Wednesday, October 4, 2017

New Releases, Pre-Orders, and New Covers

Did you notice the new covers? When I started publishing in 2013, people remarked that my covers 1) were gorgeous (Keri at Alchemy Book Covers is very talented!) and 2) stood out from the crowd. In the last four years, however, that started to turn into a liability: not only are most books in the New Adult Romance category almost all based on photos, they're also a lot racier.

I didn't feel like I could justify selling something with scantily clad models, but I could make the covers fit the current market better. Erin Cawood jumped on the chance to remake my covers and streamline the look of the series. I'm chuffed, and readers who come to my site now will immediately get a sense of what my series is about.

Speaking of which: My short story, The Ghosts of Alex Sheldon, was released last week. Please grab a copy if you haven't already! And the finale (!!!) Justice, Mercy and Other Myths is coming out October 9th and is available now for pre-orders.

I hope you like them!

~~~ tried to take everything away from Alex Sheldon, but they didn't take enough. Someone thought they'd closed all the doors to opportunity, but they didn't see the ones that opened into people's worst impulses. Alex was used to power, and he was done with regret. He opened those doors with his eyes wide open and started to replace what he'd lost. He became the man everyone thought he was capable of being, and he was going to make sure nothing compromised him again.

You can't have a conscience when you casually plan a murder and calculate the profit of another human being's suffering. So why are all of his ghosts visiting him as he makes his way home to put his plan of revenge into motion? Someone might almost say that he's haunted.

Even a man like Alex needs to be wary: sooner or later, we all start to look like the company we keep. one person was ever able to fight Alex Sheldon head on. Is that the same person who finally stopped him?

A man like Alex always has a long list of enemies: Lucy Bartolome, the wealthy socialite he blackmailed for decades; Michael Abbot, Miranda Harel, and Richard Hendrickson, all of whom lost parents because of him; David Hwang, the squeaky clean politician who found himself caught in a deal with the devil; Hilary Sayles, the inept madame Alex kept under his thumb; and Mariela, the young woman who almost died when she was trapped in his web. Detective Robert Teague knows the players all too well, but his gut is telling him that Hannah Bruges, the young woman who's been taking the law into her own hands for a decade, is keeping him from putting it all together. If only she wasn't the most exciting thing to happen to him in years, he might still be able to solve this thing.

Hannah has a piece of information that's not only going to change the course of the murder investigation, it's also going to make him and everyone else question a case he thought he'd closed years ago, one that almost cost him his job. What Robert really needs to see is how he fits in, because as soon as he does, everything else will fall into place.

Everyone needs to be careful what they wish for, because solving the murder is nothing compared to living with the answer.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fantastic Fall Giveaway

I'm part of a group of authors that wants to welcome in fall with an amazing--or rather, fantastic--giveaway.

We have over 80 romance ebooks and a Kindle as prizes!

One simple entry will subscribe you to 80 Romance Author Newsletters. Plus, gain additional entries through bonus sign ups! (And if those other authors are like me, you just might get a thank you gift.)

Unsubscribe any time, but please don't label us as spam. Better still, stick around and get to know us.

Participating Authors:

A. Gorman | A.M. Myers | Abbie Roads | Adrienne Dunning | Aidy Award | Akaria Gale | Alicia Montgomery | Aliyah Burke | Alyson Reynolds | Amanda Roberts | Amy K.McClung | Amy L Gale | Ana Simons | Angela Sanders | Annalise Wells | Ashlee Price | Bethany Lopez | Betty Shreffler | Brooke O'Brien | C.E. Black | Catherine Vale | Claudette Melanson | Colleen Charles | Dariel Raye | Dawn Robertson | Deborah Nam-Krane | Elisabeth Grace | Elizabeth Miller | Emma Nichols | Emma Tharp | Erin Cawood | Georgia Le Carre | Hayley Faiman | Heather C. Myers | Isadora Brown | Ja'Nese Dixon | Jackson Kane | Jennie Marts | Jennifer Millikin | Joanne Dannon | Julie Archer | K.L. Shandwick | Kacey Hamford | Kaiden Klein | Kelly Collins | Kelly Siskind | Kerri Ann | Khardine Gray | Lena Bourne | Lena Maye | Liz Bower | Liz Gavin | Lucy Felthouse | Maria K. Alexander | Mary Bernsen | McKenna Jeffries | Melissa Stevens | Mia Kayla | Piper Rayne | Rachelle Ayala | Regina Morris | Renee Rose | Sammi Starlight | Sara Celi | Scarlett Avery | Sheila Kell | Simone Leigh | Sky Corgan | Skye Jordan | Skylar Hill | Sophie Brooks | Stephanie Haefner | Susan Ward | Taige Crenshaw | Tara Wyatt | Teddy Cat Hester | Terra Kelly | Tracey Pedersen | Traci Douglass | Tracy Lorraine | Victoria Pinder 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bitter Past: An Ellie Matthews Novel by Caroline Fardig (New Release)

While Caroline was snarking about Buddy the Elf last week, she was also plotting bringing out a new mystery series. Cannot wait to dig into this and be absolutely freaked out.

From USA Today bestselling author Caroline Fardig comes a gripping new forensic mystery series.

Three years ago, criminalist Ellie Matthews was blindsided when a grisly homicide case suddenly became personal.  She abandoned the danger and stress of crime scene investigation for a professorship at a posh private college and never looked back.

Now, Ellie’s pleasant world is shattered when she finds the dead body of a female student.  The campus is in chaos, reporters are circling like vultures, and Ellie is trying her best to distance herself from the situation.  Not an easy task when her closest colleague becomes the prime suspect.

After the college community is rocked by another suspicious death, Ellie’s mentor, Sheriff Jayne Walsh, convinces her to consult on the case.  Partnered with quick-witted Detective Nick Baxter, Ellie reluctantly bottles up her personal demons and dives back into the world she left behind, racing to make sense of the evidence before the killer strikes again.

Find it on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bringing Back That Lovin' Feelin', or Rebooting the Seventies

When I was discussing this follow up blog hop with Caroline, what immediately came to mind was James Bond. Because what franchise has been more sensitive to the ebbs and flows of time and favor? In English: Dude, they’ve been making movies for 55 years, so obviously some of them are going to be better than others.

When Bond is good, he’s very good, and Sean Connery was a tough act for everyone after him to follow. When people think of Bond, his is the image that pops into their heads. And well it should.

I’ve already written about how Jack Lord stole the show in Dr. No, but only just barely. I have no problem publicly admitting that teenage me watched that whole movie wide-eyed (and maybe with my mouth slightly open). Connery’s Bond was smart, clever (unless he was up against Felix Leiter), tough, and, well, incredibly easy on the eyes.

Just hanging out
I lusted after the 1962 version of Connery in 1990. There, I said it. But he wasn’t the only thing that made Dr. No a really good movie. The plot was discernible (people, if you’ve seen Bond movies since then, you know what I’m talking about), the opening sequence (both the music and the action) was contemporary and even bordered on suspenseful, and Jamaica, while being both fun and cosmopolitan, made sense as a location for all kinds of nefarious activity in the ex-pat community.

ursula andress.jpg
The Bond Girl by which all others are measured
And...Ursula Andress did not suck as the Good Bond Girl. Yes, yes, yes, her character's name is Honey Ryder (get it???), she’s only half-dressed for the majority of the movie, and she’s one of Bond’s more naive companions. (And, as an aside, I’m probably not the only one who spent a couple of years comparing my body to hers.) But she could also take care of herself, beyond being willing to draw a knife on Bond when she met him. When she told him how she slowly killed her rapist with a poisonous spider, even he was taken aback.

Dr. No was an almost perfect Bond movie, so of course everything that followed suffered a little bit by comparison. And sadly, it must be said that the late Roger Moore changed Bond, and not for the better. His movies made Bond seem a hell of a lot more cerebral than he had been before, but not in the good way. And the camp factor was off the charts; I’m talking Adam West’s Batman campiness, you know? Having seen Moore in The Saint, I continue to scratch my head about the choices the writers and producers made: he had a proven ability to be suave, smart, and scrappy/street fighter tough. He could have been a really great Bond, but instead he’s the one we associate with the cringiness of the franchise.

So much potential
One of the worst Bonds ever made, on so many different levels
My enthusiasm for the two Bonds who followed was hampered as much by low expectations as it was by the times they were made in. Timothy Dalton is another actor who has done a really good job in many other things (if you haven’t already seen him in Hot Fuzz, stop reading this and go watch it right now), but the tone of his Bond was off; it was almost as if he was pushed a little bit to the background of the movies. And while I loved Pierce Brosnan on Remington Steele (when is someone going to revive that?), they also played him a little too campy and sarcastic. The fierce and deadly factor Connery brought to the screen was gone.

We are not screwing around anymore
And then it wasn’t. I have to admit, I didn’t have high hopes when I heard that Daniel Craig was cast as the next Bond, but maybe that’s why I’ve been so happy with him. Let’s agree that while  they got rid of a lot of the camp they might have done it at the expense of the character’s humor; now let’s say that in the times we live in maybe we don’t have the luxury of laughing at messy world relations. Bond and the rest of MI6 are taking their jobs very seriously now, and Craig’s version of the character is deadly, haunted, and ready to pounce at any moment.

She almost can't be called a Bond Girl
This is the first time we’ve gotten a close look at the psyche of Bond, and it’s about as pretty as you’d expect for an assassin. And while this Bond sleeps around about as much as the others, his romantic entanglements are likelier to get under his skin. His affair with the doomed Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) was intense (and convincing) enough that we can understand why it took three more films to exorcise her.

This is also the first time I’ve been enthusiastic about his whole team. M (first Judi Dench, then Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whitshaw), and even Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) are badass on their own, and they put Bond in his place a little more forcefully than their predecessors. Good. And even Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) is bringing more force and complexity to the role than we’ve seen since, well, Jack Lord’s version.

The films haven’t been perfect: there’s something a little too serious and dark about some of the last few, to the point where it feels like they’re trying to be “better” than a Bond film with all of the psychosis. Just be Bond, that’s all we want.

Bond’s an example of something that started strong out of the gate and then lost focus before it got it back. On the other hand, Battlestar Galactica is something that started out in the Seventies with silly written all over it and then found its footing decades later to be the great show we always believed it could be.

One big happy family...
The premise for both the Seventies and Aughts version is the same: a small group of pantheistic human beings have just barely escaped annihilation (dare we say, genocide?) at the hands of the Cylons, a race of robots or cyborgs that humans built but quickly lost control of, assisted by the treacherous Gaius Baltar. The best promise for what’s left of the human race is the mythical planet Earth, and Captain Adama is in charge of finding it while he evades Cylon attempts to finish their job.

The Seventies version made it one season, and it was foolish very quickly. There was a lot of emphasis on cute robots and pets, cameos (e.g., Fred Astaire!), and clunky standalone plots that were reminiscent of the third season of Star Trek: The Original Series. It was an example of something that showed a lot of promise and got a lot of buzz, but by the time it was canceled many viewers were already done.

but they might kill each other before the Cylons can
By contrast, the rebooted BSG was uncomfortable to watch from the first episode on, when newly installed President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) chose to abandon several ships so the rest of the fleet could escape. In this reboot, Gaius Baltar (James Callis) had no idea that he was dealing with the Cylons—in part because his contact was a gorgeous woman, Six (Tricia Helfer). Finding out that the Cylons now looked like humans added an element of suspense throughout the series, especially as we tried to figure out the identities of the last five “models”. Trying to figure out what the Cylons really wanted (“the plan”) was also a big hook, never mind that one of the executive producers recently admitted that they didn’t really have a master plan. The truth was that they wanted many things, and chief among them was to be able to create new models: i.e., have children.

You don’t run a compelling series strictly on the back of protagonist and antagonist. The humans were frequently at cross-purposes with each other, whether it was murky family dynamics (Captain Bill Adama was an absentee father to Commander Lee “Apollo” Adama), personal demons (the only person more screwed up than Colonel Saul Tigh was Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” (!) Thrace), and messy relationships (Callie loves Galen, who loves Sharon, who’s really a Cylon, and one of her copies, Athena, loves Helo; Kara and Lee have been fighting feelings for each other since she was his late brother’s fiancee; Gaius is so obsessed with Six that she comes to him in prophetic visions; Tigh’s wife Ellen frequently carouses with other men, in part because he’s always been more devoted to his job—and Bill—than he is to their marriage; etc.). And then there was the dizzying politics and philosophy: President Roslin and Captain Adama’s (Edward James Olmos) frequent clashes over the best course for their people; Roslin’s decision to fix an election to stop Baltar and then her subsequent confession; terrorist-turned-vice president-turned-terrorist Tom Zarek (the late Richard Hatch, who played Apollo in the original version); the question of whether terrorism was justified when a colony was overrun by Cylons; and whether torture is justified when it’s a matter of life and death (watch the award-nominated episode "Pegasus" before you answer). And that’s just some of it.

It was a show that asked uncomfortable, timely questions, and that’s why so many of us couldn’t stop watching (Portlandia captured perfectly what happened to me and my husband one weekend). There were a lot of complaints about the ending, and maybe it was wrapped in too neat a bow, but it was still something I loved so much that I’ve forgotten how much the original disappointed me.

Thank you for reading! Please let me know in the comments what you think of old and new Bond and BSG in the comments, and then head on over to Jami for the last edition of the Bring Back That Lovin’ Feelin’ blog hop.

Friday, August 18, 2017

An American story

I can be critical of Boston, and especially critical of Boston politicians (you might have noticed that in The Golden Boy Returns). But when we're good, we're very good, and we are good this week.

You can head to this link to see what Massachusetts' Republican Governor and Boston's Democratic Mayor have to say about what happened last weekend in Charlottesville, but it's exactly what you'd expect: we are saddened, we stand in solidarity with another municipality that was thrown into chaos, and we're disappointed by the lack of moral leadership we've seen at the federal level.

Why am I putting this here? Because I write about a multi-ethnic group of friends and lovers who manage to be imperfect people without being racist. I titled my series The New Pioneers because they are young Americans trying to make it through the 21st century: new immigrants, old blue bloods, and many variations in between. They suffer through unique challenges, but the one thing that's true is that they are always better when they work together. That is the American story.

The Boston Common: it's been there and done that

Why else am I putting this here? Because saying you're disgusted by neo-Nazis and white supremacists should be the least controversial thing anyone can say.

Boston is not Shangri-La. The day after this is published, we're going to have a rally on the Boston Common that will feature some of the "luminaries" that came to speak in Charlottesville last week. Those speakers disgust me, but I'm glad they can speak: let the ugliness come out in a bright light so we don't have to worry about it festering in the dark. And because we watched what happened last weekend, we're taking precautions to make sure the same violence doesn't happen here. (Spoiler alert: you have the right to say horrible things without fear of being imprisoned, but you don't have the right to bring weapons with you when you do.)

It's not perfect, but it's the best we can do. And that's part of the American story too.
Devil's Run  Scandalous Miss Brightwell series
By Beverley Oakley

A rigged horse race and a marriage offer riding on the outcome. When Miss Eliza Montrose unexpectedly becomes legal owner of the horse tipped to win the East Anglia Cup, her future is finally in her hands – but at what cost?

George Bramley, nephew to the Earl of Quamby, will wager anything. Even his future bride.

Miss Eliza Montrose will accept any wager to be reunited with the child she was forced to relinquish after an indiscretion — even if it means marrying a man she does not love.

But when the handsome and charming Rufus Patmore buys a horse from her betrothed, George Bramley, whose household her son visits from the foundling home, her heart is captured and the outcome of the wager is suddenly fraught with peril.

**This is book 3 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwell series, though it can be read as a stand-alone.
Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here 

This excerpt begins after Eliza has just plunged into the lake to rescue three drowning children and their nanny. Having dragged them – and herself – to shore, she makes a shocking discovery.
Chapter Two
Eliza had forgotten what it felt like to enjoy a man’s attention. He’d started to dry her in a vigorous attempt to warm her but then his touch gentled and he simply stared down at her.
The wonder in his eye as he murmured words of praise was a rare sensation. Embarrassed, she turned away. Yes, turned away because she could not afford to be so obviously disquieted by another man when she was affianced to George Bramley who stood a few feet away from her. He was also staring but there was no softness in his countenance.
Hoping to avoid any more gestures of admiration or kindness from Mr Patmore, Eliza politely extricated herself and put out her hand to arrest the progress of the Foundling Home lad whom Nanny Brown was pursuing with a piece of dry linen.
 His impish grin reminded her of young Miss Katherine’s, Lady Fenton’s daughter. Clearly the two had had a great adventure unlike Young George who was lying on his stomach upon the grass, shaking with sobs.
“Did you drink a lot of water, Young George?” Eliza asked, looking down at the crying boy but he ignored her. “I said we shouldn’t go out! I said!” He pounded his fists. “No one ever listens to what I say!”
 Eliza shared a wry smile with the rather lovely Mr Patmore whom she found still staring at her but, as he looked about to approach her again, she turned her back on him and instead brought the Foundling Home boy to stand in front of her now that she’d succeeded in catching him. Eliza would not have Mr Bramley – or anyone else – accuse her of encouraging the attentions of a man not her betrothed.
 “Jack – that’s your name, isn’t it? Well, you’ll have something to tell them back at the Foundling Home.” She’d seen him only from a distance and now, mud bespattered and with his hair matted over his forehead it was difficult to make out his features though she knew from various anecdotes that young Jack distinguished himself for keeping Miss Katherine’s wilfulness in check and peace between Katherine and her cousin, Young George.
Jack stood obediently before her as he started to wring out his threadbare shirt. “Nah, I’m fine, m’lady,” he said, glancing up to reveal a pair of small white teeth in a freckled face. “But thanks for savin’ me, an’ all.”
Eliza was about to let him go. Releasing her grip a second later might have changed the course of her life, she thought later that evening, and perhaps it would have been better if she had. Why repeat the trauma she’d already experienced?
But for now she was acting on instinct and instead of letting him go when it would have seemed natural, her grip on his wrist tightened while the air in her lungs disappeared, and she had to open and close her eyes three times before she was ready to believe what she saw.
“Gideon?” There seemed still no air to say his name. A great pressure was building in her head. Finally she was able to gasp in a breath, forcing herself to resist the urge to draw him into her embrace and wail her joy.
And pain.
How many other boys of seven years sported a tiny extra claw on their left hand? Or had been thrust into the cold, unloving world of the Foundling Home, she thought bitterly.
He stopped what he was doing to look at her uncomprehendingly and she added faintly, “Though that’s not what they call you, of course.”
An amused look crossed his face, making him look older and wiser than his seven years. Nearby, the weeping and wailing George was a puling infant. Smiling at her was a little man.
He pushed out his chest and said in a tone that was neither boastful nor self pitying, “There’s some ‘at call me Devil’s Cub, or bastard, but at the manor here they call me Jack.”
Devil’s Cub? The sixth finger accounted for the nickname, of course.
“Miss Montrose?” In the distance, Lady Fenton was calling her. Eliza was suddenly shaking like one suffering the ague. “Jack,” she repeated in a whisper, still staring at him as she clenched her own fists. Was the child tormented by his deformity? It looked as if not much troubled him though Eliza couldn’t remember how many times Eliza had been told the sixth finger was God’s punishment upon her bastard babe.
“Miss Montrose! Come away! Susan is waiting in the house with a warm bath and blankets. You must be chilled to the bone!”
Vaguely, she could hear the sounds of concern all around her but all Eliza could focus on was the impish face before her: that of her lost child.


Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.
Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.
Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.
Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in touch with Beverley at:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Bringing Back That Lovin’ Feelin’ Blog Hop

Earlier this year, a couple of friends and I talked about old loves we needed to walk away from. As much as I'm a strong believer in moving on, I also love a good reunion story, so we're taking a stab at things we ultimately couldn't keep away from later in August.

Some things get better with age...after they get, you know, worse

Here's the schedule below. Watch this space for details, visit these guys and say hi, and let us know what you loved, lost, and then regained.

Morgan: 8/26
Kerrie: 8/27
Caroline: 8/28
Deb: 8/29
Jami: 8/30