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Indie Saturday – Author Bernadine Fagan on “Murder by the Old Maine Stream”

May 19, 2012 2 comments

Today, we have author Bernadine Fagan featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her cozy murder mystery “Murder by the Old Maine Stream” which stars a smart and funny ‘out of her element’ heroine in the amateur sleuth Nora. Bernadine is presently working on a sequel which should be out this summer.


Bernadine Fagan writes :

Several summers ago I drove up to Maine to visit my cousin and her husband in their new home. It was in the woods. While I loved the wild beauty of the place I also found it a bit intimidating. I could see myself getting lost. I once went through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel three times on my way to the Statue of Liberty.

I pictured being attacked by wild animals. I was once bitten by my friend’s German Shepherd because I ventured too close to his food bowl. I have a vivid imagination so it was only one step farther to picturing someone (not me, of course) stumbling upon a body in those woods. The idea for MURDER BY THE OLD MAINE STREAM was born on that visit.

My writing experience prior to “the visit” consisted mainly of romances, which never seemed to take off, possibly because they weren’t me. With my first mystery, I decided to write the way I think, which leans more in the direction of humor than hearts and flowers.

Here’s a short description Of MURDER BY THE OLD MAINE STREAM:

When computer analyst and city woman Nora Lassiter loses her job and her fiancé in an incredibly short period of time (same day), she heads north to visit relatives in the Maine woods that she hasn’t seen since she was ten years old and her father up and moved the family to New York City. She never understood that and figures this is an opportunity to find out the real story.

She gets involved when she stumbles upon a body in the woods. She tracks a murderer, gathers evidence on a friend’s cheating husband and gets reacquainted with family she hasn’t seen since she was a child.

And yes, in a nod to my former career as a non-published romance writer, there is a little romance in this book. Our Nora meets and falls “in like” with handsome and manly Sheriff Nick.

Bernadine Fagan is based in New York, and has worn several hats in her life – Writer, Former Science Teacher, Former English Teacher. She counts Susan Elizabeth Philips, Janet Evanovich, Jennifer Crusie, Lee Child, Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Hank Phillippi Ryan among her favorite authors, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Long Island Sisters in Crime (Vice-president).


Murder by the Old Maine Stream by Bernadine Fagan is available at Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats. The ebook is also available on Barnes & Noble.

To learn more about Bernadine Fagan, follow Bernadine on her website: www.bernadinefagan.com. Drop by and say hi to her!

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Read an embedded sample of “Murder by the Old Maine Stream” after the jump!

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Indie Saturday – Author Shannon Esposito on “Karma’s A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Mystery)”

May 5, 2012 1 comment

Today, we have author Shannon Esposito featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her cozy murder mystery “Karma’s A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Mystery)“. It’s hard to resist this mystery about a sleuthing  duo composed of an adopted mastiff called Karma and her reluctant pet psychic owner Darwin Winters.


Shannon Esposito writes :

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my cozy mystery, Karma’s A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Mystery) with you here on Indie Saturday!

I am really fond of this book for a number of reasons. I had just finished writing a darker mystery about a serial killer on Anna Maria Island called The Monarch and, although I still felt the need to write something, I just couldn’t dive into writing the next book in that series yet. So, my daughter suggested I write something just for fun.

At that time I was spending the mornings at the local dog park with our new puppy and decided it would be a lot of fun to write a cozy murder mystery centered around a dog. That’s how Karma, the hundred and fifty pound toothless mastiff, was born. The next piece of the puzzle to fall into place was the setting.

A few weekends later, we visited St. Pete here in Florida and I was smitten. If you’ve never visited St. Pete, I highly recommend you do so. It’s one of the most charming cities I’ve ever been to. I walked around there, watching the people, visiting the museums, restaurants and parks and knew it was the perfect place for Karma to solve a murder.

Here’s the plot:

Darwin Winters, reluctant pet psychic, is determined to leave her family’s paranormal past behind and lead a normal life. So she strikes out on her own and opens up a new pet boutique in St. Pete, Florida. When a local homeless man she befriends is found dead, and the police assume it’s a suicide, Darwin has no choice but to use her gift to help collar the killer.

She adopts his grieving mastiff, Karma —and with the dog’s help— tries to piece together the events of that fatal night. Accepting the visions is one thing, but can she solve the mystery without revealing her powers to the jaded, yet drool-worthy, detective in charge of the case?

Or will the killer put an end to her psychic sleuthing and bury the truth for good?

Darwin is such a loveable character. Because of her sheltered life so far, she sees everything through a naive and fresh filter. She’s sweet and trusting and gets herself into a very dangerous situation because of these qualities. She and Karma, with all their shortcomings, still make a formidable pair while they try to solve the murder.

I hope your readers will enjoy reading about Darwin and Karma’s adventure as much as I enjoyed writing about them.

And yes, I’m currently working on the second book in the Pet Psychic series. A black cat gets Darwin involved in a murder-by-rattlesnake case just in time for Halloween!

Shannon Esposito lives in a magical gulf coast town with fluorescent sunsets, purple dragonflies and the occasional backyard alligator. Her mysteries transport readers to Florida without the hefty price of airfare. Although she knew from the age of five she wanted to be a writer, she briefly entertained the idea of being a scientist, until she found out it involved math, which gives her hives.

She shares this little corner of paradise with her husband, twin boys and dogs. If she’s not writing, you’ll find her coddling one of the above, hiding with a book or daydreaming with her toes in the sand.


Karma’s A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Mystery) by Shannon Esposito (misterio press) is available at Amazon in Kindle format. Check out her Amazon author’s page for a listing of all her books!

To learn more about Shannon Esposito, follow Shannon on her website: murderinparadise.com, Twitter: @soesposito, Facebook: S.O.EspositoBooks. Shannon also runs a blog: Shannon Esposito’s Blog. Drop by and say hi to her!

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Read an embedded sample of “Karma’s A Bitch” after the jump!

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Indie Saturday – Author Joan Reeves on “JANE I’m-Still-Single JONES”

February 25, 2012 4 comments

Today, we have author Joan Reeves featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her romantic comedy “JANE I’m-Still-Single JONES” (Available on Amazon). Do you ever wonder about ‘the one that got away?’ Well, you might want to check out what happens when our heroine Ms Jane Louise Jones goes home for her ten-year high school reunion and meets the first love that got away …


Author Joan Reeves writes about ‘JANE I’m-Still-Single JONES’ (and where she gets her ideas a.k.a LIFE’S IDEA BOUTIQUE!):

For some reason, readers are curious about how we authors get the ideas that result in books. I’ve never taken part in a book signing or given a presentation to readers without being asked: ‟Where do you get your ideas?

I always want to say, ‟At the Idea Boutique of course!” Instead, I earnestly reply that my book premises come from everything I see, hear, or experience. Ultimately, the serious answer is the same as the flippant one because Life may be like a box of chocolates, but it’s also like a gigantic Idea Boutique.

A case in point is my popular romantic comedy JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES. This book bears the distinction of being one of only two of my traditionally-published novels that retained its original title.

Last year, I expanded and updated JANE and published it as an ebook available at all the popular ebook sellers. In the fall, I was contacted by an editor for Bragelonne, one of the largest French publishing houses. She had obtained a digital copy of JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES, read it, loved it, and contacted me immediately to purchase French World Rights for it!

I was blown away that my southern humor brand of romantic comedy spoke so clearly to a Parisian editor. In the end, Bragelonne contracted for JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES, JUST ONE LOOK, and STILL THE ONE, for print and ebook.

The idea for JANE, the story of a high school reunion and second chances, came from my own high school reunion that I attended a few years ago. In the book, Jane Louise Jones, formerly the most popular girl in high school whose heart was broken by her secret love aka the high school’s biggest geek, attends her high school reunion.

When she gets her welcome packet, she’s mortified that she’s expected to wear a name tag that reads, ‟JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES.”

You see, at MY twenty year high school reunion, a friend who had never married had taken her own name tag and written on it: ‟I’m Still Single.” (Out of discretion, I won’t tell you her name since her career is in the political arena.)

I took one look at that name tag and a whole world of ‟what if’s” popped into my head. That was the idea I grabbed that night from Life’s Idea Boutique. When I returned home, I wrote that one phrase, ‟I’m Still Single,” on a sticky note and stuck it on my monitor. Then I created a fictional world and characters to tell the story inspired by that phrase.

As an ebook, that story and those characters continue to attract readers all over the world. Everyone seems to identify with Jane and her first love that got away. They also like Morgan Sherwood, the hero of the story who is a nerd no longer. Now he’s a man with the looks of George Clooney, the genius of Steve Jobs, and the money of Bill Gates.

Readers all seem to like the wacky old ladies of the Vernon Ladies Bridge Club–where none of them know how to play bridge–as well as Jane’s father who is the local Sheriff. I’ve had so much email about the funny old ladies that I’ve got a series of short stories in the planning stages that will star them and their meddling ways. (Think seven women like Betty White!)

So where do I get my ideas? From life, with its exquisite diversity of absurdness, comedy, and drama.

Joan Reeves is an overnight success – and it only took her 25 years to achieve that status! She’s a best selling Kindle author of Romance. In her spare time, she’s a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet who – no, wait, that’s someone else. Seriously? Okay, if we must be serious….

Joan Reeves is a multi-published print and ebook author who is published all over the web under her own name, various pseudonyms, and as a ghost. She’s the writer and publisher of the long-running blog SlingWords. On her blog are subscription forms for free newsletters: Wordplay for readers and Writing Hacks for writers.


JANE I’m-Still-Single JONES by Joan Reeves is available at Amazon in Kindle format. The ebook is also available on B&N, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, iTunes and Xin Xii. You can check out her Amazon author page or her website (joanreeves.com) for a list of all her books. You can also find Joan Reeves’s books on Barnes & Noble.

To learn more about Joan Reeves, go to www.joanreeves.com or follow Joan on Twitter: @JoanReeves. Joan also blogs at SlingWords.blogspot.com. Drop by and say hi!

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Indie Saturday – Author Talli Roland on “Build A Man”

February 18, 2012 5 comments

Today, we have author Talli Roland featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her romantic comedy “Build A Man” (Available on Amazon). Perfect for Chick lit readers looking for an uplifting read marked by tongue-in-cheek humor (while tackling such ‘heavy’ topics as  the perils of cosmetic surgery and the ugly side of tabloid journalism). The sequel Construct A Couple will hopefully be set for release soon!


Author Talli Roland writes about ‘Build A Man’ (and why she loves writing about strong female characters):

I enjoy sweetness and light as much as the next gal, but sometimes it can get a tiny bit irritating to watch female characters spin in hopeless circles as they eat their way through cupcakes and trot off to buy high heels. Where are the successful, professional women who stand up for themselves and don’t fall to bits when faced with hunky men? Where are the protagonists who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, who drink whisky not spritzers, and chow down on potato chips not chocolate?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of romance and love. But I want to see a couple come together as equals, after the woman sorts out problems herself – not because the hero has swooped in, snapped his fingers and made everything fine. I want the woman to be a person in her own right; I’ve never understood the attraction of the sentiment ‘you complete me’. In our modern times, women do it all. Why shouldn’t our chick lit protagonists represent that?

In my novel Build A Man, main character Serenity Holland doesn’t hesitate to pursue her ambition of being a top tabloid reporter, despite many obstacles in the way. She’s far from perfect – in fact, she takes quite a few wrong turns! – but she certainly isn’t dithering or ditzy. She makes firm decisions and follows through. In spite of her flaws and the fact that she unwittingly hurts others, I can’t help but respect her drive. By the end of the novel, she’s learned what’s really important . . . and found love along the way, without sacrificing who she is to get it. After all, isn’t that true romance? Two people who don’t need each other, but who choose to share their lives because they want to.

And that’s why I love writing strong female characters!

Bestselling novelist Talli Roland has three loves in her life: chick lit, coffee, and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Her debut novel, The Hating Game, was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, and her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as a 2011 Amazon Customer Favourite. Build A Man is her latest release.


Build A Man by Talli Roland is available at Amazon in Kindle format. You can check out her Amazon author page or her website (talliroland.com) for a list of all her books (also romantic comedies). You can also find Talli Roland’s books on Barnes & Noble.

To learn more about Talli Roland, go to www.talliroland.com or follow Talli on Twitter: @talliroland. Talli also blogs at talliroland.blogspot.com. Drop by and say hi!

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Read an embedded sample of “Build A Man” after the jump!

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Indie Saturday – Author Elle Lothlorien on “The Frog Prince”

February 11, 2012 11 comments

Today, we have author Elle Lothlorien featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her romantic comedy “The Frog Prince” (Available on Amazon). I’m personally fascinated by “common-born” girls who end up as Royal Princesses or close to one (i.e. Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark; Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco) So, how could I resist a feel good romantic comedy featuring a quirky heroine – a self described ‘social misfit’  – who captures the heart of an “almost royal” Crown Prince of Austria (owing to the monarchy being abolished in 1918)?


Author Elle Lothlorien writes about ‘The Frog Prince(with an introductory hilarious anecdote!):

Let’s talk about my pants. No, seriously.

Last Wednesday afternoon, I was in New York City to speak on the “Successful Self-Published Authors” panel at Digital BookWorld Expo. Last Thursday morning, I was standing in my friend’s New York City living room in a blind panic, with only an hour to make my flight home, wearing nothing but a form-fitting “sweater dress” (I use the term loosely; the thing was so short you could almost see my vulva), thigh-high tights, and high heel lace-up booties, looking for all the world like the kind of escort whose boss has the title of “The [fill in the city] Madam.”

I normally wear this lovely ensemble with a pair of skinny jeans and a long-sleeve cardigan of the same color. The problem? I can’t find my pants. And without pants, this outfit won’t fly. Literally.

Of course, I do have two other choices: 1) The outfit I flew to New York in, which now boasts an impressive kung pao chicken stain on the front; 2) The outfit I wore to the conference the day before, which involved thigh-high boots with four-inch heels and a hidden two-inch platform. These are fine for tottering a few feet straight to an awaiting cab; they’re no bueno for hiking through miles of airport—well, not if I want to have feet rather than bloody stumps when I get to Denver.

So I quickly improvise. Instead of wearing the long-sleeve sweater, I tied it around my waist, and closed the gap in front with a hair clip. Voila! A makeshift “sweater skirt” if you will. To the rest of the world, this looks perfectly ordinary.

Unfortunately, “the rest of the world” doesn’t include the TSA.

In the security line at La Guardia, I was still silently congratulating myself on my “fly by the seat of your pants” sartorial skills, when I heard a loud, impatient voice on the other side of the walk-through metal detector: “Take off the sweater around your waist.” I froze. “Ma’am,” he barked, “I need you to take off the sweater around your waist.”

Instead of beating around the bush (so to speak), I said point-blank: “I’m not wearing anything underneath it.”

This caused quite a ruckus as I got ushered into the rectangular enclosure a few feet away while they scrambled to find a female TSA ass-grabber. (I love these little enclosures, I really do. I mean, what are the chances that your fellow-travelers are going to be able to see your body cavity search through all that glass, right?)

A female TSA employee joined me in in the see-through barn stall almost immediately, and said, “I’ve been told that you aren’t wearing any pants.” She used the same ultra-formal, serious-as-a-heart-attack tone a CIA agent might use when interrogating a spy: “I understand you were sent here to steal our nuclear launch codes.”

By this time, the plastic trays containing my laptop, purse, medications, liquids/gels, and full-length coat had reached the end of the roller belt. My carry-on rolled along, crashing into the bins and pushing some of them off the belt onto the floor. I was trying very hard not to scream in frustration (screaming in the middle of airport security is a poor idea), so instead of answering her I simply hiked up the wraparound sweater enough to show her that between the top of the thigh-high tights and the bottom of my crop-top sweater, there was nothin’ but birthday suit.

She took a startled step backwards, holding up her hands in front of her to shield herself from the horror of my thigh. “Ma’am!” she shouted. “No one’s asking you to do that!

At this point, I’m certain this debacle’s going to end with me missing my flight and having my name added to the No Fly/No Pants List. But apparently the sight of my thigh was enough to convince her that I wasn’t a threat to national security. Not only did she not frisk me, she and the other TSA officials had a good laugh at my expense (I’ve so rarely seen TSA employees smile that I wasn’t certain that they even had teeth). They actually helped me gather and repack my belongings, with one of them calling ahead to the gate to let them know that I’d been held up at security, and that I was making a run for it.

Thanks to them, I made my flight. I’m not sure if those people make great airport security, but I think with the right training, they’d all made fantastic bellhops. Maybe even valets.

Now. Let’s talk about frogs. No, seriously.

By May of 2010, I’d finished a book I’d titled The Frog Prince, which is about a Denver sex researcher who meets the man who would have been the king of Austria—if the monarchy there hadn’t been abolished in 1918. I thought I had a pretty good book, but I also had two problems: 1) I had no idea what kind of book it was; 2) I had no graphic design skills.

Perhaps these require more explanation.

Point 1: When I originally started writing novels, I wrote thrillers. I’d read thrillers since I was a kid, I read them as an adult. I “got them.” Chick-lit, contemporary romance, rom-com—these were mysterious genres I knew nothing about. Sure, I’d seen movies like Bridget Jones Diary and The Devil Wears Prada (and enjoyed them very much), but hell, I didn’t even know those movies were adapted from books until about two years ago!

So I asked a friend to read the first few chapters of The Frog Prince and tell me what kind of book she thought it was. Her email was short and to the point: “It’s a romantic comedy, you dumbass.”

Point 2: After a failed attempt at traditional publication with my novel Virgin (A Thriller) a few years before, I was seriously considering self-publishing The Frog Prince. Of course, when you self-publish, all the things a traditional publisher would do for you is now your job—including designing a book cover. A reasonable person at this point would’ve researched rom-com, chick-lit, and contemporary romance book covers to see what readers of these genres expected, or to find out what kind of cover “sold.”

You’ve probably figured out by now that I am not a reasonable person. I may not even be clinically sane. So I did what any author stumbling into the world of self-publication with no graphic design skills would do: I used my mad PowerPoint abilities to design a book cover.

I wish I was kidding.

If you were browsing chick-lit titles in the Kindle Store in July of 2010, you may have run across The Frog Prince. If so, you would’ve seen this cover.

If you were browsing chick-lit titles in the Kindle Store in February of 2012, you may have run across The Frog Prince. If so, you would see the same cover.

Almost without exception, every email I’ve received from fans in the last year and a half contains a variation on the phrase “I love that little frog on the cover!” Fans send me frog lawn ornaments, lighters, candles, bath soap. I’ve even received a crocheted frog tea cozy.

They take pictures of frog statues and tag them on Facebook with my name.

It wasn’t until The Frog Prince became an Amazon best-seller in December of 2010 that I really took a look at other book covers in the contemporary romance genre. And what I saw was a lot of variations on the following: pink, pink, pink, followed by hearts, wedding cakes, wedding dresses, wedding rings, and pink.

Which is not to imply that these covers aren’t good! In fact, one of my favorite covers is self-published author Beth Orsoff’s Romantically Challenged, and contains both pink and hearts! (By the way, her chick-lit novel, Disengaged, is now an Amazon best-seller).

So why am I telling you this, and what does this have to do with traveling half-naked? It’s simple: Sometimes cobbling together a solution in a state of well-meant ignorance is the recipe for a better outcome than you otherwise would’ve had if you’d put a little more thought into it.

If I hadn’t been so frantic to make my flight on time, I wouldn’t have rigged up a barely-there solution to my missing pants problem. And without the TSA repacking my stuff and calling the gate, I almost certainly would’ve missed my flight home.

You know that little ribbon on an Amazon product page that reads “People who bought this book also bought…”? In the case of The Frog Prince, that little green frog on the cover stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of pink. Readers probably clicked on it thinking, “What the…” expecting to find out that it had simply been miscategorized. When they read the book description, many were intrigued enough to buy it and read it. And they told their friends, and they told their friends…

If I’d done what I now teach aspiring self-published authors at workshops to do—namely, research book covers in your genre before you design one—The Frog Prince might have ended up as just another pink rom-com cover, lost in shades of pink. Instead, The Frog Prince made its way onto three Amazon Top 100 lists: Comedy, Contemporary Romance, and Humor, staying on the Humor Top 100 list for ten months!, and it enabled me to leave my job and write full-time in June of 2011.

With a better understanding of what constitutes the typical rom-com book cover, what are the chances that I caved to convention when designing book covers after The Frog Prince?

About as likely as me trying to fly again without pants.

A “military brat,” Elle Lothlorien was born in Germany, and spent her childhood in such far-flung places as Puerto Rico, Charleston, S.C., Italy, and Washington, D.C. Sadly, the only language she ever became semi-fluent in is English. An early mid-life crisis propelled Elle Lothlorien to take a Lindy Hop swing dance class at a Denver bar. Three years (and a few ankle and knee braces) later she does a mad Charleston and can pancake like nobody’s business.

Elle lives in Denver, Colorado, and keeps two dachshunds around the house to provide comic relief.


You can find Elle Lothlorien’s romantic comedies The Frog Prince and Sleeping Beauty on Amazon. Her third romantic comedy, Rapunzel, will be released in the spring. You can read more about her and her upcoming novels at www.ellelothlorien.com, Facebook, and by following her on Twitter.

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Read an embedded sample of “The Frog Prince” after the jump!

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Indie Saturday – Author Nina Cordoba on “Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies”

February 4, 2012 7 comments

Today, we have author Nina Cordoba featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her romantic comedy “Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies” (Available on Amazon). If you’re in the mood for a funny romance starring an anti-Bridget Jones type heroine, check this one out!


Author Nina Cordoba writes about ‘Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies’:

Since Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies was published, I’ve received a lot of “L.O.L.” messages from readers. But, in order to create a humorous story, the author has to start with a serious premise (or at least a premise that’s serious to the hero or heroine). In one of my favorite movies, There’s Something About Mary, Ted is a lonely bachelor because he can’t forget his first love. The show Bones has some of the most clever comedy lines on TV today, which the cast delivers while standing over the horrific remains of murder victims. And remember Wile E.? Every episode of The Road Runner Show revolved around that poor coyote’s desperate need for a meal.

As women, many of us have made choice after choice in our lives based on the love for and well-being of others. Then we wake up one morning and wonder what happened to the people we used to be. “Didn’t I used to play guitar?” “Wasn’t I planning to be CEO of my own company?” “What the hell am I wearing? Mom jeans?” Like the blood-sucking Chupacabra of Latin America, something has sneaked in and sucked out what we once were. Although if we had the chance to go back in time, we might make the same choices again (except maybe for the mom jeans), the fact that we unwittingly lost so much of ourselves while focusing on others over the years can be sobering.

So, in Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies, I bestowed this knowledge on L.A. TV reporter Abbie Greenwood from the get-go. She instinctively knows that if she follows her heart with Rick and his daughter, her entire being could be usurped by the expectations of living as a wife and full-time step-mom in an alien environment — the Houston suburbs.

I loved Bridget Jones’s Diary, and I’ve always thought of Abbie as the “anti-Bridget.” As desperately as Bridget chases the dream of a husband and family, Abbie runs away from it. Of course, there’s nowhere to hide, since she’s taken several weeks off from her job so she can dog-sit for her sister and re-evaluate her life. But a girl can’t focus on a rational plan for her future when there’s a hot cowboy-lawyer right across the street… melting her heart, heating her body, and (she’s certain) just waiting for the opportunity to suck out her soul.

“I was born a Mexi-glo, as my parents called it–half Mexican, half Anglo. I’ve taught English to adult students from all over the world. Their stories have been an inspiration to me. I started teaching ESL just before my mother died. I cried constantly for a year and the only time I could forget her tragic death was when I was teaching my classes. Then one night, after a lifetime of writing journalistic and marketing materials, I started writing a novel, then I wrote another and another.”

Ms Nina Cordoba studied Journalism at Louisiana State University and currently lives in Houston, Texas


Don’t Make Me Make You Brownies by Nina Cordoba is available at Amazon in Kindle format, and at B&N in a Nookbook format. You can check out her Amazon author page or her website (NinaCordoba.Com) for a list of all her books (also romantic comedies). Nina Cordoba’s novels are also available at Barnes and Noble.

More info also available on her Website and Twitter and Facebook! So, drop by and say hi to her!

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Book Review – Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Book Description:

Sophie Kinsella has dazzled readers with her irresistible Shopaholic novels—sensational international bestsellers that have garnered millions of devoted fans and catapulted her into the first rank of contemporary storytellers. Now her beloved heroine Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) returns in a hilarious tale of married life, toddlerhood, and the perils of trying to give a fabulous surprise party—on a budget!

Becky Brandon thought motherhood would be a breeze and that having a daughter was a dream come true: a shopping friend for life! But it’s trickier than she thought. Two-year-old Minnie has a quite different approach to shopping. Minnie creates havoc everywhere she goes, from Harrods to her own christening. Her favorite word is “Mine!” and she’s even trying to get into eBay! On top of everything else, Becky and Luke are still living with her parents (the deal on house #4 has fallen through), when suddenly there’s a huge financial crisis.

With people having to “cut back,” Becky decides to throw a surprise party for Luke to cheer everyone up. But when costs start to spiral out of control, she must decide whether to accept help from an unexpected source—and therefore run the risk of hurting the person she loves. Will Becky be able to pull off the celebration of the year? Will she and Luke ever find a home of their own? Will Minnie ever learn to behave? And . . . most important . . . will Becky’s secret wishes ever come true?

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I’ve been a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series ever since the very charming first book Confessions of a Shopaholic. But with this latest installment of Mini Shopaholic, I feel that Becky Brandon née Bloomwood has overstayed her welcome. Sophie Kinsella trots out all the same old, same old for Becky – and honestly – what I found cute about her in the first book, I just totally find annoying in this sixth book.

When I first met Becky, she was a fresh college graduate in her early 20s still finding her way in the world. It was easy to forgive her harmless lies, silly schemes, and laugh at her childish efforts to extricate herself from credit card debt, especially as Becky showed a lot of heart and backbone in the end. Rebecca Brandon is now supposedly a mature, married woman juggling a high-powered husband, a challenging 2-year-old toddler and a thriving career, but she’s still exactly the same flighty, shallow & thoughtless character, and it isn’t cute or funny anymore. Not only is she still in denial about her shopping addiction, she is still in the immature habit of weaving fantastical stories and continues to tell outright lies to her husband, family, friends and colleagues to get herself out of messy spots. How can Sophie Kinsella not allow her main character any sort of growth and development through the years? Where I used to laugh with Becky, I now find myself rolling my eyes in irritation.

My other problem with this latest in the series is that the plot is exceedingly thin and boring – the main points are: 1) Becky worries whether her daughter is spoilt while continuing to indulge in extravagant shopping excursions for the toddler, and 2) Becky tries to organize a surprise (and lavish) birthday party for her husband Luke even while on a non-existent budget (and while the entire country goes into recession). Becky being Becky, she basically muddles her way through and makes a mess of things before a surprising ‘fairy-godmother’ character appears to wave her magic wand and make everything all right again.

So, is there anything nice I can say about the book? Well yes, Sophie Kinsella still has the ability to write really funny comedic moments every now and then that can still make me giggle out loud (although that is few and far between on this book), and I did find myself looking at some minor characters in a new light – like the humble but fabulously wealthy aristocrat (and apparently sexy to the gays) Tarquin Cleath-Stuart (Remember him? He was Becky’s bumbling suitor in book 1 who married her roommate). I wouldn’t mind an off-shoot book where Kinsella concentrates on the Cleath-Stuarts at all (with a cameo from the designer Danny). Another character I’d like to learn more about is Luke’s estranged biological mother Elinor (who is shown in a more sympathetic light in this book).

But at this point, I think I’m done with the series, especially as the next book seems to have more of Becky flying back to the United States again while yet again escaping from learning any permanent life lessons. I foresee the same gags and money problems, and secrets blowing up in Becky’s face again. The only way that Sophie Kinsella can save the series for me right now is by sending Becky into shopaholic boot camp and have her character grow up for a change. Yes, we all love a flawed character, but we expect some change to occur in said character too.

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($9.99), Hardcover ($13.99), Paperback ($10.20) or Audiobook ($19.80).

You can also get the ebook for $9.99 everywhere else (Sony eBook Store, BooksOnBoard, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.)

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Bargain Alert! ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ & ‘Twenties Girl: A Novel’ by Sophie Kinsella Only $0.99!

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

So, the eReader.Com site is actually offering two other massively discounted Sophie Kinsella books (aside from the latest book ‘Mini Shopaholic‘! I found out when I went searching for all her books on the site, and there were two books that came back as $0.99! Just note that the eBooks will be in ADE ePub format.

Confessions of a Shopaholic‘ by Sophie Kinsella is available for the low low price of $0.99! Just click here to download! (The Kindle copy is $6.29!)

Book Description:

Rebecca Bloomwood just hit rock bottom. But she’s never looked better….

Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is that she can’t actually afford it — not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Savings not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank — letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read — and they’re getting ever harder to ignore.

She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Becky’s only consolation is to buy herself something … just a little something… Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life–and the lives of those around her–forever.

*


Twenties Girl: A Novel‘ by Sophie Kinsella is available for the low low price of $0.99! Just click here to download! (The Kindle copy is $6.27!)

Book Description:

Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they? When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie—a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance—mysteriously appears, she has one request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, because Sadie cannot rest without it.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from and about each other. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family.

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Enjoy the savings!

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