Blog Tour: Playing House by Laura Chapman (spotlight, guest post, giveaway)

Playing House

written by Laura Chapman
published by Laura Chapman, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

About the book – from the author: She’s a work in progress . . .

Bailey Meredith has had it. As an assistant at a prestigious interior design firm, she’s tired of making coffee and filing invoices. She’ll do just about anything to get out from under the paperwork and into the field for real experience. Then she sees an ad for a job that seems too good to be true.

He’s a fixer upper . . .

Wilder Aldrich knew she would be perfect for the crew the moment he saw her. His hit home improvement show only hired the best, and Bailey had potential written all over her. It isn’t just her imaginative creativity and unmatched work ethic that grabs his attention. There’s just something about her.

With chemistry on screen, it’s only a matter of time before sparks fly behind the scenes as well. But with Bailey’s jaded views on romance and a big secret that could destroy Wilder and everyone he cares about are either of them willing to risk it all for love?


Guest Post
Music plays an important part in my writing process.

Before and during the writing process, I tend to create a playlist of songs that fit the story, a character, or a particular scene. While I don’t always listen when I write (sometimes I need total silence or light background noise), I tend to listen to the same songs over and over and over when I’m in my car, on the treadmill, at my day job. The music helps keep the story in my mind even when I am not working on it. The songs also help me get back into the story when I return for revisions.

My playlist for Playing House is a little out of control. I typically go back and revise it, along with the story, but I just can’t bring myself to remove any of the songs.

But because I don’t want to make you sit down and listen to each of those songs right now (though you’re welcome to follow my playlist on Spotify), I thought I’d share the five songs I played most while writing this story.

1. Out of the Woods by Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams dropped his cover album of Taylor Swift’s 1989 while I was planning and plotting out Playing House. I kind of became obsessed with it, and as a result, pretty much the whole album is on my playlist. This song was my favorite, though. With the beautiful instrumentals blending with Ryan’s sad, whimsical voice, this song really spoke to me when writing some of the more serious scenes. Plus, the line “We were built to fall apart, then fall back together” really seemed to ring true for the story I was telling.

2. Beautiful Disaster by Jon McLaughlin
Winning the prize for artist with the second-most amount of songs on the playlist . . . If Bailey Madison, the heroine of Playing House, had to pick a song to describe herself, I think this would be it. I have been a big fan of listening to Jon McLaughlin while writing since my friend and fellow author Brea Brown introduced me to his music a few years ago. I also had the chance to hear him perform—and meet him after the concert—the month before I started writing this story. Here’s a super dark photo of us:

3. Something by The Beatles
If our hero Wilder Aldrich was to pick a song to describe Bailey, this would be it. (Notice how different they are??) Because when it comes to Bailey, for Wilder, there’s just something about her.

4. Love Should Be A Crime by O-Town
So, I unapologetically love and celebrate the boy bands of the ‘90s and ‘00s, including O-Town. This was one of my favorites back in my high school days, but I admit, I’d kind of forgotten about it. Until I created Bailey. She’s someone who really doesn’t want to fall in love, because she doesn’t want to deal with heartache. I was more than halfway through my first draft when this song popped into my head and I had to add it.

5. Piece by Piece by Kelly Clarkson
I think if you read the book, this one becomes pretty clear. But as a quick shout-out to my girl Kelly, she’s one of my favorite artists to listen to while writing. I was actually listening to Breakaway in the car when I came up with the idea for the first book I wrote to completion. She’s amazing.

And okay, I know I said I was only going to do five, but I just remember a sixth one I listened to on repeat, so consider this a bonus track . . .

Bonus: Perfect – Stripped by One Direction
See my previous note about boy bands and amend it to include the bands of the ‘10s. If Wilder Aldrich was to pick a song that could best summarize himself, this would probably be it. I actually pretty much summarized a line of this song in a bit of dialogue I wrote for Wilder. :/ Thanks, boys. Plus, with the reality TV/celebrity element and the “together for now” themes of the story, this seemed to fit.

What are your favorite songs to listen to right now? Feel free to leave it in the comments below.

And if you’re curious, here’s the playlist:


About the author: Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, The Marrying Type, and Playing House. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. She loves talking to readers. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also get the latest news from her website, blog, and monthly newsletter.



This month, during the Playing House blog tour, you can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of 1 free Audible copy each of The Marrying Type, First & Goal, Going for Two or 1 $20 Amazon gift card.

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Happy 2


Release Blitz: Going for Two by Laura Chapman (spotlight, guest post)

GFT now available

Going For TwoGoing for Two (Queen of the League, #2)
written by Laura Chapman
published by Marching Ink, LLC, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksGoodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Harper Duquaine is back for another season of fantasy football! This time she’s a year wiser and prepared to dominate the league. But while she finally seems to have her fantasy life in order, reality proves more challenging.

Her plans to peacefully play house with her boyfriend come to a halt when the high school suddenly names Brook its head football coach. The promotion comes with more responsibility on the field and less time at home. It also unexpectedly means more work for Harper, who already has her hands full helping a friend pull off the perfect proposal (while dodging questions about when she and Brook are going to get hitched already). Plus, a new development at work could leave her—and half of the fantasy league—jobless.

With the complications of her career and being “Mrs. Coach” adding up, Harper wonders if she’s committed to the life she’s already building or if there is something else out there.


In honor of Going for Two’s release, I’m sharing some fun facts about the book and Queen of the League series.

Food can play an important part in a story. A lot can happen when people meet together to break bread. When I write a dish into one of my books, I like to know what exactly it would look like and how it would taste, whether or not those details make it into the scene. It can make a difference. Like, would someone really be able to go running only five minutes after eating a super heavy, cheesy dish? Probably not without spilling their cookies. With Harper hosting a number of football watch parties in Going for Two, and her being a hostess with the most-est, I needed a reserve of recipes for her to make to serve to the masses. This Spinach Dip is one of my favorite game day recipes, and it’s super easy to make thanks to the help of a slow cooker.

I hope you will check out the other facts—view a complete listing of locations and dates on my website,—and the series.

Thank you, Chrissy, for featuring Going for Two—and me—today. Enjoy!

Fact 11

Headshot1About the author: Laura Chapman is the author of Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and the holiday collection All I Want For Christmas from Marching Ink. She loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura makes her home in Nebraska, where she is penning her next novel.

Find Ms. Chapman here: web, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, YouTube, Instagram



Now Available square



Blog Tour: Family Magic by Patti Larsen (spotlight, guest post, giveaway


Family Magic by Patti Larsen is a young adult paranormal novel that won 1st place in World’s Best Story contest and is published by Premiere. The tour runs August 3-31 with mostly reviews as well as author interviews and guest posts. Check out the tour page for more information.

Family MagicFamily Magic (Hayle Coven Novels #1)
written by Patti Larsen
published by Premiere, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Her mom’s a witch, her dad’s a demon and she just wants to be ordinary. But, when an insidious evil comes after her family, Sydlynn Hayle has to choose to be the normal girl she craves or step up, embrace her magic and save her coven from disaster.


Top Five Odd Things About Living in a Family with Both a Witch and a Demon

Poor Sydlynn Hayle. I feel for her, I really do. Her life is complicated enough being a teenager just trying to fit in at a new high school. Hers isn’t an ordinary life even outside the struggles of hormones and grades and soccer. Her mom’s a witch, her dad’s a demon and she just wants to be ordinary.

The cool part about Syd is how she integrates her crazy, paranormal family into her attempt to be normal. But, there are still a number of things she struggles with:

1. She’s part demon, part witch. And the two parts of her don’t exactly get along or work together very well for some reason. That means, when she loses her temper or gets excited, her demon side can pop out and take over momentarily, often with embarrassing or hilarious results.

2. Her closest friend is a demon teenager trapped in the body of a silver Persian. And he’s not very happy about it. Sassafras might be much older and wiser than her, but she’s tired of his bossy attitude and the way he wants to run her life.

3. Her little sister looks like a demon. Meira has to hide her appearance from normals every day, unlike Syd who looks human.

4. Her mother is the epitome of a coven leader, down to her silk blouses, pentagram necklace and flowing skirts. Could she be more embarrassing?

5. Her dad doesn’t live with her, at least not full time. He can only cross over into a stone effigy that the family keeps in the basement. For the majority of the time, the demon lord Haralthazar (Harry) lives on his own plane of Demonicon.

Add to the above the fact her powerful grandmother is crazy, her uncle and his girlfriend are vampires who live in cupboards in her basement and she has to move to a new town on a regular basis so the family doesn’t get burned at the stake.

All in a day’s life for Sydlynn Hayle.


Patti-Larsen-200x300About the author: Patti is an award-winning author with a passion for the paranormal. Now with multiple series in happy publication, she lives in Canada with her patient husband and six demanding cats.

Find Ms. Larsen here: web, Twitter, Goodreads

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Blog Tour: Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates (spotlight, guest post/recipe, giveaway)


Welcome to the tour for Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates! Brokedown Cowboy is the second book in the Copper Ridge trilogy, a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring a small-town setting and gorgeous cowboys finding love unexpectedly.

Brokedown Cowboy 
written by Maisey Yates
published by Harlequin HQN, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links)Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: There are lines best friends shouldn’t cross, but in Copper Ridge, Oregon, the temptation might be too much…If practice makes perfect, Connor Garrett should be world champion of being alone. Since losing his wife he’s concentrated exclusively on his family’s ranch. Until Felicity Foster needs a place to stay and Connor invites her to move in temporarily. That’s what friends do. What friends don’t do? Start fantasizing about each other in their underwear. Or out of it…

Since high school, Liss has kept her raging crush in check. But helping Connor rebuild his life only reinforces how much she longs to be a part of it. One explosive encounter, and she’ll discover that getting what you always wanted can feel better than you ever dreamed…


This recipe is special to me for two reasons. First of all, this pie crust is an old family recipe. If done right, it is the best pie crust in the world. My grandma used to make cherry pie with it, and my mom has used it to make every kind of pie you there is.

But my favorite has to be blackberry pie, mostly because I have wonderful memories of picking berries by the river every Summer. There is a bit of pie in Brokedown Cowboy, though, in that case it’s Marionberry, which is a type of blackberry, so close enough. 🙂

The ingredients to the crust are simple, but following the steps is what gets you flaky crust and not chewy crust.

Double 9’ Crust —

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Shortening
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Mix (press with fork) together until crumbly

Step 2 — (1/2 cup water, additional 1/4 cup flour)

In a jar mix 1/2 cup COLD water with a 1/4 cup flour, blend well.

Add to flour mixture. Mix gently until blended well. Handle as little as possible. Separate pastry into two balls.

Heat oven to 425°F. With floured rolling pin, roll one round into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

Filling —

  • 4-6 Cups Blackberries
  • 3/4 Cup sugar (I like a little tartness, so depending on the berries, I sometimes put less. If the berries were really firm you might need more)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp butter

In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, cinnamon. Add berries and mix until coated (I like to use my hands). Spoon filling into pie pan, dot with butter. Cover with top pastry. Cut slits in the top, seal and flute. Cover the edges with tin foil to prevent excessive browning.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours. (Or cut into it and take your chances…that’s what I do!)

About the author: USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances  set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

Find Ms. Yates here: Website | Twitter @maiseyyates | Facebook | Goodreads


Bad News Cowboy



The publisher will be giving away paperbacks of Part Time Cowboy, the first book in the series  to the 5 winners of the below Rafflecopter.  The giveaway ends June 23rd.

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.


Spotlight: Hysterical Love by Lorraine Devon Wilke (playlist, giveaway)

Hysterical LoveHysterical Love
written by Lorraine Devon Wilke
published by Lorraine Devon Wilke

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book–from Goodreads: Dan McDowell, a thirty-three-year-old portrait photographer happily set to marry his beloved Jane, is stunned when a slip of the tongue about an “ex-girlfriend overlap” of years earlier throws their pending marriage into doubt and him onto the street. Or at least into the second bedroom of their next-door neighbor, Bob, where Dan is sure it won’t be long. It’s long.

His sister, Lucy, further confuses matters with her “soul mate theory” and its suggestion that Jane might not be his . . . soul mate, that is. But the tipping point comes when his father is struck ill, sparking a chain of events in which Dan discovers a story written by this man he doesn’t readily understand, but who, it seems, has long harbored an unrequited love from decades earlier.

Incapable of fixing his own romantic dilemma, Dan becomes fixated on finding this woman of his father’s dreams and sets off for Oakland, California, on a mission fraught with detours and semi-hilarious peril. Along the way he meets the beautiful Fiona, herbalist and flower child, who assists in his quest while quietly and erotically shaking up his world. When, against all odds, he finds the elusive woman from the past, the ultimate discovery of how she truly fit into his father’s life leaves him staggered, as does the reality of what’s been stirred up with Fiona. But it’s when he returns home to yet another set of unexpected truths that he’s shaken to the core, ultimately forced to face who he is and just whom he might be able to love.

Lorraine Devon Wilke, author of the acclaimed debut novel, After The Sucker Punch, brings her deft mix of humor and drama to a whip-smart narrative told from the point of view of its male protagonist. Hysterical Love explores themes of family, commitment, balancing creativity, facing adulthood, and digging deep to understand the beating heart of true love.


The Hysterical Love playlist by Lorraine Devon Wilke


Several musical themes weave through the narrative of Hysterical Love. The first is the jingling sound of the neighborhood ice cream truck, the second, the recurring theme of Dan’s affection for B.B. King, and the blues in general. The breakup with Jane brings in heartbreak, Bob likes Kanye, Bruno Mars and country music, and the road trip to Oakland—with its mix of adventure, infatuation, and revelation—has its own soundtrack. All winding up to the long road home, where love is an enigma, but still . . . hope remains.

The Hysterical Love Playlist might go a little something like this:

  1. Ice Cream Truck song:
  1. Bruno Mar’s “Locked Out of Heaven” (Bob’s playlist):
  1. Kanye West’s “Power” (on Bob’s stereo):
  1. Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” (Jane’s favorite song)
  1. You Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (1965 hit… Barbara from Oakland):
  1. B. King’s “I’ve Been Downhearted”
  1. Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night” (Bob’s country radio pick)
  1. Jon Waite’s “I Ain’t Missing You” (a Jane/Dan song)
  1. B. King’s “How Blue Can You Get”
  1. Creedence Clearwater’s “Born On A Bayou” (road trip music)
  1. Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” (more road trip music)
  1. Prince’s “The Most Beautiful Girl” (Fiona’s song) (cover version)
  1. LDW’s “It’s Not Over” (Jane….):
  1. Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name (Oakland song – no spoilers about who!)
  1. Adele’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
  1. B. King’s “Why I Sing The Blues”
  1. Ain’t No Way For Me To Love You (Jane’s last song)
  1. John Meyer/Katy Perry’s “Who You Love”



Lorraine Devon WilkeAbout the author: LORRAINE DEVON WILKE is a longtime Huffington Post contributor and author of the acclaimed debut novel, After The Sucker Punch, and the upcoming novel, Hysterical Love. She is also a columnist for the award-winning Northern California newspaper, The Ferndale Enterprise.

A writer, photographer, and singer/songwriter, Devon Wilke started early as a creative hyphenate. First, there was music and theater, next came rock & roll, then a leap into film when a feature she co-wrote (To Cross the Rubicon) was produced by a Seattle film company.

She has written for and performed on theater stages, and accrued a library of eclectic and well-received feature screenplays, including The Theory of Almost Everything, which was a top finalist in the 2012 Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest, and A Minor Rebellion, a 2014 finalist in the same competition. She kept her hand at music throughout—songwriting, recording, performing—leading to the fruition of her longtime goal of recording an original album (Somewhere On the Way), which garnered stellar reviews and can be found on iTunes and

Devon Wilke splits her time between Playa del Rey and Ferndale, California, where she lives with her husband and family.

Find Ms. Wilke here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

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Blog Tour: Faery Marked by Mary Waibel (Melissa’s review, guest post, interview)

Faery Marked (The Faery Series Book One)

Faery Marked (The Faery Series Book One)
written by Mary Waibel
published by Bookfish Books LLC

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I loved it. I spent an entire Saturday morning (and a bit of the afternoon) neglecting my family for this book. I didn’t make breakfast (I assume my son helped himself to a block of cheese or a half dozen dinner rolls or something). I didn’t make anyone (including myself) get dressed, and I didn’t even do last night’s dinner dishes. (Um, no. I didn’t do them last night either. Don’t judge.)

Mary Waibel’s written a winner. Her characters are fun, her writing is compelling, and her creativity will keep you from putting this book down once you’ve started it.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!


“Ryan, what have you done?


Would I recommend it: Absolutely.

About the book – from Goodreads: 
When Callie Rycroft wakes to find purple flames flickering on the ceiling, she believes she’s still dreaming. But soon she’s forced to accept that she has magic―a special magic that grants her entrance into the Faery Realm.

For centuries humans have been banned from Faery, but dangerous times call for dangerous measures. Declared Champion by the Faery Queen, Callie is assigned a Guardian, and tasked with finding the Cordial―a magical elixir needed to keep the portal to the Faery realm a secret from humans.

The upside? Reece Michaels, the boy she’s been crushing on for years, is her Guardian. Callie hopes that, by spending time with Reece, he’ll start to see her as more than just his best friend’s sister.

The downside? She’s in a race not only against time, but against another Champion, and a rogue Guardian―a Guardian who stands to threaten her developing relationship with Reece.

Magic, mistaken identities, and hidden agendas are the least of Callie’s worries when she learns that the Cordial requires a sacrifice. Will Callie be willing to risk everything―even Reece―to complete her task as Champion? Or will she let the portal open, and doom both realms?


Being Authentic

by Mary Waibel

Thank you Chrissy and Melissa for allowing me to stop by here on my Faery Marked blog tour.

While I was trying to figure out what I wanted to blog about for this post, I took a look through some of of the previous guest posts, and suddenly the answer just popped right into my head. How did I come up with my curse words for Callie?

I’m not a ‘never use swearing in your stories’ type. Just like with all words, if it fits, then it should be used. Still, I wanted to avoid cursing as much as possible, so, I invented some curses to use. Like ‘frick-a-frack-frell’. Yeah, not really teenager-ish, is it? While it would work in my other series, it just wasn’t going to cut it in this one. And you guessed it, my editor called me on it. She wanted me to make it authentic.

So, I went right to the source, my 13 year old son. Can’t get more authentic than that, right? I knew he’d have phrases for me, and he delivered a new favorite of mine. So, in addition to the ‘PITA’ (pain in the… for those unfamiliar with the term) and the ‘craptastic’ I had penned, he gave me the phrase: ‘pansy assed’. I loved it. And so did my editor.


Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Because it has a sexy Guardian, a smart Champion, faeries and other mythic creatures, and a love story mixed in with a mystical quest. Whew. That was a lot to pack into a sentence!

Why did you did you decide to write Faery Marked? I love reading Jennifer Armentrout’s books, and wanted to give first person POV writing a try after reading her. I’d been playing around with a ‘coming into her powers’ sorceress idea, and somehow that morphed into into Faery Marked.

You said that Faery Marked is very different from your previous books, how so? My Princess of Valendria series is written in 3rd person point of view (POV), alternating between two main characters, and the stories are twists on fairy tales (or other stories).  Faery Marked is in first person POV from one character.

What made you decide to go in this different direction? Telling the story in 1st person just seemed to fit better than 3rd. And I had a lot of fun working in this new-to-me POV.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? Yes. So, I have two more books planned for the Faery series and at least one more for the Princess of Valendria series. I also have a romantic comedy I am playing with, and an idea for something a little more spooky.

What is your favorite genre to read? I will read just about anything, but I always like to have at least a little romance in what I’m reading. I’m a sucker for a HEA (happy-ever-after).

Who is your favorite author? Oh, this is tough. I’ll pick a couple (in different genres). Nora Roberts. I love her characters and how I always feel like I could meet them in real life. Jennifer Armentrout. She is so good with the feels. I always feel like I’m right there with the character, living the story with them.

In your opinion, what is one book that everyone should read? Mine. Just kidding. Well, okay, maybe not totally kidding. Gosh, this is a tough one. There are so many great books out there to choose from.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a nurse, but when it came time for college, I decided I would be better in the teaching field. So, I got a degree in Elementary Ed, and used it for 5 years before changing course once again.

Tell us three things about yourself that cannot be found on the internet . . . at least not found easily.

Hmmm. I’m not really sure. I actually had to search myself to see just what is out there. So, having done that, I’m going to say:

  • My eye color. Okay, you could probably figure it out from pictures, but that would take some effort.
  • My real hair color. If you find it, let me know, because even I don’t know this anymore 🙂
  • The amount of books on mt y TBR pile. I just looked. If they were physical books, and not ebooks, I’d be buried by now.


mary waibelAbout the author: YA author Mary Waibel’s love for fairytales and happy-ever fill the pages of her works. Whether penning stories in a medieval setting or a modern day school, magic and romance weave their way inside every tale. Strong female characters use both brain and brawn to save the day and win the heart of their men. Mary enjoys connecting with her readers through her website:

Find Ms. Waibel here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads



Win a signed copy of Faery Marked and other swag. Details HERE. Don’t miss out on this LIMITED TIME OFFER!!!


Teaser Tour: Phantom’s Dance by Lesa Howard (spotlight, excerpt, guest post, giveaway)

Welcome to my stop on the teaser tour for Phantom’s Dance by Lesa Howard. Phantom’s Dance is a YA modern retelling of Phantom of the Opera and it’s available for sale, right now!

PDCoverPhantom’s Dance
written by Lesa Howard
published by Boot in the Door Publications

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, Book Depository, Goodreads

I read Phantom’s Dance a few months ago and really enjoyed it. See my review here

About the book – from Goodreads: Christine Dadey’s family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy’s finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she’s told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she’s willing to do to cope with it.

Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world’s stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik’s face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he’s lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine.

Drawn in by Erik’s unwavering confidence, Christine allows h​erself to believe Erik’s declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine’s hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik’s shadowy past jeopardizes Christine’s unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.
“You scared the crap out of me—again!” I wailed, and a low chuckle rumbled from behind the heavy, velvet drapes.
With my hand pressed to my overexerted lungs, I breathed deeply. “I see you’re still behind the curtain. But I suppose that’s where a stagehand would be, wouldn’t he? Behind the curtain?”
“Ouch. And here I thought you were a nice girl—not like the Academy snobs looking down their noses at the hired help.”
“Ah-ha! So you are a stagehand.”
“I never said that. What I said was you’re a snob.”
“I am not!”
He half laughed half snorted.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him.
“I came to see the ballet. Isn’t that why you’re here?”
“Of course, but that’s not what I meant. The ballet has been over for an hour. Why are you still here?”
“I might ask you the same thing.”
The pink flower chose that moment to fall from my hair and float to the stage floor.
“You were playing the ballerina, weren’t you?” He teased.
His voice had moved from where it started at my right to the curtains behind me.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll keep your secret.”
My face heated and I bent to recover the flower then stood to face his voice.
“You won’t tell Mr. Darby or the theater manager?”
“I said I wouldn’t tell.”
Spinning the flower between my fingers, I asked, “Why do you stay behind the curtain?”
“I don’t like the stage.”
“But you said you’re a dancer. What kind of dancer doesn’t like to be on the stage?”
“This kind.”
He’d been yanking my chain long enough. Two could play this game.
“So, are you handicapped or what?”
An unpleasant silence stretched between us and I realized I’d stumbled onto something.
“Oh, God, you are.”



A Writer’s Thank You Notes
Lesa Howard
  • Thank you, “I’m sorry I was writing dialogue in my head,” for continuing to do the job when using you as an excuse for ignoring my husband.
  • Thank you, Microsoft Word, for pointing out when I misspell vaccuumm but completely ignoring mall when I meant maul.
  • Thank you, e-books, for making it possible to share my book with more readers while pulling my hair out learning your endless choice of formats.
  • Thank you, blogs, for your SEO, trackbacks, and meta crap that give me a lovely migraine.
  • Thank you, social media, for never acknowledging my existence.
  • Thank you, television writers, movie directors, and actors in general, for your cool last names that roll with the credits, yet I can never remember a single one when trying to come up with a good character name.
  • Thank you, Goodreads, for reminding me that I don’t read fast enough.
  • Thank you, Amazon, for putting my best review at the bottom of the list—where no one ever goes.
  • Thank you, best sellers list, for reminding me I have not yet arrived.
  • Finally, thank you, Jimmy Fallon, for another sarcastic way to express myself.


About the author: 
Lesa Howard lives in the greater Houston area where she works as a writer-in-residence for the nonprofit organization Writers in the Schools, but her students know her as Lesa Boutin. Lesa was passionate about writing for teens before it was even labeled Young Adult, and her latest YA novel is PHANTOM’S DANCE, which is a modern retelling of Gaston Leroux’s PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. She has two books written under the name Lesa Boutin: AMANDA NOBLE, ZOOKEEPER EXTRAORDINAIRE, and AMANDA NOBLE, SPECIAL AGENT. Visit Lesa at or contact her at


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Blog Tour: Francesca of Lost Nation by Lucinda Sue Crosby (spotlight, guest post, giveaway)


Francesca.Lost.Nation.Cover.FNLFrancesca of Lost Nation
written by Lucinda Sue Crosby
published by Luckycinda

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: When a mysterious man named Matthew appears in the small Iowa town of Lost Nation, his sudden arrival raises questions about his past. Quiet with an apparent taste for rum, Matthew makes it clear he doesn’t want to make friends. He isn’t too pleased to be dropped off at Home Farm where the independent and eccentric Francesca doesn’t accept bad manners or booze binges.

Matthew doesn’t want to form personal ties and intends to move on as soon as his damaged leg from a recent plane crash heals. But a series of events draw him into reluctant relationships: One with the feisty Francesca, the second with her 10-year-old granddaughter Sarah.

In spite of her own reservations, Francesca finds herself falling for this brooding pilot but his past looms between the pair and what neither knows is that Sarah, Francesca’s 10-year-old granddaughter, has encountered a stranger of her own … leading to a climatic confrontation that will put her and her grandmother’s life in danger.


Two of the questions I am asked most frequently by readers of Francesca of Lost Nation are: A) How long did it take you to write this novel? And B) How did you decide to write this particular story?

Answer to #A – From the first line typed onto the first page until eventual publication took a mere 17 years. The actual writing of this book took a matter of 6 to 9 months but so much else goes into publication. In fact, getting the original story down on paper was the easy part.

I edited the book as well as I could shortly after finishing it and then submitted it to agents and publishing houses. But honestly, it wasn’t in a proper state at that time. So, life took over and I tucked it away for YEARS. Then, in 2006, I was hired as a reporter by Managing Editor Laura Dobbins for a small California Daily newspaper and she became a champion of my writing. In fact, she hired me on the strength of one investigative story I pitched and wrote for her (called “Dream Jobs?”) even though I hadn’t finished college and had never taken a journalism class or a writing class. With her coaching, I won 10 journalism awards and helped propel the paper to its highest ever circulation numbers in two decades. Mote: One of the articles I was honored for was that very first spec piece.

As I grew to trust Laura’s judgment and skill set (she has won 19 journalism awards), I showed her the manuscript of  Francesca of Lost Nation and, over an 18-month period, she led me through three rewrites and a polish, which I accomplished before and after work and on weekends when I wasn’t working. By this time, I had been hired away from the paper by the regional water district and was creating the position of Conservation Coordinator.

Now, Francesca of Lost Nation has been loaded tens of thousands of times and has won 5 literary awards. Thank you Laura! (She and I have a book packaging and marketing business now.)

Answer to #B – Growing up, I was surrounded by amazing and gifted storytellers – family friends, relatives, TV jingle writers, actors, musicians, comedians, even a few Cal Tech professors … well, you get the picture. But the most fascinating woman I have ever met was my own grandmother, Frances Ella Mendenhall. In real life (and much like the novel’s protagonist), Frances was a pro caliber poker player, a county fair race car driver who never lost a race and the first woman in her college to attend college. The flesh and blood woman was always well ahead of her time, a daring and unconventional human being. I sat at her feet for hours and listened to tales about her life in small town Iowa. She was also my best friend and she supported me through a violent and often chaotic childhood.

How could you not write a novel about a woman like that?


About the author: Lucinda Sue Crosby is an International Kindle Bestselling author and award-winning journalist and environmentalist as well as a published and recorded Nashville songwriter. She’s also a former film and television actor, professional athlete and sports commentator. Lucinda Sue has always had a love affair with the written word.


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Spotlight: Open My Eyes by Jennifer Collin (guest post)

open my eyesOpen My Eyes
written by Jennifer Collin
published by Jennifer Collin

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

About the book: Everything happens for a reason, they say. And sometimes the reason is you’re stupid and make bad decisions.  Sleeping with her sister’s best friend is one of the dumbest things soon-to-be divorcee Emily Evans has ever done.  But she’s determined to put it behind her and move on.  She’s walked away from her cheating husband, managed to make a new friend, and found herself a real job and somewhere to live so she doesn’t have to couch-surf any more.  Everything should be falling into place but for one problem – there are some mistakes from which you can’t move on.

Meanwhile, Ben Cameron is getting on with his life.  After all, it’s the only thing to do once your heart has been stomped on by the woman of your dreams.  Expanding his business and getting cosy with the girl next door are proving welcome distractions.  He’s even happy to babysit his nephew, as long as he can to hand him back when he’s done!   And thankfully, Emily Evans, the woman with the heavy boots, is avoiding him like the plague.

But Emily can’t avoid him forever, and when she drops a bombshell that turns Ben’s world upside-down, suddenly, getting on with his life takes on a whole new meaning.


My Top 5 Favourite Disney Princesses


Being a mother of two young daughters is wonderful. Sure, there are days when I feel like Miss Hannigan from Annie, dripping with little girls, but for the most part, raising daughters gives me a chance to relive my own childhood. Only this time it’s better, ’cause it’s not the 1980’s anymore.

Among my favourite things about the modern childhood are the new breed of Disney princesses. Today’s princesses are less about waiting for their prince to come, and more about going after what they want. Like the characters of much contemporary women’s fiction, they are searching for personal fulfilment, which, in my view, makes them okay role models for my little girls.

I feel I know these princesses pretty well. I’ve spent several hours (days really, if you add it all up) with them while my kids watch their movies on repeat. I thought I’d share my favourites with you, including what I love about them.

Here are my Top 5:

  1. Rapunzel (Tangled)

I mostly love Rapunzel because she’s goofy, funny and full of life. She’s also quite courageous. Despite having no contact with the outside world (let’s not psychoanalyse it!), Rapunzel is resourceful enough to go after what she wants. She’s also vulnerable, and pursuing her dreams is not an easy thing to do. Her self-doubt slows her down a little, but once she casts it aside, she embraces her adventure with an enthusiasm that’s hard to ignore. Just ask Maximus.

Rapunzel is a great heroine and Flynn Rider, as the loveable rouge, is a great hero. This kind of story, where two people find themselves together on an unexpected quest, is my favourite kind of rom com.

  1. Tiana (The Princess and the Frog)

Tiana is another heroine who finds herself on an unexpected adventure with a stranger. With Tiana and Prince Naveen, their initial dislike for each other adds an extra bit of spice. Where Rapunzel is goofy, Tiana is focussed, ambitious and disciplined.  Like Rapunzel, Tiana is resourceful and able to deal with whatever obstacles get thrown in her path. I love her for her resilience and take no cr@p attitude, and I love they way she brings out the best in Naveen, simply by being herself. It’s another thing she has in common with Rapunzel.

  1. Elsa (Frozen)

Elsa is the kind of tortured character I read about while I was studying English Literature at university. I used to gorge on these characters, I loved nothing more than being unable to see the last few pages of a book through my tears. Then I had daughters and suddenly I wanted the world to be all sunshine and roses. I’d indulged in enough misery, it was time for some balance.

Elsa is a complex character. She’s a loyal and obedient child who respects her parents, even though shutting herself away and denying her gift causes her so much pain. At her coronation she is classy and poised, still the dutiful daughter, still respecting her parents. My heart breaks for her and she takes me back to the tears.

And then, when she stamps her foot on the North Mountain, casts aside the shackles of her duty and embraces what makes her truly amazing, oh my… she destroys me every time. My heart sings and and I have a good old snot cry, which to my relief, is completely baffling for my kids. Thank goodness they don’t yet understand the thrill of liberation!

To me, Elsa is a poster child for every woman who’s been told she should behave a certain way and live a certain kind of life, when she is capable of more than those trying to box her in could ever imagine.

  1. Merida (Brave)

Merida’s a slightly different kettle of fish. Sure, like Elsa, she has a parent trying to box her in, teach her the ‘proper’ way to behave, but her problem is the opposite of Elsa’s. Merida hasn’t been locked away, repressing her gifts, she’s been out there honing them. She’s courageous and fiery. She’s got so much spunk, she’s kinda intimidating. Some days, my stubborn uncompromising six year old reminds me of Merida, and believe me, for a mother, that is scary.

  1. Belle (Beauty and the Beast)

Belle’s a bookworm, so of course she makes the list. Like Elsa, Belle is also dutiful, she lives her provincial life because she’s a good daughter and will do anything for her father. Although Belle’s not actively searching for anything, she’d much rather just escape into a good book, she’s finds her courage and resourcefulness when she needs to. She’s got great self respect and she stands up to the Beast when he’s raging at her. He’s not a loveable rogue like Flynn and Naveen, but Belle digs deep and brings out the best in him. If she does only marry him for that library, as the memes suggest, well then … good for her!


These are my top five, but as there are only really two others I like, honourable mentions go to both Anna from Frozen and Giselle from Enchanted. These two are the wise-eyed innocents who fall for the wrong guy but find the right one where they least expect him. Emily, in my latest book, Open My Eyes, is a lot like these two, only she went so far as to marry the wrong guy. Lucky for her, Mr Right is right under her nose, if only she could see him.

They also remind me a little of Bridget Jones, especially Anna, who, like Rapunzel, is a little on the goofy side. Would you agree? Who else do the Disney princesses remind you of? And which are your favourites? I’d love to hear!


jennifer collinAbout the author: Jennifer Collin writes quirky, and sometimes gritty, love stories about ordinary people dealing with what life throws at them.  She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, two noisy children and a cantankerous cat.  She used to party, but now her idea of a good time is an uninterrupted sleep.  These days, her characters do her partying for her, and she doesn’t necessarily let them sleep.

Find Ms. Collin here: web, Facebook, Twitter, GoodreadsPinterest





Blog Tour: Don’t Fall by Rachel Schieffelbein (spotlight, guest post, giveaway)

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Dont-Fall-Rachel-SchieffelbeinDon’t Fall
written by Rachel Schieffelbein
published by Swoon Romance

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: In which a teenage girl endures the over-protective love of her adoptive mother until she falls for a boy who has her wanting to spread her wings, pitched as a contemporary retelling of RAPUNZEL

Seventeen-year-old Anya leads a very secluded life in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother. She doesn’t go to school, but instead has a private tutor. Her over-protective mom keeps her so sheltered that she doesn’t even have a best friend.

But Anya doesn’t seem to mind. She has her books, her photography, and her daydreams, and would do anything to please her mom. Until one day at the library, the only place she’s allowed to go, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy.

Before long she’s lying to her mom, and sneaking out late at night to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she will have to risk her relationship with the only other person she’s ever cared about.


Thank you so much for taking part in the blog tour, and having me today!

I had two novellas published in the last year, but Don’t Fall is my first novel. It’s very exciting, and still a bit surreal. When I think that there are people out in the world, who I’ve never met, reading things I wrote, characters I created, it’s almost unbelievable!

I’ve always enjoyed writing. I remember attending The Young Writer’s conference as a kid, a program set up through school. It was amazing meeting all these writers, and learning more about how they do what they do. But even then I don’t think it was something I ever thought I could really do. It was too big, like imagining you could become an actress or a football player.

It wasn’t until I was an adult, with kids of my own, that I decided to try to write something and send it out into the world. And it was a few years after that when I got online and connected with other writers, and my writing improved immensely. If I hadn’t done that, I don’t think I ever would have gotten here. Connecting with other writers is so very important.

Even when I was writing and querying there was always a part of me that thought it would never really happen. And I think a lot of writers feel that way. But if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that if you commit yourself to writing you can achieve publication. If you keep writing, keep reading, listen and learn from other writers, and are willing to chop up what you write and do what you need to do to improve it, you will get published. It will probably take more time than you’d like, but waiting is a huge part of this business. (And that doesn’t change ever, as far as I can tell.)

So keep working, keep writing, and don’t give up on your dreams!

don't fall guest post picture


rachel run for rosesAbout the author: Rachel grew up in a tiny town in Minnesota. She still lives there, with her husband and their four kids. She coaches high school speech and theater, rides Arabian horses, reads as much as she can, and writes stories.


Find Ms. Schieffelbein here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads


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