Thursday, December 22, 2011

12 Days of Christmas with Susan Denney




12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza is being brought to you by Peggy at Pawing Through Books, Jennifer at Books and Barks, and myself. 

Each day for the next 12 days each of our blogs will feature a different author. There will be guest posts, interviews and giveaways! So be sure to stop at each blog to join in the fun!

A special thank you to all the authors who are participating and those who have donated prizes!

MerrChristmas!
Today's guest is:

Susan Denney


Listening to Christmas

I think short stories are perfect for the holiday season. We’re all busy and we have limited time, but we still need to feed our reading habit. So a good short story is perfect. And if it’s about the holidays, it’s even better! All of these stories are in the public domain and you can download them for free. The short stories are available at Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/ ) and can be read online, printed out or downloaded to your computer, Kindle or Nook.

Here are a few of my favorites:

“Christmas Every Day” by W. D. Howells. (In Christmas Every Day and Other Stories http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22519 ) Long before this story was mentioned in The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans, it was a Christmas Eve tradition in our family. We always read this as part of our night before Christmas celebration. In this frame story, a small girl asks her dad for a story. And he tells what happens when another little girl wishes for it to be Christmas every day. As in The Princess Bride, the little girl interrupts her dad from time to time as he tells what mayhem is created by the wish. The results of her wish are satisfyingly horrible and, of course, it ends happily.

“How Santa Claus Came to Simpson’s Bar” by Bret Harte. (In Mrs. Skaggs’s Husbands and Other Stories http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2597 ) So many Christmas stories drown in sentimentality, but this one has enough tongue-in-cheek humor to make the touching story acceptable to me. Simpson’s Bar isn’t a saloon but a mining camp in the California Sierras which has been cut off from the world by flooding. When “The Old Man” comes into the Thompson’s store and invites the fellows to his house for some card playing and drinking on Christmas Eve, they discover that the old man’s son Johnny is doing poorly. Bret Harte paints a vivid picture of life among rough men in harsh surroundings.

“The Kid Hangs up His Stocking” by Jacob A. Riis. (In Children of the Tenements http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21583 ) Set in the tenements in New York City of the 1890s, boys in a group home realize that the smallest of their number has hung up his stocking on Christmas Eve. I think you can imagine what happens next. You can almost see the boys in their newsboy caps and knickers as Riis captures their dialect.

“Reginald’s Christmas Revel” by Saki (H. H. Munro).) (In Reginald http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2830 ) Wickedly funny, this short story is about Reginald’s Christmas visit to an English country home. When you’re fed up with holiday sappy stuff, this is the story to put you back on track. If you’re not a complete Anglophile, you need to know that Boxing Day is December the 26th.

You may not know about a fabulous resource for audiobooks. I have had a lot of fun recording for Librivox ( http://librivox.org/  ), an organization which provides free recordings of books in the public domain. They have a number of Christmas collections of short prose and poetry that you may download. You can hear me reading “Christmas Every Day” (http://librivox.org/librivox-2006-christmas-short-works-collection/) in their 2006 Christmas Collection. 


Susan is the author of :
Snarky and Sweet: A Romantic Comedy about Twins, Texas and a Big Red Diamond

Resistance is futile. 

Shy, demure, reserved Lurleen couldn’t possibly be more different than her gregarious, sassy, sarcastic twin, Lurlette. One is your kind stereotypical schoolteacher and the other is a man-eating adventuress. Whether they take you cruising in a Miata or busting out of a kidnapper's shack on a John Deere, you’re in for one riot of a ride. The novel moves you to compassion then spins you into comedic circles.

“I don’t see how someone can be broke with a diamond the size of a Cheezit on her finger.” 

Lee Landry is exasperated with her identical twin sister. Lurlette has just shown up in Texas with eighteen matched pieces of luggage and no visible means of support. Lurlette is married to multibillionaire Horatio Alger Chang, a software CEO, who lives in San José, California. When Lurlette realizes her marriage is over, she decides to move in with her sister. And even though Lurlette has brought jewelry, clothes and a Cézanne still life with her, she doesn’t have any cash. And the diamond on her hand is the Maharani Red, one of the largest red diamonds in the world with a price tag of 2.3 million dollars. 

Lee is a teacher at the only high school in San Pablo, Texas. She has a small condo, a small car, and a small retirement fund. She has never married but has a crush on a fellow teacher who has never asked her out. 

Lee has never understood why she and Lurlette don’t get along. Now that Lurlette is back, she knows her quiet life will be disrupted and that her bank account will suffer. What she doesn’t know is that her love life, her career, and her future will be forever changed.

Susan would be happy to Kindlegraph that for you.


Read my review of Snarky & Sweet HERE

GIVEAWAY
To be entered for a chance to win a Kindle version of Snarky and Sweet please leave a comment with your favorite holiday story. Please be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you win!


When you finished here please stop by and see Jenn at http://www.booksandbarks.com/and Peggy at http://www.pawingthroughbooks.com


And be sure to enter the Rafflecopter Form to be in the big Giveaway!  ENTER HERE




Comments Always Welcome!

Review of Snarky & Sweet by Susan Denney

Snarky and Sweet: A Romantic Comedy about Twins, Texas and a Big Red Diamond

Snarky & Sweet: A Romantic Comedy about Twins, Texas and a Big Red Diamond by Susan Denney
Published by Diva an imprint of AWOC.COM Publishing

Good Reads Synopsis:
Resistance is futile. 
Shy, demure, reserved Lurleen couldn’t possibly be more different than her gregarious, sassy, sarcastic twin, Lurlette. One is your kind stereotypical schoolteacher and the other is a man-eating adventuress. Whether they take you cruising in a Miata or busting out of a kidnapper's shack on a John Deere, you’re in for one riot of a ride. The novel moves you to compassion then spins you into comedic circles.

* I received this book from the author to review. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions are mine. *

My Turn:
This is a sweet romance that is suitable for all. I found this to be an interesting and fun book to read. The main characters, twins - identical in looks only, are well developed and likable. Well one starts out likable and the other kind of grows on you. They are easy to get to know and feel like friends. The sibling rivalry mixed in with family responsibility was well rounded and I thought rang true. 
The plot is about one sister who marries "well' and lives in California coming home to her twins home in small town Texas to file for divorce. Lurlette, though she grew up in this small town, does not really fit in. She comes home with 18 suitcases, a huge red diamond ring, drives a Ferrari and flirts shamelessly to climb the social ladder or to get her way - whichever is needed. Lurleen, known as Lee, is a high school French teacher who lives comfortably in a condo and drives a Miata. Even though she has no idea how Lurlette's things will fit in her condo and really isn't looking forward to her sister living with her, Lee welcomes her sister home. She helps her find a place to store her expensive things, buys her what she needs, and lets her borrow her Miata until the Ferrari arrives. She even confides her interest in a male teacher at the high school. Lurlette, intent on her divorce and finding the next Mr Money, decides she will help her sister with her romance and will also get a job subbing at the high school. When she is seen kissing the principal everyone thinks she is Lee. This is just the start of the Lee's headache.  As Lurlette's marriage is crumbling, Lee is getting to know her brother in law a bit more. And Lurlette seems to be getting a little too chummy with Lee's teacher friend. Will Lee get her teacher or will Lurlette steal him away? Things speed up when, due to newspaper articles about Lurlette's visit, Lee gets kidnapped. When the bumbling kidnappers realize their mistake they go back to kidnap Lurlette too. 
Ms. Denney writes with much humor. She brings you into the small town circle of friends. You   get to know everyone important to Lee. Chang, Lurlette's husband, is also brought in when he comes to Texas to rescue the women. Lee's impression of Chang is one of a busy, wealthy man who perhaps neglected his wife for business. It is totally based on her idea of what a wealthy man is like. I really liked that the author took the time to let us get to know Chang and see how wrong that idea was. 
This was a fun book to review and I am looking forward to more books by Susan. When I finished this book, at 2:30 in the morning, I actually gave an audible "awww!". If you are looking for a sweet, funny, clean, fast romantic read this is the book for you. It has no language or sex issues so it is great for the YA crowd or those who don't like their romance books spicy.

                                                                GIVEAWAY

Susan Denney is offering this fun book to one lucky person this Christmas. You may leave a comment below or look for her guest post this afternoon and leave one on it, telling us your favorite holiday story. Please remember to leave your email so we can contact you if you win.


Be sure to look for Susan's guest post this afternoon! It has some awesome information on FREE audio books, including some awesome Christmas books! 

Comments Always Welcome!

Review of Game by Phil Truman

GAME

Game by Phil Truman
Published by  Buoy Up Press

Good Reads Synopsis:
Year in and year out the football powerhouse Hert City Trojans import a ringer to fuel their championship charge, but their luck is about to change. In the small backwater town of Tsalagee, first-year coach Donny Doyle knows the only way he can fulfill his promise to unseat the Hert City juggernaut, is to beat them at their own GAME. But in his own recruit, the mammoth and powerful, yet troubled and ominous Leotis McKinley, Doyle finds more than he bargained for. Truman’s character-rich novel GAME spins an energetic tale around the intensity of small-town high school football in America. And yet, amid the fast-paced drive of the story, lies an account of the human spirit struggling through adversity and finding victory. Readers of any age or gender will feel the triumph, honor, and glory that comes from the…GAME. 

* I received this book from the author to review. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions are mine. *

My Turn:
This book is really a departure from norm for me. As such I thought it was going to be a difficult book for me to read let alone review. It is one that I would really consider to be a "guy" book. I like sports. I like football. Chicago Bears are my main team. Yes I lived in Chicago. Now Seattle Seahawks are my second team.  College ball goes to University of Kentucky. Yes I am a home town kind of girl. So I do enjoy watching the games.  I just don't generally read sporty books.
So I was pretty much thinking what am I going to say? Imagine my surprise when I liked this book. Yes I do still think of it as primarily a guy book. But now it is a book that can be shared by a couple. So go ahead and read it with your guy. 
Phil writes in such a way that you feel a part of the story. I felt the pain of the players in the opening scene. I felt the agony of defeat. I could picture the game in my head. It was like being at my high school games or attending a UK game. Later on you feel the excitement of winning. Through out it all you feel as though you are there. Not just with the game moments either. When the author wrote of the cafe and the people drinking coffee, talking football and placing bets, it was like deja vu. Part of the story takes place in Vietnam. The author wrote in his extremely realistic style. I have never been to war. My son has. I have heard about it from him. I have also read it in other books and seen it on my screen, both movies and reality. I believe Mr. Truman has written some of the most heartbreaking, heart pounding and realistic war scenes that I have read. At times I felt tears rolling down my face reading it. I also felt my heart swell with pride at the men portrayed and their bravery. 
This was an amazing book for me. Going in not expecting to like it and coming out loving it shows what an excellent job Phil Truman did writing this. The book is filled with action  so it moves along quickly. But not so quick that you cannot get to know the characters. You will know and care for them deeply. This is an inspiring book. There is no adult themes, (aside from war and violence), in it so it is perfect for high school football fans. It is a great book for either sex and one that mothers and sons can share and talk about. This book would make an awesome gift for football fans. It is small town football at its best. 

Phil is giving a copy of this book to one lucky person. All you need to do is leave a comment here or on his Christmas guest post, found HERE. Please tell us your favorite tradition and be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win!


Also by Phil Truman:
Legends of Tsalagee

Phil also invites you to visit to his personal sites:


Comments Always Welcome!

Review of Among The Living by Timothy W Long

Among the Living

Among The Living by Timothy W Long
Published by Library of the Living Dead Press

Good Reads Synopsis:
Mike works for a small news paper in Seattle. He has everyday problems just like everyone else: a delusional ex-wife who mourns the loss of their son with pills and a bottle of booze. An attractive co-worker he wishes he could pursue but fears her rejection. Kate has a dark secret. Outwardly she is a perfectly normal woman with perfectly unnatural needs. Kate is a budding young serial killer who lures men to hotel rooms for a night of kinky sex, and a date with her razor sharp knife. Grinder sings for Corpse for a Day, a heavy metal band on verge of making it big. He rejects the idea so the band can keep their occult lyrics and originality in tact. Lester is content to smoke and drink the day away while the outside world descends into chaos. When the National Guard cuts off his neighborhood he and his beautiful girlfriend hide out and wait for the madness to pass. Who will remain Among the Living?

* This book was purchased by me. All opinions are mine. No compensation was received for the review.*

My Turn:

I enjoyed this zombie book. As it opens with how the virus gets started and then concentrates on its first few days of progress I was a bit surprised. Happily. A lot of the ZBooks I read are already in the panic of the spread or take place once it has been in effect for weeks. Starting at the beginning and staying there made this book refreshing to me. 

Among The Living is told through several different eyes. Mike, Kate, Grinder and Lester are a few. I really enjoyed the view of a recently turned Z in Alice and Ken. I appreciate that the author told the unfolding story with all the ranges of thoughts and emotions: the curiosity of the news of a "gas leak" that has evacuated a neighborhood, the skepticism of the news cast regarding it, the "not my problem" attitude, the disbelief of the reports of the virus bringing the dead back, that soon changes into confusion, fear and outright panic when the proof, and soldiers, are before their eyes. Reading the slowly dawning horror really made the book realistic sounding. The author also had humor sprinkled throughout the story. Such as when Lester and his girl Angela see a friend of hers in Zmode. Marlene the zombie is carrying her Coach purse with her. Angela decides she wants it since Marlene doesn't need it anymore. She promises Lester a good time and so off he goes to get the purse from Marlene. I thought it a pretty humorous chapter. Actually I thought Lester and Angela were pretty funny. Maybe it was the alcohol and weed. Theirs not mine.   There are also interludes which tell short pieces of things going on in the city. 

All of the characters actually had reactions that I could visualize as being real reactions. Not from very bright people but then not everyone is bright.  Also do be prepared to dislike people in this book. You don't like everyone you meet in life so why will you like everyone you meet in a book ? This is not an actual account of real life so I read it as a fantasy escape. If you are looking for a book to be absolute fact, well I don't think you should be reading a Zbook. Yet. 

I found this book to very entertaining. It is a fast read. Lots of action in it with some romance, sex, (some graphic), definitely violence. As stated there is alcohol and weed use. Adult language too. The author does not flinch away from including children in the drama. Which is realistic because children are not excluded from outbreaks, violence or general bad things in life. All in all this is a Zbook I give 5 stars to and would recommend to anyone who likes Z's.  I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
   

12 Days of Christmas with a.c. Mason



12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza is being brought to you by Peggy at Pawing Through Books, Jennifer at Books and Barks, and myself. 
Each day for the next 12 days each of our blogs will feature a different author. There will be guest posts, interviews and giveaways! So be sure to stop at each blog to join in the fun!

A special thank you to all the authors who are participating and those who have donated prizes!

MerrChristmas!
Today's guest is:
A.C. Mason



Santa Is Sneaky

No. Really he is. Brilliant but sneaky.

For those of you that don’t know me let me introduce myself, I’m a.c. Mason. I’m French Canadian by mother tongue. I was born on the Island of Cape Breton which is super far to the east coast of Canada. I spent a large chunk of my youth in Quebec. A lot of people speak French there.

So back to how sneaky Santa is. You see in our family tradition kids don’t go to bed Christmas eve. It’s a big party. Everyone comes over or the family meets up somewhere.  You might be wondering how Santa delivers the gifts if all the kids are awake watching the Christmas three? Because you know we sat there and watched… and watched some more.

We wanted to see Santa. Who didn’t?

Have you ever seen the Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles? Just like the little creatures in the show the gifts multiplied. Through the evening under the Christmas tree would become filled with gifts.

Now you to know how sneaky Santa can be. : D

So with magic like that filling my head with strange ideas I became a writer. I write a lot of paranormal romance/ paranormal historical romance and hot contemporary.

My latest story is Firestorm part of Decadent Publishing’s 1 Night Stand Series.
Here’s a feathers tickle of a fantasy of flames, Firestorm.
Firestorm
Interracial Paranormal Erotic (Ménage, Romance, Multicultural)

Blurb:
Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer, Era Bennu has a thing for combustible situations. All she wants is one smokin' night with two hot supernaturals before she goes out in blaze of glory on her current mission.
Scorch marks are the insignia of the Phoenix. This anniversary’s gift for mates Seneb Keita and Cinaed Bryce is explosive. They're going to savor one searing night with a woman that they can share.
What they get is a firestorm and Era finds serenity in the midst of a roaring blaze.
Can she accept her destiny is to play with fire when she’s the one meant to rise from the ashes?

Excerpt:
“Room 201.” Era shoved the email printout in her backpack, removed the room key, and swung the strap onto her shoulder.
Why hadn’t she noticed the irony until now? Two on one. Clever. Not a soul had bothered her through the check-in process as per her instructions. If anyone had, her classic “and whom do you think you are” look would have stopped them dead! If not, she could flash her Secretary of Defense issued hall pass.
“Ecstasy, here I come.” At the age of thirty-two, one last thing remained on her list of desires. Tonight she would strike this fantasy off the list.
So far, Madame Eve seemed to be running a tight operation and appeared to be on the up and up. In less than fourteen minutes, two amazing supernatural males would walk into this very room to give her a night she’d never forget. Maybe her last night on earth. Tomorrow she was Iraq-bound for a Black Ops mission involving a missing diplomat, a terrorist bomb, and her skills to defuse. If such a result could occur. Highly explosive situations were unavoidable in her life. Most of the team would be coming home in pine boxes with flags draped over them; they had a point one percent chance of survival under the circumstance. But for the safety of her fellow Americans, it was a price she would gladly pay. All the team would.
In her haste to get this night squared away, she hadn’t specified what type of supernaturals, just that they be a kind that couldn’t infect or maker her into what they were. Please let them have talents no human male possessed. Not that she knew much about the paranormal. Though she’d always been drawn to the unknown. She had chalked up her fascination with paranormal activity to a desire to escape from the cruelties humans could inflict on each other, which she’d seen firsthand. Tonight was about her.
No matter what her ex had said about her, she wasn’t frigid. So she didn’t want another woman in her bed. She’d be more than happy to be of service to a few good men. Two to start. And then who knows, if after tomorrow dawn rose on another day, and she wasn’t disfigured for life—the world would be hers for the taking. Technically, they weren’t men either they were…. Well, she didn’t know yet.
The hall was vacant. The Castillo Resort even managed to ensure a clear coast on her arrival at her room. What service!
She unlocked the door, opened it, and stepped in.
Sin incarnate stood with a towel around his neck.

Giveaway!!!
Contest: I’d like to giveaway to one lucky commenter an ecopy of Surrendering to the Right Man the first an erotic contemporary book in my contemporary series. You must comment by telling me your favorite Christmas food before midnight Alaska Time Zone on December 26, 2011. Don’t forget to leave your email so I can contact the winner. The contest is valid worldwide excluding countries where prohibited by law. Good Luck!

Born from the union of her Scottish and Belgian mother and an African American and Cherokee father, a.c.Mason’s youth was filled with dichotomies and moving from place to place. She developed a curiosity to explore through writing the seedy side of our nature and desires. Given her own diverse background, she writes stories that represent the world she grew up in. She is fluent in French and English. For the past eight years of her life, she has worked with one foot in the past spanning from 18th century, the Bering Strait theory to modern day and now late Victorian. She advocates the preservation of our natural and cultural riches for future generations. Her stories are the place where darkness meets human desire and fairytales endings are not promised but earned. In 2011 her work was nominated for six 2012 Bookie Awards. If you’d like to learn more about a.c. Mason go to www.acmason.com.


When you finished here please stop by and see Jenn at http://www.booksandbarks.com/and Peggy at http://www.pawingthroughbooks.com


And be sure to enter the Rafflecopter Form to be in the big Giveaway!  ENTER HERE



Comments Always Welcome!