Friday, September 27, 2013

The Bad Boy

The Bad Boy

The bad boy holds a special place in my heart. I married the antithesis of a bad boy, but for some reason they hold some appeal. Maybe because I can watch them and be friends with them without worrying about succumbing to their charms. Not that I think I ever really succumbed to anyone’s charms. I don’t trust anyone that much and you come on strong I back off.

But they are fascinating.

Let me clarify. Bad boys are not the kind you see on cops with their girlfriend/wife/mother/sister yelling at them from the trailer. These are men who are so enamored of women that they have studied them for years.

Probably since birth.

What are some of the traits of a bad boy?

He’s fun. He’s confident. He’s good in bed. (Or at least he thinks he is.) He thrives on being bad and he knows how to get you to do what he wants. He has studied women for years and knows every type and how to get past their defenses. Think about your hero. Wouldn’t he be fun to write this way? Wouldn’t it be fun to live vicariously through a guy like this? (What? You don’t sometimes imbue your characters with traits you’d like to have?)

So bad boys come in all shapes and sizes. He doesn’t need to be an ex-Special Forces guy. He can be that college professor or the accountant who does your taxes. Wow. Now I really want to write a bad boy in my next book.

Bad boys study women endlessly. They don’t just know generalities about women. They know specifics about the women they are pursuing. There is a certain charm in that. They do see women as individuals. During the chase. After, probably not.

He isn’t a player. A player will brag, only go after one type of woman and cares only enough about them to get them into bed. A bad boy is discreet about his conquests, likes all women and does know more about them then just how to get them into bed.

Doesn’t that sound like a fun hero of a romance novel?

He doesn’t have to be ex special forces.

My former boss is a former bad boy. He’s a paramedic who used to be a paid firefighter.

Why do you want your hero to have bad boy qualities? Because it can stir up the story and give it conflict.

How does a bad boy do this? What are the techniques? There are three of them: Tell you that you are beautiful, encourage naughtiness, occasionally fight.

Don’t all of those sound like a hero in a romance novel?

Bad boys know how to compliment a woman in a way that is unique to her. They don’t go for the obvious, but rather something very personal to the woman. Think about giving your heroine some unique trait. Maybe she snorts when she laughs. He finds that irresistible. So he’ll comment and compliment her on it. But he does it in a way that she isn’t offended.

It will most likely take her off guard. She’ll respond.

Think of the buttoned down heroine getting to let loose with her bad boy. She goes out and buys that party pack of glow-in-the-dark ribbed condoms. Haven’t you ever seen someone really let loose? It’s invigorating to watch.

Or think of that person who doesn’t laugh very often. Getting them to laugh is so cathartic. There was a deliver guy at a library I once worked at. He went about his business and never made eye contact. That’s a challenge to me. So I said hello to him every day. By the fifth time he said it back. I think one of the librarians within ear shot had never heard the guy’s voice.

That’s how a bad boy feels when he can get a woman to let loose.

Think of the possibilities.

Today I’ve just scraped the surface of what a bad boy is and how you can use him in your writing.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What I learned from Chopped.

I love the show Chopped on Food Network. It’s the only competition show on there I watch. Okay other than Restaurant Impossible, but to me that’s a restaurant version of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I want to cry for the last 10 minutes of it.

Anyway. What do I like about Chopped? Many things and I think we all can learn a lot about life while watching this show.

First off, you never know what will come your way. When those chefs open those baskets, all they know is what course they have to make. In life, you have no idea what is around the corner, but like those chefs you need to make the best of it.

Secondly, you must always try your best even if the outcome is not always pretty. Sometimes those chefs encounter an ingredient they’ve never heard of before the show. They must figure out how to cook it along with the other odd ingredients to make the best meal. Sometimes it doesn’t work.

Third, everyone makes mistakes. These are chefs, who cook for a living. Once in awhile they get chopped. Once in awhile they get chopped for a mistake in their technique. Once in awhile they get chopped just because someone’s dish is better than theirs.

Last, take critique. The last show I watched had this one chef who liked to trash talk. I thought he was going to be really arrogant in front of the judges. Instead, he took what they had to say with grace. He clearly listened to what the chefs were saying to him. Listen. Always. You may not always think someone’s advice is good, but always listen. You never know when you learn something.

That is why I think watching Chopped can be a life lesson.

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, 2 kids, 1 dog, and 3 rabbits. She has a degree in journalism from Find her on the web:

Monday, September 23, 2013

A View to a Kilt: Behind the Scenes

(This is from my archives)

People often ask where I get my ideas. It usually isn’t one place and sometimes one the book is done I don’t even remember. When I thought about where A View to a Kilt came from I realized it came from different facets of my life.

I have a friend who is of Scottish descent. He plays bagpipes and likes to tell dirty Scottish jokes. He is probably my biggest source of the Scottish jokes. The other source is someone who actually lives in Scotland. We met when my husband and I lived in England. He e-mailed him one day and he sent me back a large amount of Scottish jokes.

It’s good to have friends.

The heroine in A View to a Kilt is an interior decorator. I actually know two people who have businesses as interior decorators and one person who studied it in college. One person with a business actually taught me to sew.

It’s good to have friends.

A View to a Kilt is set in Philadelphia. I grew up in the suburbs of Philly and my Dad instilled in me a love of the city. Despite not living in Eagles country, I am still a fan.

The portrait that is pivotal to the story? I have no memory of where that came from. None. Could not tell you what I was thinking when I put that in there. Wish I had a great story. That would be more interesting than having no idea why I chose a portrait.

Why does the heroine come from Montana? Because I have a friend who is from Montana and I could pick her brain about what it was like. I also have been fascinated with the West since I honeymooned in Utah.

I guess it comes down to this. No story comes from just one place. A writer takes different facts and weaves them into a fictional story.

And if I didn’t have friends I might not be able to write.

Excerpt A View to a Kilt:

Someone bumped into her as she shifted her weight, her stomach growling.

“Excuse me,” he said, from the depths of his chest.

She looked up into puppy dog brown eyes that were vaguely familiar. Then she remembered. “You’re the guy from the hospital.”

His grin surfaced like a dolphin jumping a hoop. His eyes lit up right before they scrunched into slits. “You remembered. I’m flattered. Angus MacPherson.

Her gaze raked up and down him, settling onto his hair. “You aren’t exactly forgettable.”

A flannel shirt opened onto a thick neck for such a lanky guy. Curls of hair peaked out over the first button. He wore the same jeans as earlier.

He cocked his head. “Tall with red hair. Guess I am noticeable.”

“Angus? Isn’t that beef?”

He curled himself into a bodybuilder’s stance.

“No, that’s beefcake,” she said.

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two sons, one dog, three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing she works part time for her local hospital.

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Friday, September 20, 2013



Jo Kessel

“We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”

Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning.

The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.

Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible.

Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.

But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul?

Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story about love, loss and relationships, set between London and the heart of the French Alps.


I leaned over, intending to air brush his cheeks with mine, but it didn’t quite happen that way. A stronger, more powerful force than my conscience, a force more powerful than morality, changed my path of navigation at the last second, making my lips meet his, melt deliciously into his, over and over and over again, sending shivers of pleasure through every limb in my body. My skin tingled, my head spun, I felt light-headed even though I was sitting down. That’s all we did for over an hour. Kiss and kiss and kiss, tasting each other, pressing our bodies close and steaming up the car. I didn’t want it to ever stop. I never realized that kissing could be so sensual and powerful and overwhelming. If Olivier and I were to never progress beyond kissing, then it would be enough, as long as I could keep on doing it forever. Finally, when he had to go, he hugged me tight and told me he’d wanted to kiss me since the first time we met, when I lay crashed in a snowy heap at his feet.


When Jo was ten years old she wrote a short story about losing a loved one. Her mother and big sister were so moved by the tale that it made them cry. Having reduced them to tears she vowed that the next time she wrote a story it would make them smile instead. Happily she succeeded and with this success grew an addiction for wanting to reach out and touch people with words. Jo lives in London with her husband and three children where she works as a TV and print journalist. She tells life stories and can often be found travelling the globe researching the next big holiday hotspots for readers to enjoy. Since becoming a mother anything even remotely sad makes her cry. She’s a sucker for a good romance and tear-jerker movies are the worst. She’s that woman in the cinema, struggling to muffle audible wails as everyone else turns round to stare.

P.S Jo’s pretty certain one of her daughters has inherited this gene.
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Twitter: @jo_kessel

Jonathan Franzen is a Giant . . .

You fill in the blank. I've decided not to get sued.

In my latest novel the first line is: There isn't enough L'Oreal on the planet to cover up my white trash roots.

I love that line. That sentence, more than any other I've written, describes me.

I didn't grow up in a trailer, but we didn't have a lot of money in a place where people did have a lot of money. I'm not proud or ashamed of that. It just was.

Now I live the American Dream. I live in a house bigger than my parents had. I drive a car better than my parents did. Not bragging, just pointing out, that I live the American Dream.

But for writers there hasn't been an American Dream. The majority of writers have been locked out of the publishing world. Their life has been a flurry of rejections and doors slamming in their faces.

No longer.

But not if it were up to Jonathan Franzen. Read his article.

He thinks that writers should not have the opportunities that small presses and Amazon have afforded them. He considers Jeff Bezos one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse for giving writers these advantages.

I say, "Boulderdash."

And so does Amanda Hess here.

I have one thing to say to Jonathan Franzen. "Who died and made you king of anything?"

If the point of the American Dream is to have things better than your parents did, assuming either of my parents were writers, then how is publishing NOT better than they would have had it?

I can publish a book tomorrow. Heck, could put one out tonight.

Will it have a professional cover? Check

Will it be edited? Check

Will I have told a story? Check

Will it have distribution? Check (Hello, Amazon!)

So why on Earth should I not be able to put out my stories? Because some elitist thinks I'm going to poop in his country club's swimming pool?

I've never been one for country clubs or any type of organization that is exclusive. I have no patience for us vs them.

And up until Amazon and Jeff Bezos gave us Kindle Direct Publishing, the publishing world has been a country club. How can it be bad, if a girl from a small house where she shared a room with her sister, can publish the stories that she writes? The stories she couldn't stop writing if you held a gun to her head.

I for one will be putting out books until I have no more stories to tell.

And Jonathan Franzen can kiss my sweet. . .

You fill in the blank.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013



Leslie McKelvey


Jack Vaughn is sure his life is over as he tumbles down the wooded hillside onto the deserted two-lane stretch of asphalt. Years of work ended with a single gunshot. Yet, it’s not over.

A good Samaritan stops to help him, despite the danger he poses to her.

Laine Wheeler knows better than to stop for strangers on the rural Montana highway near her home, but her conscience won’t allow her to leave an injured man behind.

What she doesn’t know is the man is an undercover ATF agent tasked with infiltrating a domestic terrorist group. His cover has been blown and helping him will put her life in danger.

Though there is an instant attraction, Jack knows that beginning a romantic relationship with Laine would be both unfair and unwise. Yet the farther they run, the harder it gets to ignore the feelings that are surging between them.


“Come here,” he said, his eyes focused on the computer.

She went to his side and looked at the screen. On the monitor was a photograph of a group of men, similar to pictures she’d seen of Grant’s squad he’d taken while deployed to Iraq, only these guys weren’t wearing U.S. military uniforms. She leaned over and scanned the faces.

A cold, hard stone of dread settled in her stomach and the realization of what she’d done sent nausea swirling in her belly. Her hand trembled as she reached toward the screen. “This one, and . . . this one were the only two I got a clear look at.” She straightened and took a deep breath. “We’re in trouble, aren’t we? Maybe we should call the police.”

“And say what?” he asked. “If the cops show up here it’ll only spook them and give them a reason to come back.”

Her throat tightened. “Jack, I’m sorry . . . .”

“It’s not your fault, Laine.” He rose in one fluid motion and went back to the window. He was careful not to move the curtain. “Shit.”

He whirled from the window and sat down on the edge of the bed. Laine could tell he was trying desperately to figure a way out of this, his eyes darting back and forth as he pressed his thumbs into his temples and vigorously rubbed his forehead. Finally, he stood up and went back to watching the SUV.

“Get your stuff together,” he said. “As soon as they go around the corner of the building, we run for the Suburban and get out of here.”

“You really think we can outrun them?” she asked, incredulous.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “It’s better than sitting here and waiting for them to come to us.”

Leslie McKelvey has been writing since she learned to write, and her mother still stores boxes of handwritten stories in the attic. Leslie read her first romance at 12 and was hooked. When her high school Creative Writing teacher told her she needed to be a novelist, she decided to give it a try. Finally, at the ripe old age of...forty-something...her debut novel, Accidental Affair, made it into print through Black Velvet Seductions Publishing. The publisher has also contracted two more manuscripts, which will follow Accidental Affair shortly.

Leslie is a war-veteran who served with the U.S. Navy during the Gulf War, and she was among the first groups of women to work the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. During her five years tour she was stationed at NAS Miramar and was an F-14 Tomcat mechanic and plane captain. While in San Diego she spent time on the carriers USS Independence, USS Ranger, USS Lincoln, and the USS Nimitz. The final two years of her enlistment were spent on Guam and her squadron frequently deployed to Japan and the Middle East.

She learned everything she knows about firearms and tactics from her police officer husband, who is a weapons expert, range master, and firearms instructor for one of the most highly-respected law-enforcement agencies in the world (and one he wishes her NOT to disclose). He is her biggest supporter and her unpaid consultant on everything law-enforcement and weapons related. She has three boys who keep her very busy and contribute daily to her growing number of gray hairs. Her oldest son is a United States Marine and the younger two have vowed to follow in their brother’s footsteps (OOH RAH!). She spends her off-time (kidding...WHAT off-time?) reading, taking pictures, and sending lead down range (that's shooting, for those who are unfamiliar). One of her favorite scents is the smell of gunpowder in the morning....

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Monday, September 16, 2013


Welcome to the Cover Reveal for "Enhanced" by Courtney Farrell.  Enjoy the first chapter provided for your pleasure. 

 Michelle was born into the Institute’s eugenics program, where doctors breed people like livestock. One powerful man decides which children grow up, and which disappear. Culls are dumped in the slum outside Institute walls, and those kids never come back. Michelle has survived every purge, and she’s about to win a luxurious life as a breeder. When her brother and her boyfriend are both mysteriously culled, despite their high scores, she goes over the wall to find them. Alone in the ghetto, she’s in trouble until handsome, streetwise Dillon stakes a claim to her. She’s mortified because the Enhanced see Norms as little more than animals. But the doctor is using the missing boys in a twisted experiment, and she needs Dillon’s help to stop him. Michelle must rescue the boys, but a plague is spreading, the doctor is after her, and Dillon isn’t thrilled to help her find her lost boyfriend.
Buy Now:   Crescent Moon Press
Enhanced: Chapter 1 

     The door slammed open and a team of white-coated technicians filed grimly into the classroom. Michelle Atherton automatically relaxed her face into the expressionless mask Enhanced offspring used to greet any bad news, but under her desk, her fingers gripped each other hard enough to hurt. The techs lined up against the wall, arms folded and jaws set in identical hard lines. They stared over her head, refusing to make eye contact with anyone. Doctor Williams came in last, rolling a gurney outfitted with sturdy nylon straps. He parked it behind the last row of chairs, and teenagers twisted in their seats to stare. Pressure rose in Michelle’s throat like a scream, but she didn’t dare make a sound.
     Williams dismissed Professor Cole with a perfunctory twitch of his jowly chin. In agonizingly slow motion, the old teacher set the stack of standardized tests down on her desk and walked stiffly from the room. Williams closed the door after her. The click of the latch made Michelle flinch.
    “Seth Atherton,” Doctor Williams said.
     Blood rushed from Michelle’s head.
     Michelle’s seventeen-year-old brother stood up. “Sir?”
    “You have been selected for a…procedure.” Williams motioned Seth to the gurney. “Come with us.”
    “What procedure?” Seth’s voice sounded calm and polite, as always, but everyone knew what he was thinking. People selected for procedures didn’t always come back.
     Williams didn’t answer–not that anyone expected him to. At the doctor’s gesture, a couple of male technicians stepped up and locked eyes with the rangy dark-haired boy. The bigger one, a swarthy young man with thighs like tree trunks, pointed Michelle’s brother toward the gurney. Seth stood his ground.
     He turned to Doctor Williams. “I’ll cooperate, sir. You don’t need the stretcher, I can walk.”
     Technicians drifted from the wall like wraiths, slowly surrounding him. Michelle’s head felt like it floated a little way above her body, as if somehow it wasn’t quite connected. Objects in the room had bright edges, and the coats of the technicians gleamed in brilliant, painful white. Her brother’s strong hand gripped her shoulder, but she didn’t remember getting out of her chair. He pulled her close and leaned down to whisper.
   “Michelle.” Seth’s eyes were so dilated that they almost looked black. Narrow rings of indigo surrounded the reflective pools of darkness. “Don’t do this. You have a chance to grow up here, become a breeder. I…I just can’t watch you walk out the gate alone.”
    She stared at him with wide eyes, and slowly nodded. Seth inclined his head in that unconsciously noble way of his, and the technicians fell back, making room. His fingers gripped Michelle’s arm. Pain dimly penetrated her nightmare, so she let her brother walk her a couple of steps and press her back down in her chair.
    “Stay here, Michelle. I’ll be fine.”
     Michelle blinked hard at the tears that threatened to shame them both. “Sure. You’ll…be fine.”
     Seth nodded once and turned away. He strode to the gurney, climbed aboard and stretched out on his back. With sharp metallic clicks, technicians ratcheted down the straps.
     They rolled him away.
     The teens sat for a moment in stunned silence before the whispering began. “I can’t believe they’re culling him!” Sylvia blurted.
    “That’s not how it’s done,” Jeanette said disdainfully. “They didn’t line us up at the gate, and besides, with his scores, that’s not going to happen.”
    “Maybe they don’t like his attitude,” said Seth’s best friend Brian. “The way he plays the system.”
     Michelle glanced sharply at the big blond-haired senior. “You mean the way you both—”
    The door opened again and the technicians came back in with a second wheeled stretcher.
    Carissa’s face blanched as the technicians marched toward her. “It’s me, I knew it.”       The tawny-haired girl stumbled out of her chair and squeezed behind Brian’s broad back, like that could save her. He murmured to her softly and reached up to cover her hand with his.
    “Brian Halstead,” the swarthy tech said, flexing his thick shoulders in an unspoken challenge. Carissa’s breath caught audibly in her throat.
     Brian stood up slowly, with the oiled grace of a predator. “Yes, sir.”
     He emphasized the word a little and the tech’s eyes narrowed. Nobody called technicians sir. A little smirk played along the corners of Brian’s mouth. He took a step or two toward the gurney, but hesitated by Michelle’s chair until she looked up.
    “For Seth,” Brian whispered, giving her a wicked little smile.
     Michelle sat up straight and scanned the white-coats. Doctor Williams had gone, leaving a bunch of low ranking techs to deal with Brian alone. Big mistake. What’s he going to do?
     As Brian sauntered down the aisle, people in the back of the classroom scooted out of their chairs and clustered in front by Professor Cole’s desk. That should have alerted the technicians, but it didn’t.
    “Clearly, there’s a reason that they’re only technicians,” Jeanette Morley said, right out loud, and her girlfriends giggled.
    “Get on the stretcher,” the burly technician growled at Brian.
     Brian grinned. “Thanks, but I’m not interested in participating.”
    “It’s not optional.”
    “That’s not the way I see it.” Brian cocked his head and waited until the tech made the mistake of grabbing his arm.
     “I turned eighteen last fall,” Brian said, and the guy let go fast. It was too late.
      With both hands, Brian lifted the stretcher off its wheels and slammed its edge into the man’s stomach. The swarthy one went down, along with another white-coat with the bad luck to be standing next to him. Techs swarmed the big blond-haired teenager, trying to overcome him by sheer numbers. Michelle cheered along with the rest of the class when Brian made a hole in the drywall with some guy’s head, but a petite female nurse snuck up behind him with a syringe.
     “Look out, behind you!” screamed Carissa.
      Brian slumped horribly to the floor, and four white-coated men lifted his body onto the stretcher. They rolled him away while Michelle wrapped her arms around herself and shook. After the last technician filed out, Doctor Williams stuck his head in, surveyed the damaged wall with a slightly sick expression, and then closed the door like a dog owner making sure his pets didn’t get out.
      Jeanette laughed until her face turned pink. “Did you see how Brian set that up? The Conclave can’t touch him for that!”
     “What!” Michelle snapped.
     “Don’t you get anything, Michelle?” Jeanette rolled her eyes. “Brian’s eighteen. Technically that makes him an adult, whether he’s finished high school or not. With the scores he gets, he outranks every technician at the Institute. He doesn’t have to follow their orders.”
      “So when he wakes up from whatever sick experiment they’re doing on him, they can’t punish him any worse. Sure, that’s just hysterical, Jeanette. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much.” Michelle abruptly fell silent when the door opened once again.
     This time, when they came, they came for her.
     Michelle trembled on the exam table in the Genetics Clinic. A puncture wound in her leg slowly dripped blood onto the polished floor, but she ignored it. Technicians were testing the biopsied muscle segment, and Norms existed to clean up the mess. A child sobbed softly on the other side of the wall.
      Don’t go. Doctor Salomon could walk in any second, Michelle told herself, crumpling her disposable hospital shift in sweaty hands. But he won’t, another part of her mind whispered, the buried part that knew exactly what Salomon was doing in the room next door. He’s not finished with her yet. Michelle fidgeted on the paper-covered bench, trying to repress the thought. She smoothed away the telltale wrinkles in the horrible white paper poncho, but they’d be able to tell. They could always tell.
     Michelle tucked her chin and wrapped her arms across her flat stomach, as though she could hide under her veil of long dark hair. The antiseptic scent of the clinic always twisted her guts into a knot. Suddenly she pushed off the table, landing barefoot on the freezing cold tiles. Crimson droplets of blood marked her passage toward the door, but the bleeding quickly stopped. In another hour the wound would be completely healed. She hesitated, calculating the odds. Can I go find Seth and get back before Salomon does? Not likely. But if I don’t, I’ll go crazy.
      Michelle eyed the closed door, considering escape. But escape was only for the losers who got culled. Brian claimed that would be a relief, but he tried as hard as anyone to avoid it. No one knew what happened to the culls after they were dumped in the slum. They probably live out there like kings, ruling over the Norms. Even a cull could out compete them.
      In a savage motion Michelle tore off her paper shift and let the fragments drift to the floor. Glaring surgical light reflected off her sleek muscles, golden skin, and the flawless features of her face. She snatched up her clothes as fast as she could. A child’s shrill scream paralyzed her with one leg in her pants.
      Doctor Salomon’s voice rumbled through the wall, taking that quietly insistent tone he used with little girls. “Be quiet, Jennifer, or I’ll bring one of your sisters in here instead. Is that what you want?”
     Michelle took a ragged gasp as everything she’d tried so hard to forget flooded to the surface. She yanked on her clothes and skidded across the floor in her socks. The door had been locked from outside. She rattled the doorknob frantically, but no one came. The child next door got louder, and something in there crashed to the floor. The little girl’s hysterical pleading shifted into a high-pitched scream. A man bellowed, followed by the unmistakable sound of someone being slapped hard with an open hand.
      “Help, help!” Michelle pounded on the door and twisted the doorknob so hard that the metal itself sheared and broke off in her hand.
       She half expected to hear nurses’ running feet, but no one came. Without thinking, she kicked the door open, bolted into the hall and slammed a shoulder into the closed door of the next room. It unexpectedly flew open, and Michelle tripped over an overturned chair just inside. She crashed to the floor and whipped her head around, but the doctor was already gone. A red-haired girl about nine years old peered over the edge of the exam table. A sore pink handprint stood up across the child’s face. Blood speckled the front of her little paper poncho.
     Michelle scrambled to her feet, feeling stupid. She reached gently for the child, who flinched away. “Jennie? Sara? Which one are you? Um, sorry,” Michelle trailed off, embarrassed. Everyone else seemed to be able to tell the triplets apart.
     “I’m Jennie.”
     “Easy, Jennie. I won’t hurt you. You’re bleeding.”
     “It’s not my blood,” the little redhead said, her blue eyes flashing defiantly. “I bit him.”
      Michelle couldn’t help laughing, but she stifled the sound behind her hands. Around here, anyone could be listening. “Good. He had it coming, I’m sure.”
      The child slid off the table, clutching her paper shift tightly to her chest with both tiny fists. “He told me he had to check and see if I had cancer, you know, inside.”
     “Oh, that’s--” Michelle cut herself off before blurting, “just what he used to tell me.” Instead she said, “That’s not true. The Enhanced can’t get cancer, sweetie. That flaw got bred out generations ago.”
     Jennie bit her lip, trying not to cry. “He lied.”
     Michelle squatted down to get on eye level with the little girl. “Yeah, he did. So tell your mom right away.”
    “They showed her the gate when I was a baby.” An angry tear escaped down Jennie’s cheek, but she flushed and quickly wiped it away. Michelle politely pretended not to notice.
      The little redhead crept in to whisper. “You shouldn’t try to help me. You know what he’ll do.”
      Michelle went cold, imagining the consequences. “I know, but I heard you scream, and…”
      Jennie surprised her by giving her a hug. “Don’t be stupid, Michelle. It’s bad here, but it’s worse Outside.”
      Michelle walked down the hall alone, feeling like a prisoner about to face the firing squad. A couple of young male technicians chatted outside the surgical suite. They’d know she had no business in there, and with her genetically enhanced IQ, getting lost wasn’t an excuse. She smiled a little, trying not to look guilty as her heart pounded. Their eyes roamed over her body, but they stepped aside to let her pass. Michelle was an Atherton, after all, the daughter of not only one, but two members of the Conclave. That made her royalty here. At least until my first citation for noncompliance.  
      Michelle glanced over her shoulder at the men, pretending to check them out. They winked and leered, and laughed when she blushed. She bent her head over her papers as though double-checking a room number and pushed through the double doors. She held her breath, expecting them to stop her. They didn’t. Michelle slowed her stride at the receptionist’s desk, hoping Seth’s mysterious procedure would be listed on the computer there. A young female receptionist sat behind the clear plastic counter. The brunette’s short legs and pudgy body gave her away as an Augment, a Norm enhanced only enough to qualify her for a job. Augments instinctively obeyed orders from Enhanced adults, but not from the kids. Am I old enough? Will she tell me?
     Salomon’s petulant voice came from an office opposite the receptionist’s desk, making Michelle forget all about the little brunette. “You’re worthless, Williams! I can’t leave you alone for a minute. That’s why you’re still a technician, so stop asking.”
      The door opened and Michelle ducked around a corner, but caved in to the temptation to peek. Doctor Salomon emerged, trailed by Doctor Williams, the eternal technician. The unfortunate man took shallow breaths, sucking in his tubby stomach, but it still made him look like a Norm.
      The small white-haired director poked a bandaged finger at Williams’ face. “All you had to do was remain in the room, but apparently that was too complicated for you. Those damages are coming out of your paycheck. Now I’m late for surgery, and you’re assisting.”
     “Thank you for the opportunity, sir,” the balding technician said. His eyes remained downcast, but a note of hope crept into his voice.
      Salomon’s overpowering cologne drifted around the corner and stung Michelle’s throat. It smelled like pain. She pushed off the wall and hurried away. Ahead, a line of Enhanced offspring waited for Augment security guards to inspect their documents. She abruptly changed direction and rushed down another corridor, fighting down panic. Sweat began to soak through her blouse, and her breath came in rapid gasps. Orderlies scooted out of her way, and one of them flicked his wrist, activating his implanted cell chip. Is he calling security? Michelle fought against the wave of irrational terror, but had no hope. She dodged a couple of white-uniformed nurses and gave in to the impulse to run.
       Anxiety disorders sometimes manifested in kids selected for extremely high IQs, and doctors doggedly rooted out the flaw. Most of the other carriers had already been selected for procedures. Speaking their names was forbidden, so it felt safer to forget them. Michelle brought their faces to mind in a desperate bid for self-control. The little brown-haired girl who used to cry on the high ropes course–that one never made it past fifth grade. The freckle-faced seventh-grade boy who got eliminated when he refused a two-on-one sparring match in karate class. The images of the lost slowed her headlong rush, but not quickly enough.
     A group of students crowded the hall around the corner. Michelle careened sideways, slammed a hand loudly against the wall, and plowed right into Jeanette Morley, of all people. Beauty wasn't the goal at the Institute, but Jeanette sure acted like it was. The team that designed her pulled out all the stops, giving her a slender, sculpted body, large breasts, and blonde hair that cascaded down her back. Looks weren’t supposed to count here, but they did, especially when it came to influencing people.
      The blonde shoved Michelle away and then started ripping her a new spleen. “Yeah, instead of arriving on time, go ahead and run us all over, you cull. God, Michelle, you’re so…Normal. No wonder you have no friends.”
      “I’m her friend,” Carissa said softly, stepping between Jeanette and Michelle with a visible effort.
      “Thanks, Carissa,” Michelle told the mousy girl, trying to be kind. “I’m your friend too.”
      “Low-ranks and recruits.” Jeanette gave Carissa a critical once-over and rolled her eyes. “Like they count. I guess, if that’s the best you can do.”
      Jeanette’s younger brother Todd wove through the crowd, slipping easily between the muscular boys. On him, the genes that gave Jeanette her delicate beauty just looked scrawny. “Hey, Michelle. Worried you’d be late?”
      “Um, yeah.” Michelle peeled a sweaty curl off her forehead and looked back down the hall. No one followed, and she felt like an idiot for losing control.
      Todd took her by the elbow and guided her to the wall. His touch calmed her pounding heart. “This test isn’t for freshmen,” he murmured, almost inaudibly, but she heard him through her bones. “What are you doing here?”
      She didn’t answer. His eyes searched hers as he lightly lifted the truth from her mind. “Oh. Living dangerously.”
      “Get out of my head, witch!” Michelle snapped, way too loud, but Todd only laughed in that wheezing nerdy way of his.
       He put his mouth to her ear and whispered. “They’re in outpatient surgery, room seven.”
      “Thanks! I’ve got to go, I’m not supposed to…” Michelle faltered and fell silent.
      “Obviously,” Todd smirked. “Get going before the wrong people notice.” He shot a fast glance at his sister, who clustered with her followers.
       Michelle turned away and stepped on someone’s foot. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, and then saw who she’d crunched. A green-uniformed Norm hurriedly pulled his laundry cart out of her way. Sniggers broke out among the teens and Michelle blushed. One didn’t speak to Norms, except to give instructions. Apologizing to them was unheard of. They were little more than animals, and they wouldn’t understand.
       “My fault, Miss,” the small black-haired Norm mumbled, eyes respectfully downcast. A muscle on the young man’s jaw clenched and released, and he cast a glance of veiled hatred toward the smirking crowd of kids. Michelle wouldn’t have thought a Norm would know when he was being laughed at, but this one obviously did. A flush of anger rose to her cheeks, but her glare didn’t stop her classmates’ giggles. Suddenly she hated them too.
       “It wasn’t your fault!” Michelle blurted, startling the pimple-faced boy into meeting her eyes for a second. “I ran into you.”
       The entire hallway fell silent as the Normal teenager flushed under the scrutiny of dozens of impossibly beautiful Enhanced. Michelle shrugged apologetically, and the worker surprised her with a wry grin. Mentally kicking herself for attracting attention, she slipped around a corner and walked away.
       One advantage of breaking rules when no one else did was that authorities never expected it. In the outpatient surgery wing, nurses and orderlies bustled everywhere, but no one noticed one girl standing against the wall. Michelle peeked through the tiny window in the door of room seven. Her brother sat rigidly on an exam table. Seth’s handsome face remained impassive, but he kept running a hand through his hair, making it stand on end. He stopped when Salomon walked in. Williams followed, carrying a tray shrouded under a blue surgical cloth. Instead of asking, the chubby technician just put a hand on Seth’s chest and shoved him down on the table. Two thick nylon straps pinned the boy on his back. Salomon chose a gleaming silver scalpel from his tray.
       Seth averted his eyes from the scalpel and spotted his sister standing in the doorway. A flicker of fear crossed his face, quickly masked. The doctor bent over the boy’s arm and made a quick incision without bothering to numb it first. Seth’s night-blue eyes glazed with pain, but he didn’t even twitch when the doctor pulled the edges of the incision wide and used a couple of stainless-steel clamps to hold it open. Michelle couldn’t look at the blood dripping down her brother’s arm, and focused on his dark eyes instead. They looked strange to her, too old for his young face.
       When Salomon turned away to open an incubator, Seth mouthed something at her. It took Michelle a moment to make out her brother’s words. “Go! Before you get one too!”    
 “One what?” she mouthed back, just as Salomon returned to Seth’s side. The petite gray-haired man now wore a surgical mask, and he cradled something carefully in his gloved hands. He glanced up and Michelle recoiled just in time, jerking back around the corner. That did it. A suspicious middle-aged nurse strode toward her, elbowing aside some low-ranking aids and a Normal janitor. Clutching her fake documents to her chest, Michelle fled.
Courtney Farrell was once a molecular biologist, but her habit of daydreaming destroyed far too many experiments. As it turned out, writing down the movies behind her eyes was a lot more fun than lab work. Courtney is the author of fourteen nonfiction books for young people, mostly on social and environmental topics. She lives with her family on a Colorado ranch where they support a barn full of freeloading animals, including a fat draft horse and a bunch of crazy chickens. Enhanced is her first novel.
Amazon Authors Page

Crescent Moon Press 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Linda Merlino

Out of tragedies come heroes and miracles…

At 9:59 a.m. on September 11, 2001, Diane O’Connor’s life as a firefighter’s wife changes forever, shattering her faith. Four decades later, a note still hangs on her kitchen cabinet in Queens, the paper yellowed with age. Diane knows the scribbled sentences by heart; she'd left them the morning of 9/11 for her husband, Billy.

In the summer of 2041, Diane invites Friar Antonio Ortiz to her home. He is a man destined to become counsel to the first American pope—her son, Peter. Antonio asks no questions and arrives in secret, promising to wait nineteen years before passing Diane's journal to Peter. Only then will Billy’s story be told, along with answers to Peter’s questions about his father’s last days.


Absorbed, Antonio neglected to notice that Diane had disappeared into the kitchen. He thought to ask her about the two men in the photographs, and when he turned in anticipation of seeing her next to him, he took a step toward where she might be standing. His right foot struck a pair of boots propped upright against the wall. He stumbled and put a hand out to that empty place where he thought she might be, but his face did not meet hers, and instead came within an inch of a firefighter’s helmet, the medallion of its FDNY ladder company polished and gleaming.

On the edge of that moment, trying to regain his balance, each breath he took tightened in his throat. Antonio began to gag. His mind raced. What could be happening? One minute he was looking at photographs and the next his throat was constricting. An acrid odor rose to his nostrils. He shook his head—the same faint smell he’d noticed from before, at the door, but stronger, sharp enough now to sear his soft membranes. My God, he thought and recoiled. Sweat sprang from his face and neck. A heart attack? He clutched his chest. No, not that. His heart was fine except for the galloping beat under his ribcage. Heat emanated from the helmet as if it had just come through an inferno. “My God,” he said aloud. Perhaps a fire burned inside the wall, hot enough to choke him.


Linda Merlino is the author of Room of Tears (July 23 2013), Hudson Catalina (2008-Belly of the Whale & re-release 9/14/12), Swan Boat Souvenir (self-published 2003) she began writing fiction as a young mother on the sidelines of endless soccer practices. Linda wrote anytime any place. A manuscript filled a carton in the back seat of her car. Many years have passed since those early beginnings, but her work continues to be inspired by her children.

The author has a fascination with heroes and writes her fiction to honor ordinary men and women who react unselfishly in extraordinary circumstances. She extends her gratitude to all who keep us safe and free. /p>

Her hometown is outside of Boston. She lived for many years in New York City and more recently calls Connecticut her home.

Linda Merlino
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mind: The Beginning

Expert 2

The woman’s phone rang for the second time in ten minutes. Someone really wanted to talk to her. Considering it was five in the morning, he assumed it was one of the two men she’d been with at the visitor’s center. Liam had an inkling she needed to answer the next call.

“Going to have to wake her…” He crossed the motel room and shook Dina’s shoulder. She mumbled, rolled away, and stretched her legs down the bed. Come on, wake up.

I’m awake, get out of my head. “And stop staring at my ass.”

“Did that earlier when I put you to bed.”

“Oh, ha, you’re a funny alien.” She blinked, the expression on her face changing slowly as she moved to the edge of the bed and sat up. “This is all real; it’s not some psi ability.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“You…look human.”

“Frankly, so does the vast majority of intelligent evolved life out there. We’re all made up of the same bits and pieces of the universe. Those shows you humans entertain yourselves with are so far off base.” Liam smirked, thinking of all the fantastically bizarre creatures science-fiction had turned out over the years.

“We all look the same?”

“Not the same, similar. Various differences, skin tone, hair and eyes, appendage length, shape—”

“Powers? You were invisible, teleported, what else can you do?”

“A lot. Most humanoids have psionic traits in their genetics, only some develop depending on their planetary conditions and evolution. I come from one of the older, more advanced planets in the universe.”

“Okay, information overload, let’s take it down a notch.”

“We’re going to be interrupted shortly anyway.”

Dina’s phone rang. Her eyes expanded wide. “You’re a precog too?”

“No,” he replied with a chuckle. “Third phone call. That’s why I woke you. I figure it’s important.”


After Dina Ranger loses telepathic contact with her brother, she breaks into his apartment and stumbles onto a special government unit responsible for monitoring the psychic population. She’s offered a job where she can use her psionic gifts to help people.

Stranded on earth over a hundred years ago, Liam of Shria is searching for a metal needed to repair his ship when he finds Dina, a telepathic investigator, and narrowly saves her from an exploding alien pod. Together, they uncover a plot to rebuild an ancient weapon and discover the truth behind Dina’s abilities while unlocking dangerous secrets about the alien presence on earth.

Can they stop a powerful weapon meant to enslave the human race? Can their relationship survive the secrets of the past or will it tear them apart?

Author Bio:

Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.

Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.

MIND: The Beginning, Purchase Link:
Past Release: Romantic Suspense, Lucky’s Charm

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hazardous Unions

Bestselling western romance authors, Kat Flannery and Alison Bruce take you on an exciting journey with the release of HAZARDOUS UNIONS, Two Tales of a Civil War Christmas.
Twin sisters separated by war, bound by love…

After the death of their father, twin sisters Maggie and Matty Becker are forced to take positions with officers’ families at a nearby fort. When the southern states secede, the twins are separated, and they find themselves on opposite sides of America’s bloodiest war.

In the south, Maggie travels with the Hamiltons to Bellevue, a plantation in west Tennessee. When Major Hamilton is captured, it is up to Maggie to hold things together and deal with the Union cavalry troop that winters at Bellevue. Racism, politics and a matchmaking stepmother test Maggie’s resourcefulness as she fights for Bellevue, a wounded Confederate officer and the affections of the Union commander.

In the north, Matty discovers an incriminating letter in General Worthington’s office, and soon she is on the run. With no one to turn to for help, she drugs the wealthy Colonel Cole Black and marries him, in hopes of getting the letter to his father, the governor of Michigan. But Cole is not happy about being married, and Matty’s life becomes all about survival.

Two unforgettable stories of courage, strength and honor Title: HAZARDOUS UNIONS
Genre: Historical Romance
Authors: Alison Bruce ( & Kat Flannery (
Publisher: Imajin Books (
Purchase link: TBA
Maggie by Alison Bruce

Fall 1862.

The Yankees were coming.

We'd seen the signs days ago. News was, most of west Tennessee had fallen under Union control. Thaddeus scouted them out while hunting rabbits in the brush that bordered the plantation's cotton fields. We'd prepared as best we could as fast as we could, and now I was waiting for them on the front veranda of Bellevue.

"Why me?"

"Someone has to meet them, Miss Maggie," Mammy said, setting out tea things as if the neighbors were coming to call. "Mrs. Hamilton hasn't got your nerve and Miss Patience wouldn't be a lick of good even if she would come downstairs."

"I'm just a servant," I objected half-heartedly.

"Yeah, like Tad here is just a dumb nigger." Mammy cocked her head to one side and a moment later I heard the faint but shrill whistle of the kettle. She smoothed the skirt of her greying white pinny over her faded grey dress. Eventually, the two garments were going to match. "Watch out for her, boy," she said, before heading around the corner of the wraparound porch toward the kitchen door.

Only Mammy could get away with calling Thaddeus "boy" or "nigger" without coming under the resolute stare of a man who looked like he could have been carved out of a huge block of obsidian. Mammy was his aunt and had raised him, along with Major Hamilton, from nursery age. The boys had been more like brothers than master and slave, Mammy said, until Master Ned was sent off to West Point to be made an officer and a gentleman. It was hard for me to reconcile her picture of Master Ned with the aloof man who had employed me to take care of his wife.

I was barely sixteen when I was hired by the Captain, now Major Hamilton. Some days I felt that I was twice that age now, instead of just a couple of years older. Today, watching the Union contingent approach, I felt like that frightened girl again. I took small comfort in the pair of pistols hidden in the pockets of my crinoline. Knowing that Thaddeus was watching over me from the shadows, armed to the teeth, was more reassuring.

Matty by Kat Flannery

Fort Wayne, Michigan

December 1862

What had she done? Matty Becker was going to hell, and there'd be no one to save her. A loud snore echoed from the other room. She peeked around the corner and caught a glimpse of Colonel Black's stocking feet. She'd burn for sure. She glanced at the paper she held and groaned. She was a horrible, devious, scheming letch. Maggie wouldn't be pleased. Maggie wasn't here. Another snore blew into the kitchen and she placed her head onto the table banging her forehead twice. There was no turning back now.

Last night she'd pushed aside her conscience and let fear guide her. For her plan to work, she'd have to throw all sense to the dogs, not that she hadn't done so already by following through with the blasted thing. She couldn't fail now. If her family found out what she'd done they'd never forgive her. Worse yet, if Colonel Black found out she'd be locked behind bars, a fate far better than the one that got her in this mess to begin with.

She placed the paper on the table and went into the bedroom. Colonel Black lay on the bed with his clothes stripped off and tossed about the floor. He'd been out for nine hours and would wake any minute. Matty stood, pushed all thoughts of reason from her mind and removed her dress, corset and pantaloons. Her face heated and the room spun. He rolled over and she jumped into the bed next to him, pretending to sleep. She knew the moment he'd woken. The bed stilled and she couldn't breathe the air was so stiff.

"What the hell?" He sat up and she knew the instant he saw her. "Son of a bitch."

She felt his nudge once, twice and now a shove almost knocking her from the bed.

"Wake the hell up," he growled.

She squeezed her eyes closed and willed strength into her soul so she could face the dark Colonel. She rolled over pretending to wipe the sleep from her eyes.

"Who are you?" He placed his head in his hands. She'd bet he had one heck of a headache.

"Your wife," she said.

"The hell you are." He shot out of bed without grabbing the sheet, and she averted her eyes.

"Please cover yourself." She held up the sheet and he ripped it from her hand. "The marriage license is in the kitchen on the table if you do not believe me."

Author bios:

Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, suspense and historical romance novels.


Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in the novels she writes. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. When not researching for her next book, Kat can be found running her three sons to hockey and lacrosse. She’s been published in numerous periodicals. This is Kat’s third book and she is hard at work on her next.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Authorsday: Evi Routoula

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I wanted to be a writer ever since I started understanding myself. Since I was a child I remember myself writing different things, when I was traveling I was keeping a journal and I was writing down all the things that were impressive. I was also writing short stories, poems, thoughts.

2. What drew you to the subject of “London Tube seven stations seven stories”?

I am very fond of London underground, the mere fact that it is the oldest underground in the world has always fascinated me. I have always been thinking that so many things regarding London tube could affect the lives of different passengers, e.g. an accident, a closure of a line, a delay, a special event. That is how the idea of writing short fictional stories combined with historic events that had to do with London tube came to me.

3. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

Keep writing regardless of the obstacles, of your own fear and insecurity.

4. What was the worst? Did you know it at the time?

The worst advice I had was from a friend who told me: better remain a translator than becoming a writer. At the time I didn’t realize his intention, he wanted to discourage me and I foolishly follow his advice as I was deeply disappointed and actually discouraged.

5. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

Which is your favorite story and character and why. Of course I love all seven stories but I am very curious to find out which one is the most popular. A few friends I have asked they have chosen different stories.

6. If you have a day job, what is it?

I am a barrister.

7. What authors do you admire?

I admire many authors and I am sure that I will forget names but I am trying here to mention just a few of them. Jack London, Jack Kerouac, Charles Dickens, Isabelle Allende, Jennifer Lash, Jonathan Coe, Jeffrey Eugenides. Among Greeks I like Karagatsis, Costas Tahtsis, Costas Kyriazis, Maria Lambaridou Pothou. And of course Nikos Kazantzakis.

8. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?

New Zealand.

9. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?

I am very fond of Tudor times and especially Elizabethan era. I consider that it was English renaissance when many important events happened during that period.

10. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The research, the development of the characters, traveling through time.

Author Bio

I was born in Athens in 1968. Since childhood I had two major dreams: to become a lawyer and to be able to write. My first dream became true quite early. I studied Law at the university of Babes Bolyai Cluj – Napoca, in Romania. Since 1997 I have been working as a lawyer. As far as my second dream is concerned, I experimented a lot with writing. I translated two books from English into Greek, “Blood Ties” and “On Pilgrimage”; both book were written by the English authoress Jennifer Lash- Fiennes, both of them were published in Greece by “Kalendis” publications. The “London Tube, seven stations seven stories” is a book that combines two great loves of mine: the English history and the London underground.

Book Blurb

Seven different stations take part into seven different stories. Seven stations that play a significant role to the lives of different passengers. A trip from the beginning of London tube till nowadays.

Here are the buy buttons:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to Criticize a Writer

Peg Herring writes the award-winning Dead Detective Mysteries, the critically acclaimed Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries, and the suspenseful Loser Mysteries. She lives in northern Michigan with her husband of many years, but they will travel with the slightest provocation.

We’d rather you didn’t. Our books are like our children, and while we might make mistakes along the way, we’d rather you viewed them kindly. Like child-rearing, book-writing is hard work, and it’s tough to get everything right.

We all criticize books in some ways. We don’t buy them if we don’t like the genre, the cover, or the blurb on the back. We buy some, try them, and give up. Too slow, too violent, too mushy. After fifty pages, we know it isn’t for us.

Then there are books we actually read all the way through. Now we feel justified in giving an opinion. We saw what the author offered. We took it in. We formed an opinion.

If you like a book, let the author know. A woman told me last week, “I started The Lady Flirts with Death at 7:00 last evening.”

“That’s good,” I said.

With a smile she added, “I finished it at 2:00 this morning.”

Now, that’s good!

Let’s say you don’t like a book. There are many things to criticize, language, plot, character development, exposition, dialogue, and so on. You might temper your criticism, knowing people like different things. There are award-winning authors whose work I find unreadable: ridiculous plots, wandering exposition, info dumps to fill pages, and so on. Guess what? It doesn’t stop millions of people from buying their books. My opinion is just that: an opinion.

When people ask if I like these authors, I try to be diplomatic. I never say, “It’s a terrible book,” or “He couldn’t write his way out of a well-lighted room.”

A friend who reviews books always puts her criticisms in terms of personal preference. “If you don’t mind a plot that doesn’t stand up to close examination, this book is fun.”

What if there are mistakes in a book?

It happens. I estimate that between editors, beta readers, and others, at least 14 people read the text of my first book and missed one misspelling of sandal (not to mention the dozens of times I read it myself!)

So do you tell the author when you find a mistake? If the book has been on the market more than a month, you can assume someone already has. There are people who looooooove pointing out mistakes, real and imagined. I had a reader write to ask me why I named a Tudor character Charles, since the name “wasn’t in use in England at the time.” Hmmm, what about Charles Brandon, Henry the Eighth’s good buddy? Another reader questioned my use of the word dollar, claiming it wasn’t a Tudor word, but a search of the dictionary reveals that dollar was a slang term for a crown. Lesson: Make certain you’re right before you start sending messages.

If a mistake is real, the author needs to know. There might be later editions in which it can be fixed. If you must mention it, be polite and don’t imply the author is an idiot because she missed it. Yes, it might make you feel really smart, but remember, our books are our children. We know they have faults, but we resent it when you make a big fuss about how ugly they are.