Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Review: Against the Odds

Against the Odds by Kat Martin When Sabrina Eckhart's Uncle Walter leaves her his silver mine, the petite redhead's financial worries might just be over—that is, if she can stay alive and keep from losing her heart to P.I. and former Navy pilot Alex Justice. Since the economic downturn, Sabrina's stockmarket brokership has gone south. She needs to learn what she can about the West Texas mine she's inherited, and Alex Justice, a good friend of her best bud Sage Cantrell is just the man to help her. Despite her initial assumption that the man is an aristocratic, womanizing snob, Rina has to admit tall, sculpted Alex is nothing short of gorgeous. He agrees to fly her to the mine, but things go suddenly wrong and they're forced to rely on wits to survive. As if that isn't bad enough, as soon as they are rescued, more accidents begin to happen. It's becoming increasingly obvious that someone doesn't want Sabrina to inherit the mine. Despite the dangers, Rina is tough and one determined lady, but can she stave off the attack on her heart? Against the Odds is Kat Martin at her best, mixing suspense with a megadose of testosterone. Alex Justice has it in spades. He may not know what he wants to do with his life, but he certainly knows what he wants to do with Rina. If you like loads of sexual innuendos, hot and heavy, sweaty sex scenes and nonstop hormonal intensity, then this is the book for you. Alex is one sexy dude and he and Rina click on every level. Trouble is, he's not sure what he wants in life and Rina isn't about to have her heart stomped on. Ms. Martin has action a plenty in this well-paced suspense; it kept me turning pages. The story's weaknesses were more a matter of taste for this reviewer. With regard to the sensuality, I feel less is more. I found the almost constant references to sex a bit tedious. The action and suspense, however, were topnotch, and after a couple of chapters where there was a bit too much repetition, the story really took off. Kudos to Ms. Martin.
Brenda Novak has another winner in When Summer Comes. Callie Vanetta has received the worst news a person could: she needs a liver transplant and without it she will die. She determines to spend her days—her last days if a donor cannot be found—at her late grandparents' farm. When attractive drifter Levi McCloud happens on her front porch in the middle of the night, injured and needing help, she decides to put her fear aside and take him in. Levi needs to repair his motorcycle, but without funds, he strikes a bargain: in exchange for parts and lodging, Levi will help with the barn repairs. What begins as a tenuous friendship, soon becomes much more. Callie grows to care for Levi but realizes she has nothing to offer him since she may not live out the summer. She decides to keep her news from him. Book three in Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek series s the reader back to California Gold Rush town where she is reacquainted with many of the characters from books one and two. Nothing is overly repetitive and each protagonist is delightful. Novak mixes her astute knowledge of the human condition with expert storytelling to create a wonderful stand-alone book and an important adjunct to the series. Both Callie and Levi are realistic characters with desires and needs that work well with the story. Novak's skillful writing is always a pleasure to read. Two thumbs up for this one.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One of my "tags" for the Tag, You're It blog is Crimson Publishing author Galen Rose. Check out her page and her WIP, a romance set on Maui.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tag! You're It!

My work-in-progress has been tagged by author Judy Alter. You can visit her at Judy's Stew and read about her work in progress—as yet untitled. It's a cozy mystery and the third book in her series which she says is also enjoyed by many male readers. Now it's my turn to answer ten questions about my WIP, so bear with me:

What is the title of your book?

I'm currently calling it Indecent Proposal, however, that could change.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

The book began as a romance, but there were several suspenseful plot points in it that I felt it would be a better story if written as a romantic suspense, so I'm rewriting early chapters to inject more suspense and drop in a few clues while still adhering to the building romance between the protagonists. The original idea was conceived after I had written a wine country story and enjoyed the research so much that I decided to set another wine country story in my own backyard. (The Santa Cruz mountains host a number of wineries since the micro-climates here are conducive to viticulture.

When genre does your book fall under?

Indecent Proposal is my first venture into the area of romantic suspense. It's a sub-genre I enjoy reading. My goal is to capture both the suspense and danger of a suspense novel while keeping the love interest between my diamond-in-the-rough wine consolidator and a sheltered young French American woman who is thrust into managing her family's small mountain winery.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

That's a difficult question for me since I watch few films. Paul Brandon, the hero, comes from a Midwestern steel town and he's had a hard-scrabble life. He's not used to the finer things, but he very much hungers for them. Julia Marchant, on the other hand is the only daughter of French immigrants. She's had a sheltered life and a convent education. Her world is art—restoring European frescoes—until her father suddenly dies and she's called home to take over the family winery.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book:

Swiss-educated heiress inherits California winery and clashes with handsome, business-savvy partner bent on making his fortune, that is, if he can keep them both alive.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?

I am currently writing for an amazing small press—Turquoise Morning Press. They have published the last eight of my books plus a Christmas novella. I have been represented by an agent, however for these books I am unagented.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I'm still working on the first draft. This story has undergone quite a change since its initial concept, so more study into what makes a romantic suspense work is required. Generally, a rough draft takes me about five months.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?

I'm not sure I have a book in mind that Indecent Proposal could be compared to, however, I very much admire the writing of Sharon Sala and Brenda Novak, and I hope my story will be reminiscent of stories by those two talented ladies.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I've always been attracted to the courageous heroine who also has humility. A heroine who must overcome huge obstacles to reach her HEA. Julia is such a person. I felt I wanted to tell her story and show the push pull of her traditional ideas against Paul's drive to modernize the winery for bulk, blended wine. Both have much to gain and lose, and they also need to gain the cooperation and respect of one another to succeed. They have to learn to work together both for the winery to succeed and to outwit a villain who wants the winery at whatever cost.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

I think the setting—my own backyard—is fascinating, almost a character in itself. I hope the reader will relish the blue-collar Paul as he struggles to cope in a world with which he is unfamiliar. The Old World culture of the cadre of vintners on the mountain are as foreign to Paul as a trip through the Louvre.

That's a taste of my work in progress. Please check back to see how it's going. I will update from time to time. Meanwhile I'll be tagging five other authors to take part. I'll let you know later who they are, and I'll tell you each time one posts.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

PR executive Gail DeMarco unleashes a world of hurt to her company when she decides to no longer represent Simon O’Neal. The superstar’s off screen antics are troublesome and Gail’s tired of putting out the publicity fires caused by his drinking and loose morals. What she doesn’t count on is having Simon’s manager direct the bulk of her clients to a rival PR firm. With Gail’s business about to go under, she must swallow her pride, apologize to Simon and hope he’ll be decent enough to stop the hemorrhaging. Just when she thinks she’s got the problem neutralized, her enterprising associate takes matters into his own hands and causes yet another the means of a leaked false rape charge against Simon. The only cure seems to be new publicity about a reformed Simon–a sober, moral man enjoying the bliss of a new Gail. But can she keep up the pretense of a business arrangement that will terminate in two years without losing her own heart to the man she’s secretly lusted after for years? Simon desperately want to regain the custody of his son and will do whatever it takes to make that happen. But a marriage in name only? Can he control his self-destructive urges long enough to create a new image? When Lightning Strikes is the first in a new series by acclaimed writer Brenda Novak. Set in California’s Gold Country (not far from Novak’s home), Whiskey Creek is the embodiment of all that’s good about small town life, and it’s as far from Los Angeles and as foreign to Simon as a town can be. Never mind that Gail’s father and older brother and a host of friends have heard the stories about Simon and are determined to protect her from heartbreak and disappointment as best they can. However, something magical happens in the small community and Simon discovers a life that is refreshingly wholesome. He also discovers a few things about his new wife that surprise him. I loved both the story and setting. Simon is a delicious hero and Gail a worthy heroine. The protagonists’ reservations about going through with the marriage seemed just a bit tedious, but they were well justified as the story picked up steam. I read WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES in two sittings and was sad to see it end. Just a beautifully written, well-paced, delightful story as only the multi-talented Ms. Novak can create.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Giveaway

I'm blogging today at Krista Ames's site and will be giving away a digital copy of my latest, LOVING LUKE, to one commenter.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Loving Luke, my newest contemporary romance is available at Amazon, Smashwords and elsewhere (paperback coming soon). Set in Northern California it's about a compassionate hospital worker, a reclusive photographer who's a burn victim and one night with explosive consequences. Here's the blurb: Jo McGuigan’s job is on the line. She needs a photographer to teach her rehab class, but the only one available is an angry recluse who wants nothing to do with the hospital or its outreach program. Luke Falconer’s photo career ends in a fiery auto crash that leaves him badly burned and crippled. Hating the world, he retreats to his cabin. But when an encounter with the intriguing social worker ends in a night of passion, their lives are changed forever. Jo is a spark to Luke’s flame, and where there’s smoke, there is often a raging inferno. And here's the cover.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Risking It All review

"I read Suzanne Barrett's Risking It All at an emotional "low" in my life, and wow! What good medicine!
It's got that great repartee, Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn style, that makes dialogue between characters sparkle, and it's wonderfully, charmingly funny. I very rarely find a book amusing, but this one had me laughing out loud on every page.

The characters are unique and endearing, the setting is a gardener's (and old-house devotee's) dream, and the story is the kind that makes you really believe in romance and the beautiful part of love between a man and a woman.

Highly, highly recommended."
--Carolyn Woolston, Amazon

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New review for An Irish Rogue

Wow. Just received this wonderful 4.5 review from Martha's Reviews.


This is a fun, engaging romance with very likable characters.
Declan is laying low until he can get a new job and renew his visa. He needs to hide from a vindictive ICE (immigration) agent. Declan’s cousin helps him get a job at an out of the way house doing carpentry renovations. That’s not his field but he figures he can handle it.

Justine lives in the “fixer-upper” property with her eccentric aunt, Laverne, and her new age, vegan sister, Willow. Justine is the business mind of the family, running her bookstore in town and managing the household. She is practical, down to earth and comfortably looking forward to marrying her teacher boyfriend. At least she was comfortable until her aunt hired this distracting, handsome, Irish rogue to work on the house. Now she can’t seem to stop ogling those flexing muscles while he’s working.

Justine can’t seem to stop herself from comparing the rugged, intense Irishman to her easygoing, poetry reading, sort of average, James. But she and James have many things in common, don’t they? Irrepressibly she is drawn by the passion she experiences whenever she is near Declan.

Declan is intrigued by Justine but he is woman shy since he was feels he was betrayed by his ex-wife, Maura. He can’t stop thinking about Justine yet he struggles to tell her how he feels.

When the ICE agent locates Declan the only way to keep him in the States is if he gets a green card through marriage. Justine impulsively tells the agent they are married and they have to begin a pretense for the spying eyes. But when it comes time for the hearing will Justine step away from her well ordered life and risk her heart with Declan? Can Declan respond to Justine’s willingness to love and can he learn to express his feelings in order to keep her by his side?

The writing is smooth, making this a quick and easy read. The characters are strong, independent and flawed; very real. The secondary characters are quirky and further the fun elements of the story. The Irish brogue and words adds a flair that I really like. The chemistry is immediate and visual but the romance builds slowly in a very nice progression of draw and resistance. Once again Ms. Barrett has provided a fine, entertaining romance.

Here are a few quotes showing the reactions of the protagonists when they first meet.
Justine watching Declan:

Something about the set of his shoulders, the easy way he moved, disturbed her. Deep inside a little flutter of unease rippled and then flared to a dazzling warmth. Location 116.
Declan following Justine:

He’d never given much thought to how women walked, but Justine Farris made him take notice. Her stride reminded him of a racehorse, each movement precise, yet fluid. Location 133.
Declan's second thoughts:

He offered her a wicked grin. Discovering the woman behind that cool business facade might prove the most intriguing challenge of all. Location 142.
Thank you Ms. Barrett for providing this book to read and review.
This story is set in California for my Where Are You Reading Challenge. I will also add it to my ARC challenge list.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Risking it All

My newest book, Risking it All, is now available. Set in Northern California, it's the story of a caretaker and a burned-out CEO.


Pushed out of his own start-up company, Tom McKittrick is ready to lick his wounds in private at the rural family estate he’s inherited. But he isn’t prepared for his Garden of Eden to have a built-in Eve—a reclusive naturalist with a long-term lease on the caretaker’s cottage, a knack for gardening, and an incredibly beautiful face.


April Fairchild is not about to let Tom McKittrick order her out of the home that has been her cozy retreat from the world. But she has to feel sorry for him—the corporate bigwig is clearly out of his element in, well, the elements. April knows she can teach this hunky guy a thing or two about how to relax. All she has to do is sow the seeds of romance…and let nature take its course.

Skeleton in a Dead Space

Check out Skeleton in a Dead Space, a delightful cozy by Judy Alter.

Here's a quote "Enjoy walking in Fort Worth as you follow a profusion of characters in this complicated tale. Wait, as did I, until you reach the very last pages to find the truth of the story. You likely won't figure it out earlier." —Margaret Waring

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Cover!

I just got my cover for a March release and am loving it. Risking it All is a fun story with a Hepburn/Tracy flair set on a beautiful estate in Northern California. Flaxen-haired April Fairchild is the caretaker and burned-out CEO Tom McKittrick is the heir who has come to claim his inheritance. Look for this one in March.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Paramour by Margaret Ethridge

I loved this book! Today Paramour by Margaret Ethridge is the featured Coven book from Turquoise Morning Press.
Here's the blurb: Two men: one living, one dead, and both vying for her love. Camellia Stafford has never been alone in her room. For twenty years, she's been engaged in a fierce power struggle with her bedroom's previous tenant, Frank DeLuca, the ghost trapped in the light fixture above her bed. Caustic and cranky, Frank has one soft spot--Cam. Over the years, their feelings for one another have evolved from grudging friendship to an enduring love that burns white-hot until Frank puts his feelings for Cam on ice. When she suffers the loss of her beloved father, Cam returns home to say good-bye, and confront her feelings for Frank. She finds an unexpected shoulder to lean on in neighbor, Bradley Mitchum. Cam falls hard and fast for the handsome ad man's charming smile and passionate nature, but Brad's easy-going exterior masks a steely backbone tempered by adversity. Now Cam must choose-- Is her heart strong enough to determine which dream could lead to a love that will last a lifetime?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Grace Greene Interview

There's a great interview with Grace Greene on the Long and Short Blogspot today. She gives readers a peek into her new release Kincaid's Hope, also discusses writer's block. It's so good I am sharing.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Romance Interviews and Stories - Long and Short Reviews: INTERVIEW: SUZANNE BARRETT

Romance Interviews and Stories - Long and Short Reviews: INTERVIEW: SUZANNE BARRETT: Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome Suzanne Barrett , whose latest contemporary An Irish Rogue was released in December. Suzanne ...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Beach Rental by Grace Greene

Grace's Beach Rental popped up in my Amazon email today. This is a wonderful book with deep emotion. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Secrets by Jan Scarbrough

"Newly divorced lawyer, Rob Scott, seeks solace in his small-town roots. The last thing he’s looking for is a relationship—until he runs into Kelly, and the secret she’s been keeping."

Secrets by good friend Jan Scarbrough is a wonderful read. Available at Amazon and other book vendors.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I need a kickstart to finish my WIP

Yesterday was my birthday, and I have to confess I used it, not to write but to celebrate. I'm not sure why becoming another year older is a reason to celebrate--seems the years are speeding past all to quickly when you're on the slippery slope side of life. Anyway, I procrastinated on finishing the ending of my next book and instead went to my daughter's for the day. We had a great time, and the weather was almost spring-like. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and glasses of Asti Spumanti. While himself watched football, I was treated to a foot massage. Ahhhhh.

Today, however, is another day and I must tackle the resolution of my WIP.

Love Engineered

Love Engineered, a Victorian-set novel is a review and giveaway today on Reviews by Martha. Check it out.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Late Harvest featured book today at Fiction Witches

I'm so pleased that my gal pals are busy pimping my wine country contemporary today.

Late Harvest is set in the fabulous Mendocino wine country and features a hunky German hero, a precocious five-year-old and a host of secondary characters that include a couple of gypsies and a feisty old Appalachian woman (Sharp as a Toledo blade, and with the directness of a bordello madam, Mags Emory had never couched her thoughts. She never missed a thing. She knew all the under-workings at Cresthaven. Or almost all of them.).

I loved doing the research--staying in quaint bed and breakfasts, interviewing winery owners, tasting an astonishing assortment of late harvest wines (dirty job, but I had to do it). This story which was originally a Golden Heart finalist, is one of my favorites, not only for the story but because I broke the rules. (Still remember my then NY editor telling me "We don't like Germans." I like to think my German grandfather is smiling from his grave.)