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This is a well done romance with plenty of twists and turns. I am not sure whether Ms. Gilmore is personally knowledgeable about London’s social scenery or if she researched it thoroughly. Either way, the London scenes were most believable. The story spans three countries:, England, USA, and Mexico.

Taylor Fairchild’s dad persuades her to take a vacation from their music insider business, and fly to London, England. Begrudgingly, she complies. While there, she discovers a rock band called Fury. She is convinced they could become hot in America and she starts the pursuit to suggest they create a demo recording for her.

Once she and lead singer, Craig Phillips, join up, the chemistry is undeniable. They spend a large amount of time together. However, Craig and another Fury band member have a secret side-job: being the drop men for a underworld drug kingpin.

Taylor, Craig and the Fury band go to Los Angeles, and indeed they become the next big rock group. Craig thinks he’s left his undesirable side job behind him, in the past where it belongs. He focuses his attention on building his dream with the band, and creating a serious relationship with Taylor.

It all goes smooth for a while, until Craig’s past returns to haunt him. His kid brother, Shaun, disappears, and Craig is summoned to Mexico to get him. There, Craig’s past and present collide, caught in the clutches of a vile, heartless drug lord.

Meanwhile, Taylor grows tired of waiting to hear from Craig, and launches her own investigation to find him. She tracks him to Mexico and soon finds herself caught in the dangerous and mysterious web of his past as well.

With thoroughly despicable bad guys and sizzling chemistry between Taylor and Craig, and plenty of unexpected plot twists; I can only say one thing for Diane Gilmore’s “Perilous Pursuit”: Well done!

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Source: A Writer’s Garden with Author Ryan Jo Summers

National Dog Day

Wow, a whole nation-wide day dedicated to our best furry friends. What a pure stroke of genius someone had when they created this day. I could not let today slide away without paying homage to some of my beloved canine buddies over the years.

My most recent is Ty. He came to live with me March of 2015. He is about eight years old, though no one is exactly sure. Ty is part of a group of collies who were rescued from a hoarding situation in Tennessee. When I adopted Ty, he had severe (read Massive) PTSD and behavioral issues. He was not house trained, leash trained, obedience trained, or anything trained. He freaked out over anything and nothing. He spent two years living in a tiny corner of the kitchen (his “cave of comfort”) because he was too terrified to come out. Lately, he has progressed to the bedroom now. I am hopeful in the next year or two he might start exploring the rest of the house.

Actually, I kept a blog and journal marking Ty’s journey and this year I released it as a self-published novel through Kindle Direct, called ‘Ty’s Journey’. It’s in a paperback and an e-book version and readers so far have enjoyed his progress and the many photos.

Two pics of Scrapper, around age 8 or 9 yrs

 

This adorable baby is Scrapper. My (at the time) hubby wanted a small dog. After some research he found this darling at a breeder’s near Detroit, MI. We made the long trek to get her. She was a 6-month old puppy. She imprinted on me and for eighteen years, she was my baby girl. When hubby and I called it quits, it was known by all that Scrapper was staying with me. It broke my heart to send her over the Rainbow Bridge in Feb. 2014. She was two months shy of reaching her nineteenth birthday.

Scrapper, age 18, 2013

 

The Blue Merle below is Ruffian, AKA Heritage Ruffian by Kintor, CGC. I bought him as a pup with the intent to show him. The sable and white lying down is Kip, CGC. The CGC behind their names stand for Canine Good Citizen, a certification they both earned for obedience. Ruffian was close to earning his CD, another obedience title. Kip was a street-wise stray from Grand Rapids, MI that I inherited for eight years. Thought they came to me at different times, in different ways, and for different reasons, they were my best friends. This photo was taken at Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. I had a chance in 2003 to take them to a place called Sunnybank, and pay homage to the author who got me interested in collies while I was still a child.

Ruffian and Kip, at Sunnybank, 2003

This is Raven, AKA Afterhours Shining Heritage. She was bought as a show prospect puppy, and loved to show. I cut my teeth as a handler beside Raven. Ultimately I ended up placing her with a family with kids who wanted to run and play as much as Raven did. Actually, Ruffian and Raven grew up together, just a few months apart. We referred to them as Big Brother and Little Sister.

Raven, as a six-month-old

This is Galya. I got her as a young adult and enjoyed many wonderful years with her sweet, devoted collie personality. She was everything you could ask for in a collie, loved to “mother” the new babies, and lived a nice long life. I lost her Labor Day weekend, 2001.

Shayna, AKA Afterhours Star of Heritage, was bought as a show prospect puppy. She had it all, and she knew it. Shayna loved to be the Belle of the Ball, all eyes on her. She had to strut her stuff, and make sure everyone knew Shayna was in the house. She was a real ham, a lady, a star, and a bit of a drama queen.

Riley James is a puppy that I bred. His name was Heritage Touched by Twilight. I tried showing him some, and he did great as a youngster. When he matured, he stayed on the petite side, too dainty for a male, so that ended his show career. Instead, I neutered him and kept him as a house pet, until I lost him at the too-young age of eleven.

As you can tell, I adore the collie breed, and papillions. So Happy National Dog Day. Hug your pooch if you have one. If you don’t, I’d like to encourage you to spend this weekend and go to your local animal shelter or humane society. Donate either your time, your money, your talents, or your home and help a dog in need in one way or another. Shelters and rescues always need help in so many ways. Just show up. They will be very appreciative. And so will the dogs you help. Until they all have a loving home to call their own.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go walk Ty.

 

I heard on the radio this morning that today is National Garage Sale Day. In addition to stirring up some memories, it also got me to thinking how writing–and its twin sister Promoting–are a lot like garage sales.

Actually, it can be garage sales, yard sales, rummage sales, any of the terms one uses to advertise what they are holding. Much like genres, they give us the first clue into what we can expect.

When I was a girl my mother and I spent many Saturday mornings from Memorial Day through Labor Day going “garage salin'” She lived for those months, those weekend mornings, to voyage into new and familiar neighborhoods. To scour for treasures; usually ones we never knew we needed.  We felt like modern-day pirates And I still have some of those items, many years later.

My mother has since passed on and I will probably never have time for proper garage salin’ like we used to do. Yet each time I pass a sign proclaiming garage sale, rummage sale, neighborhood sale, or yard sale, I still get a tug at the memories. And recently, the signs have got me to thinking how all those different sales resemble our writing and promotional efforts.

Branding– Whether we use a cardboard sign and black marker or we invest in a solid sign that’s easy to read, with clear directions and dates, we’re giving prospective buyers an initial impression of our set up. Branding for writing is rooted in consistency. Using similar fonts, designs, colors, and patterns on all our social media sites and covers if possible clues the reader into what kind of book you write. Dripping blood for horror or flower petals for romance, with short, catchy tag lines are as “first impression’ as the garage sale sigh on the corner. My mother would pass  up a sale if the sign looked like it had been tossed together with scraps from behind the garage. Likewise, inconstant branding can confuse readers with what genre you write.

Image– Is the yard mowed? Are the items for sale clean and well-arranged? If we made it past the initial sign and reached the driveway, here came my mother’s Test # 2. No one likes digging through mislabeled boxes or getting grass stains from kneeling in 4 inch high grass or worse, grease stains on the driveway. Likewise, how does our website treat visitors? Presentation is everything. Busy, crowded media sites are as bad as mismatched boxes on an overgrown lawn or  broken, dirty merchandise. It’s not going to impress anyone, most likely no one will buy anything, and it’s doubtful they will come back.

Location– Mom used to study the classified, mapping out her strategy like a general in battle.  She knew which neighborhoods to hit, and the best times to do so. Likewise, where are you? With so many media choices, it’s impossible to be everywhere. It’s usually recommended to pick a few that are manageable for your schedule and skill level, and stick with those. I would add this as well: mix it up. Do social med, do a personal blog or website. Join writer’s sites where you can keep a page.  (Like Goodreads, The Romance Reviews, or Amazon to name a few) Be accessible across as many sorts of locations as you can comfortably manage. Employ devices like Hootsuite to keep your content posted in a timely and fresh manner.

Timing– No one wants to show up at a garage sale, only to find the ad came out today, but the sale was yesterday. Bummer. What about when our own promotion starts running behind? Do you have a new release? Cover to showcase? Giveaway to share? Stunning review or award to brag about? Mom used to hit the best sales early in the morning wrap things up by lunchtime. Her thought was that by lunch, everything was picked over. The same applies to our schedules when it comes to launches. For writers, it’s good to have a pre-order option up while building interest in a new release. The pre-order sales count toward the release day sales ranking. People love getting a new hit while it’s hot and fresh, like cookies from the oven. Everyone wants to be first to the sale and first to read the next big best seller. Timing is about letting them know what you have, and when.

Groups–If there was a multi-family or neighborhood block rummage, mom would light up like she hit the jackpot.  I imagine her mind raced with the endless possibilities of what treasures she might find from all those pooled households. For writers, it means networking with groups. Join writer’s groups or online communities, mingle with people who share your genre or at least your passion in writing.  Where many are assembled is great wealth, whether it be excess household goods or combined experiences in writing, promo, marketing, and connections. Think of it like a jackpot.

Variety– If the sale just had baby stuff or just tools or just furniture, mom passed them by. She wanted variety. She might be in the market for those things too,  but she wanted more options to make her stop the car. In the writing realm, that might equate with offering loads of news, but also sharing personal photos, the story behind the story or cute pet pics. Share sample or deleted chapters or a short story or poem unrelated to your newest release. Got a new or favorite recipe? Share it! Just attended a cool writer’s retreat? Talk about it! Just remodeled your kitchen/garden/house? Show a couple of photos!  Learn a new craft? Pictures! You get the idea. Let people see who you are beyond the cover of your book. Buy the way, what was the inspiration behind that cover anyway?

In what other ways can you see similarities between garage sales and the work a writer does?

This was received through Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.

 

The entire story was told in first person, mostly through Candace’s POV. A portion of the book was devoted to Jack’s first person POV. This is book 1 in the ‘I Want Morrison’ series, so called because each book tells the story on one Morrison sibling. This is Jack’s story, the eldest Morrison child.

 

Candance Gleason…Candie to her dad and Jack…has finally achieved her dream. She is a new lawyer at a top firm, ready to work her way up the corporate ladder.  Just when she thinks she has it all figured out, she is assigned to…Jack Morrison.

Activist, devilishly handsome, reckless, he is the bane of his family’s empire. And a major thorn to Candance. Except now she is hired to keep him out of jail, trouble, and the media spotlight. Not an easy task for someone who delights in thumbing his nose at anything and anyone who gets in his way. Someone who seemingly lives to taunt and tease.

One the surface, this looks like a case of rich kid rebellion. It goes much deeper. Jack’s arrogance is actually a driving passion to make positive changes in other’s lives. Underprivileged people’s lives. He is not above using his privileges to aid in his quest, to help those less fortunate, those being beleaguered by his own ‘type of people’.

Ms. Harris does a fantastic job of creating Jack, a multi-layered character who has so much good to offer if one can see past what seems like obvious character flaws. What I did not care for, and what keeps my rating a little lower, is the constant use of the character’s names in dialogue. While I personally like the name Jack, and see the need to identify who is speaking to whom, I do not care to see their names each and every time they are spoken to. There are better literary tools to identify who is being talked to. This is truly a case of “less is more”.  IMHO.

Next, initially I found the whole premise of a family–specifically a wealthy, driven, family like the Morrison’s, hiring their newest firm lawyer to “babysit” their grown son a bit farfetched. If they waited, and gave him enough rope, he would surely hang himself, get jailed for a lengthy stay, and it would put an end to the activist activities that plague the family. It would be must cheaper, quicker, and easier than wasting a babysitter to keep him leashed. For that reason alone, I nearly stopped reading.

However, I am glad I kept on. The story goes much deeper than that summary. The Morrison family does not want Jack in jail, or in any trouble. To avoid spoilers, let me just say when I kept reading, and got to know the family, and Jack’s motivations, better, the loyalty and bonds between them–and the sibling rivalry–between them all became clear.

Lastly, the chemistry between Candace and Jack felt real. Their dialogue–sans the repetitive name usage–was witty and fun. The shift from irritation to attraction was gradual enough to make it believable. Candace’s move from realizing all her dreams to inheriting a pain in the butt to falling for him once she witnesses his motivations make her real as well. The pacing is great. Candace and Jack’s opposite personalities make a great mesh.

Overall, I enjoyed this book 1 in the I Want Morrison series. It is a stand alone book with no cliffhangers.

 

 

Recently I lost my wallet. Inside it held my driver’s license, bank debit card, an assortment of credit cards, my business cards, about $25 in cash, as well as things like auto club card, library card, expired Dollywood season pass (don’t laugh. I used that as a second picture ID once), and a few store loyalty cards.

I mentally retraced my path of when I had last seen it. I’d last actually seen it around 9:30 that morning when I bought some groceries. It was now 11:30 p.m.  In between those hours I had dragged my purse (piece of luggage?) from car to house, from house back to car, and repeated that a few more times before finally taking it into work. At no time did I take my wallet out of my purse since purchasing the groceries at 9:30 a.m.

So I deduced my wallet was most likely in one of three probable places. First I thoroughly checked the car to make sure it hadn’t somehow tumbled out and landed on the floorboards or wedged between the passenger seat and door. Not finding it that way, I figured it had to be either 1) left behind at the store and turned in by a good Samaritan or carried off by a not-so-good opportunist. Naturally the store was long closed by 11:30 p.m. 2) it could be in my driveway at home. If so, there was a 50/ 50 shot it was still lying where it landed. Or 3) there was a slim chance it was inside the house, lying just inside the door by the pet’s water dish.  I have a raised, double dish diner with a food and water dish. I keep the water bowl on the right side and the left side is open. I have a tendency to leave my purse resting there when I am in and out of the house like I was today. There was a chance the bag tipped over (based on my hasty speed today), the wallet could have slipped out, and landed under the raised feeder. That would be so awesome if that was the case.

My concern was getting home without a wallet or ID. Plus, in the event it wasn’t at home, I still had a dog walk to do after work, plus one more in the morning before the store would open so I could check with them. That’s a lot of driving without my license. I took a mental stock of what was in my wallet. I’d need a debit card soon for gas too. I crossed my fingers it was safe somewhere.

In the meantime I started working out a plan on what to do just in case it wasn’t where I was hoping. How was I going to survive for a few days without wallet, ID, debit, and credit cards? It opened a whole new can of situations when I had a jam-packed schedule of activities ahead of me. How do we survive when our basic survival tools are suddenly just gone?

And the whole thing got me to thinking of how simple things used to be. Once upon a time, all we had was cash and people who actually knew who we were. Telling someone our name was good enough. We drove things that did not require a license to operate. Before that we had the barter system. Personally, I would love to see the barter system return en masse as a normal standard of doing business. After cash we developed checks. I still use those a few times a month too. And then came the advent of plastic, with credit cards and debit cards with enough PINS and codes to make anyone’s head spin.

Like many people, I have identity theft protection, and bank alerts for suspicious activity on all my plastic cards. I had even gone so far as to photocopy the front and back of each of my plastic cards and keep those copies stashed in a safe place should I ever need to call that lost and stolen 1-800 number in mini-type on the back.

Unfortunately, I had not kept up on the new, updated cards that gradually replaced the expired and obsolete cards. Shame on me. I really regretted that now. Actually, in the heady rush of not knowing where my wallet was, that was my only regret–not keeping up on current photo copies of updated cards.

All things considered, I could have other regrets I suppose.

So after work, I carefully drove home, scoured the driveway, and rushed inside. Moving the pet’s water dish aside, there was my wallet lying on the floor. I breathed a sigh of relief, snatched it up, and dashed out to do my next dog walk. No time to think of simpler times now, I had work to do!

 

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC by the author’s publisher, Harlequin, in exchange for an honest review.

 

How can we expect a relationship to build and last? She was a thief and pickpocket, looking for a mark before skipping town.  He accidentally snagged her bracelet as she went for his wallet. She’s on the run from a husband she left on her wedding day. He hires her to work in the family bar.

Not exactly great attributes to lay a strong foundation in a relationship. Yet, through careful weaving of B.J. Daniels’ threads, Mariah Ayres and Darby Cahill do indeed lay that foundation. And over then next three hundred-odd pages, it grows.

Several sets of secondary characters add depth to Mariah and Darby’s story. It seems impossible that one could not care what happens to them as the threats move in.

There are plenty of strong emotions carried through the story. The characters are well fleshed out. The scenes are believable.

Lastly, the conclusion gave a whole new meaning to “It was a dark and stormy night”. It truly was a dark and stormy night when Mariah’s past came to be her very real and scary present, and threatened not only her future, but Darby’s and others as well. Meantime, other character’s lives that ran alongside Mariah and Darby now that their own futures jeopardized.

And with a flick of her mighty pen, B.J. Daniels ties up all the loose threads of her tapestry, leaving a satisfying end result.

Note, this is subtitled A Cahill Ranch Novel, which also includes ‘Renegade’s Pride’ as part of each stand-alone in the series.