Wednesday, May 4, 2016

#IWSG for May 2016

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

A big thank you to the awesome co-hosts for this month's IWSG: Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, Viola Fury, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris.

What are my insecurities this month? All of them!

Lack of time, marketing, dying confidence, frustration, and a zillion other things. The life of a writer is not an easy one. I know this. Next week, I might be standing there with the light shining off my steel will and flexing my creative muscles as I shout, "I will prevail!" 

But not today. This week, I want to bang my head on the desk and wonder why I keep pushing forward for little to no gain.

What keeps you motivated when you're having a bad week?

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Sign of the Green Dragon is revealed!

When a wall of their cave hideout crumbles, three boys discover a skeleton, clutching a treasure map. They set off to trace the story of an old murder, but stumble into a modern crime, and confront ancient Chinese dragons.

Pre-order the book:
B&N * Kobo * Smashwords

Add it to read on Goodreads.

My review!

Author Bio: C. Lee McKenzie is a 4 & 5 star reviewed author. Her greatest passion is writing for young readers. Sign of the Green Dragon is her third Middle Grade novel. Alligators Overhead and the sequel, The Great Time Lock Disaster were her first two. She has traditionally published four young adult novels: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative and Sudden Secrets. 

Is Sign of the Green Dragon's cover cool? @TBRList #mglit #signofgreendragon 

Sign of the Green Dragon. #signofgreendragon @TYFofficial @IndBk @A1_BookTweeters 

Cover 4 Sign of the Green Dragon is here. #signofgreendragon @IndBk @A1_BookTweeters #mglit

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Is it hot in here? Big Burning release day!

Life for Susie Russell couldn’t be better. Her lingerie business won international fame and her sister had found irrefutable proof of Bigfoot’s existence. So confident about the authenticity of their evidence, Susie even agrees to let a skeptic join their group on a research exhibition near Mt. Hood. Her world comes crashing down when the man who broke her heart turns around to shake her hand. Brach Stevens might be smart and gorgeous, but Susie refuses to let him so easily charm his way back into her life. Their trek into the woods turns deadly when they’re trapped by a forest fire. Will they be able to escape the hungry flames or will Susie perish without letting Brach know she has always loved him?

Buy links:

Add it to read on Goodreads.

This is the third and final book in the series. It's also my favorite. I loved writing Susie who is smart and fiery. She made me laugh a lot, even when she didn't mean to!

The Sasquatch Susies series was a lot of fun for me. I got to play around with Bigfoot mythology and get my characters into dangerous and intimate situations outside in the great outdoors. A big change from haunted houses!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review for Murder & Obsession

Detective Steven Quaid is ready for the new challenges as Anchorage’s top detective, but not until he marries the woman of his dreams on New Year’s Eve. Determined to give Sarah the wilderness honeymoon she desires, he turns his grandfather’s cabin into the perfect honeymoon retreat.

After the final details are complete, Steven treks into the mountains to hunt. On his return to the cottage, he’s greeted by several police officers and a bloody crime scene.

Accusations fly and Stephen flees into the wilderness. His heart racing and his thoughts No, not Sarah, etching onto his soul.

The wilderness is unforgiving, but Steven faces it head on, in the forms of a massive Grizzly and a black bear. Caught between the two, he barely survives their ‘tug of war.’

Found on death’s door by his uncle, Steven continues his investigation as he heals from multiple injuries. The answers don’t come quick or easy.

Enlisting the aid of his number one suspect, Steven’s led into yet another dangerous situation…

A sniper, who’s made a promise, he intends to keep.

The struggle this time is more than personal…

This one just may cost him his heart.
My review:
Detective Steven Quaid wants to give his fiancee, Sarah the Alaskan honeymoon she has longed for at his grandfather's mountain cabin. He returns one October day from hunting and finds several police officers at the cabin. Plus a horrifying crime scene that tears his heart from his chest. Steven flees into the wilderness when he's accused of killing Sarah. Between the bears and the harsh elements, Steven barely survives to start his own investigation. With the help of friends who believe in him, they peel back the layers of the crime to discover something even more frightening. Will he be able to find out what happened to Sarah or will the bears be the least of his worries as he digs deeper into this nightmare?

This third installment of the Detective Quaid Mysteries blew me away. The story is intense and the investigation goes deep. The reader is taken to amazing settings on this journey, and I felt as though I was there. Great details that are genuinely both beautiful and harsh. The characters match this rugged and lovely environment, and even with the big cast, each individual stands out in their own way. I really loved Sarah in this book, more so than the previous two. She still has her compassionate and mystical nature, but she's so much stronger now. Truly admirable. Steven is equal to her strength, pushing through what sometimes seems impossible. The author does love to torture her characters! Be prepared for a fierce adventure that will make you feel like you've had a run-in with a bear. And it will leave you wanting more.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hooray! Seismic Crimes is here!

Today is the release of Chrys Fey's first novel!

BLURB: An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer's location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?


Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Five for April 15, 2016

1. I have a release date for Big Burning (Sasquatch Susies #3). April 28th! That's less than two weeks away. It's awesome how fast this series has come together. This third and final one is my favorite of the series. Add it to read on Goodreads.

2. I'm almost done Totem #4. One more chapter. I think I can do it today. I can do it. I don't have a title yet, but hopefully my critique partners and beta readers can help with that.

3. I'm still having fun shopping images this month. I found images of the same model used for my cover for Of Blood and Sorrow. They make me want to write more books in that series. I have a few ideas too. So many stories to write, so little time!

4. My mom's visiting next week, so I'll be absent from the net. Lots of fun is going to be had, because...

5. It's my son's sixth birthday next week! Six. Wow. Time really does fly by when you're a parent. His party is this Sunday at a local park, and the weather is going to be spectacular.

Have an awesome weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2016

My Top 5 Favorite Retellings - guest post by A.B. Keuser

I'm super excited to have the fantastic A.B. Keuser on my blog today talking about her favorite fairytale retellings. I'm visiting her blog with my top five urban fantasy worlds! Please stop on by and let me know yours.

My Top 5 Favorite Retellings
By A. B. Keuser

Firstly, thanks for having me on your blog today, Christine!
I love fairytales. They were some of the first stories I can remember hearing, and I grew up in a golden age of Disney movies. Beauty and the beast may be the first film I ever saw in the decade’s old Egyptian themed theater of my home town (if it wasn’t I can’t remember what was). Fairytales have the opportunity to do so many things. They’ve been told in ways that make them beautiful and sweet; they’ve also been told in ways that should strike terror in the hearts of twelve year olds. Whether the Disney-fied version or a tale pulled from the Grimm’s collection, Fairytales have a way of getting in your head, and sticking with you.

1. When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James In this Historical Romance, the Beast in question is a lord/doctor with a beastly temperament who is more resembling of Gregory House than of the furry beast of the Disney variety. The story itself leans more toward its historical romance side than its roots in the fairytale, but Eloisa did a wonderful job of blending in just the right amount of fairytale to remind the reader while keeping it grounded in a reality of a different time. The rest of her fairytales series are amusing reads as well, though this is my favorite of them.  
This is actually a late addition to the list. I only finished it two weeks ago. That being said, this delightful YA SF retelling of Cinderella is spectacular.  A fully formed world that is completely different from the original tale with all the elements of the original. The story is sweet, frustrating, and an absolute joy to read.

Sure this is technically cheating. But it’s a miniseries so good, I couldn’t help but add it. There’s something absolutely wonderful about this update of Alice in Wonderland, where humans are “Oysters” being drained of their emotions to supply the citizens of wonderland with drug versions of the emotions they themselves do not have. Mechanical flamingos that are the equivalent of a airborne jet ski. The Queen of Hearts runs a casino. It’s absurd and delightful. Some could argue (and the mini-series sort of does too) that it’s not a true retelling but it has all the elements I look for in a retelling. 

Another historical romance and another take on the Cinderella story. This book has no prince and no magic, but manages to play off the basic ideas of the original story in a way that lends just the right touch of familiarity. That’s not to say that it doesn’t take you on a wild ride to get there. Though I still take issue with the hero (because he’s a bull headed idiot), Sophie makes up for him in spades. A wicked step mother, an ugly(personality-wise) stepsister and sweet one too. This doesn’t need fairies to make magic of it’s own.

This made it onto the list with a caveat. The first time I read the book (2011) I hated it.  The second go-around, it grew on me. This retelling of Sleeping Beauty takes a pseudo-medieval twist on the classic that gives a fun play on a variety of magic. The only downside (and perhaps what made me dislike it in the first place) was the romance element that just didn’t seem right to me. Perhaps my favorite part of this novel was the way in which Robin handled the fairy’s gifts, each is a delightful thing that goes just a bit wrong.

What are your favorite fairytale retellings?

About the Author:
When A. B. Keuser isn't trying to make sense of her own brain soup, she writes the "charmingly gritty" Flynn Monroe series, space operas that will keep you guessing, and steamy Clockwork Fairytales. An Oregon native whose life has transplanted her in the Sonoran desert - where she's slowly desiccating - she writes to stay out of the sun and heat, drinks way too much tea and spends all her free time with her dog and husband.  Give her a shout: