Monday, August 31, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: ROSE HARBOR IN BLOOM, by Debbie Macomber

ROSE HARBOR IN BLOOM is the sequel to THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR, and is a tie-in to the Cedar Cove series by Debbie Macomber. And just like returning to Cedar Cove, this book gives readers a chance to return to visit beloved characters.

Jo Marie is our host at the B&B that she bought with the insurance money when her soldier husband died in Afghanistan. She is still healing from the loss, and her pain is stirred up when, just for a short time, she is given the amazing hope that maybe Paul didn't die in the helicopter crash, but has been healing and making his way out of the country.

Meanwhile, a new set of guests are facing ghosts from their pasts, old pain, new chances at love, failed dreams and new dreams -- basically straightening out their lives and hearts. Expect a big sigh of satisfaction when you close the book. And some frustration, because the publisher has enclosed a "taste" or sneak preview of the next book, and of course, it stops at just the right place where you want to keep reading!

As always, Debbie Macomber delivers. A good book for curling up in the evening and escaping for a couple hours at a time.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

In the Spotlight: NOVA VENDETTA #1: The Injustice

This week, the Spotlight is on an UPCOMING Commonwealth Universe novel, coming from Writers Exchange. It's the back story to the SF romance novella, The Pirate and the Professor. Also, for some extra fun, this book and the others in the series are based on the book and movie (starring Errol Flynn) Captain Blood, by Raphael Sabatini. Don't you just love the old-time swashbucklers?

NOVA VENDETTA #1: The Injustice

Niall Encardi, our hero, is a medical student, ready to graduate and head back to the distant colony world where he was born. Unfortunately ... yet another coups has troubled the Central Allied Worlds -- that's First Civ, if you've been reading other Commonwealth Universe books, and you're familiar with the history of the Commonwealth, back before the Downfall era.

The new government of the CAW set about early to rid itself of all dissidents, even if their only "crime" is to belong to a colony world that hasn't declared its loyalty to the new regime even before news of the coups has reached them. Niall and many of his medical student friends are tossed onto a ship and hauled home, considered criminals when they haven't done anything at all.

New regimes rise and fall almost faster than word can reach the far distant colonies. Niall and his friends go from one false accusation and prison to another, shaped by circumstances and injustice, until what emerges at the end ... will be a captain and crew who will become legends, considered pirates by some, and heroes by many others. Witness the birth of Captain Niall Encardi of the Nova Vendetta.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The BARROO Report

Join the fun! Check out my work-in-progress, "Friendly Fire," on Wattpad. What's it about? Well, there are starships, and landing parties, and miniature dragons, and humor, and exploration, and mysteries, and nasty aliens who would sooner shoot you than make peace, and .... Well, honestly, the other book in the series I'm creating, called Seed Worlds, is a recycled Star Trek fan novel. Does that give you a good idea of what it's like?

I would love to get feedback, ideas, speculation on what's going to happen next. Remember: this is a work-in-progress, meaning what eventually gets published could be very different than what you read today....

Writers Exchange, on Monday, released the first book in the Nova Vendetta series, part of the Commonwealth Universe. If you read the SF romance novella, "The Pirate and the Professor," this is the story of the heroine's parents and how they met.


Niall Encardi is a medical student, ready to graduate
and go home to his colony world and spend his life as a doctor. Unfortunately, yet another revolution occurs in the Central Allied Worlds. Anyone from a colony world that didn't declare unwavering support for the revolutionaries is considered an enemy, and taken prisoner. No matter what Niall and his friends do, resisting their captors, trying to protect their homeworld, they keep ending up on the wrong side of the government -- a government that keeps changing hands. From that prison existence, Niall is formed into a man who will become a legend someday: Captain Niall Encardi, of the pirate ship Nova Vendetta. NOVA VENDETTA, Part 1: The Injustice, is now available from Writers Exchange.

I'm working on Part 2: The Truce, RIGHT NOW. Look for Part 2 late in September/early October.

And if you loved the old black-and-white swashbuckler starring Errol Flynn, CAPTAIN BLOOD, I guarantee you'll enjoy NOVA VENDETTA.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: THE LIGHT OF EIDON, by Karen Hancock

This is one of those times when I just kick myself for not having read a book sooner. I've had this ebook sitting in my iPad for a few years now.

Karen Hancock has created a solid, multi-layered, complex world in this first book in the Legends of the Guardian King series. THE LIGHT OF EIDON deals with prophecy and politics and treachery and the search for truth and loyalty and hope and ... yeah, there's a LOT to take in. Intense.

Our hero is a young prince named Abramm who has gone into the holy orders. He doesn't see himself as a warrior and politician like his many older brothers, and has a true hunger and thirst to know Eidon, the god of his land of Kiriath. However, on the verge of taking his vows, Abramm's world starts to fall apart. He learns that his family has been decimated and he is next in line to take the throne if anything happens to the current king. It doesn't matter that he doesn't want the throne, there are those who consider him a threat, and others who consider him a pawn.

Before he knows it, Abramm is fleeing for his life, not sure who to trust -- and ends up on a slave ship, bound for a brutal land where evil forces rule and even success in the game of combat can result in punishment. While Abramm fights for his life, and struggles with painful spiritual questions as he doubts Eidon and everything he has believed in, his twin sister hunts for him, to rescue him. She must deal with her own questions and crises and lack of faith, as well as a society that denies her everything she took for granted as a princess and a free woman.

I hope I didn't give too much away -- and I'm frustrated that I have so many more books waiting to be read! It's going to be a while before I can justify buying the next volume in the series. But the wait is going to be well worth it.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


The newest book in the Tabor Heights, Ohio series was released last month!

That makes the 19th book overall -- 12 in Year One, and now this is #7 in Year Two. Just one more book to go, coming in December, to make 20 total Tabor Heights books.


What's it about?

Well, you've met Vic Thomas and Rene Ackley in previous books. Vic runs the Gold Tone Gym with Rene, who was roommates with Hannah Blake until Hannah and Xander Finley got married. Now Rene is roommates with Bekka Sanderson and Kat Teague.

Vic and Rene both have some pretty big skeletons in their closets. In COMMON GROUNDS, we learned something of Vic's shadowy, and dangerous, past. Now it's time to learn Rene's secret pain and secrets she would rather keep hidden.

Vic's past catches up with him when he is asked to protect a little girl who's FBI agent brother is in big trouble. Vic owes Joey McCoy's brother his life and soul, and he is more than willing to step in. Then as he and Joey get to know each other, he is charmed -- to the point that when Rene joins them for summertime fun, he wishes they could hold onto that "just like a family" feeling. Forever.

What will it take for Vic and Rene to get past their secrets and their shame and trust each other with their lives and hearts? If Vic is willing to risk his life to protect Rene -- and willing to vanish forever to protect her -- does he love her enough to stick around and try to build "forever" with her?

Available NOW from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The BARROO Report


This has been an incredibly productive week.

#1: I finished the first draft of ODESSA FREMONT, the prequel/first story in the new Guardians of the Timestream series that will be coming out from Desert Breeze Publishing starting in 2016. This will be a Steampunk series. Hope I get it right! Odessa's story -- call her Ess -- is about a smart, independent girl who figures the headmistress of her boarding school is hiding something from her. When she sneaks into the headmistress's office in the middle of the night -- by hanging upside down from the fourth story window -- she uncovers secrets not only threatening her future, hiding the fact her archaeologist grandparents have gone missing in South America, but threatening the safety of post-Civil War United States. The decisions she makes and the actions she takes send her across the country, into and out of danger, and making ... interesting friends.

#2: So far I've managed TWO episodes of Friendly Fire, a book in the new Seed Worlds universe I'm developing. In the Seed Worlds universe, Humans were taken off the homeworld of Core millennia ago and scattered to many worlds across the universe. Now, they're finding each other, and trying to figure out who the Gatekeepers were and why they took the Humans and where Core is. And some of those other Human worlds aren't very cooperative. Military-style adventure and exploration and danger and mystery -- and big gobs of humor. Check out the episodes of Friendly Fire under my name on Wattpad. I'd love to get some input, suggestions new ideas, hints on what works and what doesn't .... just saying!

#3: EXCERPTS! Do you love excerpts of new books? Check out the Tabor Heights Today blog for excerpts every three days from my newest Tabor Heights novel, The Teddy Bear Dancer.

#4: Ever been to Roscoe Village, near Coshochton, Ohio? On Saturday, I'll be visiting there with my ACFW Ohio chapter, doing some research, getting ideas for new books, getting some "flavor of history." If you see us running around, or you just overhear some people talking about story ideas, research, Steampunk, alternate history, romance, upcoming books and other topics that only writers or people with a very slippery grasp on reality would discuss ... it might just be us! Take your life -- and sanity -- in your hands and say hi!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: HOUSE OF HADES, by Rick Riordan

Just how much suffering can a demi-god take?

In this fourth installment of the Heroes of Olympus series, the follow-up to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Rick Riordan endeavors to find out. Ouch! Talk about your past coming back to bite you! At one point, Percy and Annabeth -- who have fallen (okay, she was pulled, and he jumped in after her) into Tartarus -- run into some nasty creatures who inflict on them all the dying curses of all the monsters and villains they have fought and defeated in the past.

Let me tell you, that's a LOT of curses, and a lot of suffering.

Annabeth and Percy struggle through Tartarus -- a place that makes Dante's Inferno seem like a visit to the best amusement park in the world -- while their friends left behind on the Argo deal with one nemesis and attack and challenge after another. I know that authors are encouraged to be cruel to their characters, to put them through the wringer, but ... I'm glad I'm only reading about the trials and tribulations of the children of the Greco-Roman gods, not participating with them.

Another enthralling read, with more character growth and discovery for these teenagers who are learning the hard way how to be heroes.

I also learned the joys of using Overdrive with this book -- an app that lets me borrow e-books from my local library. Even better, if there's a waiting list for the book I want, I can put my name on the waiting list, and it delivers the book to my electronic bookshelf for me. Nice!