Tuesday, March 21, 2017

California Dreaming

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 4 comments

This Friday through Sunday is the California Dreaming Writer's Conference.
Robyn Carr and Sarah MacLean are the headliners. (Oops. Went into acting mode.) Robyn Carr and Sarah MacLean are the keynote speakers.
I am looking forward to this event for several reasons.

 Robyn Carr is one of my "keeper" authors. I have an ARC of her next book, Any Day Now on my bookshelf and I plan to get it signed.

My manuscript Kate's Hero is one of five finalists in the California Hooker's contest.

And I am presenting a workshop on Sunday at noon. Exorcising Your Inner Critic: Improv for Writers.
That's because my other career is acting. Pamela Dumond suggested that readers might be interested in that.
So I made up a collage postcard
Major Crimes, Mama Pantone, and the Real Butcher from American Horror Story

I chose the images because (Top right) I am the victim on Major Crimes this week. (Wednesday, 10:00 PM on TNT) As it happens, GW Bailey who plays Lieutenant Provenza is also my sons' godfather and this is the first time we've worked on the same show.
The two images under that:
Mama Pantone from Tim and Eric's Bedtime stories has to be one of my favorite roles. Someone else who loved the shop uploaded the clip I linked to and it went viral.
The Real Butcher AHS Roanoke.
I added this picture because I think the makeup is by the brilliant Mike Mekash is amazing. This year I killed Kathy Bates on American Horror Story on Roanoke. 
I did 4 episodes, but the one where I first appear and kill Kathy is the best. It was a great pleasure to work with Kathy again. We first worked together in 1979 at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.

I have been working a lot lately as an actor. This clip is from Life in Pieces which aired a couple of weeks ago.

There are more videos on my acting website SusanBergerActor.com (Since I also aspire to voiceover acting, I must have a website.)
I also have a YouTube Channel where I can store my clips.  Being a working actor is part of my California Dreaming.  And it continues to come true.

I am one of sixty authors taking part in the Barbara Vey Reader event and I think it's going to be great fun. I share a table with the delightful and prolific and funny Pamela Dumond.
I'll be signing Time and Forever at the book-signing that follows the event. I don't have an ARC of Maybe This Time yet, but I have a postcard of the cover and blurb.

Maybe This Time
A Second Chance Romance
Their Happy Ever After is over before it begins. Unless they can change time. 
Popular London stage actress Jennifer Knight would rather eat worms than face her first husband.
But when her niece Kat accidentally sends herself and Jen thirteen years into the past, she has no choice but to accept Lance’s help.
Computer guru, Lance Davies is more comfortable with machines than people. He never knew how to handle his beloved, mercurial Jen. But now her future self is here in front of him and he wants another chance.
Jen’s torn. Her traitorous body insists that home is in Lance’s arms, but her heart has trust issues
Can two people whose timelines are thirteen years apart find a future where they can be together?

If you would be interested in receiving a PDF ARC of Maybe This Time, in return for a review on Amazon or Goodreads, please let me know in a comment.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Linda Lael Miller's new Western Romance, Forever a Hero Review and #Giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 7 comments
Linda Lael Miller’s third book in her series, The Carsons of Mustang Creek.  Forever a Hero debuts March 21st. And I have a copy to giveaway.
The Carson's of Mustang Creek: Slater, Mace and Drake Carson may be brothers, but that doesn’t mean they are alike. While all three of them can handle a horse, Slater’s interests lie in documentary film making, Drake runs the ranch and Mace runs the family winery. While the books stand alone, I think it's more fun if you read them in order.

Forever a Hero follows Mace, who runs the family winery. And it is my favorite of the three books. Possibly because I loved hearing about running a winery and Kelly, big city girl who'd been sent to try and buy the winery, seemed an unlikely and yet perfect match for Mace.

Linda Lael Miller fills her books with romance set against Wyoming’s big sky country.  She surrounds her protagonists with a close-knit family, loveable, eccentric side characters and delightfully witty dialogue. The give and take among the Carson brothers, their wives and Mace’s maybe-forever love Kelly is great fun to read. It escalates into suspense when the man who attacked Kelly twelve years ago is released from prison.


For the youngest Carson brother, finding—and fixing—trouble seems to be all in a day’s work

Mace Carson never considered himself a hero. Back in college, he came upon a woman in trouble and intervened—but he was just one irate Wyoming cowboy with his boots planted firmly on the side of right. Now a successful vintner, Mace ends up saving her once again. This time rescuing her from a car teetering on the edge of a cliff. The college co-ed he's never forgotten is now a corporate executive representing the company that wants to buy his winery. Only, he’s not selling.

Kelly Wright still has the occasional nightmare about that horrible night ten years ago and she's never forgotten the man saved her. The surprising success of a winery in the middle of ranch country has brought her to Mustang Creek, and she’s secretly thrilled to discover Mace at the helm. Reluctant to mix business with pleasure, Kelly vows to keep things professional, until her attacker is released from prison and comes for vengeance…against both of them.

If you're interested in winning a copy,(Continental US only) please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. Wishing us all a wonderful week with lots of reading.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rhys Bowen's Farleigh Field. Review and #Giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 4 comments

Do you know Rhys Bowen? I do. I first ran into her work with Her Royal Spyness series. Charming mysterie series about a distant (and totally broke) member of the Royal family set in the 1930's. I've always enjoyed her work, so when her publicists, Little Bird Publicity, asked me if I would like to feature her newest book, In Farleigh Field on my blog, I was delighted. When I got it, I realized this was a Kindle First Book which is crazy because Rhys Bowen's books have been nominated for every major mystery award and she has won thirteen of them to date. I should have asked why Rhys chose to do a Kindle First, but I didn't because I've been racing the clock since the beginning of the year, trying to keep up.

In Farleigh Field  is a stand alone novel set in 1941 Great Britain  - A mystery with a satisfying soupcon of romance.
World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

I binge-read In Farleigh Field and I loved every minute of it. Think of it as a book version of Dalton Abbey, The story is told from several points of view and you get a wonderful picture of a Great House in Wartime.
And, joy of joys, it also takes us to Bletchley Park, home to the code breakers I met in the movie, The Imitation Game. Another favorite of mine. I found it to be a thoroughly satisfying read. I love Rhys Bowen's style and her plotting.

I am delighted to have a copy to give to one of you. If you are interested, please enter the Rafflecopter. US Only please. It's a paperback. (I use Rafflecopter so I can email the winner. I do not give away your email addresses. Ever.)
Happy Reading and Happy Week to all of you.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Meet Belle Ami. Author of Sexy International Romantic Suspense

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with No comments

Meet fast paced romantic suspense author Belle Ami. I read her novel Escape Here’s my review:
Escape is fast paced highly sexy romantic suspense set in Iran and Israel.
Cyrus Hassani is known in his world as one of the top men protecting Iran’s nuclear development program.
Israel knows him as their best deep cover mole. When Layla Rose Wallace, daughter of one of America’s top physicists is kidnapped in Dubai and sent to Iran, all hell breaks loose.
Israel is afraid Layla could be used to force her father to work for Iran. Cyrus is ordered to rescue her and get her out of Iran at all costs.
Cyrus is angry, torn between the destruction of the cover he gave so many years to build, and the growing impossible attraction he feels for Layla.
Layla is unwillingly drawn to a man who tells her he has no soul. Together they race to escape the deadly net set to keep them from leaving Iran. I was fascinated by two environments and cultures I knew little about. The pace kept me racing through the story to see what happened next. If you like sexy romance, foreign climes and a good thriller, this is your read.
Belle, can we have an excerpt?

I’ve included an excerpt with cooking, since food always finds its way into my manuscripts.
* * * *
Layla bolted upright, gasping for air. The nightmare of being drugged and abducted had vividly replayed in her dream. Her face and ribs ached. She looked around the unfamiliar room. How did I get here? Her last memory was of driving in the Range Rover with Superman. Panic filled her. Zamir? Where is Zamir? I wonder if his father has started negotiating for our release. Have they notified my father? Does Zamir even know I’ve left the prison? I need to get a message to him; maybe the man with the green eyes will help me? Her mind spun with a million questions.
Determined, she rose from the bed. She would ask Superman for help. She crept out of the bedroom suite and tiptoed down the stairs. The fragrance of cooking meat and spices awakened pangs of hunger. She was starving. She followed the aroma to the kitchen. Superman, in an apron, stood over a stove stirring a pot. He dipped a wooden spoon into the pot and tasted the stew. “Hmm” Seemingly satisfied, he placed the lid on the pot.
“It smells delicious. What is it?”
He whirled around in surprise, his hand instinctively reaching for his holstered gun. “You scared the hell out of me.” He relaxed, smiling at her. “It’s called Fesenjan. It’s a traditional Persian stew made with pomegranate, chicken, walnuts, onions, saffron, cinnamon and a pinch of sugar. Are you hungry?”
“Starved. Who taught you to cook?”
“My mother. This should be ready soon. Why don’t you sit down?”
“My mother’s dead.”
“So is mine.”
They stared at each other, taken aback by each other’s candid answer.
Layla swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. “I have a million questions. I hardly know where to start.”
Cyrus pulled out a chair for her at the kitchen table. “Start at the beginning.”
She sat, folding her hands in front of her. “What’s your name? I can’t very well call you Superman.”
“Superman?” He shook his head, perplexed.
“In my mind, I’ve been calling you Superman—the way you rescued me from that guard. You swooped in like a superhero.”
The dimple in his chin hollowed out with his smile. She dropped her eyes in embarrassment, thinking, He’s way too good looking. Every time he smiles, my heart does somersaults.
“I like that.” The dimple in his chin grew even deeper with his broadening grin, and his green eyes gleamed with amusement.
“What?” Be still my heart. A smile like his could bring a woman to her knees. Not good, Layla. Don’t fall for the bait. He’s the enemy. “Oh, for God’s sake, please tell me your name.”
“Cyrus Hassani at your service. I am thirty-two.” He bowed his head. “What would you like to know about me? Unlike you Americans, I don’t have a Social Security card.”
She found his amusement annoying. She didn’t like being toyed with. “Mr. Hassani, I seem to be beholden to you. You might consider telling me a little about yourself so that I might have an idea of who I’m dealing with.”
Cyrus rubbed the shadow of beard on his face. “I hold a degree in nuclear physics from the University of Paris and a law degree from the Imam Mohammad Bagher University here in Tehran. I was conscripted by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security when I graduated university, and since then I have risen to the rank of attaché to an important man. My assignment is to keep you safe from all harm until your release. How am I doing?”
“Good, you’re doing well. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Although, I must say it sounded like the kind of recitation you’d give if you were captured by the enemy.”
His laughter filled the room. “I suppose the presentation might have seemed a bit canned. Now tell me, have I passed the first hurdle with you? May I call you Layla? Have I gained your trust enough for us to be on a first name basis?”
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Cyrus. I appreciate your candor, and I’m grateful for your rescue. I guess you are a superman of sorts. I still have a lot more questions. I think first names will make this easier for both of us. Please, call me Layla.”
“Shoot, Layla.”
“My boyfriend, Zamir, and I were abducted from Dubai. His father, Omar Kamel, is a wealthy Saudi businessman. I’m sure he’s begun negotiating for our release. I want to know how Zamir is, and can you tell me how much longer we’ll have to be here?”
Cyrus looked at his watch. “Zamir is fine. In fact, he should be getting on a private jet right about now on his way to Saudi Arabia and his family.”
Layla felt the blood drain from her face. Tears welled in her eyes, tracing a path down her cheek. “I don’t understand. I’m supposed to be on that jet with him. He would never leave without me
Cyrus’s voice remained even, if not a little compassionate. “I’m sorry, Layla, but he did. Don’t think too poorly of him. He had no choice. His father made no effort to include you in the negotiation. You could not possibly believe an Arab family would open their arms to you, an American Jew. He’s a boy. None of this is in his control.” As an afterthought, he added, “If it’s any comfort, I’m sure he’s as devastated as you.”
Layla stared at Cyrus, trying to process what he said. Taking a breath, she wiped her tears away. I should have known better. I’ve been a fool, a child. She stared at her folded hands, trying to catch up with her thoughts. The realization she’d been left to fend for herself dawned on her. You come from a long line of fighters, she told herself. Your grandparents are Holocaust survivors. It’s time to become who you really are. Facing the truth strengthened her resolve. Looks like you’re going to have to find your own way out of this.
She tried to fathom her situation, thoughts racing. Cyrus stared at her, his sexy eyes filled with compassion. She returned his stare as if seeing him for the first time. Is he a friend or a foe? It occurred to her that the flipping gorgeous hunk of a man who sat across from her might be her only chance out of Iran. It was not in her DNA to use people, but under the circumstances, this man might be her only way out. She looked down at her hands as she tried to devise a plan.
When she looked up, she found Cyrus studying her. She blushed. “I guess that’s all the questions I have for now. I really am hungry, though.”
“Good. Then let’s eat.”
She found herself unable to resist. “I hope Superman can cook as well as he comes to the rescue of damsels in distress.”
“Be sure to let me know what career I’m better suited to, cooking or taking down bad guys.”
“Right now, I’m hoping it’s cooking you excel at.”
“Actually, my greatest skill set is in the bedroom.” His piercing green eyes dared her to look away.
Layla’s cheeks burned, and he doubled over in laughter.
“I… I beg your pardon?”
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist, Layla. You’re quite pretty when you blush.”

Now I am hungry - in more ways than one. But let's go with food. Got a recipe you want to share?

You bet! My improved version of a recipe that is an easy one pot meal & is crowd pleasing chicken & potatoes on the wall

Makes 4 servings (I usually add extra breasts or dark meat because the leftovers are killer)
·         6 tablespoons olive oil
·         4 large garlic cloves, minced
·         3 teaspoons dried oregano (I always use fresh)
·         2 1/4 pounds yukon potatoes, peeled, each cut into 6 long wedges
·         1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces or just buy the parts dark or white your preference
·         3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1.      Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush inside of large roasting pan with 2 tablespoons oil. Combine remaining 4 tablespoons oil, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano in bowl. Add potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper. Line the outside edges of a large roasting pan with the potatoes so that they Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, salt, and pepper. Arrange chicken in single layer in center of prepared pan. Arrange potatoes around chicken. Then put chicken in the bowl and soak up the remaining garlic, oil & oregano (if you need to add another tablespoon of oil do so). Then squeeze the lemon juice and any remaining oil mixture from bowl of potatoes.
2.      Roast chicken and potatoes until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. The recipe originally called for 1 hours & 10 minutes, however, I don’t like my chicken dried out so an hour is plenty. I also cut my breasts in half.
This recipe is so good, it fills the house with mouth-watering aroma.
I can’t wait to try it.

Belle, is not only a fellow member of my chapter of RWA, LARA, she is one of my critique partners. I and my fellow critique partners have been critiquing her next book and it's very exciting. Belle, tell us about your next book, Vengeance

Vengeance (Tip of the Spear Book 2)
Vengeance is a continuation of Escape. An exciting thriller featuring my hero, Cyrus Hassani, and heroine, Layla Rose Wallace, in a new adventure.
On a lovely September evening in one of Manhattan’s poshest restaurant a bomb explodes. The Israeli Consul General and Layla Hassani are dining in the restaurant. More than a hundred people are killed including the consul general, and Layla unbeknownst to the authorities is kidnapped.
When a YouTube video surfaces starring, a kidnapped Layla threatening another attack, a much bigger one, Mossad and the FBI team up to stop the terrorist from killing millions of Americans. Mossad (Cyrus Hassani) and the FBI (Cass Saladino and David Weiss) are in a desperate countdown to avoid a disaster. For Cyrus, this is not only his assigned mission but it’s personal. He’ll do anything to save the love of his life, Layla.

Where can we find you?
Amazon buy link:  https://www.amazon.com/Escape-Tip-Spear-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01N1X508R
Amazon buy link: http://bookshow.me/TheOne
Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Holiday-Ever-After-Nora-Flite-ebook/dp/B01M8KZIRK
Twitter:  @BelleAmi5
Website:   http://belleami.us

Thank you for being here, Belle. I look forward to your next book.