[Book Review] Heart of Steele by Alysha Huddleston

HoSTitle: Heart of Steele
By: Alysha Huddleston
Publication date: April 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Description:

Magnus Steele grew up on the outside looking in. Now wealthy and powerful, he never lets anyone get in his way, even if he has to use blackmail to stop them. When he becomes the target of an FBI probe, Magnus fights back in his usual way, setting off a chain of events that threatens his hold on everything he thought he needed and leaves him fighting for the one thing he thought he could never have.

Autumn grew up the youngest of a boisterous Italian-American family on a vineyard in Santa Barbara. She follows her brother, FBI agent Matt Moretti, to NYC to attend law school & gets thrust into the middle of an investigation of one of the city’s most notorious businessmen.

*For mature readers due to explicit language & sexual content.


The Review:

Okay, there wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about this book. It was hot, and I mean hot.

The character Magnus Steele was probably rated among my top list of dreamy book boyfriends. Suave, coy, seductive, dangerous and surprisingly very gentle. His development in the book was beyond well done. It is rare that character shifts are written well in today’s society paranormal hot guys.

Autumn was his exact polar opposite. Innocent, shy, reserved, a real girl next door type. It was a fire meets ice situation and this author did deliver.

The story begins with Magnus being a real mob boss type who is out to protect his own backside against the law. When he met Autumn, he suddenly began to realize there was more than blackmail and manipulation in the world. I loved that about this book. As it progresses, the two share multiple intimate scenes which are beautifully written save for a few grammatical errors but believe me, that most likely won’t be a deterrent.

The above being said, there was an over abundance of run-on sentences. It was often hard for me to overlook simply because there were so many. Separating them into many smaller or compound sentences could have helped this issue.

I also had trouble because of the lack of conflict which was shoved towards the end of the book. The scene was well-done but it seemed very rushed and put in as an afterthought. I would have almost liked the conflictual tension mixed in with the sexual tension. I think it would have further aided in the development of the characters as well.

Strange as it seems, there was almost too much sex and the conflict suffered because of it. The opening scene provided the perfect venue and the fact that the character Murphy sided with Magnus’ rival could have really pulled some trouble for him.

However, I would recommend this to anyone who loves the bad boy, boss type meets innocent girl contemporary romance. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love a paperback copy if the author ever saw fit to create one. I will be returning for book two for sure.

 

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Find Heart of Steele on Goodreads

Buy Heart of Steele on Amazon

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[#NaNoProMo] Budget Social Media; Invest in Live Events

“It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” (ie an author’s laptop/PC/Desktop)


Okay, we all know the famous quote above. But I digress. Why I used it is because for some strange reason, we author types (especially us indie published types), have a tendency to avoid our fellow man. Why do I say that? Because until recently, I had the same tendency. We hide behind our laptops and delve into the world of social media, book promo sites, book blitzes and blog tours and still we hope to hit the best-selling list overnight.

Now, before you jump on the “But Blaise, what about so-and-so?” or “What about e-commerce?” band-wagon; let me elaborate because this is something I have heard coached to me by many business coaches in many different seminars. Social media is critical in growing an online presence but it should NOT be your only point of contact. 

If you don’t believe what I say is true, I can go further. As an indie game concept artist, I had the privilege of speaking to a character designer for Marvel, yes that Marvel. In the skype call he told me two things:

 1) Always keep your social media updated frequently

2) Start attending conventions

 To go on, an author I love and is possibly the greatest influence on my own journey, you’ve heard me mention her before, Kristen Martin says that attending book related events is a great way to build your author platform because you are putting yourself face to face with potential readers, other authors and publishers to learn from them.

Those are not your exact words, I know, Kristen.


Without further ado, here are five reasons why I think that events are crucial to building your platform.

  1. Gives your readers a face: How many of us get a thrill from meeting our inspirations face to face? To get to actually talk to them about their accomplishments or ask them their advice or comment on their books. How many of us like to get our books signed in person and shake their hands? I know for me, that is an amazing feeling because it reminds me that the goals I’ve set are possible because so many times they tell me that they felt the same and went through the same trials and doubts. Your readers will be the same. They want to meet you, talk to you, get their books signed personally and learn from you.
  2. Chance to meet some mentors: Not only can you meet your heroes, but you can network with authors that want to mentor and read your work. They are willing or can point you towards potential referrals or possibly network you with the company (if they’re traditionally published) that they published with. Do not be naggy or begging about it but it is a possibility. You can ask editors questions and learn what they look for so you can edit your next manuscript or receive discounts on their services. The possibilities are endless.
  3. Huge Network Opportunity: Guys, you’ve heard so many say it, I know you have. Networking is crucial for book sales and marketing. I have learned this through so many authors and business webinars that it is not even funny. Conventions and book festivals are an amazing way to meet new authors, potential returning clients and contacts for your books and blogs. Yes, social media is great for turn-around and growing email lists but how hard are you working when you could spend the money you spend on Facebook ads to go out to the convention or festival and manually do what Facebook pays people to do. For example, my last ad campaign for Blessing of Luna reached over 300 people. Sounds great, right? I thought that too until almost all of those reached were paid to click and address ads. Talk about a let most-of-the-important-things-in-the-world-accomplished-by-people-who-kept-trying-when-there-seemed-no-hope-inspirational-quote-julie-flygare-narcolepsy-spokesperson-author-speakerdown. Budget the post boosting and splurge on the cons and festivals.
  4. Inspiration time: You want to talk about a plethora of inspiration? Events like cons and festivals are always full of groups of people who don’t know each other from Adam or Eve but get together and talk about common hobbies, strategies that worked for them or guys, can we say book swaps? Guest blog post opportunities? Maybe even a blog tour? Book blitzes? And these folks might be willing to do it if you do it for them. Why would you not want to meet and greet these folks? Book ideas abound, collab opportunities. Everything you read about in self-publishing blogs for marketing is just 100$ away or you can sometimes get early bird specials if you sign up early.
  5. Scouting opportunities: Guys, this is a big one. Huge. Almost every convention you go to, there are scouting opportunities. Publishing companies, editors, freelancers, etc are all there. They are looking. You actually get to talk to them instead of waiting five months for an email. Some of them will even look at your proposal on the floor if they’re open to it. Again, don’t be pushy, they’re busy and have so many folks wanting to get looked at. I can say this because I’ve seen them in person at conventions like A-kon. They are there but you aren’t going to meet them behind your laptop.

***For #NaNoProMo, I want to add some great ways I’ve found to offline market that have worked for me personally!***

  1. Book store appearances – Seek out your local bookstores or those in closeAdvertFlier proximity and call them to see if they will allow you to sign and sell your books in their stores. You would be amazed how excited so many of them are. Plus, you have gotten into the system. They’ll most likely ask you to return again for subsequent titles.
  2. Conventions – These are not just for science fiction, cosplayers, etc. I sold out of my book and had to switch to invoicing. Many interviews I got were from attending a convention. You meet other authors and build life long friendships.
  3. Book Festivals – You may or may not sell in a room full of other authors but hey, it’s a great thing to look at. You get to meet and network and get your book out there and do some book and review swaps.
  4. Libraries – Donate to libraries! Again this is a great networking opportunity and they want authors to come in and talk and read!
  5. Pass out ARCs – Free titles may seem like it hurts like heck but ARCs are a great review opportunity and who says no to free books?
  6. Ask for reviews – This was the hardest one. I was so nervous about sounding like I was begging but you would truly be amazed how many of them are willing to offer Businesscardtheir feedback and reviews. You never know if you don’t ask.
  7. Pass out business cards – Always have a PROFESSIONAL* business card! You can pass them out to so many people! Many are more than happy to take them and even ask if they can take them. Be sure to include Amazon and website links!
  8. Book swag – Book marks are a great tool to get your book’s cover out there and heck you can offer them for free. Many people are more than willing to take them and often couple your book with them!
  9. Make Fliers – You have to be willing to hoof it. Take the days you have off, open word and use a template to make your fliers. Starbucks is amazing with their community calendars and they’re everywhere!!! Grab a coffee, post your flier and head on to the next location. If you have an event at a bookstore, ask the manager if they provide fliers. If not, ask them if they’d be willing to use yours!
  10. Name Drop your book/ Tell them you’re an author! – Guys, I know this sounds strange but I kid you not. Blessing of Luna has been sold at restaurants, grocery stores, and even at the end of an event. I just approached someone in the romance isle and starting talking! Always have a book! You would be amazed what can happen!

* What I mean by professional is always have a .com, .net, etc. It has an air of professionalism and ongoing pursuit. Invest the money. Many domains like Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, WordPress, etc have their own hosts.

So, I hope this has helped you. This knowledge was gleaned from trial and error, seeking mentorships and just asking managers and professional marketers. The cruel and harsh truth is, our market is saturated but it doesn’t mean we have to fight each other. There are readers who want to read our work, heck, maybe both of our books if we work with a partner to promote our books. Social Media is a black hole that is necessary for an online presence but at the same time, offline marketing gets you out there! Try for yourself!

[Book Blitz Open for Sign Ups] Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay

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This is my stop during the book blitz for Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 11 till 17 June. See the tour schedule here.

Blessing of LunaBlessing of Luna (Wolf Gods #1)
By Blaise Ramsay
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: April 20, 2018

Blurb:
Damien Pierce wasn’t like normal people. Since he was young, he learned that he had the uncanny ability to heal himself almost immediately. At fifteen he astounded the small town of Big Timber, Montana when an SUV hit him only to find he survived the encounter without suffering any major injuries.

After moving away for ten years, losing his mother and slipping into a deep sense of depression, Damien’s father moves them back home in an attempt to give Damien a sense of normalcy.

Enter Jillian Styles, the immortal, beautiful lycan that has been looking for the soul of her long, lost lover who after many years of being reborn into new bodies, his soul simply vanishes into the tides of time. When Jill first sees Damien, she knows immediately he is the one she had been looking for.

When an old enemy begins re-igniting the flames of a centuries old war, Damien must come to grips with a cruel fact that he is not human while nurturing feelings for the beautiful woman who captured his affection.

Now Damien must delve deeper into the world of the supernatural with the help of the mysterious Alexander Kain and Jillian. He’s about to learn, the secret sleeping within him is much more than he ever could have imagined.

You can find Blessing of Luna on Goodreads

You can buy Blessing of Luna here:
Amazon e-copy
Amazon Paperback
Blessing of Luna is available to read with Kindle Unlimited. A portion of the proceeds of each book sold will go to a charity.

The first five chapters are available to read for free are on Wattpad.

Blaise RamsayAbout the Author:
FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay worked over fifteen years in the graphic design industry, with some experience in indie gaming. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature with her debut paranormal romance series, Wolf gods. The debut title, Blessing of Luna is set to release in 2018. She currently lives in North Texas with her two children, her husband and pets. A UTD graduate with a Bachelor’s in History with an intention on teaching, Blaise decided that the world of teaching just wasn’t for her. A stay at home mother of two, business owner and self-publisher, Blaise loves to meet new people and encourage others to follow their dreams through weekly posts to her Instagram, twitter, Facebook and blog.

You can find and contact Blaise Ramsay here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Blessing of Luna. One winner will win both an e-copy and paperback copy of Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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[Open Book Blitzes] Blessing of Luna

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Letting you all know about the open upcoming blitz opportunities for Blessing of Luna! There is one being held by Lola’s Blog Tours and Xpresso Book Tours!

If you would like to sign up to host the blitz, please head to the links above!

Giveaways are included in both events!

I am also still seeking folks who are willing to review the book! I can offer ePub, Mobi, Pdf, and physical copy (if necessary)! Reviews for Goodreads, Amazon, email or a mix are more than welcome! All reviews are posted on our website! Anonymity is more than okay. We can blur out your full name!

Blessing of Luna banner

A portion of every single book sold in any format will go to The Wounded Warrior Project and Carry The Load! As you may know or learn after reading, the main character suffers from PTSD. So many of our soldiers including my own husband has to cope with this debilitating problem. It is something serious that needs to be taken as such. If you believe the same, help us bring awareness! 

 

[Book Review] Tattoo by Michelle Rene

525de6_15ce3041c29d4b6888f3a0f52ccd8b27_mv2Tattoo

 By: Michelle Rene
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Age category: New adult
Release Date: January 3, 2018
Blurb:
A mysterious young woman appears in a cynical age. Why is she here … and will she survive long enough to achieve her purpose?
 
Judgment Day was not as advertised. Instead of fire and wrath, our histories suddenly began to appear as tattoos on our skin.
 
No one could hide their past deeds anymore, unless they visited an illegal tattoo artist, who could replace their sins with unmarked skin. Years later, a young woman appears, entirely unmarked. No one knows what her appearance means, but a small band of people find themselves drawn to her, ready to set off on a quest whose purpose is as unknown as the young woman’s past.

The Review:

Where to begin? Honestly, I have no clue. I have never read a book like this. It is truly one of a kind. The story begins with a truly spectacular mechanic that automatically caught my attention because I love when higher powers get involved with human affairs.
The writing of this novel was nothing short of poetic. I adore how it was organized. I honestly felt like I was watching the movie, Crash. The author takes multiple points of view and converge them onto the single subject of the novel itself. It doesn’t follow the typical heroes journey which has become expected in today’s literature.
The main character Jane had very little interaction that allowed for much character building BUT in the end, very little is known about her to begin with. I like this about this character. It’s something completely new to me. She has the uncanny ability to take people from completely different aspects of life and bind them together in a unified purpose.
Amazing! Different stories from different points of a view all thrown together by a single inciting incident! But it’s not the typical, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter formula!
There wasn’t much world-building which is something that usually bothers me but in dystopian novels it tends to be less of an issue. Especially for this book where everyone’s life stories are literally pasted on their skin. The justice system simply has to read what a person has done instead.
Something I found truly astonishing was how the whole story occurs following Judgement Day. Something often eluded to in things such as zombie apocalypse, plague, Mad Max style as something truly terrifying. Don’t get me wrong. Having my sins plastered on my skin for all to see would be a fate worse than death. This is what I really liked about this adaptation. The punishment wasn’t something so devastating. Rather it was something simple. It was simply the removal of someone’s privacy.
It was also really hard to sit down and find the usual errors. Ms. Rene takes great care to make her writing great. Critique for this book, other than the cliffhanger at the end was really difficult to find. It’s not something I see too often.
If I truly were to sit down and rate this novella, it would hands-down get 4 stars. It’s unique, yet simple and uses a writing style so rare in today’s literature.
four-stars
If you are a fan of dystopian fiction or the amazing movie, “Crash”. You will love Tattoo. I am awaiting the sequel with great anticipation.
You can find Tattoo on Goodreads, Amazon, or the author’s website.

About the Author:

Michelle Rene is a creative advocate and the author of a number of published works of science fiction, historical fiction, humor and everything in between.5b36776dbae59363b84a248cd074b2a5

She has won indie awards for her historical fiction novel, I Once Knew Vincent. Her latest historical novel, Hour Glass, released February 20th to rave reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.  Her experimental novella, Tattoo, releases March 7th, and not only does it have a starred review in Publishers Weekly but will be listed in Foreword Reviews top eight sci-fi/fantasy books this spring.

When not writing, she is a professional artist and all around odd person. She lives as the only female, writing in her little closet, with her husband, son, and ungrateful cat in Dallas, Texas.

Find Michelle on her social media:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Website

 

[Book Tour] Startoucher by C.J Odle

Sci fi / Fantasy
Date Published: February 17, 2018
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Humanity is put on trial by the aliens who seeded life on Earth.
 After 3.8 billion years, the alien creators of life on Earth return to evaluate the results of their experiment. One species is found to be an extreme danger to itself and others – Humanity. Evidence for the continuation of the species hangs by a thread.
 
Jake Connolly, talented up and coming LA lawyer, has a hidden psychic side long suppressed. When a series of intense visionary experiences threaten to derail his life, he is dragged unwillingly towards mysterious events deep in the Mojave Desert. What he discovers there changes him forever, and will affect the lives of everyone on the planet.
 
As the world watches its destiny unfold, humanity is forced to fight for its survival in a Galactic court and justify its existence to far superior beings.
 
An innovative, intelligent, and mystical novel that asks the biggest questions of all.
 
Where are we from…where are we going…how much have we truly evolved?…

Guest Post 

Why I live and write in the Peruvian Amazon

A lot of people wonder why I live in the jungle. Truth be told, I had no choice but to follow a path that led me here around fourteen years ago. In the early 2000’s, I had a series of increasingly vivid and unsettling dreams and visions. I’d always been psychic, and for many years previously had worked as an astrologer and tarot card reader, but these new visions were much stronger and compelled me to research what this ongoing process might signify.

I soon discovered that these experiences were typical of what would be considered a shamanic calling, a message from the spirits and spiritual world to follow a new path as a healer. For nearly four years I resisted, until it became unbearable, and in desperation I booked a trip to Peru to work with Amazonian Shamans. Thus begin a six year apprenticeship, where I initially split my time between the U.K. and Peru, and then in late 2008, moved with my wife to actually live in the jungle more or less full time.

For the last few years we have been building a small healing and conservation center, and somehow I managed to find the time to write Startoucher whilst the final building work was being completed. Writing it would seem, is something that you feel compelled to do, irrespective of whatever else is going on in your life.

On the piece of land where we live, are small monkeys, a large variety of birds, including owls, hawks and small eagles, amazing butterflies, large jungle rodents, and a huge number of insects, some of which do like to bite! The high jungle is basically a mountain covered in green, and so dense with trees. Destiny led my wife and I to be here, and this inspiring nature is the backdrop to ideas that surface for writing.

There is no mains electricity, internet or phone signal at our center, and so the initial notes and scene by scene treatment for Startoucher was written in long hand. We have a small office in town, and later drafts of the book were written on a computer there. After the often intense process of sitting in front of a screen for many hours trying to squeeze words out, it’s always a blessing to drive back to the jungle, and to be welcomed by the trees and fresh air.

Although living as a writer in the amazon has its challenges, it’s always an adventure!


About the Author

C.J. Odle is an author and ayahuascero (works with medicinal plants) living in a small conservation and healing center in the Peruvian amazon.

Born in 1961, from an early age he developed an interest in science fiction and fantasy. Around the age of 17 he began to study divination, which led to a career of over 35 years working as an astrologer and psychic. He has written four previous books, all non-fiction and mind body spirit titles.
In his early forties he experienced a psychic crisis, which led him to Peru to complete a 6 year apprenticeship in Amazonian shamanism. He still lives in the jungle in Peru with his wife. Startoucher is his first novel.

Contact Links

Website

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon

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Excerpt:

Jake lay unconscious, his naked form stretched out on a bed of crystals extruding from the floor. They pulsed green and yellow, switching to a rainbow of different colors as they reached the head. The being known as Sirius read them as expertly as a doctor from Earth might have read a medical file. The creature’s impenetrable dark eyes swept over Jake as it analyzed and extrapolated. Yes, this one would be suitable. But then, Sirius had known that since the moment they’d acquired the human in the desert. Vega had agreed, but its assertion did not seem to be based on data. Very few of its assertions seemed to be, these days.

The operating room had none of the severe geometry of the world outside. An operating room there would have been a place of chrome and antiseptic white, square edges and sharpness. Even the scents would have been sharp and sterile, the smell of anesthetic and alcohol wipes.

Here, there were no straight lines, no harsh colors. Shapes and surfaces flowed into one another as if grown, and perhaps they were. A bright, pristine, and open space, light emanated softly from the walls, with a subtle tinge of orange yellow reflecting the ambiance of the nearest star. Equipment extended from the ceiling, mechanical arms and laser tools for delicate work. Glistening crystal and delicate glass, intricate metalwork and lines that seemed as much for decoration as to carry power.

It was a place of beauty, just as much as one of function. Those who created it had not seen the need for a distinction between such concepts.

Sirius stood over the recumbent body and decided it was time to begin. The alien touched one of the large crystals supporting Jake’s head, and waves of yellow light began to pulse into his brain. Sirius watched for signs of consciousness, and when the eyelids flickered open, it stepped back. For the procedure to be successful, it was necessary for the human to be conscious, but Sirius knew it would be immobile and feel no pain.


 

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