Monday, February 25, 2013

Blog Tour and Giveaway- A Game Worth Watching by Samantha Gudger

 I was privileged to take part in this blog tour for new author, Samantha Gudger.  I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what she does next.

Read on for my review and the Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by The Indie Bookshelf.

Not being a particularly sporty girl myself, this wasn't really the sort of book that  I  would have ordinarily picked up.  But I'm glad I did!

Emma is a likeable main character with a lot of crap dumped on her in her short life.   She did have the tendency to be untrusting and her negativity especially towards other girls did get a little repetitive and annoying but it was understandable with her family, of which dysfunctional would be an understatement.

I adored her best friend Riley and spent much of the read waiting for them to become more.    Not being a basketballer I did find some of the game descriptions a little overwhelming and bit hard to follow but they were a big part of the story, so definitely didn't ruin it for me.

Overall I loved how it was an emotional story, but not overly angsty and more matter of fact, as though Emma had accepted her lot in life.   I did get emotional in some parts where you  could feel her helplessness and I just wanted to give her a hug.    All in all, a wonderful debut and I'm looking forward to see what Samantha does next.   4/5

 Author Bio:

A former three-sport athlete in high school, Samantha grew up with a ball in one hand and a book in the other. From the moment her first grade teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, Samantha knew she wanted to be an author.

Samantha currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, a ball-obsessed Australian Shepherd, and a cat that can’t get enough cuddle time. Books, writing, sports, music, and marshmallows top her list of favorites.

A Game Worth Watching is her first novel.

Book Excerpt:

Riley grew quiet and still, studying her in the moonlight. When the seconds stretched into an eternity, Emma bowed her head, unable to look at him any longer. She could only imagine what thoughts he entertained in that stubborn head of his.
He leaned in to look at her downturned face. “You deserve this opportunity, Em,” he said softly. “Who knows where it will take you?”
When she lifted her eyes to his, he put on his you-can’t-resist-me puppy dog face. “For me?”
Why did he always have to make things so complicated? Did it really matter if she didn’t go to college or play on some stupid girls’ team?
She growled in frustration and jumped off the log to escape. Wrong move. Riley’s arms shot out, trapping her between his body and the log, forcing her to face him and the conversation.
“Will you at least seriously consider it?” he asked. “Please?”
“The girls’ team is horrible.” It was a fact and everyone knew it.
“Maybe they wouldn’t be so horrible if you played for them,” Riley challenged.
“I’d be playing with girls who have hated me and teased me since elementary school.” Merely picturing their faces made her stomach churn.
“Since when are you afraid of a challenge?”
Emma injected as much pain as she could into her eyes to gain the pity vote. “I’ll be miserable.”
He secured her face between his hands. “I’ll support you every step of the way.”

Link to Samantha's Facebook Author Page:!/pages/Samantha-Gudger/558061540875532?fref=ts
Link to Goodreads:
Link to Amazon:

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Author Interview: Jeff LaFerney, Author of Bulletproof

I think I might be getting my taste back for crime novels.   First Nina D'Angelo with her awesome novel, Nowhere to Run, and now, Jeff LaFerney with Bulletproof.

I haven't read any of his books yet but after reading about Bulletproof and having interviewed him, I am seriously thinking about topping up my kindle with some. 

Loved this interview, the anecdotes about students and hey, you can't go wrong with a fellow Princess Bride fan. 

Tell me about your latest book: Clay and Tanner Thomas have a medically diagnosed and explained alteration to their brains that gives them parapsychological abilities. In Bulletproof, during a brain cancer surgery, a surgeon creates the same alteration to another character who begins using the abilities to pull off various crimes. Clay and his father are accused of an armed robbery, so while his father is hospitalized, Clay and his son, Tanner, begin investigating. In the process, Clay meets a ghost who claims to have been murdered eleven years before, so the father and son team begin the adventure to solve both mysteries, with a surprising result for each.

What inspired you to write this story? Tanner goes to college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while Clay lives in Flint. Fenton is about halfway between the cities, so I decided to have a mystery in Fenton where I learned of the belief that the Fenton Hotel is haunted. I’d already decided I wanted a character with mind-control abilities to run amok in Bulletproof, but the ghost gave my story more potential, so I ran with it and solved two mysteries instead of just one.

Tell me a little about your Works in Progress:  I have an idea for another Clay and Tanner mystery but first I wanted to write a time-travel story that was obsessing me. In my story, three angels (principalities) put into motion a plan to alter the political make-up of the Middle East. They choose a girl to gain possession of the Staff of Moses and a time-traveling teleporter to protect her until she’s ready to meet the King of Jordan. As the duo go farther and farther back in time, they continue to experience events that the King has already experienced and they keep running into a grizzly bear that is determined to be the girl’s pet. There is a lot of action, humor, and suspense and an interesting mystery concerning the time-traveller’s past. It should be published by the end of March.

For any new readers who would like to read your work, please tell me a little about your past books.  The Clay and Tanner Thomas books are stand-alone suspense/mysteries. The father and son have differing parapsychological abilities which they use to help solve crimes. Tanner is a happy-go-lucky star athlete, and Clay is a kind-hearted man who struggles with the morality of using his gifts. In Loving the Rain, they fight off a criminal, who is a rival from Clay’s past and is seeking revenge. Clay must deal with personal and family issues as he watches his son develop his own abilities. In Skeleton Key they solve a seven-year-old mystery of a disappearance of a man from a train wreck. When they find his body buried along the tracks, they proceed to solve the mystery of his death. The less-than-cooperative ghost of the wicked dead man give clues to the solution, while the readers learn that nearly everyone has a motive to kill him.

Do you have a favourite writing snack?  I love chips and salsa, chips and cheese, buttery popcorn with seasonings (yes this includes cheddar and white cheese), muenster cheese, Pringles multi-grain cheddar cheese chips…okay, I sound like a snackaholic who might just as well simply spray cheese whiz down my throat.  You’re thinking I must have high blood pressure and a pot belly, but I don’t. I just don’t have a “favourite” snack.

You’re a full-time 8th grade English teacher. Do you have a story or two to share? I had a girl in class one time who was using a round pencil. My desks slant several degrees from top to bottom, but the girl was determined to place her pencil horizontally on her desk. She set it there and it rolled off the desk. She picked it up and tried again with the same result (I mean the pencil actually ended up on the floor). On the third try, she literally pushed her pencil forcefully into the desk as if it might sink in and stay, but it just rolled off the desk again. Finally, I walked over, grabbed the pencil from the floor, and placed it on her desk vertically, and lo and behold, it didn’t roll off. The girl said, “Oh! That was a good idea!” Another girl’s story is my best, however. I’ll call her Suzy Hill. We were going into the writing lab to take a required technology test. I was preparing them, telling them how to log on. When logging in, they were to type just the first four letters of their last names. Suzy Hill’s hand flew into the air. She asked, “What if a person only has three letters in their last name?” I told her that the person would probably only type in his or her three letters but that it didn’t matter because I didn’t have any students with only three letters in their name. She said, “Uh huh!” She held up her hand and started counting with her fingers. “H…I…L…oh, I have four letters.” Needless to say, neither of these two young ladies will be publishing a book soon.

Do you have a character you’ve enjoyed writing the most? I love Jasper Bugner. He’s a midget attorney from Skeleton Key and Bulletproof. He has a temper, a smart mouth, and gets into all kinds of mischief from being sprayed by a skunk and ending up naked in his unattached garage, to climbing a tree to get an umbrella before falling INTO a tree house, to getting into fights with much bigger men and getting impaled in a bush like a lawn dart, to nearly being in contempt of court for his courtroom antics, to being afraid of ghosts, to flipping over the handlebars of his children’s bike, to great feats of gymnastics, to rock throwing contests, to a three-legged race with the 6’3” Tanner, to jumping into a beautiful woman’s lap on purpose.  He’s a riot.

What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?  I think by giving an example of something that I thought was “fun,” I’ll share an insight into my personality. I was with a group doing a high ropes course (that’s fun). A leader pointed to a telephone pole near a hanging bar and said something along the lines of “only our best participants can climb that pole and jump from it to that bar.” That was all I needed…a challenge. I climbed the pole, which was strenuous but not difficult. But getting my feet onto the top of that wobbly pole? Well, that was no ordinary endeavour. On my first attempt, I fell. So I climbed back up. On my second attempt, I made it to the top, but when I jumped, I was nowhere near the bar and fell a second time. By then, everyone was ready to leave, but I wasn’t to be denied. Tired now, I climbed for the third time, made the jump, and succeeded. That’s the kind of thing that’s fun for me.

What sort of books do you like to read?  I read books in hardcover, paperback, on my Kindle, and on my phone. You didn’t mean that, did you? I knew that, but I wanted to get across that I like any good book, in whatever form it’s written. Mystery and suspense are my favorites. I like literary fiction quite a bit and enjoy a good fantasy book too. Mostly I love books with good characters. If I like the characters, I probably am a fan of the book.

Novel writing seems like serious business. What do you write for fun? Many years ago, for the English standardized tests, the students had a writing prompt that we would prepare them to do by giving them practice prompts. Then we would get together as a staff and grade them with the rubric the state used. I would generally write two of my own and insert them into the pile and then wait with baited breath to see what would happen when they would be graded. A “4” was the highest score, and I was probably 10 for 10 in getting 4’s. It was a great confidence builder, listening to people say things like, “Finally, here’s a good one.” And then they’d pass it around the group. That was fun--even disguising my handwriting was fun. Now, I use my blog (The Red Pen: to write schizophrenic ramblings. I write in the first person, so the voice is quite different from my novels. I usually teach something with my entries, but they’re usually humorous and I think as much fun to read as to write.  

What parts of the writing process do you love and hate the most? Okay, maybe this is weird (maybe not) but I’ve written things that make me laugh right out loud and I’ve written several scenes that have made me cry. I think (and I hope really, really hard) that if my characters are so real to me that I laugh at them and cry with and for them, then just maybe my readers will feel the same way. I love that about the writing process. What I hate the most are typos and errors, especially in the published product but even in the writing process. I’m kind of anal about errors. I simply don’t want any. I cringe when I find one…and I’m certain, by the way, that literary text is alive and those errors grow and develop all by themselves just to torment me. I mean, they didn’t used to be there, so where did they come from if they didn’t sprout on the page of their own accord? (You have my permission, by the way, to remove and/or repair all typos in my responses).
(Leigh says: Nope, not going to! Gonna make you sweat *evil laugh)

Anything else you would like to add? I’m a big The Princess Bride fan. In it was this conversation between Fred Savage (the grandson) and Peter Falk (the grandpa). 
The Grandson:  A book?
Grandpa:  That's right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you.
The Grandson:  Has it got any sports in it?
Grandpa:  Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
The Grandson:  Doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.
Grandpa:  Oh, well, thank you very much, very nice of you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.

When I encourage others to read my books, I tell them…They’ve got mystery, suspense, drama, deception, parapsychology, revenge, murder, ghosts, sports, humorous dialogue, physical humor, action, true love, twists, surprise endings, giants, midgets, trials, tears…That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? They’re easy, fun reads for middle grades to senior saints. And each book can stand alone, so my readers can pick the story that appeals to them most. Check out the Clay and Tanner books, and in less than two months, watch for my time-traveller. He’s a great character in an action-filled, fun book.

“Thank you very much” Leigh, for the opportunity to share. It was “very nice of you” and “your vote of confidence” is appreciated. I can only hope your readers “stay[ed] awake.”

(Leigh says: Thanks for joining me!  This was an incredibly entertaining interview!  Off to go and watch The Princess Bride again... again. And grab your books!)

Summary of Bulletproof:

After a devastating injury to his father, Clay Thomas is abandoned by two of the people closest to him while being pursued by the local police chief for crimes he didn't commit. He is determined to find the culprit of a series of local robberies while fulfilling a promise to a ghost to solve his eleven-year-old murder. Clay and his son, Tanner, incorporate their unique mind-control abilities to solve the crimes, restoring broken relationships in the process. Bulletproof, a stand-alone novel, is the third exciting installment in the Clay and Tanner Thomas mystery/suspense series.

Amazon link:

Facebook author page link:

Blog page link:

Jeff LaFerney has been an English teacher for more than twenty-five years. He and Jennifer, his wife of twenty-six years, live in Davison, Michigan. Torey and Teryn are their two children. Loving the Rain, Skeleton Key, and Bulletproof are his three stand-alone suspense and mystery novels in the Clay and Tanner Thomas series.  While writing the first book in his upcoming time travelers’ series, he has also been professionally editing books. He loves competing at sports, connecting to good books, and creating words that entertain others. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pimp the Indie #6 L.B Simmons

Sorry, I've been a bit slow on the pimping this week.   Today we have L.B Simmons who released her wonderful book, Running on Empty last month.    $1.99 for a limited time!

Check it out and buy here:

Add the book to your Goodreads shelf:

And go here for L.B.'s Facebook author page:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meet Scott

You'll get to meet him in two days when Flirting with Magick is released!

In the meantime, please join my Facebook Book Release Event for games, teasers and giveaways on publishing day 14 February 2013 (Australian EST).

Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pimp the Indie #5 - Kate Mathias

This week's author is Kate Mathias with her book, Worlds Apart.   I have read this book and it is fantabulous!  Earlier I showed you all my review and her cover for her new book, Hiding in Plain Sight.

Check out Kate's website for some contests and giveaways going on now!

Message from Kate
From now until Valentine’s Day, I'll be donating ALL of my proceeds from Worlds Apart to The Ronald McDonald House to help the families with sick children. From our hearts to theirs, share the love.

Check it out and buy here:

Barnes and Noble:

Kate's Goodread's Page and add her books to your shelf:

And go here for Kate's Facebook author page:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Blog Tour! Nina D'Angelo - Nowhere to Run

I am proud to be a part of Nina D'Angelo's Blog Tour for her debut novel, Nowhere To Run.

Nina recently joined me for an interview.  Check it and my review out below.

 Buy Now:

A dominatrix is murdered; her body displayed in a show of dominance. An actress is found dead beneath the Hollywood sign. There’s a murderer roaming the streets of Los Angeles and he’s having far too much fun to stop.
Stephanie Carovella is a woman of fire and ice. She left her career, her friends and her home town of LA but she couldn’t outrun the demons of her past. When she is lured back by the death of her best friend she enters a world where no one’s safe.
Can Stephanie find her friend’s killer or will she discover that she has nowhere to run?


Right from the very first word Nowhere to Run is an absolute roller coaster ride! 

Stephanie Carovella is an intriguing character.  At first you're not sure whether to love or hate her but as you learn more about her, you understand her more, understand why she does what she does and find yourself definitely on her side, and most likely to react the same way she had if it was you.   She's incredibly loyal and does everything she can to protect those she loves - and those characters are just as engaging.   

The women in the story are all gutsy, but all have a soft side.   The guys, well they are hot - the sort of guys you wished you could hang out with but  are sensitive as much as they are strong and  assertive.   Each character has their own little quirks, enough to make them loveable but not flawless.  The villains in the story were suitably hateable, but still with personalities that were well rounded enough to make you understand them, and at times feel sorry for them.

The storyline is fast paced, suspenseful and keeps you guessing.  I thought I had guessed who the serial killer was a number of times and was still surprised at the end.  The killer was interesting in the way they acted, killed and in their motivation.

All in all a wonderful debut novel and first of what I think is going to be an amazing series.   

5 Stars. 


Tell me about your latest book:
Nowhere to Run is my debut novel. It’s a story about obsession, passionate love, loss and murder. My main character, Stephanie Carovella, walked away from her life in Los Angeles – determined to put her past behind her. When her best friend is murdered, she returns – determine to find out who killed her and why. Her return to Los Angeles triggers a spate of murders, in which she is the common denominator.
Before long, Stephanie is drawn into a cat and mouse game, in which she must trap a killer before he claims her as his own.
What inspired you to write this story?
I never planned on writing a crime novel. If anyone told me when I was 16, I’d become a novelist I would have say yeah, I agree with that. If they’d told me that I’d write crime, I would have laughed my ass off.
I actually started writing Nowhere to Run by accident. I was playing around with storylines one Saturday night and nothing seemed to be working so I deleted everything I’d written and just cleared my mind and started writing. Before I knew it, I had written a prologue and then a few chapters –you get the gist.
The ideas for the novel just started to flowing after this. Everything just fell into place. I knew exactly what I wanted from the novel and I knew how I wanted it to flow.
Tell me a little about your Works in Progress:
I actually have three in progress. Two are on the backburner, because I can’t juggle three books at once. The main focus right now is Nowhere to Hide, which is book two in the Stephanie Carovella series. This book will see the return of all the central characters from book one, as well as the introduction of a minor character from Nowhere to Run. It will see Stephanie returning to University, studying to become a forensic profiler.

Life’s never really dull for Stephanie. In between trying to sort out her relationship woes, she will also be dealing with a copycat killer, who has learned from the best of them. And naturally, it won’t be long before he has her in his sights. In the background, there will be another killer watching and waiting – someone who wants to claim her as his own.
Once Nowhere to Hide is finished (I have it slated for an August release) then I will be working on The Live and Let Die/A Million to one series, which is a spin-off series of the Stephanie Carovella in the sense that it will feature some of the characters from the Stephanie Carovella series.
I also have a supernatural trilogy series in the works, but I am trying to hold that off.
For any new readers who would like to read your work, please tell me a little about your past books.  (could be beneficial if you have a series or if people might be interested in reading your earlier work)
Nowhere to Run is my debut novel. It’s part of a series though called the Stephanie Carovella series. I have about 15 novels so far planned for this series and about seven planned for the Live and Let Die/A million to one series.

I actually did write Live and Let Die/A Million to one before Nowhere to Run but it needs to be retweaked, reworked and rewritten.
Do you have a favourite writing snack?
I’m not really a fan of eating while I write. In fact, I’m renown for forgetting to eat. But I live on coffee. It fuels me. As long as I have coffee and good music, I’m set.
If a movie was made about your book, who would be in your ideal cast?
You know I’ve been thinking about this lately and it’s already been determined that Chris Pine would have to be Jase Devlin.
I haven’t worked out the rest of the characters yet, but stay tuned.
Do you have a character you’ve enjoyed writing the most?
As I write, it changes but Jake Carlisle has definitely become a favourite for a number of reasons. He’s sexy as hell, protective and just fun to write. He’s an Alpha male and you know he’s not going to take shit from his woman, no matter how tough she thinks she is. But he also doesn’t want a shy wallflower either. He wants someone who will stand up to him. Someone, who is not afraid to get their hands dirty and fight for what is hers.
He’s the hero type.
What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?
I love to read. I could curl up with a book anywhere and just chill out to relax. If I’m not reading, I’m researching for novels or thinking about ideas. I tend to be very tuned into writing. Writing to me is fun.

But I also love to travel. I’ve been all over the world and I usually do something crazy while I’m travelling. The last time I was overseas, I jumped out of a helicopter, and went paragliding off the Austrian Alps.
I also am a huge fan of photography and love taking photos. My photography has appeared in magazines.
What sort of books do you like to read?
Honestly? Anything and everything!!! I read romance. I read YA. I read crime. If someone hands me a book and it sounds interesting, I’ll read it. I also love biographies. I’m currently reading anything by Kristen Ashley, who is the Queen of Alpha Males and strong-headed women.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to write their own book?
Start writing and never stop. Write every day. It doesn’t have to be your novel. It can be a blog entry, a journey entry – anything – but keep writing. I try and write at least 1000 words a day. Even if it’s random.
And read. Read widely and read everything you can get your hands on. Reading helps widen your horizons. It lets you know what’s out there and it tightens your writing.
Also join writing groups. Once I started joining writing groups, my whole world changed. Other writers are the best people in the world to connect with. They get you. They’ve been where you are, they’re on the same journey and you will get a mountain of advice from them.
And lastly, believe in yourself. If you think you have a novel in you, then try. What do you have to lose? Nothing. If you don’t try, then you will never know.
What parts of the writing process do you love and hate the most?
I don’t think there’s a process of writing I actually hate. I love researching for my novel. I’m currently knee-deep is serial killers my copycat killer can imitate. It’s fascinating. Some of it’s sickening, but the research is necessary to ensure my details are accurate.
I love the writing, obviously. To me, that’s the best part of it. Putting my headphones on and tuning out to the rest of the world. It’s what I was born to do.
Like I said, there’s no real process I hate. Hell, I even love editing. That comes from the fact I’m a perfectionist. I tweak and retweak constantly until the novel is perfect.
If I had to say something I hated, it would be the assumptions people have about writing. People who aren’t in the writing industry often don’t know how much work goes into it. Writing a novel is about rewrites, promotion and marketing, edits, cover designs, formatting and managing time to make everything perfect.

About Nina D'Angelo

Nina D’Angelo is a freelance writer and photographer. After graduating from Deakin University in 2005, with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and Public Relations, Nina briefly worked in P.R. Not satisfied with her profession, she returned to freelance writing. Since graduation from University, she has written her own TV series, produced a music show for three seasons, worked for several music magazines and her photography was published in Aqua Pulse.

In 2012, she decided to take the plunge into the fiction world and started writing her debut novel, Nowhere to Run. Nowhere to Run is the first novel in the Stephanie Carovella series. Its release date is February 14th 2013.
Nina has already started working on her second novel – and the second in the Stephanie Carovella series. Nowhere to Hide is slated for an August release. Nina also plans on releasing her third novel in December 2013, which will be part of the Live and Let Die series.

To find out more about Nina D’Angelo, please see below:
Twitter: @janinedangelo

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pimp the Indie #4 - Melissa Brown

This week's author is Melissa Brown who has recently released her book Champagne Toast, the follow up to Bouquet Toss.   These have both been on my To Read Shelf for sometime and I'm looking forward to reading them back to back!

Check it out and buy Bouquet Toss here (currently only 99c):

Check it out and buy Champagne Toast here:

Have a look at Melissa's Goodreads page, check out her other works and add the books to your Goodreads shelf:

And go here for Melissa's Facebook author page: