Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Longest Ride review

Let me start out by saying that I'm a Nicholas Sparks fan. I have been since The Notebook (duh!) and while many find his stuff predictable and soft, those are the things I look to and enjoy. I know there will be a HEA but the journey is the best part. I fall head-over-heels for the heros and want to throw darts at the bad guy. And I always end up crying at some point.

Last year, I bought The Longest Yard, realizing I hadn't read one of his books in awhile. But after twenty or so pages, I put it down, shocked that I wasn't as engrossed as usual. Then I saw the previews for the movie and became determined to finish the book. I owed it to myself and NS to finish.

(Cover from GoodReads)

So I did, and while there was a HEA I wasn't as pleased with the entire book. I did read the acknowledgement and understand, while reading, that much research and feeling went into this book. Even making me wonder if when writing, was the author going through his own personal stuff and reflecting.

I couldn't get a good read on Luke, finding his speech a little staggered and short but not in the "I'm a tough guy and I don't speak much". At times, the romance or relationship between Luke and Sophia felt awkward and uncomfortable.

I did enjoy most of Ira and Ruth's story even though I skimmed some of the internal monologue. You truly felt that he was a guy completely in love with the woman and reading his last letter did make me cry a little.

A few years back, a writer friend shared with me that she gets so frustrated with typos in published books and at the time, I never really paid attention. Maybe its because I hadn't grown as a writer, but now I do notice but I usually don't comment. And I could be mistaken, but parts of this felt head hoppy and I was a little taken back on what POV the chapter was focusing on. And why were Ira's chapters in 1st person (for the most part) and the others no?

All in all, I give this a 3 stars because while I didn't love it, I did enjoy certain parts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Over My Shoulder by Wendi Zwaduk

I want to thank Jennifer for having me on the blog today. It’s always fun to hang out with one of my favorite people. I love working with her and hope we continue to do so for a long, long time.
(ditto, babe!)

I titled this post Over My Shoulder for a reason. I recently wrote a New Adult series, the Complicated series for Resplendence Publishing. New Adult, if you don’t know what it is, is a category of books featuring new to adulthood characters. Millenials. First real romance, first stab at life on their own, the ache of the real world imposing on their realities...stuff like that. All of my stories in this series are hot stories. Okay, they’re erotic. Great for readers, not so great when the kid is visiting and reading over my shoulder.

( attribution: By Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

For the pictures in this post, I intentionally chose images of people I don’t know rather than my own kid. Why? I’m funny that way and a tad overprotective.

( attribution: By Irving Rusinow, Photographer (NARA record: 5307166) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

But this was about the tot, as I refer to him, reading over my shoulder.  Here’s the story. I’m writing away, typing at a furious pace because the story is flowing. It’s going great! Lots of word count, lots of typing...then I hear a noise. Now I’m in the middle of a hot scene. I won’t get into details, but yeah, it was steamy. The noise is back. What the heck...? I didn’t see anyone coming when I turned around. Focus on my work? Keep looking? It’s only the tot and me at the house.
That’s when I heard giggling.
Aw crap. I’ve not only been spotted, but I’ve been caught.
“Mom, what does that word mean?” Tot trots into the room and plops onto the couch beside me. “Huh?”
I forgot to mention I’m a tad unorthodox in my writing venue. I’m not a coffee house writer or a book store writer. I sit on the couch and listen to white noise from the television. Yeah, I’m accessible that way, too.
“Uh... which word?” I asked him.
“That one.” He points to a word for men’s reproductive organs. You’ve probably guessed which word.
Now, I could’ve said, it’s none of your business or shoo. I could’ve chewed him out for showing up right when things were getting good in the story. What did I do? I said, “it’s a word for man bits. It’s not one I want you to repeat, but you’ve got one.”
He laughed, rolled his eyes, then wandered away to play video games. I thought I was out of the woods. Cool. I can start the story back up and keep going.
That’s when I found out he’d trotted upstairs and informed DH. “Mom said this word.”
I hadn’t actually. I thought I’d been pretty eloquent considering. What response did I get? “Don’t write that stuff when he’s awake...”
I’ve been writing erotic stories for the last six years. This was the first time I got into trouble, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m not worried about what happened. He’s a kid and asks questions. I’m betting he stunned DH with his revelation that he’d read over my shoulder.
Have you ever gotten into a situation like mine? How’d you handle it? I’d love to know. J
Here’s a little bit about that book I was working on, Stealing Home. Check it out. It might be your next favorite read.

Stealing Home by Wendi Zwaduk
Book 3 in the Complicated Series
M/F, New Adult Romance, Contemporary
From Resplendence Publishing

The last person she expected to fall for her just might be the one she’s been looking for all along.

Bliss McMahon isn’t looking for love. She’s got a degree to complete and a life she wants to live. Besides, love isn’t looking for her. The last and only time she’d tried dating, the whole situation had ended in disaster. Being twenty-one and never going beyond second base doesn’t exactly endear her to the guys, but the one guy she never expected to notice her has. Will she give him a shot or run the other way?

Evan Phillips has a way with the ladies. He can charm them just as easily as he hits homeruns, but this ballplayer has a problem. He won’t be able to pass art history without help. Enter Bliss. Sure, he’s dated her roommate, and yes, Bliss can’t stand him, but he’s not about to back down from the challenge of getting her help. She’s spunky, out of his league and just who he wants. Can the ballplayer convince Bliss he’s up for more than one inning or will she forfeit before the game begins?

He’s ready to steal home in order to win the woman of his dreams.

Warning: Contains a dangerous combination of fragile new love, bone-deep angst and desperate rivalry that will consume you with throbbing, out-of-control passion.

And here’s a little bit about Wendi:
I’ve always dreamt of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line.  I love playing with words and letting the characters run wild.

NASCAR, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, animals and second chance romance  all feature prominently in my books.  I also write under the pen name of Megan Slayer. I’m published with Totally Bound, Resplendence Publishing, Changeling Press, Liquid Silver Books, Turquoise Morning Press, Decadent Publishing and Ellora’s Cave. Come join me for this fantastic journey!  

If you like my work, tell your friends and email me. I love hearing from readers!
Email: theauthorwendizwaduk (AT) gmail (DOT) com
Wordpress blog:
Fan page:

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dark Love Boxed Set **SALE**


Sometimes love is perfume and chocolates. Sometimes it’s cuffs and control. The five novels in the DARK LOVE: Nothing Grey About It boxed set, explore the darkest kind of love – Domination and submission. From cowboys to quarterbacks, demon hunters to Gothic romance, experience the DARK side of LOVE.

Available at these retailers and more:
Inline image 1

IBOOKS image 2

B&N image 3

KOBO image 4

*Please feel free to share!*

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Writing Outside the Box by Linda Rettstatt

Renting To Own – Writing Outside the Box

Somewhere along the way in this writing gig, I heard the directive: Write what you know. Not being one to adhere to rules and directives but, rather, finding it much more fun to go against that flow, I like to push the boundaries. Never more so than when I wrote Renting To Own. The story is that of twenty-three year old Lily Champion who became a single mother at the age of nineteen. Her mother died when Lily was seven and she and her brother were raised (loosely translated) by her father who turned to alcohol to stave off his grief. Lily had to grow up faster than others her age and pretty much on her own. There is nothing thus far in Lily’s story that matches my own life experience. Well, with the exception of two things: I know about loss and I know about the struggle to claim one’s own life. But certainly not with a child in tow.

I started this book the way I start many stories—with a title that can provide a metaphor for something else in the story. I love metaphor. Perhaps that goes back to my days of working as a psychotherapist and using metaphor as a way to help clients gain clarity about their lives. In any case, Renting To Own relates to the house Lily is finally able to obtain on a rent-to-own basis and that is symbolic of her struggle to create a stable life for herself and Chelsea. It also refers to the way Lily has lived her life, as if she doesn’t quite own it, but has to work to own it.

When you write outside of that box of ‘what you know,’ how do you know you got it right? When readers say, “You nailed the whole single-parent thing.” “Lily’s story gave me hope that I’ll have the same strength and wisdom when my baby’s born in two months. I’ll be on my own, too.” “I could have sworn you were writing about me and my son.”

I was fortunate to have friends who have ‘been there’ in Lily’s shoes and who agreed to read sections of the book and give me feedback. What I learned was that, basically, when you are a single parent, your child is also your permanent appendage. He or she goes where you go. He or she is always the first consideration when faced with a decision. This is, to some extent true when there are two parents, I realize. But Lily can’t make plans to do anything without first considering Chelsea. Parenting is an awesome task. Single-parenting doubly so.

Since romance is a very strong sub-plot to Renting To Own, I had to ask what a woman in this position would look for in a guy. After all, she and Chelsea are a packaged deal. Lily meets both Rick and Beau. As her relationship with each man progresses, she has to consider which man is right for her and for her daughter. (You’ll have to read the book to see who wins her heart and why.)

I fell in love with the characters in this story. I hope you will, too.

Blurb:  Renting To Own not only describes Lily Champion’s rental arrangement, it describes her life. But Lily’s learned that sometimes when the ground shifts beneath you, it moves you to where you need to be.

Linda Rettstatt is an award-winning author who discovered her passion for writing after years of working in the human services field. When she’s not writing, Linda loves travel, nature photography, and figuring out what makes people tick. Her fantasy is to win the lottery, buy an old Victorian home on the eastern shore and open a writer’s retreat. While she waits for that fantasy to materialize, she continues to live and work in NW Mississippi and to write under the constant observation of her tuxedo cat, Binky.
Facebook page: Linda Rettstatt, Writing for Women
Twitter: @linda_rettstatt

Book links:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Diabetic Troubles

First, let me say, I know other people have things worse than me, especially children suffering from Type I. I know this but I also know others out there are like me. Type II and stuck trying to figure out what works. Or doing what they think is good only to check your blood sugar and realizing your number is still high.

Totally sucks.

If you are doing all the right things, then consult your doctor first. Maybe your meds need to change. But if your sort of doing the right things, or you did, but fell off the wagon (that dark Valentine and Easter candy).

I'm hear to offer some encouragement and tips that might help you get back into the swing of things because I, too, need a boost. We went on vacation last week and my numbers have not been great since.

1. Exercise. If you were on a plan and fell off, get back on it. If you need to start out slow, try a 15-20 minute walk everyday and work up to 30 minutes. Exercise helps keep those BSs low.

2. Drink that water. I know this sounds easy but it can be difficult if you don't set you mind to. I suggest starting the day with one of those refillable bottles of cups and keep it handy. Actually, start out in the morning and drink one cup before you start the day. If you're not a fan of plain water, add one of those flavored liquids. They are generally calorie and carb free.

3. Don't start your day with carbs. And yes, I mean fruit. I know, it is good but eat a hard-boiled egg. Or if you must do something with carbs, make sure they are the good ones, but try to avoid the fruit. This was a tip I learned from a dietitian when I was pregnant. Have that fruit during the day.

4. Try a vegetable soup. There are great soups on Pinterest, some are labeled as detox soups, but they are filling and a great way to get those veggies in. Make a huge batch over the weekend, store in mason jars or containers and eat it all week. I've done this 2 different times and really saw some results in both weight loss and carb control.

5. Find a friend to lean on. This is a hard diagnosis and can be a big change to your life and sometimes, you just need a shoulder. I find myself getting sad about this all the time. But if I talk to a friend who helps put things into perspective, I have the courage to keep pushing on. Because this disease will not go away, no matter how much I want it to.

I'm not a doctor or a dietician. I'm a stay-at-home mom and author who is struggling with diabetes. I'm here if you need to leave a comment or a suggestion. I have a board on Pinterest with recipes and ideas.

Good luck.