Tag Archives: one in a series

Featured New Book Spotlight: If You Dare by Barbara Meyers

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Let’s welcome Barbara Meyers to West of Mars!

I do owe Barbara an official, public apology. My spam filter got a little aggressive and started dumping all correspondence from my website into spam. Imagine my surprise when I found this sitting there, just days away from being deleted entirely!

But we’re all here now, and life is good. (However, if you don’t hear back from me within a week to 10 days, drop me an email independent of the site. That should go through.)

Now that I’ve taken care of that, let’s get down to business because Barbara’s song for her forthcoming book is one of my all-time favorites. Ready?

Barbara Meyers, what song makes you think of your book?

Evanescence – My Immortal

It’s the first song I thought of when I saw the question, because it makes me think of love and the pain of loss. This song is personal to me because of a tragedy that struck our family and was played at the memorial service. Both the hero and heroine in If You Dare have lost someone important to them, and they find their way through grief together. But still, they never forget the person they loved and lost.

Wow! To be able to hear something so starkly personal and not keep the song only for that memory. That takes strength and an open heart.

The book doesn’t come out until September, but the presale is running, and so here’s what it’s about. Go preorder now and then when it arrives, it’ll be like a gift that magically shows up on your ereader! How can you resist? Your future self will thank you. Here’s why?

Can a man evolve from arrogant ass to Father of the Year?

Doug Winston looks into his newborn daughter’s eyes and vows to become the kind of man and father worthy of her. But he first must navigate the mess he’s made of his life.

Doug’s wife has left him. His baby mama dies and to avenge her death her sister, Josie, wants to prove him unfit and attain custody. The teenage son he raised despises him, the father he worships disowns him, and a child Doug never knew he’d fathered arrives on his doorstep.

As Doug embarks on his quest to live authentically, to make amends where he can and build relationships with his children and with Josie, he discovers that the father for whom he was never good enough is part of a vast criminal network.

Just as Doug and Josie cross the line from hate to love, and Doug has cobbled together the family he always wanted, can he bring the man he once idolized to justice in order to protect them all?

That’s some description, huh? I love a good redemption story.

Like I said, preorder your copy!
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And connect with Barbara Meyers online. You’ll be glad you did.
Facebook Author Pages
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As always, remember to leave a review once you’ve read the book. Reviews help in many ways! If you’re unsure your review will pass muster, I’m always willing to help out. Drop me a line, although if you don’t hear back, contact me directly!

And, as always, if you’re an author, I’d love to host you for a day. If you’re not an author but have a friend who is, send ’em on over! The only requirement is that the book be new to my readers. I’ll let you decide what exactly that means.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen

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It’s an absolute honor to welcome Kayelle Allen back to West of Mars today. She’s one of my favorites in the book world because she’s all class, all the time, and her books… the scope of her imagination blows me away.

Today, actually, is the release for her newest book, A Stolen Heart. It’s part of the Antonello Brothers series, if you’re familiar with that series. (If not, what are you waiting for? Well, okay, finish reading the post and THEN go check it out.)

Kayelle Allen, what song reminds you of your book?

Uprising — that’s the song I played when writing A Stolen Heart. Recorded by Audiomachine, it has Latin lyrics, which is fine — I wouldn’t understand the language of my immortals either. It could just as well be sung in their Naro. The rhythm, the majestic sweep of notes, the latent force behind the song all speaks to my spirit. The hero, Luc, is a general who’s “retired” for this lifetime. Uprising could be his anthem. Listen to it and you’ll hear the troops he’s led to victory, and encouraged during defeat. Uprising his a powerful song for a powerful hero.

Was this song written for a movie soundtrack? I love it! This would indeed be awesome to work to.

Ready for the book description? I sure am.

When he rescues a half-human orphan, a glorified space pirate turned entrepreneur sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to topple the powerful Thieves’ Guild he once led.
Multiple layers of conspiracy unfold, reaching all the way to Luc’s immortal ex–the king. Hidden behind each mystery he solves looms an unseen foe, undoing the good Luc accomplishes. For the sake of this child, Luc must postpone his own freedom and master his desire for revenge or he will violate an ancient vow. Worse, he’ll put the toddler at risk.

At war with his compassion for the vulnerable, loyalty to the king, duty to the Guild, and the bright lure of freedom he’s coveted for centuries, Luc seeks the right path. Will he choose liberty and unparalleled success, or restore the Thieves’ Guild to its former glory while overseeing the child’s training?

A hard choice for any man. For an immortal whose inner monster can destroy on sight? Impossible.

A pirate with a monstrous past can never be trusted with an innocent child. Luc must ensure the child is protected, safe, nowhere near danger. Nowhere near him. Even if this little boy has already stolen his heart…

Okay, I’m hooked. Totally and completely. Are you?

The book’s available TODAY, but only on Kindle.

And I usually write a short intro inviting you to connect with Kayelle Allen, but she’s got that covered, too! Check it!
Kayelle Allen writes space opera with larger than life, unforgettable characters. Come walk in her worlds and meet her misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, immortal gamers, and warriors who purr.

(I love her intro so much!)

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Remember, if you’re an author, here’s the link for your own turn in the spotlight. And if you’re a reader (no “just” or “only” around here; readers are important people!), the best thing you can do for a book is to leave a review. If you need help, holler. Reviews are both an art and utterly simple, but if you’re struggling, reach out and I’m glad to help.

Featured New Book Spotlight

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Alpha Revealed by Brenda Sparks

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Brenda Sparks is here to visit us!

I’ve known Brenda for years now, via Triberr, which helps us share our posts with the rest of the Twitterverse, but I think this is the first time she’s stopped in.

So let’s roll out the red carpet!

Brenda Sparks, what song makes you think of your book?

Secret” by Maroon 5.
All of us have our secrets, and some secrets are easier to keep than others. Ever notice how secrets stomp around your brain, over and over, pounding hard footprints into your gray matter until at last, you share them with someone you trust. I began to wonder if vampires are any better at keeping secrets than humans. Turns out, not so much.

I gave the lead characters in Alpha Revealed plenty of juicy secrets, and they just couldn’t keep them. So I guess vampires, like humans, have only so many secrets they don’t share…and maybe that’s for the best.

Ooh, now, I want to make sure you know this is the fifth book in a series, and so as enticing at this commentary is (and holy cow, am I curious!), you might want to check and make sure you can drop into the middle. Or, of course, start with the first! What else are you doing while social distancing or sheltering in place? (Okay, you could be like me and working, and if so, I hope your job is the joy that mine is.)

This brings us to the next best part of these spotlights. What’s the book about?

Natasha Peterhoff is the luckiest vampire in the world. Having pined over the sexy, but aloof Vladimir Starikovich for centuries, her feelings are reciprocated when the pair are drawn to each other the night of her brother’s wedding. Unfortunately, the stark light of day dawns, and the couple parts ways.

Back in Siberia, Vlad is overcome by doubts. Not only will Natasha’s brother kill him, but his own past is reason enough to keep her away. He vows to do everything in his power to keep her safe, even it if means never seeing her again.

With so many reasons to stay apart, will the ties that bind be strong enough to pull them together?

Ooh, a couple tropes at play in here… how can you resist?

Get your copy!
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iBooks
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
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And after all these choices, I’m going to say it! If you’d like a print copy, call up your favorite indie bookstore and see if they can get it for you. They’d love the business, the money you spend stays in their local community, and it’s helping keep lights on and doors metaphorically open.

Connect with Brenda Sparks, too!
Website
Bookbub
Facebook Fan Page
Twitter Handle: @brenda_sparks
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Be sure to leave a review once you’ve read the book. Reviews help! If you need help with one, drop me a line and I’ll strive to give you pointers you can use forever and ever.

And if you’re an author, feel free to fill out the Spotlight form, yourself. If you’re not an author, feel free to ask your favorite author to stop in. A book only has to be new to the majority of my audience to be eligible…

Featured New Book Spotlight

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Kat Out of the Bag by Wendy Kendall

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Let’s welcome Wendy Kendall to West of Mars! She’s got not only her debut to feature, but also the first in a series! Double whammy of goodness and excellent places to start.

Seriously, you guys, I’ve had such a great response to this first call for spotlight features, and I’m glad to keep this going as long as you guys are submitting! Spread the word!

I like this cover. It makes me smile each time I see it, so let’s hear about the book. Wendy Kendall, what song makes you think of your book?

What Happens in a Small Town” makes me think of my mystery Kat Out of the Bag. International purse designer Katherine Watson moves from Beverly Hills, CA condo to Bayside, WA farmhouse. Murder at her Purse Museum gala opening reveals a local has a deadly grudge. From designer bags to body bags, Kat Watson becomes amateur sleuth amid romantic sparks and local entanglements. She finds that everyone in her small town knows everyone’s business. Now she’s in a race to find the killer before she becomes the next knock off.

Ooh, this song is PERFECT! I like it!

Ready for the book description? I sure am!

When celebrated international purse designer, Katherine Watson, hosts a gala for her Purse-onality Museum, she never expected the next day’s headline to read: ‘Murder at the Gala Premiere.’ But after a dead body is found during the event, that’s exactly what happened.

Working to solve the murder, Katherine matches wits with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner, Hobbs. Although Holmes and Watson disagree often, they discover an undeniable attraction building between them. But they’ll have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer’s next knock off.

This should also come with a doggo alert! Holmes and Hobbs… I like it. It’s got a ring.

Pick up your copy! NOTE THAT THIS IS A PRESALE. The book won’t arrive on your device or your doorstep until April 13.
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

I’m sure your favorite local independent bookstore would love to order and ship you a print copy, too. Indies could use a lot of help during this time, so don’t be shy (especially if your only other option is that big place that’s decided books aren’t important enough to ship promptly). Get to know a new bookseller — and if you don’t have a local indie, adopt one from farther out! They’d be glad to add you to the family.

Connect with Wendy Kendall, too, while you’re having fun.
My Website
Katherine Watson blog “APassionForPurses”
Follow me on FB
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram

And once you get your copy, be sure to leave a review! Reviews help readers find good books, so help a fellow reader out, why don’tcha? And never ever feel bad about leaving a constructive (that’s the key word: constructive) one or two-star review if a book doesn’t do it for you. Need help? Drop me a line.

Featured New Book Spotlight

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Featured New Book: City of Cayn (Cayn Trilogy Book 2) by C Jason McDonald, Alan Isom, Stormy McDonald

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Let’s welcome my friend Jason McDonald back to West of Mars! If you recall, in September, the first book in this fun trilogy came out, and now Jason’s back to tell us about the second. I totally agreed with his pick for the first book, so let’s see what he’s got for the second, shall we?

Jason, what song makes you think of your book?

I was so looking forward to this question with this next book.

There’s a scene in my head where Jasper, my rotund mage, walks down a busy street wearing a disguise. In the background is the outer wall of the palace compound and the first chords of the song strike up. Tears come to my eyes every time.

The song has to be “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” by Aerosmith.

I remember this scene, and once again, YES. This is THE PERFECT song for that scene!

I can’t even begin to tell you guys about it. Seriously. Get the book — start with the first — and see what’s up. It’s fabulous.

Here’s the description for the second book in the Cayn Trilogy, which I still maintain is one you gotta read!

The people of Pazard’zhik are dying in droves due to the mysterious plague, and the only organization that might be able to help—the White Circle, the local guild of human mages—has been unable to find a cure.

Even Marcus, the leader of the Kral’s security forces, is sick and dying, but the team he recruited to investigate the disease, a ranger, a dwarf, a mage, and a half-orc gladiator, remains on the case. Not everyone is who they seem to be, though, and spies and traitors to the Kral abound, looking to aid in the team’s downfall.

Hunted by the local militia and the White Circle mages, as well as their true enemy, the team must race against time to locate the last wagonload of soap and solve the mystery of the Blood of Cayn before the citizens of Pazard’zhik perish.

Everything points to the city of Chernigov, but it is held by the orcs, their mortal enemies. Will the team be able to sneak in and find the answers they need to save Pazard’zhik, or will their capture and execution end all hope?

Sadly, this is Amazon-only. But it’s totally worth picking up in print and sharing with your friends. How often do I say THAT?

Connect with Jason, Alan, and Stormy!
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Featured New Book Spotlight: For the Sake of Honor (Seekers of the Past Book 2) by Amy Valentini

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Let’s welcome Amy Valentini to West of Mars!

She’s got a new book out, the second in a series, and it’s one of those series that continues the main characters’ timeline, instead of focusing on supplemental characters. So if continuing stories are your thing (I’m glad to read ’em!), listen up. If not, well… check out the first! Either way, you’ll want to investigate the first.

So, Amy, what song makes you think of your book?

MAGIC by Pilot
Many would recognize it from the chorus, “Ho, ho, ho – It’s magic you know – Never believe, it’s not so – It’s magic, you know – Never believe, it’s not so.
Emma and Sam’s journey to where the Past meets the Present and Love Lives Forever is magical. A series that’s based in contemporary but takes the reader on adventures into the colonial era past as Emma and Sam seek answers connecting them to a couple from the past. Does love live forever, reborn again, and again?

Wow! When was the last time I heard this song? Amy, you ROCK for finding such a great old gem. I may need to add this to my main, crazy Spotify playlist.

So, after THAT bit of fun (I may or may not still be dancing around my office… does anyone remember how to do the Hustle? Can you do it to this song? Why would I want to?), let’s get back to the book itself. Because really, as much as we’re here for the music, we’re here for the books, too.

Ready for what it’s about? I am!

The Seekers of the Past series continues as Emma and Sam seek answers to a growing number of questions. The discovery of gold on the family farm has left them wondering about the world, time, and love. If love conquers all, can love prove greater than even time?

Emma discovers a journal written by the youngest member of the Embry family. The author of the journal is her look alike from the past. She begins reading the story of Anna Pelt and Joshua Embry. His return from England with a future bride has left Anna questioning her place in his world. Having loved him all of her life, she feels betrayed and discarded. When he claims to love her but honor is forcing him to marry the woman chosen by his parents, Anna believes it is because he thinks her too far beneath him—only a servant, and not good enough to be his wife. Can love prove stronger than honor?

Can the journey to find the answers Emma and Sam seek about the past uncover more about their mysterious connection to the couple in the portrait?

COOL.

Definitely pick up the first in this series. And remember to leave a review once you read the book — reviews are SO helpful to authors, and it’s such an easy way to give back. (Remember, if you are struggling to write a review, drop me a note and I’ll help. Super cheap!)

Here’s where:

Amazon (Print and Kindle)
Smashwords (all other formats) *This is a referral link, so if you use it — and you should! — I’ll get a small cut.

Connect with Amy!

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review blog

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Georgia Pine: Southern Promises Book 3 by KG Fletcher

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Featured New Book Spotlight Let’s welcome KG Fletcher to West of Mars!

KG’s got the third book in a series to share with us today, released just last week. And you know how early sales (and reviews! Don’t forget the reviews) help a book’s overall success. Which means you need to get those One Click fingers busy. And no, NOT like that! Sheesh. Focus on the BOOKS, people. Of course, with a cover like this…

So, KG, what song makes you think of your book?

Rewrite the Stars – Zac Efron, Zendaya – from The Greatest Showman

The lyrics in the song are hopeful and sad at the same time. In my release, GEORGIA PINE, my main characters, Jessica and Tim, are hiding their relationship from the world. They want to be together, but unless Tim comes clean with who he really is, they can’t publicly love one another. If only they could “Rewrite the Stars”, nothing could keep them apart. The gut-wrenching lyric in the song, “Say that it’s possible” is that glimmer of hope. Will they end up together? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Yes, the video has subtitles in a different language. But this video had a lot of views, so that’s the one we went with.

Now, THAT song is enough to make me grab the book. How about you?

Here’s the official description:

The agony of defeat never felt so real.

Never in a million years did Jessica Kaufman think she would be divorced from her real-estate mogul husband and left to raise four young daughters on her own in an affluent Atlanta subdivision. The very last thing she expects is an encounter with her gorgeous gardener who looks more like a sexy beast from her daughters’ favorite Disney movie. She is smitten with his evergreen eyes, wild mane of hair and impressive stature.

Tim McGill is in hiding – his reputation and celebrated career on the West Coast left in shambles. He moves far away to distance himself from his downfall and inconspicuously tends the upper-class landscapes to keep his renowned identity a secret. Unlike his typical wealthy clients, Jessica doesn’t seem to mind that he’s a gardener. One spark between them is all it takes to ignite a fiery passion that could explode if Tim’s identity is revealed. He must earn Jessica’s trust and finally come to terms with what he has lost.

Can Tim open his heart wide enough to let in a beautiful mother and her four little girls? Or will his Southern Belle turn her back on him and walk away from their happily-ever-after?

Get your copy! Yep, Amazon only. Lots of authors find this is the best solution for their books.

Connect with KG, too! It’s always fun to connect with an author.
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Georgia Pine Spotify Playlist
YouTube Channel
Original Song recorded for the series!

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Featured New Book: Harmon General by Kimberly Fish

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Woot! Let’s welcome Kimberly Fish to West of Mars!

Kimberly’s got a new book coming out, so let’s take a minute and talk to her about what song makes her think of it.

I’ll Be Seeing You–the scratchy record version sung by Bing Crosby. I’ll Be Seeing You is an iconic song made famous by a rule-breaking woman–Billie Holliday. Rule-breaking women are my favorite characters to read about and write about. These particular lyrics reflect the main character–Lane Mercer– and her feelings of lost love and longing for the men who defined her career. Plus–and this may be my favorite aspect–the song is a little ironic for a spy novel. My two female characters have carried out difficult missions for the U.S. government through the espionage agency, the OSS. As spies, their primary goal is to remain undetected. So, a love song about “seeing” someone in familiar places means the spies are not doing their job. To be clear, Lane Mercer and Emmie Tesco are very good at their jobs–too good.

Ooh, this is good stuff. I definitely want to read this one! It comes out in mid-June, so mark your calendars, add Kimberly’s blog to your reader, and stay informed.

Ready for the official description? Here you go:

In 1943, Lane Mercer and Emmie Tesco had nothing in common. Well, nothing stronger than a town neither of them chose and careers they couldn’t advertise as agents within the Office of Strategic Services. During the days of Longview, Texas’ Friendly Trek Homecoming Parade, Lane was gearing up for the grand opening of a bookshop that also disguised an espionage safe house, and Emmie was chasing a criminal with evil intent through the US Army’s new medical facility treating diseased and amputated soldiers, Harmon General Hospital. Emmie ropes Lane into international threats at Harmon General, making it increasingly hard for the two spies to navigate the Junior Service League, church life, or anything else that might be considered normal for a town sizzling with oil boom wealth. A friend from Lane’s past arrives and pushes against the fiction she’s created to distance her spy history from the wedding bells ringing her future. Emmie flirts with the idea of finding a life outside of the OSS, but justifies the danger as a way to make amends for those she’s betrayed. Connecting the two women, to their surprise, is a rogue agent who targets them for crimes he believes they created. For better, or worse, they have to put aside their differences to share responsibility for stopping “The Grasshopper” before he blows apart the Big Inch Pipeline project, and Harmon General Hospital. The hope of malaria treatments for US soldiers depends on it, and justice of the heart demands it.

Buy links aren’t up yet, but since this is a sequel to Kimberly’s novel, The Big Inch. So be sure to get that one now so you’re all caught up and ready for Harmon General’s release. Y’all see the link in that previous sentence, right?

Of course you do. You guys aren’t dummies.

Which means you’re going to connect with Kimberly, too, right? Of course! She just might have written the best “connect with me” link posts ever. At least of those I’ve seen submitted here at West of Mars, which for me counts as ever. Pooh on you if you don’t agree.

I like to blog about the writing process
I have one social media app on my iPhone and it’s Instagram–so follow here to see my spontaneous photos

I’m also on GoodReads learning about new books in the market and talking to readers

I do keep a Kimberly Fish, author page on Facebook and love to announce bookish news, events, awards, and connect with readers.

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Featured New Book: Her Real Man by Natalina Reis

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Featured New Book SpotlightThere’s a Reis Run Road not too far from West of Mars. Think the person that road was named for is any relation to Natalina Reis?

I know… who cares? But it’s fun to make those small connections, especially now that we’re welcoming Natalina to the West of Mars family. She’s got a new book out, called Her Real Man, Book 0 in the Rescue Me Collection.

How can it be Book 0? Well, think of it as Ground Zero: where it all begins.

The book is called Her Real Man, and the song that makes Natalina think of it is…

Ed Sheeran’s Perfect

An awkward writer and a scarred firefighter. As imperfect as Ana and Gavin were, they were perfect in each other’s eyes.

I know a LOT of writers who would describe themselves that way… but I’m hopeful that for Natalina, this isn’t a case of Write What You Know.

Anyway, I love that very simple description. Don’t you? It’s so pure and trusting… Oh, that gives even the most jaded among us (and you all point to me, I know) hope.

Want more? Here’s the official description:

An imperfect firefighter defined by his past.

A determined author on a mission for the truth.

When Ana Mathews searches for book-boyfriend inspiration, she gets more than she expected from Gavin McLeod. Her quest to find imperfection could be the spark that brings to life their chance at happiness, or the burn that could destroy it all.

I LOVE that. “When Ana Mathews searches for book-boyfriend inspiration…” I have clients who do this! I have friends who do this!

(I do not. See above about being jaded.)

And suddenly, the title makes a LOT more sense. In fact, it’s really darn clever and I appreciate the sly nod here.

Grab a copy. You know I did.

Please provide buy links
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Amazon CA
Kobo
iTunes

And connect with Natalina!
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Featured New Book Spotlight: Second Chances by Kimberley O’Malley

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Welcome 2018 and welcome Kimberley O’Malley to West of Mars!

And also, say thanks to Kimberley for her patience; she’d sent this in to me back in December, but I wanted to make sure it got maximum exposure because that’s the whole point, right? So here we are, starting January off with our first Featured New Book — it’s the third in a series, so you’ll probably want to go back and check out the whole thing. Who likes starting series in the middle? Well, okay, because writers improve with each book, sometimes that’s a good thing (to this day, I cannot read the first Stephanie Plum book, or the first Sookie Stackhouse, but both are series I swear by.)

Back to Kimberley, because she’s the focus today. We want to learn about Second Chances, the third book in her Windsor Falls series, so we can love it as much as we love Stephanie Plum and Sookie Stackhouse. Kimberley, what song makes you think of your book?

Take A Chance on Me by ABBA! I love ABBA and this song in particular. Both Brendan and Charlie bring emotional baggage to this relationship. Both have their own scars. Both have to be willing to ‘take a chance’. Second Chances is about two people who have to be willing to overcome their own personal demons to make this relationship work.

I know second chance romances are a HUGE catnip for a lot of people, so this is got to tempt a bunch of you out there!

Ready to hear the official description? I sure am.

Dr. Charlotte Avery is the newest resident of Windsor Falls, North Carolina. Just back from the war-ravaged plains of Africa, Charlie only wants to settle into her new life and to reconnect with Elizabeth Fitzgerald, her best friend from residency. What she doesn’t expect, or need, is the instant attraction she feels for Elizabeth’s brother-in-law, Brendan. A single dad, Brendan Fitzgerald isn’t interested in anything that will further complicate his life. Will they be open to a second chance?

Yeah, this sounds like something I’d totally read. I’m on it. Are you?

Or maybe you’re nervous because this is the third in the series and you haven’t read the first two. Worry no more! I asked Kimberley and she said that you can read the books in any order. Which means this may be the third book, but it’s also a great place to start. Grab your copy today!

Here’s how:
Amazon
B&N
KOBO
Smashwords (Referral link and please use it ’cause Smashwords delivers GREAT royalties. I don’t care about the referral; I want to see Kimberley get the great royalties!)

Who, me? Got a favorite retailer? Nah…

And be sure to connect with Kimberley. She’ll be interested in seeing your review once you read the book and post it!
Facebook
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Twitter
Website
Amazon Author Bio
Good Reads Profile
Book Bub profile

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Lines of Distinction: Windmills by Lyndi Alexander

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Check out this line from Lyndi Alexander’s Color of Fear series:

The pain of anticipating her new shorn look sat on her shoulder for a moment then faded. This was only a means to an end. A small price to pay for what she must do.

buy links:
Amazon (Book 1)
Amazon (Book 2)
B&N (Book 1)
B&N (Book 2)

Connect with Lyndi
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Facebook

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#SaysTheEditor Series Book Two (or Three, or Four or…)

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I did it. I really did.

Over at GoodReads, I gave one star to a book I’d picked up without realizing it was the second in a series. The book had arrived here years ago, back during my crazy book trading days, and had sat and waited for me to finally read it. And this past week was finally its time.

So I looked it over. “Are you part of a series?” I asked it.

It’s a book, so it didn’t answer. Go figure.

And maybe I should have looked it up online, but it was late, I wanted to crawl in bed and read, and hey, the book wasn’t showing in any way that it was part of a series.

I spent seven pages constantly wondering a rousing WTF before I gave up. I had zero clue what was going on in this book… it was a cluster of words and images I couldn’t make heads or tails out of. When I realized that the first chapter didn’t explain things any better than the prologue had, I gave up.

It wasn’t until I logged on to GoodReads that I realized it wasn’t a standalone book. Which explained much, but…

And here’s the point of my post:

As authors, you owe at least a hint that your reader is now holding Number Whatever. Publishers need to mark books clearly (does anyone think that maybe this is partly why some authors get hit with the dreaded “bad sales” label).

I am often asked by clients how much of the first book or books is enough, how much is too much, how much is not enough. That’s not something that can actually be quantified, because every book is different, every book in a series relies on its predecessors differently, and not every series builds the same way. Like everything else, the answer to “how much” is entirely subjective.

Obviously, that’s where a good editor (ahem) can help. Getting it right can be hard, and an experienced set of eyes is always a good thing.

But more to the point, this is a good one to run past your beta readers. “Do you need more of the past history” is a completely valid question to ask a beta, especially if the beta hasn’t read the previous books. Ask and encourage them to mark up the spots where they get lost, or where a little more explanation (but never an info dump!) is needed. And remember that you may get different answers from readers who’re familiar with your series than you will get from new readers. Finding the balance between those two needs is your goal. Enough to catch a new reader up, but not so much that you bore your reader.

I don’t feel good about that one-star review. I thought about not reviewing the book at all, but I’d promised myself that I’d leave even a short review for every book I read in 2017. And I made it clear in that review that you can’t read this book without having read the first — and that I think the author (and in this case, the publisher) have an obligation to help a new reader into the world. Not that I need a complete recap or background, but it would have entirely changed my reading experience if I’d known even a little bit of what was going on with the swirling colors and the loss of magic and who these people were and why I should care.

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Lines of Distinction: Chased by Love by Melissa Foster

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Chased By Love Teaser 2

Pick up your copy today! (Read a review at The Rock of Pages if you like)
B&N Nook
Kobo
Google Play
iBooks
Smashwords
Amazon (Paperback – US)

(Thanks to Rock Star PR for the teaser, the buy links, and the chance for Jett to read/review the book!)
(and if you have a line or two from your favorite book, or a graphic teaser, send them in! I’m always glad to help a felow author out.)

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Lines of Distinction: Deadly Ever After by Hope Irving

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Oh-boy

This one’s for you erotic romance lovers out there!

Unfortunately, it’s only available for you Kindle owners out there. Guess the rest of us don’t matter? Anyway, your link’s embedded there, so make use! Not only of this new one, but the other two in the series, as well.

Deadly-ever-after_Alternate

This was part of an incentive from Rock Star PR, but if you’ve got a teaser of your own, I’d love to run it for you! Instructions can be found here.

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