The Queen of Nothing-Review

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Words fail me to express how much I loved this whole series and this last book in particular. Amazing characters who were far from perfect, magical world building, great plot, a beautiful love story, so many surprises… I was not sure where the story was going at some point and it made me very nervous, but Black delivered. Highly recommend to young adults and fantasy-loving adults.

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How I Found Happiness Hiding Inside a Book

My life has been a rollercoaster for the past ten years. There has been much good, but the bad has kind of obliterated it, as much as I try to focus on the bright side of things.

I am going through a down-trend again right now. A family/health issue that rears its ugly head more often than I care for. There’s not much I can do about it so I won’t dwell on it. Amidst the chaos, however, I found two allies who never fail to make me happy even if for just an hour or so every day.


Meet Aiden Mercer and Naël Fouchard, the two main characters in my newest writing adventure, a MM urban fantasy romance I am currently writing. This story and these characters couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m not even sure why, but writing their story brings me happiness. They make me laugh, smile, and often swoon just a little as they take me out of my ugly reality into their zany world of magical beings, sarcastic comments, and badly repressed sexual tension.

After ten published romances I decided to set this one in my native country, Portugal. Actually it’s set right in my hometown, the stretch of coast just west of Lisbon. Setting this book in Portugal has brought an unexpected joy to my writing. I’m getting old, my mom–who still lives in Portugal–just turned eighty, I miss my sister, and part of me misses the country and the places I grew up in. By writing this story I have been revisiting all those places, some of them reimagined, others still faithful to my memories. This book will most likely become a series, which will give me further opportunities to “travel” in my home country and feel as if I’m really there. Right now, this story and these characters are the one thing saving me from going bonkers and for that I am so grateful.


Fiction has always been my go-to for happiness and nothing has changed. The only difference is that I now (and have for many years) also write it instead of only reading it. The bottom line is that fiction, as a reflection of human creativity and imagination, is as real for bookworms and writers like me as anything solid and concrete. Fiction is a hiding place, a shelter, a safe-place to go to when reality hurts too much or you just need a break.

What is your go-to when you’re sad or overwhelmed? When you need a break from real life? Do you take refuge in fiction like I do?


An Author’s Betrayal

It’s no secret I’ve always been a bookworm. I used to gulp down books like water. My library–even as a child–has always been large. Many of my books are now electronic but the library, virtual or not, just keeps growing. Authors have always been my friends. They’ve given me such joy, I often think of them as family even though nine times of ten I have never met them. I could never understand how some people treat writers as celebrities and keep tabs on all the dirt they manage to dig up on them. I prefer to think of them as ethereal beings, not quite fictional but not quite real either. I don’t want to know the dirt and the skeletons they keep in their closets–because let’s face it, they are humans like everyone else. I want to focus on their writing and the characters and worlds they create. So you can imagine how I feel when a writer betrays their own writing, their own creation.


I used to read a lot of fantasy and years ago I picked up a book in the store which would become one of my favorite fantasy series ever. I fell in love with the characters, the world she built, the story than unfolded. Maybe because the two main characters were gay, the author developed a specialized following. LGBT characters were not common at the time. These wonderfully three-dimensional characters develop a romantic relationship which was both sweet and realistic with ups and downs, doubts and moments of insane happiness. All while partnering in some seriously dangerous adventures. I fell in love with the characters, the way the author told their story, and the intricate world she created.

A few years later, maybe pressured by her publisher or the fans, she wrote and published an anthology of short stories about the characters. According to her, the fans had requested more details about the characters’ relationships, a sort of behind the scenes glimpse at their romantic lives. It seemed intriguing to this romantic fool, so I bought the book. To date, this was the only book I have ever thrown away. I was utterly disgusted by it. It was hard to believe these sordid, crude stories had been written by the same hand who had written such lovely prose before. Filthy language, terribly graphic sex scenes, well-loved heroic characters that were now being portrayed as bottom-of-the-barrel creatures concerned only with bodily pleasures. She effectively destroyed the beautiful images I had created in my mind of these wonderful, rich, multi-layered characters. I was mad! I felt betrayed. I felt the author had somehow betrayed her own characters.


When the last book in the series came out shortly after, I bought it but I couldn’t read it. I couldn’t erase the images her short stories had placed in my head and couldn’t face the characters I had once loved so fiercely. The book is still on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

We all have different levels of tolerance for different things. I stopped reading The Outlander series midway through the first book because of something Jamie did to his wife. I just couldn’t “face” him after that so I never finished the book and have no intentions of reading the rest of the series. What’s your threshold of tolerance? Have you ever been betrayed by a favorite author or favorite character? What would–in your opinion–make you stop reading a series you loved?

Author Interview with Natalina Reis

An interview I did a little while ago. Go visit this new blog 🙂

Site Title

Authors We Love

natr3Natalina Reis stops in for a visit on our porch this week to discuss writing, books and publishing. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

What inspires you to write?

Pretty much anything; music, something I witnessed at the coffee shop, something that happened at work, dreams, pictures, words…there is an infinite source for writing inspiration in the world around us.

Tell us about your writing process.

I’m a pantser who plans the bare minimum (and even that is often changed as I write). I just sit at the computer and let my brain and my fingers take me where they may. It sounds weird but it works most of the time. I seem to be very productive when I write at my favorite coffee shop. I think the noise around me, the human ebb and flow just stimulates my imagination.

Do you listen (or talk to) to…

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Branding Yourself- Or How To Endear Yourself To Readers

Branding Yourself

Or How To Endear Yourself To Readers

Branding does not–contrary to popular belief–include a hot iron, but sometimes it can feel kind of like that.

Tara Lain and Poppy Dennison made it sound so simple. I suppose for some writers it really is. Not for this writer who cannot figure out what exactly to pick as the one thing her readers will remember and recognize her for. You know, the thing that will make a reader one-click anything that carries her name.


In a previous blog I’ve mentioned shoes and I kid you not, there are a couple of romance writers out there that have done well with this thing. A writer I know added a really cute and catchy tagline as her brand and I can guarantee you people remember her–I know I do and not because we’re FB friends.

No one remembers me. Not only I have a name that no English speaking reader can pronounce (it’s pronounced like rice but you have to roll and emphasize the R, sort of like a cat purring) but I write across many sub-genres. I’m sure my books have something in common but I’m still not sure what that is. Not in a way that I can use it for my commercial benefit.

Newsletter (1)

The two speakers suggested a couple of exercises to help find your thing. One of them in particular resonated with me. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get anyone to help me with that. My friends are all too busy and my family either doesn’t read fiction or can’t read English. I hope you have better luck with this because I thinks it’s pure genius, lol.

  1. Have a couple friends read the reviews you have so far and jot down common words, feelings or reactions. For example I know that several of my reviewers say my stories are sweet and have twists and turns. If that seems to be a common thing across most of the reviews, that’s what you want to use to brand yourself. Lately I’ve began using the tagline of sweet and sexy when I speak of my books because they kind of fall between those two characteristics.

  2. Make a list of everything you identify with you and your writing. Then post it by your computer and look at it often. Eventually you will see a pattern of some kind that you can use as your brand. Easier said than done. My list include everything from coffee to humor but only a couple of things seem to be even remotely fit for branding. Thus my recent brush with the tagline “Romance with a touch of magic”. Catchy? No idea.

Before I leave you today I want to tell you what these great ladies shared about their own brand and how they pinpointed it. One of them said that her readers identify her with T-Rex arms–I know, right?– because one time she made a joke during a book signing or workshop about her short arms and, much to her surprise, it stuck. The other said that even though she writes M/M romance with a lot of hot sex, her readers kept referring to her stories as sweet. Even though she didn’t see it that way, she went with it and that became part of her brand.

Last but not least, foster those relationships with readers–yes, even if they haven’t read any of your books. Use social media to share and interact, go to signings and talk to people–yes, even if they don’t buy any of your books. Someone at work the other day told me she was so excited to meet a real author. She had never met anyone famous. I giggled–actually I metaphorically rolled on the floor laughing my heart out–since I am not even in the same galaxy of  any one famous, but thanked her and handed her my card. I may just have won a new reader.

If you have any tagline, motto or any kind of branding examples, share them here. I would love to hear from you guys.

Next week we will talk about new markets you may have never thought of. I know the publishers didn’t until very recently. See you then.

Magic Romance

The Next Best Thing or Color Me Hybrid

The Next Best Thing

(Color Me Hybrid)

Today we will tackle the vexing issue of hybridness (I know that’s not a word) in the writing profession.

When I think about hybrids several things come to mind: animals who were unfortunate enough to be part of some weird experiment reminiscent of Dr. Moreau’s Island, the ever-so-energy-efficient cars of today or–and I realize this is probably due to my second language issues–Hydra of Marvel fame.

I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to be anything like the poor Dr. Moreau’s hybrids and I’m not interested in looking like a car either.


With all of that said, one of the lessons learned at RT was that being a hybrid author is the place to be right now. Think of it as getting the best of both worlds or finding a balance in a profession where this is so hard to find.

Take me for example. I’ve been published traditionally for about a year and a half. In spite of having a very supportive publisher, who does a lot more for her authors than most, I still spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find ways to market myself and create an audience who is anxiously waiting for my next book. Because I’m not well known–but totally expect to be in the future–I don’t sell very much. My books sell at a very modest rate which means that by the time everybody gets their cut, I end up with peanuts. And I mean one or two peanuts, not a bag.


As a self-published author (which is in my future as well) I would at least be getting the full profit. If my book is selling for $3.99 I would get almost all of that back for each book I sold since I wouldn’t be sharing the profits with anyone but myself.

Like in everything else in life there is a reverse to this coin. As a traditionally published author I technically don’t have to spend any money of my own to get the book out into the world. The publisher supplies the art work, the formatting, etc… As a self-published author you have to dig deep into your pockets for all of these things. There is no way around it.


So why hybrid? It’s the middle point, the one thing that balances the scale, the best–and conversely the worst–of both worlds. I have a novel that I finished writing a while back and I just can’t get anyone to publish it because it will be hard to market.  But I have a special love for this one for many different reasons and none of them is vanity (okay maybe a little bit) and I want to see it published. So I’ve already lined up a cover artist (a real good one) and I will be editing, revising, and formatting it during the summer for a possible release at the end of the year or beginning of next. I will officially be a hybrid writer and will have benefited from two of the advantages of such label–being and not being in control at the same time.

By the same token, the audience/followers you gather with your publisher will help you sell your self-published books and the opposite holds true as well. It’s like having two engines instead of just one–more power for better results.

As to my Hydra reference it really has nothing to do with writing. Hydra Grant Ward (played by Brett Dalton) of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is so hot I wanted to reward you for reading my post by including him in this post 🙂  Enjoy.brettdalton


Gallowglass – Cover Reveal

✦ ✦ #CoverReveal✦ ✦
Gallowglass by Jennifer Allis Provost
Series: Gallowglass #1
Genre: #UrbanFantasy #ParanormalRomance
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Bellatrix Press

Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.
After Karina and her brother, Chris’s, lives fall apart in separate yet equally spectacular ways, they leave New York behind and head to the UK. Karina buries herself in research for her doctoral thesis, all the while studiously not thinking about the man who broke her heart, while Chris—who’d been a best-selling author before his ex-fiancée sued him for plagiarism—drinks his way across the British Isles.
In Scotland, they visit the grave of Robert Kirk, a seventeenth- century minister who was kidnapped by fairies. No one is more shocked than Karina when a handsome man with a Scottish brogue appears, claiming to be the Robert Kirk of legend. What’s more, he says he spent the last few hundred years as the Gallowglass, the Seelie Queen’s personal assassin. When they’re attacked by demons, Karina understands how dearly the queen wants him back.
As Karina and Robert grow closer, Chris’s attempts to drown his sorrows lead him to a pub, and a woman called Sorcha. Chris is instantly smitten with her, so much so he spends days with Sorcha and lies to his sister about his whereabouts. When Chris comes home covered in fey kisses, Karina realizes that the Seelie Queen isn’t just after Robert.
Can Karina outsmart the Seelie Queen, or is Robert doomed to forever be the Gallowglass?
Preorder here -

✦ Cover Designer ✦
Deranged Doctor Designs

✦ About the author ✦
Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog that thinks she’s a kangaroo, a parrot, a junkyard cat, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.


Tangled up in You is Free!

tangledfreeTitle: Tangled Up In You

Author: A.L. Vincent

Release Date: October 27, 2015

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Purchase links: Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US (eBook) –


Synopsis: Emily Breaux’s abusive, alcoholic husband keeps drinking away her dreams…

When he cleans out their bank account once too often, Emily packs her meager belongings and returns to her hometown of Bon Chance, Louisiana. Surrounded by the love and support of a group of old friends—collectively known as The Boonies—she’s determined to change her life and open her own catering company.

Contractor Noah Devereaux wants to help Emily rebuild more than just her family home…

Noah is an Iraq war veteran and fighting his own battle with PTSD, and he feels he has little to offer anyone. His nightmares and panic attacks leave him exhausted and on edge, yet he can’t help but find solace in Emily’s quiet presence.

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To Say Goodbye- New Release


Title: To Say Goodbye
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 24, 2016
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Cover Designer: Claire Smith
99c SALE
Feisty Sophia never shies away from life. Playful, romantic, connected—her marriage was the thing of fairy tales. But when tragedy strikes, Sophia is left to pick up the pieces of her life.After leaving the army, Jackson is ready to start afresh. But when he returns home, his life spirals out of control.

As Sophia and Jackson find themselves in each other, they start to see redemption is possible. Trying to piece together a new life, they must answer the question:  Should they forge a life together and say goodbye to their pasts completely, or should they loyally go their separate ways to avoid heartache?


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What’s Left of Me

What’s Left of Me by Jennifer Loring

Series: Book Two in the Firebird Trilogy

 “There is always one more secret…”

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Release Date: July 26, 2016

WhatsLeftofMe_jacket2Recovering from years of living the superstar hockey life wasn’t easy, but now Aleksandr Volynsky finally has everything…

He’s married to the love of his life, expecting a daughter, and has a new job as an assistant coach with his old team, the Buffalo Gladiators. His happiness is short lived, however, when a sexual assault allegation surfaces, and Alex is forced to cooperate with an investigation for a crime he didn’t commit.

Stephanie Hartwell is juggling her dream job with marriage and motherhood, but she’s not convinced she’s doing any of it well…

Stephanie’s stress level goes from bad to worse when she’s diagnosed with a serious illness. Battling declining health and the critics who question her commitment to Alex in light of the allegation, she makes a decision that could change their relationship forever.

Alex is afraid he’s about to lose everything—especially when he sees Stephanie’s friend kiss her…

Devastated that his life is spiraling out of control again, Alex turns to his friend, Natasha, a Russian pop star. Convinced that Stephanie and her friend Brandon are having an affair, Alex resumes his self-destructive behavior.

What Alex doesn’t know is Stephanie has been conducting a secret investigation of her own. She learns the truth behind the sexual assault—a truth no one, especially Alex, expects.

With everything now out in the open, can Stephanie and Alex commit to a fresh start for the sake of their daughter, or will the ghosts of their pasts finally tear apart everything they have left?

Buy now or read for free with Kindle Unlimited

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