Not Without Risk by Sarah Grimm

I can remember one day a couple of years ago when Sarah Grimm tweeted something like, “I just found a print copy of Not Without Risk in my glove compartment. Should I give it away?”

I answered back, “pickmepickmepickme!”

Little did I know what a treat I was in for. I made friend and got a great book in the process. But now…now Not Without Risk has a fabulous new look to go with the fabulous characters.

NWR_FINAL

So tell me, have you met Sgt. Justin Harrison?

~◊~◊~◊~ Character Interview:  Sergeant Justin Harrison ~◊~◊~◊~

45393_442305439816_248833609816_4536390_6032434_n

(Yes, I know this is Ty Herndon, but he makes an awesome Justin, don’t you think?)

What is Not Without Risk about?

Murder. Proving to myself and my colleagues that I was fit to return to active duty after a .38 punctured my lung. And how a sexy brunette, with the longest legs I’ve ever had the pleasure of having wrapped around my hips, changed everything.

What did you think the first time you saw the heroine, Paige?

That she was stunning—and that it had been far too long since I’d been with a woman.

What was your second thought?

She could be a killer.

Why did you become a cop?

I have no stomach for people who take advantage of others weaknesses or misfortune for their own gain. I can’t stand violence against others, especially women. And when bad things happen, someone needs to help restore order, solve the puzzle and uncover the identity of the bad guy. I’m very good with puzzles.

What do you like most about Paige?

Her courage and strength. Even injured and bleeding, facing the knowledge that someone wanted her dead—would stop at nothing to see it happen—Paige didn’t break.

If you could change one thing about her, what would it be?

Why would I want to change her?

What is your biggest fear?

That I won’t be able to protect Paige. I pushed myself, my body, too hard in order to get back to the job—the thing that defines who I am. Then I met Paige, and discovered something more important than being a cop. Injured, exhausted and facing one of the toughest cases of my career…I don’t know if I can do it, if I can solve it before the killer gets his hands on her. But I have to. I can’t lose the woman who’s shown me I have worth other than the job—the woman I’ve come to need as much as my next lung full of air.

~◊~◊~◊~Blurb ~◊~◊~◊~

The last thing he wanted was what he needed most…

Six agonizing months after a slug collapsed his lung, Sergeant Justin Harrison manages to return to the one place where he shines—the San Diego homicide division. Nothing will stand in the way of proving he is fit for active duty. Especially not the long-legged brunette who just stumbled into his crime scene.

Photographer Paige Conroy spent years hiding from her past. Then a late night telephone call brings it crashing back. An old friend is in town and needs her help. When she arrives at his hotel room four hours later, he’s dead. Suddenly, she’s the target of a madman, and Paige must turn to Sergeant Harrison for protection.

But who is the bigger threat to her… the faceless assailant she fears will steal her life or the dark-eyed detective she knows could steal her heart?

~◊~◊~◊~ My Review ~◊~◊~◊~

I LOVED this book!! First and foremost this is a romance novel. And it delivers! Paige and Justin are perfect for each other. A cop who doesn’t believe in love and a woman who doesn’t date cops. Add in a murder mystery and a killer on the loose, and you have a recipe for a great read. Grimm’s characters are real, the novel gritty yet true to the genre. The book focuses on the characters and how the forces around them pull them together even as they fight against the attraction they have for one another. The love scenes are HOT. But it should come with a warning–Caution: contents of this book are hard to resist. May cause late nights and continual reading! You won’t be able to put it down!

~◊~◊~◊~Buy Links~◊~◊~◊~

Amazon.com : http://amzn.to/VCdnYz

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/134DlkP

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-notwithoutrisk-1084677-149.html

Here’s the cover again…can’t enough of that modern art.

NWR_FINAL

Samantha March: On Self Publishing & More

Yesterday I gave you a review and glimpse into Samantha March’s new book, The Green Ticket. Today I have a little more from Samantha. Go grab and drink and a chair as Samantha shares with us her journey into self publication:

Amie: All right, Samantha, let’s get this party started. First of all let me say that I admire your bravery and dedication for your work and to self publish! When did you decide to take the self-pub plunge?

Samantha: I have a very entrepreneurial spirit, and I really loved the idea of being my boss and having full control over my work. I also knew that I wanted to someday create a business out of it – and I now am the owner of the indie publishing company,Marching Ink, as well.

Amie: Is your book available in print as well as in e-formats?

Samantha: Yes, you can buy in print from Marching Ink or Amazon. (Links will be available December 5!)

Amie: How did you find the printer?

Samantha: I printed my hard copies through the company CreateSpace. I found it pretty simple, the formatting wasn’t too bad and the step-by-step process was easy to follow!

Amie: Tell me about the art work. who did the cover? And how much of a hand did you have in determining the final look?

Samantha: Scarlett Rugers designed my cover, and I love it! My first thought when I envisioned the cover was exactly how it ended up. Scarlett was excellent and made quick work of the process.

Amie: And now for the dreaded edits…who did your edits and how many reads did you have before you said, “it’s time.”?

Samantha: I do a lot of self-editing, and it helps that I do freelance editing and have a bit of boost in that area. But you can’t rely on only your eyes to catch errors. My assistant did editing for me and gave me some great tips, and my proofreader and college friend also gave it a few read-throughs. After they both had gone through it, I read it three more times before saying I could publish.

Amie: Tell me about your stumbling blocks, successes, and things you wished you’d done differently.

Samantha: A stumbling block I had in the process of writing was having two characters turn out to be completely different than how I had planned them. The characters were Dani and Allie, and when I had first plotted the story, I basically had their personalities flipped – Dani held the secret and Allie was the good one. As I was writing, they kept taking different twists and turns, and no matter how hard I tried to make Dani evil, it just didn’t work. It took some rewriting, but I am happy with the way they ended up!

A success that I had the second time around was knowing that giving myself goals would help me get the book written faster than my first. Monday-Friday I would write and give a goal such as 1,000 words or 5,000 words or finishing a certain scene. Weekends were bonus days, and I finished this book (even with the re-writing!) much quicker than with Destined to Fail.

I learned a lot from my first book to the second, such as having a marketing plan firmly in place before I get excited and hit publish.  

Amie: Now, tell us about your book.

The Green Ticket~*~*~*~ BLURB ~*~*~*~

College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty – manager to a successful salon and spa. Thrilled to finally have a real adult job, Alex enthusiastically jumps into the world of schedules, conference calls, and getting a massage when interviewing prospective employees. What she doesn’t expect are the very grown-up issues that comes with a demanding boss. Kevin Dohlman quickly becomes Alex’s worse nightmare – covering up his affairs, dealing with his enormous ego, and trying to protect her female staff from him becomes a full-time job in its own right. Alex has also befriended Kevin’s wife and co-owner, Dani, and is trying to keep Kevin’s secrets hidden from her. The situation only worsens when Kevin starts paying Alex off to make sure she keeps her insider knowledge to herself.

While struggling to keep her wits and stay happy with her new grown-up job, Alex is juggling college courses, a new love interest, and keeping up with her close group of girlfriends. When her roommate and best friend Lila gets offered an opportunity to move to Los Angeles and sign with an agent, Alex realizes her life truly is changing, and everyone around her – including herself ­­–– is growing up.  Knowing she is faced with some hard decisions ahead, Alex struggles with keeping her job at Blissful. But does she really want to throw away what she dreamed of as a career – or will the secret-keeping for Kevin become too much to handle? The Green Ticket is a story about morals versus money, and how one young woman navigates the shaky line between the two.

~*~*~*~ EXCERPT ~*~*~*~

 Bustling salon and spa seeking a full time manager to oversee daily operations. Job duties will include but will not be limited to: hiring and scheduling staff, assisting with appointment management, scheduling training opportunities, dealing with cash flow, marketing and advertising of the business, and ensuring salon and spa is run with class and enthusiasm. No experience in salon and spa business is required, but a business degree is preferred. Serious, enthusiastic, and hard-working individuals please email resume and cover letter tolanidohlman@blissfulsalonandspa.com. Hours will vary, pay is negotiable and based on experience.

 

I cracked my knuckles against my palm, tiny pops of the bad habit music to my ears. A manager at a salon and spa? This job listing was practically screaming my name. I didn’t have any experience with managing a salon – or anywhere for that matter – but I loved getting my hair done. And mani/pedis. And my bushy eyebrows needed a good hot wax job at least once every thirty days.

I bookmarked the job listing, making a note to myself on my daily to-do list sitting next to my laptop. Polish resume,I scrawled, right after 60 minutes Pilates/yoga workout andfinish cleaning bathroom.

Lila burst through the door at that moment, her long blonde hair flying behind her. “We must work out tonight. Please come and motivate me. I’m getting my pictures taken in two weeks and I really need to drop some weight. And tone up. Look firm. Look good. The TV adds ten pounds you know. Did you get your assignment done yet for Bater’s class? I need to work on that ,too.” Even though Lila Medlin had been my best friend for years, the speed at which she does everything could still amaze me. I watched her beautiful virgin hair (she’s a natural blonde the bitch) barely make it past the doorframe before getting slammed.

“You’re in luck. I was going to do some Pilates and yoga tonight anyways. Just do it with me. That will help firm and tighten you. Even though you know I don’t think you need it.”

“When I fit into your size two jeans, I’ll finally start listening.” Lila walked into the kitchen, opening cabinets then the refrigerator. “We have no food! Want to order a pizza or something? Ooh, maybe some wings? I’m craving hot sauce.”

I walked into the kitchen behind her, peering into the depths of our pathetic excuse for a dorm fridge. “We have food. Here’s a bag of lettuce, some carrot sticks back here, and croutons in the cabinet. I snagged some packets of ranch from the lounge yesterday. Voila–– let’s make a salad!”

Lila pulled a face, reacting like I asked her to go on Survivor and eats cockroaches. “Uh, yeah, salad sounds great if I was trying to starve myself, Alex. I’m craving real food, not rabbit food.”

I held my hands up in surrender. “You’re the one talking about toning and firming up. I’m just saying a salad will give you better odds then buffalo wings.”

Lila had a dream to be an entertainment reporter, and was itching for the chance to get out of Dodge- or rather, Iowa. Lila and I had been best friends since we came to Kaufman College in Des Moines three years ago, and had been living together for two. We wanted to move out on our own and get a house, but neither of us had the financials to support that yet. Lila was saving every penny to put towards photography sessions, voice lessons, and even acting classes. Her big goal was to head out to Los Angeles and somehow land an audition for Buzzworthy, the hottest celebrity news show. I supported her goal of being a reporter, even though I had no idea how to help her achieve it.

My goals weren’t as specific as Lila’s. Mainly, I wanted to be able to stand on my own two feet and stop relying on my sister for everything. Alicia was my big sister, married to Craig Bowersworth and living with their five kids in Seattle. Craig’s job as a political campaign manager led them to many places, but Alicia fell in love with Seattle the minute she laid eyes on the rainy landscape, so they settled down there. Alicia was a stay at home mom, but with Craig’s income, they don’t need the extra money. Alicia helped me stay financially afloat by sending me money each month. I held down stray jobs here and there, but still hadn’t quite figured out what I want to do when I grow up. I was studying Business Leadership and Entrepreneurship at college, and was still waiting to see where the wind would blow me.

“Fine, fine, a salad it is. Can you whip one up for me quick? I need to put my face on before Joel comes over.”

“What time is he stopping by?”

“He said around five. He has some study group thing tonight so he wanted to drop by and see me before that.” Joel Lohrbach had been Lila’s boyfriend for just over year, starting when we were sophomores in college. Lila fell hard and fast for Joel, and the attraction still baffled me. Joel was short and geeky, with spiked black hair and big glasses that did not make a fashion statement, and always has his nose in a book. Lila was tall, blonde and gorgeous, with ambitions to live in sunny LA and schmooze with celebrities. Joel was not agreeable to Lila’s future plans. I had no idea what would happen if Lila actually made it in the entertainment biz. I wouldn’t mind seeing them breakup. I thought Joel was a dick to Lila more than a sweetheart. But she loved him.

“Okay, get your makeup on and we’ll eat some salad and change for the gym. And you can help me look at this job I’m thinking about applying for. Tell me if you get good vibes or not.” Lila always says she gets “vibes” about certain things, such as if the elective I want to sign up for will be a brain buster or if the new Chinese restaurant in town has bugs in their food. And she’s usually pretty spot on.

“No problem. Are you thinking about leaving Tastie’s again?” Lila’s voice was muffled as she shouted out from the bathroom.

I put a healthy portion of lettuce in two plastic cereal bowls, quickly diced up the carrots and sprinkled those in, and shook the worn bag of croutons over the top. After smothering  the salads with ranch dressing, officially taking them from a healthy snack to a questionable one with the rich, calorie-laden topping, I was satisfied. Finding two clean forks in our utensil drawer was somewhat of a challenge, since neither of us were big on washing dishes, and I took a seat at our two-person table shoved in the back corner of our minuscule kitchen.

“Did you hear me? Are you thinking about leaving Tastie’s?” Lila came back into the kitchen, her face glowing and her blue eyes popping, even though she looked like she had no makeup on. I had yet to master the natural look like she could–– wearing two tons of concealer, highlighter, blush, shadow, liner, and mascara, and looking like she had just woken up. Mine always ends up looking like clown makeup when I try.

I dug into my salad, loading up my fork with lettuce and a crouton. “Yeah, just thinking about it, though. I’m getting tired of all my Friday and Saturday nights getting spent with sleazy guys. But the money is really helping me build up my savings account. I can’t live off Alicia forever.”

“I know, but look how good you’re doing saving money. You won’t be a waitress forever.”

“I wish I knew what I did want to be. How hard is it to figure out a career, especially as a junior in college? Shouldn’t I have this down already so I can stop taking all these electives?”

“Some people need more time. You’ll figure it out. If you don’t by the time I hit the high road out of this state, just come to LA with me. You could probably find a job out there in a heartbeat.”

“As what?”

“A model! An actress! I could get all the exclusive scoops on which designer you’re wearing and who you’re making a sex tape with next, and we could rule the world out there.”

“Lila, I won’t be making sex tapes with anyone in the foreseeable future. And the unforeseeable future, you perv.” I dug out the last crouton from the bottom of the bowl, crunching it between my teeth. “Besides, that lifestyle just isn’t for me. I don’t like being the center of attention. I would rather be behind the scenes.”

Amie: Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?

Samantha: I actually became fascinated a few years back with the money versus morals topic when I watched a young girl marry an older man (we are talking a 50 year age difference) and be fine that people knew she married him for money. Well, fascinated and quite disturbed I should say! That gave me the spark to write THE GREEN TICKET and even though the plot is entirely different, the concept is still there.

Amie: One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.

Samantha: That making the right decisions can be tough, but worth it in the end.

Amie: Who was your favorite character?

Samantha: I really loved Emma in this book, and I actually hope to write another from her POV.

Amie: That would be fantastic! And the most dreaded question of all—are you going to try your hand at self-publishing again?

Samantha: My books will be published through Marching Ink, yes :)

~*~*~*~ A Little More From Samantha March ~*~*~*~

My journey to being published was an interesting one. From the day that I decided I was really going to give this author thing a shot to the day I got published, a lot of changes were made. When I first starting taking my writing seriously, my plan was to write a stand-out book, query some agents, snag the best, and then find a successful publisher to make me a successful author. When I finished the first draft of my debut, Destined to Fail, the recession was hitting the US hard and a lot of things were starting to change in the publishing industry. When I was finally done with all the edits and rewrites for Destined, even more had changed. Self-publishing and eBooks were on their way to becoming the new norm, and traditional publishing was nearing the side of impossible. I didn’t know what to do. Continue my original plan of querying and hoping to find a publisher? Or take matters into my own hands and keep up with the changing times?

I decided I needed to at least give querying agents a shot. I will say that my heart was not into it, and I had pretty much decided I was going to publish on my own. But I wrote a query letter, researched agents, and sent three letters out. Three rejection letters later, I knew that I didn’t want to keep trying. My mind was made up even before I drafted that query letter.

With that decision, I also knew I wanted to take it a step further. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I created my own publishing company, Marching Ink, and my debut novel Destined to Fail was published in October 2010. In August 2012, Marching Ink releasedBreaking the Rulesthe debut novel from Canadian author Cat Lavoie. And now in December 2012, my second women’s fiction novel The Green Ticket will be released by Marching Ink. I never thought my publishing journey would include building my own business, but I am extremely happy, grateful, and thrilled for the path I embarked on.

Samantha March~*~*~*~ Author Bio ~*~*~*~

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

http://www.samanthamarch.com/

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Many thanks to Samantha for sharing her experience and The Green Ticket with us today! If you have a chance to check it out, be sure to–it’s a fabulous book!

The Green Ticket by Samantha March ~ A Review & More

The Green TicketCollege junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty – manager to a successful salon and spa. Thrilled to finally have a real adult job, Alex enthusiastically jumps into the world of schedules, conference calls, and getting a massage when interviewing prospective employees. What she doesn’t expect are the very grown-up issues that comes with a demanding boss. Kevin Dohlman quickly becomes Alex’s worse nightmare – covering up his affairs, dealing with his enormous ego, and trying to protect her female staff from him becomes a full-time job in its own right. Alex has also befriended Kevin’s wife and co-owner, Dani, and is trying to keep Kevin’s secrets hidden from her. The situation only worsens when Kevin starts paying Alex off to make sure she keeps her insider knowledge to herself.

While struggling to keep her wits and stay happy with her new grown-up job, Alex is juggling college courses, a new love interest, and keeping up with her close group of girlfriends. When her roommate and best friend Lila gets offered an opportunity to move to Los Angeles and sign with an agent, Alex realizes her life truly is changing, and everyone around her – including herself – is is growing up. Knowing she is faced with some hard decisions ahead, Alex struggles with keeping her job at Blissful. But does she really want to throw away what she dreamed of as a career – or will the secret-keeping for Kevin become too much to handle? The Green Ticket is a story about morals versus money, and how one young woman navigates the shaky line between the two.

~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~

Samantha has done it again! Okay, so it’s no secret that I adore Samantha March  on many levels, but here it  is again: a fabulous novel for  young adults about real people, with real problems, in real situations. Samantha expertly takes her sympathetic characters and puts them in situations which are challenging and true to their age and experience yet not so gritty that I feel like I should wash my hands after reading a chapter.

Alex is a college junior who falls into the dream job that may just be the  answer to her “what do  I want to be when I grow up?” Except…it  doesn’t come without costs. Will it be possible to keep up with the  demands of her job and school morphs into moral issues concerning the couple who owns the business.

I love how Samantha takes these fabulous young women in her books and puts them in situations that pulls and challenges them to the point that (although they don’t always make the right decisions) they learn and grow as do the  others around them.

The market for “young grown-ups”  is difficult water to navigate…Samantha March has it down to an art!

~*~*~*~ An Excerpt ~*~*~*~

Chapter 1

Bustling salon and spa seeking a full time manager to oversee daily operations. Job duties will include but will not be limited to: hiring and scheduling staff, assisting with appointment management, scheduling training opportunities, dealing with cash flow, marketing and advertising of the business, and ensuring salon and spa is run with class and enthusiasm. No experience in salon and spa business is required, but a business degree is preferred. Serious, enthusiastic, and hard-working individuals please email resume and cover letter to lanidohlman@blissfulsalonandspa.com. Hours will vary, pay is negotiable and based on experience.

 

I cracked my knuckles against my palm, tiny pops of the bad habit music to my ears. A manager at a salon and spa? This job listing was practically screaming my name. I didn’t have any experience with managing a salon – or anywhere for that matter – but I loved getting my hair done. And mani/pedis. And my bushy eyebrows needed a good hot wax job at least once every thirty days.

                I bookmarked the job listing, making a note to myself on my daily to-do list sitting next to my laptop. Polish resume, I scrawled, right after 60 minutes Pilates/yoga workout and finish cleaning bathroom.

                Lila burst through the door at that moment, her long blonde hair flying behind her. “We must work out tonight. Please come and motivate me. I’m getting my pictures taken in two weeks and I really need to drop some weight. And tone up. Look firm. Look good. The TV adds ten pounds you know. Did you get your assignment done yet for Bater’s class? I need to work on that ,too.” Even though Lila Medlin had been my best friend for years, the speed at which she does everything could still amaze me. I watched her beautiful virgin hair (she’s a natural blonde the bitch) barely make it past the doorframe before getting slammed.

                “You’re in luck. I was going to do some Pilates and yoga tonight anyways. Just do it with me. That will help firm and tighten you. Even though you know I don’t think you need it.”

                “When I fit into your size two jeans, I’ll finally start listening.” Lila walked into the kitchen, opening cabinets then the refrigerator. “We have no food! Want to order a pizza or something? Ooh, maybe some wings? I’m craving hot sauce.”

                I walked into the kitchen behind her, peering into the depths of our pathetic excuse for a dorm fridge. “We have food. Here’s a bag of lettuce, some carrot sticks back here, and croutons in the cabinet. I snagged some packets of ranch from the lounge yesterday. Voila–– let’s make a salad!”

                Lila pulled a face, reacting like I asked her to go on Survivor and eats cockroaches. “Uh, yeah, salad sounds great if I was trying to starve myself, Alex. I’m craving real food, not rabbit food.”

                I held my hands up in surrender. “You’re the one talking about toning and firming up. I’m just saying a salad will give you better odds then buffalo wings.”

                Lila had a dream to be an entertainment reporter, and was itching for the chance to get out of Dodge- or rather, Iowa. Lila and I had been best friends since we came to Kaufman College in Des Moines three years ago, and had been living together for two. We wanted to move out on our own and get a house, but neither of us had the financials to support that yet. Lila was saving every penny to put towards photography sessions, voice lessons, and even acting classes. Her big goal was to head out to Los Angeles and somehow land an audition for Buzzworthy, the hottest celebrity news show. I supported her goal of being a reporter, even though I had no idea how to help her achieve it.

                My goals weren’t as specific as Lila’s. Mainly, I wanted to be able to stand on my own two feet and stop relying on my sister for everything. Alicia was my big sister, married to Craig Bowersworth and living with their five kids in Seattle. Craig’s job as a political campaign manager led them to many places, but Alicia fell in love with Seattle the minute she laid eyes on the rainy landscape, so they settled down there. Alicia was a stay at home mom, but with Craig’s income, they don’t need the extra money. Alicia helped me stay financially afloat by sending me money each month. I held down stray jobs here and there, but still hadn’t quite figured out what I want to do when I grow up. I was studying Business Leadership and Entrepreneurship at college, and was still waiting to see where the wind would blow me.

                “Fine, fine, a salad it is. Can you whip one up for me quick? I need to put my face on before Joel comes over.”

                “What time is he stopping by?”

                “He said around five. He has some study group thing tonight so he wanted to drop by and see me before that.” Joel Lohrbach had been Lila’s boyfriend for just over year, starting when we were sophomores in college. Lila fell hard and fast for Joel, and the attraction still baffled me. Joel was short and geeky, with spiked black hair and big glasses that did not make a fashion statement, and always has his nose in a book. Lila was tall, blonde and gorgeous, with ambitions to live in sunny LA and schmooze with celebrities. Joel was not agreeable to Lila’s future plans. I had no idea what would happen if Lila actually made it in the entertainment biz. I wouldn’t mind seeing them breakup. I thought Joel was a dick to Lila more than a sweetheart. But she loved him.

                “Okay, get your makeup on and we’ll eat some salad and change for the gym. And you can help me look at this job I’m thinking about applying for. Tell me if you get good vibes or not.” Lila always says she gets “vibes” about certain things, such as if the elective I want to sign up for will be a brain buster or if the new Chinese restaurant in town has bugs in their food. And she’s usually pretty spot on.

                “No problem. Are you thinking about leaving Tastie’s again?” Lila’s voice was muffled as she shouted out from the bathroom.

                I put a healthy portion of lettuce in two plastic cereal bowls, quickly diced up the carrots and sprinkled those in, and shook the worn bag of croutons over the top. After smothering  the salads with ranch dressing, officially taking them from a healthy snack to a questionable one with the rich, calorie-laden topping, I was satisfied. Finding two clean forks in our utensil drawer was somewhat of a challenge, since neither of us were big on washing dishes, and I took a seat at our two-person table shoved in the back corner of our minuscule kitchen.

                “Did you hear me? Are you thinking about leaving Tastie’s?” Lila came back into the kitchen, her face glowing and her blue eyes popping, even though she looked like she had no makeup on. I had yet to master the natural look like she could–– wearing two tons of concealer, highlighter, blush, shadow, liner, and mascara, and looking like she had just woken up. Mine always ends up looking like clown makeup when I try.

                I dug into my salad, loading up my fork with lettuce and a crouton. “Yeah, just thinking about it, though. I’m getting tired of all my Friday and Saturday nights getting spent with sleazy guys. But the money is really helping me build up my savings account. I can’t live off Alicia forever.”

                “I know, but look how good you’re doing saving money. You won’t be a waitress forever.”

                “I wish I knew what I did want to be. How hard is it to figure out a career, especially as a junior in college? Shouldn’t I have this down already so I can stop taking all these electives?”

                “Some people need more time. You’ll figure it out. If you don’t by the time I hit the high road out of this state, just come to LA with me. You could probably find a job out there in a heartbeat.”

                “As what?”

                “A model! An actress! I could get all the exclusive scoops on which designer you’re wearing and who you’re making a sex tape with next, and we could rule the world out there.”

                “Lila, I won’t be making sex tapes with anyone in the foreseeable future. And the unforeseeable future, you perv.” I dug out the last crouton from the bottom of the bowl, crunching it between my teeth. “Besides, that lifestyle just isn’t for me. I don’t like being the center of attention. I would rather be behind the scenes.”

Samantha March~*~*~*~ Author Bio ~*~*~*~

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

~*~*~*~ Connect with Samantha ~*~*~*~

http://www.samanthamarch.com/

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~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~

Amazon: Print or eBook
Barnes and Noble: eBook

Kobo: eBook
Marching Ink: Print

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2012/11/the-green-ticket-by-samantha-march.html

 

Sparkle ~ A Book Review

I’d like to first say that I had decided to move all of my reviews to my review site www.amiesreviews.wordpress.com and then I read Sparkle. So I’m breaking my own rule. But this book is too good not to share more than once. So here’s the review copied and pasted for more exposure. We girls have to get the word out–this book is truly a ‘must read’.

Sparkle by Cara Alwill Leyba ~ A Review

sparkleAs women, we have become professional self-critics. We’ve become so convinced by society that we need to attain a level of perfection that just isn’t real. Whether it’s trying to get skinnier, look younger, get that promotion, please our parents, get fuller lips or rid ourselves of cellulite — we’re on a never ending mission to change and it always makes us feel like crap.

Instead, why not focus on all the fabulous qualities we already possess? There is so much to celebrate when we look at all of our accomplishments. In this straight-up girlfriend’s guide, lifestylist and wellness coach Cara Alwill Leyba encourages women to discover what makes them sparkle so that they can design the lives they desire and deserve. So raise your glass and toast yourself. You’re about to start shimmering, shining, and dazzling every day. Because isn’t everything better when it sparkles?

~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~

Absolutely Fabulous! How’s that for a review? But seriously…I got my days mixed up and started Sparkle yesterday. Nothing like a little pressure to get the ol’  heart racing. But Sparkle is extremely easy to read with a conversational tone that smacks (in a good way) of a heart-to-heart with your best friend. And what a great conversation. From dieting advice, tips on self esteem and how to feel utterly fabulous every day of your life, Sparkle has it all. The only problem with reading it in one sitting (and that is totally possible)  is that  Sparkle is jammed-packed full of great advice. So much so that trying to absorb it all in a couple of hours is impossible. My advice to you is buy the  book, read it  all at once, then read it  a second time a section a day. (That’s my plan) Buy a copy for your closest friends and discuss it on a regular basis. The subtitle on the cover it dead-on. This is “The Girl’s Guide to Living a Deliciously Dazzling, Wildly Effervescent , Kick-Ass Life.” So what are you waiting for? Go out and get a copy now! Sarah Grimm, your copy is in the mail! :)

~*~*~*~ Author Bio ~*~*~*~

cara leybaCara Alwill Leyba is a best selling author, and certified life and wellness coach from New York City who empowers women to live their most effervescent lives and celebrate themselves. She encourages women to indulge in the things that make them happy, and swears that every woman can live a “champagne life,” no matter how busy she is or how tight her budget.

Her blog, The Champagne Diet, boasts a following of thousands of loyal readers and has been featured in Glamour, Shape, Cafe Mom, Daily Mail UK, MSN Australia, AOL UK Lifestyle, and a host of other publications worldwide. Cara’s writing has been featured in The Huffington Post, xJane, Mind Body Green, MTV News, and many other sites.

Cara regularly appears on the “Ask Dr. Fritz” radio show on WWRL New York, where she helps host Dr. Fritz answer questions from callers about love, career, family, relationships and more. She also hosts her own lifestyle and wellness show, “Uncork Your Best Self” on Blog Talk Radio.

Cara’s first book, SPARKLE, became an immediate #1 bestseller on Amazon in both the Happiness and Self-Esteem categories upon hours of its release. She celebrated the release of her book with a book signing in New York City this past fall.

When she’s not popping bubbly, blogging, or working with her coaching clients, Cara spends her days leading a digital advertising team at MTV Networks. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and dog-child. For more on Cara visit www.LiveCreateSparkle.com

~*~*~*~ Connect with Cara ~*~*~*~

Cara’s website: www.LiveCreateSparkle.com
Cara’s blog: www.TheChampagneDiet.com
Want to learn how to sparkle? Join Cara’s “Sparkling Start” workshop next month and kick off 2013 in glittering, shimmering style!http://www.livecreatesparkle.com/group-workshops.html 

  ~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~
Amazon

Debbie Dyke, Author of The Bloody Mary Club

I love having special guests on my blog., and today’s guest is no exception. She has a fabulous resume–screen writer turned novelist and expert (imho) on the  stock market. She’s here to talk about her book, The Bloody Mary Club and her adventures into  writing and publishing. Here’s a warm round of cyber applause for Debbie Dyke!

Thank you for inviting to post to your blog! I’m the author of The Bloody Mary Club, a financial thriller about an all women investment club that gets into trouble when their portfolio turns deadly.  I’m very passionate about the stock market and investments.  I’m also fascinated by the recent Ponzi schemes and financial scams that have been reported in the front page news. I’ve watched the bank meltdowns with great interest. As a former stockbroker, I’ve met a few embezzlers and worked with several bad brokers who’ve run away with client’s money.

My first venture into financial writing was “The Wall Street Calendar.”  I received a 365 day calendar for Christmas several years ago; it was called “money saving tips.” It was awful! Each day I’d cringe with the new tidbit of information. Example:  to save on toilet paper step on the roll. By flattening, you will save on paper use! At some point I said, “this is so bad, I could write a better one.” And sure enough, once I said that I had to go through with it.  I started working on a smart Wall Street Calendar which if you are paying attention put to good use at the beginning of each chapter of The Bloody Mary Club.  My Wall Street 365 day calendar caught the attention of the publisher of the most the most well regarded financial commentator at the time– Lou Rukeyser.

After I completed the calendar, I took a screenwriting class for fun and was hooked.The fun stopped once my scripts started to get attention.  When I was featured in Script Magazine, the editor, Shelly Mellott, liked my financial know-how so much she asked me to join her with the magazine as an owner. As you can tell, I’m an asset-focused gal, I put my money where my passion lies and became an owner. We were a great team. Script Magazine has since been sold to Final Draft.  It was the most fun ever!  I went to scriptwriting and film fests all over the United States. I met writers, producers, directors and agents. It opened doors for my writing and gave me amazing exposure. Over the years, I wrote five screen plays, several treatments, and articles for magazines. Two of my screenplays were option by HBO and an A list actress. I also collaborated with award winning director Uli Edel ( Baader Meinhof Complex, Tyson, Purgatory, Little Vampires) on a action movie called Closing In.

The best advice I received was from a top agent at CAA . He told me that if you wanted to be respected in Hollywood and control your work, you need to be novelist. Novelists are held in very high regard. Screenwriters are at the bottom of the barrel of the Hollywood pecking order and many aren’t even invited to their own opening night. I took his advice to heart. The Bloody Mary Club novel is based on my script.

I describe The Bloody Mary Club as a smart girl financial fiction. I won’t tell you how to get a man, buy fabulous heels or decorate a swanky condo, but I will use investing terms, mention stocks and weave a story about the ins and outs of a bank takeover.  Although it’s fiction, it has real world relevance.  I want to make the stock market and investing understandable and fun. I aim to increase the interest in Chick lit financial thrillers. In this era of bankruptcy’s, foreclosures and retirements in question, you need to know how to chart your own course. My characters in the investment club are women in their forties with no financial security and desperately rely on Gina Van Story to save them from a dead end retirement. All she demands is that the investment earrings stay put in the club until retirement age. This of course is a downer for them because Gina has all the toys and is about to enter the 1% club. They want to spend their club profits as soon they get them and Gina won’t allow it.  It’s the classic battle of the ‘haves’ versus the ‘have not’s’.

Ladies! This is your wake up call to take get your financial house in order. Don’t wait for a rich prince to come and save you! Here’s a passage from The Bloody Mary Club, Page 28 where my lead character Gina gives her ladies a wakeup call for being lazy about their finances:

“You’ve all grown up thinking you can’t handle this stuff and if you’re a good girl, some big strong man will come along and take care of it for you. Wake up. It’s not going to happen. Without this club, you’ll be greeters at Wal-Mart when you’re seventy,” Gina plucked a shrimp from her drink and jiggled it at Vivi. “Your legal secretary job isn’t secure.”

Vivi picked imaginary lint off her slinky top.

“What happens when your on-man-shop lawyer is thrown in jail for tax evasion? You’re pushing fifty, who’s going to hire a legal secretary who types on an electric typewriter and uses shorthand?”

Vivi pouted.

Gina moved onto Sarah busy snacking on peanuts: “And you can’t stretch your paycheck. You’re floating your bills. If mommy and daddy didn’t help out, you’d have no phone service, electricity or water. What are you going to do when they aren’t around? You think you’ll inherit their money? Statistics aren’t on your side. Mom and the General will need that money for their nursing home care. Your ex will get the last laugh as he skis down the slopes in Zermatt after having a wine and raclette meal paid for from his impenetrable trust fund.”

Sarah picked at her cuticles with one eye stuck in a half blink. “You forgot Joanie, she’s a mess”

After reading The Bloody Mary Club, I hope that the reader will realize that financial thrillers are fun to read and you might even learn something about the stock market. Through my story you will see that even the fat cats top get ripped off and that there are no get rich quick shortcuts.   In this era of self-directed IRA’s, everyone is responsible for their financial future and must make wise investment decisions. We all need to be savvy investors or else face a painful and dismal retirement. I make it clear through my characters that there are short cuts to make money or guarantees to double your return

I like it when readers tell me that they learned something from The Bloody Mary Club and that they also enjoyed the story. I’ve gotten a great response from readers that don’t normally follow the stock market or have an interest in anything concerning money. Readers have asked me to give them financial advice, to look over a proposed investment or even verify their trading strategies.  In this day and age with retirement up in the air, it’s gratifying to have this kind of positive response.  Through my writing, I want to make the stock market fun and understandable. I’m not looking to write the all encompassing story about Wall Street, I want to write about a tiny slice of Wall Street and stay within that framework.  My next novel, Gina’s Tonic, focuses on day trading and money laundering. There’s going to be offshore money maneuvers, a day-trader who’s forced to trade for profit or else die and nasty drug dealers trying to launder truckloads of money. For sure, the gin and tonics will flow on this novel!!

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my journey with you.  I hope you enjoy reading The Bloody Mary Club and come away with an appreciation of all things financial!  You can keep up with me by visiting my website:  www.DebbieDyke.com,

My blog;: http://debbiedykebooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook at: DebbieDykeBooks.

Cheers! Debbie Dyke, Author, The Bloody Mary Club.

Thanks for stopping by, Debbie. Readers if you want to know more about The Bloody Mary Club and Debbie Dyke, there’s an interview and review of The Bloody Mary Club at my review site, www.amiesreviews.wordpress.com

Samantha March

Publisher- Marching Ink

Book Reviewer/Freelance Editor

Blog Tour Coordinator

Author of Destined to Fail

ChickLitPlus.com

CLP Blog Tours

Twitter: @Chicklitplus

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I am in the process of switching servers for CLP and my email is connected to that. If you try to email me and get an undeliverable message, please try again at a later time. Thank you for your patience!

Five minutes after the close of the market, Gina was perched on the corner of her desk with her legs crossed tightly. Andrew sat before her in an armchair diverting his eyes away from her legs.

“Miss Van Story…”

“Call me Gina.” She drummed her fingers on her desk. “So Andrew, there are 1000 shares outstanding. Give me some numbers.”

“Six thousand dollars a share.”

Gina fixed her gaze on him and forced a straight face.

“I think that’s in the ballpark. At least third base if not a home run.” Andrew returned her gaze. “It’s a damn good offer…if I may say so myself.”

“It’s quite good,” Gina replied poker-faced.

Andrew gestured to the paperwork spread out on her desk. “Looks like you’re a busy lady. Why don’t you give me a list of the shareholders and I’d be happy to call them for you.”

“That’s not the way I do things.”

“I think your shareholders would be pleased to hear from me. Otherwise, I want you to inform them about our off er as soon as possible.” Andrew inched forward in his chair, “And lucky you, a sale could make you a lot of commission.”

“If you have anything in writing, you can leave it with me.” Gina sprung off the desk and struck out her hand. “I’ll look it over and make a decision.”

“I’m getting the feeling that you’re not taking me seri­ously.” Andrew dug into his briefcase and offered her an AU folder. “We’re committed to this deal.”

“Rest assured, Mr. Walsh, I take your proposal very seriously.” She set the package on the desk and turned her back on him.

“As the Beck Bank market maker, you have a fiduciary responsibility to present them with my offer.” Andrew cleared his throat then blasted, “And I expect you to do that.”

Gina spoke softly, barely above a whisper. “I know what my job is, Mr. Walsh. Maybe I should explain it to you. I match buyers and sellers.” She made two fists and smashed them together. “When someone wants to sell their shares, they call me and I go down my client waiting list and find who’s next in line to buy. I have a very long waiting list. Some clients have waited for years before they even get one share. I’m sure you’ve realized by now that that these shares are thinly traded, not a lot of them floating around. And here’s the most unusual thing, I don’t even get a commission on trades.” She went to the credenza and held up a bound report. “I keep the books. Balance out the shares. Handle all accounting. Again, I do all of this for free.”

The Artist’s Inheritance –A Review

♥♥♥♥♥ You Gotta Read This Book! ♥♥♥♥♥

Settling into their new home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Caitlin finds strange changes coming over her husband Trevor. He seems obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.

When the nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking—she knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?
 
Before the same happens to Trevor, Caitlin must convince him to sell his art. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family. If she succeeds, she will break the ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

If you follow any of my reviews, you know that romance is my preferred genre, but I do like to stretch myself a bit and read a variety of works. Such is the case with The Artist’s Inheritance.

It took me a little longer to finish the story because I could only read it during the daylight hours. No, it’s not that scary. I’m just a big wimp like that. But there are paranormal elements that have to be uncovered and deciphered by our heroine, Cait.

See she and her husband Trevor have recently moved into his twin brother’s home in Florida near a fort that was used during the Civil War. Trevor (an artist) becomes obsessed with a chair he is carving while strange things begin to happen all around them. Cait sees apparitions, feels cold spots in the house, and starts to believe that a famous art critic is really an imp. Ooh, and did I mention that Trevor’s twin Gordon committed suicide?

With the help of friends, Cait uncovers just what’s bothering Trevor which reveals family secrets and curses that are over a hundred years old.

Juli D does a great job at setting up the work for future stories. There are a lot of happenings in The Artist’s Inheritance which makes it a quick and interesting read. It’s impossible to know what’s going to happen next. But I can’t wait to find out.

Connect with Juli:

my fiction available in:
Dark Things II: Cat Crimes
and The Scribing Ibis
(Proceeds go to charity)

The Artist’s Inheritance–Available at Amazon

on twitter: @juliannewrites

Website:
http://julidrevezzo.com/

on tumblr: http://jdrevezzo.tumblr.com/

Juli D. Revezzo ~ In the Spotlight

One of the greatest joys I get when I invite writers to my blog is that I usually find a new friend. And such is the case with today’s guest. I’ve been trying to get Juli over here for a while but something always happened, whether it was be losing files or her getting bombarded by hurricanes. So today is a special day because we finally got it together! Go, us.

And since we finally got it all together, Juli, tell us about your book.

Well, it’s about a woman whose husband’s obsessed with a chair he’s creating. She’s not altogether sure this is a good thing. In fact, the chair’s featuring in some very vivid nightmares she’s been having—along with the appearance of several ghosts and other folks she’s sure aren’t exactly …well, human. Her hubby’s sanity seems to be slipping too. Because of all this, she’d just like to toss the chair in the wood chipper.

The blurb goes:

Settling into their new home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Caitlin finds strange changes coming over her husband Trevor. He seems obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.

When the nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking—she knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?

Before the same happens to Trevor, Caitlin must convince him to sell his art. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family. If she succeeds, she will break the ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

And if your readers would like to check it out, it’s available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?

My friend, author Jolene Dawe, and I were writing collections of short stories for each other’s Christmas presents one year. The collection centered around various pagan gods and coupled with my recent readings in the ancient Welsh mythological collection The Mabinogion, The Artist’s Inheritance was born.

One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.

That creativity isn’t always as easy as some folks make it seem, and if they go and peek into The Mabinogion or other Celtic myths, that’d be just fine too.

Your favorite character—

Oh, Caitlin, most definitely. Although my ghost soldier Roland is a sweetie as well.

And the most dreaded question of all—are you going to try your hand at self-publishing again?

Yes. I have several more stories to tell in Caitlin’s world, and a few other stories are stewing that I hope to release.

Any advice to those thinking about self-publishing?

My experience so far has been rather positive. Aside from a charity anthology I was blessed to be part of last year (Dark Things II: Cat Crimes), I have been very lucky—and am very grateful—to have friends who walked this path before me. They were generous in lending their talents and their expertise, without which, The Artist’s Inheritance wouldn’t’ve made it out the door, so to speak. If your readers would like to learn more about it, they can check it out at Amazon, or Smashwords, and they’re also welcome to visit my site at http://julidrevezzo.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Artists-Inheritance-Antique-Magic-ebook/dp/B008XL82IU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1345040600&sr=1-1

Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/220457

 Just a few more questions. Why did you choose your genre? 

It seems to come naturally. I’ve written a version of fantasy and paranormal long since before I even knew what to call it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?

Oh, a few things. The one that stands out, though, is I wanted to be a singer in a rock band.  How has the dream affected me? I tend to feel a rhythm in most stories. I’m told not everyone does. ;) I admit, I may be weird.

What do you do for fun?

Read. Watch movies, I dabble in gardening a little too.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

I have a confession to make. I’m terrible at titles. This one, The Artist’s Inheritance was originally “The Artist’s Price”, until my hubby suggested the new title.

Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?

Now and then. Not this one, so much as other works. Well, they were contemporary at the time.

How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?

For the most part, for this one, just the setting. Fort Pickens is an actual Civil War era fort in north Florida. The rest is all out of my imagination.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Sometimes finding the right audience, sometimes just getting to “The End” can be challenging.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Keep trying, keep learning and if you really love what you do, don’t give up. Heck, these days, self-publishing is a very viable option. If you love it, polish it and try it out. You never know.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I have to say not so much writer’s block as working writer’s block. That’s something I heard the singer of Googoo Dolls once mention and it made perfect sense. In a nutshell, it’s where you can start about a million manuscripts but never finish them beyond a few thousand words. What do I do about it? Keep trying, trying something different. Usually working on something totally new will help shake the cobwebs loose.

Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?

Hands down, my favorite is fantasy author Michael Moorcock. He just has this…Baroque style and characters that I just fell in love with. I haven’t read one book of his that I’ve looked back on with anything less than a smile. Even when I’m not working on a manuscript with fantastic elements I tend to think, what would Michael do?

How did you deal with rejection letters?

Pout and log it in my journal and go on to the next name on my list. Really, that’s all you can do, besides self publishing your work. But I’ve always thought, why not exhaust all your options first?

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Books on craft, books in your genre, books in different genres, literary classics, novels, plays, history books. Any book on any topic that strikes your fancy. You can learn from just about everything. What to do and probably more importantly, what not to do. Some of my must-have writing tip books are Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. That one can help you get the bugs out of your manuscript before you hit send or upload. There’s a great book called Slang Through the Ages by Jonathon Green—that one really helps out if you want to include some form of historical scene in your work. I could go on, and on and on, but those are all the best off the top of my head.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Author Patty G. Henderson invited me to be part of a charity anthology of suspenseful cat *ahem* tales, called Dark Things II: Cat Crimes, last year whose proceeds are going to Cat House On the Kings in California. If your readers would like to check it out too:

It’s still available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/DARK-THINGS-II-Crimes-ebook/dp/B006O15YBE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/185-0297248-1137456?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

And in Epub at Lulu:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/compiled-by-patty-g-henderson/dark-things-ii-cat-crimes/ebook/product-18787458.html

Thanks for having me here today, Amy! I’ve looked forward to it and appreciate you hosting me.

Thanks for coming, Juli.

Readers, are you intrigued with The Artist’s Inheritance? Well, come on back tomorrow. That’s when I’m posting my review of The Artist’s Inheritance.  Until then…

Lots of <3–Amie

And I almost forgot! Juli is  also over at The Saturated Page today. Be sure to check that out as well.

http://thesaturatedpage.wordpress.com/