Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Interview with Anne Marie Andrus, MONSTERS AND ANGELS

Thank you to Two Ends of The Pen for hosting the Monsters & Angels blog tour!

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
Monsters & Angels is the story of fledgling nurse Sorcha Alden’s journey into the unknown. Only days after graduating from nursing school in New York City, Sorcha suffers a tragic personal loss. The drive to honor her family’s heritage takes her on a railroad adventure across America, a voyage over the Pacific Ocean and a trek through the brutal jungles of Nepal.

Sorcha stumbles into the brilliance of young love one night and the path of a deranged killer soon after. Set against the backdrop of 1930’s New Orleans, her unplanned future is graced with friends, family and the counsel of a charismatic mentor. She’ll need every one of them to survive the cutthroat, mystical underworld of the Crescent City.

Do you have a favorite character?
Dr. Raimond Banitierre was always planned as one of my leading men. He is a former French soldier and Sorcha’s charming mentor. Dr. Banitierre has managed to balance his human and vampire sides well enough to remain the medical director of a major hospital. His role grew and changed so much during the writing of Monsters & Angels that I’ve nearly finished a novella, The Vampire Raimond, based on his compelling backstory.

I firmly believe that setting can play a leading role in any story. I’ve been intrigued, mesmerized and enchanted by New Orleans for many years. She may be my ultimate, favorite character.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Steven Banitierre started out as an unplanned, minor character. Initially I wrote him as one of Sorcha’s flashy, funny friends. By the time Monsters & Angels was finished, he became the center of several plotlines. Steven struggles with his sexuality, childhood demons and severe asthma that mysteriously didn’t disappear when he became vampire. Steven has the potential to become a New Orleans power-player.

If you used a graphic designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I teamed up with cover designer and graphic artist Magali Frechette of Storm Owl Art . I discovered Magali’s page through a Facebook author group. As soon as I saw her work I knew I wanted that look for my cover! The concept and vision was sparked by a picture of me (taken by my husband Scott), looking down night-time Royal Street from a lace-iron balcony.

I was very involved with the cover from start to finish. Magali is a pleasure to work with and I’m absolutely thrilled with the result!

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I had several critique partners and beta readers for Monsters & Angels. Without the input of my critique partner, Raquel, this novel would still be a messy manuscript jammed in a drawer.
Going forward with the sequel and my standalone novel, I’ve been invited to participate in a more formal critique group, but Racquel is still getting the first look!

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I would never have been able to complete Monsters without the help of editor Jordan Rosenfeld . I met Jordan through an on-line, creative writing workshop. She edited my manuscript twice. The first was a developmental edit, when she suggested I change from first person POV, to third person. That advice allowed me to incorporate my large cast and multiple POVs. She also did my final copy-edit. I believe having extra eyes on your manuscript is absolutely essential.

What kinds of marketing are you involved with for promoting your book?
I’m currently promoting my book through Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, WattPad, GoodReads, my WordPress blog and Xpresso Book Tours.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
My passions outside of writing include, music, sports (mostly baseball and football), and spending time on our boat Glory Days at the New Jersey shore.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer –
1.      Dogs or Cats?  I love all pets, but we have 2 beautiful cats, Duncan and Tempe.
2.      Chocolate or Vanilla?  Chocolate. Vanilla is a waste of calories.
3.      Coffee or Tea?  If I had to choose one beverage to drink for the rest of my life, it would be coffee. Strong, New Orleans coffee.
4.      Talk or Text?  Text. Who talks anymore?
5.      Day or Night?  Night. There’s a calm power in the dead of night that is nowhere to be found during the day.

What’s next for you?
The ending of Monsters & Angels—Sorcha’s final word—is the perfect set-up for a sequel. I’m hard at work on that sequel, with a working name of Blood & Diamonds.

I’m also a contributing author in Dan Alatorre’s scary story anthology, The Box Under The Bed !

Monsters & Angels
Anne Marie Andrus
Publication date: October 11th 2017
Genres: Historical, New Adult, Paranormal Romance

Fledgling nurse Sorcha Alden knew she had the skills to save lives, but she never dreamed that her own life would be the one in danger.
Driven by tragedy to honor her family name, Sorcha embarks on a journey that takes her from the bleak but familiar streets of New York, through the sultry and seductive city of New Orleans, and into the brutal jungles of Nepal. Forging friendships and carrying on her mother’s mission of healing was her dream. Plunging into a love affair with the mysterious Dr. Ashayle could have been a fairytale.
Being murdered and waking up as a blood-thirsty monster—became her living nightmare.
Torn away form a life that had just begun, Sorcha returns to New Orleans as a newborn vampire, forced to start over in a cutthroat underworld of devilry and decadence. Complicated politics, bitter rivals and jealous ancestors stand between her and the promises she’s still determined to keep.
In a realm where the boundary between good and evil is as murky as the Mississippi River and immortal does not mean invincible, will Sorcha ever risk her shattered heart and love again? Can the magical harmony of the Crescent City give her enough courage to fulfill her eternal destiny?

Author Bio:
Anne Marie has been an equestrienne, chorale singer, candy-striper, EMT, and baseball fan. Roaming the back roads of New Jersey with her family, she found great respect for antiques, historical locations and the stories they hold. Her current list of favorite pastimes include coffee, bourbon, and Les Miserables--which requires more bourbon. She has been known to attend sporting events just for the flyover. The boat she and her husband christened Glory Days, is her escape from the chaos of everyday life.
The inspiration for Anne Marie's debut novel, Monsters & Angels, is her fascination with vampires and her passion for everything New Orleans. When she isn't writing, she can be found working nights with the critical care team in a busy trauma center.

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#Review: DUKE OF DESIRE by Elizabeth Hoyt

3 of 5 stars

I found this book very dark and gritty as it tackled horrific childhood trauma in the hero, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore. The abuse has scarred Raphael to the point that he avoids any type of physical and intimate relationships with women. When Lady Iris Jordan is kidnapped by the Lord of Chaos, Raphael  rescues her in a daring plot and to keep her safe, he quickly marries her. Thinking their marriage will be in name only, Raphael must learn to deal with Iris as she wants a true marriage with him.

With the dark elements explored in this book, I couldn't really get into the romance of Iris and Raphael. There's nothing romantic about their relationship as they both deal with the circumstances of their hasty marriage. Ms. Hoyt is a talented author and tackles the serious subjects well, but for me this book focussed too much on the abuse although I understand that was central to Raphael's character. Iris's character wasn't fleshed out much--focusing more of how she was dealing with Raphael's obsession to destroy the Lords of Chaos.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Amazon buy link:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#Review: WITH THIS CHRISTMAS RING by Manda Collins

  4 of 5 stars
What a delightful Christmas story. Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, has never recovered from his betrothed Miss Merry Parks leaving him suddenly five years ago. When she shows up on his doorstep carrying an infant, he is outraged at first thinking she's trying to pass the baby off at his, but soon calming down once he learns the baby belongs to his cousin, William. Merry is fulfilling a dying wish of her dear friend to find baby Lottie's father and the only way she knows how to do that is to confront Alex and ask for his help.

Ms. Collins weaves a powerful story about loss, grief and trying to move forward with one's life without the love they've left behind. I found myself connecting with both Merry and Alex and how they handled being ripped apart by Alex's grandmother before finding the courage to try again at their broken relationship. Dowager Wrotham is a complicated character and it takes the full story to learn her reasons for tearing Alex and Merry apart. If you looking for a heartwarming story at Christmas time, this book will certainly fit the bill.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Amazon buy link:

#Excerpt: HIDE AND SEEK by Desiree Holt

“And we’re working on the backgrounds of the Cole International execs. Do you have everything there you need?”

Logan had his own personal weapons with him—a Glock 19, a Ruger LCP and his Kabar knife—but on the remote chance of an invasion he wanted to be covered on all fronts.

“More firepower. I’ll text you the list as soon as I hang up. How are you coming with the phone?”

“We’ve just gotten started with it. First of all, it’s not an ordinary cell phone. It’s made by a company like the one that makes ours.”

“So it’s ten times as hard to crack.”

“That’s right. We got past the factory restore and there’s data on it, but it also seems to have multiple passwords.”

Logan snorted. “Can you say paranoid? Now I’m sure there’s shit on it we need.”

“I’ve got Del on it. He’s got it hooked up to a bunch of different programs at the same time. If anyone can break it, that would be him.”

“Okay. Keep me in the loop on that.”

“Ginger’s been digging into Graham Cole with an electronic shovel. I want to know everything from the past ten years, personal and corporate. There’s a clue somewhere and I mean for us to find it. I’ll bet we find a lot of unpleasant crap there.

“I hope we find something soon,” he told her. “I don’t think they’re near done with her.”

“And that’s why you’re there, Mr. Marine.”

“Ooh rah.”


Anything can happen when you let your guard down . . .

After receiving a violent threat on the heels of her father’s disappearance from the town of Arrowhead Bay, Devon Cole fears for her life—until Vigilance, a local private security agency, steps in to shield her from danger. Although she isn’t usually quick to surrender her freedom, she has no problem stripping her defenses for her new sexy bodyguard . . .

Tortured by the painful memory of lost love, Logan Malik is determined not to fall for a client again. So when he’s tasked with watching over Devon day and night, he’s focused on doing his job. Day is no problem, but as tensions rise at night, nothing can protect them from giving in to unbridled passion . . .

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Desiree Holt is the world’s oldest living published author of erotic and spicy romance. A graduate of the University of Michigan with double majors in English and History, her earlier careers include agent and manager in the music industry, public television, associate vice president of university advancement, public relations, and economic development.

She is three times a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award (and a winner in 2014), a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio as well as twice a CAPA Award winner for best BDSM book of the year, a USA Today Bestselling author and winner of the Holt Medallion for Excellence in Romance Literature.

She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times, The Huffington Post and numerous other national and international publications. She is also the Authors After Dark 2014 Author of the Year.

“Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last.” (Romance Junkies)

Learn more about her and read her novels here:

Twitter @desireeholt

Pinterest: desiree02holt

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Monday, October 16, 2017

#Excerpt: ANDRE by Sybil Bartel

Sybil Bartel
(Uncompromising #3)
Publication date: October 16th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The Marines trained me to set my sights and wait for the shot. For eight years, I guarded my brothers and defended my country. Now I protect my clients. My personal security firm is the best in the business because I leave nothing to chance… until a dark-haired, hazel-eyed spitfire crosses my path.
She and her sexy-as-hell striptease were supposed to be a one-night distraction. But too late I noticed the branding on her back and my blood ran cold. This woman wasn’t a distraction—she was a death sentence.
Knowing who she was left me no choice. I took her on as my client. But running from her past wasn’t an option.
The Marines didn’t train me to retreat. They taught me to engage.
One shot. One kill.

“Kendall,” I whispered, half in disbelief, half in fucking horror.
“You can’t save me.” No intonation in her voice, her statement was pure resignation.
I asked the only question that seemed relevant. “Who else knows?”
“No handler?”
She shook her head. “No. No witness protection. I refused.”
It was probably the only thing that’d kept her alive. Anyone knowing where or who she was would’ve been a target. Adrenaline pumping, my pulse Mach one, I stared at her in complete fucking shock. This woman had just signed my death warrant.
My nostrils flared with an inhale. “Chica—”
“Walk away, André.”
I opened my mouth to say something I’d regret, but she beat me to it.
“You can’t stop this,” she warned. “Go back to work. Pretend you never met me. Deny everything.” She picked up her dress. “I’ll be gone before you get home.”
I ran a hand over my face. “I don’t even know what to call you.”
“If you say my real name, you’ll be dead before you utter the last syllable.”

Author Bio:
Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.
Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
But Seriously?
Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.
She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.
To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways.

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#Excerpt: DEADSPEAK 2 by Ruth Bainbridge

“This reminds me of when I was in summer camp and stayed up all night trying to contact the dead,” Julie Welch commented.

Mia or no Mia, the time had arrived and the Ouija board was placed in the center of one of the folding tables.

“You did that, Mrs. Welch?” Angie asked.

“Of course,” Julie confessed with a giggle. “I lived for those summers, and the camp counselors had no idea what we were up to. They only wondered why we were all so tired in the mornings.”

The atmosphere of the Halloween Party had changed. Ever since the announcement, things went from Party Central, to an eerie, expectant quiet. The music was turned off and the food lined up on the rented tables was bereft of pawing hands.

The six rested their fingers lightly on the planchette. “Remember: no cheating! Understood?” Mrs. Welch warned.

The participants nodded in agreement as the woman with the highlighted blonde hair inhaled deeply.

“Hello? Is there anyone with us?” Julie asked, starting off the questioning.

A soft scrape… and … movement! Infinitesimal at first, the planchette picked up speed.


“What the—” Gen started. A loud moan interrupted the moment.

“Yes, I’m here,” a deep voice bellowed.

Fear spread quickly as attendees sprang up from their chairs and readied to run. Another unearthly groan penetrated the air. Angie latched on to Glenn’s hand.


Someone was climbing the basement stairs.


DEADSPEAK2. The chilling new entry in the Deadspeak Mystery Series

Things look different when you're dead.

It’s Halloween and a group of teens throw a party at Harbinger Falls’ most celebrated haunted estate. It’s all fun and games until a session with a Ouija board guides the partygoers to the body of a young girl hidden in the attic. 

Detective Kimberly Trent is assigned the case and quickly discovers that all is not as it seems. First, there’s the connection between the death and a string of petnappings terrorizing the neighborhood. Then there’s the suicide note that only leaves more questions than answers. A visit from Kimberly’s ghostly friend Griff Lindon sheds an unwelcome light. It seems she’s had a run in with the newly deceased who tells her she’s been murdered. 

This is the second in The Deadspeak Mysteries. The entries are meant to be read in sequential order and do not standalone. In each book, you’ll find a new murder for Kimberly Trent to solve. You’ll also find the continuing search for who murdered Kim’s sister Elizabeth. Each book will take you closer and closer to finding out the identity of The Hex Killer, the serial killer who ended Elizabeth’s short life. It will also bring you to the heart of the evil that’s come back to life to wreak revenge. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury, and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

Amazon Author Page:

Twitter: @Ruth_Mysteries

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