Thursday, September 15, 2016

Review of "On The Corner of Heartache and Love" by Lisa Swinton

LAUNCH DAY!!! On the Corner of Heartache & Love is here!

Maren's stuck at the intersection of heartache and love, but happily ever after might be just around the corner.  

Author Lisa Swinton delivers another sassy, sweet romance that keep readers turning pages. On the Corner of Heartache and Love is a light, fun read with spunky characters and a plotline beset with wonder and woes. 

After three years of dating, Maren Summers is about to have her dream wedding to the man of her dreams, Kevin Bryant. In fact, all her dreams are about to come true in every facet of her life. That is until Kevin dumps her at the altar, runs off with someone Maren is very close to, ruins that relationship for her, and becomes her new boss. And she’s relinquished her apartment. What???

Now homeless, Maren moves in with best-friend and pastry protégé, Cassidy, whose apartment overlooks a park where a real homeless man loves. Or is he? 

Clean, handsome, and well-supplied, Zane Whitfield is on a mission to keep a promise to his lost love, even if it means spending a year outside on the spot where they met and where he hopes she’ll return.

Maren sees his tale of devotion as a great human interest story, and her ticket out of her newspaper’s now agonizing “Weddings” beat, away from her former fiancé’s control, and on to the job she’s really aiming for—“Features.” 

But along the way, Maren breaks the cardinal rule of journalism—don’t get involved with the story. The key to the story is helping the handsome Zane find his lost love, but Zane also appears to be the balm for her own broken heart. Career, or another chance at love? She can only have one.

To Maren’s ongoing dismay, her wedding beat takes her to some of the most “creative” weddings of the season, and Swinton places the reader right in these fun scenes, using descriptions and details that add depth and dazzle to the story. Her characters develop and grow and keep you cheering for their happiness. But there is tension around every corner.

Readers ache as Maren is repeatedly forced to witness Kevin’s bubbling joy with his new wife. But Swinton balances Maren’s agony and Zane’s pain with the solace they each feel in finding someone who understands. This compassion balances nicely against the zany wedding scenes.

On the Corner of Heartache and Love makes for a sweet afternoon dessert I highly recommend! This RONE award finalist may have another award-winner on her hands. 

Where can you get it?  Amazon 

SALE! All of Lisa Swinton’s previous books are on sale for $0.99! Such a deal! Amazon

About the Author:
Lisa Swinton caught the romance bug early by way of fairy tales and hasn’t been able to cure it since. Instead, she feeds her addiction with romance novels and films. In between being a doctor’s wife and mother of two, she occasionally puts her B.A. in Musical Theater to good use via community theater and church choir. In her elusive spare time, she enjoys researching her family tree and baking (especially with chocolate). She loves traveling, Jane Austen, and all things Italian. In her next life, she plans to be a professional organizer.
You can visit her at:

The Giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Special People Participating in the Media Tour! Go check out these amazing authors and readers!

Anna Del C. Dye     Blog
Danyelle Ferguson     Website
Kim Karras     Blog
Laurie Lewis     Website & Blog
Lindzee Armstrong     Facebook
Lisa Rector     Blog
Mindy Holt     Blog
Misty Pulsipher     Facebook

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Please Don't Hate the Anthem. Learn the Whole Story.

NFL players, and now youth are kneeling during the playing of The National Anthem. That's their right, and while I don't agree with it, I support their right to do it.

But now, there is hate speech about the anthem itself, with people saying that Francis Scott Key was racist, as is the anthem, and therefore "The Star-Spangled Banner" is not worthy of representing America. I think the real issue is that most of us don't know the whole story. I posted this response to an article I read supporting the claim of the anthem's racism. Here is a brief attempt to explain Key's words.

I am an author who spent eight years researching the Chesapeake conflict of the War of 1812, and I must respectfully disagree with this thread. You have to judge the song by the times in which it was written. It in many ways this song is what preserved the nation. 

The Chesapeake region had been under relentless attack. First it was economic blockades that crippled the economy, then the kidnapping of over 4000 Americans from boats and ships, impressing them into British naval service under threat of being hanged for treason if they resisted. 

Maryland cities like Havre De Grace and Leonardtown were bombed to oblivion. Key was on the battlefield when the British mowed through the troops at Bladensburg on the way to Washington City,  and then, the unthinkable happened. 

The Capital had been torched, the President's House, Capitol building, Library of Congress and most of the federal buildings burned. People weren't sure if the Constitution had survived. Even the President and other federal leaders had fled the city. Baltimore was next, and If she fell, the British would have cut us off north and south. Their next goal was to take the Mississippi which would have cut us off east and west. The nation would have been dissected.

Admiral Cockburn hated Baltimore because of her famed Clipper ships, and her strategic importance to the nation. She was the third largest port, and the largest port not occupied at the time, and he wanted that prize.

At that moment, if Baltimore fell, the nation would likely never be the same. Key knew that. He  also had family in the city, and while being held by the British, he heard Admiral Cockburn boast about the horror they would unleash upon Baltimore's citizens,  as they had done in Hampton. Virginia, where the British unleashed French prisoners upon the populace. Citizens were murdered and women were raped. These were the terrors that filled him that night of the bombardment.

When he saw the flag the next morning. he felt every possible emotion. Relief, gratitude, anger, patriotism. The icons of America had been burned in Washington, but a new symbol of America remained-- the Star-Spangled flag that gave proof that the city had held, and the the British had failed. Key's poem had been written under the most extreme duress, on the back on a piece of paper, as a conversation ensued during the agonizing hours of waiting passed. His poem was printed and circulated amongst the troops, rallying them,  raising a broken people from their knees, and giving them hope. That is why the anthem deserves to be honored. Because it gave a nation hope.

I have never heard that Key was racist. He struggled to choose the law over the clergy. he was the writer of hymns and a man who longed for a better world. But if you have proof of this claim, my only rebuttal is that we will find few men worthy of our admiration if we judge those of another era by today's understanding. We must measure men within the context of their own time, their own struggles, their own sensibilities, while celebrating the courageous visionaries who dared fight for something better.

So please don't hate the anthem. Learn the whole story. It is a beautiful story. it is every American's story.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Announcing "EVERYTHING TO LOSE," the Latest Volume in "The Destination Billionaires Romance Series"

Everything to Lose 

A fast-paced, sweet romance by bestselling authors Jennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole. 

When her father dies suddenly, Samantha Fairchild gets engaged to an uptight, controlling billionaire in order to save the family from financial ruin. Samantha accompanies her fiancé to Hawaii while he’s conducting a business deal. A chance encounter with a free-spirited surfer with dreamy eyes and a quick smile throws her into a tailspin. 
Caught between forbidden love and loyalty, Samantha has everything to lose. Will she choose money and security, or will her heart win out in the end? 

Everything to Lose is available for purchase now on Amazon at

My volume in the series debuts in March of 2017 under the pen name Addison Tayte, but I had a blast writing the introduction to this volume. Click the cover to read reviews and glimpse inside. 

The authors are hosting a rafflecopter giveaway for a 50$ Amazon gift card! 

To enter this giveaway, and receive exclusive preview chapters on upcoming books, 
offers on free books, and other fun reader perks, sign up for my newsletter here

Then use this link to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway here

Monday, August 29, 2016

Beautiful Books, $.99 or Free for a Limited Time

Discover New Stories, Different places, True Loves 

Lucinda Whitney is launching her new book, "One Small Chance, A Love Story From Portugal," which is personally exciting for a few reasons.

First, a large part of my ancestry is Portuguese! My mother's family arrived from the Azores through Hawaii, so finding out that Lucinda is Portuguese and that her novels are stories form that region was a great treat. We did some quick genealogical traces and so far, we can't connect our ancestors, but I'm still working on that!

Secondly, she put together a great eleven-author promo of romantic clean-reads, and I'm proud to have "The Dragons of Alsace Farm" involved. Two Portuguese women authors in one promo! Pretty cool!

So, follow this link to find eleven beautiful, romantic, clean reads you can enjoy and feel safe passing along to family and friends. These are books that will inspire you, take you new places, and introduce you to wonderful authors.

Please share with your friends!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Nook Review: "THE ZION TRAIL" by Marsha Ward

The Zion Trail, by award-winning author Marsha Ward, is a masterful story of early Mormon settlers' conversion and trek west. Her knowledge of the complex and painful early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormons) is evident. Historic characters and events are seamlessly incorporated with those she has created, giving readers accurate glimpses into the trials and triumphs of these western pioneers.

Ward writes with a golden quill, seemingly dipped in the very sweat, joys, and tears, of these settlers. The Zion Trail reads like a personal journal of her main character, Elijah (Lije) Marshall, whose life is forever changes when he takes a pair of tired Mormon missionaries home to dine with his family. Though his Christian parents readily accept the missionaries message and the Book of Mormon they are given, they are completely unprepared for the backlash they face when neighbors find out about their baptism and new faith.

As the persecution mounts, so does the cost to the Marshall family. Ward allows Lije’s spiritual growth to develop as gently and naturally as his social and physical maturity, and we feel his suffering over past mistakes, and his self-doubt as he is called on, again and again, to become a man in his youth.
The story Ward weaves of the trek west had me fully invested, but her introduction of a young widow and the wagon master’s edict, charging her care and that of her infant son to Lije, added additional tension and expectation to the book.

Ward’s experience in this genre shines through. She holds to the period and voice of her hero perfectly until you seriously forget that this is a work of fiction.

The Zion Trail is not just for Mormons, though they will love it. I highly recommend it to any reader who relishes a gritty pioneer story, or western saga. It’s a great read, with wonderful history and endearing characters, and a heartwarming romance that satisfies.

The Zion Trail is available here:

Monday, August 22, 2016

BOOK NOOK SPOTLIGHT: A Character Interview With Serena, heroine of "DRAGON'S CURE" by Kandi J. Wyatt

When the blog tour for "The Dragon's of Alsace Farm" was running, the most intriguing stop was a character interview author Kandi J. Wyatt arranged with Noah. It provided an intimate glimpse into my book's hero, and his relationships with the other characters in the book. 

I enjoyed that interview so much that I offered to return the favor, and Kandi arranged for her heroine, Serena, to answer a few questions in return. 

Kandi and I realized we each dealt with similar themes in our books, but for different audiences. "Dragon's Cure," is book 4 of the DRAGON COURAGE series of middle-grade fantasies. So unlike the interpersonal dragons in "The Dragons of Alsace Farm," there are real dragons in this book.

First, here's the blurb from "Dragon's Cure."

When Serena heads out on her own, escaping an abusive relationship, the last thing she expected was to hear voices...from a dragon.

Serena’s been hurt before, but not like this. He had gone too far this time, and she knew it. When she sets out on her own, she’s unsettled by the ominous noises that seem to follow her. Scratches and huffs that couldn’t have been made by any animal she had ever heard of. With wonder, she discovers that the noises are not the stuff of nightmares, but a baby dragon. And along with it, an intriguing dragon rider named Carryn. 

While Serena begins training as a dragon rider, she struggles to trust her trainer and her new friends, including her dragon. When her future is put in jeopardy by dark forces, Serena must fight her greatest enemy: herself. Can she fight through the past to form a true friendship and avoid being enslaved again, or will her distrust cause her to lose the security she so desperately longs for? Will bitterness be set aside and broken hearts be healed?

Follow the tale of friendship, courage, and hardships of Serena and Carryn in this powerful middle grade novel by Kandi J Wyatt.

Anyone’s world can seem alien at times, but your world really is. Please describe it for us, and tell us how life is there for a young woman.

            My world is no more alien than what yours would seem to me. I purchase my food at a street market. I usually go to the same vendors. Carvall is great because he’s so kind and gentle. He has great produce as well. His fruits and vegetables are so bright and juicy. I cook over a wood stove and have a hand pump for water. Cooking and cleaning up meals takes extra time because everything is made from scratch and I have to heat the water for washing dishes. The biggest difference between my world and yours are the animals. You see, I always was told as a child that dragons existed. I saw dragon riders in the marketplace, but I never thought of the creatures themselves until I met one. She changed my life.

My character, Tayte, sounds a lot like you, Serena. She tries to cope with the abusive neglect she faced in her childhood by controlling everything she can in her world. What elements of your world do you try to control, and how has having control helped you deal with your past?

            I can relate to Tayte. Controlling things is common among adult survivors of childhood abuse. I vowed to never be hurt again. The way I could do that was by taking control of my circumstances. I knew if I could make my own decisions of where to live and who to trust, I’d be just fine. It worked to begin with. I was able to gain confidence and forget about my father, but in the long run I failed miserably.

Someone you trusted lured you away from a safe situation into a trap. I can only imagine how betrayed you must have felt. How did you survive that betrayal, and what did you learn about yourself and your instincts from that situation?

            Fff, wow, you ask some hard questions. I fed my bitterness on thoughts of revenge. I figured if I could get even, then I would be able to survive anything. I’m not proud of myself. I would have killed Tyrell if I would have had the chance. I learned how tenacious I am. I harbored bitterness for at least four months. I lost track of time when I was enslaved by my mistress. Even then, when I had no memory of who I was, I still clung to Tyrell’s name and revenge. The other thing I learned was that I had friends I didn’t deserve. Carryn, Duskya, and Kyn stuck with me even when I was unbearable to be around. The thought of revenge consumed me to the point where I pushed all my friends aside.

Serena, what was the catalyst for change that turned your bitterness into peace?

            It really was a slow change. If I have to choose one thing that made me change, I couldn’t, but I could choose two. First off, my friend Carryn said something that began to chip away at my soul. She said she didn’t want bitterness to bind and control her. As I heard her words echo through my mind, I also heard my friend and healer Kyn tell me that my unforgiving heart bound me and enslaved me just as much as my mistress had. I realized that if I gave in to revenge, it controlled me. If I tried to block everyone away from me so I wouldn’t be hurt, then I hurt myself anyway. I couldn’t win. When I gave in to those thoughts, I finally came to peace.

What is the greatest form of bondage, Serena, and why? Enslavement of the body? The mind? The spirit?

            Oh, wow! You know how to get to the heart of the matter. I’ve been enslaved in all three of those ways. I was sold off as a slave to the highest bidder. I couldn’t do as I wanted but was forced to do the will of my mistress. If I rebelled, I was given a shock treatment that burned through my body to my mind. My memories were locked away in a cage where my heart fed the power to the lock, and my own lust for revenge enslaved my spirit. I don’t know which is worse. Hm, no I do. A friend that I made on the trail to the mines where we were sold to our different masters had her body enslaved but her mind and spirit were free. She focused on helping her son. Those slave runners could have killed her body, but her spirit was free. Even though I had been freed from my mistress, I was enslaved in my spirit. That was worse than having my body enslaved.

How did bitterness affect you?

            Bitterness consumed me. I was bitter toward all men for the abuse, physical and verbal, my father hurled at me and my mother every day of our lives. I chose to not trust anyone. Then when someone I eventually trusted betrayed me, bitterness consumed me.

Who did you hold more accountable for the hurt you suffered? The friend who betrayed you? The mistress who bought you? You, for leaving your safe place?

            Well, put that way, I should have blamed myself, but I was too stuck up to do that. I considered myself blameless. The mistress also was just that, my mistress. I didn’t know her personally. I hadn’t entrusted to her all of my secrets. No, I held my friend responsible. I blamed him for all my hurts. It sounds unreasonable, but sometimes we don’t think rationally when we’ve been hurt so deeply.

 My character Noah’s mistakes led him to believe he was unworthy of being loved. How did your mistakes change you? What have you learned about yourself through this trial?

            I used to think I wasn’t worthy of love. We learn these things from those who are close to us as children and how they treat us. We then begin to form habits at an early age to protect ourselves. I guess, I learned through this that I couldn’t stay in control. I didn’t want to be hurt and had thought by being in control I could keep from being hurt. However, I had done a horrible job of keeping myself from pain. I couldn’t keep on pushing people away. Their love began to work its way under my reserve. My dragon was the best one. She came after me even if no one else would have come. My trainer, Duskya, was kind no matter what I did. And then there’s Kyn, my healer and friend. He spoke to me openly about how my attitude changed once I received my memories back. He didn’t let my cold shoulder affect how he dealt with me. He stayed as a true friend. These things broke through the wall I had built from the time I was little. Once the wall broke, I became the person I was meant to be.

Author Kandi J Wyatt is a wife, mother of five, teacher, artist, and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories, and drawing with graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. Kandi also enjoys photography, thanks to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey as both his model and apprentice, and she occasionally serves as his assistant when he needs a “light stand with feet.” To learn more, visit

Currently books 1-3 are on sale for 99 cents on Kindle and Dragon's Cure is available for $1.99. All four books will soon return to $2.99 next Sunda

Where to find me:
Other websites:

Buy links:
Dragon's Future:
Short link:
Barnes & Noble:

Dragon's Heir:
Short link:
Barnes & Noble:

Dragon's Revenge:
Short link:
Barnes & Noble:

Dragon’s Cure:
Short link:
Barnes & Noble:

The One Who Sees Me:
Short link:
Barnes & Noble:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CROWING: Jennie Hansen's Review of "The Dragons of Alsace Farm" for Meridian Magazine

Forgive me for crowing. But this review made my week! Thank you, Jennie Hansen! 

Two adults with horrendous childhoods that have left deep scars are drawn together at Alsace Farm, a farm owned by an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s. Noah Carter was physically and emotionally abused by his father, then at eighteen eloped with a young Quaker girl who had second thoughts before morning. Upset, Noah crashes his vehicle and winds up in jail where he is beaten and molested by the other inmates. No one, not even the uncle he’d hero-worshipped all of his life comes to his rescue. For ten years he disappears into a world of substance abuse and bare existence living until the uncle, who is dying of cancer finally locates him. He returns to his uncle’s home where they make a shaky start to re-establishing their old relationship and the uncle encourages him to start a business of his own as a craftsman woodworker. He also pushes him into working for and repairing a nearby farm for an elderly widow who survived World War II as a child in France.
Tayte Donnelly is the child of two hippie artists who drifted around the country, mostly ignoring her, and caring more about drugs than for her. The happiest time of her childhood occurred when she was eight and her mother left her for two months with her grandmother. This idyllic time ended when her parents came for her and abruptly took her away, then informed her her grandmother was dead. Her own talent as an artist is beginning to garner recognition when she is notified, her parents have been killed in an accident, and her grandmother is alive, but has dementia and that as the woman’s only relative she has to see to some legal matters. Though the old woman doesn’t know who she is, Tayte decides to stay on the farm and care for her grandmother.
Agnes Devereaux Keller hides a secret in her attic. She has spent her life hiding from dragons, not living fire-breathing dragons, but powerful secrets, secrets concerning the Nazis, a daughter who ran away years ago, a man who betrayed her, her father, an old love, a spiteful, calculating woman, and so much more. If only she could remember which day it is and whether or not she fed the goats. She adores the young man who comes to help her, but wants nothing to do with the bossy young woman who cleans her house and throws away her anchors to reality.
This is a story of two injured people, picking up the fragments of their lives, and struggling to make sense of their pasts and build a much better future. It highlights the damage caused by poor, selfish parenting, and the difficulty of rising above past hurt, guilt, failures, misunderstanding, and oppression. It’s also a story of hope and determination.
Lewis has created outstanding characters who realistically portray the characteristics of the particular dragons each is fighting whether it is physical or emotional. Agnes’s dementia is very real as is the uncle’s cancer. So too, are the emotional flaws the two main characters carry from their years of physical or emotional abuse. The two young people learn a great deal about themselves and about love through the things they learn from Agnes. Love draws Agnes back from the terrible black abyss of dementia and love is the gift the uncle struggles to leave Noah, his wife, and his sons.
As four people struggle with the “dragons” in their lives, this multi-pronged story melds the plot line of each character’s story into an overall one of overcoming adversity, recognizing the worth of all individuals, and never giving up on the hope for love and belonging.
Laurie Lewis was born and raised in Maryland. She and her husband still live there where she enjoys the rich history of that region. They are the parents of four children. She has authored seven other novels, most dealing with patriotic or historical themes.
* * *
THE DRAGONS OF ALSACE FARM by Laurie Lewis, published by Willowsport Press, 356 pages, soft cover $13.53. Also available for e-Readers.