Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Irish Magic Cover help #giveaway. #recipe

Posted by Susan B James on 9:32:00 PM with 3 comments

Aye and Begorrah and may the Luck of the Irish be with you.
Somewhere inside, there is a little bit of Irish in most of us. Probably put there by Leprechaun dust. Leprechauns are another tribe of the Faerie Folk that live is a shifting fold of time. Are they alive now? Well it depends on how time folds. It’s always possible to catch a glimpse of one.
In 2013 I went to Ireland to celebrate my seventieth birthday. I wanted to see a Leprechaun; hear musical Irish voices, meet the people and visit the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. 
I didn’t find a real matchmaker, but I did find a pot of gold: An idea for a book, Kate's hero - now called Irish Magic will be published in August and I need cover ideas. 
I put a post on my Facebook Author Page with possible cover images.

I forgot to add this cover which also has a good feel to it. 
Anyone who helps me out with a comment will get an ARC of Irish Magic. 
Two commenters will win a ten dollar Amazon Card.

Kate Carnahan’s second novel is late to her publisher because the bitter end to her engagement turned her hero into a snarky disaster and she’s had no luck in re-imagining him. When she finds her first- ever four-leaf clover, her wish is a new hero for her book.
Hah! Every leprechaun knows a four-leaf clover wish is a heart wish and Kate’s heart wants a true love. To fulfill it, half-Leprechaun Bradley Flynn calls in help from the finest matchmaker Ireland’s ever had.
Essie O’Callaghan retired her hereditary position years ago, but she now has a mission of her own. Finding her friend Dr. Michael Walshe a wife.
Together Brad and Essie engineer Kate’s and Michael’s trips to Ireland, arranging for them to encounter each other – over, and over and over again.
Kate and Michael have both sworn off romantic entanglements, but the more they see of each other, the harder it is to resist the temptation to explore their reluctant attraction.

And then there’s the matter of Brad’s cousin Eamon, ashamed of his halfling heritage and too stiff-necked to admit he’s been in love with his fellow halfling Pirikit Mac Cionaoith his whole life. Someone has to take that pair in hand.

 Ah well, Ireland’s home to more magic than most mortals dream. It’s a fine place for two stubborn couples who are perfect for each other to fall in love.

Recipe time.

For St. Patrick’s Day, I buy corned beef, spread the spice packet on top, wrap in in heavy aluminum foil and bake it at 250 degrees for five or six hours. 

I serve it with cabbage, pan sautéed with Irish butter. And on the side, Sour Cream Horseradish sauce. Because everything is better with sour cream, Even dirt.

Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce Recipe:

1/4 to 1/2 cup prepared horseradish (according to your taste)
1 pint (2 cups) sour cream 
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

In a medium-sized bowl, combine horseradish, sour cream, lemon juice, and salt; thoroughly mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Author Jen Talty A Dash of Suspense A Dollop of Love #Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 2 comments
Happy March, everyone. Jen Talty is a new-to-me author whom I’m delighted to meet. She is a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance. She has three series and some stand-alone novellas. Her current book is a part of Carolyn Haines TROUBLE series and I am in love with the cover.

Trouble’s Wedding Caper. SEX, LIES, AND WEDDING BETRAYALS—
Annabel Wilder returns home to Jupiter, Florida seeking a fresh start after a brutal heartbreak. As a treasure hunter, she bids on a mysterious storage unit. Inside the unit, Annabel finds real treasure--wedding dresses, bridesmaid gowns, and jewelry.

But somebody else wants the unit and Annabel is in the way. Landing smack in the middle of the mess, Annabel is soon swept up in a dangerous investigation headed by the handsome Sheriff Ethan Ferris, and a strange black cat that seems determined to protect her. Now her heart and her life are both at risk.

Ethan Ferris hadn’t been able to get Annabel out of his mind. But a rocky romance has hardened his heart to love—and to Annabel. When his criminal investigation embroils them both in danger, Ethan is forced to face his past or lose the future.

Trouble, with detective skills second only to Sherlock Holmes, arrives in the nick of time. Can he help Ethan solve a rash of wedding burglaries before the culprit harms Annabel? Can the savvy black cat push the would-be lovers past their jaded hearts and into love?

That sounds like so much fun. Readers, if you would like t read an excerpt, CLICK HERE

Jen, please tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
I’m an introvert, but not shy, so most people think I’m extroverted. While I’m outgoing, I’m the kind of person who enjoys being alone, which is why writing is a great fit for me.

What inspired you to start writing?

Honestly, it was sort of out of boredom. My kids were little and I was mostly a stay at home mom. I went to my local Wegmans and stood in front of the book racks and realized I had read almost every book there. So, I snagged a notebook and a pen, and I went home and wrote a book. That book was the first book I ever published. The title is IN TWO WEEKS.
 And she’s giving away a copy. At the end of this post, there is a Rafflecopter.
In Two Weeks (NY State Trooper #1)
by Jen Talty (Goodreads Author)
3.93 · Rating details · 276 ratings · 40 reviews

Ryan O'Conner has the world at her fingertips. She's strong, feisty and has everything she's ever wanted, except the right man. Jared Blake represents everything Ryan doesn't want. He's controlling, overbearing and now he's moving. Having had a crush on him for years, Ryan decides to seduce Jared. A goodbye thing. However, her plans change when someone starts stalking her. With her life on the line, she turns to Jared for protection and finds the not so perfect man is the perfect man for her.

More about Jen:
Who is your favorite author?
This is not an easy question to answer. There are many authors I enjoy reading, so I don’t have one favorite. However, the book HELLO DARKNESS by Sandra Brown was the book that made me think I could write one.

What is the first book that made you cry?
Bodyguard of Lies by Bob Mayer.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
The power to heal people.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before (real or imaginary)?

If you looked in your refrigerator right now, what would you find?
Mostly fruit and salad mixings.

Are you a better baker or cook or take out connoisseur?
I’m a baker.

What do you love most about your writing process?
That I write every day.

Do you like music or silence?

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?
Characters always hijack the story as I write. I often find things out that I didn’t know and then I have to go back and rewrite to make sure it all fits.

What is your writing Kryptonite?
When outside things get in the way.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
My books are all set in places I’ve been. I draw on what I know in life, what I see around me, hear on the news, watch on television, so yes, some are real experiences.

Do you have any other books coming out this year?
I have a few novellas and full-length novels coming out. Please check my website for updates:

Thank you for being here, Jen. Rafflecopter is below. Readers, you mean the world to me. Have a wonderful week.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Time Travel At Its Most Charming Caroline Mather's Time Series #giveaway.

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 3 comments

I asked Caroline to do a blog post afterI read The Time Table last year,  She wanted to wait till book two was out. And today I’ve got her. And I have a giveaway at the end of the post.

My review of The Time Table

I love time travel (and write time travel), and this sounded like an interesting read. The Time Table exceeded my expectations. A series of short tales with one connection. A pool table fashioned in the 1600’s from a standing stone that occasionally creates time pockets. Caroline Mather deftly weaves four charming stories together, leaving room for more. I’m following her because I really want to read the sequel. Surely there will be a sequel? Five stars.

Please welcome Caroline Mather

Susan asked me about “time travel gone wild.” 
            The initial unifying image was the Table itself. There isn’t a single story line, or a single era. A former work colleague was a competitive pool player: a random comment made me wonder what might happen if you fell towards, or onto, a pool table, and went through.     
            As the stories progressed, there came the standing stone.  How do you travel back in time before billiard tables came to be, some time in the 1600s?  Except that we have a character in The Time Table who both went forward in time and emerged from a stone circle. I don’t know if slate is a good material for standing stones:  geologically, slate is like petrified mud.  However, it’s a good material for a billiard table slab. 
            As the series evolves, we have several moments when characters travel, or communicate, other than through the Table/stone circle.   There are other fantasy series which use more than one means of travel:  two classic examples would be J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.  The challenge with world building is simply to keep your world coherent.
            The third volume will have a longer range in time than the first two: after that, we’ll see.

Publishing first
            I met Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate at the New Jersey RWA conference in the fall of 2016.  I had just finished The Time Table, and I knew it was a bit quirky.  It is time-travel romance, but it’s a novella-length group of interlinked short stories, and it’s right on the edge of sci-fi/fantasy.  And…a billiard table? I’d pitched the book once or twice and gotten really strange looks.  Debby just looked a little thoughtful and said, “Send it to me.”  No promises, of course.  I don’t think we talked for more than a few minutes.
            When she emailed me a few weeks later to green-light it, I was both thrilled and stunned.  I’ve had non-fiction work published (mostly articles in reference books, different name, nothing to do with time travel), and a little self-published fiction (three parts of The Time Table first appeared under a pseudonym), but this series is now the first fiction with a serious publisher.

Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser”?  
            It’s a combination.  I don’t have everything plotted in detail:  if a character’s action surprises me and the plot takes a different turn, I’ll go with it.  It does mean that there are some questions left unanswered until a later installment.  There’s an unanswered question in the first section of The Time Line.  However, several sections of this volume are answering questions set up in The Time Table.  That said – if a story arc carries over more than one book, the author does have some responsibility to make sure that the pieces will fit together.
            One of the things I love about the Time Table series is that I get to read up not only on British history but also on contemporary theories of physics, time travel, precognition, and so on – and then to throw it all aside if necessary. Even if the details aren’t in the stories, the world I’m building really is founded on what may or may not be possible.  A good example would be the restoration of the Table in The Time Line: my partner and I spent an afternoon touring a truly amazing facility where billiard tables are made and restored – and then I had to work around those practicalities because the Time Table has a vortex! 

Current WIP is part 3 of the series:  Time Pieces, due out late in 2019.  There are some challenges in that volume:  one character is seriously annoyed because he’s in love with a someone who keeps going into the past and spending time with his forebears.  (Teaser: that plot line is first introduced in The Time Line.)   Several characters also travel without going through the Table – that also occurs in The Time Line – but, given where/when they’re each traveling in Time Pieces, it may be a bit more difficult to get them back again.

Advice for new writers just starting out:
            Just. Do. It.  The story only you can tell may or may not be one that propels you to the best-seller lists the first time out, but it’s your story.  Read a lot, write a lot, and just keep showing up.  If you wait for inspiration before you sit down at the keyboard, it may not come. The Muse needs to know where to find you, and you need to keep honing your skills while you’re waiting. 
            That said – there are times when you’ll find your inspiration somewhere else, and some of it may simply be in your memory or some unrelated comment.  Celebrate those memories and discoveries:  the sources of creativity are endless and enlivening.

My favorite pastime other than writing is one I can’t do at the moment: I love the experience of flying a small plane, even in the bumpy air of summertime over the northern New Jersey hills. I became interested in learning to fly because of a non-fiction project I was working on some time ago. I managed to log about fifteen hours, although I never soloed because life kept getting in the way. Even if I never get back there, I’ll always have that flight time.

And…when you’re not in the air or at the computer? 
            I’m hanging out in northern New Jersey, in an old apartment building on a busy main street, with far too many books, a great coffee maker, and a traveling Hero.  If you move back to your childhood town, be prepared for the possibility that it, too, has changed:  as the late, great Stephen Hawking said, “We are all time travelers, traveling together into the future.” 

Where can we find you?
            The Time Table series is published by Soul Mate Publishing and is available on Amazon Kindle.  The Facebook page “Writer Caroline Mather” is under construction: if you get over there and it’s still got pots of paint on the floor and sheets over the furniture, please be patient!  

The Time Table blurb and excerpt:
Jeremy Finch loses billiard balls. One stormy night, his billiard table disgorges a person known to the house’s future owner.  What?

Tony Finch disappears while playing billiards in the 1850s. He reappears in the early 21st century through an ancient stone circle. What?

Is it the billiard table? The standing stones?  Are the Finches just prone to time-travel, or is this about true love? These intertwined stories explore the future-and-past of The Time Table

The clock struck midnight as Jeremy Finch lined up his shot and sighted carefully along the billiard cue. Outside, a chill spring rain lashed against the windows.
            He choked back an exclamation.
            A young man’s crumpled figure in a pale shirt and dark trousers materialized on the billiard table as if he had come out of the felt. Without disturbing the balls scattered across the surface, he rolled over and tumbled onto the floor then crouched on his knees. Sheet-white and dazed, he met Jeremy’s eyes across the shadowed room.

The Time Line blurb and excerpt:
Returning to her own time via the Finches’ billiard-table, Cara McCrae came up short. She must find another way to travel the last five years. Now she finds herself in the middle of a casino floor, faced with a possessive man, and possessing experience that makes her a “conductor.”

Why did the “time table” fail? Can it be restored? What of the man who made that final “jump” with Cara? These intertwined stories follow the future-and-past of the next generation from the Time Table.

            Dane laughed. “Cara, when we met in Halkin Street before we jumped – you said that you had dreamed me. Did it happen often?”
            Cara shook her head. “Not often. Yet I knew there was someone out there, someone challenging and vibrant, and that I would not be a plaything.” She ran one finger over the patterned stone countertop.
            “Correct. You’re not.” Dane watched her, his voice quiet and grave.
            “Thank you.”
            “You’re welcome.” Dane drained his coffee cup. “What is it that interests you?”
            Cara blinked again.
            “Since you refuse to be kept, or a trophy,” Dane prodded. “Yet traveling time distances – years, centuries – does not faze you.”
            “I didn’t do it on purpose,” Cara demurred, “and clearly I wasn’t dressed for it.”
            Dane’s eyes danced with mischief. “Please tell me that you were not out comparison shopping.” At her incredulous look, he added, “Well–Edgar, Gareth, me—”
            Cara blushed. “I wasn’t shopping.

 Caroline, thank you so much for this post.
My review of The Time Line

I continue to be charmed by Caroline Mather’s writing, BUT you really need to read the Time Table first. Part of the story is a continuation of characters introduced in the first book. Some of the characters are new. And the door to the sequel is wide open. When I finish a Time Table book, I feel as if I had a cup of Earl Grey and a cucumber sandwich served with the very best butter. Read The Time Table and then sample part two, The Time Line.Caroline Mather: The Time Table series

            The Time Table (vol. 1, May 2017)
            Time Pieces       (vol. 3, late 2019)

Caroline is giving away two copies each of the ARC's for The Time Table and The Time Line. The ARCs are PDFs which can be read on any reader. I suggested this because I would love to see her have more reviews of these delightful books. Both books are novella-length. If you are interested and would be willing to review one or both, please enter below.
 Happy reading.


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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

WWI England. Rhys Bowen's The Victory Garden, #Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 2 comments
WWI England. Rhys Bowen. The Victory Garden. #Giveaway. Need I say more? 

Well, I will, of course, because many of you may never have experienced a Rhys Bowen novel. She's a wonderful storyteller and always draws me in. 
And I have a copy to give away. The rafflecopter is at the end of the post.
The Victory Garden takes place during the latter part of World War I, The War to End All Wars  
The Victory Garden takes place in the late stages of the War by which time few families were untouched by its ravages. Women from all walks of life volunteered to fill the jobs men left behind.
Emily Bryce lost her brother in the first months of the war and most of the young men she knew haven’t come back. Her well to do, overprotective parents despise the young Australian pilot she meets in the convalescent home near their estate. When Emily turns twenty-one, she escapes her stifling life and enlists in the Land Girl Army.
I found the book fascinating, full of wonderful memorable characters and situations. My biggest problem with the story is that it ended. I wanted it to go on and on.

Blurb: As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.
When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified—and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.

As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster but may open a path to her destiny.

I feel bad this giveaway is US only, but . . . POSTAGE! Sorry. I know your library will probably have this book. If you don't win, please look it up, and,if you like it, please consider leaving a review. Happy week to you all.

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