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Guest Post with Rachael Wade and chance to win a Kindle and Barnes and Noble Gift Cards!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Camille Hart, a local St. Martinville resident and LSU literature student recently sat down with Audrey, a Cafe Des Amis volunteer chef and Seattle culinary arts student, to talk to her about the dishes being served at Gavin Devereaux’s charity album release party. The interview will be featured in the culinary arts section of the upcoming issue of LSU’s publication, The Daily Reveille. The following are her observations and her account.

Audrey’s my best friend, so this interview will be a breeze—if she’ll cooperate, that is. She’s a bit snarky and a bit of a control freak. If I can manage to get a few good answers out of her without her distracting me, it’ll be a miracle. She arrives at my place at 10AM sharp and immediately starts rummaging through my closet to find me something to wear to the release party. I sit on the bed with my tape recorder, trying like hell to get her to focus.

Aud, I only have a few questions and then I’m all yours. Can we please sit and have a normal interview—you know, a real adult conversation? Just 10 minutes, please?

Cam, just because you’re wearing your journalist hat for this school newspaper project doesn’t mean you get to be all bossy (rolls eyes, pulls two dresses from their hangers). First let me find you something suitable to wear to this party. You can’t show up in your Converse and jeans to this thing. This Gavin guy has a thing for you and we need to make sure he can’t take his eyes off of you.

Audrey. You know how I feel about calling attention to myself. I’m not showing up looking all Vanna White. Now just sit down and answer my damn questions!

I’ll rummage, you question. Shoot. (keeps her back to me, starts sifting through my shoes)

Fine. But I’m not trying on that massive pile of dresses you’re accumulating over there. Give me two or three to try and that’s it. Okay. So, tell me what made you want to volunteer at Cafe Des Amis. Are you familiar with their cuisine?

You’re trying on the whole pile and I don’t want to hear another word about it. This one will make your legs go for miles (shoves a strapless black mini-dress on my lap). Um...oh, right. Cafe Des Amis. Yes, I am familiar with their cuisine, although a lot of their dishes are very eclectic and unique to the Lafayette area, so they’re new to me. I’m looking forward to learning and trying some of their recipes. I wanted to volunteer the minute I heard that they needed additional hands to help with Gavin’s charity benefit. I love what his band is doing for the Duval Foundation. It’s so admirable.

Not to mention you’re trying to play matchmaker...

Camille Hart, I resent your paranoid assumptions (turns and smiles at me innocently, winks). But for the record, I won’t need to match-make anything. If you walk in that joint wearing that dress, he’ll come to you all on his own, trust me. Now stay on topic. I thought we were keeping this strictly business (sticks tongue out at me).

Anyway, tell me about the dishes you will be serving. What is your personal favorite and what can guests expect?

Well, we’re serving all kinds of Cajun Creole appetizers, but one of my favorite entrees—which I think guests will really like—is the Shrimp and Tasso Pasta. It’s a tender linguini pasta that’s served in a mouthwatering Creole mustard cream sauce with some of the best shrimp and tasso you’ve ever tasted. Oh! And the baked duck with pepper jelly and cane syrup glaze is absolutely delicious, too.

Oh, I love shrimp so I’m sure I’ll like the pasta. And what about dessert?

Gateau Sirop, or syrup cake, and bread pudding with rum sauce, I believe. Gateau Sirop is a favorite around here, and the Cafe Des Amis regulars apparently love it. Oh my...Camille Elizabeth Hart! You must wear a pair of peep-toe pumps with that black dress and you don’t have any. These just won’t do (tosses a pair of old plum-colored pumps into my closet and grabs my hand). Come on, we have to go buy you some right now. Bring your recorder thingy and we’ll finish the interview in the car.

What—Audrey, no! I do not need a pair of peep-toe whatevers. What I have in my closet will work just fine, thank you.

So help me, Cam, if you don’t get in the car with me right now, I’ll stuff you in the trunk myself and then lock you in that shoe store with me until you buy a proper pair of damn heels. When Gavin sees you tomorrow night, you’ll thank me (yanks me up off the bed and toward the front door). Now vĂ¡monos, woman!

Who’s the bossy one now?


Gave in to Audrey’s demands after a few more rounds of verbal smack down. I lost every one of them. Now I’m on my way to the shoe store and will resume the interview later. At least I managed to get her to share some details about the menu. Will have to pay her back for being so difficult. Perhaps I’ll set her up with Gavin’s friend, Gabe, for the party. I’ll spring it on her at the very last minute, right before we arrive. Yes...payback will be sweet.

Amaranth, Book One of The Resistance Trilogy is available now in e-book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Available in print Sept. 30th. Stop by the on-line launch party on Sept. 30th at 7PM to meet the author, enter to win a Kindle, Barnes and Noble gift cards, and free print copies (US and International). See you there!

You can also read Camille’s interview with Gavin on September 30th here: Seeing Night Reviews, and her interview with Joel here: Book Passion for Life. Visit Rachael on: Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook.

Ding Dong The Diva's Dead by Cat Melodia

Deborah de Lille is an opera singer-in the least grand sense. Debbie doesn't foresee a future beyond Handel Messiahs and low-budget tours ... until her agent finagles her a minor role with a small-town company. The artists assembled for this production of Offenbach's spooky opera, Tales of Hoffmann, have more than opera on their minds. Their games of love are not for the faint of heart, and the cutthroat atmosphere may have become literal. How far are they willing to go to advance their careers and even the score? The singer Debbie replaced died under suspicious circumstances, and after another minor player bows out suddenly, she is also given her role. Now she has two small roles that no one in their right mind would kill for. So, either someone isn't in their right mind, or the close calls threatening Debbie's safety are all unlucky coincidences. Add to the mix three preening tenors, a sexy lesbian director, a vengeful conductor, an obscenely rich and Hollywood-handsome general director, a fading Italian pop star, a trio of bitchy leading sopranos, an ambitious understudy, countless attention-starved underlings, an anti-opera terrorist group, a resident ghost, and Debbie's kooky and dysfunctional friends and family, and you have an opening night that promises to genuinely thrill and chill.

Goodreads Summary

Debbie is the main character of this novel, she finds herself in an opera house where things are not as they seem and everything is a little  There is a lot going on in this novel, the reader will not be bored.  The main character was funny, somewhat dramatic, and a little bit insane herself.  The reader will connect with her easily, she is very likable.

The secondary characters pull the novel together.  Some are hysterical, others are slightly creepy, and still others will make the reader think twice.  They each have individual characteristic quirks that make them stand out to the reader.  They are hard to forget.

The plot was different and interesting, the reader will likely not be able to compare this novel too closely to one he/she has read in the past.  The events are fast-paced, many are very exciting and dramatic.  This book is recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

Guest Post and Giveaway With Linda Yellin!

Thursday, September 29, 2011
It’s one week from the official publication date of my memoir and in case anyone’s wondering what’s keeping me up at night – no, it’s not wild anticipation. (The process for this publication business takes waaaay too long for anyone to maintain wild anticipation. If there’s someone out there who can stay wildly anticipant for over a year, I’d like to shake your hand.)

What’s keeping me up at night is fear. So I will now share some of the book reviews I hope I never see. And after that, I will take a good long nap, because frankly, I’m exhausted.

Here goes:

“A memoir you’ll want to forget.”

“Insomniacs rejoice!”

“The real reason Borders is closing.”

“Not meant for human consumption.”

“I’d rather read the phone book.”

“Trees died to print this?”

“This book made me cry. Unfortunately, it’s meant to be funny.”

“I’d rather read the health care bill.”

“If Mr. Simon and Mr. Schuster were alive today – they’d wish they were dead.”

If anyone does happen to stumble across any of these reviews, please – keep ‘em to yourself. Hopefully, I’ll still be napping. my review can be found here!  This is one book worth reading! 

Where can you find this awesome book?

Giveaway: Please leave a comment with your name and email.  You can earn one extra entry by being a GFC follower-just mention it in the same comment.  USA only please!  Thank you for stopping by!

Linda is from Chicago and now lives in New York, NY.  Two upcoming Chicago events:

Thursday, October 20, 7:00 pm
Bookstall at Chestnut Court
811 Elm St.
Winnetka, IL

Friday, October 21, 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble
297 Oakbrook Center
Oak Park, IL  60523

“THE LAST BLIND DATE is a candid and charmingly funny account of love and step-parenting.   Linda Yellin’s sympathy, wit, and nerve make her determined forging of a family a success, and this book about it completely winning.”
—Hilma Wolitzer, best-selling author of Hearts,
The    Doctor’s Daughter and Summer Reading

“Filled with lots of girl-talk, this memoir will appeal to readers who can’t get enough of the beginning, middle and sweet endings of love stories.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Move over,  Nora Ephron.  There’s a new humorist in town.”
—Sam Apple, The Faster Times

“A valentine for optimism, risk-taking, and love itself.”
—Sally Koslow, author of With Friends Like These

Guest Post with Rebecca Royce

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Loving Him

I fall in love with my heroes when I write them.  It’s why I have a big giant sized problem making my hero too much of a jerk.  If I can’t deal with their attitude, I don’t think the readers will want to.  But sometimes a character wants to be who he wants to be.

Spencer, for example, in Eye Contact came with a lot of baggage. He was who he was.  And I had to find a way to take him on the journey with Addison in a way that I could love him.  I think I managed to do that because he continues to be one of my favorite characters of all time.

Do you need to fall in love with the heroes of the books you read? Or is it just me?  Do you fall in love with your heroes?

As a teenager, I would hide in my room to read my favorite romance novels when I was supposed to be doing my homework.  I hope, these days, that my parents think it was worth it.

I am the mother of three adorable boys and I am fortunate to be married to my best friend.  We live in northern New Jersey and try not to freeze too badly during the winter months.

I am in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and try to use all of these elements in my writing.  I've been told I'm a little bloodthirsty so I hope that when you read my work you'll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. I love to write series because I love to see characters develop over time and it always makes me happy to see my favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In my world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

I'd love to hear from you!
Eye Contact by Rebecca Royce
The Conditioned, Book one

Thirty years ago, after the breakdown of an oil negotiation, the President of the United States decided that all people born with unusual abilities, which he would now refer to as “the condition”, would be locked away from the general public where they couldn't harm others. Parents and loved ones of these people, most of whom were children, were forced to turn them in upon penalty of death. Formed to keep the institutions secure, the Committee for the Protection of a Free Society now rules these institutions with an iron fist.

The granddaughter of one the Committee members, Addison Wade has lived her life wary of the institutions and all they represent. A woman of secrets, she is forced to turn to Safe Dawn, one of the facilities designed to hold conditioned people, when her nephew is kidnapped and, despite her best efforts, cannot be recovered. She knows the last thing anyone in 'Safe Dawn' will want to do is to help a Wade with any problems, but she is desperate and out of options.

Spencer Lewis is famous for being the premier conditioned ‘locator.’ There's no one he can't find and he has a soft spot for missing children. But, Spencer has been through a trauma and locating Jeremy Wade may be dangerous both to himself and to those around him. In addition, he takes one look at ice cold Addison Wade and wants nothing more than to knock her down a peg. Never having turned down an opportunity to help a child, he reluctantly agrees to help recover Jeremy.

In a world where nothing is as it seems and every person they encounter has his own agenda, Addison and Spencer will find that the only people they can trust are each other. But how can anyone fall in love living in a world that wants you dead just for being born?

Banned Books Week Giveaway! September 24th to October 1st

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. In 2011, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; and PEN American Center also signed on as sponsors.
For more information on getting involved with Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, please see Calendar of Events, Ideas and Resources, and the new Banned Books Week site. You can also contact the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4220, or

Giveaway info: Become a GFC follower and leave your GFC name and email.  This giveaway is for US residents (don't worry, International is coming right up).  For ONE extra entry, become an email subscriber and say so in your comment. 

What can you win?

My review can be found here: This book is perfect for just about any reader!  I am privileged to have two copies to giveaway to two of my USA/CAN subscribers, a special thanks to the Doubleday Marketing Team!

You will want to be an email subscriber as there will be an ereader giveaway on the 28th!!!

Guest Post and Giveaway with Michelle Franklin

Alasdair’s Music
With what dejection and oppression did the commander observe Alasdair escorting the Duchess back to her apartment in the guest quarter. He walked before them through the main hall with a sinking heart and downcast eyes, listening to his guest but hardly attending her. She could not but be aware of his change in countenance but said nothing beyond the continuance of general pleasantries. She spoke of the moderacy of the concert, praised the pieces and the singers, lauded the traditional Frewyn dress. He responded with a few halfhearted smiles but said nothing beyond a few hums in recognition of her accolades; his mind was elsewhere, and though the Duchess perceived his inattention she did her utmost to draw him from his disparaging considerations until she was handed into her room at the end of the hall. Her attendant followed, holding her train as she passed the threshold into the main room of the apartment. She wished his majesty a good evening, and Alasdair answers with all the manners his good breeding could allow. 

                The mechanical necessities of the night were done and Alasdair was at liberty to be as openly disheartened as he liked. He thought to indulge himself in one of Martje’s pies but was too miserable to eat; his stomach churned in anxiety and he resigned himself to the consolations of silence his private quarters provided. He did not even close the door when he entered and immediately began to undress. He had only unfastened the high collar of his jerkin when his eyes wandered over to his bed. He pondered sleep but the sight of a something hidden, a something he had thought was secreted away, drew his unmitigated attention. He walked toward his bed and stopped beside the post, canting his head to spy the case beneath. He sighed and closed his eyes: he should not touch it, for to take the case into his hand would follow the desire to open it. This would have been of little consequence excepting the promise he had made himself. He had wished his grandfather’s memory restored in his kingdom before the legacy was to be renewed in his music, but the power of knowing it was ever there, the work of a dusty old fiddle ever drawing him down, begging to for its pearlescent strings to be plucked and the taut bow to be taken into his hand. The force of the remorse he felt in only just beginning to reconcile his grandfather’s legacy compelled him to stoop, and before he could stop himself, he was taking the case from beneath the bed, he was opening the lid, and he was caressing the scroll of the instrument. He ought not remove it but he must; his fingers curled around the bridge, filling him with a warm sense of familiarity. His eyes closed with the consciousness of it being replaced in his hand, the sensibility of which soothed him and agitated him all at once. He must play it; his fingertips ached to again stroll the strings of an implement that had held much meaning for him, but he must harden himself to his promise. He placed it back into its case and before he could conceal it from view, he turned to the door and noticed the commander standing at the threshold with a cup of lemon tea in each hand.   

                “He would want you to play,” she said with a half smile, remaining in the doorway.

                Alasdair coloured for being caught with it in his hands, and with a deep sigh said in a low voice, “I know he would.” He remarked his grandfather’s instrument one last time and resolved to put it under the bed, but in his inviting the commander into his quarters and taking the tea she offered, he subconsciously placed it onto the vanity instead.

                The commander acknowledged now what had troubled him: the performance was too well done and had perhaps reminded him of an earlier time, one in which his grandfather were alive and one in which his musical capabilities were encouraged and glorified. Now between the throws of court and the sufferances of stately visits, he had little time to himself. Her intrusions, she suspected, was not unwelcome: it gave him a moment to reconsider what he had best do with regard to his music, whether to take it up once more as an passage for his daily frustrations as he had done before his time in the armed forces or to leave it buried with its mentor. It was true that Alasdair had more than one counselor when living in the castle during his youth, but the guidance and sagacity of Good King Dorrin could not be replaced.
                “Do you remember,” she began, spying the instrument with a knowing look and seating herself beside Alasdair at the vanity, “when we were at Church and we were told there was an afamed singer from Gallei coming to sing for us?

                Alasdair nodded and sipped his tea.“I was so excited that day.”

The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu

By Michelle Franklin

Publisher: Red Willow Publishing

June 12, 2011

Book Description:

The Kingdom of Frewyn is being invaded by the Galleisian infantry and at the forefront of the battle is Boudicca MacDaede, a First Captain in the Frewyn armed forces. Her regiment is charged with defending the borders between the two nations, but when Frewyn’s last line of defense falls, Captain MacDaede enlists the assistance of a Haanta, one of giants from the islands to the far north. Promising to free him from his imprisonment in exchange for his help, she gains his trust long enough for them to win the battle and save the Frewyn border from being breached. The giant’s freedom is granted, but Rautu cannot return home unless he redeems himself in the eyes of his people for past his transgressions. He is offered a place by the captain’s side, and together, they defeat the Galleisian forces and become the saviors of Frewyn.

One year later, King Alasdair Brennin takes the Frewyn throne, Boudicca is made commander, Gallei and Frewyn reach an accord, and Rautu is granted an invitation home. He is eager to return and see his brothers but finds it difficult to leave Frewyn without Boudicca at his side. He has become accustomed to her company and the idea of being made to live without her begins to distress him. Rautu invites the commander to the islands in hopes of finding a way for them to remain together, but when they arrive at the white shores of Sanhedhran, not everything goes as planned: one of the dangerous Haanta magi is freed, Rautu’s three brothers are strangely missing, and the neighboring nation of Thellis leads an attack on the islands.

Together, the commander and the Den Asaan Rautu must find a way to unite their two nations and defend against the Thellisian fleets, but can they do so successfully when outside forces are attempting to keep them apart?


Rautu stood on the bow of the ship remarking his home with the commander at his side. He gazed at the island’s white sands to the south, dense trees to the north, and the animation of the docks with a reverential countenance. He had been waiting for this homecoming for the greater part of three seasons, and when he regarded Sanhedhran for the first time in nine months, all the longing he had reaped during his separation rushed on him. He was eager to stand on the southern shore again and reclaim his place among the Amghari. His exhalations became labored, his eyes glowed with quiet joy, and the Den Asaan’s estrangement was reconciled; he was home, and this was all that occupied him at present.
                The commander smiled at the giant’s silent worship and used his fascination as a diversion to place her hand atop his as it rested against the ship’s railing. She savoured the texture of his stone-like flesh with her rough fingertips and then placed her hand along the railing beside his. She observed him to inspect any perceptible difference. There had been a momentary upturning in the corner of his mouth, but his gaze held firmly toward the island approaching. She was satisfied with his minimal recognition, but was amazed to feel his small finger suddenly wrapping around hers. He moved not otherwise, did not even peek at her from the corner of his eye, but she heard the sound of a profound sigh and knew whose sigh it was. She coiled her finger around his, looked toward their pending destination, and wondered how he should govern himself once returned to his people.


The official site: 





"I'm always on the lookout for the next series I can get thoroughly involved in and love. With Michelle Franklin's Haanta series I have found just that." -- Back of the Book Reviews

"If you are a fan of Tamora Pierce or authors similar to her YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK (seriously, you will not be disappointed)." --Avery's Book Nook

"I was drawn in by the story and prose, which flows beautifully off the page and into the imagination. This series has something for everyone! This novel alone has war, bloodshed, magic, romance . . ." --A Book Vacation

"The prose has an Austen-esque quality, the characters are believable and engaging, the woman and the giant are hilarious, the sexual tension is intense. Never thought I would like a romance this much." --Concrete Visions

"Instant love." --Cassandra Florence

"I was wondering where well-written, high fantasy went. I found it." -- WareHouse Magazine

Author Bio: 

Michelle Franklin is a woman of moderate consequence who writes many books about giants, romance and chocolate.

Twitter: @MrsDenAsaan

Giveaway: One winner will receive a pdf of Michelle Franklin's latest book: The Reporter from Marridon !  This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY.  Leave a comment with your email.  Thank you for stopping by :)

Kathryn the Grape's Colorful Adventure by Kathryn Cloward with Ginny Hornby, Illustrated by Christine Winscott

Friday, September 23, 2011
Bling! You are colorful! Join Kathryn the Grape and her magical butterfly friend, Maggie, on an imaginative colorful adventure as Kathryn the Grape discovers how to make her colorful rainbow shine. With help from Maggie and a special charm bracelet, readers learn beautiful life lessons while discovering how to shine their colorful light into the world.

Goodreads Summary

This is a perfect book for a young girl between the ages of 3 to 9.  The book is full of sparkle and colorful illustrations.  The illustrations were terrific, they were not overly blocky or unrealistic.  Some of the words in the book are colorful at random, a child will definitely appreciate this quality.  My little cousin was completely in love with the story, it held her attention the whole time without fail.

The characters are fairly well-developed for a childrens' book, particularly the main character.  My little cousin literally wanted to play act this book out after she finished it-read it around eight times.  The imaginative scenery is fun and exciting.  The ending was terrific and the events were quick, but slow enough that my cousin could understand (she's four). 

5 Stars

Find this book:

Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

Fair Wind to Bahlia by Thomas Thorpe

Shipwrecked on a Brazilian beach in the year 1834, two couples stumble onto a plantation where they find a knife in the owner's back.
Harrowing encounters with Indians, escaped slaves and ruthless landlords conspiring to assassinate eight-year old future leader, Dom Pedro II, lead to a dangerous transfusion to save the cholera-stricken young prince.
One of the castaways holds the cure in a tiny jar of red. He could save his own life, revive the prince or rescue his wife from the conspirators in exchange for the vessel, but there's only enough blood for one.
Historically accurate events provide non-stop suspense.

Goodreads Summary

This book is packed with action. The reader will definitely not be bored. I enjoyed the historical accuracy, it's not easy finding a mystery book that has been well-researched about the plot.

The characters are fun to get to know, the reader will likely find him/herself attached to them. There are quite a few tough choices made in the book, this book's completely accurate description would more likely be: thriller, mystery, intrigue, and drama. The book flows nicely, the transitions are great for easing the reader into yet another new situation.

The events are fast-paced; some are more exciting than others, but the author does not go from one high energy scene to a low energy scene. The ending is perfect and sums up the whole book nicely. This book is recommended to adults/young adults.

4 Stars

Find this book:

Barnes and Noble