You Read It Here First


I was introduced to Hollye Dexter through her work on Dancing at the Shame Prom (my review: I gathered the courage to start sharing my writings, and pursuing my own kind of healing, from that collection, and as a fellow editor I could appreciate how much Hollye and her co-editor, Amy Ferris, put into bringing us Dancing at the Shame Prom.

When I met with her (via email), I was not surprised to discover that she has a huge heart, and a passion for empowering others and standing up for those who can’t always stand up for themselves. Some people have a way of expressing experiences so that others feel they are not alone, and they can get a new perspective, a chance to catch their breath, on something that previously felt suffocating and inescapable. It is an honor to converse with her, and to introduce her to…

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Last year, around this time, I learned that authors are expected to do a lot of their own marketing. As a shy person, this went against the grain, but I discovered I could learn how to promote myself by finding other authors whom I was equally passionate about and sharing their works. By promoting them, I have come to learn what will be expected of me when my turn comes, and I get to organize a book blog tour for my fiction or poetry.

Among these books that I love as much as my own is Blackmoore.

Blackmoore Cover

My interview with the author, Julianne Donaldson, is published on You Read It Here First.

My reviews were published at:


[Reprint] Seattle PI.

[Reprint] The Compulsive Reader

The Romance Reviews.

(Ms. Donaldson’s debut novel Edenbrooke is also lovely, in the event people read Blackmoore and want more.)

If, in a paragraph, I had to summarize what I specifically love about Blackmoore enough to organize a mini-book blog tour*, I would say that Ms. Donaldson writes a romance that has everything I want in a love story, and she keeps it clean–no language, no violence, no bedroom scenes. The language is rich, the world alive in the regency era, and I connected with the characters in a deep way. I could see their choices, and I understood the pull of what we want versus what is dictated before we are born (not that I’ve had to deal with arranged marriages, or the trouble of inheriting what is due with conditions). My favorite stories, the ones that inspire me to write, are the ones that speak to me on an almost spiritual level, and that are so beautiful no matter what else is going on, I am swept away and, in my own way, happy. Even when I’m crying, it’s a communion of sorts and in understanding someone else, I understand something new about myself. I find friends I never knew I could have.

*For the purposes of clarity, the publisher’s publicist organized a 100-blog book tour, and I coordinated with her on this. I proposed where I would post my reviews and interview, and I organized my own portion, but the author had a seriously awesome book blog tour from her publisher already and I just joined the party.

You Read It Here First


A Conversation with C.S. Lakin

C.S. Lakin is a prolific author, blogger and advocate for writers, with her website Live Write Thrive ( which is aptly named), writing workshops and critiquing/editing services. As an author of fairy tales for adults, she combines Christian scripture with myth and fairy tale to evoke fascinating worlds.

It is a treat to experience her work, fiction or nonfiction, because of the heart behind her words. It was a pleasure to chat with her about her Gates of Heaven series, her upcoming workshop and how-to book –  Shoot Your Novel – and to get a broader perspective on writing and engaging with others in this digital, fast-paced age.

Interviewer: Joanna Celeste


Q: As an author of fairy tales for adults, you manage to employ recurring themes and rich textures without upsetting the balance between too much or too little description and the…

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The last couple weeks, I have had the following reviews published, and a lovely interview with Janet Edwards for You Read It Here First. (My book review for her sequel, Earth Star, was published on Blogcritics and reprinted on Seattle PI.)

I have a TV review for a British mystery drama series from the BBC (“Broadchurch”, published on Blogcritics. You can watch the episodes on Amazon Instant Video if you want to catch up. I only reviewed the first episode.)

I recently discovered Ava Miles, whose Dare Valley series is a lovely romance trilogy (with two upcoming novellas). My review for her debut novel, Nora Roberts Land was published on Blogcritics and reprinted by Seattle PI and Seattle News. (Her sequel, French Roast, is recently out. I published my review through Blogcritics and it was also reprinted by Seattle PI and Seattle News.)

YA/NA fantasy romance series “The Chronicles of Elantra” by Michelle Sagara marked its ninth novel (tenth book, counting its novella prequel) with
Cast in Sorrow. My review was published on Blogcritics and reprinted on Seattle PI. A second review for the book was published on The Romance Reviews

Romance novelist Nadine Christian released her first book (Quintal’s Return) in her series, “The Bounty’s Retreat”. My review was published on The Romance Reviews.

I met Patricia Fry over a decade ago, when I was green and just dipping my toe in the waters of Becoming a Real Writer. I had self-published my collection of poetry and stories (at Kinkos), I had been a Teen Reporter for our local paper and paid (I think $10 a column?) and I had half a dozen novels rampaging my brain, but I didn’t think I was a writer yet.

Ms. Fry gave me a new perspective on what that meant, and she offered some guidance on how I could promote myself better.

Last year, I took to heart her book Talk Up Your Book: How to Sell Your Book through Public Speaking, Interviews, Signings, Festivals, Conferences, and More, and, combined with other books I studied such as Media Magnetism: How to Attract the Favorable Publicity You Want and Deserve (edited by Christina Hamlett), I took on a whole new level of self-promotion and, moreover, taking charge of my literary life.

Now I’m phasing into a new range of my life (more on that soon) and it was a particular joy to interview Patricia as she also enters new fictional territory as a writer, with her book “Catnapped”.

Check out her interview on You Read It Here First.

Here are the books I have recently reviewed:

Flightless by Keri Neal, posted on The Romance Reviews.

Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, posted on The Romance Reviews.

Borderland Beauty by Samantha Holt, posted on The Romance Reviews.

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson, posted on The Romance Reviews.

(This was essentially published before by The Compulsive Reader; I adjusted a couple paragraphs to match this audience.) “FULL BLOODED by Amanda Carlson” (published online at The Romance Reviews).

Moonlight by Lisa Kessler, posted on The Romance Reviews.

The Greatest of Sins by Christine Merrill, posted on The Romance Reviews.

Two new reviews were published this week:

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan on The Romance Reviews: A British contemporary romance centered around the joys and magic of baking – and sharing – things from the heart.

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson on The Compulsive Reader: A paranormal romance about the only female werewolf in the world, who is about to discover her so-called destiny is a lot more complex than the myth which has shaped–and haunted–her life. (PS: This book is part of a series, not a trilogy, as I had originally understood. The review will be adjusted accordingly next week.)