Crafty Soldiers?

Soldiers of the Craft 
K.E. Moody
Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Publication date: December 15th 2015
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

On her 25th birthday, strange and unexplainable things are happening to simple coffee shop owner, Deandra Sullivan…or rather, she’s making the strange and unexplainable happen around her. Deandra is scared, confused, and feeling completely alone until she meets mysterious Donovan Walters, who carries a secret that is the same as hers…they are Witches.

While Donovan takes Deandra under his wing (and into his bed) to teach her about who and what she is, they discover an unavoidable tether between them. Along the way, something is tugging at Deandra’s instincts that danger is coming, and she and Donovan are tasked to find, recruit, and protect other Witches like herself.

Follow Deandra as she finds herself, and her powers, in this sexy Urban Fantasy novel by new author, K. E. Moody.fantasyADULTSONLY

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Soldiers Teaser 2
Interview with K.E. Moody
At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I started writing seriously when I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to document everything about my experience and it ended up growing into a big beast after a while. My style had always mostly been satirical and funny. I found I was pretty good at telling short stories, so I wanted to try for a longer one and one that wasn’t a comedy.
Who is your favorite character in Soldiers of the Craft? And why?
I love Farrell…he’s an a**hole and yet I know, as a reader, there’s something mysterious and possibly wonderful about him that hasn’t yet been discovered or revealed.
In Soldiers of the Craft, the main character Deandra is a witch. If you could cast any spell, what would it be/do?
I would want to fly, for sure.
Where did you get the idea to write Soldiers of the Craft?
I was sleeping and had a dream that I was with a group of friends running a way from something that was chasing us in a cemetery at night. We couldn’t get out until I grabbed the iron bars and they disintegrated…I woke up and thought, “Wouldn’t that be awesome?!”
If Soldiers of the Craft gets made into a movie, who would you like to see play Deandra and Donovan?
When I originally pictured Donovan, it was Paul Walker. Deandra was Jennifer Connely.
Where are we most likely to find you writing?
You’ll most likely find me in a local coffee shop with my ear buds in, sipping on a salted caramel mocha.
What’s the most discouraging thing that happened while trying to write/publish, and how did you get over it?
The most discouraging thing that happened while going through the writing/publishing process was realizing how LONG I’d made my book and how much fat I needed to trim. I personally edited it at least 20 times before handing it over to my editor to clean up from there.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t force it. If it is a story you want to read…write it.
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Author Bio:

Kathryn Moody has been writing for years, but Soldiers of the Craft is her first published piece. While her typical blog entries have centered mostly around satirical stories, she decided to try her hand at fiction as a personal means to creatively let loose. Kathryn (or “Kathy”) and her daughter, Farrah, live in Central Washington and travel back to the west side of the Cascades often to visit family and friends.

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Books/book review/fiction/Romance/Food and eating

Treet yourself to something sweet

Sweet bliss


Helena Rac

A very sweet (strawberry icing with chocolate) cupcake but sizzling hot hot story. Often quite graphically sizzling...ADULTSONLYSEXYROMANCEcupcake
Funny that we still get a lot of cupcake stories as here in London they are not doing so well now – and the sugar treat has lost its appeal.  And so it has in the USA as well it seems, with the largest chain cupcake makers - Crumb – closing up in 2014. Or has it?
In 2015, Crumbs was bought and began again with different cupcakes. No longer simple chocolate, now they are flavoured rather differently with peanut butter or carrots or hazelnut Frangelico, pink Champagne, spiced pumpkin, vegan, gluten free, and with less colouring, and fresher baking and ingredients – some will even bake to order in front of you – if you have time to wait of course..
But in the UK we have seen a rise in national specialities – the Portuguese egg custard tart is very popular as are French patisseries – we now have several French chain bakeries – themed cakes and those with more unusual ingredients especially vegetable or fruit eg a lime drizzle cake with courgette; and of course the cannoli has made it here big. The cannoli comes with many different flavoured fillings including pistachio and there is even a cannoli cupcake with ricotta cheese filling/cream.
The Italians are now in London in force again especially the Sicilians and their delicatessens are springing up all over, and then of course there are the doughnuts with fillings such as rhubarb, peach, and salted caramel custard.
And no, I haven’t sampled them all! I just look and drool...
So in London there is no real trend setter unlike the cupcake. Is there a reason why cupcakes are not quite as popular? Is it the calories? Are we becoming more weight conscious? Certainly the latest report from our Chief Medical Officer says that some 75% of middle-aged women are obese or overweight – but for me it is the frosting. The frosting just got piled higher and higher and higher. More and more bright and yet brighter colours and much much too sweet. In fact strawberry with chocolate sounds like my least favourite combination. So if you remove the icing, you are back, as she says in the book, to a muffin and a very plain muffin at that.
Would I read more by this author? Probably not. It was, for me, a sweet treat (pun intended) away from crime and thrillers and fantasy and science fiction my more usual fare.

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Ken Michaels explains

An Interview with Ken Michaels 

author of Gay Detective


Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
The idea came to me as a working title for my novel, The Gay Detective. CRIMEI wanted my protagonist, who is gay, to be able to solve crimes based on clues, i.e.: the drapes had been left askew, a pillow unfluffed, or drapes not puddled (traits I thought might be construed as gay). At the time, I didn’t realize I was using stereotypes to describe my character. Once my editor pointed this out, I had to rethink my character. I liked that he was gay but his ability to decorate had nothing to do with his sexual preferences. I then tried not to stereotype and realized I had been brought up to be homophobic, not unusual for my era but no excuse.  This was another “breakthrough moment for me as a writer and as a person.”
To give you some personal history, I am a gay man but had been taught to “act straight.”  This had been a conflict for me personally and led to therapy and eventually my attending a “coming out” group. This helped my self-acceptance and may be part of the reason I chose this topic.MALE
It may have also contributed to my idea of pairing a straight cop with a gay one as working partners. Neither had much tolerance for the other and I wanted to portray that although opposites, they could learn to work and respect each other. I do think this approach is unique. Preferences are part of a person’s personality but not necessarily the most important part of it.  As one character states in the book, “Be known for your accomplishments, not your preferences.”
How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note- book where you write down topics that appeal to you before making a decision as to which topic this time?
Once I get an idea, I let it percolate. I do believe that at that point, my subconscious takes over. I may not be deliberately thinking about my plot line, but I may find myself observing certain situations differently or I may write a note in my tablet to remember it for a scene in the book. Often, an idea comes to me while reading another book or watching TV.
How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
It varies but I’d say anywhere from six months to a year. I want to feel the emotions of the characters, their fears, joys, anxieties, imagine conversations they might have.
I also went on several ride-alongs with the police (at different times of the day)  both in Miami and Key West and interviewed a number of them and learned how they felt and talked. It helped me get a better perspective of their characters.
What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?
I used a professional editor, cover designer, interior designer, and a number of proof readers, along with a beta group. I also depicted a fight scene in my book and needed to learn the jargon of boxers, much of which I learned through research.
How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?
In general, the police were helpful. Some were guarded at first, but once they trusted me, they opened up. I think you must treat them, like anyone you interview, with respect. Once they realize that, they’ll be honest with you. I was also tactful. I didn’t open with, “I’m writing a book about a gay detective.”   Instead, I said, “I’m writing a book that involves police work and I’d appreciate your help.” Would their responses have been different?
Probably. I think society has made a lot of progress in the area of sexual discrimination in the workplace but there is still a lot to be done.
How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?
I decided to self-publish so there wasn’t a problem as far as rejection. But, I have tried with other books and have had them rejected numerous times. It’s all part of the business. Not everyone will like your book or think it is the right fit. To think otherwise is unrealistic. Many great authors were rejected hundreds of times.
Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?
I wanted to self-publish because I’ve been down the traditional road before and realized it took a lot of time to find an agent and a publisher. In fact, I decided to self-publish after consulting with my editor, who pointed out  traditional publishing could take as long as two years or more for it to be in print. I was self-published within a year.
Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?
I do recommend self-publishing because I learned a lot about the publishing business. It’s much more intricate and complicated than I had thought. Each step takes time and patience. I learned to build a team of people that I would use again and plan on doing so for my second novel. It might help any aspiring novelist realize that publishing a book doesn’t just mean writing it. One must market one’s book, which is an essential skill to learn and develop. This means seeking out reviewers, fellow bloggers, publicity, book signings.
I did get a different perspective and respect for agents and publishers and how much time and effort it takes to get a project together. It was a very important lesson.
Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?
I think it’s a rare occurrence for a writer to live on the income from his books.  If you want to write, don’t do it for the money. Do it because you enjoy writing. Royalties may or may not come in but unless you are a well-known writer, they certainly aren’t enough to live on.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?
I was quite excited when I approached the owner of a  bookstore and she agreed to have me do a book signing. I had fliers, business cards and bookmarks designed and printed. I checked in with her a few times before the event and we planned on having wine for the attendees. When the day finally arrived, I came into the store balancing a box of books, balloons, and all the accessories, looking as excited as a six-year-old attending a birthday party, expecting presents, ice cream, and cake.  She looked at me as if I were a complete stranger. She had apparently forgotten about the whole event. If it hadn’t been for my friends, I don’t think there would have been anyone there. I didn’t know what to think at first, but finally I did laugh. What was my alternative?
 gay detective ken michaels

The Gay Detective: Nick and Norm in Chicago

“[A] winning debut novel” -Kirkus Reviews

Key West, FL – Author, actor and TV producer Kenneth D. Michaels releases his noir crime thriller, The Gay Detective.
When Nick Scott premiers his TV talk show, The Gay Detective, he is anxious about its success. His first guest, a well-known author, banters with Nick using sexual innuendoes throughout the interview. The excitement of the show’s high ratings is short-lived when his guest is found murdered the next morning. Nick vows to go on with the show but as his shows continue, so do the murders of his guests.
Nick, also with the Chicago police department, is teamed with straight Detective Norm Malone. This Odd Couple, often at odds professionally and personally, adds comic elements to this thriller as they hunt this heinous serial killer, aka The Grim Reaper.
As the story comes to an exciting conclusion, Nick and Norm, trapped on the roof of The New York Plaza Hotel, battle The Reaper for their lives.
This noir thriller is the first of a trilogy that takes place in Chicago, Illinois, the second in Key West, Florida and the final in Machu Pichu, Peru.
About the book:
 The Gay Detective: Nick and Norm in Chicago by Kenneth D. Michaels
 ISBN: 978-1-5086216-9-0
 Publisher: La Mancha Press
 Publish date: July, 2015
 Page count: 206
 Price: $9.99 (paperback) $2.99 (kindle)
About the author:
 Kenneth D. Michaels, originally from Detroit, graduated from Columbia University with a M.Ed. in Counseling. He cofounded San Francisco’s renowned Encounter Theatre, where actors role- played with audience members to resolve personal relationship situations, which was funded by National Endowment for the Arts for more than two decades. Along with stage work and screenplays, he has performed a one-man show, and worked as a mental health therapist.

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Next comes the book…


Next to Me

 Allie Everhart
 Publication date: January 2nd 2016
 Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
After losing her parents and brother in a car crash, Callie dropped out of college and went to live in the small town where her family used to spend the summers. A year later, and struggling to move on, she keeps to herself and wants to be left alone. So she’s not too happy when her new neighbor keeps knocking on her door.
Nash Wheeler, a 25-year-old construction worker from Chicago, inherited the house next to Callie’s and is living there while he renovates it. Outgoing, confident, and never one to back down from a challenge, Nash sets out to get to know his new neighbor, inviting her over for dinner and offering to fix things around her house.
As much as his persistence annoys her, Callie finds herself attracted to the tall, muscular guy next door. And the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes how much they have in common. Like Callie, Nash has experienced loss, but when he opens up to her about it, she’s not willing to do the same. It’s too personal.
Nash is just her neighbor. Just some guy living there for the summer. But is that really all he is? Or is he the one person who can finally help her move on?
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“You’re holding my hand,” she says, her lips creeping up.
“I am,” I say, matter-of-factly.
Her eyes return to mine. “Why are you holding my hand?”
“You have nice hands.” I rub the top of it with my thumb.
“That’s why you’re holding it? Because I have nice hands?”
“You got a problem with that?”
“I guess it’s okay. Although your hands aren’t the greatest.” She tries to hide her smile.
“You’re making fun of my hands?” I hold up the other one that’s not connected with hers. “I do construction for a living. I work with my hands. I’m surprised they look as good as they do.”
She takes the hand I was holding up and inspects my nails. “You need a manicure.” She tries to be serious, but then laughs.
“I’m not getting a freaking manicure. I’m not one of those metrosexual guys or whatever the hell they call them. The guys who walk around with purses? You see them downtown Chicago.”
“There’s nothing wrong with those guys.” She sits back but keeps her hand in mine. “And by the way, it’s not a purse. It’s called a man bag. Or a murse. And a lot of guys get manicures. They’re not just for women. It even has the word ‘man’ in it. And cure.” She pauses, then smiles. “It’s a cure for manly hands. Get it?” She laughs at her own joke.
I scoot my chair over and lean in close to her face. Her smile drops, her breath quickens, and her eyes fix on mine. She thinks I’m going to kiss her, but I’m not.
Instead I say, “I don’t want a man bag. Or a murse. Or a manicure.” I look directly in her eyes. “I’m a man’s man. I like red meat. Football. A cold beer. Hard liquor. Pounding nails into walls. And women who challenge me.”
She’s looking at me with lust in her eyes, and God, I feel it too. The intense need to rip off her clothes and do her right here on this table. How the hell did this happen? How did we go from having a conversation to wanting to have sex? I’m not even trying to date this girl, and I definitely wasn’t planning to have sex with her.
I’m here to do a job. Fix the house. That’s it. Plain and simple. But suddenly it feels more complicated than that.

Author Bio:

Allie Everhart is a hopeless romantic who writes books about love. Allie has authored fourteen novels, including The Jade Series, a college romance that follows the story of Jade and Garret as they deal with numerous obstacles trying to tear them apart. Her other series, The Kensingtons, is a romantic suspense series. After writing two series, she’s now working on several standalone books, including her latest book, Next to Me, a new adult romance.

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Books/book review/Fantasy/fiction/Romance/health/Random and interesting items/crime fiction

Winter is icumen in

Winter is icumen in,
  Lhude sing Goddamm,
  Raineth drop and staineth slop,
  And how the wind doth ram
And Winter is the Winter Sisters, Victory, Payton and Willow. Each with their own special gift and ability and each falling in love with a different soldier in the elite squad of Army, Navy and Airforce. Author Joanne Jaytanie.
This is a review for NetGalley.
The series I am reviewing contains 3 novels, the latest published being Willow’s Discovery, published this October, which I read first through NetGalley.
This series is far from finished as far as I am concerned, as although each sister now has a mate – there is so much more that can happen to other characters and in the story-line.
So yes, I started with Willow’s Discovery and was only a quarter of the way through when I realised I wanted to read the first 2 books as well. I could read the 3rd book first but it would have been better to read them in the correct order.
Now the story line of all 3 concerns DNA being manipulated to give us extra fierce soldiers –this isn’t a new idea. The concept of the formidable soldier is common in fantasy but for me what was new was that the characters were splicing wolf genes into the soldiers to make them bigger, stronger, and fiercer.howlinggood
And two of the alpha males – yes they are all alpha males in this story as they are members of the elite squad mentioned above - have been experimented on with these wolf genes with very different results. But many of the males and females in this series have extra abilities and they haven’t had wolf genes added, and the question never answered (but it was raised) in the books is - was there some gene manipulation going on in uteroalpha
Interestingly, I am now reading another series of books where again canine DNA is inserted into soldiers to make them fiercer – the fantasy series of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter and Fairest.
Having come across this idea by two authors I thought I would look into what was happening with canine DNA and why this idea had come to these authors. And to my surprise found that canine DNA was being used for disease studies in humans [see the articles from the dmm.biologists organisation; National Geographic; Genome Research].
It appears that dogs get similar diseases to humans with the same genetic and environmental factors involved. These genes relate to diet and digestion, and neurological processes and disease which have evolved parallel in both species due to living in the same shared environment. These shared diseases include obesity, OCD, epilepsy, and cancers especially breast cancer (cancer is twice as common in dogs as in humans), and retinal diseases including cataracts.
Dogs only share 84% of our DNA  as compared to chimpanzees – 98.8%, monkeys – 93% and mice 90%, but we share some 360 genetic disorders with them, even though some of these only occur in 40% of dog breeds such as the Doberman Pinchers with inherited narcolepsy which has enable scientists to understand the molecular mechanisms of regulating sleep. And the last item explains something about why these stories include Dobermans as they were clearly being used in the genetic research of the organisation.
And I also looked into Tollers as they were a new breed of dog to me. Not that that’s saying a lot as there are so many new breeds appearing at the moment...nova-scotia-duck-tolling-retriever
So the basic stories were about criminal behaviour, kidnapping, torture and unusual experiments and general mayhem and brave deeds by the alpha males with feisty females assisting using their special powers. A good mix of fantasy and war stories, with some organised fraud and crime thrown in for good measure.thrillerROMANCEPAGETURNERCRIME
I really enjoyed all 3 of these books and am inclined to give them all 5 stars.wellwritten

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