a line on her comments page – she really loves book club discussions! J.C. is currently working on book two of the Cord Trilogy, so keep an eye out.

With a huff and puff, the duet blow through cyber barriers and burst into JOYCE PROELL’s world.

W:  Hey lovely lady, it's been a while.  For those of you out in cyber-land, this is JOYCE PROELL, one of Champagne Books Groups talented authors and this is our second interview with her.  (Turned back to Joyce)  We brought some chocolate candy and fancy fruit.  For some reason, Tattle started eating fruit.  (Looked at Tattle as if she had grown a second head)

T:  I am trying to be healthy.  Now, hush, m'partner in squeezing-the-author-for-info.  Whoops, Joyce, you weren't supposed to hear that.  Anywho, how have you been?  Writing hard?   I heard you have a couple of sequels to A DEADLY TRUTH.  Tell us about them, and whatever else you have been working on.

Joyce:  A BURNING TRUTH came out in 2014. In it, Doyle Flanagan’s life is again thrown into disarray when his office is vandalized and the night watchman viciously murdered. Clues lead to a powerful organized labor movement. Targeted in the press as anti-labor and with a big rally staged next door to his offices, Doyle must uncover the culprits before his wedding plans and his livelihood go up in smoke. 

A WICKED TRUTH, the third book in the series, comes out on September 7th. In this book, the wedding date is set, and life is magical for Doyle and Cady. Honor bound to repay an old debt, Doyle agrees to help a friend find her sister. As he searches for the girl, painful memories surface, stunning Cady when she discovers facts about Doyle’s hidden past.

In spite of incredible odds, Cady and Doyle’s love has flourished. But in the midst of a life threatening accident, murder, and Doyle’s secrets, their wedding date and happiness are in jeopardy. Mired in tragedy, can they overcome the turmoil with a fateful decision that changes their future forever?

As to what I’ve been working on lately… Well, I’ve been editing a colonial spy story titled Amaryllis. The hero, Griffin Faraday just one the Legend: A man for all seasons in the WRA Hearts through History Contest.

W:  Holy Writer-thon, you have been busy!  So, for another very vital question:  Have any aliens visited lately?  If so, what was their favorite book?

Joyce:  How psychic of you to ask. Several weeks ago two weird looking aliens came to visit. They brought with them several odd contraptions with two wheels which they used to take them to a neighboring town. There, while wearing their strange, bulbous headgear, they sat on curb to watch a parade. Many people threw candy at them. They returned to my house later with a heavy bag of the sugary stuff. They inhaled the goodies until I shrieked, “Stop, you’ll ruin your appetite.”

As to books, they love The Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter series.

T:  What sort of question was that?

W:  A perfectly good one. (Juts his chin out like an ole western movie star)  We discovered Joyce has alien children.

T:  (Sighs) Don’t mind him, too much chocolate and not enough fruit.  (Ignores Wrye’s frown)  Now, for a good question, if you could live in any one of your stories, which one would it be?

Joyce:  It would have to be in Chicago where the Cady Delafield stories are set. I love Chicago, where the stories are set. I’m also partial to the late Victorian and the Belle Epoque periods. I love the fashion, art work and all the social changes brought on by new technology of that time. 

W:  Now, down to the nitty gritty, tells us exactly on a scale from 1 – 10, how odd are you?

Joyce: I see my reputation precedes me though my daughter lovingly refers to me as nutty rather than odd. This opinion is seconded by my husband. I worry not. In fact, I embrace my nuttiness and the quirky humor amuses me.  It’s true, life is more fun if you don’t take yourself too seriously. Once I accepted that notion, things loosened up considerably. 

T: (Squints down at a scroll littered with questions.)  Back to A DEADLY TRUTH, tell us if there is a bit of off-kilter in either the hero or heroine?

Joyce: By today’s standards, the heroine, Cady Delafield, would fit right in. In 1881, not so much. From her grandmother’s perspective (a woman with a traditional, old-fashioned bent) Cady’s choice to have a career baffles her. Not understanding it, she questions Cady’s judgment and thinks she’s odd.

W: (Looks over at the list of questions, they had prepared earlier) Who is the one fictional character you would like to spend a week with and why?

Joyce: Hmmm. Any romantic heroine would do fine. It seems no matter what the obstacles the heroine always prevails in the end. Think of the benefits. She always manages to hook the best and hunkiest guy in the room and the sex is great. Best of all, there’s always a happy ending.

T/W:  Thank you so much for a great interview.  As always you are a delight!

Joyce:  Thanks for hosting me today.

Hope you all enjoyed our jaunt into our latest book review.  Until next month, when we will list all the nominees for our first review award, keep reading!

Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat

Created and written by:  Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by: Angelica Hart and Zi
Books by: Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane