Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop

Inspired Kathy is hosting another fun giveaway, this one to celebrate our favorite books of 2011. Thanks, Kathy!

The winner gets a $10 Amazon gift card. I've got plenty of recommendations below for how to spend that card--books I consider to be the best of 2011.

To enter, complete the Rafflecopter form. This is my first time trying it, so I hope it works. If you have time, please leave a comment with the title of one of YOUR favorite reads of 2011.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jennifer Lane's Favorite Reads of 2011

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. One incredible biography. My REVIEW

Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare. Of the amazing I-Team series, this is my favorite. My REVIEW

Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard. Smart and steamy academic romance. My REVIEW

Room by Emma Donoghue. Haunting story told from a 5-year-old boy's perspective. My REVIEW

Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard. Excellent romantic suspense. My REVIEW

****SALE**** Did you get a new e-reader for Christmas? Check out Omnific Publishing's sale through 12/31: Buy one ebook and get one FREE! Use the code ebooks2011 HERE.

Make sure to check out all the participating blogs:

2012 Romantic Suspense Challenge

Jamie from The Eclectic Bookshelf is hosting the 2012 Romantic Suspense Reading Challenge!


Romantic Suspense is my favorite genre as a reader and author. Do you like Romantic Suspense? Join us for the challenge HERE.

I'm going for Level 2: 10 romantic suspense novels in 2012. Happy reading!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Author Hannah Downing: Review and Interview

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing my small-pub-sister Hannah Downing, Australian author of Pieces of Us. I loved her novel as you can tell from my review:

Sharp Yet Well-Rounded Love Triangle

Charlotte Barnes has the perfect marriage. Her husband dotes on her, and she delights in the domestic bliss they've created. There's only one problem. She discovers her beloved husband Cameron has been cheating on her.

Lost and bereft, Charlotte hightails it out of town without giving him the chance to explain. She slowly rebuilds her life, meeting a police officer named Owen. When Charlotte and Owen begin to fall in love, Owen realizes that pieces of Charlotte's heart still belong to Cameron, and suggests they move back to her home town so that she can put her past behind her.

My favorite part of this story is the realism of the characters. Charlotte moves between fury and desperation when coping with the fallout of Cameron's infidelity:

"Get your hand off me or I will stab you in the thigh with this fork," I whispered.

Cameron was like a magnet, and even though my heart was shattered into a million pieces, those broken shards were still drawn to him.

Owen is a TOTAL sweetheart. He has a heart of gold, and their romance is warm and cute:

“What is it?" I asked.
"This is the GIRLS' locker room," Owen said.
"Uh-huh," I replied, not really understanding.
He shook his head slightly and gave me a boyish grin. "Sorry. It's just a teenage fantasy of mine to be in here."
"Ah, and I'm sure in the fantasy there were lots of naked girls."
"Just one," he said huskily.

Yet there are seeds of doubt that creep in:

"I love you," I whispered.
"Love you more," he replied.
Owen often replied to my declarations of love that way, and it made me wonder if it was true. Did he love me more than I loved him?

Will Charlotte marry Owen? Will Cameron worm his way back into her heart, once she gains a better understanding of why he acted the way he did? Stay tuned. I was pleasantly surprised by the twists at the end, leaving me with a satisfied feeling. Hannah Downing has written a story that flows well and is an excellent read. Highly recommended!

And now onto the interview!

Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome to the blog, Hannah, and happy summer! Please tell us about your home in Australia.

Hannah Downing (HD): Thanks for having me, Jen. I live in the city of Cairns which is in the north-east of Australia in the state of Queensland. We are home to the Great Barrier Reef and several tropical islands as well as some of the most beautiful rainforests in the world. Cairns’ slogan is – “Where the rainforest meets the reef.” It is currently our summer and what a summer it is. This past week we have had our hottest on record for decades. This time of the year, we average days in the mid 30s (80s in Fahrenheit) with about 80-95% humidity. I have lived here for almost 10 years and love it, despite the heat.

JL: I really enjoyed Pieces of Us, your debut novel. You explored a range of emotions and portrayed realistic characters. What helps you with characterization?

HD: What matters to me most about my characters is that they are real. I would hope that people could imagine themselves acting or doing things in a way that my characters do. With my dialogue especially, I try to write what a normal conversation would sound like. Sometimes I have to make slight deviations from real conversation as we don’t always speak in grammatically correct ways, but on the whole I just try to picture them as real people. I imagine what I would do in a situation or ask a friend how they would react if someone said that to them. Another thing that has helped me to create real characters is that they are real to me. I know their personalities and how they react in situations. I know what Charlotte will say when Owen says something, or how Cameron would react to something Charlotte does. I know them. I wouldn’t say they are real people to me, because they live inside my head, but when I write them, they feel real.

JL: I was wondering if your job as a social worker might have contributed to your keen characterization. Would you educate us on the training and occupation of an Australian social worker? (I suspect it's different than in the US).

HD: I think every part of my personality has helped me to create my characters. I put a lot of myself into Pieces of Us and my social worker training is a big part of me, so I would have to agree that it has had some reflection on how I perceive people, relate to people and in turn, write about people. I wanted to be a counsellor from a young age. People have always felt comfortable talking to me and confiding in me and it just felt natural for me to pursue it as a career. I completed a 4 year, Bachelor of Social Work at university which qualified me as a social worker. I believe that in the USA, you have to hold a Masters degree to work as a qualified social worker, but that is not the case in Australia. My current job is that of “Mental Health Worker”. I provide one-on-one counselling to adults who live with mental illness and also facilitate support groups. I also have a very active role in mental health promotion and stigma reduction in the community. I don’t write about mental illness in my debut novel, or the current manuscript I’m working on, but my work has given me a fantastic grounding in the workings of human nature which I think helps me to create realistic characters.

JL: You are correct that you need a master’s degree to be a licensed social worker in the U.S. You're at a crossroads, deciding whether to pursue social work or writing more intensely. How's your decision coming along?

HD: *sigh* It moves and then it stalls again. I’m so torn! My dream is to be a novelist and I am willing to work as hard as I need to, to get that goal but even with all the hard work in the world, not everyone makes it to be a success. It’s a risk to put all my hopes on becoming a successful author. At the same time, I have discovered an opportunity to advance my social work career into a fascinating and rewarding, new direction and I would love to pursue it. I have been offered a place in the Masters of International Community Development which would train me to work in developing nations (something I would love to do). But, anyone who has done post-graduate study will agree with me that it is A LOT of work and to get the high marks that I would hope for, I would have to dedicate a lot of my time and energy to study, leaving little to no time for writing. So, I could give up on the writing and take the safe route – study a Masters, get an amazing job and live overseas while I work (a wonderful option, but not my dream), or I could take the risk and write. My horoscope is Libra (the scales) and I have always weighed all my options very carefully which I think is why I have been so conflicted in this decision. My scales are heavily tipped towards writing at the moment and that is what I am working for right now. I have just completed the 50,000 word writing challenge for NaNoWriMo with almost 70,000 words and have almost finished the first draft of my next novel. I think I’m going to follow my dream, throw caution to the wind and take a chance. I want to be an author!

JL: One of my favorite characters in Pieces of Us is Owen. He's sweet and caring, but he also has a backbone. Any particular inspiration for his character, or for Charlotte or Cameron?

HD: I’m so glad you loved Owen. I love him too. I am a sucker for love triangles and have read a lot of stories based on this idea. I found myself getting frustrated with the love-triangles I was reading though, because there was always one clear winner and one not-quite-as-good guy. I wanted to read a love triangle where both guys deserved to win, and where there was no clear “better choice”. I was also curious about the idea of redemption and whether you could absolutely destroy a loving relationship and then build it back again – was that even possible? Could I get the readers to forgive someone who had wronged the heroine and broken her trust? I wanted to play around with all of these ideas and so Pieces of Us was born. I never set out to write a novel. I had been dabbling with short story writing for a while and loved the feeling of creating a story but never really considered it as a career. Charlotte, Cameron and Owen appeared in my brain one day and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I suppose it started from a stray thought I had about my ex-boyfriend. My first love and I had broken up a few years before I started writing Pieces of Us and I wondered what I would do or say if I happened to bump into him. I had moved on with my life and didn’t want to reconcile, but if he came to me and asked me to get back together, what would I do? I believe that once you truly love someone, a part of that love stays with you forever and I wondered if the love I still held for my ex would be rekindled if he came back into my life, or, if I wouldn’t feel anything after several years apart. So, my mind started creating all the scenarios that could happen and Cameron and Charlotte were created. But, I didn’t want to make things too easy for Cameron and I wanted to play with my idea of an equal love triangle so I brought Owen into the mix. It was really fun writing Owen because I could make him the most amazing, loving and perfect man. Every wonderful attribute I gave to Owen made Cameron’s job just that little bit harder and that was the point. I think I created two men who both loved Charlotte very much and who were both deserving of her. None of the characters in my book are based on any one person but I did take traits that I had seen in people and worked them to either work for my characters or against them as I needed.

JL: What's next for you with your writing?

HD: I’m so excited about what I’m writing at the moment. About a month after Pieces of Us was released for sale, I was sitting on my bed, laptop buzzing, chatting with a friend on Twitter. She asked if I was going to write another book and I said I would if I had a new idea and then, just like some weird dream, the whole plot, characters, titles, fantasy lore, chapter names and every aspect needed to start writing a book series was just in my head. I can’t put into words what a strange sensation it was. One second I had no writing plans and then the next second I had four fully developed novels in my brain just waiting to be written as if someone had turned on a light switch that couldn’t be turned off. I put my laptop aside and grabbed a notebook. I scribbled down as much as I could think of, adding diagrams, timelines, maps and anything else that I didn’t want to forget. I had never written YA before and had never dabbled in fantasy but these characters were so fully formed that it was as if they already existed and just needed me to tell their story. I immediately told the plot of the whole series to my friend and she begged me to write it because she wanted to read it so badly. So, I am now almost finished the first draft of book one in the series. I have fallen madly in love with these characters and the world they live in. Book One is tentatively titled The Time Walker, and will be the first in a four book series about witches who have different powers. Some witches can travel through time; others can read minds, sense auras or cast spells. It’s so fun to play in a world of fantasy and not have to abide by the laws of the real world. There is a love triangle, but not as strongly developed as in Pieces of Us. The love triangle isn’t the main focus of this story but it plays a role in the lives of the characters. Again, I love both of my male leads and I have to keep reminding myself which guy the main character, Holly, is going to end up with because I keep wanting to give the other guy a chance. Once I have finished the draft and have cleaned it up a bit (it’s still very raw), I will post some teasers on my website.

JL: Thank you for the wonderful interview, Hannah. It’s great getting to know you better by reading your novel and your interview answers.

It’s Thursday, time for Omnific Publishing’s Author Blog Bounce! Read instructions here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Embrace Change!

Today I’m a Release Party Guest Host for Cherie Colyer, who’s celebrating the release of her debut Young Adult novel . . . Embrace !


Facing change

By Cherie Colyer

When I was getting to know Madison Riley, the main character in my young adult novel Embrace, I discovered she’s a girl who hates change. For her, change has never been good and as familiar as she is with it, she hates everything about it. To Madison, a statement like “your life’s about to change, and there’s nothing you can do about it” is just about the worst news she can receive.

Understanding just how much Madison dreads change made it easy for me to know what obstacles she would have to face and possibly overcome. Being able to relate with her aversion to the whole subject helped me to get inside her head and to share her emotions. In fact, it was this characteristic in particular that became the theme of this party.

If you have a story about embracing change, I’d love to hear it.

I hope you’re enjoying the party. Remember to leave a comment on each stop for a chance to win the grand prize.


Embrace Launch Party Guest Posts!

Jennifer DeLucy Blog: Writing Embrace - From Idea to Release

Kym's Quips: The Research Behind to Story

Once Upon A *Spark*: Mythology Behind Madison's World

Nicki Elson's Not-So-Deep Thoughts: Bring on the Romance

Jennifer Lane Books Blog: Facing Change

Embrace Launch Party Posts!

Susan Kaye Quinn, Conjuring Tales for Young Minds

Kim Winters, Kat's Eye Journal

Carole, the life of fiction

Mina Burrows, books for paranormal & mystic minds

Joseph Rinaldo, Read Rinaldo

Angela Brown, in a Pursuit of Publishness

Debra Anastasia, Tell me a Story

Colleen Wagner, London Relocation



a novel by Cherie Colyer

clip_image001Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.


Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Prizes: To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Cherie is giving away an eCopy of EMBRACE and 5-Embrace Hemp Bracelets today. There are three ways to win:

1) Leave a comment here or at any of the Party Posts.

2) Tweet about the Virtual Party or any of the Party Posts with tag #EMBRACEnovels


Nothing could have prepared her for what she’s about to discover. #EMBRACEnovels @CherieColyer #YA avail NOW


Celebrate the launch of EMBRACE by @CherieColyer #EMBRACEnovels #paranormal #YA avail NOW

3) Facebook (tag Cherie Colyer, author) about the Virtual Party.


Celebrate the launch of teen paranormal thriller/romance novel EMBRACE by Cherie Colyer, author and enter for a chance to win Embrace prizes!

Do all three and you will have three times the chances to win! Leave a comment at each stop of the tour for a chance to win the Grand Prize.

If you haven’t already, remember to stop back by Cherie’s blog or click here to fill out the form to ensure your entry is counted.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Top 10 Self-Help Books

Today Lindsey Webster, rehabilitation counselor and owner of the site Masters in Counseling writes about her favorite Self-Help books. I’ve only read a few of these so it’s great to get some recommendations from her. Take it away, Lindsey!

My Top Ten List of Self-Help Books

There are so many self-help books on the market today, rummaging for a good one can be a bit overwhelming. Whether you are currently seeing a counselor on a regular basis or you just need a little inspiration in your life, self-help books are great life improvement tools. If you are currently seeing a counselor, ask them to recommend a book relevant to the issue you are seeking therapy for. In the meantime, here is my personal top ten self-help booklist. The following titles are in no particular order or ranking.

1. “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle: As the title suggests, this theme of this book is mindfulness/consciousness. There is also a full discussion on the ego and how dangerous and destructive it is to true awareness. “A New Earth” is a follow-up to Tolle’s first bestseller, “The Power of Now.”

2. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch: This is one of the most touching, motivational books ever. The book is actually the text form of a lecture that the author gave in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University. The topic of the lecture (“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”) was a plea to the audience to live your life to the fullest, as we never know when it will end.

3. “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Angel Ruiz: This book discusses four agreements that we should make with ourselves and others; be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best. According to the book, when we keep those agreements, we will create happiness and peace in our lives.

4. “Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life” by Spencer Johnson: In this book, Johnson discusses complacency and the four reactions to change in our lives through a “parable” about two mice and two “little people” searching for cheese.

5. “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler: This book discusses perception and where to look for true happiness. According to the Dalai Lama, once one’s basic survival needs are met, all one needs to do is train their own heart and mind to achieve happiness. It will not come from the outside.

6. “Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment” by Deepak Chopra: This novel delves into the life of Jesus. Walking us through the years of his life, this book aims to explain his path to enlightenment and why this path was (and still is) so profound.

7. “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse: This novel tells the story of an Indian man, Siddhartha, and his journey to spirituality during the time of the Buddha. The novel explains how all your experiences in life (whether good or evil) help lead you to enlightenment.

8. “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Harold Kushner: This book discusses the misconceptions people have about theodicy and why God allows bad, evil things to happen, especially to “good” people.

9. “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne: This book is a great supplement to those seeking therapy for all types of anxiety disorders. Included in this book are skills for assessing and treating anxiety, current research and medications and new therapeutic techniques.

10. “The Secret” by Rhona Byrne: This book is based on the law of attraction and explains how you can increase health, happiness and wealth through positive thinking. This “law of attraction” works by attracting people, events and situations of a certain frequency to a person with a similar frequency. Therefore, if you think positively, you will receive positive feedback.

Lindsey Webster has been a rehabilitation counselor for 15 years and also owns the site <ahref=>Masters in Counseling</a>. She likes to write about different topics related to counseling and careers.

Thank you, Lindsey! I loved When Bad Things Happen to Good People and often recommend it to my clients. And now it’s time for the Author Blog Bounce, hosted by Omnific Publishing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Author Jessica Subject: Beneath the Starry Sky

Today I’m pleased to host author Jessica Subject. I loved her alien romance novella Celestial Seduction, and soon the prequel will join the ranks of published works. Jessica’s here to tell us about Beneath the Starry Sky and a yummy recipe for peanut butter squares. I’m making them tonight for my book club holiday party! Take it away, Jessica.

Away from home at Christmas

Jessica E. Subject

First of all, thank you to Jennifer Lane for allowing me to blog here today! Smile

In two days, my contemporary erotic romance, Beneath the Starry Sky will release, which is a prequel to my debut novella, Celestial Seduction. Tamara, the heroine from BTSS is down in Las Vegas to train at the head office of the pharmaceutical company she works for. One night, she is feeling particularly lonely. Here is her story:

Tamara drummed her fingers on the desk. She’d filled out the form for the 1NightStand service her friend, Leah, had recommended, and needed to decide whether to click send. Having been celibate since her ex-fiancĂ© left her, she could use a good lay. But she wanted more than that. She wanted to find love again.


She groaned, unable to deny the little voice in her head. No one wanted to date a bald woman. But she wanted one night, a night to hide under her newly-ordered wig, to be reminded of the woman she used to be. December reminded her even more of what she no longer had.

With Christmas coming, not only did she miss her friends and family back home in Ottawa, Canada, but also the snow. How could one celebrate the holidays without being bundled up in winter jackets, mitts and toques, travelling from one house to another, drinking hot chocolate mixed with Bailey’s to warm back up? She’d be there, but not soon enough.

At least Carrie, her bff back in Ottawa, had come through for her. She’d actually revealed her secret recipe for her delicious peanut butter squares. If Tamara couldn’t go home before her allotted week off, she could at least enjoy the decadent treats that had become a tradition for years after many holiday shopping excursions with Carrie.

But even with the scrumptious delight, she had no one to share them with. Her hand wavered over the mouse before she finally clicked send. Done. Before she had a chance to think about what she’d just sent out, Tamara left the computer and headed for the kitchen. Peanut butter and chocolate would keep her occupied for now.

Beneath the Starry Sky by Jessica E. Subject

Beneath the Starry Sky Blurb

Left at the altar with bald patches on her head and her self-confidence stripped away, Tamara Johnson must pick up the pieces of her life and face her Alopecia, the autoimmune disease causing her hair to fall out. She is convinced no man will date a bald woman and arranges a one-night stand through Madame Evangeline’s popular service, 1Night Stand. With her new wig held firmly in place, Tamara arrives at the Castillo Hotel in Las Vegas for a night of passion and pleasure. Anything more than one night would mean exposing her bald head, and she will never do that to any man again.

Running into the Castillo Hotel, away from the paparazzi constantly at his heels, Josh Summers wants to spend his next few days locked away from the flashing lights and screaming fans. When he finds an incredibly sexy woman lying on his hotel room bed in nothing but lingerie, he thinks management has made a mistake. Leaving her behind, he heads for the lobby to get the situation rectified. But an unexpected text from Madame Evangeline sends him back to his room. Though unsure whether the woman on the bed is really his perfect match or just another fan believing him to be like his character on television, he knows he must find out, even if it means he must risk telling her his own secrets. If Tamara can handle his imperfections, she just might be his ideal woman.

Coming to Decadent Publishing and other ebook retailers December 16, 2011

Buy Links here:

To learn more about Alopecia Areata and to help find a cure, visit the National Alopecia Areata Foundation and the Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation


This is a huge tradition in my own household, but I change the amounts a bit and make these into peanut butter cups. Winking smile Enjoy!

Top Layer:

- 2 cups milk chocolate chips

- 1 ½ cups peanut butter

Bottom Layer:

- 1 cup peanut butter

- 1 ½ cups graham wafer crumbs

- 1 ¼ cups icing sugar

- ¾ cups melted margarine

Melt ingredients together for top layer until smooth and creamy. (I use a double boiler.)

Mix bottom layer ingredients together then spread over bottom of square pan.

Spread melted top layer over the bottom.

Refrigerate about an hour.



Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.





Google +:


I would like to offer a $5 gift certificate. Winner will be chosen at random from those who leave a comment. Contest will run until December 18th.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thank You for an Awesome Blog Tour!

It's the last day of The Conduct Series Blog Tour. *sniffs* Three stops today include:

Leah from Chick Lit Reviews & News reviews With Good Behavior HERE, interviews me HERE, and hosts a giveaway HERE.

Christy from Love of Books has an excerpt from Bad Behavior HERE.

Wow, what a great blog tour! The kind and wonderful Julie from A Tale of Many Reviews has been such a gracious tour host. Thank you,

J U L I E !

Be sure to visit Julie's wrap up post, featuring my dream cast for The Conduct Series, HERE.

The grand prize winner will receive a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (sorry for the confusion when some blogs have said $20 but it will be $25).

Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Next Stops on the Blog Tour!

Choo Choo! The Conduct Series train is rolling into four stops today. Please stop by and enter the giveaways!

Jamie from The Eclectic Bookshelf gives With Good Behavior a 5 star review HERE.

Brianna from The Book Vixen has an excerpt of Sophie and Grant meeting outside their PO's office HERE.

BookWhore from Bookwhore Blog (LOL) reviews With Good Behavior HERE.

Finally, Syrah from Chick Lit & Wine reviews Bad Behavior HERE. I loved her review of the first book in the series and can't wait to see what wine she's pairing with the second book!

And now it's time for the Author Blog Bounce. Authors, join in. Readers, bounce over to author blogs to learn more about new books. Read more on the Omnific Publishing Blog.

Blog Tour Disco

Getting some awesome reviews of With Good Behavior! *dances*

Check 'em out and enter giveaways at each site:

Laurielu at Bona Fide Reflections says "Emotion grips you for the entire length of the story" in her 4 1/2 star review HERE.

Nimue at Endlessly Bookish says "With Good Behavior is a fast-paced, action-rich and heart-wrenching romance with adorable main characters" in her review HERE.

Katie at Novel Society says "I would definitely recommend reading this. It was interesting and the flashbacks explain why the characters are the way they are" in her review HERE.

Finally, Megan from A Trail of Books Left Behind gave WGB a 5 star review last year, and interviews me HERE.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blog Tour Boogie

I'm basking in blogger love this book tour. Today my books get to visit three shiny blogs!

1) Shannon from Cocktails and Books has been one busy reader, offering up a review of not only With Good Behavior, but Bad Behavior too! Click HERE. I love her comment, "This is one hell of a series." Now that she's all caught up, I have to get cracking on writing the third novel in the series, On Best Behavior.

2) Megan from Reading Away the Days interviews me HERE.

3) Jess from The Romanceaholic delivers a very thoughtful 4 star review of With Good Behavior HERE. Thanks, Jess!

Make sure you enter the GIVEAWAY at each stop. If you comment at all the stops, you're eligible to win a $25 gift card.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Blog Tour's Rolling!

My books--my babies--continue traveling around the world, stopping for a visit at welcoming and friendly blogs.

Today's Conduct Series tour has FOUR stops! My little babies will be tired but happy after today's adventures. Every stop has a giveaway! Please join With Good Behavior and Bad Behavior as they travel to these destinations:

1) A Buckeye Girl Reads reviews With Good Behavior HERE. (Hooray for a fellow Buckeye! We're both in Ohio.)

2) Jen from LR At Random reviews With Good Behavior as well HERE.

3) Darcia Helle, Author, features a guest post from me about empathy and characterization on her blog Quiet Fury Books HERE. Earlier Darcia gave With Good Behavior a 5 star review!

4) Smash Attack Reads gives a fantastic review of Bad Behavior HERE. And scroll down for a chat Smash and I had about how our training in mental health has influenced our reading and writing.

I feel really blessed to have these lovely bloggers take time to read and review my books. Thank you!

Visiting Smash Attacks!

A great benefit of becoming an author is meeting voracious readers committed to spreading the word about their favorite books---a.k.a. BOOK BLOGGERS!

One blogger I've had the pleasure of knowing is Smash from Smash Attacks Reads. Since I'm a psychologist and author, I call myself a psycho author. Well, Smash is a social worker and book blogger, making her a social bookie? (You'll have to help me with this one, Smash). She is certainly extroverted and friendly, and it's been so fun to discuss psychological aspects of books with her.

Tomorrow Smash will review Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2), featuring many therapy scenes. But today Smash and I chat on her blog about emotions, characterization, crying men, and maybe even the horrid baby name Renesmee.

Check it out HERE.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Top 10 with Twimom

Today's blog tour stop is at Mandy's blog Twimom 101. She asks me my top 10 favorite things, and I learned from her that Titanic (my favorite movie) will be re-released in April of 2012, yahoooooo!

Stop by to enter the giveaway.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The CONduct Series Blog Tour Day Four

Today my romantic suspense series travels to three book blogs. These book lovers all read With Good Behavior, so check out their varied reviews! Each will offer an ebook giveaway, and readers who comment on every tour stop are eligible to win a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

1. Alexa Loves Books Blog

2. Kelsey's Book Corner Blog

3. Ramblings From a Chaotic Mind Blog

And now it's time for the Author Blog Bounce, hosted by Omnific Publishing!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Poughkeepsie: Homeless No More + Giveaway

I'm happy to be part of the Poughkeepsie Blog Tour. I've heard amazing things about this novel by Debra Anastasia, and I can't wait to read it.

This is a story about homeless man and the young woman he meets at the train station. Her smiles sustain him though she has no idea of her impact on him.

I actually worked at a homeless center during my graduate training in counseling psychology, and I'd like to share that experience for the Poughkeepsie blog tour. At the homeless center, I did counseling, psychological testing, and led an anger-management therapy group.

One thing that struck me was the similarity between myself and individuals living at the center. Warmth, intelligence, and talent abounded in homeless people. One man was a gifted musician and another woman had gone to extreme efforts to protect her children from her abusive husband. But one big difference between us was their lack of safety nets. When times got hard for them, they didn't have friends or family to bail them out due to poverty, substance dependence, mental illness. I know that if I lost everything, my family and friends would have my back. Homeless people don't have that luxury.

My internship director taught us that when we encounter homeless individuals on the street, it's up to us whether or not to give money. But one thing we should do is show respect by looking them in the eye. I know my brother-in-law will often buy food from a convenience store and hand it to a homeless person in Chicago, and I try to keep an energy bar in my purse or car to share with those in need.

The homeless center where I worked was famous for helping its residents work toward owning their own home. It was so inspiring to witness such rebuilding and redemption.

Give a Copy of Poughkeepsie a Home: 


There are 2 eCopies of Poughkeepsie to give away on the blog today. To enter, please leave a comment and a valid email address.
 Poughkeepsie in eBook, ePack, and Print: Omnific Publishing

 Poughkeepsie in Kindle and Print Amazon Kindle Amazon Print

 Poughkeepsie Book format

Watch the trailer
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Today is day three of my own blog tour for The Conduct Series, romantic suspense with a psychological twist. There are two stops today:

Bookworm Lisa has an excerpt of Bad Behavior and a giveaway HERE.

A Girl and Her Diary has an excerpt of With Good Behavior and a giveaway HERE.

Leave a comment to enter the giveaway, and give Poughkeepsie a home!

The CONduct Series Blog Tour Day Two

Today there are two stops on The Conduct Series romantic suspense blog tour:

Jessica Subject's Mark of the Stars. I share "My Writing Family", including all the friends and loved ones who have supported my writing HERE.

Lindsay's Turning the Pages. Lindsay gave With Good Behavior a great review and offers a giveaway HERE.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My First Blog Tour!

Excitement bursts within me for The Conduct Series Blog Tour, starting TODAY! That's right, my romantic suspense series is going on tour for the next two weeks, visiting 28 blogs. Julie from A Tale of Many Reviews is the gracious host for this virtual book tour.

A Tale of Many Reviews
Today's stops include The Unread Reader blog where I discuss what I do when I'm not writing.

There will be a giveaway of With Good Behavior or Bad Behavior at every stop, and a grand prize of a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card for a lucky reader who comments at every stop.

See the list of participating blogs HERE

Congratulations to the winner of the Gratitude Giveaway Hop:

Denise Z!

She wins a $10 Amazon gift card. Thanks to all who entered and shared what they're thankful for. We are all blessed in many ways.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Omnific Release Day: Poughkeepsie

Today is release day at Omnific Publishing . . .

Introducing Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia!

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

This popular novel already has a 4.7/5 rating on goodreads! Check back on 11/30/11 when I'll host Debra on her Poughkeepsie blog tour. I'll share what I learned from my counseling internship at a homeless center, in honor of Blake.

Speaking of blog tours, I'm also excited for the start of my first blog tour in less than one week. The Conduct Series, romantic suspense novels featuring two parolees who fall in love and battle bad guys, is going on tour 11/28 - 12/9, hosted by Julie from A Tale of Many Reviews.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Your POV on POV

I have a point-of-view issue. What's your POV?

I'm rather new to writing, and my initial fledgling efforts were from a third person omniscient POV. In my debut novel With Good Behavior, I do a bit of "head hopping" from character to character. As a psychologist, I'm fascinated by the motivations of each perspective, so third person omniscient worked well for me.

Reader feedback is always varied and interesting. Some readers loved hearing from each character, believing it enriched the story. Other readers (like author Darcia Helle) commented that the constant change in POV was confusing at first, and suggested trying third person limited POV in which I represent one character's perspective at a time (by section or chapter). Darcia shared how an agent asked her "Whose story is this?"--a tough question to answer when using third person omniscient POV.

I shared this feedback with my amazing Omnific Publishing editor Jessica Royer Ocken, and we discussed the pros and cons of omniscient vs. limited. We're currently editing my first Young Adult novel, Against the Tide, and we decided to try third person limited. That created a LOT of work, I tell you! Whew. It's been a challenge to view the scene from only one character's perspective at times, but the advantage is a tighter, easier to follow story (I hope).

Last summer was my first attempt at first person POV for my short story Swim Recruit in the anthology Summer Breeze. First person writing was so fun! I found it a bit easier than writing in the third person.

What's your POV? Do you prefer reading and/or writing in the third person omniscient or limited, or the first person POV?

Time for the Thursday Blog Bounce hosted by Omnific Publishing.

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

I'm so grateful to my readers, fellow authors, and followers! To express my gratitude, I'm joining Kathy and All-Consuming Books for the Gratitude Giveaway Hop.

Up for grabs is a $10 gift card to Amazon to a lucky U.S. winner.

To enter, all you need to do is to leave a comment including:
1) What you're thankful for
2) Your email address so I can contact you if you win.

(Edited the post to add I LOVE reading all that you're thankful for, everybody! Thank YOU for sharing your blessings).

Also, don't forget to enter to win a Kindle Fire by clicking on the link to your right! I'm joining with other authors for the Kindle Fire giveaway and all you need to do is provide your email address.

I'm also offering my romantic suspense novel With Good Behavior for only $.99 in November.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Winners of November Giveaway Hop

Congratulations to our two winners of the November Giveaway Hop:

from Sweeping Me Blog


from En Route to Life Blog

Mr. Darcy was their favorite historical romance hero. He's quite popular with the ladies!

Mary wins an ebook of Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2). Remember, you can get With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series #1) for only $.99 in November!

Kalea wins an ebook of A Love By Any Measure by Killian McRae.

Congratulations to you both, and thanks to everyone for all the lovely comments and follows.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Giveaway Hop

Kathy from I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, and Tristi Pinkston are hosting another great giveaway! We all have things we're thankful for, and we all have goodies to give away too.

~ * ~ 

For this international giveaway, enter to win one of TWO romance e-books:

1) Historical Romance: A Love By Any Measure by Killian McRae. 11/8/11 is the official release date for this angsty Irish bodice-ripper! You can read an excerpt at the end of this post.

2) Romantic Suspense: Bad Behavior, book two of The Conduct Series by Jennifer Lane. (Book one, With Good Behavior, is on sale for $.99 the month of November.)

You can also enter to win a Kindle Fire on the right side of my blog. (No joke---I'm joining other authors to offer a brand spankin' new Kindle Fire to one lucky reader, and this giveaway is international).

Entries now closed. Stay tuned for the winners' names!

From “A Love by Any Measure,” by Killian McRae
                Tulipe Noire Press, 2011
Accusatory, hostile glares traced Maeve’s every step. Two options lay be­fore her: be apologetic and claim this was only business and noth­ing was going on between she and August – an effort which Maeve knew would fail, as the truth of her conflict would be evident on her face; or she could bluff and take on an air of authority. In this second scenario, the other workers would at least fear losing their position for saying anything, if they believed she was indeed Grayson’s girl.
“We open in thirty minutes, and I don’t see a single loaf in the window,” she barked with false confidence. “Hop to it, eh?”
Maeve drew her eyes to the most fidgety of the shop girls, Clara, whom she knew would be all too eager to please and not dare speak a cross word. With a flex of her arm and pointing of a finger, Clara’s petite frame practically sprang to the back room. As Maeve turned to exit the shop to follow August, a cacophony of banging pans near the ovens arose and baked loaves were shoved in to the display glass.
The stairs to the manager’s apartment lay behind a cast iron gate on the side of the building. Maeve waited for August to exit and lead to the quarters that must have been the previous owner’s. August’s green eyes twinkled in fervent delight. He still had not understood what he had wrought, making her believe that his intentions had been benevolent despite the dreadful consequences they were likely to bring.
Maeve passed through the door. He followed and waited to be lauded and thanked for his keen plan and humble generosity.
“How could you be so daft?!” Her arms flew up as her balled fist walloped his chest.
He attempted to stutter a response, but she cut him to the quick.
“What did you expect they would think? I’ve been only a shop girl, and that only for a short time. And then some bloody Englishman sweeps into town, puts me up at his place, buys the bakery, and makes me manager?”
“Don’t you see what this does? Brand me a whore, is what. And for what? Just to have a place where you could continue this arrangement in private with me now that your sister and middleman are privy? Has a fortnight without driven you to insanity?”
Without courage, or perhaps, will to look at her, August shook his head wildly and sat on a stout wooden stool next to the door.
“I never .... It wasn’t my intention.....” He paused, collecting his thoughts before finally making a better retort. “Oh, Maeve, I didn’t think. I... I ... I was only thinking about... you. This wasn’t what I meant to happen.”
She scoffed with a cackling grunt. “Aye? And just what did you intend to accomplish by this maneuver then?”
“Your freedom.”
August finally chanced an upward glance on the heel of his sincere admis­sion. Maeve shrank back, perplexed.
“You are asked far beyond what should be of someone who’s already given so much. You went as far as to broker a deal with me that nearly cost you your chastity. I don’t want you to have to choose between having a home and having a choice. And if it’s just a question of money —”
“I never asked you for money. I never asked you for … this.”
He gave a weak half-smile. “I know. You’d rather rent your innocence to me than sacrifice your pride for a penny. If I could have simply given you money, I would have. But I could, at least, have seen the ramifications of that action. Instead, I decided to create an opportunity for you to earn your security. I thought, if I gave you the bakery...”
Maeve’s frame eased a little as she began to understand. Crossing the room, she kept her body turned away, yet laid a hand tenderly on his shoulder. She was surprised to feel a twinge of sadness.
“And you would... What about our contract? I still want the cottage, even if I’m living in town. What would I need to do? Would you have to come to town, or would I have come to...?”
“You’d still do that? Just to keep the cottage? Even with this apartment, you’d do anything to still have... the cottage?”
He turned toward her and gazed hopefully into her eyes, as though his very ability to breathe depended on the answer to his query. “Would you not want to be with me, Maeve?”
Brown eyes darted wildly around the room, looking to focus on anything but the optimism etched in his every feature. Yes, she’d want to be with him, but what did it matter? In the end, there was no way of being with August, there was only being under him. If there was a sliver of possibility, a minute modicum of chance that they might ever be together, she’d throw herself at it full force. But wishing simply couldn’t make it so.

Thank you for the excerpt, Killian McRae! Check out A Love By Any Measure.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Great Week in Review

Lots of fun things happening on the blog this week--sales, guest posts, and giveaways galore!

I'd love for you to check out my debut novel With Good Behavior and we're making it easier than ever to read it. Omnific Publishing features a Veterans' Day Sale in November. Buy With Good Behavior for only $.99 here!

My review for the historical romance pirate adventure Cat O' Nine Tails is just below this post. Author Patricia Leever and I had a swashbuckling interview, and one reader won an ebook and swag.


More giveaway winners abound. Winners of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop receive ebooks of With Good Behavior:

Hooray for

And the Romance Girls Gone Goblin Winner of a $10 Amazon gift card is . . .


Congratulations to the winners. Bummed you weren't one of the chosen ones? Follow my blog tour starting November 28th to win books and prizes.

And, we're offering yet another chance to win my book if you comment HERE. The naughty and sexy Wendy from Rage, Sex, and Teddy Bears blog gave With Good Behavior an awesome review, and learn more about my inspiration for the novel in the interview.

Finally, here's the BIGGEST giveaway ever! I'm teaming with multiple authors to offer a free Kindle Fire to one lucky winner. Can you believe it? Get your awesome color e-reader by entering on the right side of my blog.

Here's to a lucky and fun holiday season.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review, Interview, and Giveaway: Cat O’ Nine Tails by Patricia Leever

Sexy, Swashbuckling Female Pirate Wins Your Heart and Your Loot

It was quite a pleasure reading Patricia Leever’s Cat O’ Nine Tails. I love the idea of a female pirate, Aeron Lynch, with fiery red locks and intense green eyes. Handsome pirate hunter Orrin Walsh is determined to put a stop to Aeron’s thieving ways, but is there more than meets the eye with this sassy lass?

Indeed, things are not always as they seem, and there’s instant chemistry between the pirate and her hunter. Aeron has an intriguing backstory involving the queen—the same queen who has commissioned Orrin to hunt down Aeron. I really liked how Patty handled Aeron’s post-traumatic stress. Orrin isn’t feeling so confident himself due to his first wife leaving him. (Stupid wench!)

I think Patty did a great job of world-building in this historical romance—the island jungle, the ship sailing on an open sea, the rich language. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

She was a most unusual pirate: she did not take what she wanted with a sword and threats of death but with a sway of her hips and a promise on her lips. (Though Aeron is skilled with a sword, make no doubt!)

Describing William, the prince, who’s visiting Mommie Dearest to try to get Aeron:

He would dare a dance with the devil to have the company of an angel.

One of many poignant and *HOT* love scenes:

With her eyes squeezed shut, she steeled herself for his reaction, waiting for Orrin to finally see her scars. She listened closely for his gasp of horror, but there came none. Only sweet kisses as he traveled the length and width of her back. He slid the dress down an inch at a time, lavishing each newly exposed sliver of bare flesh with kisses and slow swipes of his tongue.

The queen talking to her son William:

“Do you really think that I would trust you to carry out this task on your own? Really, William,” she scoffed before he could even answer. “You can barely take a shit without assistance.” Damn, she’s cold!

Orrin’s brother Kale, a notorious ladies man, also gets some true lovin’ in this story.

The one thing that was a little strange to me what the choice of names for the romantic leads: Aeron and Orrin. I’m not sure how to pronounce Aeron but it sounds so similar to Orrin that it was a bit confusing at times. My brain also looks at Aeron as a male name.

I highly recommend this fun and sexy adventure! Wonderful job, Patty Leever.

And now onto my interview with Patty:

Jennifer Lane (JL): Cat O’ Nine Tails is your debut novel, correct? How did you get into writing?

Patricia Leever (PL): Yes, this is my debut novel! Heehee, I still get tingly and giggly when I say that. I don't really know how I got into writing other than it's just something that I've always done, in one form or another. There was a two year period, after my grandma passed away, that I didn't write a word and it was a really dark time for me. When I think back on that time I have to laugh at the absurdity of it because my grandma was always one of my biggest writing supporters, she would have been ridiculously proud of what I've done.

JL: I loved Aeron's character. How did you come up with the idea for a female pirate?

PL: I wanted something different. I absolutely LOVE a strong female lead so I knew my girl wasn't going to be a wilting flower that sat around waiting for the strong man to save her. She was going to take charge and save herself.

JL: Please tell us about your research for this historical romance.

PL: Oh lord, I am a research freak! I can lose an entire day of writing just on research. It was important for me to get certain things accurate, and it's important that my readers feel that I've taken that time to fully submerge them into the story by doing so. Even though the story is pure fiction, it was set in an era of time that is specific and making sure that when I got to the bathing scene, what kind of soap might they have used, was it a bar or was it a paste, that kind of thing.

JL: I love the trading cards you've developed (that one lucky commenter on this post will win!) How did you find the images representing your characters? Any recommendations for authors making swag for their novels?

PL: Thank you, I had so much fun creating them! I spent hours upon hours scouring the stock image sites looking for who would fit whom and when I narrowed my characters down I purchased the rights to use the images. If you shop around, like anything else, you can find the right deal to fit into your budget. That goes for image sites and for professional printers. When I sat down to make my cards, I had in mind what I wanted to do. I'd seen other romance trading cards but I wanted mine to be different, like my cover. My cover isn't a typical historical romance cover so I felt my cards had to have the same feel. Also, research what is new in the world of swag, what do readers seem to like.

JL: Halloween just passed. How did your family celebrate it? What are your plans for the upcoming holidays?

PL: I am all about the costume and this year I sported about 3, okay really 2 1/2 but let's not split hairs. We spent one weekend participating in the local Zombie March that benefits the local food pantry, which was a lot of fun and on the actual night spent time with or friends in the neighborhood, enjoying laughs and good food! The upcoming holidays are much the same. We have a large family so we are usually quite busy running around from one house to the other and getting our house prepared for the family gathering. Family is very important to us.

JL: What's next for you, Ms. Author?

PL: I'm in the process of preparing another piece to present to my publisher, this one is an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance about a 134 year old demon hunter in Los Angeles named, Evelyn Wright. I have also started writing the sequel to Cat O' Nine Tails, which I'm really enjoying!

JL: Thanks for stopping by the blog, Patty! Readers, get your copy of Cat O' Nine Tails HERE.

One lucky commenter will win an ebook and swag! Please leave a comment with your email address so we can notify you if you win.

Authors, join the Blog Bounce here.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Win a Kindle Fire!

eReaders and eBooks are hot. So hot, they're on fire! The Kindle Fire, that is.
I'm delighted to announce I'm participating in the "Reading Next to the (Kindle) Fire" holiday giveaway. The prize? A brand, spankin' new Kindle Fire and 20+ eBooks in Romance, Paranormal, Science Fiction, mystery and YA!

How do you enter? Simple.

1. Join my blog, and/or any of the blogs of the participating authors.

2. Click the Kindle Fire pic in this post or on my sidebar to be taken to official entry form. Fill in the required information (it's just a few smidgens of info), and you're entered! While you're over there, check out the full list of participating authors and books to be given to the winner.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Romance Girls Gone Goblin Giveaway Hop

In addition to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, I'm participating in the Romance Girls Gone Goblin Giveaway Hop, hosted by Lisa Sanchez!

Isn't that button super scary? EEK!

I'm giving away a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to the randomly-chosen winner. I'll also throw in some fun bookmarks from The Conduct Series, my romantic suspense series.

Are you dressing in costume this Halloween? My blog avatar is actually me in a Halloween costume--a carrot.

Lord knows why my mother sewed a carrot costume, but she did, and it's been legendary in my family ever since. Lord knows why I wrote about "sexy vegetables" in With Good Behavior, but I did, and now I just have to use the carrot for my author photo.

What's been your favorite Halloween costume you've ever worn?

The giveaway ends at midnight on 10/31/11.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Thank you to Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not a Writer BLOG as well as The Diary of a Bookworm for hosting this huge giveaway!

I love Halloween--I'm actually wearing a costume in my blogger avatar (I'm a carrot.) To celebrate, I'm giving away two ebooks from my romantic suspense series, The Conduct Series. The winners can choose either With Good Behavior or Bad Behavior.

The Conduct Series is going on tour Nov. 28 - Dec. 9. Bloggers can sign up HERE.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The CONduct Series Blog Tour

I'm so excited! Julie from A Tale of Many Reviews is organizing my first book blog tour for the adult romantic suspense novels With Good Behavior and Bad Behavior. Omnific Publishing will give away lots of books and I'll throw in some swag and a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Bloggers can sign up on Julie's blog HERE. Readers, stay tuned for your chance to win goodies!

The Conduct Series is about two parolees who fall in love and battle bad guys in their quest for redemption.

And now it's time for the Author Author Blog Bounce. Head on over to Omnific's blog to see the details. Authors, bounce on in and join the hop. Readers, bounce over to your favorite blogs.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Babs Book Bistro & Blog Bounce

Happy Blog Bounce Thursday! I hope you bounce over to Babs Book Bistro BLOG to check out the lovely 5 star review she gave for With Good Behavior.

I'm looking into organizing a virtual book tour for The Conduct Series for the end of this year. Any interested bloggers, please leave a comment or contact me at jenniferlanebooks at gmail dot com.

Now it's time to bounce. Check out Omnific Publishing's BLOG for instructions.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Lobster and the Eel: So Happy Together

I'm puzzled I don't attend church more regularly, because I always come away inspired each time I do get my butt outta bed on Sunday mornings.

Recently I visited my parents in Cincinnati to attend a Bengals game (they won in an amazing come-from-behind fashion, yeah!) First we went to church and the sermon was about happiness in marriage. In romance, do we only look out only for our own happiness or do we focus on the happiness of our partner?

Like most things in life, I believe there needs to be a balance between our happiness and our partner's happiness. If we focus solely on ourselves, we won't have partners for long! If we focus solely on our partners, we get lost in the relationship. We become spineless, wet noodles.

A folktale I read in Eating in the Light of the Moon demonstrates this balance nicely. The story is about an eel and a lobster working together. On the ocean floor, a lobster sits at the mouth of a dark cave, and an eel lives inside. The cave's opening is an ideal place to attract food for both the lobster and the eel. However, eels EAT lobsters. So, Ms. Lobster needs to keep one antenna pointed out the cave to sense incoming food, and one antenna pointed behind her into the cave to sense an oncoming attack by hungry gobble-gobble Ms. Eel.

What a wonderful metaphor for successful human relationships. We need to point our antennae both inward and outward, sensing our own needs but also cognizant of the needs of others. When those needs differ, that's where communication and conflict resolution skills come in. Hopefully we can avoid the "claws" coming out or a shocking attack from behind, hee hee.

What do you think about focusing on your happiness vs. your partner's, in life or fiction? One aspect I disliked about Twilight was how selfless Bella was, but many readers seemed to love her character.

Time for the Meet an Author Monday Blog Hop, which will run through the month of October and then fade away into the blogosphere. Thank you to Lisa Sanchez for hosting the hop all these months! Check out her blog for instructions.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Author Debra Anastasia: Review and Interview

Today’s special guest is author Debra Anastasia! *applauds* I truly enjoyed her novel Crushed Seraphim, and here’s my review.

Where in the universe can you find an angel with a potty mouth and a devil with a heart of gold? Why, in Crushed Seraphim, of course! Debra Anastasia has created cheeky, clever characters in her debut novel, and the unusual cast kept me thoroughly entertained. The writing is smooth and captivating, particularly when Debra writes the character of Jack, aka the devil. Jack forever sucks on a lit cigarette, its smoke swirling around him as he jokes about cigarettes killing him one day, his motorcycle boots and leather jacket showing off his hot, muscled bod. Sizzling.

This novel is wonderful, but at times it felt a bit uneven to me. There are so many parts that I loved (which I’ll list here) and a few aspects I didn’t enjoy as much. Here are my favorite elements of the story (along with noteworthy quotes):

*the location of the gateway to Hell
*angel Emma’s description of how depression feels in the devil’s sordid hallway of torture
*Emma’s food source when she gets changed (mirrored in her shiny green eyes hee hee)
*calling purgatory hell’s “waiting room”
*the devil’s lone hand reaching up out of the soil, begging for Emma to free him
*Jason’s speech to Emma at the end

My favorite quotes (page numbers from my Nook):

“Her wing was a tightly knit gossamer web. Feathers the consistency of hope shimmered . . . A single slice, welted with melted silver, lined her shoulder where another symmetrical wing should have been. Gentle drops of liquid metal pooled in the snow, solidifying into a small mirror.” (p.16) (Fantastic visuals of angels).

When faced with a massive, snarling dragon, Emma doesn’t reach for a knight or a sword. Instead, she uses more powerful weapons: her love and forgiveness. “But I know better. I know even if you kill me, God loves me. He’ll never leave me. I have hope. And I believe.” (p. 114)

Emma’s advice: “Your heart is your compass. It will always tell you about someone’s true nature.” (p. 159)

Jack cracks me up. “The last time he’d busted a pause button there had been a legal hearing in Heavenly Court. Those righteous types were such sticklers for the rules.” (p. 179)

Everett is deliciously evil. “He nodded when the bloodcurdling noise began again. Everett pretended to hold a conductor’s baton as she hit a particularly excruciating high note.” (p. 202)

Wow! A lot of fun. Yet there were parts I didn’t like as much:

*The presence of vampires. While I found the lore of their creation interesting, my personal opinion is that vampires don’t really fit well in a story about heaven and hell. It does seem the “half-breeds” will have a large role in the sequel though. I have to say I’m not a huge paranormal fan so other readers may really love Jason and his family.

*The direction of the story confused me at times. Freeing God from hell seems like the main thrust of the plot but after a big battle it’s almost like another story begins.

*Emma going from Jason to Jack and back again was jarring for me. I wanted more understanding of her attraction and decision-making. We know she’s impulsive but I didn’t get a good sense of why she’d choose one over the other.

In the balance of things, these are minor points. Overall it's a fresh, enjoyable story that I highly recommend. Bravo, Debra!

And now we get to hear from Ms. Author.

Jennifer Lane (JL): I'm happy to have you on the blog today, Debra!  Thanks for taking time out of your chaotic recovery from the hurricane to visit. Congratulations on the publication of Crushed Seraphim, which I loved. What inspired you to write the story?

Debra Anastasia (DA): First thank you so much for reading it! Crushed Seraphim came from my curiosity about how an angel who was more like a real person would handle adversity. I was inspired by people who do amazing things and aren’t perfect every moment of every day. I love my heroines to have a courageous attitude, so my angel needed to stand on her own two wings. Wait, I mean feet. ;)

JL: Please tell us about your journey toward publication.

DA: Wow. That’s a great question. I’ve been very fortunate to have access to a computer, which has lead to the most wonderful communities. Writing itself took years to try. I would get nervous that people would know what went on my head! It is a revealing process. After numerous different outlets online and tremendous support, I tried my hand at fiction and loved it.

JL: We’re glad you did! What's been the most surprising reaction from readers so far?

DA: I think I was most surprised with how accepting readers are. They have fantastic imaginations. It is really an honor to try and go as deep as I can when writing a scene. I found if I cry when writing it (or laugh) then I know it will usually come through for my readers. I love sharing that emotion with them.

JL: I feel the same way when writing. How much does your character Emma reflect your own personality?

DA: Well, I love to curse. Not in public or in front of children, of course. I think Emma’s quick temper comes from me and I hope I have a bit of her faith. It’s interesting, as I’m sure you know, even the villains have a bit of the author in them.

JL: Crushed Seraphim deals with spirituality. How have your own spiritual beliefs influenced your writing?

DA: I’m very spiritual. I believe in praying for people and think that the good energy that comes from prayers can help. I’m not tremendously religious now, though I did have 12 years of Catholic schooling. I think I’m trying to tell people a story with Crushed Seraphim about how strong we all are and how we can help each other. Especially women. I’ve found my gender to be just stunning examples of selfless love.

JL: Amen to that! Speaking of spirituality, you've endured tough times with hurricane winds causing a huge tree to fall on your house (Read Deb’s harrowing account HERE). How are your family and your home recovering?

DA: Hurricane Irene was kind of a game changer for my family. We are all safe and my pets are safe. I can’t ask for anything more. We were fortunate to have insurance, so although the process is lengthy, my home will be demolished and rebuilt. I do not look at this as any kind of tragedy because there are far worse things that happen to families everyday. I had tremendous support from Omnific and my friends online that has made a world of difference. We are very lucky.

JL: I've been hearing GREAT things about your next novel Poughkeepsie. And I haven't read it yet, so it will be all new to me, yay! What's the story about?

DA: I’m so excited for you to read it. I hope you like it. The story is about daring to love. I was reading a lot about rich, handsome heroes in love stories and I looked at my husband and thought, “Well he’s not rich.” (Sorry Honey!) and he’s still my hero. I’m crazy about him and we’re total partners. I wanted to write a story about a love that would last even if the hero couldn’t solve every problem with a blob of money, if all he had to offer was his heart. And I wanted a heroine that would appreciate that kindness. So, Blake’s homeless and Livia is smart enough to trust her heart. And of course, because we need a problem, so things go wrong for our lovebirds! Blake has two foster bothers, one a would-be priest and one a criminal. His love for his brothers and his new lady is challenged when they all face a dangerous, deadly night.

JL: Sounds so interesting. Thanks for the interview, Debra.

DA: Thanks for having me. It is such an honor to get to be on your blog. Your writing is fantastic. So glad we are Omnific sisters.

You need to read Crushed Seraphim, people! Find Debra and her novels here:

Debra’s website

Twitter: @Debra_Anastasia


Goodreads Author Page

Debra’s Blog

Crushed Seraphim Available at Omnific Publishing

Crushed Seraphim on Amazon

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