Review of Silence at Midnight

A8126753-3B97-4AF1-A806-F6E95DF52F91I ove this series about Laken Sumner, a girl who communicates with wild animals and lives in a sleepy East Coast town. Book two of the Sunset Trilogy is even better as the plot thickens and relationships heat up all around. You are sure to love the second book as much or greater than the first, and prepare to dive right into book three. Laken will make you crave to know the answers to her heart and reveal the untold secrets of the past. This is another page turner that promises to thrill.

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A review: Daniella Bernett’s Lead Me Into Danger

 

Lead Me into Danger by [Bernett, Daniella]

What a wonderful page turning mystery! Great characters struggle with emotions of love vs morality. Dangerous liaisons send Kirby, an intelligent journalist, on a hunt to uncover a spy/killer who murders another journalist and dear Friend. Longdon, an ex-lover from her past, that left her with a broken heart and qualms about his lifestyle, rekindles their relationship when he saves her life. Not able to shake his new found attentions and needing his help to not wind up with a DOA tag around her own toe, Kirby admits she needs help and allows Longdon back into her very private world… but just until she finds and exposes the spy who is a danger to her life and country. Don’t miss this mystery-adventure with a fast beat that will tug at your heart.

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Book review for Tonya Royston’s Young Adult novel!

Shadows at Sunset: Book 1 of the Sunset Trilogy by [Royston, Tonya]
Shadows at Sunset is the first book to a fascinating trilogy by Tonya Royston. Laken, the almost eighteen-year-old heroine, suffers the usual teen issues of what plans she will make for her budding future and who her date will be for the homecoming dance but she is different from most high school seniors. Laken’s ability to communicate with animals leads her to rescue a small toddler at the beginning of the story, that disappears under suspicious circumstances. Laken doesn’t feel comfortable in her new celebrity status that conflicts with her usual quiet life, spent in the lush forests of New Hampshire. Good things come from a town celebration in her honor, like meeting Noah, a handsome young man and her father’s new deputy. When summer ends and school starts, she meets another engaging classmate who comes off as being the bad-boy from the west coast, and for reasons unknown to Laken, she wants nothing to do with his dark image and haunting blue eyes. This particular love triangle keeps the pages turning as the wolf mystery unfolds. Every teen can identify with Laken’s character and would only dream of being torn between two very hot heroes… or are they? Thanks to Tonya Royston’s own review, I knew this book was a cliffhanger that would send me straight into the next book in this series. This is a great page turner and a “I gotta know what happens!” and I will let you know what I think about the second book soon.
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Release date: February 25, 2017!

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When big-city lawyer, Nolan Anderson, rolls into her small West Texas town, Ferina Kincaid goes into a tailspin of worry over losing her family’s ranch. She knows he’s been hired by town banker and long-time Kincaid nemesis, Lance Morrison, to bring havoc to her world. Morrison owns the land adjacent to Ferina’s property and will stop at nothing to take what is rightfully hers, even if it means digging up the past and hurting innocent bystanders. Dishonest cowhands are cheap in Brewster County, and the banker has enough men and cash to outlast and ruin her with his dirty tricks and vandalism. Hiring Nolan is just the latest of Morrison’s devious shenanigans, which have turned Kincaid Ranch upside-down, and—with more than just her land at stake—Ferina fears she’s no match for this too-handsome, smooth-talking lawyer.

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February 25th** Daisy Dukes ‘n Cowboy Boots**

Daisy Dukes 'n Cowboy Boots Cover

I am excited and proud to reveal the cover to our West Texas, humorous romance, Daisy Dukes ‘n Cowboy Boots. It has been an amazing journey and I have learned a lot along the way. Working on the manuscript with Zoe Tasia was great fun… the editing, not so much, but our editor at Black Opal was a real pleasure to work with. I’m thankful for all her patience.

I took an advertising art class in high school many, many years ago. I loved the drawing and won a national ribbon for my billboard add for MADD. I had so much fun developing the cover for our book, that I am fashioning a cover for book two. It is amazing what tools are out there to assist an aspiring artist with limited computer abilities… that would be moi. I am thrilled with our story, and I think the cover captures just the right image to promise lighthearted fun and romance, West-Tex style.

Make sure you check out our book this February 25, 2017 at Blackopalbooks.com, Amazon.com, and all other on-line book sellers. It will be available in e-book or paperback!

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My life has gone to the dogs…

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For those of you who don’t know this little fella, his name is Leo. He is my Louisiana, roadside puppy that my mom bought off hwy 90 in Hammond, Louisiana over five years ago. As my friend from Spain says, he is so cute he breaks my teeth. I have six canine family members at this moment and all are super cute, but there is something about Leo that steels everyone’s heart. Maybe it is because he is a Libra, like me. He even shares my birthday, but not the same year of course. It could be his chocolate dapple color that makes him look like a little butter bean or the way he fusses indignantly at anyone, who has crunchy food, to give him a bite. He has a sliver of blue leftover on one eye, from when his baby blues turned mostly brown. Each of my furry family members have wonderful little souls that make my writing life bliss, but it’s Leo’s Leo-ish behavior that lets most of the family let him get away with being a little turkey. Who could refuse that face?

So hear we are, finally, almost ready for the release of our first book and with 8,000 Twitter followers between @ZariReede and @Minette_Lauren, and I have tweeted so many dog photos that my followers surely are expecting a coffee table book with photos of dachshunds and Boston terriers…don’t think that I haven’t thought of it, but who buys actual books anymore? It seems that the world has turned to e-readers, laptops, and disposable media. I say this because so many things are out there pinging us with free information everyday, like Twitter, FB, Snapchat and other forms of free press. Who has time to actually read a full novel? I myself spend most of my time on social media that will push the very book that I’ve spent hours, weeks, months, years trying to get to print! Do I sound like I am stressing and waiting for the end? Maybe just a little anxious…but then I look at these cute little fur babies and say, “Hey, what’s it really all about? It’s about spending time with the ones you love and fill your life with happiness, right? Well, that means I am exactly where  I want to be. Writing my stories and soaking up the Houston sun with my dogs/writing muses right by my side. The rest is just lagniappe.

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Running for Success!

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Almost a decade ago, I attended a party hosted by a friend, who shared a New Year’s tradition with me. When the clock struck midnight, we gathered empty luggage, stuck money in our shoe, ran out of the house, down the drive and to the end of the cul de sac and back. I was told that this would bring much wealth and travel in the new year. Lo and behold, that year was prosperous and filled with many trips. I have repeated this tradition each New Year’s eve at the stroke of midnight for more than a decade now, and each year proves to be greater than the last. I have added things to my suitcase over the many New Year’s eves that were important to me; ski gloves, to insure many ski trips, stuffed animals representing my pups, so they might travel with me and this year I added my publishing contract for my book, so that it would have success when it is released early 2017. Before the clock struck midnight, I received an email from my editor telling me how delightful she thought the story was and attached was the long awaited second edits.

I have many goals for 2017. Most include writing or editing, but I will not forget to have fun with friends and family along the way, and to go on as many adventures as possible. I remind myself each day, that though I love writing with all of my heart, living my dreams leads to writing my dreams. Having a life worth writing about is the greatest fortune of all.

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Looking forward to a Happy 2017…

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As I write this, the final countdown has fifteen-ish hours left of 2016, and as I look back it seems like the year is a blur. 2016 was the fastest year on record for me. I barely had time to get the holiday decorations up and my Christmas presents wrapped. I have read books about the passing of time; how it whirs by as you get older and your body slows down. I suppose this is another sign that I am aging… or that life has been so exciting and busy that I cant seem to catch up. I think I will stick to the latter. This has been an amazing year, though our first book release has been delayed until late February 2017. We signed our second book contract in October and finished book three. The story we started on our blog has now evolved to a full novel and we will be putting the finishing chapters on in early 2017. Plus, Zoe has come up with an all new Genre that we hope to have a home for by mid year. I am happy for all of our writing accomplishments, since Zoe and I both finished books on our own this year. We continue to write and love the surprises and changes that assail us with each added section to our manuscript. We wish you and your family a most Happy New Year and please join us for our upcoming release Late February. Its a humorous contemporary romance set in West Texas with some larger than life Characters that keep the pages turning. We promise more excitement to come, so stay tuned.

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Maiden, Mother, Crone…

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Zoe and I attended a football game last Sunday for the opening season of the Texans. As I sat, actually watching the game and understanding most of the plays, I wondered to myself when did this happen. I love to watch people and wonder about their lives. It’s part of my story building exercise, to imagine a story around what I perceive as their character. I noticed several lovely young girls, beside the cheerleaders, that were scattered throughout our section, but I noticed one in particular, who chose to run up the stairs with her boyfriend several times throughout the game. She had illustrious long, strawberry colored hair with an athletic, yoga body and model face. I remembered back to a time when I attended football games and hadn’t a clue or care about the game. All I cared about was the attention of the opposite sex and the energy of the excitement. I was a model back in then…

That being said, I should also mention I saw many women my senior put together so posh and still very beautiful. I do not know if I could carry off such elegance. I have a penchant for Four Seasons atmosphere, yet I like to wear sweat pants.

This whole thought pattern had my mind reeling. What is my place in society? We only seem to recognize the maiden, mother or crone and the latter is sorely overlooked, ignored or forgotten. I am no longer a maiden and no longer yearn to be. Days and nights worrying about my appearance… my self worth, sadly enough, determined by what others thought of my beauty, not my mind… and I actually had one.

By choice, I do not have children. Nor am I the age I would consider having them, so I do not fall in the mother category. Where does that leave women who are not yet silver, with wind still in their sails. My skin may have lost the dewy freshness of youth, but it is not withered and frail. I may be wise from years of living, but I still have much to learn… much to contribute. I was late in learning we are the sum total of our experiences, and beauty is much more than skin deep. I know that now. I wanted to tell the strawberry haired girl to run home and find her true passion and start building her life now! To forget about her beauty, for it will one day fade, and she will be overlooked and ignored for her outer shell. If I could have back all the wasted hours of my youth, I would…

Here is the crux of the matter. Life is a sum total of experiences, and as a writer I know how the lovely girl felt by her expression, as she ran the steps with her boyfriend, who radiated pride beside her. I knew the feeling because I too had felt the same in my youth… beautiful and young, or at least I thought I was pretty. There is a comfort that comes with age… letting go of the petty things that tether us to a superficial existence. I did enjoy my beautiful youth and gained knowledge from the experience. I use it to create characters in my books and help breathe life into the pages I write. I feel free at my age to wear whatever, go wherever, and write without a care for what the world thinks. I shall define this stage as freedom.

It is experience that helps us to the next stage of life, and it is my cumulative life choices that will walk with me though this new era. I do not worry. I share it with so many women… I shall not be alone.

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