Tuesday, September 27, 2016

REVIEW: Time for A Highlander by Maxine Mansfield

Title: Time for a Highlander
Author: Maxine Mansfield
Series: N/A
Pages: 342
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press 
Format: Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
Forty-five-year-old history teacher Bethany Anne Anderson wasn't supposed to die on her dream vacation to Scotland. Someone else was supposed to rescue the child from the falling druid stone. But she's perfectly fine with moving on to the hereafter. She has loved ones waiting for her. Then Tobias Morie, better known as Fate, steps in. Her intervention has changed the future. Before she can move on, she must first help him correct one of his own mistakes. That's fine until she wakes up in 1643 in the body of twenty-year-old Lady Elspeth Frasier. Worse, she's engaged to the very handsome, very young, very virile Quinton MacLeod. But that's not all Fate demands. She must give the Highland laird the heir he’d originally been denied.
Quinton MacLeod loved once. He won't do it again, even if he had time for such nonsense. With the Highland lairds divided between loyalty to their beloved country and the English king, he seeks only peace—in his keep and in his heart. But raised in England and a ward of the enemy, his beautiful new wife has strange notions of education and cleanliness that cause chaos within both. There's also the matter of her very unlady-like views on the marriage bed, which, come to think of it, he's more than happy to overlook. If only he could trust her.

~My Thoughts~
Outlander fans raise your hand. Okay put them down. Now jump up and down and yell because you've just found the next book you're going to absolutely adore, love, and probably spend a lot of time wondering why you can't be the main character, Bethanny Anne Anderson.

As outlander-esk as the synopsis makes it sound like, Time for a Highlander is like the irreverent second cousin of Outlander. You know, the one who cracks jokes and hits on the bride at her wedding. It's a hilarious erotic romance that will make you smile and laugh just as much as it will make you sigh with longing. And believe me, Quinton MacLeod will make you do just that. 


The plot was very cool and relatively unique as far as time traveling to the highland goes. Fate messed up big time and he is using Bethanny to fix what he did wrong. It was just enough added extra to distinguish this book, while still maintaining some mystery and intrigue. While the plot is fun and interesting, it's the characters that make this book sing to life. Aforementioned hulky highlander has just the right amount of broodish distrust to balance out Bethanny's spark and witty banter. 

Maxine Mansfield is a very talented romance writer. Her scenes are steamy, but not crass, and are absolutely something that can keep you up at night (or encourage you to jump your husband when he comes through the door!). If you haven't read one of her books before, Time for a Highlander is a great starting point and will probably endear her to you forever. 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Beth’s eyes flew open as warm hands gently shook her awake. “Elspeth, are ye or are ye nae still a maiden?” She stared up into the stormy blue eyes of Lard Quinton MacLeod and shook her head no, then nodded yes. “Which is it?” She cleared her throat. “I swear to you, m—my lord, Elspeth Frasier MacLeod’s body is still untouched by any man.” Quint smiled as he slowly brought his lips to hers. He chuckled. “Nae for long it isna.” The heat of his kiss as his lips captured hers burned Beth with a passion that seared her to the depths of her being. She was helpless, defenseless against the onslaught. She opened in surrender as his tongue slipped between her lips. It was heaven. “To begin with, yes, Bethany Ann Anderson’s body is dead, mashed flat as a pancake. Trust me, not a pretty sight. You, madam, have been given a new body. Well, really, it’s a very old body, as you are now in the past. Close to four hundred years in the past to be exact, in late March of Our Lord’s year 1643. You are presently at Frasier Castle on an island off the coast of Scotland, and you are now in the body of one Lady Elspeth Frasier who, after suffering a rather nasty fall and fatal bump to the head during dinner last night, no longer has need of it.” Beth paced back and forth before the fireplace. How exactly did one go about explaining the unexplainable? With her next pass, Quint pulled her onto his lap and nuzzled her ear. “It’s the middle of the night, my Beth. Ye said we need ta talk. If neither of us says anything, its nae talking, ye ken?” She blew out a breath and looked her husband straight in the eye. “I’m not who you think I am.” Quint chuckled. “Who are ye then? Ye look like my wife. Did the sidhe steal in through the window in the middle of the night and carry off my Beth? Are ye simply a pretty little boobrie they left in her place?”
~Meet Maxine!~ 

Hi, my name is Maxine Mansfield and I write fantasy, erotic romances. I live in the far northern state of Alaska where the summer days are long and the winter nights even longer.

I have one very special man, his three equally special children, and our six delightful grandchildren in my life. Not to mention a very bossy African Grey parrot named Gabriel.

Oh, and Gnomes! many, many gnomes.

Maxine will be awarding a $25Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Blog Tour! Pure of Heart by Auria Jourdain (+$15 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Pure of Heart
Author: Auria Jourdain
Series: N/A
Pages: 270
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Crimson Frost Books
Format: Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
A ghost child left to die in a French forest, Contesse Blanchefort seeks her long-buried past after her adoptive father dies at the Bastille. Embarking on a quest across England with a pagan woman and a rogue Gypsy, Contesse falls ill in London, and her companions are forced to seek help. With overwhelming compassion, physician’s apprentice Eric McEwan nurses Contesse back to health, but discovers that her exotic accent and pale features set his heart ablaze...her mere touch brands his soul. Passion blooms as the two discover their love for one another—with disastrous consequences.

Upon his expulsion from Cambridge, Eric must battle his domineering grandfather’s wrath. When family tragedy strikes, he must return to his provincial home and confront his abusive past. Carrying on with her quest, Contesse struggles to free herself from her childhood as sinister details are revealed. Without Eric, she’s lost. But love is strong...can they conquer their demons to find one another again?
~Try an Excerpt!~
Dumbfounded at this new information, Contesse shook her head. “I had no idea! All these years, and our country doctor couldn’t explain what was wrong with me…a child with skin and hair as pale as a—” A gasp escaped her lips, finally uncovering the epithet the old crone had called her. “She called me a ghost!”

“Who? Your mother?”

Folding her arms across her chest, she glanced away. “No. The old woman that haunts my dreams. She took care of me when I was a child…before Edouard found me. She was right…look at me!”

Eric pulled her close and forked his fingers through her hair from the roots to the ends. Trailing a light finger down her neck, he husked, “She’s daft, Contesse. You certainly feel real to me…pure and innocent, like an angel…”
Contesse inhaled sharply as desire surged through her veins. Waves of desire invaded her body with his mere touch. A flush of warmth crept up her cheeks, her womanly folds moistening in response to his husky voice. What’s he doing to me?

Entwining his fingers with hers, he searched her face. “Have you ever been kissed?”

She lowered her eyes, unable to face him lest she burst into tears. “Oui. Once. But he didn’t want me either.”
With a sympathetic shake of his head, he tipped her chin up and stared at her. “Then he’s a fool. God, but you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen...”
~Meet Auria!~ 
History buff, Francophile, and hopeless romantic that demands an HEA—it’s the perfect mixture for writing romance! With fond childhood memories of reading on quiet afternoons, I loved the "happily ever after" sweet teen romances, but I quickly plunged into the world of historical romance—my get-away-from-real-life transporter. Add in a degree in Political Studies with six years of French, and twenty years later, I’m living my dream. With three published novels, 7 finished, and several more in my head, I have years of work ahead of me!
 Auria will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Let's Stalk Rex Jupiter (+Giveaway!)

Title: Let's Stalk Rex Jupiter
Author: Allison Specter
Series: NA
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: 1888
Format: Paperback
Genre: Humor
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

Synopsis:
Trouble’s brewing in the Evergreen Jungle. When controversial author Rex Jupiter plans a visit to a Bellingham bookstore, news of his arrival attracts the attention of the mysterious Paladin, who plans on leading a mob of rioting housewives against him. But the Paladin has competition. Sleuth-extraordinaire Marian Krause has her own bone to pick with Jupiter as she scrambles to solve the death of a woman who has stolen her identity. Rex may think he has the situation under control, but when the wrath of the local Druids is incurred, pitchforks and torches may be the least of his concerns.
~Character Interview with Rex Jupiter~
The infamous author known only by his alias, Rex Jupiter, has announced that he is breaking his decade of anonymity, and will be appearing at Hometown Books in Bellingham, WA.  Rex Jupiter has been described as a “troll’s troll” with inflammatory titles designed to systematically confound and infuriate as many people as possible.  His undifferentiated lambasting of humanity has earned him a loyal following from a surprisingly broad swath of readers.  
This fictional interview takes place at the beginning of Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter, shortly after Rex has revealed his intention to go public.
Thank you for letting us interview you today.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Oh, sweet, sweet wonderful Unabridged Andra’s.  Thank you for enabling me.
Don’t you mean interviewing you?
Interviewing!  Yes, that’s the word.  Thank you for finding it for me.  I’d be lost without you.
Have I mentioned today how much I love being interrogated by a stern, lady-womanist-writer type? It reminds me how magnanimously progressive I am to lower myself to this interview.  Oh so debasing!
No, just…no.  I’m not going to tolerate misogyny in any form, even if it’s ironic.
What’s an irony?
Pff, you’re no fun.  But okay.  You’re the boss…
As I was saying, I’m so pleased that you have decided to interview little ole me, and have agreed to allow me to use this forum to advocate for a cause we both believe in—
Yes.  Universal literac—
Man-on-badger love!  From the moment I laid eyes on your website, I knew that in my heart of that you too felt the sweaty Call of the Badger!
Badgers?  I don’t think…
Oh, don’t be shy, my bloggy turtledove.  It’s a very important modern issue that I think isn’t portrayed with enough sensitivity in the mainstream media.  But you—you understand what it is to be loved by an angry, misunderstood mammal that just wants to burrow into the earth to avoid deep emotional turmoil.
So, is this your way of telling me that you don’t want to share anything about yourself?
Clever girl (by which I mean you’re a charmingly bloodthirsty velociraptor so I’m totally not being sexist)!  Yes, I’m afraid that my true identity will only be revealed during my grand appearance at Hometown Books in Bellingham.

This will be your first in-person appearance.  Why Bellingham, and why now?

Well, first of all, Bellinghamsters are so adorable.  I just want to see their little vegan faces go all technicolor with indignation when I preach my totally reasonable pro-dart-gun-zombie-fetishist-badger-loving-hobbit-wrestling-one-percenter agenda.
Also. I’m a shameless pragmatist. I’m looking for a stunt to get an even higher proportion of the delicious attention I didn’t get as a child.  But between you and me—I might have a secondary motivation.  A secret agenda, shall we say.
Think about it.  All the most obnoxious sweaty-faced men of this nation are saying horrible things all the time.  I say horrible things all the time.  There’s no market differentiation.
Sure I get royalties, but incognito I can’t really sell myself can I?  And I thought to myself, man, I’m in the wrong business if I really need to hide behind a pen-name.  I could be doing so much more with my life.  I could be president!
So are you saying you’re going to make a bid for the presidency?
Oh, I didn’t say that did I?  Oopsie doodle.  But no, I’m not going to run for president.
Or am I?

Your work has been called controversial, even offensive.  What are your thoughts on that?

Yes.

Care to elaborate?
If I did, you’d end the interview.  And I did promise my publicist I’d be on my best behavior.
You’ve systematically alienated Christians, all known ethnic groups, women, vegans, soccer moms, liberals, conservatives, Green Party, libertarians, Unitarians, druids, and amateur uke players. Who would you consider the target audience for your work?
Um… self hating members of all those groups you just mentioned?  Duh!  Cause, man, there’s nothing like a self-hating libertarian soccer mom to get your motor running in the…right, no misogyny.
Okay—how about this. My target audience are people who are willing to laugh at themselves.  By which I mean real American flagellant patriot occupiers— with laser eyes.
That’s my target audience, baby!

Right…. Do you have any safety concerns?

You mean because the Coalition for Families and Values is planning a protest?  Nah! I think most people need a good old-fashioned straw man to scream at and shake their fists at a little.  I’m glad to serve that purpose, but I seriously doubt that anyone takes me so seriously that they’re going to want to physically attack me.  Maybe there will be some name calling and egg tossing, but I think if people weren’t willing to laugh at themselves a little, my books wouldn’t be so popular.  So if you are a crazy nut-job and you plan on going berserk on me or my fans during my unveiling, um, don’t do that, bro.  Trust me, I’m not worth it.

I know your real identity is a closely guarded secret but can you gives us any hints about the man behind the books?

I thought I just did.

What is some advice you’d give to a fledgling author?

The world is an amazing, diverse, and beautiful place waiting to be defiled with your terrible, terrible words. Be disgusting and horrible and people will shower you with attention. Push envelopes, piss people off, keep it real.   Oh, and if you want my mentorship, be sure to send naked pictures to the following PO Box—

Yeah…thanks for interviewing with us today. Any final thoughts?

Well, first off I never thought I’d be interview by someone in a metal bikini before, so that was titillating beyond belief.  I’m a married man, but that was just sexy good fun.  What?  Oh, c’mon, I was just playing!
Fine.
Blah, blah, blah. Believe in yourself.  If you work hard and do what you love, you’ll be the most popular hobo on your block.  Don’t stick your tongue to frozen flagpoles or glory holes.  Watch out for the Vegan Mafia.  Keep it real!

Um…amen?
~Try an Excerpt!~
The Paladin knew just where to go. The Shipment had arrived an hour beforehand if his Intelligence was to be trusted. It could be. His Sources never failed him. He was sure the payload would be kept in the stockroom before it was added into the inventory. And he was correct.


The Paladin grabbed a box cutter from the pocket of his cape. It was hard to see in the dark and the eyeholes of his Guy Fawkes mask were too small, but these were mere trifles. Soon, dozens of the Heretic’s novels of Shameful Smarm would be loaded into his bag and artfully recycled in a socially responsible manner. No longer would readers be burned by the white-hot radioactivity of the inflammatory passages he knew lurked within those covers.


Passages housed within chapter titles like "How to Fan a Flame War," “White Privilege Rocks!," and “I Objectified Your Mama (and She Loved it).”


Whether the appropriations of the tools of troll-dom were ironic or non-ironic, it mattered little to the Paladin. The only thing that mattered was that he would soon be the agent through which a great Cultural Transformation would take place. And a glorious new age would dawn…


Or something like that.


But for now, he would start small. Yes, for now, he would have to be satisfied that the five hideous cardboard cut-outs of the arrogant, smirking Rex Jupiter would be hacked to—no, wait! Only four would be shredded. On the fifth, he would draw devil horns and a twirly moustache with, dare he imagine it, Permanent Marker.
~Meet Allison!~ 
Allison Spector was born and raised in the hedonistic playground of the Jersey Shore, but finds herself oddly allergic to spray tan. She is a proud graduate of Goucher College, and started her environmentally-focused career in Washington DC in 2005. She moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2008, and fell in love with its beauty and people. Allison is currently on a Midwestern Adventure and is determined to live as much life as possible—to accomplish her dreams one at a time—and to nurture her loving family, and blaze a trail of wit, whimsy, and eccentricity wherever she goes.
 Allison will be awarding an original copy of the book, with notes and diagrams, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Mapkeeper Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Mapkeeper and the Rise of the Wardens
Author: Katie Cash 
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: N/A
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

Synopsis:
A teenage girl in future North America discovers that she is heir to a magical map which transports her to another world called Praxis, where her position as Mapkeeper is held in high regard. She is expected to learn to use the map’s magic to help the creatures of Praxis defend their homeland against the dark magic of the Wardens, a group of ancient beings whose magic is stirring again after centuries of peace.
~Try an Excerpt!~
The walk to school was gorgeous and still. The gentlest snowfall drifted from the gray sky, dusting last night’s snowfall with a fresh final layer of fluff. The padding of snow muffled the sounds of the small town coming to life.

To Lucy’s surprise, there was a large crowd of townspeople gathered around Frostbite High when it came into sight. They spilled into the parking lot, cramming themselves against one another, trying to get a view of someone or something at the center of the outdoor courtyard. Lucy’s curiosity was piqued—nothing interesting ever happened at Frostbite.

“What’s going on?” Luke asked.

“I don’t know… I don’t remember any of the teachers saying there would be an event on Monday,” Mack replied.

The Barnes siblings quickened their pace. The low murmur of excited voices emanated from the crowd. People pointed toward the center of the courtyard and stood on tip-toes to get a better view. An inexplicable apprehension formed somewhere deep within Lucy’s stomach.

The siblings weaved through several parked snow mobiles and reached the edge of the crowd in the parking lot. They shouldered their way in until they had a clear view of the courtyard. There was a group of people seated in high-backed chairs on stage, but Lucy couldn’t make out their faces.

“Who are they?” Mack asked a man who was squeezed up against him.

“It’s Mr. Quincy and his staff!” the gray-bearded man muttered. “He’s supposed to make some special announcement, just for us here in Aglid.” The man’s eyes darkened with mistrust.
~Meet Katie!~
Katie Cash was born in 1989 in Canberra, Australia. Her parents' jobs took Katie and her five brothers to many different places growing up before they settled in San Diego, CA.

Following high school, Katie accepted an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, and in 2011 graduated with honors, earning a bachelor’s of science degree in oceanography. At the Naval Academy, she was a member of the Division One cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track teams. She served as captain of the cross country team her senior year.

Upon graduating, she reported to her first duty station aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) in San Diego, where she led 78 Sailors in Engineering Department. Follow-on assignments included USS Essex (LHD-2) where she was the Assistant Training Officer and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) where she led 72 Sailors in Operations Department. She then transitioned to the Navy Meteorology community and began her next assignment working in Navy Special Warfare.

Katie began writing the Mapkeeper series in 2013, but completed the bulk of draft one in 2014 while out to sea aboard USS Carl Vinson. She finished book one in mid-2015 and is currently embroiled in the process of writing book two of the series.

Katie's short stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Time to Thrive, and The Log Magazine.
 Katie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Blood's Force Blog Tour! (+$20 Amazon GC giveaway!)

Title: Blood's Force 
Author: Ellis Morning 
Series: Sword and Starship #1
Pages: 340
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Ellis Morning 
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fantasy 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
Dame Jessamine is a knight errant with a spaceship for a steed, a pupil of ancient science and technology who quests on behalf of the downtrodden. She’s accustomed to forging her own path through the galaxy—until she’s hijacked at sword-point and sent to investigate Nidaros, a remote barony known for bursts of rebellion.

In Nidaros, Jessamine finds a populace short on food and patience, innocents detained for torture, and a court trapped in a web of delusion. The Baron considers her a distraction. The magicians, convinced of a “curse,” dismiss her pleas for rational action. Even as Jessamine forges an alliance with the soldiers, an unknown foe seeks to frame her as an agitator.

Stuck amid murderous intrigue and cut off from her mentors, Jessamine must figure out how to save Nidaros from starvation. But the only people who understand the true “curse” have been accused of witchcraft—and if Jessamine’s not careful with her ancient knowledge, she’ll join them in the dungeon!

~Heraldry~
Hi everyone, thanks for having me here and checking out my book today! I thought I’d share a little information on heraldry, which plays an important role in the world of Blood’s Force.


Historically, one of heraldry's first functions was to identify combatants whose faces would otherwise be hidden by armor. However, coats of arms have also been used by cities and people, royal and otherwise, for identification purposes. Wherever literacy is rare, colors and symbols become critical for conveying information at a glance.


The galaxy of Blood’s Force was once united under a single ruler known as Hegemon Zander, but those days are long over. It now more closely resembles feudal Europe: fractured into dozens of domains, each governed by a Lord with his or her own color and seal. The Lord and everyone in his service, from his personal messenger to the soldiers on backwater planets he’s never been to, wears those colors.


Meanwhile, Dame Jessamine and other knights errant, unaffiliated with any Lord, wear grays and browns to reflect that fact. But they have their own symbols, called sigils, for identifying themselves and their property. For instance, Jessamine uses a symbol that originated with the ancient Shipbuilders. It used to show up in diagrams concerning electronics, and was called the variable resistor:




Jessamine has this symbol tattooed on her wrist. It also shows up on her sword’s pommel, and on the side of her ship’s hull.


Do you have a personal symbol you identify with? Does your family have its own coat of arms? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
~Try an Excerpt!~
Adrenaline allowed me to ignore pain and push myself up to my knees. Whatever was going on, I had to reach my feet, take measures to defend myself. They’d left me with my weapons, after all. I’d also take stock of my surroundings. Maybe there was still some way out.


My confines remained plunged in darkness. Straining my ears brought me no closer to abandoning the heavy silence. I retrieved my stick lighter from my pocket; the tiny bead of light revealed dungeon floor and nothing else. No immediate danger, at least. I resolved to scout the room, or cell, more likely.


Something flashed in my peripherals: the glow of lantern light, newly revealed by a door sliding open about ten feet away. Soon after, a burgundy-robed arm lobbed a hand-sized ceramic pot with a lit fuse into the cell.


Grenade!


Without another thought, I threw myself in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, the cell’s dimensions were stingy. I hit a wall well before I wanted to.


A boom like thunder rattled my eardrums. Tongues of fire splattered around my feet. Turning, I found knee-high flames covering the floor behind me, surviving on the fuel from the grenade. Some version of Greek fire, it looked like. Radiant heat seared my exposed skin, while a thick smoke stung my eyes and clawed at my throat.

Forget questioning or detaining. Someone was trying to kill me. Either fire or smoke would finish the job in minutes. Ironically, my pockets held plenty of fire-making implements and things to burn, but nothing for smothering flames. Escape was my only hope. I knew of only one option: the door on the other side of the room, the one the grenade had been launched from.
~Meet Ellis!~

For the next twenty years, she wrote with varying degrees of seriousness, but always as a hobby. In that time, she fell in love with Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, the original Star Trek series, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Science fiction became her favorite domain to work in, but she also enjoyed reading fantasy, horror, Western, and detective stories, and incorporating their elements into her work. One of her favorite things to do was make people laugh.

Ellis denied being a writer for decades. But then she sold articles to The Daily WTF, and a short story to Analog Science Fiction and Fact. After quitting her full-time job to finish her first novel, it was time to own up to writing as her calling. She's currently an editor at The Daily WTF, and having the time of her life penning novels and short stories.

 Ellis will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Jar of Dreams Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Jar of Dreams 
Author: Clarissa Cartharn
Series: N/A
Format: Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
When Eric Tanner, an assassin, is targeted to be murdered by his former employer, he seeks refuge in the house of a blind woman, Anne Mullen. Eric knows how to live in silence. He’s done it all his life. So when he discovers Anne is blind and living on her own, he thinks this would be his perfect hideout.But then he makes the mistake of his life. He forms an attachment to her. And for a man in his profession, such attachments are a weakness. Now, he must do everything he can to protect Anne from the world he’s come from
~Love/Hate Relationship with Romance~
When I was younger, I would read just about anything but a romance novel. I didn’t hold much opinion for the genre. In fact, I wouldn’t be caught dead holding a romance book.

And then in my late teens, I discovered Jane Austen and everything changed. I started with Pride and Prejudice, devoured almost everything Austen had written and then moved on to Thomas Hardy with Heart of Darkness and Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Emily Bronte with Wuthering Heights and her sister Charlotte Bronte with Jane Eyre. In a way, I am thankful to these classical writers because they helped with my transition to modern contemporary romances and of course, Harlequin.

Ever since my conversion, I have often wondered why it is that romance has endured such severe criticisms from ‘the others’, so to speak. I would think my pre-conversion reasons would have helped me understand this dilemma, but all I could conclude was that I had avoided reading them based on the general misconceptions of romance novels- that they were trashy, immoral and commit the most awful sins when it came to language syntax and structures.

When I picked up my first copy of Pride and Prejudice (I have possessed several copies since then), I came to realize that these pre-conceived notions weren’t anywhere close to the truth. Romance novels are just as much a fantasy as any other fiction. And like other fictitious genres, romance also provides a form of escapism for the reader. However, because these are books largely written by women for women, the escape is somewhat liberating to the female hormones in a world of commonality. Would we all be swept away by a handsome millionaire? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming of such a possibility, and we rejoice together when we read of a woman who has achieved this despite her unlikely chances, even if this woman happens to be a fictitious character. It leaves us with the hope that even in the direst of circumstances; we will shine through and be rewarded for our perseverance regardless of what the matter is.

In A Jar of Dreams, I romanticized the notion of an assassin falling in love with a blind woman. Perhaps if I was writing for an action/adventure audience, my love story would have taken a back seat to the thrilling action. However, being a romance, the story draws out the emotions of Eric Tanner and Anne Mullen as they fall in love with each other. Eric is the wild, untamed hero of the streets while Anne is the more cultured rich girl. Although it may initially seem that Eric is protecting Anne, he gradually realizes by the end of the novel that it was she who had actually saved his life- a life from crime, loneliness and abandonment.

As a romance writer I also try not to compromise my plot for long sequences of erotic romps. In fact, my earlier love for classical romances has taught me that romance can be just as exciting and thrilling with bountiful themes and lessons to be learned as any other genre. But what does stand it out and shine it above the others is the HEA. Because who doesn’t want one in their own life?

~Try an Excerpt!~
He froze. She had returned to their discussion in the kitchen. Had he unsettled her again?

“Anne, if I said something-”

“No.” She shook her head. “You didn’t say anything. In fact, you said… did everything right. I took a chance when I invited you into my house. I was apprehensive as to whether I was doing the right thing. You see, I’ve never done this before. Invited a man, a stranger almost. I’m glad I did, Eric.”

The corner of his lips rose slightly. He leaned down towards her, looking directly into her eyes. He was so close; he could feel her nervous breath on his face. The warmth of her body tingled his skin. She was so achingly close that he needed everything in his power to restrain himself from taking her in his arms.

“Just don’t do it again,” he whispered. He tucked a cluster of her long golden tresses behind her ear. He let his fingers rest on her soft hair for a brief while as he mustered the courage to let them glide over the side of her face. He found none and straightened up again.

She deserved better, he thought. I have no right to confuse her and involve her in my messed up life.
~Meet Clarissa!~ 
Clarissa Cartharn is the author of romance novels such as Captive, Red Collar and the romance thriller/ suspense Jar series. 

Once an English teacher, she embarked on a law profession before finally realizing it was writing she really wanted to pursue. After almost eight romance novels, each with eclectic themes ranging from a Cinderella re-telling to the barren war torn lands of Afghanistan, Clarissa is currently on a journey with her next novel titled The Yearning.
 Clarissa will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

When A Taker Dreams (+$ 10 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: When a Taker Dreams
Author: J.A. Jackson
Series: N/A
Pages: 218
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Createspace
Format: Kindle
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Synopsis:
Cierra Cantrell has had little experience with men after a painful experience in her life left her too insecure to discover and free the passionate woman within. Her mother, Ada, thinks all she needs is to find a rich husband, but the only thing Cierra dreams of is a happy marriage and a loving husband. After following the advice of her mother, Cierra agrees to accept family friend Isabella Duvall’s offer for help to mentor her in the art of obtaining a marriage of convenience. 


When Ryker Granger— Isabella’s gorgeous brother—shows up, Cierra can’t stop dreaming about him. There’s a rough edge beneath his polished exterior of discipline. Ryker’s power of persuasion are legendary, and he’ll use them to brazenly take whatever he wants. The question is: does he want Cierra?
Lust is a powerful emotion, and though Ryker tries to resist her at first, he cannot stay away. But when old vendettas from the past resurface, their relationship is put in danger. Will life’s unexpected turns hurt innocent people and destroy their future, or can Cierra and Ryker survive even the most volatile storm?

~Try an Excerpt!~
Twenty minutes later the flashy luxury car pulled into the driveway of an obvious wealthy home.  The modern mansion looked peaceful nestled against the hillside.

“You live here?”

“Yes, I do,” Ryder smiled.

“Wow you’re in in the hills? Houses up here don’t come cheap. You must be rich,” Cierra breathed out.

“Kind of, Ryker said. “Would you care to go inside?”

Cierra pushed her glasses back on her nose. She didn’t want to let on how awestruck she was.  “This is an awfully big house. Do you live here alone?  I mean…” she hesitated. “I know I’m not awfully smart when it comes to men. But I hope you don’t mind if I ask if you‘re married or something?  I mean your sister Isabella never mentioned that you had a wife.”

Ryker chuckled taking her arm and leading her inside after punching in a series of codes. The foyer flooded with soft light. He led Cierra down the hallway into the sunken living room complete with vaulted ceiling and a dazzling chandelier. A white leather sectional centered the room in front of the fireplace.


“What would you like to drink?” he asked.
~Meet J.A. Jackson!~ 
J.A. Jackson is the pseudonym for an author, who loves to write deliciously sultry adult romantic, suspenseful, entertaining novels with a unique twist. She lives in an enchanted little house she calls home in the Northern California foothills.

She spent over ten years working in the non-profit sector where she wrote grants, press releases and contributed many stories to their newsletter. She was their Newsletter editor for over ten years. She loves growing roses, a good pot of hot tea, chocolate, magical stories, suspense stories, ghost stories, and reading Jane Austen again and again in her past time.
 J.A. Jackson will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.