Review: The Heirs

Synopsis:

Brilliantly wrought, incisive, and stirring, The Heirs tells the story of an upper-crust Manhattan family coming undone after the death of their patriarch. Six months after Rupert Falkes dies, leaving a grieving widow and five adult sons, an unknown woman sues his estate, claiming she had two sons by him. The Falkes brothers are pitched into turmoil, at once missing their father and feeling betrayed by him. 
In disconcerting contrast, their mother, Eleanor, is cool and calm, showing preternatural composure. Eleanor and Rupert had made an admirable life together — Eleanor with her sly wit and generosity, Rupert with his ambition and English charm — and they were proud of their handsome, talented sons: Harry, a brash law professor; Will, a savvy Hollywood agent; Sam, an astute doctor and scientific researcher; Jack, a jazz trumpet prodigy; Tom, a public-spirited federal prosecutor. 
The brothers see their identity and success as inextricably tied to family loyalty – a loyalty they always believed their father shared. Struggling to reclaim their identity, the brothers find Eleanor’s sympathy toward the woman and her sons confounding. Widowhood has let her cast off the rigid propriety of her stifling upbringing, and the brothers begin to question whether they knew either of their parents at all. 
A riveting portrait of a family, told with compassion, insight, and wit, The Heirs wrestles with the tangled nature of inheritance and legacy for one unforgettable, patrician New York family. Moving seamlessly through a constellation of rich, arresting voices, The Heirs is a tale out Edith Wharton for the 21st century. 
Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Heirs by Susan Rieger is an exciting tale. Thrilling to read and follow along. The characters provide a variety of entertainment for readers like myself to love. Bold, daring, and fast-paced. Betrayal, secrets, and family complications. Two brothers are struggling with new events causing their family to tumble. I was deeply impressed with the writing style of this writer. Susan Riegerknows how to create a world of fiction that has a needy combination that intrigues and leaves readers guessing. Well-told. I recommend this new adventure to readers everywhere. 

Review: Dead Time

Synopsis:

If someone took everything you live for, how far would you go to get it back?
From award-winning author D. L. ORTON comes book three in the Between Two Evils series…
Shannon fights to stay alive inside a rogue biodome and discovers something totally unexpected… Peter. Lani is forced into the role of the reluctant heroine but rediscovers her street-kid mojo and sets out to find everything she’s lost. Diego receives another dirty sock (and a note) from the poorly aimed fireball express: “The window between universes is closing.” If Diego has any hope of getting back to Iz, he must get to the Magic Kingdom and power up the time machine before it’s too late. 
What could possibly go wrong?
Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Dead Time by DL Orton is book three to an entertaining series. Cleverly written by the award-winning writer. I can see why…her talent shines forth on each page. The plot grabs my attention. Leaving alert for what may come next. Fast-paced, edgy, and thrilling to read. Dead Time takes readers from their seats and sends them forth into the book. I was hooked. DL Orton has once more captured my interest. Her latest novel is a fantasy time-travel adventure that snatches readers up….overall, I recommend this novel to all. 

Review: Duke with Benefits

Synopsis:

LADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE?
Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher—an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches—Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist.

Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

“Witty, sensual historical romance that will captivate readers.” —Romance Junkies
Duke with Benefits is the second in Manda Collins’ Studies in Scandal series set in Regency England.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins is a brilliant historical. Manda Collins has a lot to offer readers in this exciting tale. From a strong heroine with a stunning mathematical mind to a good looking Duke. Both travel together to solve a mystery that the Duke’s dead aunt left behind for them all. A cipher most wanted by all. If uncoded, can lead to a massive amount of gold that in the wrong hands can led to a war. But that’s not all. A spy once for the government is after the cipher. One person has died, another struggling to live, and two are kiddnapped. The action, intrigue, and suspense are worthy for all. I couldn’t stop reading this engaging romance. The heat level was enticing…I loved the Duke and his soon to be wife. But first he’ll have to convince her marriage to him is what she wants and needs. Overall, Duke with Benefits is addictive. I recommend it to readers worldwide. 

Review: How to Keep a Knight

Synopsis:

Laws were always meant to be broken… 

Want to know the truth about Lady Matilda St. Clair? 
Well, there are two things she is not: 

She is not a lady. 

She is not Matilda St. Clair. 
So, who is she? 
She is Eudora ‘Dorie’ Gore, the daughter of London’s most legendary criminal, Captain James Gore, and she’s on the run from herself. 

For the last few years, she’s lived under the guise of Lady St. Claire, but everything begins to unravel when she meets her match. 
…Hearts were made to be mended… Together 
Sir John Abrams is known by the public as Sir Blackheart, the notorious knight-turned-thief who stole right from under the king’s nose. 

He was sentenced to Australia because of a lie created by Captain Gore, but escaped to the Continent. 
Now…he’s back to clear his name. 

For himself and for a little niece he’d never known was counting on him. 
And he’ll need help. 
But when help comes in the form of a woman who’s as beautiful as she is mysterious, John finds himself adding something to his list. 
Find out who the real Lady St. Clair is…and steal her heart. 
Will their adventure end in triumph? 

Can John and Dorie find a way to leave their past behind to forge a new future together? 
Rating: 5-stars

Review:

How to Keep a Knight by Eleanor Meyers is another brilliant masterpiece. I cannot fathom how she does it, but each of her books is superb. The writing is well-done. The charcaters are believable and highly entertaining. Never a dull moment. These two characters are not exactly good nor evil. They have a past they seems to keep following them. I was immediately enticed by their passion, fierce personalities and their troubles. It was easy to love them. Sympathy towards them happened. I wanted to see where their lives were headed. Wondered if their situations got fixed or were made worse. Eleanor Meyers hooked me from the beginning to end. This new regency romance was delightful to read. Full of action, daring, a clean yet boldness that left me in awe. Overall, this is clearly one adventure I highly recommend to all. 

Review: The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories



Synopsis:

Jacey met the man of her dreams a year ago—and hasn’t seen him since. Finally relocating him as the pastor at her best friend’s wedding was the very last thing she expected.

A year ago, Jacey was trapped on a rooftop during a flood with perfect strangers, including a family and a man named Colin. After two days there together, she had no doubt that Colin was the man of her dreams. When they were finally rescued he tucked his phone number into her pocket. But an accident with the rescue boat left her hospitalized with amnesia and PTSD . . . and his number nowhere to be found.

Now, Jacey has still only recovered bits and pieces of her memory from that time. She clearly remembers Colin—but not his last name or any other details that would help her locate him. She’s trying to immerse herself in the joy of her best friend’s wedding . . . when she looks up at the end of the aisle only to discover Colin there in the minister’s role. Shock is an understatement.

On one hand, she’s elated to see him again. And then reality sets in. She never intended to get married or have kids. And being a minister’s wife was definitely never on her list. Was Colin not the man she thought he was? Or has the amnesia changed her more than she realized?

With the typical wit and honesty Celeste Fletcher McHale is becoming known for, it’s time for Jacey to take a fresh look at her life. Could this string of unexpected events have been setting her up for something far better than what she had planned for herself?

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories by Celeste Fletcher McHale is an enchanting tale. Love is a powerful thing, if we leapt it into our lives. Jacey isn’t sure about love. Yet life has offered her the opportunity to take it. First, she must find courage in herself. Or else lose what could have been…

Celeste Fletcher McHale has combined fear, love, faith, and hope into a masterpiece. The outcome is phenomenal. I felt sadness, fear, and hope. The main character struggles each day and little by little she transforms into a braver woman. The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories is indeed a perfect read for all. Especially, women. Memories and feelings come out and it’s up to Jacey to decide what will come. Overall, I recommend this beautifully written novel to readers worldwide. 

Review: Cradle Gift




Synopsis:

On the day she was born, Maite received a cradle gift from the faery Nahia-a gift that allows her to travel into other worlds while in a dream state.

At seventeen, Maite’s mortal world is torn apart with the tragic loss of her parents. Uprooted from the only home she’s ever known and isolated in a foreign country, the young woman struggles to make sense of her new life. But the conflict in the realm of Faery is about to bleed over into Maite’s reality. She finds herself in the middle of an ancient struggle between Nahia and the Beautiful One as they furiously clash for control over the realm.

Through her Cradle Gift, Maite uncovers the extent of the Faery Realm’s involvement in her life, and in her quest to come to terms with it, Maite has the help of best friend Emily, and David; a young man whose interest in genetics illuminates possibilities that will change her identity forever.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Cradle Gift by Patricia Bossano is the second novel in this exciting YA series. This second fantasy book, was magical. The writing was well done. The characters popped out of the pages. Engaging scenes that carried many themes like loss, friendship, and courage. Cradle Gift sends readers like myself deep into the plot. The troubles are only just beginning….a young seventeen-year-old girl has a gift that will spin her entire world out of order. Maite’s two worlds are about to clash and it will soon involve a long struggle that will try tearing her apart. The ending was epic…I can’t get enough of this talented writer’s world of fiction. Her characters will never be forgotten. Overall, I highly recommend the Cradle Gift to all. 

Review: The Child

Synopsis:

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Child by Fiona Barton is a deep chilling read. After reading The Widow, I found this one to be more exciting. As with the previous novel, the pacing starts out slow and then slightly builds with a fierce intensity. The plot hooked me. I was fascinated to find out who the baby was and how it got there, as well as why. Fiona Barton has a way with adding suspense to every page. The further I read, the more intrigued I was. The story was believable. Entertaining, well-written, and complicated. The main character, Kate will find out more than she planned to…overall, I enjoyed reading this latest novel. I recommend The Child to readers everywhere. 

How growing up in a female-dominated family influenced my stories, characters, and the overall inspiration for writing the Fair Fae Trilogy.” By Patricia Bossano





How growing up in a female-dominated family influenced my stories, characters, and the overall inspiration for writing the Fair Fae Trilogy. ” 

By Patricia Bossano

In general English, Matriarchy is a form of social organization in which descent and relationship are reckoned through the female line. It is also defined as a social system in which females hold primary power, predominate in roles of leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

Present day matriarchal societies include: the Mosuo (near the border of Tibet), the Minangkabau of Indonesia, the Akan people of Ghana, the Bribri in Costa Rica, to name a few, but there are also the legendary Amazons, scores of fabled early feminists, mythological sisterhoods, and of course, Faerie, which in my opinion is the ultimate form of a matriarchal clan.
Each community of troop faeries is ruled by a Faery Queen, the first of them originating in Italy—where the sun is said to shine at its loveliest. From there they spread to different parts of the world during the expansion of the Roman Empire, seeking remote locations to set up their underground realms, learning the language of their host countries and adopting the more intriguing customs practiced there, as an act of silent diplomacy.

Being that the smallest structure of society is a family unit, I looked to my own in order to write what I know. On my mother’s side, women are in the majority so I say the beauty, the experiences, and the paradoxical personalities of the females in my family, directly influenced me and inspired the magic of Faery Sight, Cradle Gift and Nahia—true story!

Through my novels, I hope to give you a heartfelt snapshot of the life-journey of my characters who, like me, are part of a grand matriarchal clan celebrating not only the onward, dynamic spirit of the family but also the magical relationship between mothers, daughters and sisters. My dreams of publication became a reality through their support and encouragement, so in return, I feel compelled to be at best, an inspiration to them, and at a minimum, a source of entertainment.
I’m doing my utmost to paint for them a realistic picture of the magical world inside of us—the realm of faerie is the place where mundane abilities can be magnified through perspective and attitude. Sure, a full-fledged faery can fly and shape shift at will, but there is no less magic in the human dimension—I think faerie is an achievable state of being we can aspire to. In the human dimension, our spirits can soar and we may reinvent ourselves as we navigate each day. Buoyed by confidence, we are driven to accomplish ordinary feats and transform them into astonishing ones—such as waking up in the morning with a word of gratitude to the cosmos, thus creating a positive mood for the day ahead. Simply smiling to cause your brain to release endorphins, because we all know how life-altering those little neurotransmitters are…

Clean out your desktop and see how clearheaded you feel afterward—seriously, Feng Shui is practical magic at its best!
Whenever I feel discouraged and like I’m a rookie at life, I choose to see the ordinary as extraordinary and focus on the brightest aspect of any given situation. That seemingly insignificant shift in attitude gives me the satisfaction of knowing I’m doing the right thing, which in turn makes me smile (see above for what smiling does), and enthusiasm bubbles up inside me.

I believe faeries are due to surface all over the planet as nurturing forces of creation and restoration. I think my troop of full-blooded, hybrid fairies is part of a worldwide movement to explore the new, unlearn some of the old, and carry on with heightened awareness.

Review: Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove




Synopsis:
A second chance by the sea?

When Kiki Jackson’s marriage falls to pieces, there’s only one place that she knows she can escape to – her sister’s little guesthouse in Butterfly Cove.
But she’s worried that turning up on bride-to-be Mia’s doorstep, especially with her two adorable children in tow, will spoil her sister’s imminent wedding plans!
Luckily, handsome neighbour Aaron Spenser offers to share his new cottage with Kiki until she’s back on her feet. And as the wedding draws closer, Kiki realises that Butterfly Cove may be offering her little family more than just a new home…
Maybe this is where her new life begins…?
An uplifting and heartwarming read, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove by Sarah Bennett is a delightful and engaging read. I was impressed with the writer’s talent. I laughed so hard and felt sympathy for the main charcater, Kiki. Kiki is a fictional charcater but one that readers like myself can relate to…I never went through some of the things Kiki did but I totally understood the family and relationship issues. Sarah Bennett created a hilarious, sweet, but believable tale. Her plot holds a lot. A divorce in the works, a lying slash cheating husband, kids who were sad, and a broken family. Plus, broken hearts that needed healing. Kiki’ children are the sweetest. My heart instantly melted for them. Then, with her bravery of leaving the abusive relationship behind, I applauded her. She went from being abused to being independent and strong. The transformation was slow but beautiful. Then, there was the handsome stranger working for Kiki’s sister, Aaron. Aaron, instantly let Kiki and her kids live in his cottage. He never met them yet what he did won me over…a blossoming romance on the horizon, a meddling older sweet woman, and a family that might just get mended. Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove has it all. It was an emotional journey I’ll never forget. Overall, I highly recommend Sarah Bennett’s novel to all. 

Review: The Dream Keeper’s Daughter

Synopsis:

An archaeologist discovers her presumed-missing boyfriend is trapped more than a hundred years in the past—a love story that transcends time and place, from the author of the New York Times bestseller The Memory Thief.
Eight years after the unsolved disappearance of her boyfriend Max Adair, archaeologist Isabel Griffin has managed to move on and rebuild her life with her young daughter, Finn, her last tie to Max. But after a series of strange incidents, Isabel begins to wonder if Max might still be alive somewhere, trying to communicate with her. She has no idea that the where isn’t the problem—it’s the when. Max has slipped through time and place, landing on his ancestral family plantation in 1816 Barbados, on the eve of a historic slave uprising. As Isabel searches for answers, Max must figure out not only how to survive the violence to come, but how to get back to his own century, the woman he loves, and the daughter he has only ever met in his dreams. 

Rating: 3.5-stars

Review

The Dream Keeper’s Daughter by Emily Colin is an enjoyable fantasy. The pacing is a bit slow at the beginning but otherwise a great read. Time-travel, dreams, and an engaging plot line kept me reading this book. I was intrigued by the archaeologist’s journey to finding answers as well as her boyfriend’s situation. Max Adair is stuck trying to figure his way back home to Isabel Griffin and their daughter. The suspense slightly builds into a climax causing an edge of the seat moment. Romantic, entertaining, and charming. The Dream Keeper’s Daughter is an emotional fascinating tale. I recommend it to others. 

Review: Faery Sight

Synopsis:

The realm of faery is breached and for the first time, Celeste comes face to face with a human. He strikes her as an extraordinary specimen and although they have yet to speak, her heart is racing. But Paloma, Celeste’s mother, is on her deathbed and before she breathes her last, the gruesome circumstances of Celeste’s birth are revealed, thus establishing the reasons why Celeste must leave the realm – her home. Grieving for her mother and dreading her inevitable entry into a world she knows is led by a woman bent on destroying her, Celeste yearns for one more glimpse of that handsome intruder.
Displeased with Celeste’s foolish longings, Nahia, Celeste’s birth sister, reminds her of a certain arrangement, also disclosed by Paloma, which means that when Celeste reenters the human world she views as contemptible, she will do so as the bride of a complete stranger.
Celeste has never been one to shirk or delay, but she won’t allow her romantic hopes to be dashed. She is compelled to fulfill the promise made to her dying mother, and she must satisfy Nahia, but above all, she must be free to give her heart to whomever she pleases.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Faery Sight by Patricia Bossano is one of the most fascinating YA reads, I’ve ever read. The book was deeply engaging from the start. I love it when novels suck me into their characters’ lives. Here, I met an interesting young lady, Celeste. She knows of the Faery world. A world must humans aren’t aware of…then her world turns crazy. Her mother tells her shocking things and now, it’s up to Celeste to choose her destiny. Rich, entertaining, and epic. This story has it a lot to offer. Righting wrongs, chasing down a sorceress, and returning back to a Faery world to claim the place as a rightful heir. Themes like loss, grief, love, and courage are found within the  novel. The charcaters both bad and good make this a must read. I felt like I was really there experiencing it all first hand. Well-told. Patricia Bossano has cleverly peaked my interest with her writing. I can’t wait to read more by her. Overall, I recommend Faery Sight to readers worldwide. 

Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Side of the Trap

Synopsis:

Take a journey inside the pleasurable wickedness called trapping. As Big O, the leader of the Waverly Street Mafia strives to take his team to the top of the game. Things are looking good for the Waverly Street Mafia, until the King of heroin in Killumbia S.C. Bo hears that their doing business without dealing exclusively with him. Feeling disrespected, Bo devises a plan to knock the Waverly Street Mafia out of the game. The mafia is not easily shaken, which leads to Bo becoming more ruthless. 

Bo thinks he’s got away with murder, but karma always has the last say so… 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Side of the Trap by Town Head is full of criminal activity. They say karma is a bitch and so it is…Bo will soon learn that. The entire novel contains adult content so, I highly recommend those 18 and above to read this. Town Head has brought an urban street fiction to life. The rivalry, crime, hatred, and war are found on these pages. Lust, greed, and drugs too. Inside, readers will find an intriguing yet deadly tale. The charcaters are  believable. Their situations are realistically caught by this writer. I haven’t read any of Town Head’s previous work but this novel was good. It had all the elements and more. 

May 2017 Issue is Released!

11 five-star reviews and ratings! Thank you to those who have left reviews. If you haven’t already, please, post your review!

Link to the issue can be found on our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/danielle.urban2/posts/1541156829242202

Free for those with Kindle Unlimited!

Only 99 cents on Amazon! 

Review: A Sky Full of Stars




Synopsis:

The stars are about to align in the newest Shaughnessy brothers romance!
WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE

Brilliant astrophysicist Dr. Owen Shaughnessy feels more connected to the cosmos than to people. He’s great with calculations, but when he leads a team of scientists to study a famous meteor shower, he doesn’t factor in his free-spirited artist assistant Brooke Matthews.
LOVE CAN DAZZLE YOU

Polar opposites in personality, the friction between them threatens to derail the project. But the beauty and mystery of the night sky draw Owen and Brooke together—and she’s going to surprise him in ways the stars never could.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

A Sky Full of Stars by Samantha Chase is another brilliant masterpiece. Once again, this talented writer, has brought me to tears. Her story is full of emeotions that pulled at my heart strings. Sad, hilarious, frustrated and loved. A book that made readers feel something is a book worth reading. A Sky Full of Stars has it all. 

Inside this latest novel, Samantha Chase features the brainiac brother. Dr. Own Shaughnessy. He’s hot, clever, and the sweetest man ever. But little by little, I got to view his bolder side. His personality is one that intrigued me. All his life, his family stood up for me. Telling him,,he’s normal. When everyone else said differently. As an adult a lot of that feeling of not being normal transferred over…making it harder for Dr. Owen to believe in himself. Yet, his family continued to tell him he’s perefect. I love the Shaughnessy family. Yes, they’re loud and different, but they’re loyal. They love each other. 

A Sky Full of Stars is about Dr. Owen finding the courage to believe that he’s perfect the way he is. That’s he’s normal. It’s a real struggle for the man whose so talented. Then, as the plot unfolds, his world gets shaken. Enter Brooke Matthews. A girl trained for beauty pageants. Together their lives will be rocky. As in the real world nothing comes easy…these two will cry, laugh, love, and fight. I enjoyed watching them grow. Also, themes of loss, love, and courage are found on every page. Overall, I highly recommend A Sky Full of Stars to all. 

Author Interview: Samantha Chase

 

ULM: What was your inspiration for creating the Shaugnessy Brothers? 

 

I had been reading Bella Andre’s Sullivan’s series and loved it. When my agent asked me to come up with a series after the Montgomerys, I knew I wanted something similar to what Bella had created.

 

ULM: How many books have you written so far?

 

I have written 55 books total J But I have written all 6 of the Shaughnessy books and there is a possibility of a 7th, but that will be it for that series.

 

ULM: If you’re single and could date any one of the brothers, which one would you choose? 

 

I am a happily married woman. However…let’s just say – hypothetically – that I am single. It would still be a hard choice because there are characteristics of each brother that I find appealing personally. It would be a draw between Quinn and Riley!

 

 

ULM: Do you have any other works planned after A Sky Full of Stars, if so can you share with us, readers?

 

How long is this article? Lol! Okay, I pretty much have my releases scheduled all the way through the end of 2019! Here’s what the next nine months looks like:

 

A Sky Full of Stars (Shaughnessy 5)​​- June 2017

Complicating (Preston’s Mill 3)​​- July 2017

Holiday Spice (Shaughnessy 6)​​​​- October 2017

Christmas Novella (Silver Bell Falls/untitled) ​​- November 2017

Ford (7 Brides for 7 Soldiers)​​​​​- December 2017

One More Promise (Band on the Run 2)​​​- February 2018

 

 

ULM: Out of the many novels you have written in the past, which one is your most favorite?

 

Oh, that’s hard to say! The Christmas Cottage is one of them because it’s been optioned by the Hallmark Channel to become a movie and that was my dream for it almost since it was published. But I don’t have just one favorite. I can probably say the top three (lol!): Stay with Me (Montgomery #3), A Sky Full of Stars (Shaughessy #5) and One More Promise (Band on the Run #2).

 

ULM: Using only three words, how would you describe your writing style?

 

Chatty, informal, fluent.

I think. Lol!

 

ULM: What was it like writing your latest book, A Sky Full of Stars?

 

I had a lot of fun writing this book because I was looking forward to it for so long. Owen Shaughnessy was an interesting character to create and I knew that once he had his own story, I could do so much more to flesh him out. You’ve seen him in the four previous books and he was the kind of character that piqued reader’s curiosity and I wanted to do him justice. So I had intended for this book to really have the potential for some humor and lightness – for Owen to learn to laugh at himself a bit – but what came out was a very emotional and deep book that I just love. It took me by surprise and I love when that happens – when I start out in one direction and then the characters take me someplace else.

 

 

ULM: When did you publish your very first novel? Which novel was that?

 

I self-published my first book in November of 2011. I had spent years writing it and I had submitted it to about two dozen publishers and agents and after about sixteen rejections, I realized that I was not someone who handled rejection well. Jordan’s Return was the book of my heart and I knew that I wanted to see it in print so I decided to self-publish. I knew nothing about the process or about marketing and promoting, so that book only sold about 30 copies in the first year – and most of that was to family and friends!

 

ULM: You mentioned teaching creative writing to elementary students. Describe that experience.

 

I always loved to write. I homeschooled my older son from fourth grade through twelfth. I was involved in several co-ops and always volunteered to teach creative writing. I’ve taught students from fifth grade through high school and it was the greatest experience! It was the high school students who really encouraged me to take the leap and self-publish! They were all doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and had paperback copies of their books that they showed me and I thought “I can do that!”. I loved encouraging my students to get their thoughts down on paper. And the ones who started the class saying that they hated to write or they weren’t good at it, ended up being some of my favorite students and the best writers! The key? Write about something that you love. Once they had that choice, the rest was easy.

 

 

ULM: How did you come with Dr. Owen Shaughnessy’s career as an astrophysicist?

 

I’m a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory and thought that having Owen be some sort of scientist would be a great distinction in a family like the Shaughnessys.

 

ULM: When does the sixth novel in The Shaughnessy Brothers series come out? Can you briefly tell us what that will be about?

 

Holiday Spice is Darcy Shaughnessys story and it comes out this October! She has been another interesting character and we’ve essentially watched her grow up a bit throughout the series. She’s sassy and independent and as much as she complains about her over-protective brothers, she simply adores her family. In the book, she gets snowed in with a very talented artist (he does wood sculpting) and he is a complete loner. He lives up in the mountains in Washington and loves his solitude. Obviously things get romantic while they’re snowed in and once Darcy leaves to go back to North Carolina and her family, they have to figure out if this is a relationship that can continue.

  

ULM: When did you start writing? Did you always have a love for creative writing?

 

I wrote my first short story in the third grade. It was for an assignment and that was the thing that told me that writing was a passion. I hand-wrote my first romance in the ninth grade. Then I didn’t write again until I was in my thirties! It was a hobby for me, an outlet, and I started writing because I couldn’t find anything to read that I wanted! So you know the saying “Write the book you want to read!” And I did. I probably still have the binder with maybe fifteen different stories in various stages of completion hiding around here somewhere. I may pull it out eventually and see if any of those stories can be finished.

 

ULM: What is your advice to those pursuing a career an a writer? 

 

Write what you LOVE. Don’t write to the trends!

 

 

ULM: How would you describe each of the Shaughnessy brothers using only one word?

 

Aidan: Caretaker

Hugh: Polished

Quinn: Gruff

Riley: Passionate

Owen: Underestimated

 

 

ULM: Where can readers find both you and your work online?

 

Website:​ www.chasing-romance.com

Facebook:​ www.facebook.com/SamanthaChaseFanClub

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Review: Drama Luau (A Nicky and Noah Mystery)

Synopsis:

Theatre professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls. Things erupt faster than a volcano when Nicky and Noah, along with their best friends Martin and Ruben, try to stage a luau show. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the grass curtain down on male hula dancers—before things go coconuts for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and aloha! 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Drama Luau: A Nicky and Noah Mystery by Joe Cosentino’s is another grand adventure with this stunning pair. Nicky and Noah are two professors who end up solving cases. Wherever these two go, there’s always a murder investigation around the corner. This time, Nicky and Noah are heading on their honeymoon. Both choose Hawaii as their destination. Not only does murder follow them where they go, but there’s always an opportunity for them to perform a show. 

Joe Cosentino’s has once again, brought all of his usual talents with him. Drama Luau is his newest piece to the Nicky and Noah mysteries. A novel that speaks out for the LGBT community. I love reading Joe Cosentino’s work. He always incorporates major themes into his tales. Each theme brings out a real life issue that readers everywhere can relate to immediately. As with his previous novels, this one was just as exciting. Humor filled the pages. Readers will have found adventure, mystery, and romance with every page. Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple. Something about them just lures me further into their story. Funny, clever, and sweet. One teaches fitness the other teaches drama. Their roles as detectives isn’t lost on their friends nor family. I can’t find anything not to love about this series. Especially, Drama Luau. This read had me laughing and falling in love…I was hooked instantly. Overall, I highly recommend Drama Luau to all. 

Review: Rejected Writers Take the Stage

Synopsis:

After months of playing the lottery and hoping for an uptick in her dog-boarding business, Janet’s friend Annie must face the inevitable: the bank is foreclosing on her family farm. But thanks to the Rejected Writers’ Book Club, Annie doesn’t have to face it alone. With just a few weeks to raise the $20,000 that she and her fifty rescue dogs need to avoid becoming homeless, the writers need a fund-raiser, and fast. Much to Janet’s horror, Doris has another crazy plan.

In a moment of inspiration, their fearless leader declares a solution: a musical extravaganza. No one in the group has ever produced a musical, but Doris will not be deterred—they’ll write it together. And with Flora, who has never sung a note in her life, as the lead and Janet as their reluctant director—along with a hypochondriac costume designer, a pyrotechnics enthusiast, and Janet’s very pregnant daughter pitching in—what could possibly go wrong?
To produce a miracle for Annie, Janet and her friends will work around the clock holding auditions, concocting elaborate costumes, and getting a little too close to blowing themselves up—but will it be enough?

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Rejected Writers Take Stage by Suzanne Kelman is a wonderful woman’s fiction piece. The charcaters are charming. There are moments I laughed out loud, worried, and fell in love with this group. A group of writers get together to help one of their own be saved from being homeless. Their actions to save her and the dogs under her care, will be full of drama, flair, and excitement. This book is full of craziness, humor, and friendship. The sense of community in this small-town of theirs was believable. I loved following along. Suzanne Kelman’s writing is entertaining from the start to end. Overall, I recommend it to readers everywhere. 

Review: No One But You



Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes you to Silver Springs, a picturesque small town in Southern California where even the hardest hearts can learn to love again… 
Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn’t enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed—the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options. 
Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he’s innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs. 
As Sadie and Dawson’s professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there’s more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else sees—he has a good heart, one that might even be worth fighting for.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Brenda Novak is one of my favorite writers. Her work is amazing. Each book has a unique story that grabs my heart. This latest novel, No One But You, is part of a new series. Inside, readers will find that it houses many themes. Ranging from marital problems to domestic violence. Plus, a character has been arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. As readers dig further they’ll find demons everywhere. A town so ready to torture an innocent man, another man who is violent to his wife, and a mother trying to survive…

No One But You pulls at the heart. Sent me on an epic emotional journey. One that I won’t ever forget. The charcaters were believable. As for the plot, it was a bit slow in the begging then sped up as the action took over. Dangerous, intriguing, and a bit sad. Brenda Novak creates another opportunity for readers to explore real world issues in a fictional setting. Brilliant and well-told. I recommend this new novel to all. 

Review: The Man Who Walked Out of the Jungle




Synopsis:

April, 1970. Late at night, a mysterious Caucasian emerges from the rain forest north of Saigon. Unexpectedly he encounters a US Army outpost and is killed. Who was he, and why was he alone deep in the jungle? Military investigator George Tanner must find the answers soon––and survive.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Man Who Walked Out of the Jungle by Jeff Wallace is for those who love a good novel about war. Instantly, I was taken into a suspenseful tale with a lingering question that caught my curiosity. My intrigued only peaked further as the pages held my attention. The pacing was a bit lagging but other than that, it was good. The Man Who Walked Out of the Jungle by Jeff Wallace is a military thriller that feels real. Action, adventure, and danger all wrapped in one engaging tale. The plot sent me deep into the investigation of why one man was alone in the jungle. Overall, I recommend this novel written by Jeff Wallace to readers everywhere. 

Review: Grizzly Season 




Synopsis:

The highly anticipated follow-up to SW Lauden’s Bad Citizen Corporation, former Los Angeles police officer Greg Salem and his sidekick Marco escape to a remote cabin in the backend of the Angeles National Forest, only to have their peaceful retreat upturned after stumbling across the marijuana farm operation called Grizzly Flats. When the drug lord Magnus Ursus’ latest marijuana crop leaves Greg’s hometown and closest friends in disarray—setting off a series of explosive scenes including high-speed motorcycle chases, violent porn shoots, high-altitude gun fights, Mexican drug smuggling and murder—Greg is forced out of retirement to avenge his home and save the lives of those closest him.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Grizzly Season by S W Lauden is an exciting adventure. This book has trouble all over it. Inside, I found a retired police officer forced out of retirement because of a lot of mayhem happening within his hometown. A drug lord operating a marijuana farm leaves around a lot of violence. From shootings to car chases, the main charcater, Greg Salem, will have his hands full. Murder investigation and criminal activity makes this a heart racing read. Panic, fear, and deadly situations on every page. I’ve found Grizzly Season to entertaining. Suspenseful and well-developed. Overall, I recommend this hard-billed thriller by S W Lauden to all. 

Review: Jellybeaners

Synopsis:

Jellybeaners is a contemporary novel set in the heart of Appalachia, revealing the money ties, political corruption, wasted lives, and overall cash-churning nature of the prescription pill culture from perspectives spanning both sides of the law.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Jellybeaners by Gene Scott is a great contemporary read. This novel alerts readers to the pill popping issue. What better way to address it than to weave it into a work of fiction…an addiction that continues to haunt our world. Prescription drugs is one of the easy drugs for others to get their hands on…whether it’s over the counter from family members or on the store shelves. The entire plot was believable. Realistic, strong, and held truths. Gene Scott is a writer whose not afraid to lay out the troubles faced in reality. Not many are aware of the prescription pill addictions. I was intrigued by the tale. Overall, I recommend it to readers worldwide. 

Review: Mr. Either Or 

Synopsis:

Aaron Poochigian’s Mr. Either/Or is an ingenious debut, a verse novel melding American mythology, noir thriller, and classical epic into gritty rhythms, foreboding overtones, and groovy jams surrounding the reader in a surreal atmosphere. Imagine Byron’s Don Juan on a high-stakes romp through a Raymond Chandler novel. Think Hamlet in Manhattan with a license to kill.
Aaron Poochigian earned a PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. His book of translations from Sappho, Stung With Love, was published in 2009. The Cosmic Purr, a book of original poetry, was published in 2012.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Mr. Either Or by Aaron Poochigian is quite an interesting read. This novel, is layer out in a unique way. I was hooked. Aaron Poochigian is a talented writer indeed. His protagonist isn’t like most. I loved how the words took me through the book. It was like reading one of my favorite literary novels – tone wise and had the alluring nature of the fictional reads I’ve read and come to love. Each section is intriguing. Readers like myself will drink up this work of fiction. Engaging, well-told, and different. Mr. Either Or is very entertaining from beginning to end. I recommend it to readers worldwide. 

Review: The Darkness 

Synopsis:

A young man is found murdered, his bones crushed nearly to dust before his body was dumped into New York’s East River
In New York there are hundreds of murders a year, but this one is different. Somebody is sending a message. And shockingly, the victim has ties to my brother, Stephen Gaines, recently murdered by an elusive drug lord known only as the Fury.
For years this kingpin has been shrouded in darkness. Stephen was executed just as he was about to shed some light. Working alongside my mentor, Jack O’Donnell, I’m going to find the truth behind this blood-soaked curtain. But the more we reveal, the more we realize just how dark the Fury’s plans are. And that no matter how brutal the violence has been, we haven’t seen anything yet….

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Darkness by Jason Pinter is a dark thriller. The plot instantly swept me into its web of murder, drugs, and violence. This novel was full of twists and turns. Intrigued, engaged, and full of suspense. Every page pulled me further into the chase. A deadly game of good versus evil. Blackmail, threats, and death. The fear factor is raised to new heights. Inside The Darkness, a man is found murdered right before he was about to shed some evidence. A message well received. A drug lord has some sinister plans as the duo team continued their search for the truth…the evilness only expanded. I haven’t read any of Jason Pinter’s previous novels but this one was good. It caughtmy attention. Perked my curiosity. It led me on a journey. 

Review: The Glorious Heresies 





Synopsis:

From Lisa McInerney, hailed by The Irish Times as “arguably the most talented writer at work in Ireland today,” comes The Glorious Heresies, a searing debut novel about life on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society.

When grandmother Maureen Phelan is surprised in her home by a stranger, she clubs the intruder with a Holy Stone. The consequences of this unplanned murder connect four misfits struggling against their meager circumstances. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father, Tony, whose feud with his next-door neighbor threatens to ruin his family. Georgie is a sex worker who half-heartedly joins a born-again movement to escape her profession and drug habit. And Jimmy Phelan, the most fearsome gangster in the city and Maureen’s estranged son, finds that his mother’s bizarre attempts at redemption threaten his entire organization.

Biting and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies presents an unforgettable vision of a city plagued by poverty and exploitation, where salvation still awaits in the most unexpected places.

— New York Time’s Book Review’s “10 Best Crime Novels” of the year.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney is quite a read. There’s a lot of realistic issues happening within the plot. The charcaters have tough struggles that can send their worlds spiraling downward. Ranging from drugs to sex plus violence, their worlds are full of chaos. They want different lives yet live in paths that keep them where they are or send them down further than where they originally planned to be. Four misfits each with a different issue. Readers will get an insider’s view to the world’s ugliness and how those living these lives try to survive their outcomes. The Glorious Heresies is definitely a dark yet deeply complex story. This world stayed in my mind long after reading reading it. Unforgettable scenes. Overall, I recommend it to other readers.

Review: Physical Forces (A K-9 Rescue Novel)



Synopsis:
LOVE TO THE RESCUE



Macayla Burkett is no ordinary private eye. She’s a pet detective, dedicated to tracking down missing dogs and cats. When two famous racing greyhounds disappear and turn up dead, Macayla finds herself in the midst of a much more serious case. And when the thieves target her and threaten her life, she realizes she’s in grave danger—until a ridiculously handsome stranger enters the picture …
Oliver Kelly may look like a male stripper, but his muscles aren’t just for show. The gorgeous Australian is co-owner of a K-9 Search and Rescue service dedicated to saving those in danger. When he and his K-9 partner, an Australian shepherd named Jackeroo, rescue the fiery detective from trouble, the sparks begin to fly. And when they join forces to stop a widespread case of animal theft, it unleashes a torrent of passion that’s impossible to tame…

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Physical Forces is an entertaining romantic suspense read from the beginning. D.D. Ayres is a a writer who knows what readers want in a novel. This tale showed me the K-9 teams in action. The bond between them and the dogs was believable. I fell in love. I can’t imagine anyone not falling for this group of characters both the two and four legged kind. 

Inside Physical Forces by D.D. Ayres, I met a woman lacking her licesnce as a private investigator who went all out to find missing greyhounds. Macayla Burkett is a detective for animals. They go missing, she’s gets called. She loves helping owners find their pets. Her personality is strong. Macayla is independent, likes to work her own hours, and fend for herself. She’s smart and pretty. However, Macayla ends up stumbling into a situation that’s a whole lot more serious than her previous adventures. This time, she’ll need help…which comes in the form of Oliver Kelly. Talk about heat! The whole story from this point on, was intense. The raw desires flying like electricity in the air between both Macayla and Oliver. Their situation at hand is dangerous and it’s only a matter of time until they explode…overall, I highly recommend this engaging romance to readers everywhere. I loved the action, intrigue, and the passion between the charcaters. Don’t forget the amazing dogs, too!

Review: The Prada Plan 5 

Synopsis:

In this explosive addition to the New York Times bestselling series, Ashley Antoinette brings you pain, pleasure, love, hate, as YaYa struggles to hold it all together before life blows up in her face, in The Prada Plan 5.
Disaya finally has it all. The man she fought for is hers at last. Her name is Mrs. Indie Perkins and their daughter is safe. Leah is gone. Life is supposed to be good. So why isn’t she satisfied? Why does life suddenly seem so bitter? YaYa’s Prada Plan had worked but with the riches comes pain.
She and Indie have grown apart, and with Parker now a permanent fixture in their lives, Indie is pressured to juggle it all. But YaYa’s patience is running thin. Indie is loving her wrong. Her life isn’t what she wants. Her Prada Plan has changed…and now, it’s time to pursue a plan B in order to get what she really wants… 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Prada Plan 5 by Ashely Antoinette is another drama filled urban fiction read. Having not read any of the previous novels, it was hard to follow along. Trying to figure out why the main charcaters made the choices they did was not easy to understand. However, the drama filled world of their was certainly entertaining. There was never a boring moment. Tough love, bad choices, wrong relationships, and trouble were just some of the issues brought into the book. Living the rich life isn’t easy, nor as fun as the fantasy of it. Pressure lies heavily upon the charcaters…their actions will layout their futures…chasing after dreams is hard. Ashley Antionette is a talented writer. I have read other novels co-written by her. This novel would be easy to follow along if I had read her previous Prada novels. However, the plot was fast-paced and juicy. The entertainment never ended. Overall, The Prada Plan 5 was a great read. 

Review: White Fur




Synopsis:

A stunning star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City 

When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore. 

The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love, but also for their lives. 

White Fur follows these indelible characters on their wild race through Newport mansions and downtown NYC nightspots, SoHo bars and WASP-establishment yacht clubs, through bedrooms and hospital rooms, as they explore, love, play, and suffer. Jardine Libaire combines the electricity of Less Than Zero with the timeless intensity of Romeo and Juliet in this searing, gorgeously written novel that perfectly captures the ferocity of young love. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

White Fur by Jardine Libaire is a thrilling romance. Similar to the Great Gatsby in ways. I was intrigued by this plot. Two lovers from opposite sides. Threatened and in danger all because they love each other. A love that shouldn’t be if, a particular family had its way. Perfect plans can be hard…when others are determined to see it fail even if that means a couple of lives are lost. Poor versus the rich and the star-crossed theme hits hard with this tale. White Fur is an intense love story. Filled with glamour, anger, an one brilliant emotional journey. Deep, heart felt, and exciting. Jardine Libaire kept me captivated with Jamey and Elise. Tragic yet realistic…a love story that pulls. I recommend it to readers worldwide. 

Review: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow



Synopsis:

Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth’s Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi’s the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she’s convinced he’s been taken to the ice-planet.
Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.
For Miguel, Earth’s charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight’s bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he’s a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber is a fascinating YA book. The race to find answers is thrilling. A young girl loses her brother and a young man is worried he lost her, Sofi. Sofi isn’t sure if her brother is really gone or not. Miguel may know something…only now, he’s being blackmailed. Can an online gamer and an Abassador find a way to beat the odds?

Sofi is clever. She’s a charcater that I can easily connect to. Her loss and grief over her brother pulled me closer to her. When she thinks her brother may not be gone likeeveryone states…she goes searching for the truth. Her determination and bravery make this a worthy adventure. Then there’s Miguel. He is in a difficult position. Not sure of who Sofi really is but is pulled to her by a connection, soon leads him into danger. Video games and aliens are taken to a whole level in this stunning tale. Intrigue, suspense, and a deadly plot will keep readers sucked into The Evaporation of Sofi Snow. Mary Weber’s talent can be seen through her words. Every page absorbed me into the conflict…overall, I highly recommend this novel. 

Review: Rites of Azathoth




Synopsis:

F.B.I. criminal profiler Diana Mancuso doesn’t do field work anymore. Not since a tragic mistake that cost innocent lives. But when notorious serial killer Luther Vayne escapes from prison and resumes his campaign of brutal murders, the Bureau convinces her to take one last case. To catch him, she must understand him. She must delve into the arcana that fuels his madness, risking her life and her sanity to follow his twisted path. The trail plunges her into a shadowy world of occult rituals and unspeakable horrors, leading to a secret cabal operating at the highest levels—and a plot to summon the darkest of all powers, to bring forth an evil that does not belong in our world—to enact the Rites of Azathoth.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Rites of Azathoth by Frank Cavallo is clearly a well-written dark fantasy. The title and cover caught my curiosity. Upon reading this tale, I found Frank Cavallo’s talent to entertaining. His novel is a dark mystery and horror combined. A thriller too. A serial killer, a tragic mistake that cost innocent lives, and new murders committed will surely lure readers further into the story. A fast-placed plot with an edge that will frighten and keep readers like myself deeply engaged. Suspenseful with every page. Guessing will occur as readers dig their way through it. Rites of Azathoth is wicked novel full of twisted scenes. Evil is here. Escaping it will be hard. Overall, I highly recommend this fantasy to readers everywhere. 

Author Interview with Kristi Saare Duarte about Her Novel The Transmigrant






ULM: What was it in the ancient scriptures that inspired you to write The Transmigrant?
The idea of Jesus as a holy man rather than the Messiah had been brewing in my mind for a long time. For me, the New Testament story didn’t quite add up. If Jesus were of God, then certainly he would be loving, inclusive and kind, right? Yet, in the stories we hear and the movies we see, Jesus pretty much says, “believe in me, or go to hell,” which sounds like something a bully would say. 

So, when I happened upon a book about Jesus in India, it all started to make sense, the pieces fell into place. I’m not saying this is the truth, or the only truth, but for me it was the logical explanation for who the man Jesus had been, and what he had done during those eighteen years not mentioned in the bible.

I started researching old scriptures and found the Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of scrolls unearthed in Egypt in 1945. These manuscripts date from the third and fourth centuries, and are believed to be based on scriptures from around 80 AD or earlier, which would make them earlier than most of the Gospels of the New Testament. In the Nag Hammadi texts, Jesus is a kind and holy man, but he is not the Messiah. 

The more ancient sources I studied, the more I found scriptures that supported my theory. I did also read the bible, several times, and underlined sections that aligned with my thoughts. There are plenty of jewels to pick from the New Testament if you really look.

ULM: How long have you had a fascination for historical things? 

I grew up in Sweden and went to school in the Old Town of Stockholm, a city that dates from the 13th century, and I guess that has something to do with it. Whenever I travel, I like to visit ancient locations and meditate in the presence of old buildings and ruins and absorb the energy of the past.

I don’t believe people who lived thousands of years ago differed so much from us. They still loved and laughed, were vain and greedy, girls were attracted to boys, etc. I feel like we sometimes forget and believe that everyone was prude and correct, like in the Middle Ages. But before then, the people were perhaps even more promiscuous than we are today. Maybe.

ULM: You mentioned that the Russian traveler, Nicolas Notovitch’s 1894 book, “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ”, also inspired you. What really stuck out to you from this book?

This was the book about Jesus in India that started my thought process and made me want to write The Transmigrant. This was the seed that, many years later, has blossomed into a novel. In the “Unknown Life,” which is based on scrolls found in a Tibetan monastery, Jesus travels across the Middle East and ends up first in Sindh (Pakistan), where he studies Buddhism, and later in Jagannath (Puri, India). 

He makes his way back home via Kapilavatthu (Nepal), the Himalayas, Kashmir, Persia, and Syria. Along the way, he studies Hinduism and Buddhism, among other local religions. The fascinating this is that when you start looking closer, all these religions have common threads. Most of the core beliefs are the same, or every similar. And also, when I looked at the distances and the time it would have taken Jesus to travel from one place to another, the calculations in the book were correct. Remember, there was no Google Earth in 1894. How could Notovitch have made up the story and have gotten it so right? To me, the book is very believable.

ULM: How would you describe your writing using only three words?

Sly, spiritual, and sexy.

ULM: What was the research like for writing The Transmigrant?

At times, it was overwhelming. I started with The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, the New Testament, and the Nag Hammadi Library. I watched Robert Beckford’s Channel 4 documentaries on YouTube. But the more I read, the more books I found that I just had to read. My apartment in Harlem is packed with books about Jesus. I also tried to read different point of views, different opinions. 

I didn’t want to follow anyone’s lead, I wanted to form my own theory. Finding information about the common man in Galilee, Syria, India, etc. in the first century, was difficult. What did they really eat? What kind of sandals did they wear? There are almost no drawings of poor people from that era. And of course the majority of people couldn’t read or write, and those who could wrote for hire or wrote from a political perspective. I did travel to Israel, Syria, India, and Nepal to see the places with my own eyes. It made a huge difference. 

ULM: What process did you use to help you outline your book?

To be honest, I just started writing. I didn’t know almost anything about Jesus when I started. For example, did you know that none of the gospels, perhaps not a single word in the New Testament were written by Jesus’ disciples? It was a steep learning curve. 

Once I had written my first draft, I went back and forced in a plot line. At one point, the book was 125,000 words long. Now it’s 95,000. I cut out more than a quarter that just didn’t fit. Still, I couldn’t have done it a different way. I think Historical Fiction is like that, you learn as you write, and you don’t know what the story is until you have written the last page.

ULM: What other projects do you have in mind after releasing, The Transmigrant?

I have written the first draft of the follow up, which starts six months after Jesus’s death. His disciples, who have been in hiding, get together and decide they need to keep spreading his message to the world. 

They don’t want him to have died for nothing. I’m at the point now that I need to clarify the plot line, but the bare bones are there. After that, I might write about Jesus’s brother Thomas, who brought Christianity to India. I wouldn’t mind going to India again for research.

ULM: For readers, who haven’t yet read, The Transmigrant, can you share with them briefly about it?

The story follows Yeshua, a somewhat presumptuous young man who thinks himself wiser than everyone else, on his journey to adulthood. It’s focused on the eighteen years not mentioned in the bible.

Yeshua can’t be a priest in his home country because he’s not born in a priestly family, so he travels via camel caravan along the Silk Road to India, in search for a guru. In the novel, Yeshua is an ordinary man who struggles with his ego, falls in love, yearns to be wise, and ultimately dedicates his life to becoming wise.

The book shows the similarities between Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism, and how Christianity can very well be a product of them all combined. It’s not a heavy novel with a hammered-in message, it’s more of a travelogue with some steamy scenes, too. It’s not really a religious book, even though it’s about Jesus, as strange as it may sound.

ULM: What are some books, movies, and or other articles that you enjoy that pushed you into writing this book?

Apart from the research, I mentioned earlier, I don’t think any specific books or movies influenced me. But I did like The Last Temptation of Christ, and I think The Transmigrant might have some parallels with the movie. 

ULM: What are your other hobbies besides writing an entertaining yet stunning book?

I read a lot, of course. But I guess my passion is travelling. I’ve visited a third of the world’s countries, and although I can’t reach them all in my lifetime, I can still dream about it. The more difficult the place seems to be, the more I want to go there. Tibet and Ethiopia are my favorite countries thus far. 

But I don’t mind a weekend on the beach with a good book, either. I also enjoy live music shows. I’m lucky I live in New York City, because there’s free music everywhere. We often go to a jazz dive bar in my neighborhood, Paris Blues. And in the summer, concerts at Central Park Summer Stage and Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect park.

ULM: Where can readers find you and your work online?

The Transmigrant is on pre-sale on Amazon.com until July 13 when it will be published more broadly. My web site is: www.KristiSaareDuarte.com. I also have a blog with funny travel stories at www.AmongBuddhasAndBabas.wordpress.com. And if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to email me at: KristiDNYC@gmail.com or contact me on twitter: @kristisaare.

Coming Soon: Rodeo Knights by Babara McMahon

New Release Coming Soon! 
Barrel Racer

Susannah Davis loves the rodeo. She and her horse have done well in barrel racing this year and she has hopes to make it to the finals in Las Vegas. Yet it all may come to an end when she discovers drugs hidden in her truck. Is someone setting her up? Or merely using her truck as a means of transportation?
All Around Cowboy

Toby Palmer and his partner were high on the charts of this year’s rodeo events–until his partner is arrested accused of smuggling drugs. Toby knows that’s impossible and sets out to find who’is responsible to get his partner out of jail.
Investigation

The one person on the rodeo circuit Susannah can trust is Toby Palmer. Together they contact Jesse Knight of Knight Agency Investigations to help them discover who’s using the rodeo as a part of a drug smuggling ring. What better cover than that of falling in love to fool others in thinking their time investigating is really personal. Can this charade become real?

New Release: It’s Me Again, Baby by Katy Reus

She lost him once…
Years ago Samantha made a mistake and lost a chance at something real with Maguire O’Connor. Now that she’s living in Holly again, she knows seeing him is inevitable. But the last thing she ever expected was to take him on as a client.
Now, they have a second chance…
Maguire never got over Sam. Thanks to a meddling family member, he mistakenly hires Sam as his real estate agent. With her in his sights again, he’s not letting her go. But someone from her past followed her back to Holly with a sinister intent. Now Maguire will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he intends to claim as his forever.
Retailer info:

Amazon kindle


Review: Whispering Winds




Synopsis:

Healing is a power that fifteen-year-old, Brenna Finlayson, has fought long and hard to subdue. When a harebrained idea suddenly occurs to her, she risks losing everything by revealing herself to the one person she fears losing the most. 

  

Brenna’s spontaneous unveiling brings about the revealing of other truths. She, and her twin sister, Keely, have destinies to fulfill. Destinies that require them to fight. maybe even kill. As an innate healer, violence is the last thing Brenna wants.  
In an attempt to live a normal, peaceful life, Brenna rejects her heritage, choosing a different path. But the path she chooses doesn’t bring her the normalcy she was hoping for. 

Not even close. 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Whispering Winds Unveiled by Tiffany Garnett is another great YA read. For fans of the paranormal genre this needs to be added to your list. Two sisters, twins, have destinies to fulfill. Like most charcaters in this environment one of them isn’t too thrilled about her destiny. Avoiding her path, Brenna still faces the life she tries to avoid. The plot was intriguing. A bit slow at first but worthy of reading. A new adventure full of drama and twists. Brenna is a charcater that is easy to relate to…her life isn’t easy and tough choices have to be made. Overall, I recommend Whispering Winds Unveiled by Tiffany Garnett.

New Release: For Love or Freedom by Lili Mahoney

Amazon: http://bit.ly/2q8EKwU

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2qxi2PZ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2qxgvJw

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2qx0lQx
Add to #Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33840811-for-love-or-freedom

#Giveawayhttp://bit.ly/2r7s06P

Synopsis:

Tatum hasn’t had it easy. Her life has been a series of battles, but that hasn’t stopped her from finding and hanging onto what she wants and loves. She’s come a long way from the small farm in Texas she was born on – she’s earned her own way through college on diving scholarships, then moved to begin her career as an elite swim team coach, and is doing her best to survive her life as a widow and single mom.

When Nic Lobo literally steals her away from the life she’s fought to keep together, the most basic of responses is to hate him with every fiber of her being. His quick temper and random absences make that easy. So is the fact that she’s still in love with her dead husband, though she’s also very angry at him for the way in which he left her. But Nic is stubborn and committed, and he has the uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before, not even with the father of her child. He forces Tatum to respond to him the only way he knows how and that terrifies her in so many ways.

Will she fight him to the death, refusing to forgive him for the harm he’s caused, or will he wear her down until she acknowledges the connection their souls won’t allow to be severed. 

Review: Threads of Supsicion

Synopsis:

Dee Henderson Pens Another Compelling Cold Case Mystery
Evie Blackwell’s reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor’s new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results–and quickly.
Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn’t be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.
With a deep conviction that “justice for all” truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

Rating: 4-stars

Review

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson is a deep Chase after the truth. Missing persons cases are being investigated and the blur between work and personal lives will blur. The pressure to solve them is high. As the cold cases connect with one another and with other cold cases, the duo team has their hands full. Murders…old wounds…and an engaging plot. Mystery, intrigue, and some romance. I enjoyed following Evie and her partner David as they went about getting answers. I haven’t read any previous novels by this talented writer, but I am happy that I read this book. After reading Threads of Suspicion, I look forward to reading more by the bestselling writer, Dee Henderson. 

Review: Dragonsoul

Synopsis:

Littlehorn is the last dragon, born into a world that wants him dead.

The dragon’s blue scales and orange eyes are a stark contrast to the dull gray around him. The sky is gray. The ground is gray. Everything is gray, even the skin, eyes, and hair of every other living creature, including humans.

When Denyth, a simple farmer dreaming of a world of color beyond the gray encounters Littlehorn, the two set out on a journey to find the truth of where Littlehorn came from and if there truly is a world of color beyond the gray.

But Denyth isn’t the only human who knows of Littlehorn’s existence. A dragon-hunter named Zero, who has dedicated his entire life to purging anything of color, is coming after Littlehorn to finish the job.

Dragon and human flee together to the colorful land called Evenar, coming across a host of odd, colorful creatures, including a cat-like shapeshifter who can hear the land, a pacifist troll who wields a club the size of a tree trunk, and even a group of walruses who can talk.

Just as they think that they have found paradise, they discover a terrible secret: humanity wasn’t responsible for the fall of dragons after all.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Dragonsoul by Kayl Karadijian is an interesting YA fantasy. I liked the two worlds created by this writer. One of color and life and the other full of gray and doom. The farmer boy who finds the last dragon egg made my heart melt. The two new friends travel in the world of color…where there are other fascinating characters. While the dragon hunter tracks the farmer down down to kill his new friend the dragon, aka Littlehorn. For those who love adventure, fantasy, and a good journey, this is definitely a novel to read. I was captivated by the plot from the beginning to end. Overall, I highly recommend Dragonsoul to all. 

Guest Post: Should an Author Stick to One Genre? by Kayl Karadijian



Should an author stick to one genre?
Most authors tend to stick to one genre. Fantasy writers typically only do Fantasy. Scifi lovers focus on the future and whatifs and nothing more. Romancers can’t get enough of John Smith, and on and on. As an author who started with fantasy, then did a nonfiction memoir, now doing a scifi romance, and will go back to fantasy, I wonder if more authors should explore different stories?

To give some better insight as to what I’m getting at, I want to describe my own foray into new lands. So far, I’ve written five books. Three are from my epic fantasy series Tales of Ashkar. One is from a YA Fantasy trilogy called Dragonsoul. The last is a nonfiction memoir of my great grandfather, who survived the Armenian Genocide. My sixth, which I am currently working on, is a scifi romance inspired by Nic Pizzolatto (the guy behind True Detective) that contains a giant monster rampaging through San Francisco.

So far, I can say that I am glad I’ve ventured out into the dark. Going from fantasy of the utmost caliber to nonfiction in a personal and historical sense has developed my skills as a writer in two ways. The first is that I’ve gone from making up my characters and their story to writing about a real person and his real struggles, allowing me to understand different ways to approach human emotion and conflict. The second benefit is that from taking my eyes away from writing fiction after fiction, I switched to nonfiction and am now switching back. In other words, writing the nonfiction has given me the chance to refresh my skills as a writer, and as I come back to fiction I won’t be dogged down because I’ve just written four fantasy novels prior.

It’s also nice from a voice perspective. Writing fantasy is amazing, but it can also be a challenge when trying to convey a more archaic and specific voice with your characters. For example, my scifi romance is contemporary, and the dialogue and prose is going to reflect that.

So to all the other authors out there who may want to venture into other genres and have cold feet, I say go for it. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and I guarantee that your writing skills will improve in some capacity.

 

You can find Dragonsoul, my YA Fantasy, here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MCVJVIP and Remembering Avedik: The True Story of a Genocide Survivor, my nonfiction memoir, here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072526BGS



Author Bio

Kayl Karadjian’s bio: Kayl Karadjian is a lifelong fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy books, Manga, and Role-playing games. He is the author of multiple books in the Tales of Ashkar and Dragonsoul series.
Catch updates and follow me on social media here: 
https://talesofashkar.com

https://twitter.com/talesofashkar

https://facebook.com/talesofashkar

Review: Train to the Edges of the Moon





Synopsis:

Punk is no ordinary millennial who takes the life as it is. She has a nasty habit of getting in troubles, she shows the middle finger to prejudice and stupidity, she fights against her broken identity and darkness of her soul. She goes against the stream with her heavy, tight shoes, but she still tries to be a better person. Punk’s adventurous journey to become someone who matters starts in a Place Without a Name, continues in Italy and London. Her train is full of sad reflections, laughs, modern tales about our young lives, relationships and occasional heartbreaks. If you’re a misfit, depressed, lonely or tired of people telling you what to do join Punk’s wild side of the moon. It all may seem out of this world, but it is very real. 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Train to the Edge of the Moon by Asper Blurry is an interesting contemporary tale. One that spins readers deep into a millennial’s journey. Deep, dark, and emotional. Mental illness and the fight to survive is a common theme seems inside this book. Asper Blurry created a refreshing story. Many readers like myself can relate to the main character’s battle. To be understood, accepted, and happy. Life isn’t that easy nor neat. Humans are greatly flawed. Punk is a troubled teen whose life is anything but nice. Punk has many flaws which were expected. Believable and realistic. Train to the Edge of the Moon is a thrilling and raw. Readers will see the openness of the writer as they flip through every page. The writing by Asper Blurry is very bold. I enjoyed reading this novel. 

Review: Under a Desert Sky


Synopsis:

There comes a time in life when we find ourselves in the desert place of burning questions. Why? Why me? But even as we shake our fist heavenward, the heart whispers another question. Who? Who are you, God? It is a question of relationship, a question we all murmur in the hardest places. 

Against the backdrop of the Sonoran Desert, Lynne Hartke asks her own hard questions as cancer arrives like a thief with one goal: to take it all. Hair. The contents of a stomach. A marriage. A life. As her days become a blur of doctors’ appointments, treatments, and surgeries, she wrestles with a tumble of tangled emotions, a shaken faith, and self-doubt. Cancer is now not only threatening her own life, but, in a surprising twist, the lives of both her parents as well. 

Through her raw, lyrical words, Hartke invites fellow sojourners to discover that in life’s hardest places, they are not alone in their fear, they are not foolish to hope, and they are never forgotten by a loving, pursuing God. Never. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Under a Desert Sky by Lynne Hartke is an inspiring memoir of one woman’s journey with cancer. Cancer is the toughest path one finds in life. It takes hold of us, crushing us under its pressure. Sometimes, we feel like we’ve lost the battle and want to give up. However, this book, redefines hope, beauty, and faith in the hardest places. Lynne Hartke’s words grabbed my attention immediately. Her words made me cry and feel that hope never dies. Pain only makes one stronger. Beautifully written by a survivor, who went through it all. Pain, grief, and hope. Overall, I deeply recommend this memoir to all. 

Joys, Fears, and Frustrations of Being an Editor by Danita Moon

Joys, Fears, and Frustrations of Being an EditorBy Danita Moon

 

​I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. When I read, things that may be incorrect have always popped out at me. I make a note of what I find and then go back to see if there was an actual problem, whether it be an incorrect character name, character description or timeline issue. It’s hard for me to finish a book if I find that there are many typos or spelling errors. I’ve always asked myself what it would be like to be an editor. Would I enjoy it? What would it be like to work with authors?

​I started working with New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak as her assistant a little over two years ago. I’ve learned a lot from her about the process of writing and editing. So I decided to start proofreading manuscripts, but when I saw what others were charging, I was afraid I wouldn’t get any business because I wouldn’t charge a competitive enough rate. Most were charging so much per word, but I couldn’t see doing that as most authors are now self-publishing. I decided I was just going to charge a flat rate for a manuscript, but because I wasn’t familiar enough with grammar and sentence structure I limit my editing to everything but that.

​The frustrating part is when you are reading a story and see something that just doesn’t make sense. You try to explain that from a reader’s point of view, but it is written from a whole other perspective. I do understand that there is a structure in which a book is to be written and format that it must follow, but I just get a little frustrated when it doesn’t make sense or it isn’t consistent with another area of the story.

​When I first started proofreading or making suggestions to an author, I was fearful of how they would take what I was saying. I mean, here I am, just a reader pointing out something that they spent months writing, and they are the professional, but I eventually realized that it takes several eyes to make a book successful.

​To help in the editing process I took a course to become a certified proofreader and copy editor which I completed last year.

​The editing I do isn’t what I call a standard proofreading service. I’m very detail-oriented and a perfectionist, so when I work on a project, I do a line-by-line edit. If the book is part of a series, then I will research the other books in the series to make sure everything is consistent. This is the author’s life work, and they depend on those who read their drafts to help them polish the manuscript.

​The one thing I’ve learned in my adventures in proofreading is that you can’t catch all errors. It took me awhile to get used to that fact and is still a huge frustration.

​The major joy of being an editor is the fact that I’m a part of such a magical world. These authors have a craft that very few have. They weave stories that draw so many of us in and take us to places that we can only dream about. To be a part of the process that gets these books out to the reader in as perfect a format as possible is a magnificent feeling.

Book Tour: The Magnate’s Marriage Merger by Joanne Rock





Synopsis:

The matchmaker meets her match…in one very persistent tycoon!
Secretive matchmaker to the rich and famous, Lydia Whitney prefers to stay behind the scenes. But after one mistake, rich resort developer Ian McNeill is hot on her trail, and he’s more attractive—and persistent—than ever before.
Ian can’t believe it when he figures out who’s messing with his family: a woman who has deceived—and seduced—him before. What’s her agenda? And why can’t he resist her? He’ll get the answers to all his questions, if Lydia agrees to his convenient marriage proposal. But once she’s in his arms again, will he let her go?
200 Pgs. |Heat: 3 | Series Info

Harlequin Desire | Rel: May 9, 2017
AMAZON | B & N | GOOGLE | ITUNES | KOBO
 

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.



Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Magnate’s Marriage Merger by Joanne Rock is a novel full of passion. Talk about desire! This read is hot as fire. Both main characters will be playing with something they can’t resist nor deny. That is what makes this a compelling tale. 

Inside The Magnate’s Merger, I met a tycoon, Ian McNeill. He is wanting to know who is messing with his family and why. Then, he finds the answer. Someone he knew from his past. But her motive is what he’s really searching for…only he doesn’t realize how dangerous the game he’s playing will be. Hearts will be taken.

Then, there’s the secretive matchmaker, Lydia Whitney. Her one mistake leads her past flame to chasing her. This time, he’s hotter and more demanding than she knew. He offers her a convenient marriage proposal…will she accept it?

Joanne Rock has once again brought another fabulous book to my hands. A heated romance packed full of tension. The future of the characters lies with their choices…the suspense is killing and the intrigue kept me turning the pages. Overall, I highly recommend The Magnate’s Marriage Merger to all readers. 

Blog Tour: Play for Me by Celine Keating


Interview with Celine Keating

ULM: What inspired you to write your novel, Play for Me?

A train trip across Canada, a kind of concert in motion, jumpstarted the idea. I had begun studying classical guitar, which led to writing for music magazines. When I heard about the train ride and how several bands would be performing, jamming, and interacting with their fans, I decided it was something I just had to be part of and write about. It was quite an experience, and I found myself wanting to explore why music is so powerful for us and about obsession and hardcore fandom. To top it off, on the train I was berthed next to the leaders of two of the bands and had a front row seat to their very explosive romantic breakup – they became the models for my lead singer Blaise and her guitarist JJ. 

 ULM: What was it like creating the main character, Lily?

I actually based Lily in large part on my sister. Her twin daughters were going off to college and she was suddenly confronted with empty-nest angst and the realization thatshe had lost sight of her own needs through years of work and childrearing. I wondered,is it possible to reinvent yourself in middle age, to rediscover your own creative potential? In a way, Play for Me is a cautionary tale, especially for women, of what can happen if you lose touch with your deepest self.

ULM: Since your novel is around the central theme of music, what kind of music do you enjoy listening to? 

While I love most styles and kinds of music of music, my favorite is anything guitar-centric, whether rock, acoustic, classical, flamenco. I also really enjoy singer songwriters.

ULM: How would you describe your novel, using only three words? 

emotional, intelligent, honest 

ULM: How would you describe your other main character, JJ? 

 He’s charming, sweet, needy, super talented, and, ultimately, selfish.

ULM: What advice would you give to other writers?

I advise writing every day, even if just for 15 minutes. One trick I use if I’m stuck is to work off other writers. Sometimes I copy out entire passages I admire and then use that as a base to write something of my own. It’s a great way to improve technique. I also recommend joining a writing group – whether in person or online –for feedback, advice, and support. 

ULM: Do you have any future writing projects that you can share with us, readers?

I’m currently working on a new novel set in Montauk, Long Island, with a broad cast of characters. It’s about the conflicts and pressures – environmental and financial – on a beach/resort town.

ULM: What is it like being both a writer and editor? Which task would you say was easier? How long have you been an editor?

A very interesting question! I think it’s sort of right brain/left brain – both are creative in their way and both also require basic language skills, but overall, editing requires the analytic part of the brain while fiction depends on the intuitive and on the imagination. Happily editorial work doesn’t make the same kind of demands on me that fiction does –of invention and imagination. So they are complementary but very different. For me, editing is easier, because most of it can be learned, whereas fiction is an art, and any art relies on being able to tap into the deeper parts of the self and on honing one’s creativity and unique point of view—and how all of that works is something of a mystery! I’ve been an editor for decades. I started out in publishing as an editorial assistant and worked my way up through various editing jobs. Then I switched to magazine copyediting, and now I work as a freelancer. 

ULM: Being a music reviewer, would say that this had some influence on writing your novel, Play for Me? 

Yes, absolutely. I have been able to do many interviews with musicians for various articles and found their lives and struggles to be quite interesting. So I used a lot of that material in the novel. Also, in writing reviews one has to describe – to people who are listeners but not necessarily musicians – how music sounds. Finding the right descriptivewords and a way to put them together is a unique kind of challenge. The experience writing reviews really helped when I was trying to communicate how JJ’s music sounds to Lily so the reader can imagine it, and also to understand the profound effect the music has on her. 

 ULM: How did you become a music Reviewer?

 I find that pretty interesting. It’s not every day one hears about meeting a Reviewer of music. Breaking in to music reviewing is similar to breaking in to other writing for publications—with a query letter and your clips (already published work)—except that you are requiredto play an instrument yourself. I wrote a query letter to Acoustic Guitar magazine about a CD I wanted to review, and they accepted. After that they asked if I’d like to review for them regularly, and that led to longer pieces and to writing and reviewing for other places as well.

ULM: Where can readers find you and your work online?

 I’m at www.celinekeating.com and I’m always happy to hear from readers. Many of my stories and reviews are available, as well as excerpts from my novels.  


Synopsis:

International Book Award finalist in literary fiction

Indie Excellence Award finalist in fiction

USA Book Award finalist in fiction
“Keating combines the soul-searching of Eat, Pray, Love with the rock ’n’ roll fable of Almost Famous to create a novel of midlife crisis with music at its core.” —Booklist 
Middle-aged Lily impulsively joins a touring folk-rock band, leaving her job and marriage behind in an attempt to find a second chance at life, passion, and art.
It happens without warning: At a folk-rock show at her son s college, Lily becomes transfixed by the guitarist s unassuming onstage presence and beautiful playing and with his final note, something within her breaks loose. After the concert, Lily returns to her comfortable life an Upper West Side apartment, a job as a videographer, and a kind if distracted husband but she can t stop thinking about the music, or about the duo s guitarist, JJ. Unable to resist the pull of either one, she rashly offers to make a film about the band in order to gain a place with them on tour. But when Lily dares to step out from behind her camera, she falls deep into JJ s world upsetting the tenuous balance between him and his bandmate, and filling a chasm of need she didn t know she had. Captivating and provocative, Play for Me captures the thrill and heartbreak of deciding to leave behind what you love to follow what you desire.” (less)

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Play for Me by Celine Keating is a contemporary piece written mostly for women. I can feel the main characters’ emotions as the scenes played out…I also noticed that the writer’s book held her passion for music. Deep, entertaining, and well-told. As I followed the main character, Lily, I got lost within her story. She goes out doing what she loves and ends up entangled in her own problems. Decisions have to be made….and the consequences are intense. Making the novel’s atmosphere that more electrifying. Romance between two that shouldn’t occur, a marriage held by a strong, and destruction of her daughter’s life lay ahead. As I read through the pages and wasn’t sure what advice I would give to Lily. I felt her pain as the plot continued. Celine Keating has a way of luring readers like myself further into the book. 

Play for Me is exactly as it states and the options get harder as one wife slash mother tries living her life and balancing the old with the new. But as with reality, life has a way of knocking us back down to earth. Overall, great read for women everywhere. Easy to relate to and connect with the characters. 

Review: Despair to Deliverance 





Synopsis:

The story begins with a phone call from Robin. She and I had been working together in therapy for almost ten years. She usually didn’t call between sessions, partly because she was very aware of and careful about boundaries, but also because severe anxiety about making phone calls was one of her symptoms.
The story that follows this phone call is one of courage and determination. Despair to Deliverance is a memoir-one unique in its perspective from both client and psychotherapist-that uncovers the harrowing experience of recovering from mental illness.
Robin Personette’s descent into a severe mental health breakdown is not an experience she goes through alone. With her longtime psychotherapist, Sharon DeVinney, PhD, at her side, Robin must first learn to see the value in life before she can continue living.
With touching transparency and a courageous examination of what it means to fight for a stable and healthy life, both Robin and Sharon welcome readers to follow them on their unique journey together.
For anyone who has ever struggled with life’s challenges-or who has had a loved one dealing with mental illness-Despair to Deliverance is a comforting message of perseverance and hope. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review

Despair to Deliverance by Sharon DeVinney, Ph.D. & Ronin Personette is a memoir forall to read. The path of having a mental illness is not easy to navigate through alone. Here, Robin has her psychotherapist, Sharon, to help her. A dark journey of despair is slowly lifted through a woman’s search for help. A triump over severe mental illness. After reading other books by  mental illness patients, this was the first one I’ve read by both the doctor and the patient. It was exciting to read pages written by both women. It peaked my curiosity. Many suffering from mental illnesses also suffer from depression. I was glad to see the outcome of Robin’s journey turn to be a good one. Despair to Deliverance is a recommended read for all. 

Review: City of Miracles

Synopsis:

Revenge. It’s something Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is very, very good at. Maybe the only thing. 
So when he learns that his oldest friend and ally, former Prime Minister Shara Komayd, has been assassinated, he knows exactly what to do and that no mortal force can stop him from meting out the suffering Shara’s killers deserve. 
Yet as Sigrud pursues his quarry with his customary terrifying efficiency, he begins to fear that this battle is an unwinnable one. Because discovering the truth behind Shara’s death will require him to take up arms in a secret, decades-long war, face down an angry young god, and unravel the last mysteries of Bulikov, the city of miracles itself. And perhaps most daunting of all finally face the truth about his own cursed existence. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett is an epic science fiction fantasy. Robert Jackson Bennett has impressed me with his writing. I haven’t read a book of his until this one, and I am thrilled I did. This novel of his, has a powerful emotional journey. One that sucks readers straight into its emotions. Sadness, anger, loss and many more. I enjoyed following this closing piece of the trilogy. Fast-paced story. City of Miracles offers action, adventure and a deep sense of attachment. It kept me captivated. The characters are complex and the plot is woven in a way that kept me from putting down…overall, I highly recommend this masterpiece to readers everywhere. 

Review: Chocolate Cake and Chaos





Synopsis:

The 4th book in the BESTSELLING Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery series is 28th April 2017!
A funeral wreath is delivered to Barker’s cottage. Is it a prank, or a grim warning? Julia’s fears that somebody is trying to kill Barker are confirmed when a dead body with a striking resemblance to him is found on his doorstep the very next day, just as their romance is deepening. 

Barker might be on temporary suspension from his role as Detective Inspector at the village police station, but that doesn’t mean he’s short of enemies in Peridale, especially when a dark face from his past arrives in the small village to stir up painful memories. 

With an unclear list of suspects and motives, Julia vows to keep Barker safe, but can they figure out the puzzle as they work outside of the law in a race against time to stop Barker paying the ultimate price? 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Chocolate Cake and Chaos by Agatha Frost is the fourth masterpiece in this series. I absolutely loved it. Once again, I was following the heroine, Julia, and her boyfriend, the suspended inspector. Here, I learned a lot of surprising twists. Inspector Barker finds that a man he put away for a murder case, has been released due to false charges…and that same man is now, in the same town as him. Talk about suspense, intrigue, and fear! As always there’s a new murder investigation happening where Julia is involved. This time, it hits closer to home. A personal case that has everyone nervous and scared. The brewing romance between Julia and Inspector Barker is sweet as sugar. A man who loves chocolate as much as I do is a keeper. Chocolate Cake and Chaos is a hilarious, romantic, and engaging read. I was intrigued throughout the piece. Again, Agatha Forst has created another favorite book for me to always remember. I love her charcaters and sticky plots. Overall, I highly recommend this cozy mystery to all. 

Review: Doughnuts and Deception





Synopsis:

The 3rd book in the BESTSELLING Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery series! 
Julia never expected to be caught up in another murder investigation, but when she discovers that homeless people are dying suspiciously and the police aren’t investigating, she can’t sit back and do nothing. After promising her young lodger, Jessie, that she will do everything she can to help, Julia finds herself diving headfirst into the case, aided by her new Detective Inspector boyfriend, Barker. Sure there is a serial killer preying on the vulnerable residents of an old burnout warehouse, Julia must act quickly to get to the bottom of the mystery, but can she crack the case before more bodies turn up? 
Book 3 in the Peridale Cafe Mystery series! Can be read as a standalone but will be enjoyed more as part of the series. A light, cozy mystery read with a cat loving and cafe owning female amateur sleuth, in a small village setting with quirky characters. No cliffhanger, swearing, gore or graphic scenes! 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Doughnuts and Deception by Agatha Frost is another brilliant masterpiece. Julia is a baker but also one of the best ameature sleuths ever. She practically does the entire police force’s work for them. And not a single officer believes her when she’s informing them about a new case and why they should investigate it. However, there’s one investigator on her side…Barker. He’s completely fallen in love with the stubborn, brace, and smart Julia. Julia also likes Barker just as much. Julia’s gran is crazy but hilarious as well. She ‘spies’ on Julia and Barker as they do things and speaks her mind like no one else I know. Caring, sweet, but crazy older lady. Then, there’s the adoptive teenager, Jessie. Jessie was homeless until Julia took her under her own roof. Both Jessie and Julia are good bakers. 

In this latest piece, the main characters are taken into a string of murders deemed as ‘not murdered’ and the police won’t take interest. These murders involve mostly homeless men. Men that Jessie knew when she was homeless. Jessie takes the murders to heart….and Julia can’t help but to dig into the mystery. Then, there’s Barker who will have to stick with Julia if he wants her to be safe…but his career and everything else might be jeopardized…overall, Doughnuts and Deception is another highly engaging and well-told story. Agatha Frost has once more caught my full attention and my heart with her new book. I highly recommend this read to all. 

Review: Balmy Darlings and Deaths






Synopsis:

Raina Sun is cashing in a gift certificate for a free hairstyle from the town’s premier beauty salon and day spa. No more walking dandelion head, thank you very much. Life is on the up-and-up—until she finds an attacker holding her best friend in a headlock outside the treatment rooms. 
She never thought she would spend her birthday pinned against a sweaty armpit, gagging on a mouthful of seaweed, with the attacker plucking at her best friend’s weave like a farmwife de-feathering a chicken. 
When the attacker ends up six feet under, her best friend becomes the prime suspect. Raina summons her sleuthing skills to jump full-tilt into this murder investigation to clear her best friend’s name. With her stink-bomb-toting grandma and the geriatric posse, she soon discovers death is easy, and it’s the living that kills to protect the dead. 
For readers who like fun cozy mysteries, quirky characters, and a dash of humor. 
Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Balmy Darlings and Deaths by Anne R. Tan is a fun cozy mystery. This novel has plenty of action to keep readers intrigued. I enjoyed following Raina as she worked as a sleuth to solve the mystery. Imagine going into a hair salon only for an elderly lady to hit the salon, a jealous woman to attack a worker of the salon, and for the jealous attacker to be found dead. So many things happen and it’s only time to find out if Raina’s best friend is a murderer or not. Raina has a lot on her sleeve. A crazy grandmother, an ex, and a best friend who isn’t acting like a friend at all. Emotionally troubling…and full of drama. The elderly ladies make this tale sweet and hilarious. Balmy Darlings and Deaths is one adventure after another. A murderer is on the loose and situations keep getting more intense…Anne R. Tan has woven an entertaining tale. I recommend it to all. 

Review: The House on Sagamore Road

Synopsis:

Still recovering from the fire at Sagamore Road, and what she witnessed there, Robin Hanley’s daughter, Tess, is the one speaking to the ghost of Fryderyk Chopin now. Having inherited the abilities shared by her rock musician father and her witch stepmother, Tess must discover what started the long history of witches culminating in her family, and why they have the abilities they do. To accomplish this, she must delve back to pre-Dynastic Egypt, and the very first incarnation.

As Tess struggles to convince them that they might still be in danger, Robin and his wife, Suze, face the loss of a loved one and seek to counsel the troubled spirit of Suze’s cousin, Angie, an unwilling accomplice to the family secret.

Desperate to carry on the archaeological research of Suze’s late father, Tess must find the only person capable of giving her the missing facts to discover the cause of the phenomenon before it returns to strike at them again.

The second in Cary Marc Grossman’s three-part Chopin’s Family series, The House on Sagamore Road takes the reader back 26,000 years, to the birth of civilization. 

Rating: 4 stars

Review

The House on Sagamore Road by Cary Marc Gross an is an impressive piece. The pacing drags a little but the action soon takes over and carried me through it. The tale is about a family of witches….in danger. Danger in the present is related to the past. Father, step-mother, and daughter work together in uncovering the answers before they’re facing troubleonce more. A ghost musician added to the plot was fascinating. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Research, archaeology, and family secrets are the three areas that move this tale into a suspenseful read. What they find, if they find, may or may not help them with their struggles. Loss and time racing against them, readers will be captivated just like I was. Tess is a teen who intrigues me. Believable…it was easy to get lost in her story.  Dark, entertaining, and different. The House on Sagamore Road just the second part to a grand adventure. I dare readers to pick it up…(there are some adult content within this book, therefore I advise those 18 and older to read this book). Overall, I recommend it to others. 

Review: Rik’s





Synopsis:

Rik Bogart built the ‘In’ Club in lower Manhattan with his separation check from the CIA and the anguish of a lost true love; at least it was in his mind. Ingrid Johanssen, an international news correspondent living in Baghdad, did not show up at the airport to accompany Rik when Saddam Hussein instructed him to leave in 1991, just before Desert Storm. Rik spent nineteen months in prison after going back in a failed attempt to get Ingrid out safely. But on a September evening a decade later, she walks into his club seeking his help. Understanding he cannot resurrect the love that has haunted him, Rik refuses, but comes face-to-face with his continuing love for her. Rik must overcome a decade of emptiness, and feelings of betrayal to react when he realizes she is in the New York World Trade Towers on the morning of the terrorist attack. That night he finally learns what happened a decade before and why; decides to undertake a dangerous mission that will not bring her back to him, and will make their reunion impossible. Resigned to his fate, he draws on relationships and talents unused for more than a decade knowing that even if successful he must let her go.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Rik’s by dhtreichler is an amazing alternate history tale. War, realistic events like 9/11, and a romance that seems impossible to have all brilliantly woven, here. The main character, Rik Bogart is an interesting man. His training is impressive, but he leaves it. All it takes is for one woman to snatch his heart and all he thinks about is her. A journalist who is entangled with the dangerous events. Rik riskshis life to stay behind to find her and get her out…but she was already gone. Years have gone by and she shows up once more. Intense, intriguing, and well-told. Rik’s is a clandestine relationship that is crazy, powerful, and addictive. Despite all odds, they keep it going. Overall, dhtreichler’s writing was wonderful to follow. Every page added to the suspenseful plot. I enjoyed reading this and recommend it to others. 

Review: Coping with Death and Destruction 

Synopsis:

This is a collection of twelve, high concept, multi-part short stories reflecting on and inspired by the death and transformation of the year 2016. It serves as an elegy for that period of time, submerging into its dark themes of loss, extracting what irreverence and hopefulness it can, and reflecting it through a prism of an eternal universe. Sorted astrologically, the stories sometimes span generations, depicting conflict based around such themes as apocalypse, dreams, aging, dying, ghosts, the afterlife, animals, nature, global politics and pop culture. Location also varies, taking the reader through several American states to North Korea, Africa, the Philippines and beyond – often peppered with heavy doses of Southern Gothic sensibility. Here you can read about religion based on science fiction and fantasy, a 1960’s lounge singer marginalized by the Beatles, or a mixture of drugs that allows the user to summon the dead. Several of the tales blend fact into the fiction, nodding to the cultural giants whose deaths loomed over the year 2016: David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Carrie Fisher and others. These are detailed and developed stories, intended to instill within the reader a sense of timelessness and a comfort in the notion of infinity. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Coping with Death and Destruction by Arrison Kirby is an epic collection of short stories. Each one has a different plot. Every plot gives off another emotion. One that takes my heart and pulls and tugs until it sets me free. Sad, haunting, and dark. The tales told, captivated my attention with every page. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this book. However, I am thrilled to have done so. This was a path full of multiple journeys that I won’t be forgetting. There’s a variety of unique characters and stories to suit the taste of readers everywhere. The emotions hit me hard and square. I loved it. Coping with Death and Destruction not only entertained me but left me to feel things…that’s when I knew this was a book I would recommend to all. One fantasy after another can be experienced by each story told. Well-written.