5/29/14

Forrest Carr







A passenger falling from the sky.  Burning cars.  A nuclear crisis.  Diseased crazies running wild in the street attacking the uninfected.  Just another zombie story, right? Except this one could really happen.

Read the apocalyptic novel that Fantascize.com calls "impressive" and a "thrilling narrative."  Just $2.99 for the Kindle. 
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FY3GFDE

5/28/14

Forrest Carr






Crazy coworkers.  Unethical newsroom managers.  The bomb squad was just called out to disarm a box of WHAT?  The boss just said the news department's stories need to be more--well, you had to hear it to believe it. And now a series of vigilante killings is getting personal.  It's all in a day's work.

Read the novel one critic calls a "Masterful exposé of TV news".  Available in print and for the Kindle.
http://www.forrestcarr.com/messages.html

5/27/14

Forrest Carr

Take a look at this great cover shot of  A Journal of the Crazy Year








John Cruz wakes up one day to find that while he has just emerged from mental illness, the rest of the world is descending into madness.  With time running out, he asks God for one thing:  one good day with the love of his life.  He gets it.  But now he has to repay the favor.

Read the zombie/post apocalyptic novel that Fantascize.com calls "impressive" and a "thrilling narrative."  Just $2.99 for the Kindle.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FY3GFDE

5/26/14

Forrest Carr









A string of vigilante murders. A police chief trying to keep them secret.  An ambitious reporter who's determined not to let him. TV news is crazy enough without all that.  Now one reporter is about to find out that in this cut-throat profession, sometimes the only thing worse than missing the big story, is getting it.

Read the book Kirkus Reviews calls an "accomplished debut novel" written with "smooth skill."  Available in print and for the Kindle.
http://www.forrestcarr.com/messages.html

Is it Summer Blog Hop Welcome and Happy Hopping





Welcome to Julies Book Reviews first Blog Hop. We have some Great sites. Everyone should have there giveaways up, have fun hopping, winning prizes and going to see some awesome sites.

Click to view
For me summer means fun time reading. Great books and lounging in the sun. My favorite authors that i keep tabs on... R.E. Butler, Lorraine Nelson, Christine Feenhan, JR Ward, Jennifer Ashley and Nalini Singh. These authors, I know personally or just feel like I know some of them. Authors that when I read them it is like visiting old friends. Sitting out under a shade tree or under an umbrella with my kindle is one of my favorite things to do in the summer.


Today for the blog hop i am also doing the release of my second book, Restraining An Alpha. I am giving away 2 copies of the book. Please leave a comment with contact info if you would like to win the book!
Good Luck and Have fun hopping.

Available on Amazon
 http://www.amazon.com/Restraining-Alpha-White-Monroe-ebook/dp/B00KJKXZ1C/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1401064940&sr=1-1&keywords=Restraining+an+alpha

and Smashwords soon to be on B&N, Kobo and Itunes, and more
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/441158

Remember leave a comment below to win!


5/16/14

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

Press Release


Laughter as Medicine:
Author's grief inspires bestseller - and more to come
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson signs on with Seattle start-up, Booktrope Editions


Carolyn Aspenson epitomizes today's juggler: busy mother of 3, avid fitness buff, and
columnist for several websites and Atlanta-based publications. A few years ago, when both
her parents died within 11 months of each other, she found herself orphaned, and
completely devastated. Her grief consumed her, and her weight spun out of control. One
day, she gazed in the mirror and decided she no longer wanted to be "that girl."

She channeled her grief. Carolyn wrote her first paranormal/chick lit novel, Unfinished
Business: An Angela Panther novel, as a way of honoring her parents. "I felt the world was
missing out on these wonderful people, and I wanted to share them. I created the character
of Fran, the ghost in the book, after my mother, who was very much the sassy, in-your-face
Italian woman you'll find in the book." Before she knew it, Unfinished Business hit both
Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists. Caroline Fardig, author of Barnes & Noble
bestseller It's Just a Little Crush, says, "The author has a great sense of humor, even about
death, but when the story called for it, she was reverent and empathetic in the way her
characters handled each other."

Re-energized, Carolyn worked through her grief, dropped the weight, and discovered she
was just getting started. She discovered Booktrope, a Seattle-based publishing startup that
uses targeted marketing strategies and an innovative Team Publishing concept, which offers
authors the support they need to succeed, and allows them more creative control and higher
royalties than traditional publishing houses. Unfinished Business got a makeover, slated for
release in just weeks, and her second novel in the Angela Panther series, Unbreakable Bonds,
will be released through Booktrope in late spring. A third novel is in the works.

"I'm excited to be a part of the Booktrope community," Aspenson said, "and look forward to
working with them."

About Booktrope Publishing: Booktrope is a team-publishing platform and a social
marketing engine for books of all kinds. We free the creative team of authors, editors,
designers and marketing partners to work on what they do best—create and market the best
book possible. With over 150 authors, several on bestseller lists, Booktrope is redesigning
the way to publish. For more information on Booktrope, visit www.booktrope.com.


             
                ____________________________________________________________________











Unfinished Business; An Angela Panther Novel
Blurb




Stay at home mom Angela Panther is living the good life. Happily married with two kids, a house in the suburbs and, a fantabulous best friend, she's got it all. But hours after Angela's mother dies, her ghost pops in for a visit, leaving the door to the other side wide open.  Suddenly Angela's life is jam-packed with ghosts - ghosts that need her help. Now Angela must find a way to balance the needs of the living along with the unfinished business of the dead, all while keeping her mother's ghost in line. Hilarious and bittersweet, Unfinished Business tackles the emotional ups and downs of the relationships between mothers and daughters and the desperate desire for that one last chance to tell someone we've lost how we feel.






Unbreakable Bonds; An Angela Panther Novel
Blurb


A Mother's Work is Never Done...

Carolyn Aspenson's (Unfinished Business) latest picks up the story of Angela Panther's dealings with her dead mom, Fran and the duo's dynamic is as delightful as ever!

Angela had her psychic gift under control until a traumatic loss shut it down. And now that Angela's daughter is in too deep with a boy and her best friend Mel's husband is cheating, she needs her mom more than ever.

Fran knows that when you're a mom, there's no such thing as till death do us part and she won't rest in peace while there's strife in her daughter's life. Using her nifty celestial superpowers, she's soon back in the game and helping out, regardless of her daughter's defunct gift.

carolynridderaspenson.com    www.facebook.com/carolynridderaspensonauthor

Twitter: @awritingwoman     carolynridderaspenson@gmail.com



   _______________________________________________________________________________


Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
Bio


Carolyn Ridder Aspenson is the Amazon and Barnes & Noble best selling author of Unfinished Business; An Angela Panther Novel, Unbreakable Bonds; An Angela Panther Novel, the novella Santa's Gift, a Cumming Christmas Novella and The Quick Start Weight Loss Program.

An avid fitness buff, Carolyn writes a monthly health and fitness column for Northside Woman Magazine as well as regular weekly news articles for various Atlanta area media outlets including the Forsyth Herald, the Milton Herald, the Revue and News, and the Johns Creek Herald. Her works have also been published in Countyline Magazine and various Internet publications.

A native of Indiana, for over eighteen years Carolyn called the northwest Chicago suburbs home. She now resides in the Atlanta area with her husband, three kids, two dogs and cat.

carolynridderaspenson.com    www.facebook.com/carolynridderaspensonauthor

Twitter: @awritingwoman     carolynridderaspenson@gmail.com





Information to contact or learn more about Carolyn is:
Google+ Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
Twitter: awritingwoman

Rafflecopter:





Carolyn Ridder Aspenson





Unfinished Business; An Angela Panther Novel
Chapter One

Chapter One
The air in the room felt frigid and sent an icy chill deep into my bones. Searching for comfort, I lay on the rented hospice bed, closed my eyes, and snuggled under Ma’s floral print quilt. I breathed in her scent, a mixture of Dove soap, Calvin Klein Eternity perfume and stale cigarettes. The stench of death lingered in the air, trying hard to take over my senses, but I refused to let it in. Death may have taken my mother, but not her smell. Not yet.
“You little thief, I know what you did now.”
I opened my eyes and searched the room, but other than my Pit Bull, Greyhound mix Gracie, and me, it was empty. Gracie sensed my ever so slight movement, and laid her head back down. I saw my breath, which wouldn’t have been a big deal except it was May, in Georgia. I closed my eyes again.
“I know you can hear me, Angela. Don’t you ignore me.”
 I opened my eyes again. “Ma?”
Floating next to the bed, in the same blue nightgown she had on when she died, was my mother, or more likely, some grief induced image of her.
“Ma?" I laughed out loud. “What am I saying? It’s not you. You’re dead.’
The grief induced image spoke. “Of course I’m dead, Angela, but I told you if I could, I’d come back. And I can so, tada, here I am.”
The image floated up in the air, twirled around in a few circles and floated back down.
 I closed my eyes and shook my head, trying to right my brain or maybe shake loose the crazy, but it was pointless because when I opened my eyes again, the talking image of my mother was still there.
“Oh good grief, stop it. It’s not your head messing with you, Angela. It’s me, your Ma. Now sit up and listen to me. This is important.”
 As children we’re conditioned to respond to our parents when they speak to us. We forget it as teenagers, but somewhere between twenty and the birth of our first child, we start acknowledging them again, maybe even believing some of what they tell us. Apparently it was no different when you imagined their ghost speaking to you, too. Crazy maybe, but no different.
 I rubbed my eyes. “This is a dream, so I might as well go with it."
 I sat up, straightened my back, plastered a big ol’ smile on my face, because it was a dream and I could be happy the day my mom died, in a dream and said, “Hi Ma, how are you?” 
 “You ate my damn Hershey bars."
 “Hershey bars? I dream about my dead mother and she talks about Hershey bars. What is that?”
 “Don’t you act like you don’t know what I’m talking about, Angela."
“But I don’t know what you’re talking about, Ma.” I shook my head again and thought for sure I was bonkers, talking to an imaginary Ma.
“Oh for the love of God, Angela, my Hershey bars. The ones I hid in the back of my closet.”
Oh. Those Hershey bars, from like, twenty years ago, at least. The ones I did eat.
“How do you know it was me that ate your Hershey bars? That was over twenty years ago.”
The apparition smirked. “I don’t know how I know, actually. I just do. I know about all of the stuff you did, and your brothers too. It’s all in here now.” She pointed to her, slightly transparent head and smirked.
She floated up to the ceiling, spun in a circle, and slowly floated back down. “And look, I’m floating. Bet you wish you could do that, don’t you, Angela? You know, I’d sit but I tried that before and fell right through to the damn basement. And let me tell you, that was not fun. It was creepy, and it scared the crap outta me. And oh, Madone, the dust between your two floors! Good Lord, it was nasty. You need to clean that. No wonder Emily’s always got a snotty nose. She’s allergic.”
“Emily does not always have a snotty nose.” She actually did but I wasn't going to let Ma have that one.
The apparition started to say something, then scrutinized at the bed. “Ah, Madone, that mattress. That was the most uncomfortable thing I ever slept on, but don’t get me started on that. That’s a conversation for another time.”
Another time?
“And I hated that chair.” She pointed to the one next to the bed. “You should have brought my chair up here instead. I was dying and you wanted me to sit in that chair? What with that uncomfortable bed and ugly chair, my back was killing me.” She smiled at her own joke, but I sat there stunned, and watched the apparition’s lips move, my own mouth gaping, as I tried to get my mind and my eyes to agree on what floated in front of me. 
“Ah, Madone. Stop looking at me like that, Angela Frances Palanca. You act like you’ve never seen a ghost.”
 “Ma, I haven’t ever seen a ghost, and my name is Angela Panther, not Palanca. You know that.” My mother always called me Angela Palanca, and it drove both my father and me batty. She said I was the closest thing to a true Italian she could create, and felt I deserved the honor of an Italian last name. She never liked Richter, my maiden name, because she said it was too damned German
“And that recliner of yours was falling apart. I was afraid you’d hurt yourself in it. Besides, it was ugly, and I was sort of embarrassed to put it in the dining room.” I shook my head again. “And you’re not real, you’re in my head. I watched them take your body away, and I know for a fact you weren’t breathing, because I checked.” 
 Realizing that I was actually having a discussion with someone who could not possibly be real, I pinched myself to wake up from what was clearly some kind of whacked-out dream.
“Stop that, you know you bruise easily. You don’t want to look like a battered wife at my funeral, do you?”
Funeral? I had no intention of talking about my mother’s funeral with a figment of my imagination. I sat for a minute, speechless, which for me was a huge challenge.
“They almost dropped you on the driveway, you know.” I giggled, and then realized what I was doing, and immediately felt guilty, for a second.
Ma scrunched her eyebrows and frowned. “I know. I saw that. You’d think they’d be more careful with my body, what with you standing there and all. There you were, my daughter, watching them take away my lifeless, battered body, and I almost went flying off that cart. I wanted to give them a what for, and believe me, I tried, but I felt strange, all dizzy and lightheaded. Sort of like that time I had those lemon drop drinks at your brother’s wedding. You know, the ones in those little glasses? Ah, that was a fun night. I haven’t danced like that in years. I could have done without the throwing up the next day, though, that’s for sure.”
Lifeless, battered body? What a dramatic apparition I’d imagined.
I sat up and rubbed my eyes and considered pinching myself again, but decided the figment was right, I didn’t want to be all bruised for the funeral. 
There I sat, in the middle of the night, feeling wide awake, but clearly dreaming. I considered telling her to stay on topic, seeing as dreams didn't last very long, and maybe my subconscious needed my dream to process her death but I didn't. “This is just a dream." I tried to convince myself the apparition wasn’t real. 
She threw her hands up in the air. “Again with the dreaming. It’s not a dream, Angela. You’re awake, and I’m here, in the flesh.” She held her transparent hand up and examined it. “Okay, so not exactly in the flesh, but you know what I mean.” 
 This wasn’t my mother, I knew this, because my mother died today, in my house, in this bed, in a dining room turned bedroom. I was there. I watched it happen. She had lung cancer, or, as she liked to call it, the big C. And today, as her body slowly shut down, and her mind floated in and out of consciousness, I talked to her. I told her everything I lacked the courage to say before, when she could talk back and acknowledge my fear of losing her. And I kept talking as I watched her chest rise and fall, slower and slower, until it finally stilled. I talked to her as she died, and because I still had so much more to say, I kept talking for hours after her body shut down. I told her how much I loved her, how much she impacted my life. I told her how much she drove me absolutely crazy, and yet I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
So this wasn’t Ma, couldn’t possibly be. “You’re dead.”
The figment of my imagination shook her head and frowned, then moved closer, and looked me straight in the eye. I could see through her to the candelabra on the wall. Wow, it was dusty. When was it last dusted?
“Of course I’m dead, Angela. I’m a ghost.”
I shook my head, trying hard not to believe her, but I just didn’t feel like I was sleeping, so God help me, I did. 
My name is Angela Panther and I see dead people. Well, one dead person, that is, and frankly, one was enough.
###
 “Honey, it’s time to wake up.” My husband, Jake, shook me softly. “We have to go to the funeral home. Come on, your brothers will be there soon. Wake up.” He shook me a little harder. 
 I sat up. “Where’s Ma?”
 He studied me, his expression a mix of sadness and compassion. “I know this is hard but it’s going to be okay.” He hugged me and it felt good, comforting. I let him hold me a little longer, and then I remembered the night before.
“No,” I told him, pulled away, and rubbed the sleep fog from my eyes. “Ma. She was here. Last night. I know she’s dead, but she was here. I saw her.” I grabbed his shoulders, trying to show him how serious I was and whispered, “She told me she’s a ghost.”
His eyes widened and all of the sadness and compassion flew right out the dining room window. Jake was a fantabulous husband, and supported me in ways that often tried his patience, but to see the gray area of what he considered to be only black and white was asking too much. Fantabulous and all, he had his limits. 
“Ang, it wasn’t Fran. It was a dream. I’ve read that kind of stuff happens. People dream about the person who died and think it’s real.” He made a small attempt at comforting coos, but they just sounded like our cat before she died.
I pushed away from him and got up. “Stop it. You sound like a sick cat, and I need coffee.” My mind barely worked without a good night’s sleep, but without coffee, even the simplest conversations were practically impossible. Besides, it wasn’t the time to get into a debate about the hereafter. I walked to the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee and said a silent thank you to Jake for making a pot. I would have said it out loud but I was a little miffed at him for discounting my ghostly experience.
Jake was kind enough to get our two kids, Emily and Josh, off to school while I slept. I felt a sense of relief for not having to deal with them and then felt a little guilty for that. They left me a handmade card near the coffeepot knowing I’d be sure to see it there. It had red hearts and sad faces drawn all over the front, most likely by Josh, because he drew eyes with eyelashes. The inside of it read, “We’re sorry for your loss. We loved Grandma and miss her.” 
They weren’t here last night. I knew it was Ma’s last day, and Jake and I didn’t want them to see her die, so we made arrangements for them to spend the evening with friends. Jake picked them up after the funeral home took Ma. I lacked the energy and courage to talk to them, so Jake asked them to give me some alone time.
The card was sweet, and I got a lump in my throat just reading it even though I was sure they’d never work for Hallmark. 
“What time is it?” I asked, and then checked the clock. “It’s ten a.m. What the – we have to be at the funeral home at eleven fifteen.” I finished pouring my coffee, took a huge gulp, and cursed myself as it burned my throat, then rushed upstairs to get ready.
We arrived at the funeral home just before eleven fifteen. My long, blond hair was pulled into a ponytail since I didn’t have time to style it. I didn’t have on an ounce of makeup and was dressed like a typical soccer mom heading to a yoga class. Normally I wouldn’t go to an appointment like that but considering the fact that my mother just died, I didn’t really give a crap.
We walked in through the front doors into a sitting area I’m sure was meant to seem comforting and inviting but instead felt like a grandparents’ family room, old fashioned and overstuffed. The couch was a ridiculously huge, twenty years outdated, 1980s floral print of mauve and gray, flanked with humongous pillows in matching solid colors. There were two matching and equally uncomfortable looking chairs and ugly, ornate tables that didn’t match, intermixed with the seating. A few magazines and tissue boxes sat on the tables. I grabbed a couple tissues just in case I needed them later. Overhead, soft music played, and I was sure they thought it made someone in my position feel better, but mostly it was just annoying. 
Carnations in various colors sat in vases on stands around the lobby, attacking my nasal passages like an old woman drenched in White Diamonds perfume. Almost instantly I had a sensory overload headache. The entire room smacked of old people, but I guess it should since it was really mostly old people who died. Jake crinkled his nose at the smells, too. We both moved quickly as we followed the signs to the assistant funeral director’s office, almost like we were running from a skunk. I silenced my cell phone, knowing my best friend, Mel, would probably text. I’d talked to her just after Ma passed but not since. I was sure she’d check on me sooner rather than later.
Before Ma died, we talked about what she wanted, and I promised her I’d honor her requests. They were simple. She wanted to be cremated and buried with my grandparents in Chicago. Since we lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, we’d have her body cremated here but her memorial and burial would be handled separately.
My brothers, John and Paul, were already in the assistant director’s office. There was a spread of coffee and its fixings set out on the conference table, and I made a beeline for it. I’d have an IV of caffeine inserted into my wrist if it were socially acceptable. Actually, forget socially acceptable. I’d do it even if it weren’t. Coffee for me was like sex to a twenty-year-old man – never too much and never too often.
My oldest brother John lived nearby, and was with Ma and me when she passed. Paul lived in Indiana and didn’t make it here in time to say goodbye. I could see the angst and regret on his face. I said hi, hugged both of them, and turned toward my chair so I wouldn’t cry. Crying in front of my brothers made me appear weak and I refused to let that happen.
“Ma wanted to be cremated and buried with her parents,” I told the assistant funeral director, a short, squat man, with a bad comb-over and a blue paisley tie that didn’t quite fit over a mid-section that rivaled Santa’s.
“Yes, your brothers told me,” said Comb-over. “It is our policy to return the remains to the loved ones for proper burial if our services are not being used.”
We all nodded in agreement, and then Paul asked Comb-over if he could see our mother.
Comb-over gave us what must have been his really sympathetic face. “Oh, no. No. I’m sorry. It is against our policy to allow family back into the crematorium. You understand.”
Paul nodded his understanding.
Seriously?
“Excuse me. My brother wasn’t able to see our mom before she died. He lives out of state and couldn’t get here, so I’m sure you can make an exception. I mean, it is our mother and we are paying you after all.”
Jake smirked in my direction, liking my passive aggressive technique, and I gave him a quick smile.
 “Well. ” Comb-over back-pedaled. “I’ll see what I can do.” He then gave us what was obviously his, I am not making enough money for this job face, excused himself and closed the door behind him. A chill filled the air, and I hugged my arms to my chest for warmth.
My brother's mouths gaped. “Well, it’s a stupid rule and someone had to call him on it.”
Paul nodded. “Thanks."
I nodded and then saw my mother floating behind him, smiling, too. I shook my head to clear the image but it didn't work. She was still there.
 “You’re such a good girl. I knew you loved your brother."
“Uh, I guess I do.”
Paul tilted his head. “You guess you do what?”
Well, crap. For a brief second I considered saying, sorry I was talking to the ghost of our mother, who, by the way, is floating behind you, but instead went with, “Look behind you,” as I pointed behind them.
They did. “What?” Paul asked.
Ma winked at me and laughed. They couldn’t see her.
“Oh, nothing. I thought there was a spider or something on the wall, sorry.”
Probably it wasn’t a good time to tell my brothers I could see our dead mother and I wasn’t sure there would ever be a good time for something of that nature.
Paul started to say something again, but Comb-over walked back in. The man may have been a fashion nightmare, but his timing was impeccable. He coughed lightly and straightened his tie. “We don’t normally allow anyone into the crematorium, but given the circumstances, we’ll make an exception.”
We. Uh huh. We, as in the big boss, I bet. I smiled my I won smile and thanked him. Comb-over explained since our mother was being cremated, they didn’t prepare her body as they would for a traditional burial. I assumed that meant she’s not made up and nodded my understanding. He walked over to the closed door behind my brothers and walked right through my mother.
She shuddered. “Oh, Madone, that was creepy.”
I concentrated on the wall and searched for the imaginary spider and tried to ignore her.
Through the doorway I saw my mother lying on a gurney, the mother that wasn’t floating in the room with me, that is. My eyes shot back and forth between the horizontal Ma and the floating Ma. This was all a little confusing. First I had one Ma, and then she died. Now I had a dead Ma and a ghost Ma. If they both started talking to me, I’d get right up and drive myself straight to the loony bin. I stood up and shook off the crazy. “Ah, Paul, you can go first.” He did.
The fact that I took control of the meeting was not lost on me. As the youngest of the siblings, my brothers always considered me the baby, never quite aging me past a toddler in their mind so for them to acquiesce authority in this situation was surprising. I wrote it off to their shock and grief at losing Ma and expected the newfound respect to burn out quicker than a birthday candle. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit to enjoying it just a little.
We all said our goodbyes to my mother. I couldn’t hear their private whispered words, but I could hear Ma responding. Not the Ma lying on the gurney, the ghost one. As I said, it was confusing. Like the loud Italian woman she was in life, her raspy, I’ve had one thousand too many cigarettes, voice enveloped the room, for me at least, since apparently I was the only one who could hear her. “Oh Pauly, it’s okay. I’m not mad that you weren’t here. Don’t be upset. It’s okay.”
I always knew he was her favorite.
Paul and I haven’t always had the smoothest of relationships. In fact, as a child he wanted me dead. No, really. He tried so hard to make it happen he actually pushed me in front of slow moving cars three times. I was lucky to suffer only emotional, not physical, damage. Attempted murders aside, my heart ached for him now. The guilt of not being there when Ma passed would haunt him forever, though I couldn’t help but wonder if that was easier than being haunted by her ghost.
###
An hour later, the four of us sat with coffee in hand, at Starbucks. Coffee made everything seem better, if only a little. Before we left the funeral home, Paul asked Comb-over to let us know when Ma’s body was cremated. I preferred not to know, but everyone handles death differently and Paul needed what he needed so I didn’t argue. Admittedly, backing away from an argument with Paul was a new thing for me. Ma’s death had really messed with my brain.
We were discussing the arrangements of her burial when I got the call. Comb-over told me they’d started, and as I nodded to Jake and my brothers, a heavy sadness filled the air.
I disconnected from the call and stayed on task. “Okay. When should we go to Chicago?”
“That’s a good question,” John, the over thinker of us siblings, said. “I’ll call the cemetery later today and find out if we can bury Mom with Grandma and Grandpa. If they won’t let us, we’ll have to figure out what else to do. I was thinking maybe we could each take a portion of her remains and do something with our kids to honor her.”
Oh, no. No, no, no. That was not going to happen. I promised Ma I’d do this for her and I’ll be damned if I didn’t do it right. Especially since she was haunting me. There was no way I would to spend the rest of my waking days with the ghost of my mother pissed off because we didn’t honor her final wish. No way.
“It’s okay,” I blurted out before Paul agreed with John. “Ma was worried about the same thing, so we called the cemetery a few weeks ago and found out that it’s fine.” I took a quick breath and hoped God wouldn’t strike me dead for lying.
“They told me that as long as we’re not getting a stone, the plots are ours to do with as we please. Except for digging up our grandparents, that is.” I checked the sky, but still no lightning. Phew.
My brothers nodded. “Okay.”
Dodged that bullet. What’s wrong with a few little lies? This was what Ma wanted and eventually I’d tell them the truth, once she was buried and we were on our way home. Or maybe next year. What’s the saying? Ask for forgiveness, not permission. That’s what I’d do, eventually.
I offered to make the memorial arrangements even though we all knew they’d have asked me to do it anyway.
I filled them in on my call to our cousin. “I already called Roxanne, who said she’d make the rounds of calls, and since the funeral home here said they would put the obituary in the Chicago papers, that’s covered. Does the weekend after next work? That gives us all time to plan accordingly.”
“I don’t see a problem with that, but I’ll have to check with Elizabeth and see what her schedule is,” John said.
Jake nodded in agreement with his eyes still glued to the screen of his iPhone.
Paul nodded too. “Let’s go through all of our pictures of Mom. I can make a video with music, and we can show it at her memorial.”
We all agreed that was a great idea and made plans to confirm the date over email by tonight. My brothers left Jake and me there to share our addiction to the warm, smooth taste of coffee. We got refills before we headed home, too.
The rest of the day I was on autopilot and truth be told I couldn’t remember much of it. One minute Jake and I were getting coffee and the next it was after ten p.m. I kissed Jake goodnight and went upstairs and checked on the kids, who were already blissfully sound asleep.
“It’s done,” I texted Mel after I settled under the covers.
“I’m sorry,” she texted back. “Do you need anything?”
“No, I’m okay. Going to bed. I’m tired.”
“K. I’m here if you need me. (HUGS).”

carolynridderaspenson.com; www.facebook.com/carolynridderaspensonauthor twitter:@awritingwoman; email: carolynridderaspenson@gmail.com

5/15/14

Review of To Love a Highlander (scandalous scots,#1) by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

To Love a Highlander (scandalous scots,#1)
by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It's a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can't resist taking her up on her offer . . . 

Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call "Hawk?" As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.


I truly love this book!! anything with highlander's in it lol... This book was amazing well-written with old English language.. tons of passion not just for two couple in this story but tales and the history, language and how they lived.. most of all the honor that we not see anymore this days.. 

Olivia R.
5 out of 5 star's

Review of The Last Sunset by Osmam Shehzad

The Last Sunset
by Osmam Shehzad 

All Dali Salazaar ever wanted was to write his own destiny. When he escapes his foster home, fate reveals to him the brutal secrets of his past, but he makes peace with them and forges on. A new life and even a chance at love await him… until a tragic event rips away his only happiness, shaping him into a silent predator who hunts the evils of society. 
Four years have gone by in grief and secrecy. To right another wrong, Dali is on his way to Pakistan, unaware that a violent and vengeful confrontation awaits him. That the events of the past have had a profound effect on another man, who has spent years hunting Dali to avenge his sister’s murder

This book was very well-written.. i also like to put this book is not mystery thriller. it is suspense thriller. how much like do like my books i did RE-READ this book last night.. some many like the book as it is. I think it needs little more action in it i guess i just like somebody getting shot or other means every chapter i know that's bad but that's what i love to read..with reading it again got better idea of what was going on with the plot and main guy...

3 out of 5star's 
Olivia R.

Review of Red Summer by Antoinette Houston

Red Summer
by
Antoinette Houston

Rita found that she could manipulate fire, but her control was deteriorating. Her boyfriend, Wil, just wanted to enjoy being with her. Unfortunately her 'baggage' may prove to be too much. Ingrid wanted to help better the relationship between her brother and his foster daughter; Rita. But his paranoid antics were driving everyone crazy. Nikki thought his life was normal only to find that he, Wil, Ingrid and Rita had been living their high school lives over and over for the past eighteen years. Bobby, the cause of all the madness, has run out of time to find a solution to Rita's problem. He was going to have to give them back their memories in order for them to realize the danger. That was only if he could convince them to over look their hatred for him.

This is a good read with a unique plot that keeps you reading to see what happens. It's not my usual type of book but I enjoyed it.  The idea of reliving time is intriguing.  It was a bit confusing with the way it jumped back & forth between present & past, but it was well worth reading.  This is the 1st book I've read by this author but I'd enjoy reading more.
 
I rate this book 3 1/2  stars
 
Jennifer

5/6/14

Review of The Heart's Discovery Hope Valley Saga book 1 by Amy McGuire

The Heart's Discovery
Hope Valley Saga book 1
by 
Amy McGuire

Anjaline Rodriguez thinks that mountain boy Gabriel Walker is a snob, even though she can't stop thinking about his fathomless eyes. Could he just be shy? Damian Vega could be trouble, but bad boys are hard to resist, especially when the good one seems like a judgmental know-it-all.

She thought her world had ended when her stepfather's job ripped her away from her friends and her dream of attending the prestigious Cotopaxi Academy back home in Quito, Ecuador. Anjaline goes from a tropical, densely populated Latin American city to a cold, drizzly Canadian village populated by three small families, complete with major culture shock. On top of being stuck in the middle of nowhere, she has no clue how to deal with two attractive boys.

Gabriel thinks the exotic Latina is too spoiled. He's never figured out how to talk to pretty girls anyway, and can't get rid of that stutter when he's nervous. It’s practically love at first sight. Gabriel knows he needs to tell her how he feels, but while he’s gathering his courage, Damian may just spoil everything. Will Anjaline return Gabriel’s feelings in time or will tragedy tear them apart before she has the chance?

Loved this book.  It's full of everything you need to keep a story interesting.  I fell in love with the characters & the story line...it kept you turning the pages to learn more..I wanted to know what was gonna happen next.  I laughed & cried with the characters.  It didn't end quite like I expected, but it was an amazing story.  This was the first book I've read by this author, but I can't wait to read Book 2 in the Hope Valley Saga.

I rate this book 4 1/2 stars
Jennifer

Review of Killing Secrets By K.L. Docter

Killing Secrets
K.L. Docter

Rachel James and her daughter Amanda are running from her abusive husband. Greg was just released from prison and is searching for Rachel and will let NOTHING get in his way. What he wants is Amanda, she is the key to his future and a fortune.

Patrick Montgomery runs a construction company, and is still grieving for his wife and unborn son. The last thing he expected was to help another women and child. Patrick is ask to help protect Rachel and Amanda. What he discovers is something much, much more.

I can honestly say I was not sure about this book. It took me a few chapters to get into. There is alot going on and if you do not stick with it, you will be lost. ONCE it hooked me I was in it till the end ! Its packed full of action and lots of surprises along with buried secrets. Sit back and enjoy !!

4 secret stars
Wende

Review of One Night Ride by Jennah Scott

One Night Ride
Jennah Scott

This is a short story about Jace and Brett. Jace is looking to relieve his  long 'dry spell' after a heartbreaking breakup. He meets Brett through a dating service and sparks fly from the beginning. Very good read. The author did a remarkable job bringing on the heat between these two.

I give it 3.5 stars because I feel there could of been a little more to this story in between their small separation.
 
T

5/2/14

Tarah Scott

TARAH SCOTT


Tarah Scott

 Award winning author Tarah Scott cut her teeth on authors such as Georgette Heyer, Zane Grey, and Amanda Quick. Her favorite book is a Tale of Two Cities, with Gone With the Wind as a close second. She writes modern classical romance, and paranormal and romantic suspense. Tarah grew up in Texas and currently resides in Westchester County, New York with her daughter.
           


To Tame a Highland Earl
AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | ARe  


A man torn between two worlds. Both need him...neither wants him.

Groomed for a life amongst the English aristocracy, Lord Erroll Rushton is unexpectedly thrust back into his father’s Scottish world when the Englishwoman he compromises refuses to marry him.

No gentleman breaks into a lady’s bedchamber...but then, no lady sleeps with a pistol under her pillow.

Miss Eve Crenshaw will marry for love or won’t marry at all. When London’s most notorious rakehell breaks into her bedchamber in the dead of night and compromises her beyond repair, Eve plans a daring escape that shocks even the Earl. 


To Tame a Highland Earl
My newest book, To Tame a Highland Earl: A MacLean Highlander Novel, is now available for preorder for the sale price of $2.99.


Excerpt--
March 1807
Manchester, England

If ever a woman deserved to be shot, it was Miss Crenshaw. But dawn appointments weren’t meant for the weaker sex. Weaker sex. The lady was anything but weak, which is why Erroll intended to throttle her.
Erroll laid a shilling in the innkeeper’s palm. “You understand the need for discretion.”
“Indeed, I do, my lord,” the man replied. “Your betrothed’s reputation is safe with me.”
Erroll managed to maintain a bland expression as the innkeeper handed him the key to the lady’s room. So news of his impending nuptials had sped from Coventry to Manchester even quicker than he had—which meant London society would hear the news by morning light and the story would cross the border to Edinburgh just as quickly.
Which of the gossipmongers had he to thank for that? He was grateful to the heavenly powers that his mother had remained in Scotland and not accompanied his father to England this month. God help him if she got wind of this entanglement before he had a chance to extricate himself from the tenacious claw of the husband-hunting wench.
“A beautiful woman is hard to resist,” the innkeeper said.
“Indeed,” Erroll murmured, glad the man had interrupted the mental picture of his mother outfitting the deceitful huntress in her wedding dress. No bachelor’s mother was more determined to see her son wed than Erroll’s own dear mamma, and since his return from the navy, his father had put his considerable weight behind her efforts.
He whirled toward the stairs, climbed to the second floor and made a left down the hall. At the third door on the left, he stopped. Erroll had endured his father’s hour-long diatribe that ended with the command to marry the woman who had accused him of compromising her—a woman he’d never laid eyes on—before he finally broke away to discover his accuser had fled Coventry. The hard five hour ride to catch her before she reached her father’s estate would have been in vain if not for the fact a wheel on her carriage broke forty miles distance from Manchester. 
This experience would teach him to dally with the women outside of London. Had he satisfied himself with the eligible ladies in Town—if those females could be called ladies—he wouldn’t have gone to Coventry and attended the damn house party that had gotten him into trouble. The fact he’d spent a pleasurable hour with a lady in the hostess’ gardens had only served to put him in the very place his accuser said he’d been. Erroll felt sure the cunning creature was well aware he’d been in the gardens, and therefore claimed to be the object of his attentions.
Erroll quietly unlocked the door, slipped into the darkened room, then eased the door shut and slipped the key into his pocket. Faint moonlight filtered in through thin curtains and outlined the sleeping figure in the bed. Erroll crept forward until he reached the bed. He braced a knee against the side of the mattress, then placed a hand on each side of the woman and brought his face to within an inch of hers.
 She shifted in her sleep and lush breasts grazed his chest. He wondered how long it would be before she became aware a man was in her bed, then concluded that since she hadn’t awoken with a shriek she must be accustomed to having a man in her bed. He should ravish her as she’d said he had just for good measure. The thought froze at the pressure of a pistol jammed against his abdomen.
“I am a crack shot.” The feminine voice was steady—as was the hand holding the gun. “But even the worst shot in Great Britain couldn’t miss.” The gun dug deeper into his belly. “Move away.”
Erroll considered. Her calm response to his presence almost made him think she’d expected him. “If I’m to be shot, I should at least commit the crime for which I’m accused.” The click of the pistol’s hammer being pulled back was his answer. “I see you do not agree.” He straightened off the bed.
“Step back,” she ordered.
He retreated two paces.
“More.”
He moved back another two paces.
“I promise you, sir, my aim is as true at such short a distance as it was when you were an inch from my face. Back against the door.”
Erroll complied. A light click indicated she had released the hammer back into place. She rose, a small figure in the shadows, and picked up something from the night table. The clink of glass was followed by the scrape of a match on wood, then light flared and he got his first look at the woman who claimed he had ravished away her innocence. Dark brown eyes pinned him with a hard stare. Honey-brown hair tumbled down her shoulders. The top of her head was no higher than his chest.
The muff pistol remained pointed at him as her attention shifted to the lamp on the nightstand. She bent slightly and her full breasts strained against the nightgown as she lit the wick. His cock jerked and he couldn’t deny his good fortune in not having met her at Lady Baldwin’s party. He very well might have fallen prey to her charms and been guilty of her accusations.
She blew out the match and tossed it onto a metal tray, then took a step toward him. The lamplight illuminated the outline of her body through the nightgown. The curves he discerned were fuller than were fashionable and the kind he’d sought without success. His cock began to lift. He might end up shot after all.
“You are no common housebreaker,” she said. “Who are you?”
 Erroll’s mind snapped to attention. The wench didn’t recognize him. Fury doused his lust. He gave a mocking smile and bowed. “Lord Erroll Rushton, at your service.”
Shock registered on her face, then an answering fire appeared in her eyes. “I see we shall have to break you of the habit of entering a lady’s room uninvited.”
“You use the term lady too loosely.”
“That is the pot calling the kettle black.”
He nearly laughed.
“One would think a prospective groom could keep his cock in his pants with his wedding but two days hence,” she said.
“Three days,” Erroll corrected. That was how long it would take him to get the special license his father ordered him to procure. “Pray tell, what sort of lady carries a gun?” He didn’t ask what lady used the word ‘cock’ as easily as the word ‘groom?’ That was perhaps too obvious.
“The sort who knows what to expect of a man,” she replied.
“The very sort who understands a man might object to being forced into marriage?” he said.
She gave a derisive laugh. “You are a rakehell, sir.”
“I never denied being a rake, madam, but I am no liar.”
She wasn't what he’d expected. He’d been told this was to be her second season, but this woman was no debutante and, given the way she unabashedly stood before him in her nightclothes, he would wager she was no virgin.
“Surely, you’re a little old for this game?” he drawled.
Her brow knit, but he detected no shame. She was too collected. But a level head—along with a liberal dose of nerve—is exactly what it took to accuse a complete stranger of compromising her.
“Did you really think you could get away with it?” she asked.
The question startled him.
“Now who is the pot calling the kettle black?” he said. She shifted and Erroll could have sworn he discerned a dark patch between her legs. “A shame we met under these circumstances.” He flicked a glance at her breasts. “We could have been friends.”
Her mouth thinned. “By God, I really should shoot you.”
“Tut tut, love, not until the vows are said and I claim what is left of your virtue.”
She drew in a sharp breath.
“Your righteous anger is completely undone by the fact that you’re nearly naked.”
Her mouth twisted in a derisive smile. “Forgive me, my lord. Had I known you were coming, I would have dressed for the occasion.”
“You are impeccably dressed for the occasion.”
Did she have any idea how visible the contours of her body were with the lamplight behind her…or how her nipples pressed against her nightgown? She shifted, widening her stance slightly and his cock jerked harder. Oh yes, the witch knew.
“I should send you to hell this instant,” she said.
He lifted a brow. “The marriage vows will take care of that—had I any intentions of marrying.”
“My father will ensure that you do not escape this time.”
“That sounds as though you think I am getting what I deserve.”
“You do not deserve such a good and innocent wife.”
Erroll laughed. “Innocent? A woman who puts herself in such a position is no innocent.”
“How dare you?” she hissed.
“How dare I? I understand there were several suitors for the honorable Miss Crenshaw’s attentions at Lady Baldwin’s party. I wager none of them were as good a prospect as I, which is why you gambled that no one would notice if I was included on that list.”
He didn’t miss the way her fingers flexed on the gun.
“Everything I’ve heard about you is true,” she said. “You have no conscience.”
“In that we are alike. Should my father succeed in coercing me into marriage, I will make the worst sort of husband you can imagine. I will not settle down and sire an heir as he expects. Instead, I will send my wife to the family estate in Scotland while I go about my pleasures in London.”
“So the choice is desertion or ruination?”
“Be honest, the ruination was done long before you concocted this plan.”
“Plan?” she repeated. “I feel certain I can convince the magistrate of self-defense. After all, you broke into my room.”
“Think again.” Erroll reached into his pocket.
“Beware,” she said.
He slowly withdrew the key from his pocket and held it up. “The innkeeper was very obliging. He feels nothing should stand in the way of true love.”
She frowned, then comprehension cleared her expression. “I should have guessed. You think you can browbeat me into helping you avoid the marriage vows. You, sir, are the worst sort of knave.”
“So we do understand one another.”
“You are a fool,” she muttered.
He’d had enough. “You are the fool if you believe I will marry you.”
“Marry me? What—”
Erroll started toward her.
She took a faltering step backwards and he lunged. She gave a startled cry. He seized the hand holding the gun and shoved it upward in their tumble backwards. They landed on the bed, him on top of her. Her lush body yielded beneath his hard planes—his stiffening cock in particular. To his surprise, she didn’t struggle, but released the pistol. The weapon bounced off the mattress and struck the carpet with a thud.
“Is this how you described my having ravished you?” he demanded.
Shock registered on her face. He blew out a frustrated breath. He’d come ready to battle the vixen and she was already crumbling. Moisture appeared in her eyes. Ah, there it was. She was simply moving onto another tactic.
“Lies, pistols, tears, and…” He moved suggestively against her breasts and felt the rigid nipples beneath his shirt. “Your arsenal of weapons is impressive, madam.”
“I tell you, mamma, I heard a scream.”
A woman’s voice penetrated the door on the right wall. Erroll jerked his gaze in that direction as the door swung open. Two women stood in the doorway staring, one young—in her second season, he would guess—the other, the mamma the girl had addressed.
Erroll looked at the woman lying beneath him. “I thought that was a closet.”


To Tame a Highland Earl is now available for pre-order. If you don’t see it at your favorite distributors yet, sign up at my newsletter to keep up on the news.
 During preorder, the book is on sale for $2.99. For those who send me a receipt for their preorder, I’ll send you a copy of my short story When a Rose Blooms. Email me at tscott@tarahscott.com with a copy of your receipt.
Happy reading!

Tarah 

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