Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#Interview: Laura Lee of Identity Theft

Laura Lee is the author of 14 books. She is best known for her non-fiction with such publishers as Reader's Digest, Harper Collins, Running Press and Broadway Books. Her first novel Angel was published in 2011, released in an audio edition last year and will be published in a second edition later this year. She has also written two collections of poetry, and a children’s book (A Child’s Introduction to Ballet). She brings to her writing a unique background as a radio announcer, improvisational comic and one-time professional mime and she divides her time between writing and organizing national ballet master class tours. The San Francisco Chronicle said of her work, “Lee’s dry, humorous tone makes her a charming companion… She has a penchant for wordplay that is irresistible.”


When the rock star she idolized responded to her e-mail, Candi was thrilled. When he started to flirt with her, she thought all her dreams could come true. The fantasy takes over her entire life, but none of it is true. The man of her dreams is not a rock star at all, but a bored office worker whose internet game quickly spins out of control.

Laura Lee’s second novel, Identity Theft, is now available. It is a humorous, thought-provoking examination of the state of the self in the 21st Century full of surprising plot twists.

It explores celebrity, online relationships, the loss of professional identity that comes with insecure employment and how inner reality is often at odds with outer image.



1.  What was the hardest book for you to write?

I don't think any of them have been hard to write. Some of them take a while. They tend to be hard to sell.

2.  Where do you stand on the indie-traditional publishing debate?

I'm not sure what the debate is. As it stands now, traditional publishers are most interested in publishing the types of authors who least need them. That is, people who are already famous. They already have an audience and can sell directly to them and not  have to give up 70% of their royalties. I imagine that this will not be sustainable as a business model. Literature will always exist. Right now the indie publishing model doesn't work. Writers cannot make a living wage from it, with very few exceptions. There is very little quality control. What is really needed is some sort of farm system to develop talent, promote it, and share in the rewards of championing great literature.

3.  Have you been 'tricked' by someone who presented a false online presence?  (I only ask because I was ... many years ago.)

No, but I did have someone contact me who thought he was an alien and said he could tell by my writing that I was one of the aliens too.

4.  You get to invite your favorite author of all time to a place where time has no meaning (so you can both be alive at the same time) for supper and conversation.  What's on the menu and what would you talk about?

I would sit with Oscar Wilde and his friends at the Cafe Royal and listen to his stories.

5.  Where in the world would you like to visit that you've never been before?

I have not yet been to Russia.

6.  Your books cover as big a variety as I've ever seen from one author.  Is there one (or more) that appeal to you more as a writer?  A reader?

My books fall into two broad categories. The first is humorous reference and the second is fiction and creative writing. A lot of the topics of the non-fiction books were assigned to me. I enjoy writing those books and they do showcase my sense of humor and my voice as a writer. I had a lot of fun writing the Elvis Impersonation Kit. In general, I have less of an emotional attachment to those books even though I think they are fun. My first novel, Angel, is a book that I am particularly proud of. It was written in a very intuitive way over the course of a decade.

7.  Describe your ideal writing day.

I don't have an ideal writing day. The most pleasant days are when the subconscious has done its work and delivered up something. Writing is a process of ebb and flow and all of the stages are necessary. There is a stage where an idea has not quite coalesced. All you can do is walk away from it for an hour, a day or a few years and let the subconscious work on it. When the subconscious is done and it delivers up the piece that makes everything fit together you generally want to have nothing else on your plate so you can work exclusively on getting it all down. At the moment I am trying to write a book proposal but I am on the road with my ballet project, so my writing time and attention are very fragmented.

8.  Three students come to you:  a grade-schooler, from jr high (middle school) and from high school, and tell you they want to be writers.  What do you tell them and does it change from one age group to the other?

When anyone comes to me and wants me to read something they have written I try to figure out of they actually want constructive criticism or if they want praise. If they clearly just want praise, I don't offer constructive criticism because they will not listen to it.

9.  What is your favorite color?​

Do people really have favorite colors?


Be sure to check out my review of Identity Theft from yesterday!

Many thanks to Sage's Blog Tours for including me on the tour for this title!

#bookreview: Miranda's Choice by Mya O'Malley

Have you ever felt that the grass is greener everywhere else? Meet Miranda James. Miranda has a problem. Her friends and family are wrapped up in themselves, so clueless. With divorced parents, a mother who is always on her case and a new step-mother on the horizon, Miranda wishes that everybody would just grow up.

In a moment of magic, Miranda is mysteriously pulled into the life of a charming mermaid and her adventurous daughter. Why can’t her life be so carefree and exhilarating? Why can’t her own mother be more like Abigail, the mermaid? Be careful what you wish for though. Only through self-realization can Miranda figure out that perhaps the grass is not always greener. Held captive in an underwater paradise, Miranda wishes to desperately recapture the life she used to have.
Through many twists and turns, Miranda is caught up in a whirlwind of emotions, including finding her first true love.

Miranda is faced with making a decision that will not only affect her own life, but also those around her. What would you choose?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#Review: Be My Banshee by Joyce & Jim Lavene

The Purple Door Detective Agency is hiring.

Those without magic need not apply.

Salary commensurate with experience.

Apply at the agency. No phone calls or psychic links.

Sunshine Merryweather is a young witch with a passion for colorful clothes and good food. She is the owner/operator of the Purple Door Detective Agency. Her partner, John, was brutally murdered three days ago, and she won’t stop until she finds his killer.

Aine is only interested in one thing when she walks into the building with the purple door–locating the last man alive in the branch of the O’Neill family she haunts as a beane sidhe. She has been asleep for 200 years in a ruined Irish castle and realizes that the world has moved on without her. She needs to find the O’Neill heir and encourage him to start a family or she will pass from existence when he dies.

Sunshine sees a potential partner when she looks at the powerful beane sidhe – they could be the next Dynamic Duo! But Aine isn’t interested in Sunshine’s schemes – until the witch agrees to help her locate O’Neill. Even then, it will be a short-term association at best from Aine’s point of view. She has no need of witchcraft.

Neither woman is aware of the danger they face as an ancient assassin stalks the old port city of Norfolk, Virginia. It will take more than simple witchcraft or beane sidhe magic to stop the killer. They will have to work together and combine their talents.

But can Sunshine and Aine put aside their differences to stop the murders without tearing each other apart?

#Review: Identity Theft by Laura Lee

When the rock star she idolized responded to her e-mail, Candi was thrilled. When he started to flirt with her, she thought all her dreams could come true. The fantasy takes over her entire life, but none of it is true. The man of her dreams is not a rock star at all, but a bored office worker whose internet game quickly spins out of control.

Laura Lee’s second novel, Identity Theft, is now available. It is a humorous, thought-provoking examination of the state of the self in the 21st Century full of surprising plot twists.

It explores celebrity, online relationships, the loss of professional identity that comes with insecure employment and how inner reality is often at odds with outer image.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#Review: The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose.

The path to your life's work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life's work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. Its about the task you were born to do.

As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try.

Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find their vocation and what to expect along the way.



I do not give many 5-star reviews.  When I do, it is because a book has something extra.  A book has to have that certain, "Je ne sais quoi", a broad appeal across genres, and lift us out of our ordinary lives to become something better.  The Art of Work by Jeff Goins is one such book.

Giving a little of my background: 

My father passed away during my senior year in high school.  He was 47 and had a stroke, passing a week later.  He was the first of his family to graduate college.  He had a PhD in Chemical Engineering.  He worked his entire adult life at a defense contractor, because he was good at what he did and it was a responsible job that put food on the table and kept a roof over our heads.  And he hated it.

I started out in college as a Musical Theatre major.  That's a heck of a field of study for a painfully shy introvert.  Due to a disastrous end-of-year audition in the program and a steady pressure from my mother, I switched in my sophomore year to "Business".  That was respectable.  That was something you could tell people without having them go, "tsk, tsk, tsk," and asking you how you were going to make a living.  And I hated it.

Reading The Art of Work was like having a personally-guided tour to the nobility of purpose.  It clearly brought out the difference between a 'job' (what you do to pay the bills) and a career or purpose - which I will define as your best contribution towards making the world a better place to live.

Somewhere along the line, society has pounded it into our skulls that we should keep our noses to the grindstone, our eyes downcast to the job at hand, to maintain the status quo.  Don't look up, don't dare to dream, fulfill the role someone else has decided is your niche.  Oh, and don't ask questions.

Bull cookies!

If you are having trouble seeing your dream or making it happen, you would do well to read The Art of Work.  If you are working on your dream, Jeff Goins's book can be an umbrella to help you hold onto your dreams during the storms of 'real life'.  And if you have achieved your dream?  CONGRATULATIONS!  Read the book anyway.  It's that good.



Originally from Chicago, Jeff moved to Nashville after graduating from college and spending a year traveling with CTI Music Ministries.

In college, he studied Spanish and Religion. He spent part of his Junior year in Spain, which unlocked a passion for missions, travel, and other cultures.

After a long year of letter-writing and long-distance phone calls, Jeff moved to Tennessee to “see about a girl.” In 2008, he married her.

Jeff lives with his wife Ashley and their dog Lyric and has been working from home for a nonprofit called Adventures in Missions since 2006.

He has written and guest-blogged for a number of publications and blogs. Jeff also helps organizations with their marketing, communications, and creativity. 


(Disclosure:  I received, well, actually two copies of this print book from Jeff Goins and the publishers in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)


This post represents my first day's entry for the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, hosted by Sarah Arrow at Sark Emedia

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#bookreview: Renaissance Faire by Jane Stain

When handsome highlander Dall takes Emily up on stage at the renaissance fair for some Scottish dancing, the butterflies in her stomach are not from stage fright. She's a drama major who's seen River Dance a dozen times. But Dall never drops his 16th century accent, and no one ever teases him about that. There aren't any jeans or sneakers in his tent, either.

Sweet and clean.

This book will contain parts 1-6 of the Renaissance Fair Time Travel Romance Serial by Jane Stain (200 pages):

Kilts: A Time Travel Romance Serial (Renaissance Fair 1)
Highlander: A Time Travel Romance Serial (Renaissance Fair 2)
Scotland: A Time Travel Romance Serial (Renaissance Fair 3)
Highlands: A Time Travel Romance Serial (Renaissance Fair 4) March 20
Castle: A Time Travel Romance Serial (Renaissance Fair 5) April 3
Return: A Time Travel Romance Serial (Renaissance Fair 6) April 17

The parts are available individually for free in Kindle Unlimited, but if you are buying, then this complete set will save you money. There will also be a paperback, to help you share this story with friends who love the Renaissance faire.

These six parts conclude Dall and Emily's romance, but the story will continue on from there as they have many time-traveling adventures together!

#Review/#Interview: Two Hearts by Eric James Richey

Jaxon Tagget is a cattle-rancher's son, born and raised on the Double T, just outside of Dillon, Montana. In love with his high-school sweetheart, Annie, Jaxon proposes on graduation night, presenting her with a wedding ring made from gold he mined himself. Annie accepts immediately, to the horror of her bitter, man-hating mother.

Jaxon's a wonderful husband, but the warnings of Annie's mother linger in the young bride's ears. And it doesn't help that women continue to fall all over the markedly handsome Jaxon.

Unaware of his wife's persistent doubts, Jaxon is struggling with his own troubles when he finds out his dad is sorely in need of money to save the ranch. But hope glimmers gold when he rediscovers the old mine on the Double T.

While Jaxon travels to verify the mine's productivity, Annie grows increasingly suspicious. Is Jaxon's absence what it seems, or does he have another, less faithful reason for his travels? When Annie sees a picture of the beautiful laboratory owner whom Jaxon is visiting, she's sure the only gold he's interested in is long, blond hair. Is Annie right, or will it be her doubts that forever sever their Two Hearts?



There's just something about a story where people have to struggle against the odds that is incredibly pulling.  It didn't take me long at all to be in Jaxon's and Annie's corner cheering for them despite the odds.   They were young.  Jaxon's family is in danger of losing their ranch.  Annie's mother had a bad marriage experience and is danged sure her daughter will not walk her path, by trying to fill Annie's mind with mistrust.

But Jaxon made Annie a ring with gold he found on their ranch in an abandoned mine.  My husband made me a medicine pouch once by cutting a piece of leather out of his prized bomber jacket.  I was stunned.  It didn't cost him a cent, and it is the best present (other than himself, of course) that he's ever given me.  Ok.  And the kids.

I could really (really) identify with Jaxon and Annie.  Although I am far from young chronologically, I more than understand the domino effect of familial, societal and financial pressures.  In my experience, the only thing that will get you through is faith - even if things don't turn out the way you hope or imagine.  A good support system is valuable as well.

So Jaxon makes a last-ditch effort to get the core sample assayed in time to save the ranch.  As it turns out, the wife of the mining company's chief happens to be gorgeous.  Of course, Annie sees this picture and is hard-pressed not to assume the worst.  On the way back home, Jaxon crash lands in the middle of a nightmare, where loyalties are tested and survival is not a given.

Will things work out for Jaxon and Annie?  Will infidelity or worse separate them?  Do you think that I will really answer that?  I will go so far as to say the answer to one of the three preceeding questions is "No", but I won't tell you which one.  If you like contemporary settings with a sweet, clean romance element, Two Hearts should be on your TBR.



James Eric Richey was born and raised in California. He attended Brigham Young University, studying English with an emphasis in Literature. After graduating from BYU he returned home to California to further his education by attending law school. After passing the bar, James practiced in California for several years, but he quickly learned that he did not have a passion for the law.

In 1998 James obtained his real estate appraiser license, which has given him a flexible work schedule and allowed him to pursue his true passion, writing books. Besides his writing, he also enjoys reading, running, and sailing. James currently lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with his wife, Heather, and their two daughters.



1.  Is Two Hearts your first book?
A:  Two Hearts is the first book that I have published.  I wrote two other fantasy books prior to writing Two Hearts, but they both are sitting on the shelf collecting dust.

2.  Why did you choose to write in this genre?
A:  Before I started on Two Hearts, I was writing a fantasy story-other world creation, magic, and monsters.  I was having a hard time with the details.  For a couple of weeks I kind of just stared at the computer screen struggling with the story.  On April 2, 2012 I had a very specific dream.  When I woke up I knew I had my story.  I quickly wrote down my dream using bullet points for the main ideas.  I immediately started writing Two Hearts.  I also get story ideas from fiction books I read.

3.  Is the character name of Jaxon a nod to Jackson Hole, WY?

A:  No.  I am a real estate appraiser, and one day I was walking through a home and the name Jaxon was painted on the bedroom wall of a little boy’s room.  I instantly fell in love with the name for my main character.

4.  How did you discover your passion for writing books?

A:  I first discovered I loved to read when I was very young.  Because I loved to read so much, I decided to study English in college, with an emphasis in literature.  During college I wrote a lot of papers. I went to law school where I continued my writing.  I was still reading a lot.  I decided to try writing a book.  Writing is challenging, but when you transport yourself into the world you are creating it is amazing, as if everything around you fades away.  I call it getting into the zone.  I love to be in that zone writing.

5.  If you were to give a talk in a school, what advice would you give to young would-be writers?

A:  Dream big and never give up.  Keep trying and don’t let obstacles stop you from reaching your dreams.

6.  Do you have any pets?

A:  We don’t have any pets.  There are a lot of allergies in our family.  We have in the past had Betta fish—they don’t seem to cause problems for people with allergies.

7.  If you were able to meet any writer from history, whom would you choose and why?

A:  Louis L’Amour.  He is the one that got it started for me—the love of reading.

8.  What is/are your favorite food/s?

A:  I love hamburgers and french fries and Rocky Road ice cream milk shakes.

9:  If your children came to you for advice (career, relationship, etc.) how would you respond?

A:  I would first be very gentle.  Feelings can get hurt if you come off too strong. I would discuss the issues with the child to understand exactly what the challenges or concerns are.  Then I would share some of my past experiences and lessons learned to help resolve the concerns or maybe to give direction.

10.  What’s in the future for James Eric Richey, writer?

A:    I’m working on another romantic suspense story built around the relationship of a father and son.  The story ultimately is about forgiveness.  The son blames the father for the accidental death of the mother.  The son has to learn how the mother died and he has to learn to forgive the father for what happened and how it happened.  In the next five years my number one goal is to be able to stop my day job and write full time.  Goals two and three are related to the first goal, they are to write and publish three more books.  With my full time day job, it took me 2 ½ years to write and publish Two Hearts.  The task of writing and publishing three books in five years seems almost overwhelming.  That’s what goals are for—to push you to new heights.
(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via iRead Book Tours in exchange for my honest an unbiased review.)