Tag Archives: romance

Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah, Y’all!

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As much as I love Christmas, I’ve come to dread the holiday season. Starting with Thanksgiving preparation, I begin to stress over the meal. Afterward, I start planning what to give as Christmas gifts and when I’m going to put a package in the mail for my daughter’s family. Also, her birthday is a week before Christmas, and I have to find a present for her.

Things I used to find absolutely imperative every holiday season: sending cards, writing a newsy letter, decorating the house, preparing holiday treats— They have become a pain in my butt and I simply don’t have the energy for them. I have serious allergies, and almost always have a sinus infection going on. I also have developed asthma over the years, so it’s difficult to go out. Too many scents out there to plague a sensitive nose or a delicate set of lungs. Not to mention, my son has to use our truck for his job—he works 5:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. This makes getting out difficult.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m whining, but dammit, I feel like it! Okay, getting worked up takes too much energy, so I will quietly state that I don’t give a shit about doing it up for Christmas. I like presents, but I hate shopping. I love finding the perfect gift, but I loath trying to decide what that may be. I enjoy the meal, but as I do the bulk of the cooking, it’s a pain in the ass. I like spending time with family and friends, but right now, I’d rather spend my time writing and editing, than actually communicating with anyone.

If you’re like me, and you dread the holiday season (though you really like cookies and other tasty treats) I have a suggestion for you. Go through the list of folks you have to buy gifts for, and buy them books. Yes, I know, not everyone is a reader. But if you can capture the one thing they find appealing, you’ve just given them the perfect gift. Cool thing is, even without a Kindle, they can read an Amazon book on any phone, tablet or computer by downloading the free app.

I realize that not everyone likes the same books, so I encourage you to explore some of my suggestions below. These names are by no means the only books I’m recommending. No one paid me to do this, no one twisted my arm to get me to include them. I’m listing people whose books I have read personally, and enjoyed. They aren’t in any particular order, mostly just train of thought. 

First of all, my books. Dellani Oakes writes historical (retro) romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, sci-fi and fantasy. To Buy Dellani’s Books 

Karen Vaughan is one of my favorite authors. She writes light hearted mysteries. To Buy Karen’s books 

Kenneth Weene writes a variety of genres, which will appeal to a lot of readers. To Buy Ken’s Books

Amanda Thrasher writes delightful books about fairies, but she also has a hard hitting anti-bullying book that is not to miss. To Buy Amanda’s Books 

Ruth Hays writes magical, epic fantasy that gets the heart pumping. To Buy Ruth’s Books 

Heather Poinsett Dunbar writes fantasy, that’s a bit on the dark side. To Buy Heather’s Books 

William Beck writes political thrillers that set your pulse racing from beginning to end.To Buy William’s Books

S. A. Bailey writes, what he calls, redneck noir. Think Mickey Spillane with an east Texas spin. To Buy Seth’s Books

Mark David Gerson also writes a wide variety of books. From learning to write, to mystical fantasy, he’s sure to appeal. To Buy Mark David’s Books 

Jo Ramsey writes wonderfully insightful stories for teens who don’t fit into the normal mold. To Buy Jo’s Books

Rowena Cherry writes sci-fi that carries you into space. Swords clang as a royal alien race tries to out maneuver one another. To Buy Rowena’s Books 

Gary D. Henry writes in many genres from retro romance to horror. To Buy Gary’s Books

Suzette Vaughn mostly writes romance, but she has other books as well. Sure to appeal to a wide number of readers. To Buy Suzette’s Books

J. Conrad Guest – sci-fi, romance, biography, memoir…the list goes on and on. To Buy J. Conrad’s Books

Rico Austin from a lighthearted children’s book, to memoirs, with a stop off at Graceland to visit The King, Rico has it. To Buy to Buy Rico’s Books

Stephanie Osborn’s Displaced Detective series brings Sherlock Holmes into the modern age. She also has fantastic sci-fi books that are a must read. To Buy Stephanie’s Books

Rachel Rueben’s book, Hag, is a wonderfully poignant look at teen life and the problems some face. Rachel also has some great How-To books for authors. To Buy Rachel’s Books

Marta Moran Bishop is another versatile author. Her books are mostly for children or young adults, but they are great for adults too. To Buy Marta’s Books

Barbara Ehrentreu The same can be said of Barbara’s books. Though geared toward teens, they are an enjoyable read for adults. To Buy Barbara’s Books

Fran Lewis has books in so many genres, I can’t name them all. Very approachable, they are sure to entertain. To Buy Fran’s Books

J.D. Holiday’s books for children are cleverly written and beautifully illustrated by the author. To Buy J.D.’s Books

Dianna Graveman’s books will appeal to those who like history. She has wonderful books on a variety of subjects. To Buy Dianna’s Books

Whit McClendon’s fantasy novels are cleverly crafted and full of action.To Buy Whit’s Books

Janet Morris has been a favorite author of mine since the Eighties. If you like sci-fi, fantasy or historical fiction, Janet has something for you. To Buy Janet’s Books

 Viv Drewa writes mystical mysteries with a hoot of a hero—an owl! To Buy Viv’s Books

Kemberlee Shortland writes romance with an Irish flavor. To Buy Kemberlee’sBooks 

I will continue to update and add to this list as I think of new people. Share this with your friends! Above all, have a Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah! Dellani

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Introducing Elizabeth Belyeu

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I met Elizabeth (via Facebook) through the daughter of a very dear friend. I’m delighted to know this lovely young woman and I hope you will be too. Sit back, enjoy the excerpt from her novel, Secondhand Shadow, and read a bit about her at the end.

secondhand shadowCHAPTER ONE

Elevator Ghosts

NAOMI

…hardly the Dread Pirate Roberts, Dad. Can you really see him ripping someone’s throat out with his teeth?”

I froze outside my English professor’s office door, and decided I did not want to interrupt that conversation. My hand didn’t get the memo and knocked anyway. I snatched it back and bit it, but it was too late.

From inside came silence, then Dr. DiNovi’s voice. “Come in.”

I debated running away instead. Or waddling away, since the U.S.S. Third Trimester wasn’t achieving warp speed anytime soon. But I opened the door.

We all do dumb things.

Dr. DiNovi was sitting at his desk in a perfectly normal way, which was all wrong. Dr. DiNovi was a feet-on-the-desk, head-in-the-clouds kind of guy, not a feet-on-the-floor, head-in-his-hands kind of guy. I’d never seen his bald spot before, peeking out of dark hair like a moon on a cloudy night. Maybe he grew the beard to compensate for the bald spot. He looks good with the beard, in a professorial kind of way.

The other guy in the room did not look professorial. He looked grim and dark and scruffy and altogether Strider-like. All he needed was a cloak. The leather jacket, I decided, was a satisfactory modernization.

Of course, if he was Strider, I was apparently a Ringwraith, because he was looking at me like he couldn’t decide whether to run away or run me through. I fully expected him to snarl.

Ah, Naomi,” Dr. DiNovi said. “Come to throw your term paper on my tender mercies?” His voice was casual and cheerful and did not match the way he kept glancing from me to Strider.

Yes, sir.” It was hard to look away from Strider, but easier than continuing to look at him. He reminded me of a firework my grandfather lit once, that sizzled and smoked and then went quiet — just before blowing up in his face and burning his beard off. So talk quick and get out of here before he explodes. “I need an extension, sir. Please.” Dr. DiNovi was not famous for cutting anyone a break on deadlines. I had marshalled all kinds of arguments to cover the fact that I flat forgot about my term paper. I could not remember any of them now. Please, sir, I’m very pregnant. I cry easily, and if you make pregnant women cry you go to hell. I’d hate to see that happen to you, sir.

Dr. DiNovi gestured at Strider. “I don’t know if you’ve met my son, Ga—”

Damon.” His voice was rough, as if he’d been screaming. Without meaning to, I looked back toward him, and he flinched. So did I. He seemed to burn my retinas.

Damon,” Dr. DiNovi continued, “this is one of my Brit Lit students, Naomi Winters.”

Naomi,” he repeated, his voice even more choked, as if my name were razors in his mouth. He glanced at his father. “I have to go.”

I was still standing more or less in the doorway. I tried to dodge him, and he tried to dodge me, and my shoulder bounced off his. He hissed — seriously, hissed, a sort of gasp between clenched teeth — and was out the door and gone.

I bit my lip and glanced at Dr. DiNovi, my cheeks going hot even though I hadn’t done anything. That’s why I always got in trouble when my little brother broke something. “Guilty” is my default expression.

Dr. DiNovi was not looking at me, but at the doorway his son had disappeared through. He looked happy as a clam, by which I mean confused and worried. That’s how I’d feel if I was a wad of snot living in a seashell.

Sorry,” he said after a second. “About Damon. He’s had a rough…” He looked at me as if I’d turned to blinking neon. “Oh. Oh. I guess that might explain it. Red hair, blue eyes… hmm.”

Sir?” I must have sounded as confused as I felt, because he went back to using full sentences.

I’m sorry to cut our conversation short, Naomi, but I need to talk to my son.”

But — my paper—”

Yes, of course. I understand your situation. Just try to have it by Monday.” He stepped out the door, hardly waiting to see if I followed, locked it behind us, and headed for the stairs. “Have a nice afternoon, Naomi!”

So, aside from Weirdos from Middle Earth, I guess my day is looking up. I had gotten an extension out of King Deadline, meaning I had five nights, rather than two, to cook up a twelve-page term paper. I squinched my eyes and tried to remember what topic I had decided on, after my initial proposal — the role of dogs in Rebecca and Pride and Prejudice — was rejected on the basis of there being no dogs in Pride and Prejudice, though I distinctly remember a Harlequin Great Dane in the movie version. Beautiful dog. My second proposal was something else with Rebecca and Jane Austen…

I unsquinched my eyes as it dawned on me that I was not alone in the corridor.

Except I was. Nobody in sight.

Well,” I murmured as I rubbed the top of my Wonder Tummy, “one advantage of pregnancy is that you’re never quite alone. Not that you’re much of a conversationalist.” He turned under my hand. Or she, who knew?

Could it be the baby that Strider — Damon — had reacted to so strongly? Plenty of people still disapproved of unwed pregnancy here in Ilium, Alabama, never mind that I was wed when Wonder Tummy began. But I was twenty-two, for crying out loud, not exactly a teenybopper; there was no reason to assume I was unwed. Besides, such disapprovers were usually fifty or above. Seemed odd that a guy my own age, whose father had no problem with me, would treat the tummy like a Black Plague pustule. But if it wasn’t the baby, then what? Dr. DiNovi had said something about my hair and eyes. I turned around to look at myself in the window of Dr. DiNovi’s door. He had it covered over with clipped-out comic strips, and my reflection was a thin layer over Garfield, Snoopy, and Hobbes. Red hair, long and windblown, hanging in my face. Blue eyes. No make-up. Baggy gray sweater flopping down over my hands. Third Trimester had killed my wardrobe, but I couldn’t believe that would make anyone hiss at me.

Whatever. I had to walk home and change into my uniform before work. If I left now, I could take my time and get there late enough that I’d have to hurry to work. If I put it off, I’d walk fast and get home early, which meant facing the mountain of dishes in the sink. Dawdle, dawdle, like a mouse, dawdle or you’ll have to clean the house…

I started down the hallway toward the elevator. Dr. DiNovi’s office was on the third floor, and I’d taken the stairs to avoid the English building elevator, known affectionately as the Tomb of the Unknown Student. My first day at Ilium U, I’d heard the story of the murdered student in the elevator shaft whose vengeful ghost liked to trap people in the elevator. I had a nightmare about it that night, and had avoided the blasted elevator for weeks afterward, before… Tyler convinced me to get on it with him.

Ow. The only thing worse than reminding myself of bad times with Tyler was reminding myself of good times with Tyler. The elevator had been a good time. We rode up, we rode down, we rode up, we rode down. We heard later that it got stuck minutes after we left.

All right, Elevator Ghosts of Various Metaphorical Layers. Me and Wonder Tummy have had enough stairs for today. Make way. I marched — waddle-marched — down the hall, pushed the Down button, and stepped into the Tomb.

I jumped when a hand shot between the silver doors just as they slid closed. They popped back open, and Dr. DiNovi’s son stepped through.

GodpleaseforgivemeformysinsIthinkI’mabouttobemurdered.

He didn’t jump at me with a knife. He didn’t even snarl. He just stared at me as the doors closed again. I felt my face heating up, but I set my teeth and stared back. I was in the stupid elevator first. This was my turf.

He didn’t look so very Strider-like after all, I decided. No stubble, and his face was too narrow. He had the hair, dark and tangled and hanging past his chin. But his eyes were green as a cat’s and sharp as claws. Again I had the sensation that they might burn me.

So, who do I look like?” I said.

He jumped, as if he hadn’t expected me to have the power of speech. “What?”

Either I look like someone you never wanted to see again, or I smell bad. Since you got in an elevator with me, I’m going with Option A.”

He continued staring a moment, then opened his mouth to speak.

And the elevator shuddered to a halt.

 

author photoAuthor Bio:

Elizabeth Belyeu is 30 years old and lives in Texas, where she supports herself, her wifi bill, and her steadily growing TBR pile as a library assistant. She graduated from Troy University in 2008 with a bachelorʹs in English (Creative Writing minor). This is her first novel, but she has been writing since she could hold a pencil, and plans to continue until she is too senile to type.

Fans can find me at elizabethbelyeu.wordpress.com!

 

 

 

What is your book about?

Damon is a Shadow; he has to bond with a human to survive, but he sure doesn’t have to be happy about it. Naomi is a broke, pregnant college student with quite enough on her plate already, without adding a grouchy Shadow. Can this marriage bond be saved? More importantly, can Naomi be saved from the serial killer whose attention Damon’s managed to attract?

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

I started it immediately, actually! I was trapped at my sister’s house with nothing to do, so once I had the basics of the story blocked out, I wrote my first attempt at the first scene that very day.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The idea for Shadows arose from thoughts about Anne McCaffrey’s dragons and dragonriders, and other such “bonded creature” stories, and wondering… what if the bonded creature was human in appearance? Wouldn’t that be a gamechanger? And then as I sketched out how that universe might work, I also started the see all the ways it could go horribly wrong, if a Shadow ended up with a bad bondmate… and poof, Damon came into being!

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

There’s quite a bit of me in Naomi; she’s definitely the most like-me character I’ve ever written, though we still have a lot of differences. I would say a lot of my “cute” traits got put into Naomi, while my snarkier side came out a lot in Paris!

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

I hate the word ‘favorite’ because it implies that everyone else is not my favorite… I feel like all my characters are my favorite in different ways. In this book, the main characters are Damon and Naomi. Naomi is my favorite because she’s just cute and silly and so much stronger than she thinks she is. She’s fun and easy to write. Damon is my favorite because he’s had so much pain and struggle and come through it with a determination to help other people deal with what he had to deal with alone. He’s tough and practical but he feels things very deeply and there’s a sort of poetry to his soul that I love. So they’re both my favorites!

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Paris seems to be a lot of readers’ favorite because he’s so sarcastic, the sort who says outright what everyone else is thinking but too polite to say. He’s probably the most unusual as well, since he’s a grown man trapped in a body that looks to be about ten and of uncertain gender. He’s had a lot to deal with in life.

How long did it take you to write your book?

I started it in 2007 and finished the final edits in 2014; however, I wasn’t working steadily and unceasingly on it during that time, not by any means. For instance there was a good two years in there devoted to finding an agent and waiting for the agent to find a publisher. The complete first draft took… maybe a year? Of course that was only the beginning!

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I’m an outliner to the max. I always have at least a basic map of the plot, start to finish, before I begin. I’ve tried to just “wing it” and it doesn’t work for me at all – I can’t get started unless I know where I’m going! That said, it’s not unusual for the plan to change a lot along the way… but there is, at least, a plan.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

Oh, tons! Naomi is pregnant in the story so I did a lot of research into pregnancy and childbirth for her. Also, let’s see, Las Vegas divorce regulations, neonatal hospital care, red blood cell lifespans… there’s a lot of odd things that come up along the way! Setting research mostly involved wracking my own memory, since the college town where it takes place is based on where I myself went to college (Troy, Alabama). Most of my research was via Internet ’cause that’s easiest and quickest, but I also looked at a few pregnancy books.

Where are your books available?

Secondhand Shadow is available in paper and ebook forms through Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

 

 

The Tangled Web – JP Lane

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the tangled web joan lane

There’s trouble in paradise and it’s up to a handful of the hierarchy to contain the problems. How they plan to accomplish this task is a matter of extreme sensitivity.

Lauren Anderson is a nosy reporter. She’s also the niece of an important government official. Her Aunt Maggie is Minister of Finance of the exotic island they call home. As a favor to her aunt, she gets involved in a tangled web of conspiracy.

Logan Armstrong is among the rich and elite of the island’s upper class. There’s an air of mystery around him that attracts Lauren when she goes out to interview him. What is it about the handsome, sexy, playboy that makes Lauren want to pull him close as well as push him away?

The Tangled Web is a wonderfully crafted novel of love, romance, assassins and intrigue. The characters are well rounded and the plot compelling. In fact, I think I fell a little bit in love (lust) with Logan myself as he pursued and charmed Lauren.

I highly recommend The Tangled Web by JP Lane for anyone who likes their romance spiced up with political intrigue that will keep them on the edge of their seats.

5 golden acorns

© 2013 Dellani Oakes

To Buy

Thieves in Paradise – Bernadette Gardner

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thieves in paradiseCharity Foster is a gambler and thief with a bounty on her head. When she scams Gar Gremin, beating him at his own game, he sends bounty hunter, Kol A’Kosu after her.

Kol’s clan is well known for finding what they seek. To support his clan, he’s willing to chase down Charity, bringing her to justice.

Unfortunately for Charity, Kol is very good at what he does. He finds and captures Charity only to realize that he’s seen her in a vision. A very explicit vision.

When problems with their space ships causes them to remain on the planet of Lebron, awaiting rescue, Kol and Charity get to know one another very well indeed.

Thieves in Paradise is a fun futuristic romantic romp in the jungle. The story is relatively compelling, but over all, it’s really more about the erotic scenes between the two main characters. These are extremely well written and not for the young. I recommend this book for adults only with warning of very explicit content.

 Five Golden Acorns

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

TO BUY

The High Bridge – Elizabeth Haysmont

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high bridgeSeth Monclair has a secret. Not a deep, dark secret, but one he doesn’t want anyone to learn. Keeping it becomes harder – and more important – when he meets sassy, opinionated, self-possessed Sandra Yorken.

Sandra is a journalist who debunks ghost stories. She’s in Colorado to do just that. Little does she know that the greatest ghost story of all time is waiting for here at the High Bridge.

“The High Bridge” is not just a spine tingling ghost story, but a tale of love between two unlikely lovers. The character are marvelous, the plot intricate and compelling. I didn’t want to stop reading – only giving up when my Nook needed to charge.

I highly recommend this novel to lovers of true romance with a paranormal twist.

 

Five Golden Acorns

© Dellani Oakes

TO BUY

Even a Succubus Can Get the Blues!

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Succubus Blues – Richelle Mead

succubus bluesGeorgina Kincaid wasn’t always a succubus, but now that she is, she takes her job seriously – sort of. Bookstore assistant manager by day and life force stealing succubus by night can be rough on a girl – especially when she finds a human man who is difficult to ignore and figure out.

Seth Mortensen is a confusing man. Famous author of Georgina’s favorite books, he’s nothing like she imagined. He writes amazingly well, but finds it hard to put together a sentence when confronted with the beautiful and somewhat intimidating Georgina. Even so, she finds herself attracted.

As if life isn’t chaotic enough, there’s a new player in town and he’s killing immortals. Even after Georgina is warned to stay out of it, she can’t help but investigate, getting herself in a heap of trouble.

“Succubus Blues” is a fun romance novel with a mysterious, paranormal twist. The characters are engaging, the dialogue is realistic and moves the story along. The plot goes at a brisk pace as Georgina investigates – steeping herself in trouble. I greatly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it.

5 golden acorns

© Dellani Oakes 2013

TO BUY

The Rendlesham Incident – Case of the Cosmological Killer – By Stephanie Osborn

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stephanie osbornStephanie Osborn never disappoints!! With Book 3 in her Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Osborn draws her audience into the story, immediately immersing them in the action.

UFOs have been spotted in the UK near Bentwaters and Woodbridge, two abandoned airbases. Observers describe is as a yellow orb of light that resembles a giant tennis ball. This is seems harmless enough until a man is found lying dead in his field. Reports say Mr. McFarlane died of fright, but authorities aren’t convinced.

Back in Colorado, it’s nearing Christmas. Skye Chadwick and Sherlock Holmes are happily ensconced at the ranch, enjoying some free time since the closing of the Tesseract Project. It is nearing Skye’s birthday, November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, and Holmes has quite a surprise in store.

I refuse to give plot spoilers. Readers can fill in obvious blanks themselves. Suffice to say, Skye is happily surprised.

After Christmas, the pair plan a trip to England where they are asked to investigate the death of Mr. McFarlane. What they find is disturbing as well as puzzling.

The Rendlesham Incident is a well paced sci-fi mystery that pits Homes & Chadwick against something not of this world. It leaves the reader puzzling over where it can possibly go wrong next.

Skye Chadwick is a fun character. She is intelligent, witty and spirited. She doesn’t back down from a tough situation and is read to take on any situation. Like Holmes, she is brilliant and resourceful. Although, by her own admission, her deductive powers are learned rather than intuitive, she is a great investigator.

I love Osborn’s characterization of Holmes. He’s true to his Victorian sensibilities, but shows his indomitable personality and ability to adapt to adverse circumstances. Holmes is a far more sympathetic character in Osborn’s series. Perhaps it was the style of the times, or maybe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t believe in revealing Holmes’ softer side, but I like the loving attention he showers on Skye, as well as the passion they share. He is the Holmes I always felt lurked beneath the words.

I highly recommend this book for all who love a good mystery and adore Holmes. Also a great read for sci-fi enthusiasts.

5Golden Acorns

© 2013 Dellani Oakes

TO BUY