Sunday, August 31, 2014

Undertaking Irene by Pamela Burford

Undertaking Irene
by Pamela Burford

Interesting characters, Interesting romances…

Cozy Mystery – 250 Pages

Jane Delaney does things her paying customers can’t do, don’t want to do, don’t want to be seen doing, can’t bring themselves to do, and/or don’t want it to be known they’d paid someone to do. To dead people. Life gets complicated for Jane and her Death Diva business when she’s hired to liberate a gaudy mermaid brooch from the corpse during a wake. Well, a girl’s got to make a living, and this assignment pays better than scattering ashes, placing flowers on graves, or bawling her eyes out as a hired mourner. Unfortunately for Jane, someone else is just as eager to get his hands on that brooch, and he’s even sneakier than she is. Just when she thinks her biggest problem is grand theft mermaid, things take a murderous turn. But hey, when you’ve teamed up with a neurotic seven-pound poodle named Sexy Beast, how can you lose?

Undertaking Irene (Jane Delaney Mysteries Book 1)Undertaking Irene by Pamela Burford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Pamela Burford for giving me this book for an honest review. I enjoyed reading this book, it was a fun read. The story-line is good. The characters are well developed and written. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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About This Author

Pamela Burford is the best-selling author of 15 works of mystery, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. She has received four RITA and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award nominations and is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences and workshops. Her books have sold millions of copies, received outstanding reviews, and been translated into more than a dozen languages. Pamela is the founder and past president of Long Island Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America. Fun fact: her twin sister Patricia Ryan, a.k.a. P.B. Ryan, is also a published novelist

Author Links
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Book Blast - Simon by V.A. Dold

Le Beau Series, Book 1

NOTE: Complete novel. No cliffhanger. Dual POV. Rated 18+ for language and strong sexual content.

Four years of honorably serving his country has left Simon, Cade’s younger brother, damaged and trapped in wolf form. Little did he know the only person with the ability to heal him completely would be found at home. Literally. Now that he’s found her, he is desperate to claim her.

Rose is a beautiful, voluptuous woman with limited experience with men. Although she's confident, she still has reservations. Never having a family of her own, her fear of abandonment has her fleeing romantic relationships, and doubting herself.

Travis is insane. A deadly loose cannon that a secret organization hired to destroy the Le Beau family by denying them their mates. Permanently.

Simon’s dream will be lost forever unless he is able to maintain human form.
Rose needs unconditional love and a mate to create the family she’s always wanted.
Travis’s all-consuming drive is to take Rose for himself.

Will Simon ever be whole again, able to claim his mate, giving Rose the love and family she so desperately craves? Or will Travis destroy them both?


She looked at him over her shoulder. His blue eyes seared her with heat. The intensity of his stare made her shiver. Lifting one hand, he laid his fingers against the blush of her cheek. Then he wrapped his arms around her from behind. He buried his nose in her hair and let his wolf rumble in satisfaction. “I’m ready to show you off at Julia’s whenever you are.”
“Let me check my face and hair. It’ll only take a minute.” She returned a few minutes later looking amazing.
Her hair was pulled back in a fashionable messy bun. A single strand was left loose to fall down the side of her face to the tip of her breast. He longed to follow that strand to its destination, scrape his teeth against her nipple and inhale her precious scent.
She was without a doubt the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen in his life. Rose placed her arms around his neck, and he relished how her warmth seeped into his body.
“I may have to change my mind, you look too good, and I’ll be forced to kill some idiot who tries to dance with you.”
She rolled her eyes at him and grabbed her purse. “Come on, Romeo, I’m ready for a boat ride and a turn around the dance floor.”
Simon held her hand as she got into the boat then jumped in and revved the motor. “I’ll go slow so I don’t mess up your gorgeous hair.” He winked.
She blew him a kiss and fluffed her hair dramatically. 
Even going slow it only took twenty minutes to reach the pier serving the bar. He already heard the music and boisterous patrons. He cut the motor and helped her exit safely; boats weren’t designed for high heels.
Rose looked up and down the line of boat slips and shoreline. “Where’s her sign?”
“She doesn’t have one. We’d rather random humans didn’t wonder in. Mates are more than welcome, but the occasional human to happen upon the bar isn’t very well received.”
He led her to an open table. “I’ll get us drinks, would you like wine or a whiskey Coke?”
“A whiskey Coke sounds great.” Her eyes were bright with excitement as she checked out the crowd.
He squeezed into an open spot at the bar and waved over his cousin. “Julia! How are you, cher?”
“Oh, mon dieu! Simon, it’s so good to see you. I heard you found your mate.”
“I did.” He gestured to their table. “Rose is seated right there, stop over if you get a break.”
“Oh, elle est de toute beauté. You’re a lucky man, cuz.”
“Don’t I know it.” He grinned. “Can I get a Whiskey Coke and a beer?”
He turned his back to the bar to check on Rose. Simon’s breath caught as she unconsciously moistened her lip with the tip of her pink tongue. That mouth was made for sin, with its plush lower lip. He imagined her mouth doing wicked things to a certain part of his anatomy. Blood thrummed in his veins.  Simon turned to inconspicuously adjust himself, his faded jeans were suddenly way too tight. Her intoxicating scent of coffee and cinnamon rolls licked at his groin even from across the room. He wanted to rub himself all over her, saturating her with his scent whenever they were in public. His wolf wouldn’t be satisfied until they were mated. 
Gazing at her across the room his blood surged, he imagined her naked on his bed, her thighs parted in invitation. He lowered his head and tasted her passion. Loving her long into the night, her excited cries entwining with his hoarse groans as they made the bed shudder and shake. He shook his head. He really needed to get control of his randy thoughts. This was date night and he would show her a good time away from his bed for once. Down boy, he snarled at his wolf. When he glanced at her again she was snickering and shaking her head at him. He must be imagining loudly.
“Here you go, no charge, and congratulations, Simon.” Julia rapped her knuckles on the bar top before she turned her attention to making another customer’s drink. She was very busy, so he left her to it. He’d barely taken his seat when the band took the stage for another set. He stood and held his hand out to Rose. “May I have this dance?”
“Why, yes, you may,” she said playing along.
Simon held her close enough to see the sparkles in her blue eyes. He loved the way her gaze lit up when she was happy. But his wolf itched to see her eyes dazed with passion as he made love to her, and then sated and sleepy afterwards. For now holding her on the dance floor would do. Rose’s intoxicating fragrance surrounded him, teasing his senses. He was in heaven.
He cupped her cheek with a large, warm palm. “I’m so happy you moved into our house, Rose. Having you in my arms makes me the luckiest man in the world.” The moment she agreed to move to his house he’d called it their home. His glowing blue eyes regarded her with a tenderness that made her breath hitch. 
She tightened her arms around his neck, urging his face closer to hers. “I didn’t want to go back to Anna’s, to an empty bed anymore,” she told him. “If you really plan to have me as your mate, it only made sense.”
“Just say the word and I’m yours completely. Forever.” He smiled, then dipped his head, kissed her deeply and nuzzled her.

V.A.Dold is the bestselling author of the Le Beau Brothers series, New Orleans wolf shifter novels. A graduate of Saint Cloud University, she majored in marketing. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a publicist to the authors, owning Innovative Online Book Tours and ARC Author & Reader Con's (ARC NOLA) (ARC Phoenix). Still is. The companies mesh so well together, much like PB&J.

Her idea of absolute heaven is a day in the French Quarter filled with nothing but her computer, her coffee mug and the Brothers, of course.

A Minnesota native with her heart lost to Louisiana, she has a penchant for titillating tales featuring sexy men and strong women. When she's not writing, she's probably taking in a movie, reading or traveling.

Her earliest reading memories are from grade school. She had a major fixation with horses, and the Black Stallion was a favorite. Then junior high came along and teenage hormones kicked in. It became all about the Harlequin Romances. She has been hooked on romances ever since.

Visit V.A.'s website
Like on Facebook
Follow on twitter at @VADOLD

Athena's Ashes by Jamie Grey

Publisher: Clever Crow Press
Release Date: August 26th 2014


It’s Renna’s biggest job yet – convincing MYTH leadership that she’s put away her lock picks and is ready to save the galaxy, despite the dangerous implant in her brain. But with the Athena on the run, she’s working solo and facing her most ruthless enemy, the traitor Pallas, who’ll go to any lengths to destroy the MYTH organization. Including framing Renna for a devastating assault on MYTH HQ that leaves their defenses crippled and hundreds dead. 

Now that MYTH believes she’s a dangerous double-agent, Renna escapes their firing squad before they put more holes in her than a pair of fishnet stockings. But the ticking time-bomb in her head is the one thing Pallas needs to complete his master plan and he’s not about to let her get away. Even worse, he’s discovered the only thing that will bring Renna to her knees – threatening Captain Nick Finn.

Out of time and options, Renna’s got one shot to take down the traitor before he annihilates everything she loves, even though winning this battle may cost her everything.

Athena's Ashes (Star Thief Chronicles #2)Athena's Ashes by Jamie Grey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Jamie Grey for giving me this book for an honest review. The story-line is really good. The world building is nicely done. The characters are well developed and written. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading more from this author.

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The Star Thief (Star Thief Chronicles, #1)The Star Thief by Jamie Grey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Jamie Grey for giving me this book for an honest review. The story-line is very good. The world building is nicely done. The characters are well developed and written. I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading more from this author.

View all my reviews

Renna leaned back in her chair and tilted her head to study Finn. He glanced away and tugged at his collar as he leaned against the table.
“Care to tell me what that was all about?” she asked.
“It was just a discussion Viktis and I had. I didn’t know Myka overheard us.”
“And what did you two gentlemen—” she emphasized the word slightly, “—decide about my future?”
Finn cleared his throat. “Nothing, really. I assured Viktis you were done with mercenary work and wouldn’t be interested in any other contracts. That you had given up that sort of thing. That MYTH could trust you.”
“You assured him, huh?” She raised an eyebrow. “And how did you know that?”
Finn tugged at his collar again. “I thought… since you were working for MYTH…”
“That I’d give up the only job I’ve ever been good at?”
“Save it, Finn.” She shook her head. “Neither you or Viktis know anything about my future plans. And to be honest, right now my only plan is surviving this mess. After I know I’m not going to die, I’ll think about what comes next.”
She’d spent most of her life planning what would come next—an early retirement on a vacation world. But she knew no matter what happened, that could never work for her now. If she was really honest with herself, she was hardly the type to settle down. Either in life or relationships. Which made her current situation all the more confusing. Part of her wanted to see what happened with Finn. Part of her wanted to run the moment this was over. She wasn’t sure which part would win at the moment.
Finn’s voice deepened, and he leaned forward to rest his hands on the table across from her, his gaze at her eye level. “I’ve been thinking about what comes next since we went on the run.” He looked like he wanted to devour her for lunch.
Renna swallowed.
“I hate that you left as we were getting to know each other again. I missed you, Renna.” He smiled wolfishly. “Obviously you missed me, too, if you took control of the Athena to get us back here.”
Heat blossomed in her face. “That had nothing to do with you,” she protested, getting to her feet. “I was unconscious. I didn’t even know what I was doing.”
Finn circled the table, and Renna backed away from him until she hit the wall. The expression on his face made heat pool between her legs and her mouth go dry. He stopped, just far enough away that he wasn’t touching her but close enough she could feel the heat from his body.
His blue eyes bore into hers. “Look at that. The Star Thief’s afraid,” he said softly.
She shook her head, her tongue darting out to lick her suddenly dry lips. Finn’s gaze dropped to watch. Once upon a time, she would have used that to her advantage, to seduce him and turn the tables. To take control of the situation. What the hell had happened to her?
She inhaled Finn’s scent—citrus and sandalwood. Damn him, he was right. She had missed him. But with everything going on now, she couldn’t afford to let him distract her. She couldn’t think about the future. There was only the present.
Damn, she wanted him, though. Now. On the freaking mess hall table.
Finn’s gaze trapped hers as he caressed her jaw with one of his long fingers, letting it drift lower down her neck to brush butterfly-light against her collarbone.
Renna’s skin tingled with fear and desire and lust until she could barely see straight.
And then he lowered his lips to hers. Just a soft brush of skin at first, but heat zapped through her and she sucked in a breath.
Finn took that as an invitation, smiling before he kissed her again softly. The feel of his mouth against hers sent a blaze of fire through her. Renna curled her hands into his arms, and he jerked her to him, deepening the kiss. He forced her mouth open, stroking her tongue, teasing her until she moaned.
“Finn,” she whispered, pressing herself against him, her fears forgotten for the moment. His hands tangled in her hair, and he kissed her until she was dizzy, until her knees trembled—along with other, more intimate parts of her.
He pulled away slightly to press kisses to her jaw, sliding his tongue against the sensitive skin beneath her ear. They were tangled in each other, his hard strength holding her against the wall. And she felt an even harder part of him pressed against her.
Another surge of heat shot through her. Gods, she’d missed him. She didn’t care what it meant at that moment. “I want you.”
“I know.”

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Follow the FFBC Athena's Ashes Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Jamie Grey spent most of her childhood writing stories about princesses who saved the day and pretending to be a daring explorer. It wasn’t until much later that she realized she should combine the two. Now, as a tech-obsessed gamer geek, her novels mix amazing scientific developments, future worlds, and the remarkable characters that live in them.

Jamie lives in Michigan with her boyfriend and their pets, who luckily tolerate her overspending on tea, books, and video games. You can learn more about her at, or follow her on twitter via @jamie_grey.

Win (1) copy of The Star Thief and Athena's Ashes, along with a copy of the ebook novella (All the books in the Star Thief Series) + some Athena's Ashes swag (INT)

Win (1) $25 Amazong Gift Card (INT)

Crown Pheonix Series by Alison DeLuca with Guest Post and Q&A

Crown Phoenix Series Summary

An underground factory, a terrifying laboratory, and an Edwardian hospital…

Miriam has only her guardians' son for company, and she and Simon dislike each other from the start. But they must find a way to trust each other, or they will end up on the sinister Night Watchman Express. 

Target audience: Twelve and up.

Genres: Steampunk, Edwardian fiction, YA fantasy

Perfect Flaws

Characters who are perfect are, well, boring. If someone is a robot with perfectly groomed hair even in a high wind, why should I care? And how could I possibly relate?

As a writer and a reader, I adore character flaws. I love how personalities boil over, how the brain goes awry. It is a way to be paranormal without sparkly skin.

In my Crown Phoenix series, I had a host of characters with flaws. Here they are with short explanations of what went wrong in each case:

1. Miriam – My main heroine comes first. She has a terrible temper, and since she is an orphan in Edwardian England, she is furious at how her life changes overnight without being able to have any say in what happens to her. Guardians arrive in her house and hire a governess for her. She is tossed out of her bedroom and forced to sleep in the attics. She must wear black. To all this, she reacts with tantrums and even violence – she burns important papers and throws cricket balls at her uncle. (He still bears a huge bruise on his shin.)

2. Simon – The son of the guardians, his flaw is that he is a bit too perfect. He’s handsome, rich, and good at sports. With all of this comes a fast eye for pretty girls and a tendency to impatience when he encounters weakness. Simon is ripe for a loud quarrel with Miriam, and the two clash almost at once. It is only after some very exciting, dangerous adventures that Simon discovers that beauty isn’t always a good thing, and weakness can be, in the right circumstance, a real strength. 

3. Lizzie – She appears in the third book of the series, and her affliction is a physical one. She is very near-sighted and desperately needs glasses. As a maid in a large, tumbledown manor, something like spectacles is an impossible luxury. To describe the book from her point of view, keeping her limited sight in mind, was a joyful challenge for me as an author.

4. Toby – Lizzie has to wait on him, and he is the eldest son in the manor. After his mother died, however, he found that he was unable to leave his room. His agoraphobia confines him to the attics, and Lizzie is his only real contact with the world.

5. Lizzie, again – Lizzie goes through something called the Passage, a “hole” in time and space opened by the Crown Phoenix. This causes some very major changes – she finds that after the Passage she can sniff out emotions and feelings in others. 

6. Matilda – Lizzie youngest sister, she has been affected by her brother’s disappearance and her parents’ dependence on a tonic that is a fearful opiate. As a result, she becomes obsessive about keeping clean, and she washes her hands so often that they bleed.

7. Kyoge – He’s strong, tall, intelligent, and handsome. What could be the matter there? Nothing, beyond an advanced sense of Place and Duty that forbids him to make any advances to the woman he loves, since she is on a higher level of society. Everyone, including the woman, knows that he is perfect for her – will he be able to overcome his own belief system and upbringing to be able to grasp happiness?

8. Riki – She is very close to my heart. Riki is a wild child, one of those kids who was born and immediately began to plague her parents night and day. She won’t listen or behave until she meets the one boy who won’t put up with her nonsense.

9. Mana – She is largely perfect. Intelligent, dignified and beautiful, she would be an accepted member of Society – if she weren’t a woman of color in Edwardian England. She must rely on her own wits and a bit of magic to negotiate the Upstairs and Downstairs of a large country house.

There are others, but these were my favorites. I loved these characters as they came alive for me, and the reason they were so vivid in my mind was, I think, due to their lovely, beautiful flaws.

Night Watchman Express
(The Crown Phoenix #1)
by Alison DeLuca 


Orphaned Miriam has always been terrified by the sound of THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS as it hurtles by her house. The sound of the train gives her nightmares of an underground factory, and a laboratory where brutal experiments take place.

During the day she has very different problems. Her new guardians, the Marchpanes, have arrived with their son, Simon, to live in Miriam's house. The Marchpanes are plotting to take over her dead father's business.

As they are both strong willed and stubborn, Miriam and Simon develop an instant dislike for each other. They have to work together, however, in order to solve the mystery of what the Marchpanes are doing with Miriam's inheritance.

As they come closer to learning the truth, Miriam is kidnapped and put on THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS, and Simon must try to rescue her. In doing so, he will have to confront his own parents and the evil forces behind them.

But as he tries to help Miriam, he is captured. Simon is put in a strange, luxurious prison, where his jailers are as hauntingly beautiful as they are dangerous.

As THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS arrives at its destination, Miriam comes to the shocking realization that her nightmares about the subterranean factory and the dark laboratory were not just dreams.

What she always feared more than anything is going to come true.

The Night Watchman ExpressThe Night Watchman Express by Alison DeLuca
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book from amazon free read. I enjoyed reading this book, it was filled with adventure and I found myself rooting for Miriam. The world building was nicely done. The story-line is very good. The characters are well developed and written. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

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The Devil's Kitchen
(The Crown Phoenix #2)
by Alison DeLuca


In The Night Watchman Express, Miriam and Simon were kidnapped and thrown on the strange train... Now in Book Two of The Crown Phoenix series, they arrive at the terrifying destination known as Devil's Kitchen.

There they will face human experiments in a laboratory known as The Infirmary. 

There Miriam will be forced to work in an underground factory.

There Simon is held in a luxurious prison by jailers who are as beautiful as they are deadly...

And their courage will be tested to the breaking point.

What readers are saying about Devil's Kitchen:

"This book was so exciting it was hard to put down."

"It's definitely a fun adventure that even adults can enjoy."

"...highly addictive reading..."

"...the characters are bold. They almost seem to jump off the page and grasp you by the wrist so that you may live their lives alongside them."

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Alison DeLuca for giving me this book for an honest review. The world building is very good. The story-line is good and kept me wanting more. The characters are well developed and written. I am looking forward to reading more of this series and more from this author.

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Lamplighter's Special
(The Crown Phoenix #3)
by Alison DeLuca


Lizzie and her sister are forced to work in a huge manor and on a steamship to support their family. 

They are caught up in several mysteries:

The squire’s oldest son cannot leave the attic
An old typewriter seems to move time and space
A passenger hides in a secret room
A beautiful visitor is plotting against them

And Lizzie discovers that she has a strange, new ability.

She and her sister must discover the secrets of The Lamplighter’s Special before their enemy catches up with them.

"DeLuca writes in an enjoyable faux-Victorian voice, capturing the ‘prim and proper’ spirit of the times while simultaneously subtly critiquing conventions (for example, the Marchpane’s treatment of Mana, a black governess). Mostly, the style gives the novel both a lightness of touch and, when the voice is at its strongest, an authenticity.”

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Alison DeLuca for giving me this book for an honest review. The world building is nicely done. The story-line is very good. The characters are well developed and written. I really enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to reading more of this series and more from this author.

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The South Sea Bubble
(The Crown Phoenix #4)
by Alison DeLuca 


An Edwardian hospital hides many secrets:

A mysterious patient lurks in the cellar...
A secret passage leads to danger...
Coded messages reveal new riddles...
Visions of danger haunt the people of Grimstead Manor…

Lizzie and Miriam find horror, adventure, and romance surrounding the strange vessel known as The South Sea Bubble.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Alison DeLuca for giving me this book for an honest review. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this series. I am looking forward to reading them to my grandchildren to share the adventures of these characters. The world building is nicely done and the story-line is good. The characters are well developed and written. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

View all my reviews

About the Author:

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.

Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.


Author Interview

  • Who is your favorite author and is your writing style similar to theirs?

  • I would have to choose Enid Blyton, a children’s author from the 40’s and 50’s. She was a product of her times, but she could spin a tale of adventure like no one else. Her characters were sometimes wooden and the dialogue a bit cliché, but her books fascinated me as a child.
  • I can only hope to approach Enid’s sense of story and development. I do insist on including ethnic characters, however, unlike her. So, I hope that I am a more modern version of Enid.

  • What is your favorite part of a book?

  • Maps. I love maps. When I’m shopping for a book, if I see maps in the beginning, then I’m a buyer. As a young reader I used to pour over Middle Earth, Narnia, Oz, and the Hundred Acre Wood.
  • When I discovered the illustrator who developed the maps for my own books, I was excited beyond belief. (It doesn’t take much.) To have the places that I envisioned become visible was true magic.

  • When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?

  • Names have a certain aura, no doubt. I love heroines with old-fashioned names, such as Hermione, so I chose a very classic name for mine: Miriam.
  • Some of my characters are ethnic, as I said, and they come from an imaginary land called Lampala, which I based on Madeira. Manapalata Postulate is one example; she is my magical governess who comes to teach Miriam. Her first name, Mana, was derived from the Benin language. It is the same with the other characters from my dream country: Chichilia, Wekogono, Kyoge…

  • Do you use real-life facts based on true stories? 

  • My books are Edwardian steampunk fantasy, but of course I must base my technology in the books on real-life engineering. In order to write about quantum physics and time travel, I had to research those subjects within the parameters of Edwardian tech.
  • The final book in the series, for example, talks about bathyspheres. I researched them – and their history is fascinating – so my book is based on those stories from the first underwater explorers. However, I changed events a bit by making bathyspheres appear twenty years earlier than they actually did, for the purposes of my story.

  • Do you use your OWN experiences?

  • I suppose I do. It’s a subconscious thing; I’ll see the way a child opens her mouth to cry, or how my sister captures a spider and disposes of it, the way anger makes me feel as though bubbles are exploding in my nose. Thousands of tiny details like that work their way into my books.
  • On a macro level, I used my love of teaching to create Mana. Miriam’s anger and tantrums were based on personal experiences as well, I’m sorry to say!

  • How do you conceive your plot ideas?

  • I receive a sudden flash at the oddest, most inopportune moments. I can be stopped at a red light and an idea will hit me.
  • As I write it and flesh out the story, the plot develops in my mind. It’s like watching a movie; sometimes a character will do something quite unexpected and shock me.

  • Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to publish? 

  • I’m an Indie, so I’m able to publish any books that I want, luckily! However, I do have a few howlers hidden in my file cabinet, never to see the light of day. My very first novel, for example, should be used to line birdcages. However, the thing showed me that I was able to sit down and write an entire book. That is a true moment of revelation for an author.

  • Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?

  • The Crown Phoenix is a series of four books. The Night Watchman Express is the story of an orphan, Miriam, who is undisciplined and very angry (much like Mistress Mary in The Secret Garden.) Mana, her magical governess, teaches Miriam self-control and, eventually, how to love.
  • There is also a bit of romance with the most unlikely person, Simon, who is the son of Miriam’s guardians. Simon and Miriam really don’t like each other at all at first, but they have to form a bond against some very nasty villains.

  • How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children's books, etc.)?

  • Steampunk has always fascinated me. I loved Doyle, Verne, and Wells when I was growing up. The idea of having gears and clockworks perform feats of physics is gorgeous, I think.

  • What kind of research did you do for this book?

  • I researched antique technology, such as those bathyspheres and typewriters. I also continue to research Edwardian society and history. The final installment is set in an Edwardian hospital, much like Downton Abbey, so I had to research medical history and the development of nursing.

  • What is a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

  • As soon as I get my daughter onto the school bus, I rush back to the house and write as long as I can. Of course, I have to fight my way past the dishes and the laundry to do that!
  • I love it when I can get 2,000 words a day finished, but that doesn’t happen often, alas. Still, each new sentence that I create is a concept that never existed before, and I get to bring it to life. That makes my job the best there is.

  • What are you working on now?

  • The fourth and final book of The Crown Phoenix series is my WIP. It’s called The South Sea Bubble, and I’m almost finished with the first draft. Of course, that means that the really hard stuff comes next – revisions, edits, beta reads, etc. Writing the book is the easy part!

  • What advice would you give aspiring writers?

  • Buy yourselves On Writing and The Elements of Style. Butt+chair = written work, so sit down every day and write at least 500 words. Read as much as you can. And, most importantly, develop a good, thick skin. Harsh critique is extremely valuable – a poor review can, if it is thoughtfully done, be a real gift.
  • Finally, be careful out there. Social media is a blessing and a curse for writers.

  • Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

  • I got sucked into Suzanne Collins’ series and couldn’t stop reading. I also love JK Rowling, of course. The Age of Miracles was incredible. I love Murakami – Kafka on the Shore and Hard-Boiled Wonderland – as well as Dwight Okita’s book, The Prospect of My Arrival.
  • 11-22-63 is on my bedside table at the moment, as well as a host of others. I’ll read anything from Bizarro (Placenta of Love) to Georgette Heyer. Got a book? Heck, I’ll read it.

  • What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

  • I suppose I’d like to be asked: “How will you challenge yourself in your next book?”
  • I always like to continue my development as a writer. In my last book, The Lamplighter’s Special, the entire book was from one point of view. Furthermore, the main character was very near-sighted (as am I) and was too poor to afford glasses. To describe actions and tell the story, keeping her fuzzy vision in mind throughout, was a lot of fun and a serious challenge.
  • In my current book, I use two points of view. I’m considering different ways of presenting those POV’s while keeping the story arcs intact, and I have a few concepts in mind. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Nightlife San Antonio by Travis Luedke

Title: The Nightlife San Antonio
Author: Travis Luedke
Series: The Nightlife Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance/Vampires
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: June 9th 2014
Edition: eBook with Print Coming Soon


Vampires, Mafia & Mayhem:
The Nightlife San Antonio is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.
All she wanted was to escape the police. All he wanted was to get laid. They both got more than they bargained for.

EMT on call, Adrian Faulkner resuscitates a beautiful woman after a Mexican mafia shootout. He can't explain why he picks her up in the hospital parking lot three days later and then ducks the San Antonio police and the Feds. Well, the hot sex might have something to do with it.

She needed to hide. With no memory of even her name, she didn't know from who. She only knew she wasn't safe.

Adrian soon learns she is much more than a damsel in distress, and he’s stuck with her. It isn't long before the past she cannot remember begins to catch up with them both…

THE NIGHTLIFE SAN ANTONIO is a non-stop thrill ride through the shadowy borderworld of mafia politics and vampires – and sex.

Book Links


Adrian headed for his Chevy pickup at the far corner of the parking lot, Jose’s fifty dollars tucked into his back pocket. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of a pale blue fabric flitting past between two cars. In the strange pallor cast by the parking lot lights, he could’ve sworn he saw a flash of butt cheek from a woman wearing one of those open-backed hospital gowns. He changed course and headed straight for this wisp of fabric, intrigued.
He reached the shadows between two vehicles and paused, a sense of wrongness flashing in his mind. He made an about-face and headed back to his pickup truck. He had learned that it didn’t pay to stick his nose into things not his business. He had a date with a Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress in his air-conditioned apartment.
As he reached the truck, he glanced around once more and considered calling hospital security. A renegade patient was their job, not his.
Without a single sound, she was suddenly there, right next to him, her pale blood-splattered hand on his arm – the gunshot victim, the woman who damn near died in the back of his ambulance.
Her weak grip tugged at his arm. “I need your help. You have to help me.”
Her black hair hung limp, plastered to her forehead. Blood speckled her chin, neck and light blue gown. She must have coughed up blood, which would mean her lungs were not doing so good. Pneumonia, collapsed lung, punctured lung, all the possibilities slid across his mind as he stared at her, perplexed. What the hell was she doing out here? Walking around? The woman had flat-lined a couple of days ago.
“Let’s get you back to the Emergency Room. They’ll take care of everything.” At the risk of ruining his jacket with blood stains and who knew what other bodily fluids, he put his arm around her and pulled her close to hold her weight. She wasn’t wearing anything under the paper-thin gown. The contours of her naked hip fit his hand perfectly. He tried to ignore those thoughts and instead steered her back towards the hospital.
“No, wait, I can’t.” She stopped him from going any farther by turning in his grip to face him.
Shit. “Do you need me to carry you?” Please no. My back can’t take any more tonight.
“I can’t be here.”
Her face, which had held a look of pleading, turned dead serious. Dark eyes bored into his soul with a depth of intensity. “I need you. Take me with you. I must leave now.” There was something fascinating about her eyes. She never blinked even once, and he found he couldn’t look away from her. “You have to help me.”
Yes, of course. He had to help her.
He suddenly understood, and really, it was a simple request. She needed a ride. No big deal. Helping her was the right thing to do. The soldier part of his mind rapidly assessed the risks. The CCTV cameras only covered the entrance area of the hospital. Nobody would know where she went from the parking lot. He glanced around, looking for any sign of a witness to this strange moment. Then he recalled her little issue, she was a mafia target or something like that. He had no desire to become collateral damage on a botched hit job. A saner voice nagged him, get rid of her. No upside in helping her, no upside at all. She stank like old blood and medicine, that sick-hospital smell. She stood in his arms staring at him, unblinking, her dark eyes a well filled with raw, intense need.
Something stirred inside him. Even in her present condition, she was eerily compelling.
He had deliberately trained as a paramedic to help people. The bastard shrink had called him a sociopath, unable to care about people. So, here he was, trying to care, trying to help, trying to be like everyone else, normal. It was his job to help people like her, more so than the police who were probably looking for her right now.
Do your job, Adrian. Prove the bastard shrink wrong.
“Okay, I’ll give you a ride. Come on.” She snuggled into his embrace with a grateful smile on her bloody lips as he pulled her back towards his truck. He reacted to her appreciation low in his groin. Obviously it had been way too long since he got laid. Messing around with patients was a major fail, quick way to get fired and prosecuted.
He helped her up into the truck – impossible not to end up with a handful of her ass in the process. She held his gaze with that creepy look, and a small grin split her lips. Adrian smiled back at her reassuringly, then shut the door and jetted around to the driver side for the packet of Clorox wet wipes on the seat. Without surgical gloves, no knowing what nasty germs he might get from touching her.
She just sat there, blood splattered, in nothing but her paper-thin gown, watching him. She looked so vulnerable, and she had put so much trust in him. He started the truck and navigated out of the parking lot with her furtively watching him all the while. She kept glancing back at the hospital entrance, as if looking for someone in pursuit.
“Shit!” She dropped flat on the truck bench seat as a police car sped past. The car screeched to a stop at the emergency entrance and two cops piled out, jogging into the hospital.
Her huge brown eyes looked up at him. She had laid her head in his lap. The girl might be afraid of the police and everyone else, but she trusted him.
He tried not to think about her face on his thigh, or the complete absurdity of the moment. He just kept on driving up to the intersection at the highway. Then it occurred to him he had no idea which direction to take.
“So, where are we headed? We’re on I-35 and I-37, on the south side.”
Still she just stared at him, head resting on his lap like he had become her personal pillow. Damn, he’d have to wash his jeans with Lysol disinfectant.
She shook her head, rubbing her lank black hair all over his jeans. “I … I don’t know.”
Fucking great.
“Look, I understand you’re afraid. I was one of the paramedics who brought you in. Somebody tried to kill you. It’s amazing you can even walk, and you don’t need me to tell you that you need medical attention. You should be in a hospital.”
She shook her head. “I can’t go back.”
He knew she was gonna say that. “If you won’t go to a hospital, then I’ll take you home. I can check your wounds, change your bandages, but I’m not a doctor. I’m not qualified for anything else. Tell me where you live. I’ll get you there, do what I can to help, and then we’re done. We never met. You don’t know who I am, and I don’t know who you are. I could lose my job for this.”
He felt a twinge of something as her emotions flickered across her face. She was afraid. He’d seen plenty of that in Iraq. He stared at her for a minute, until a honking car behind him drew his attention to the stale green light. He took off for the north onramp to I-35. Cruising the highway, he kept glancing down at her. She had her hands over her face, like an ostrich hoping the problem would go away if they simply didn’t see it anymore.
One more exit and they would be at his apartment complex. He tried not to think of the implications. This girl needed to go somewhere, definitely not to his home. “I need a direction, an address, something.”
She uncovered her face and there were dark wet tears in her eyes. Was that blood? Fuck. Why the hell would she be bleeding from her eyes? She choked as though crying. Damn women were always crying.
Adrian hadn’t cried in years. He hadn’t felt that kind of intensity about anything, apart from a few insane moments in Iraq. How could people function when they feel so much? The only thing that got him going, beyond sex, was full-on combat, kill or be killed. The EMT calls got a bit wild once in a while, but not very often.
He reached over to the glove box to find the Kleenex tissues and handed her one. “You’re bleeding.”
She dabbed at her eyes, looked at the tissue and then back up at him. Lost, bewildered, scared, her huge dark eyes raked at him with the urgency of her plight. She choked out the words, “I don’t know where to go. I don’t know anything.”
The problem hit, and he didn’t like the way it made his stomach turn. She wasn’t local. She didn’t live in San Antonio. Where the hell could he take her?
“You don’t have anywhere to go? No friends, no house, no hotel?”
She wouldn’t speak, held her lips tight, as if to stop herself from screaming, and shook her head again.
Damn. He knew he shouldn’t have put her in his truck. No upside to this deal at all. Now, he just wanted to be rid of her. But the woman was still in his lap, looking at him like he owed her something, like he was going to be the one who saved her from … whatever.
Isn’t that why you took this job, to save people? Do your job, Adrian.
“Look, I’ll get you cleaned up, some clothes, a bus ticket, and that’s it. I can’t do anything more. Seriously.”
Huge, wet, doe eyes held his gaze while she slowly nodded acceptance. She covered her face and curled up on his seat, shivering. He turned up the heat, even though it wasn’t cold in the truck. San Antonio spring nights were never really cold. Pulling into the covered parking in front of his apartment complex, he realized he had a new problem.
“Stay here a minute, I’m going to get you a blanket. Just stay low, make sure no one sees you.”
He scooted his thigh out from under her and closed the truck door to peek in through his driver side window, ensuring she stayed down. She stared at him all the while. This was one strange chick. He found it hard to reconcile the Latin goddess who had almost died in his ambulance with this half-naked, crazy chick hiding in his truck. She had looked so beautiful, and fragile, whereas now she was this needy, pushy, intense girl who wanted to dump her whole damn life in the palms of his hands.

The Nightlife San Antonio: (Urban Fantasy Romance) (The Nightlife Series)The Nightlife San Antonio: (Urban Fantasy Romance) by Travis Luedke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Travis Luedke for giving me this book for an honest review.
I love reading The Nightlife series, Travis Luedke's writing is always gripping and sexy raw. The story-line is good. The world building is nicely done. The characters are well developed and written. Travis is one of my favorite authors, I love this series and as always look forward to the next book in the series.

“He found her utterly fascinating, a nameless, homeless, naked vampire, sleeping away the day in his bed, wanted by state and federal police.”
― Travis Luedke, The Nightlife San Antonio

View all my reviews

Author Information

Travis Luedke is a husband, father, and author of Urban Fantasy Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, and Sci-fi. He is currently catching a 3rd degree sunburn in San Antonio, Texas, and loving every minute of it.
As the author of the Nightlife Series novels, Travis lives very vicariously through his writings. He invites you to enjoy his macabre flights of fancy, but be warned: The Nightlife Series is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.

Author Links
Blog ~ Personal
Blog ~ The Nightlife Series
Facebook Page ~The Nightlife Series
Facebook Page ~ Author

Grab your copy of this urban fantasy romance today!

The Nightlife Series Novels are Adult Paranormal Romance ~ Urban Fantasy Thriller: