Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Year in Writing - 2015

This past year I can definitely say I have found my stride when it comes to fitting writing into my busy life. With a day job, an active toddler, and a million things to do every day, I have carved out my time to write, and made the necessary sacrifices I had to make in order to be able to do so (meaning I sacrificed more sleep than I had to give, /tears!). Thus, I was able to write two novels this year. There was a time when I thought work and mommy-hood would mean I might only be able to write one book a year. But two?! That's a precedent I can live with.

It would be nice to be able to have more flexibility with my days, but I do enjoy the fact that many things are scheduled. Finding a specific time and place for certain things means they will definitely get done. Such as reading. The first three quarters of the year I read absolutely nothing! And I was not happy about it. So I scheduled reading time for my subway rides to and from work, and with my trusty Kindle in tow, I have been able to read six books in the past couple months. That's a huge accomplishment for me.

But back to writing. This year I completed the third and fourth novels in my Reanimation Files series. The Ravaging In Between took about seven months to write and was DIFFICULT. In comparison, A Torment of Savages took exactly two months + 7 days and was the easiest book I have written since the first novel, Affairs of the Dead (the second book, Requiem for the Living, was also a difficult beast to write). I think having worked through two hard books back to back,  I learned a lot about how to build and pace my plots, how to handle twists, etc, so I took that knowledge and applied it to the fourth book. Therefore I was able to avoid a lot of the pitfalls I encountered with Requiem and Ravaging. I've been writing for over a decade, but there's always new things to learn! Especially when writing a series. A Torment of Savages restored my faith that the book writing process doesn't have to be difficult or long. Some books will just challenge you in different ways than others.

Moving into 2016, I am looking forward to publishing A Torment of Savages, and working on the fifth book in The Reanimation Files. I have also been thinking about writing a sequel to Black Widow Witch, so maybe that will be my next project. As long as a story comes to me and Reanimation Files #5 doesn't take over and demand that I write it instead!

This was a good writing year. It has made me feel confident that I don't have to sacrifice my writing career just because I am a busy, working mother. So I look forward to the novels I will produce in 2016, and the books I'll read on the train.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

These are a Few of My Favorite [Literary] Things

In the spirit of the season I thought I would share some of my favorite literary items that I've come across, which would make great gifts for the book lover or writer in your life. I love coming across cool or unique items, and when it comes to anything to do with being a writer or bookworm, that goes double. Here are a few things I'm really digging:

Writing Gloves

These gloves are from Storiarts. I already own their Pride and Prejudice and Secret Garden Book Scarves. I love these writing gloves! My hands can look stylish while I write.

Awkward Silence pillow

Ah awkward silences. Not good in read life, not good in a story. This Awkward Silence Pillow is one of the many adorable pillows from Awkward Animal. I already own the Koala, Giraffe, and Rhino. The intent was to buy these for my toddler, but if I'm being honest, they're more for me. I will definitely be adding the awkward silence (and many others) to my collection!

Book Worm Ring

I came across this Book Worm Ring while browsing Amazon and love how simple it is. And I love that it's from Amazon's Handmade section!

Kindle Cases

Let's face it, there are tons of cute Kindle cases out there, especially on Etsy. I've even made my own. I've been looking for a new case for my Kindle and this is one (of many) that I really like.

Handmade Journals

I came across this Handmade Journal seller while perusing Pinterest. I love hand-bound journals, as well as handmade paper. My Creative Writing teacher gifted me with one in high school, which I still have. Maybe in another post I will showcase literary things that I actually own!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Review! Claiming the Succubus by Lorien Lyn

Today I'm reviewing a fellow Etopia author, Lorien Lyn, and her novella, Claiming the Succubus!

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Book Description: 

Being a Succubus has its perks…until the hunter becomes the hunted.

For half-breed succubus Ava Hawley, hunting supernatural foes is worth all the risks and rewards. But when a wolf shifter is responsible for kidnapping her sister, the mission becomes personal. Ava is ordered to track down the bad boy and turn him over to her boss. That is, until she meets the dangerously sexy shifter and realizes her charm—the kiss of death—is no match for the charms of her opponent.

Alpha werewolf Killian Reid is on the run from a demon mistress, but someone else is on his tail—a stunning seductress with more sex appeal than any woman ought to have. And Killian can't resist her. Proving his innocence will be a challenge, but with every moment that he spends with her, Ava’s self-control weakens. And as their attraction grows, she knows she’ll have to rely on the shifter she'd been sent to capture, or they’ll both become victims to another predator…


Ava reached out for Killian's hand and pulled him to the side. The movement to touch him was 
 instinctual. “I can't let you risk it alone. This is my battle too.”

“We don't have time, love.” He took hold of her chin, running his thumb over her bottom lip. Not giving it too much thought—and because she wanted to—she thrust her tongue out and licked him. The taste of mornings in spring and mint burst into her mouth. She gasped softly and his eyes darkened. “Save it,” he growled low. “I know what you're trying to do.”

Her gaze lowered. Defeated.

“We'll talk later when this is all over.” He leaned forward, leveling his eyes with hers. “The part about us.”

“Won't happen if we go with your plan.”

“It's the only way to gain access into the estate.”

“What if it doesn't work?” Concern spiraled in her gut.

“We won't know if we don't try.”

She couldn't help but wonder if he was referring to them again. The thought of them together had crossed her mind a couple of times, but she couldn't envision being with the wolf. A possessive shifter was dangerous all around. The man's aura radiated nothing but danger and violence. The telltale hint of darkness and dominance gave it away. Besides, wolf shifters mated for life and Ava didn't know if she was ready for that.

My Review

Claiming the Succubus was a fun, and steamy read! We meet Ava and Killian: she's a succubus and he's a werewolf. From the moment they meet sparks fly and it's not long before things get hot and heavy. But they also have problems on their hands in the form of Ava's missing sister and the fact that it looks like a setup is underfoot by someone Ava thought was trustworthy. I enjoyed the balance between unraveling the mystery and developing Ava and Killian's magnetic attraction. The steamy scenes did not disappoint! I loved the back and forth between the two, Killian is seriously swoon worthy. Definitely give this one a read. 

Four Stars!


Lorien Lyn writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense with dangerously sexy heroes and equally strong heroines. Romance novels are her favorite as they push beyond traditional boundaries. When she’s not busy brainstorming up new stories, she enjoys action-packed movies and Fantasy Football with her husband and son in beautiful Southern California. 
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Spotlight! Pure Justice by Liah Penn

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Book Description:

In an uncertain future where the Impures—genetic defectives—are banished to a ghetto territory, Detective Ina Stone and her rookie partner, Sam Fujimoto, constantly fight for survival. But when a murdered Impure is discovered in the projects with only a business card in his pocket, the clues lead them into the shadowy underworld of black market trade and human trafficking. After Sam is kidnapped by the Yakuza crime syndicate, Ina must hide her own defect to go undercover as a human trafficking victim. Accompanied by a Tebori master and a new detective with her own secrets, Ina must find a way to free Sam without exposing his role in the investigation, or getting herself killed in the process.


He lay face down on the pavement, his shoes missing, blood staining the concrete and forming an unlikely halo around his head. It was a fresh kill, and I was surprised it had been called in so quickly. A death like this could go unnoticed for hours, if not days, especially down here in the Rainbow Alley projects.

I felt a movement at my elbow. Melker had arrived with a new tech, Roselli, and they scurried to place screens to protect the integrity of the scene. I looked down at my feet. I hadn’t even put on protective footwear. I stepped back gingerly.

“Couldn’t wait for me, eh?” Melker tugged me gently out of the way. “Get your suit on before you contaminate my crime scene.”

He was right, of course. I should have waited until his arrival. I stepped over to the open tailgate of the Death Examiner wagon and dug into a supply box, pulling out a paper suit, shoe protectors, and a face mask. It was the middle of the night and I was dead tired. I perched on the wagon’s tailgate and put on the protective gear. My stomach churned while I waited for Melker’s permission to return to the body.

I felt the bile in my throat rise and I bolted around the side of the van, where I heaved my dinner into the gravel and dirt. I then pressed my cheek against the cool glass window and took several deep breaths. Damn, that was close. I swiped my mouth with my sleeve.

The two patrol guys who had answered the call were standing at the tailgate, waiting for me. They gave me a funny look as I emerged from behind the wagon.

“You OK, Ina?” Officer Jim Lee asked, his notebook in hand.

I nodded but I didn’t feel fine. My hormones were raging. I was only a couple of months in, but this pregnancy was knocking my socks off. I tucked my withered hand into a pocket. “What’ve you got?”

Lee looked down at his notes. His expression was passive, as if he saw this kind of thing all the time. “Called in at one o’clock, about an hour ago. I was here within four minutes of the call. Chuy was right behind me. The guy wasn’t dead yet.”

“He wasn’t?” I was surprised. I had been called out as a detective to an Unattended Death. “No paramedics?”

“By the time they got here, he was gone.” Lee fingered the pages of his notepad, then closed it with a snap of his wrist.

“So they left? I must have just missed them. I was here…”

“Within ten minutes,” Lee said, “I know. They got a radio call and took off. Sorry.”

I glanced over at Melker. Hadn’t he finished with the screens yet? The aged streetlight only partially illuminated the scene, coloring everything with an amber hue. I saw the new tech setting up a spotlight. It would be a few more minutes before I’d be allowed back over to examine the body.


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Award-winning author Liah Penn is an attorney who practices law near New Orleans, Louisiana.  A former prosecutor, she has worked in a major metropolis, an Indian reservation and on the Mexican border.  She is an accomplished artist and is active in numerous arts organizations and boards in the New Orleans area.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Blog Tour + Giveaway for Requiem for the Living

The two week tour for Requiem for the Living kicks off today! Check out the schedule below and follow the tour for reviews, interviews and spotlights! And there's a giveaway with cool prizes, including a grand prize. Make sure you enter!

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June 8th
Reviews with Emma

The Reader’s Hollow

June 9th
Boom Baby Reviews

June 10th
Reading to Distraction

June 11th
Pinky Pollock

June 12th
Stormy June

Happy Tails and Tales

June 14th
Around the World in Books

June 15th
Books are Love

June 16th
Pixies Can Read

June 17th
Kelly Smith Reviews

June 19th
Offbeat Vagabond

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A.J. Locke is originally from Trinidad and Tobago but has resided in New York City for over ten years. She knew early on that she wanted to be a writer, penned her first novel at fourteen, and hasn’t stopped since. Creating is her passion, and other than writing she enjoys drawing, painting, graphic design, and any other creative whim that may take her.

Author Links:

Requiem for the Living (The Reanimation Files Book 2) Buy Links:

Affairs of the Dead (The Reanimation Files Book 1) Buy Links:


 To go along with the tour I am having a GIVEAWAY! The Grand Prize winner will receive: A Yorkie Plush (in the novels, Selene has a pet Yorkie named Luna), a Rune necklace, a signed paperback copy of Affairs of the Dead an e-book copy of Black Widow Witch, and a $10 Amazon gift card.
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Note: In order to win the grand prize you must complete (and show proof) ALL the items on the Rafflecopter! The giveaway will run from June 8th - June 30th. 

If more than one person becomes eligible for the Grand Prize, I will use a random number selector to pick the overall winner.

You also have a chance to win great books from Etopia Press, Rune Necklaces, and Amazon Gift Cards. Those prizes do not require total completion of the items on the Rafflecopter.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Coming Soon -- Night Owl Reviews Scavenger Hunt

I'm excited to be one of the Sponsors of Night Owl Review's Scavenger Hunt taking Place June 12 - July 3rd. There are going to be a lot of great books for you to discover, not to mention prizes to win! 100 gift cards plus a grand prize $250 grand prize! Make sure you check it!

Night Owl Reviews Web Hunt

Thursday, May 14, 2015

New Release! Requiem for the Living (The Reanimation Files: Book 2) + Giveaway!

Super excited to share that the sequel to Affairs of the Dead is out today! Requiem for the Living continues Selene's story and packs a punch if I do say so myself. I don't think I've put any character through the ringer as much as Selene! Grab a copy and find out how she handles it. And if you haven't read Affairs of the Dead, grab both!

I'm also running a giveaway to celebrate the release. Amazon giftcard and copies of Affairs and Requiem are up for grabs!

There will be a blog tour with a bigger giveaway June 8 - 19 with lots of cool prizes, so stay tuned!


Selene is slowly dying...too bad that’s the least of her problems.
You could say that Selene Vanream has a lot of problems. First there’s the Rot that’s slowly killing her, despite everything Ilyse and Micah are doing to find a way to save her. 
Then there’s Andrew, the ghost of her boss who is anchored to the living world. Selene would like to ignore him, but anchored ghosts with unsettled business turn into anchored beasties, so she can’t write him off. The government has sent a team to post up at Affairs of the Dead and keep an eye on her, which includes making sure she plays up to Andrew to keep him from turning.
On top of that, someone is using Selene’s new power to create anchored ghosts for their loved ones to keep around. Not good since the culprit doesn’t have a clue about that whole anchored beastie angle. Now Selene has a criminal to catch while trying to stay out of the hands of government goons who have stripping her reanimation power on their agenda. 
When Micah and Ilyse finally find a way to save her, Selene thinks she can cross one bad thing off her list--until she learns the terrible price that must be paid to keep her alive. Full plate doesn’t cover it. Overflowing plate doesn’t cover it. Selene’s plate has damn near exploded.


There were a few things that made me feel like my day was not off to the best start. For starters, I had overslept by an hour and a half so I was monstrously late for work. Then there was the scent of smoke creeping into my bedroom accompanied by loud swearing, which meant my ghost roommate had made a disaster of whatever he was trying to procure for breakfast. The sky was overcast so it’d probably be a rainy day. I had a slight headache…and oh yeah, I was looking into my backyard at my Yorkie, Luna, digging furiously in the dirt. I was almost certain what she was trying to unearth wasn’t one of her toys.

I stood there for a few moments more, trying to decipher what it was that Luna was pawing at, then shook my head and ran out of my bedroom. I almost collided with Ethan, who was on his way to my room with a frying pan in his gloved hand and the charred remnants of what he’d come to dub the wake-up bacon.

“It’s burnt, but I figured waving it under your nose would still get you out of bed any—Hey, what’s wrong?”

I brushed past Ethan and ran into the yard where I snatched up Luna, then had a good, hard look at what she’d been wrestling with. I’d been hoping that it was some oddly shaped root or five fingered toy I didn’t remember buying for her, but no, it just had to be the worst possible thing.

A human hand.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Blog Tour Review - Like a Box of Chocolates by Justin Bienvenue


Take every notion, feeling, experience and expectation that you have on poetry and throw it up in the air, just take everything you’ve ever known about it and toss it aside. Not because the boundaries of what makes it so are being broken, and not because simple fundamentals and poetic structures are being altered, no that’s not it at all. Simply take a deep breath, relax and remember that nothing is off limits, nothing is too right or too wrong or completely outside the box(pun totally intended). So untie that bow, put your hand on the corner and open…open the book and take in that fresh page aroma and all the splendid “flavors” that is poetry.


Marshmallow Street

The birds glide and fly in the air
Doing what they do best
Just like a road the skies they share
as their driving is put to the test

A pilot flies his jet with force
Doing tricks and trying to break sound
As he maneuvers, nature takes it course
As he lands safely upon the ground

A plane travels high above
As it departs from city to city
Look out, look down and fall in love
As the site is beyond pretty

All these things may share the sky
But one thing makes them complete
And if you yourself could also fly
You could join them on Marshmallow street


My name is Justin Bienvenue, I was born in and reside in Massachusetts. I am a friendly and outgoing person. Always enjoy meeting new people. I graduated high school in 2006. As an author and poet, I have three published books, A book of Horror Poetry entitled, The Macabre Masterpiece: Poems of Horror and Gore published in 2011 and a Western Horror, A Bloody Bloody Mess In The Wild Wild West published in 2013 and Like A Box of Chocolates published in 2014. While I mainly enjoy writing poetry I have recently expanded my horizons and started writing stories, narratives and short stories. I enjoy writing and it always makes me satisfied to have others enjoy my work. I like to be creative and different, always trying new things. I have a background in creative writing which really helped me develop my writing and expand my imagination. When I’m not writing I also enjoy playing games and watching sports such as football, baseball and basketball. I also enjoy the outdoors, always playing sports whenever I get the chance and going for walks to gather my thoughts looking for my next best creative idea. Some of my interests include, History, Egyptology, Ufology, The Wild West and The Civil War.

Author Links

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Like a box of chocolates was an interesting collection of poetry. One word to describe it would be eclectic. The author writes about various topics, some dark, some lighter, and the poems themselves varied from more literal to a bit more metaphoric.

As a poet myself, I read this collection with a more critical eye, looking for depth and nuances and things that made me stop and think. This collection was more on the simpler side, which is not a bad thing. The differences between the pieces showcases the author's range of creativity. I have read a lot of poetry that I just could find no meaning to, but with this collection I was able to see where the author was going with his words, what picture he was trying to build for the reader, or what emotion he was trying to invoke.

It's a good start towards a serious path as a poet if that is what the author wishes to pursue. Go on and give this a read.

Three stars!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

That Writing Life

Surprise! I'm still busy and still have not found time to blog regularly. Or maybe that's not really a surprise.

So what have I been up to lately? Affairs two has been turned in to my publisher and I'm eager to start edits on it and get it ready for release, which will hopefully be in April. And even though I didn't think I'd get into book three this quickly, it's on a roll. Which is good because book two is coming out two years after Affairs of the Dead, which is too big of a gap in my opinion but I had great excuses: pregnancy, new mommyhood, and massive writer's block. But I'm determined not to let two years pass before book three comes out so who knows, I may have two releases this year!

So far book three isn't producing any major headaches, I've gotten to about 15k words and still know where I'm going even though I haven't written many notes at all. Definitely a book I'm pantsing. I won't get too optimistic though, I got all the way to the halfway mark with book two before I hit that impenetrable wall. But, it's good to be writing. To be able to incorporate that into my life with everything else I have going on feels very much like a victory. Plus it's exciting to get a series going, I love developing my characters and expanding the world they live in.

On another front, the blog tour business is doing well. Red Moon Book Tours has been open for a little over two months and between current, upcoming, past, and now booking, I've got about seventeen tours. It's challenging, but I enjoy the work, and enjoy helping authors get exposure for their books.

Only bummer in my literary life is that I have not been reading. At all. The time for that just isn't forthcoming. I have a lot of books I've started, and books I want to start. So I guess that's the next thing I have to tackle. For now I'll just be envious of all of you who can read, read, read!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Release Day Blitz - Four Valentines Heat anthologies from Etopia Press

New from Etopia Press, four great Valentine’s Day themed Anthologies to spice up your reading! The anthologies feature short stories from Etopia authors: Ally Shields, Nessie Strange, Keith Melton, C.L. Bledsoe, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, Cynthia Hampton, Chrissy Gissendaner, Jayne Ripley, Anne Lange, Nikki Dee Houston, Lyssa Jackson, and Arianna Archer. Whether it's Paranormal, Erotic, or Romance, these anthologies have something for everyone. Make sure you check these sizzling stories out!
Valentines Heat I

“Heart’s Pride” by Ally Shields
The Guardian Witch Series

When their wedding is ruined by a werepanther attack, Katrina is left hospitalized and Blane is just...gone. But when he finally finds his way back to Riverdale, he learns he’s not the only one who’s been tracking Katrina...

“Lost Soul, Lost Love” by Nessie Strange
The Living Dead World Series

It’s Jen MacLellan’s first trip back to earth as a new reaper, and Mardi Gras is in full swing. When she happens upon Chip, a partier stuck in a perpetual 1983, Jen decides to help him find the woman he loves so he can move on. Assuming all goes well when he finds her...

“Red Dogs” by Keith Melton
The Zero Dog Mission Series

Mercenary pyromancer Andrea Walker has just saved the world from bloodthirsty hagworms and is late for her Valentine’s date with Jake. Until she hears that Jake has already left her house...with her...

“V-Day” by CL Bledsoe
The Necro-Files Series

Daisy and her friends think going to a frat party on Valentine’s Day will be a fun, not-at-all-desperate Girls Night Out. What they don’t expect is to have Delilah’s succubus pheromones accidentally set off the apocalypse...

Valentines Heat II

“Moonstone Promise” by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

After her husband’s death in Colonial Pennsylvania, Ann Sellars forges a business partnership with Toby Jackson that quickly becomes a friendship. But when Toby proposes marriage on the eve of leaving for England, Ann isn’t sure if she’s ready to leave her memories, or her new business, behind...

“A Perfect Judge” Cynthia Hampton

When Kamber Prescott agrees to emcee the annual Valentine’s Day Fantasy Auction, she has no intention to bid on one of the sexy bachelors. But seeing Jeffrey Hatcher again after their Christmas party fling makes her reconsider. Especially since the auction has only one rule: the rules exist only if you want them to...

Valentines Heat III

“Rated Ex” by Christy Gissendaner

A blind Valentine’s date mix-up pairs Rebecca with her geeky high school boyfriend. Geek no more, Parker’s now the alpha of his pack, and he’s determined to show Rebecca what the last few years have taught him...

“Crash Me Once...” by Jayne Ripley

Cenn and Redlan are part of the werewolf pack on the space cruiser Wolfstar. But Redlan has never claimed her in front of the pack...and she’s starting to wonder why. When a foraging mission on a remote moon throws an unexpected catastrophe their way, each of them must decide exactly what to risk...and which of them will be the first to yield to their true feelings.

"Crash Me Once..." contains a scene of erotic spanking

Valentines Heat IV

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For more great books from Etopia Press, visit them here: