Saturday, January 10, 2015

Review of WILD

Recently, I joined a book club. A first for me. I've never been a reader who cheats. I know what I like and that's all I read. Pretty simple. Been that way since I picked up my first romance novel. No lusty lords or lovable ladies? No shifters or Greek Gods? Well, I'll pass. Thanks, but no, thanks.

So, when I was asked to join the new club, I thought it was fine time for me to venture out of my comfort zone.  And how very apropos since the first book selected for reading just happened to be Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

I'll admit I was a little nervous to join up for the very reason of the awkwardness of having to slog my way through a book I wouldn't like.

Someone call my husband, because I'm about to admit I was wrong.

I worried over nothing. Wild was a wonderful and refreshing book. I was surprised and quickly found I couldn't put it down. It's not that the writing was whitty and gripping. There was just a straight-forward honesty coming from the author about a time in her life when she needed to find herself and be reborn. Her voice stuck a cord with me.

The first few chapters really give the reader a bald-faced view of just who the author was and buried no bones about the way she lived her life pre-Pacific Coast Trail Hike (PCT). I had to admire her ability to see her self-destructive ways and say, "I can't do this anymore."

Who hasn't been in a stage where life is incredibly hard and challenging? Everyone has. And if someone tells you they haven't, well, they're selling you a load of pooty-poo!

I really enjoyed experiencing the author's PCT journey. I am a resident Californian, born and bred, and I'd never heard of this trail. I know, right?! I must live in a vacuum! After reading of her hike, I'll admit there is a "wild" part of me that wants to see the gorgeous views and vistas she saw. One of the ladies in my book club has been to one of the points of the PCT and shared pictures of her trip . . . BREATH-TAKING!! Such majesty. *sigh* I was pea-green. Nature at its finest.

The nuts and bolts of the book are basically the author rediscovering herself along this crazy and challenging PCT. She brings the reader through her highs and lows just as if we are there trekking along with her. She's one tough lady. I don't know that I'd be able to do it alone. Hats off to her!

There's plenty of misty-eyed moments and sections that will leave a reader shaking their head, wondering "what is she thinking?", but it's all part of the process rebirth process. Wild was a perfect escape from the chaos of surviving Christmas break home with three "wild" kiddos. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. My grade: B+

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gain Words, NOT Weight!! Howdy to 2015!

(I've lost more than 4" and 30 lbs since March.
 I need to work on taking better pictures. Yikes! These look like mugshots!)
Heya, Friends!!

I've been silent for quite some time. It's been surviving life as a stay-at-home mom to three very, very busy kiddos and a work-a-holic husband. I've lost my mind more than once or twice!

I let myself, my schedule, my ambition, my writing . . . just go.

So, this is the year! 2015 will be my year!

I've said it before, I know, but I've never been so ready to make the changes and get my goals and dreams back on track.

March 2014, I started with a trainer at a local gym and thanks to him and his training/meal prep, I have seen great results on a steady basis. It's been SO inspiring! He's already told me to expect him wanting more from me and I said, "No problem. Bring it!" It's not just about losing the weight, because meal prepping and training won't make the scale move very fast. Inches will fall off, but the scale will be a stubborn A--Hole! I have learned to simply measure myself and not weigh. I like seeing the measuring tape move more anyway. :) I just love how good I am feeling! It's awesome!

My kiddos are finally at an age where they can help me with housework. One of the first things they are getting for the new year is a Chore Chart. It's simple tasks, but ones that make them contribute to the family and hopefully, teach them some responsibility and indepence. They are excited! (me, too! I can't wait to pass off sock folding. lol)

As for my writing, well. I have a lot to make up for. I can't believe I just set it aside. What a bummer!

I stayed active in my local writer's chapter and thanks to new rules, I HAVE to finish my book THIS year in order to stay an active member. Talk about a BIG whack to the noggin! #procrastinationepicfail

I realized I can't keep pushing off my writing in favor of something else. I HAVE to make time. The story hasn't left me. I think about it every day. Many times during the day, too. I just get a mind-block about sitting down to write. Like as soon as I do . . . BOOM ! I remember all the laundry I need to do, the dinner I need to make, or worse, let myself fall victim to my own doubts and insecurities. *sigh* The list is endless.

I am making small changes, which are chain reacting to all the other aspects of my life. I'm getting my confidence back and feeling better than I have in a long, long time.

Anyhow, I hope my words help others out there struggling with the same issues.

Stay tuned as I will be endeavoring to post more frequently. Thanks for sticking it out with me!

Lots of Love,

Friday, August 9, 2013


What happens when a duchess with a dangerous past and a viscount known for perfection meet? A reader stays up all night!!

Kate Townsende, the Duchess of Markingham, has been accused of her husband's murder and locked in the Tower to await her trial. With a guilty verdict nipping at her heels, Kate has no other choice but to accept James Bancroft's shocking proposal: write a pamphlet in exchange for help with her defense.

James Bancroft, Viscount Medford, wants only to print the Kate's scandalous tale and reap the profits. Little did he know the time spent with the witty and charming duchess would make him fall head over Hessians in love. As the trial date looms, James is forced to decide between his pristine reputation and defending the woman who stole his heart.

SECRETS OF A SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE is the third book in Valerie Bowman's Secret Brides Series and a true delight to read. The characters are fresh and quirky. The romance is heartfelt and genuine. Reaching THE END is a guaranteed smile! (An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage is set for release on October 1st, 2013.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Love Struck Over A Shifter: Welcome Terry Spear!!

Thank goodness it's Friday, TLN'ers!

Looking for a shifter to brighten day? The fabulous TERRY SPEAR is here to tell us about her new release, SAVAGE HUNGER.

I had the pleasure of meeting Terry in Anaheim this summer. It was definitely one of the highlights of my conference experience. I've loved Terry's writing since her very first book and I know you will, too!

Love Struck over a Shifter
by Terry Spear

Can you imagine what it would be like to find the man of your dreams and discover he’s got a mucho big secret?

Not a wife and kids hidden away. Not a secret undercover operative. Well, he could be that, but that’s not his BIGGEST secret.

What if he could change into a wolf??? Or a jaguar???

What if you were absolutely, deeply, and irrevocably fell in love with a shifter?

You do have choices. You can give him up.


You can convince him you know what he is and you want to be just like he is.

Doesn’t work?

You can see if someone else will change you.

Problem with this is that most will not be happy if someone else turns you. So you’re going to have to try harder to get him to bite you.

So here’s how you do it.

1.    Install a pet door for easy access.

2.    Make really great steak dinners. They love red meat.

3.    Take him on nice woodland walks in the moonlight. Only works if the shifter is a wolf and newly turned. Otherwise, he doesn’t necessarily have to shift.

4.    Take a trip to the jungle. Only works if the shifter is a cat. Wolves don’t exist in the jungle, so he and you would be out of your element down there if he’s not a big cat shifter.

5.    Have a swimming pool! Both love to swim.

6.    Be sure to show off your playful side. They love to wrestle, run, tackle and…well here it goes…bite.

And there you’ve got it! You’re now officially a shifter. Enjoy! Sometimes it can be a nuisance when you have to shift and least expect it. But your shifter mate will help you get through it.

Expect to see him naked a lot. It goes with shifting, and the fact he likes to keep in GREAT shape.

During an author chat when my editor was part of the chat, she asked what fans loved about the shifters. One fan said, “They get naked.”

So there you have it. They get naked. :)

It’s time to hug a wolf hunk…or big cat hunk. Whichever you’re completely love struck over!

Oh, and what happened with Kathleen in SAVAGE HUNGER? Well, Connor, being the honorable jaguar shifter he is no matter how much he wants Kathleen, will not turn her. So she needs a little help. Maybe his sister, Maya, can instigate things a little?

Never know.

What would you do if you fell in love with a shifter and he’s wary about turning you? How would you change his mind?


Thanks so much to Lovestruck Novice for having me here today, and one lucky person that answers my question will have a chance to win a copy of SAVAGE HUNGER.US/Canada Addresses Only.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling and an award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval romantic suspense, Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, that are personalized that have found homes all over the world. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses or gardening. Her family has roots in the Highlands of Scotland where her love of all things Scottish came into being. Originally from California, she’s lived in eight states and now resides in the heart of Texas. She is the author of the Heart of the Wolf series and the Heart of the Jaguar series, plus numerous other paranormal romance and historical romance novels. For more information, please visit, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at .



I'd like to thank Terry Spear for taking time out of her busy schedule to hang out with us today. Please join me in wishing Terry all the best with SAVAGE HUNGER! Here's to perrrrrfect sales! ;)

THANK YOU, TLN'ers! I know the weekends are crazy, so escape into a romance novel! Catch ya back next week! ~Sarah

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Get To Know Suzanne Selfors!!

Hi-Ho The Dairy-O, TLN'ers!!
If chocolate is your sweet treat of choice, you've definitely clicked the 'write' link today!!
Please join me in welcoming SUZANNE SELFORS!!
THE SWEETEST SPELL released last month and is about a young girl's struggle to find love and belonging despite her magical gift of turning everything she touches into chocolate--a commodity more valuable than gold in the fairytale land of Anglund.
Hungry for more? Well, let's dig in, my friends! 
1)If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

This short journal about a writer is sooooooooo boring, all she does is drink coffee and sit on her butt and write, you'll need to prop your eyelids open with clothes pins just to get through the first chapter.

2)Using three words, describe your voice.

funny, warm, hopeful

3)What has been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome in your writing?

Focus, focus, focus.
My head is swimming with story ideas and it's hard to set ideas aside. I used to start new projects, write a few pages, then start something else. Now that I have publication deadlines (I write two books a year) I've learned how to ignore those other voices and to get the work done.

4)Give us a sneak peak into your writing process: are you a plotter or a pantser?

I never outline. Never. It simply doesn't work for me. When I sit down to begin the new book, I always know how it begins and I always know how it will end. But the inbetween is the adventure that makes this process so enjoyable. I want the story to unfold organically and surprise me. That's the part I love. An outline stifles me.

5)What's been the highlight of your career?

The highlight, by far, is meeting readers. When a young girl comes up to you, hugging your book to her chest, and telling you that she's read it three times and that you inspired her to write her own stories--that is the honor of a lifetime.

6)Tell us a little bit about how you crafted Emmeline Thistle's world and her special talent?

I've always wanted to write a fairy tale. I'm not sure why it took me this long. When I began to craft the story, I was interested in the story of King Midas, the man who could touch anything and turn it to gold. But I wasn't intrigued by gold. So I didn't think the story would work until one night when my daughter and I couldn't find any chocolate in the house, and we practically went nuts, I realized that I had my story. Why make gold if you can make chocolate?

Photo credit to Kate DeVeaux
7)What's up next for you? Any news you'd like to share?

My next books are for children. There will be a release in November and two releases in 2013. I'm working on an adult novel.
Emmeline Thistle, a dirt-scratcher's daughter has escaped death twice--first, on the night she was born, and second, on the day her entire village was swept away by a flood. Left with nothing and no one, Emmeline discovers her rare and mysterious ability--she can churn cream into chocolate, a delicacy more precious than gold.
Suddenly, the most unwanted girl in Anglund is desired by all. But Emmeline, wants only one--Owen Oaks, a dairyman's son, whose slow smiles and lingering glances tempt her to believe she might someday be loved for herself. But others will stop at nothing to use her gift for their own gain--no matter what the cost to Emmeline.
Magic and romance entwine in this fantastical world where true love and chocolate conquer all.
I'd like to thank Suzanne for being here today! If you'd like to learn more about Suzanne Selfors, please click on over to website: or her Facebook page: 
THANK YOU, TLN'ers for swinging by and joining in the fun! Here's hoping your weekend is full decadent delight! Happy Fall!! Catch ya back next week . . . ~Sarah

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Get Tempted By Bronwyn Stuart!!

Oooh-Da-Lolly!! Welcome back, TLN'ers!

We've got a very special author visiting today . . . and the best part is we saw her here first as A Novice Watch!

Please help me welcome BRONWYN STUART!

I've known Bronwyn for a couple of years now--since she trounced me in a contest--and have thoroughly enjoyed following her career. When I need motivation, Bronwyn is definitely one of the first writerly peeps I look up to. Her blog is often filled with fabulous writing information and inspirational pep-talks. Her debut novel, SCANDAL'S MISTRESS released last month from Carina Press (which is very exciting news!)

Grab a sweet a treat and get comfy. Enjoy a little 'me time' with an author who is bound to sweep you off your feet . . .

1)If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

 In all her days Bronwyn Stuart never thought she would find the man of her dreams, have a beautiful family or discover the answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up”. But she did.

 What will the future hold for this upcoming author? Will she be the next Stephanie Laurens or Johanna Lindsay? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out…

2)Using three words describe your voice.

Emotional, deep, fun

3)What was it like getting "The Call" from your publisher? Want to share a little bit about that day?

Actually mine came as an email. Every morning I check my emails before I get out of bed, while the house is still nice and quiet. This one day I had an email from Angela James in the preview it said ‘I’m sorry I can’t…’ as Yahoo is wont to do from time to time to get my ticker going. Then I opened the email expecting the worse, the dreaded rejection, but then it said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t make this offer in person’. It was the email I had been waiting for for years. I jumped out of bed ran squealing around the house and then called the hubby. I can’t even describe how it feels to get the call. You almost want to cry. In a good way.

4)What has been the biggest change for you since crossing over from novice to published author?

Revisions. Definitely revisions. When you’re editing your own work to send out to publishers and agents, there are so many things you don’t see or don’t do. Plot holes, unfinished characters, loose ends. When you start revisions and someone else points out the problems with your book, there is so much work to do it’s daunting. Trust me when I say you will learn more than you ever had from this step.

5)Do you have any advice for the all the novice writers out struggling to get published?

The first thing would be hone your craft. Never think you’ve learned everything there is to learn because I guarantee you, you’re about to be proven wrong. The last thing is finish the book. An unfinished book isn’t of interest to anyone anywhere. Give your characters the chance to have their story told.

6)Tell us a little about SCANDAL'S MISTRESS. What was your favorite part of crafting Justin and Carmalina's story?

Honestly, I loved the whole story from beginning to end. I loved Justin’s internal torture and Carmalina’s unfairness in her situation. I loved dangling the happy ever after and then making them work for it. So far, out of everything I’ve written, theirs is my favourite story.

7)What's up next for you? Any news you'd like to share?

My next book releases with Carina Press in April called Behind the Courtesan. It’s another deep and emotional story, this time about a courtesan who must return to her home village fourteen years after she flees, raped and broken. Her family and her best friend had no idea why she left or what happened but it’s time for Sophia to take her life more firmly in her own hands and find the one place she can belong.

But Blake Vale can’t forgive her for leaving, he doesn’t care the reasons why. He can’t forget that she now makes her living on her back. The two must face their demons in order to have any kind of future. Together or apart…

Blurb for:
Scandal’s Mistress
London, 1805

Justin Trentham, third son of the Earl of Billington, is determined to get himself disowned from his cold and unloving family. Despite his numerous affairs with questionable women of the ton, his parents continue to be dismissive of his ploys, but Justin spots the perfect scandal in the form of a beautiful, exotic Italian opera singer...

Carmalina Belluccini refuses to become his mistress, despite being tempted by his charms. But after losing her singing voice, she finds herself destitute. She agrees to be Justin's mistress for one month, until she has enough money to return to her beloved Italy.

She intends to keep their arrangement strictly business, but after witnessing Justin's vulnerable side, she finds herself falling more in love than in lust with him. Carmalina is having second thoughts about leaving England...but is their love strong enough to survive the scandal of the season?

I'd like to thank Bronwyn for letting me interview her--again (lol). I can't wait to see what the future has in store for my lovely and extremely talented friend. Here's wishing her tons of success with SCANDAL'S MISTRESS! If you'd like to know more about Bronwyn Stuart, please click on over to her delicious website 
Find her on Facebook (Bronwyn Stuart Romance Author)
Or twitter (Bronwyn Stuart)

THANK YOU, TLN'ers for swinging by. Hope your weekend is utterly divine and full of productivity. Catch you back next week! TTFN~ Sarah

Thursday, August 30, 2012

WINNER of the Shana Galen Giveaway!!!

Thank you to Shana and Sourcebooks for the lovely giveaway prize of WHEN YOU GIVE A DUKE A DIAMOND!
THANK YOU, TLN'ers for joining the party! Here's wishing Shana tons of success! Yay!
Be sure to swing by on Friday, the lucious Kaily Hart will be visit TLN!