03-21-18 – Terry Spear – Seal Wolves in Action

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Get Lost in a Romantic Comedy Book

Sometimes you need to escape in a funny, light-hearted book without the angst. The world news is getting the better of your peace of mind and you don’t want any more dark, tragic reads. So, it’s time to turn to romantic comedy. The only problem is, the best romcom books can be hard to find. 

When is a romcom not a romcom? When it’s labelled as chick lit, women’s fiction or a romance novel, of course. It doesn’t really matter what category or genre it’s labelled under, in my humble opinion, if it has these essential elements:

-   At least one main character who is ‘played for laughs’ with a funny voice, witty dialogue or hilarious internal monologue
-   A central romance or love story (other stuff can also be happening)
-   A happy ever after (HEA) or happy for now (HFN) ending – ‘everybody dies’ books are not welcome here…

Wacky plot details and accidental misunderstandings are entirely optional! So without further ado, here’s a few of my favourite romcom books, or whatever you want to call them.

Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid


Penny Reid has become one of my favourite romantic comedy authors over the past year or so. I stumbled across recommendations of her writing from a few sources, including the fabulous Kylie Scott, so I thought I was on a winner. This book is the last (probably?) in the outstanding Knitting in the City series. I have been hanging out to read this one, so much that I tried to pre-order it twice. Take my money, Ms Reid!

Anyhow, Marriage of Inconvenience is the story of Kat and Dan, secondary characters in some of the previous stories. Kat is a secret heiress to a big pharma company and Dan The Security Man is well, a security man! It’s an opposites attract set-up with characters from two different worlds who nonetheless have a real connection from the first time they see each other. Kat has to marry Dan to secure her company and her freedom, fighting off her terrible cousin who’s just after the family fortune. 

If you’re new to the Knitting in the City series, I recommend starting with Neanderthal Seeks Human. You’re in for a treat reading about brilliant and eccentric Janie, purveyor of useless but fascinating facts. 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game book cover image

I read this one a few months ago and absolutely loved it. The Hating Game is the debut novel from Australian author, Sally Thorne, and she absolutely nails the enemies to lovers trope. It’s very funny, from the moment the two lead characters appear on the page, glaring at each other across the partitions in their fictional publishing office. 

The white water rafting, corporate team-building scene is particularly memorable in a cringe-worthy 'how embarrassing' way. Highly recommended! I can't wait for her next book...

Playing House by Amy Andrews


This is an unusual Aussie choice from one of my favourite authors, Amy Andrews (who I’ve shamelessly fan-girled at the Romance Writers of Australia conference more than once). 

Playing House is the latest instalment in a series of romantic comedies set in the world of Australian rugby. I absolutely adore her writing, which is both super funny and super sexy. Playing House has a wonderful blend of light-hearted humour around a virgin heroine with a Mr Darcy fixation, a one-night stand and a best friend’s brother trope, and more serious issues which totally snuck up on me -- yes, I cried when reading this one. You have been warned! 

Don’t be put off if you’re not a fan of sports-themed books or if you don’t really know anything about rugby (Who does? Not this little red hen!) because this is all about the tough guy heroes who have it all in a wordly sort of way, with fame and fortune, but who need love in their lives. The interconnected stories are great fun and easy reading, but start with Playing By Her Rules if you want to read the entire series. 

Content warning: this book contains a pregnancy loss/miscarriage that may be difficult reading for some. 

**NEWS FLASH** -- Amy Andrews has just been announced as a double RITA Award finalist! Congratulations, Amy!

Lingerie Wars by Janet Elizabeth Henderson 

An ex special forces operative, Lake Benson, buys a lingerie shop in a remote Scottish town. Because of course he does! There’s a goregeous ex-lingerie model to compete against, and tactics get dirty. I love all the wacky characters in the town who add a great fun element to this book. There are tartan undies and a hilarious fashion show attended by the whole town. 

I’m going to continue reading this whole series by New Zealander (from a Scottish background) Ms Henderson, and I’m really looking forward to it. 

Girl on a Plane by Cassandra O'Leary

Yes, I included my own book. Shameless self-promotion alert! I've been inspired by many awesome chick lit and romance writers and of course, romcom movies. There are quite a few references to these in Girl on a Plane. Careful readers will spot the When Harry Met Sally and Love Actually references, but can you spot more? 

I loved playing with the balance of humour and emotion in this book, and also the themes of travel and finding home. My Irish flight attendant character, Sinead, is played for laughs. Mostly. Aye, there's a bit of the craick. And some sexytimes. 

Romcoms to be read...

I've got a huge To Be Read list already, but let me know your romcom recommendations in the comments below!

About Cassandra O'Leary

**Winner of the global We Heart New Talent contest run by HarperCollins UK. Nominated for BEST NEW AUTHOR in AusRomToday 2016 Reader's Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction**

Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction author, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. Her debut novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016. 

Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous. 

Read more or sign-up for Cassandra's newsletter at

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Beware All Ye Who Enter...

Oh the woes of getting a great story! The struggle is real, and many of folks know the truth! There is so much that happens between the first page and that last satisfying sentence. Ever close a book with a loud contented sigh...and then realize you just lost an entire day? No laundry for the kids for school in the morning. Meh, clothes are overrated anyway. You barely remember feeding them dinner...wait, did you? Frozen waffles count as dinner, right?

For whatever reason, you couldn't put that book down. Something drew you into that story and held you hostage. Be it the plot, the characters, or just the desire to escape reality for a while. We've all been there. So in keeping up with the blog's theme this month, I'd like to share my top three reasons of why I become lost in a great book. Enjoy!

1) Probably the most influential reason I fall under a book's spell is the plot. Yup. Hook. Line. Sinker. Depending on my mood, and the current genre I am binging, the plot can suck me right in and keep me there for countless hours until I power through it. A marriage of convenience/forced marriage in a historical romance, count me in! But toss in the scheming uncle twice removed who thinks he is supposed to inherit the heroine's fortune if she doesn't get married, and I belong to that book until it's finished. I just have to know how not only the hero and heroine get past their not-so-romantic issues and fall in love, as well as how that rotten uncle is defeated. Because, well, it's a romance. The scumbag always has to lose. It's kinda the rules.

2) The characters. Ahh, nothing like a good cast to capture my heart and time. And it doesn't have to be the main hero or heroine, or both. There have been many stories that I adored, but not because the main hero and heroine were all that uber. No. It was the secondary characters that struck something in me. Like the sassy lady in waiting who really runs the show and guides the young and naive heroine. Or the hilarious butler who is always frowning and shaking his head whenever his lord is being a tool, or creating a scandal.

3) Last but not least is detail. There's nothing like opening a new book and discovering a new world, but if there isn't enough detail, I can't promise I will even finish it. Now I believe in allowing the imagination to do some work; I don't need a play-by-play of the curtain colors and matching furniture, or the dimension of the rooms unless it's imperative. But when I read a fantasy with a whole new realm of rules and government, and even species,  I expect to have some information to build a clear enough picture to aid me with recreating it in my head—and I need that rather early. Nothing more irritating than finding out that your heroine lives in the Enchanted Forest and not Illinois in chapter three because all I knew prior to this revelation was there are corn fields everywhere. Gahhhh! Frustrating!

So that's it, my top three reasons to lose myself and feed my kids sugary waffles covered in syrup for dinner. Do you agree or disagree? Please feel free to share your thoughts or reasons!

Until next time,


Monday, March 19, 2018

Get Lost In...The Heiress Games by Kristin Wallace

The theme this month is “Getting lost in a Book”. I’m going to cheat a little and tell you about a few books you should get lost in…my upcoming series, The Heiress Games. The first book launches April 10th, which is before my scheduled day next month. 

A fortune…and love…is at stake 

Eccentric heiress, Victoria Armington, has died and left her vast fortune to her pet pig, Matilda. Now three Armington descendants have been chosen to compete for custody of the pig…and control of the money. Then there’s the lawyer in charge of overseeing the competition, and his two best friends, who arrive to make sure nothing goes wrong. 

Welcome to The Heiress Games…

Heiress #1: Eve Bennett – The Least Likely Heiress

She’s a struggling single mother whose claim to the Armington name stems from an affair between Palm Cove’s founder and his mistress. Winning the money will mean her family will never want for anything again. There’s just one big, knee-weakening, mouth-watering problem…the talk, dark and gorgeous lawyer in charge of the Heiress Games.

For high-powered attorney, Cameron Reed, sorting out the craziest will he’s ever encountered could mean a partnership at his firm. He’s survived becoming an orphan and an endless round of foster homes, and now he’s one step away from realizing his dream. If only he can keep from losing his heart to the one woman who could ruin all his plans.

As Cam and Eve fight their feelings, there’s also a saboteur at work. Someone who might stop at nothing to make sure no one wins

AMAZON   /    ITUNES    /    BARNES & NOBLE     /   KOBO

ALERT! The Heiress Games is like no other series. You’ll actually see the same events unfold in Books 2 (Not Quite An Heiress) and 3 (The Forgotten Heiress), but from the other characters’ points of view. Each romance will come to a satisfying conclusion, but you’ll have to wait for the ultimate winner to be announced at the end of the series. The author apologizes in advance for writing a cliffhanger, but knows you’ll love the journey to the grand finale.

 Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. She is the author of two best selling series, Shellwater Key Tales (sweet contemporary romance) and Covington Falls Chronicles.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

What the Heck is a Contemporary Military Romance?

The Blog Queens Sarah Raplee and Judith Ashley are pleased to welcome back for an Encore Visit, Military Romance Author, Jessica Scott. The following is her August 2014 post. We hope you enjoy it as much this time as we did the first time.

By Jessica Scott 

So glad to be here at Romancing the Genre’s today! Sarah and Judith asked me to write about what do I really love about military romance but it dawned on me that we might not necessarily have the same definition of military romance. 

When I was pitching BACK TO YOU to agents and editors all those years ago (and yes, this process started way back in the pre-Cambrian era of 2008 for Laura and Trent) I would always write in the query “an 85,000 military romance”. And at the time, Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series was really the bees knees for military romance, right? I mean, hello, Navy Seals anyone? Some would argue that the military romance genre is a thing because of Suz but hey, I think that’s a post for another time. 

Anyway, military romance seemed to trigger thoughts of how does this compare to Suzanne’s SEALs or Joann Ross’s Crossfire series but what those books had in common that mine didn’t was that they were romantic suspense. 

And when agents and editors started reading my book, it was a story about home and hearth but it was set at Fort Hood. 

Who the heck writes about home and hearth and soldiers? The first thing that comes to mind is Robyn Carr’s Virgin River and Joann Ross’s Shelter Bay (seriously, if you haven’t checked out either of those series, go start. now. I’ll wait. Okay, you’re back? Cool:). So I started saying in my queries that my books were contemporary romances like Robyn’s but set in the military with current soldiers instead of former soldiers. 

But even then, my books didn’t quite snuggle up to Robyn’s or Joann’s either. But they were closer. 

It turned out, my books didn’t really fit in the genre of military romance because there weren’t a lot of contemporary romance novels "set in the military". 

My books are about soldiers coming home from war but who, for whatever reason, decide to stay in the military. I write about deciding to stay and fight the good fight, despite all the goo and the stuff that is so darn hard about coming home. 

These books are personal to me because my husband and I had the same conversation every single time he came home from his four deployments. We had the same conversation when I came home from mine. 

And so that’s why I write contemporary military romances. I want to write about the soldiers who stay, the soldiers who love the army but still have to figure out how to deal with all the changes that going to war brought. 

I hope you’ll check them out.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Five Favourites To Get Lost In Again #scifi #romance #superheroes

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions.
As a child going into my teens, I was a voracious reader, devouring everything up to and including my parents' books, some of which were probably decidedly inappropriate at the time (Ian Fleming, Georgette Heyer, and Alexander Kent). But into my twenties I settled into focusing on a genre I later came to know as science fiction romance: adventure stories which, to borrow from a relevant franchise, allowed me to boldly go where I'd never gone before!

While I'm currently suffering from reader's block (at least, that's what I call it - an inability or maybe reluctance to get into anything new and even struggling with going back to old favourites), I thought I'd share the last five books that I loved enough to rate them five stars (and trust me, I am super picky!).

To you, my dearest child, I promise the stars…
Nikki’s been to the deepest pit of darkness in the universe and lived to tell about it, barely. But, to move forward with her life, she must first go back to Thetos – where a buried secret and her father’s promise await her return. Despite her independent, defensive nature, she lets Brom into her world and under her skin bit by bit. With her Trexen biology clawing its way into fruition, including unwanted side effects like mind-reading and a deadly temper, she struggles to see herself as worthy of her father’s intellectual legacy. The more she reveals to Brom, the faster she expects him to leave. She quickly learns Orellians don’t give up so easily, and Brom’s as stubborn as they come.
But someone’s been waiting for Nikki’s return and the secret she guards. Its discovery could mean a chance at peace, or lead to all out war. In the wrong hands, even the best intentions can lead to catastrophe, and a promise can decay into regret.
Space opera fans who don't mind a few well written sex scenes in their scifi will love this. For anyone who likes ST, Firefly and Farscape, and/or even just a damn good adventure story with snogging. KoboB&NiBooksAmazon (197 pages $0.99)

A blessing and a curse…
Seven years ago, a single moment changed the course of Nicholaus Bock’s life forever—the moment his preternatural Gift to heal awakened in him. A gift that made him an invaluable commodity to the known galaxy. Now his mentor’s intriguing and secretive new student goes out of her way to challenge his loyalty to everything he values.

A dark secret…
After facing death and destruction during the Anferthian invasion, Sakura Yamata revels in her new-found Gift to heal. Helping Earth’s survivors keeps her mind off the loss of her family, and the memory of the terrible choices she made. Nick could penetrate her defenses and discover what she’s hiding. She must not let the handsome healer close enough for that to happen.

A race facing annihilation…
When a mysterious disease strikes the hidden sanctuary of the Anferthian dissenters, Nick and Sakura are called in to help. But someone is going to great lengths to ensure the dissenters don’t survive. Nick and Sakura must set aside their differences and work together to save them before the fragile peace between three worlds is shattered.

While this wasn't the same 'tear out your heart and stomp on it' rollercoaster of book one (or maybe I was just better prepared) it is a worthy successor in this series. You will need to have read book one to follow this as I don't think it would stand well alone even if it focuses on different main characters. A heartwarming sexy romance between two characters struggling to overcome troubled pasts and really be the saviours of the title for an alien race depending on them. Both make a journey of discovery and find ways to heal themselves as well as their alien allies. Recommended for those who like medical/adventure romances in exotic locations as it may be a little light on the SciFi elements for the SFR fans. KoboB&NiBooksAmazon (231 pages $3.99)


They made the wrong choice. Putting it right requires going into a war.

A'yen's Reign: Year Two
Taran has served Nicco, prince of Marcase, for twenty-three years. While on a fact-finding mission to Corsica--a planet annexed by the empire thirteen years ago--Taran and Nicco are kidnapped by the Freedom Alliance and taken deep into the Corsican hardwood forests.

Da'Renna, sister to King A'yen's linked bodyguard, has loved Taran since the moment he saw her. Leaving him behind wasn't easy, but her brother needed her more. Hearing about Taran's kidnapping makes her wonder if she made the right choice.
With the help of a friend from Corsica, Da'Renna and her brother sneak in to find Taran. When mercenaries take her hostage, Taran must make the choice he dreads most: his master, or his soul-mate.
If Taran loses his girl, he'll never find his way to freedom.

Note: This novel stands alone and is a great entry point into the A'yen's Legacy futuristic romance series. Recommended for those who want to try scifi romance but are put off by the prospect of having to wade through a lot of science, or for paranormal/UF lovers looking for something a bit different to the usual vampires, shifters, demons etc. You don't even have to have read the previous books in the series as this can stand alone (though personally I would suggest that you do). KoboB&NAmazon (pages 321,  $4.99)


Superpowers don't make you a hero…

Verity Fortune's crime-fighting days are over. In exile, defeated by her smug supervillain nemesis, her shady past exposed—even her own superpowered family condemns her as a traitor. Whatever it takes, Verity's determined to prove she can still be a force for good.

Now, Sapphire City faces a new threat: a delinquent duo with extraordinary powers and a terrifying talent for destruction. Outmatched and on the run, her telekinetic powers faltering, Verity can't defeat this menace alone—but whom can she trust, when the only person who believes in her is her arch-enemy?

I loved this book and I'm addicted to this series. Verity's constant doubts that she's a good woman, a superhero, or in any way beautiful or worthy of even friendship make for some great inner angst and romantic tension. There is action aplenty, smexiness, and interesting twists and turns. While this wrapped up its own story and some of book one, there is still plenty unresolved for at least one more book (hopefully more). For those who love superheroes, sassy repartee, sweet heroes and dyed to the bone evil villains with lots of action and some nicely done smexiness. Oh, and for those who think body count in a superhero book should be more realistic than Hollywood.

It's Chicago's favorite city son vs Delilah, daughter of Dr. Charm. America's second city will never know what hit it.
Bootleggers, drug dealers, crooked cops, and dirty politicians... Chicago has always had a reputation for indulging in the finer vices of life. That’s why Doctor Charm’s favorite daughter found America’s Second City so appealing; criminals are never boring. As second in command for the powerful Subrosa Security group, Delilah Samson finds opportunities to use her superpowers at every turn. Whether it’s stealing a priceless French painting from a mobster or stopping a drug deal, she’s game.
In fact, the only thing she doesn’t care for is Chicago’s favorite native son, Deputy Mayor Alan Adale, the man who made Lucifer jealous. Sinfully handsome, or possibly just sinful, Adale has been pursuing Delilah since she first arrived, and she’s been dodging.

When she finds ties between the new kingpin in town and a drug The Company wants to buy so they can create more superheroes, Delilah takes the gloves off. Teaming up with the spooky Spirit of Chicago, she aims to take down the dealers, the mobsters, the kingpin, and The Company. All without falling in love with the one man capable of capturing her heart.
*Originally published by Breathless Press

Anyone who loves superheroes, and likes their romance on the sweet and sensual side rather than explicit will adore this. There's plenty of action, a hint of comedy, snarky repartee, and intrigue, all packed into this delightful novella. Buy the series!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lost in YA stories

Hi everyone! I am YA, and now MG author Barbara Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for adolescents and teens. My tagline tells you what I am about - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them.  My newest book, Courage, is middle grade fiction that will be coming out this summer from Harper Collins.

At the ALA Midwinter conference, I saw very few adult romances. Publishers attend the conference in droves for the opportunity to get their books in front of librarians from across the country. There are literally thousands of advance reader copies of books handed out to attendees to build hype for up-and-coming releases.

I grabbed an advance reader copy of What A Difference A Duke Makes by Lenora Bell by Avon from their booth. Outside of titles in the Harlequin booth and a few in some of the Indie booths, there was little or no other adult romance books at vendor booths during the librarian conference. I know, I actively searched for romance books. While there may be more during the larger, summer conference in New Orleans (Unfortunately I will not be able to attend) the lack was disturbing.

What A Difference A Duke Makes is a classic, and joyously funny, story of a governess and her employer, a Duke with a set of headstrong twins. His father abused his power and position with the more comely servants and he is determined not to continue that tradition.  Mari knows how to deal with rebellious orphans, surely she can deal with two pampered Duke's offspring without having to smother her rebellious nature for their father's benefit. Thus begins a game of governess versus duke, where even loosing is a victory.

What A Difference A Duke Makes goes on sale at the end of March, 2018.

On the other hand, there were tons of YA, including booths dedicated to them. Just as some people turn their backs on “bodice rippers”, too many adult readers continue to shun a fantastic area where authors are taking risks and readers are loving it.

Why Not YA?

Young adulthood is a time when passions run high. Witness what is happening in Florida and across the United States right now. I still remember the days when I too eschewed the dictum that you can’t beat city hall, when I fully believed that with right on my side I and my peers could accomplish anything. That’s an element that sets YA apart from other books, that youthful passion and belief that somewhere there has to be rightness and justice. The right books shows how that passion and optimism bleeds over into romance.

YA stories are seldom about people seeking happily ever afters. Very few of us find soul mates at sixteen (although I know some people in long term marriages who met in high school and would argue that point). It is about firsts, finding your place in the world, hopefully including a happily for now. As a result, books about younger protagonists present something special and different. That's what many readers of any age want, the same...but different.

A few of the YA gems I uncovered while at the ALA conference:

Me and Me by Alice Kuipers explores the “road not taken” a la Robert Frost’s poem. The fork in Lark’s life comes the day she has to chose one life to save. Either the five year old child she used to babysit for, or her boyfriend. The future will be different depending on who she selects to go after. She knows this, because in the book she splits and lives both timelines, just like in an episode of Star Trek. We journey with her as she explores both possible futures, the loss of the boy she loves or the end of the child she cares about. It’s a journey inside ourselves most of us never face, but she uncovers clues that say her mother also once had a similar split.

Me and Me goes on sale in October, 2018.

In Twelve Steps To Normal, author Farrah Penn describes Kira’s attempts to reclaim a lost love, a familiar theme in adult romance novels. What is unfamiliar, is the reason why she lost him. She's been away for almost a year while her father was in rehab for his alcoholism. Now he's been released and she is back home with him, her ex-boyfriend Jay,  the former best friend who is now with Jay, and Alex, a boy she has known forever and whom she liked, until he sent her a shocking text when she first left home.

Thanks to social media she has kept up with events back home, at least enough to be unsure how she will handle the grand reunion. She puts together a list of twelve steps for returning her life to normal. One of those steps is forgiving her father. Another is getting back with Jay. She also has to decide if she can still be friends with Alex and the information in that text.

Twelve Steps To Normal was just put on sale this week.

We Regret To Inform You is the young person’s version of an unsuccessful job hunt, even when your resume is perfect. Mischa Abramavicius (I kid you not, that is her name) finds that her star student status at an elite private high school is not enough to get her accepted into any college, not even her safety school. On paper, she is perfect and any school would be thrilled to have her and her many class and extracurricular accomplishments - unless the paper was altered. (I did say YA was a time of passion, and no passionate person will take rejection easily.)

Mischa sets out to discover who tampered with her record. She enlists the aid of Nate, even if it is embarrassing to be his "poor" friend. Armed with that youthful passion, she ends up exposing a school conspiracy that goes beyond her. Life in high school is exactly like Game Of Thrones where there are only so many spots at the top. That means someone has to be at the bottom. The conspiracy she and Nate uncover could land her a birth at a prestigious college - as long as she is willing to keep silent and preserve the status quo.

We Regret To Inform You will be released in August, 2018.

And of course there is my upcoming novel, Courage. At seventh grade life is more about developing friendships, initial relationships with peers, instead of genuine romance. T'Shawn, the protagonist, doesn't want the impossible. He just wants life to continue being good. Unfortunately,  that's impossible with his ex-con brother returning home, and preparing to live in the same bedroom with him.

This becomes an area where friendships are tested, including his budding interest in Carmela and Linda, two girls in his class ready to help him deal with the problem that is his prodigal son brother. Unfortunately, they hand him contradictory advice on how to handle the future, and, in the end, what to do next has to be his own decision.

Courage is being released in July, 2018.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Secret to Writing Great Villains

by Madelle Morgan

The secret is two words: character quirks.

And what better source for inspiration than extended family? Sit back at gatherings, observe, and use their strengths and weaknesses, unique idiosyncrasies and passions to humanize your villains. Change the names and appearances, of course!

My widowed mother suffered a health crisis in January and could no longer safely live alone, shop or cook. Two of my sisters and I lived with Mom in her apartment on a rotating basis until we were able to move her into a seniors residence on March 2.

I’d soon discover that aspects of my sisters’ characters were in fact villainous under those specific circumstances.

The Zealot

Sister One is hyper-vigilant about every substance that goes on or in her body: no tuna, mussels or most other seafood (mercury), only organic vegetables and greens (pesticides), no drinking out of lead crystal glasses (lead poisoning), and on and on. The rest of the family ignores her, being of the “everything in moderation” camp. I eat seafood and non-organic veggies. I drink from Mom’s beautiful 1950s lead crystal glasses on special occasions. I apparently live dangerously.

I had no idea Sister One would strong-arm a dependent person into compliance with her views. Mom wanted a new lipstick. Mom had to rely on Sister One to take her to the drugstore, who nixed the lipstick. The toxic chemicals! You’d think Mom wanted to smear cyanide on her lips! Sister One insisted Mom buy a natural lip balm instead. And she made Mom PAY for the expensive lip balm she didn’t want.

When Sister One moved her mother-in-law into a seniors’ home, she and her husband denied the woman the opportunity to choose what items to take, because “it was easier”. She wanted to do the same to our Mom. Both elderly women have all their marbles. They’re just in the unfortunate position of being at the mercy of their family.

The Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove

Sister Two calmly and rationally organizes Mom’s life under the guise of “this is what is best for you”, ignoring her protests and never asking for input or feedback. I witnessed Mom grow increasingly angry and frustrated under the gentle tyranny. “Always Right” Sister Two never listens to anyone, including me. But when she doesn’t listen to a powerless person and “makes it happen” anyway, it becomes bullying.

The Villain or the Victim?

Both sisters blithely took away Mom’s ability to make her own choices. Over time, don’t you think it’s enough to drive a person to murderous rage?

Such emotional abuse can escalate to physical and financial elder abuse. As co-executor of my grandmother’s estate a few years ago, I discovered that my bookkeeper aunt manipulated Grandma into paying for house renovations and utility bills in return for room and board. My partially blind grandmother signed post-dated checks to cover my aunt’s mortgage payments. God help my aunt’s larcenous soul. It was like taking candy from a baby. Would it then be an easy next step to bilk clients? 

God help all dependent, powerless people, young and old, who are victims of abuse. Can you blame the victims for retaliating? Who then is the villain—the abuser or the victim in unbearable circumstances who lashes back?

Not all villains are evil. They could be your friends or family members. Under the right circumstances, the villain could be me. Or you. Sobering thought.

Madelle (who wears lipstick)

Madelle Morgan  writes romance set in Canada. 

Petra’s buddy Carter in Madelle's romantic thriller Diamond Hunter  on Amazon is a good guy gone bad—a secondary villain. Read it for free in Kindle Unlimited.

5 stars! This Romantic Dramedy is wonderfully written. Catrina is both beautiful and flawed, strong in spite of the past horrors. While not as lighthearted as Caught on Camera, it still manages to to read like your favorite movie you keep in your DVD collection. —Goodreads review

Last Chance to buy at $0.99! Seduced by the Screenwriter is available on Amazon free in KU and for $0.99 to buy until the end of March. After that, it will go wide (Kobo, iBooks) and revert to the permanent price of $3.99.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Paradise Regained in a Book!

By: Marcia King-Gamble

As readers, yes, and as writers, we love being turned on to work we might not be familiar with. I know I do.  Introduce me to a new author, and I just might fall in love with them. I’m here today to give kudos and loud shout outs to a talented author I’m proud to call my friend. He’s a writer I know you will enjoy.

The irony of this is that I’ve known this man for what seems forever, and yet I had never read his work. He is one of the kindest and most articulate men I have yet to meet, also smart and well-respected in his field.  It was only happenstance that provided me with an opportunity to read his work.

It was at my local Romance Writers holiday party last December that I had the opportunity to pick up a copy of his book for free. He’d brought several promotional copies of his work to hand out.  I of course snagged a book.  Enthusiastic reader that I am, there are times that meeting a deadline simply gets in the way of me keeping up with books being released.

But this time I was bent and determined to read my friend’s book from cover to cover. I am always intrigued to see if an author’s personality or quirks make their way into their books. Besides, this was a man I greatly admired. 

Book in hand, off I went to my bi-monthly pedicure, knowing fully well that I would have no choice than to be a captive audience.  It would be read the book, or read magazines in Vietnamese.  The former would win out.  I was guaranteed to get through at least the first two chapters without interruptions.

From page one, I was immediately pulled into the story, because in many ways it reminded me of The Thorn Birds. Sadly, when my pedicure ended, I did not want to say goodbye to the characters. That hasn’t happened for quite some time.  But it wasn’t just the storyline that pulled me in, it was the magical writing and the vivid imagery. Now don’t get me wrong, there were disappointing times, and frustrating times when the women made choices I would never have made. But I had to keep in mind this was the sixties, and women weren’t as independent, or liberated, nor did they have the choices they have today.

Now for the title and author.   The book is the Magdalen Girls and it’s written by V. S. Alexander.

The story is set in a convent in Dublin. The year is 1962, and the nuns are running the Magdalen Laundries, staffed by allegedly fallen girls sent there to rehabilitate. Many of these young girls only sin was being so pretty they tempted a man.  

 Here’s what some readers had to say about The Magdalen Girls:

“This book is worth reading. Great story about the Magdalen laundries in Ireland. The characters are great, and the story has a lot of twists and turns. What makes it good is the story is based on true facts.

“I was lucky enough to win copies of this book for one of my book groups. It tells a fascinating story about Dublin’s convent of The Sisters of the Holy where “problem” girls were sent to live. Society was harsh, and sometimes the girls really hadn’t done anything wrong like one of the protagonists, Teagan Tiernan, whose only sin was being a beauty. Her beauty attracted the attention of a new priest who lusted after her. After his confession to the bishop, the bishop feared a scandal might follow. To prevent anything from advancing, he went to Teagan’s family and made arrangements for Teagan to be sent there.” 

About the Author:

V.S. Alexander is an ardent student of history with a strong interest in music and the visual arts. Some of V.S.’s writing influences include Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, or any work by the exquisite Brontë sisters.  He also writes under the pseudonym of Vincent Wilde. Hs latest release is The Taster.

Pick up your copies of The Magdalen Girls and/or The Taster. Both are Kensington publications and can be purchased on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or on the author’s website.           

You’re in for a treat.

About Marcia King-Gamble
Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This former travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, and caring for her animal family.
Visit Marcia at or “friend” her on Facebook:

Her Latest release with co-author Sandra Kitt is titled By Design.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Authors4Veterans (and Giveaway) by Stacey Joy Netzel AND PJ Fiala

Hello Romancing the Genres readers! Authors4Veterans (A4V) is thrilled to be here today to tell you a little about us (Stacey & PJ), our books, our mission, and the sponsoring authors who help make A4V possible. We are a non-profit charity dedicated to supporting veterans and their families, to show our love and appreciation for those who’ve served our country.

Both of us are mothers of military sons, and veterans causes and charities have always been a focus for both of us, so we decided to take it to the next level with Authors4Veterans.

Not only do we love supporting our veterans, but we each also love to write military men and women in our books. Stacey Joy Netzel’s Dare to Trust in her Colorado Trust Series features a wounded-yet-fiesty veteran heroine, and PJ Fiala’s Moving to Love has a sexy-as-all-get-out veteran hero.

Find all of Stacey’s books
at her website
Back to A4V and our mission...we are currently supporting Fisher House Milwaukee by putting together care packages for families with veteran loved ones in the Zablocki Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

In November 2017, A4V delivered 30 overflowing care packages filled with books, personal care and comfort items, and snacks donated by our awesome sponsoring authors (many of whom have military family members, have served themselves, and/or write military romance). 

Make sure to check them out – these wonderful authors go above and beyond for those who have gone above and beyond.

Find all of PJ’s books
at her website  
Along with the care packages, A4V does a huge reader giveaway with our main fundraisers, and smaller giveaways in the months between. One of them is going on right now, and you can
enter the giveaway HERE.

Readers and authors alike...we’d love to have you be a part of our mission. Please sign up for our newsletter and follow A4V on social media to be notified of upcoming fundraisers and giveaways.

Stacey Joy Netzel: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Stacey Joy Netzel promises no matter the trials of the journey, you get a Happily Ever After at the end of her books. She is a wife, daughter, and mother of veterans, and lives in N.E. Wisconsin with her family, a horse, and some hilarious cats. She writes steamy romantic suspense and small town contemporary romance with sexy, rugged heroes, and strong, resilient heroines. Colorado, Wisconsin, and Italy are favorite settings for her books, and she is a three time winner of Wisconsin Romance Writers’ Write Touch Readers’ Award.

PJ Fiala: Writing has been a desire my whole life. Once I found the courage to write, life changed for me in the most profound way. Bringing stories to readers that I'd enjoy reading and creating characters that are flawed, but lovable is such a joy.

When not writing, I'm with my family doing something fun. My husband, Gene, and I are bikers and enjoy riding to new locations, meeting new people and generally enjoying this fabulous country we live in.

I come from a family of veterans. My grandfather, father, brother, two sons, and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.