Month: January 2015

Life Goes On


No matter how much we’d like to stay in one place it isn’t possible. Change is inevitable. Loss is part of life. We grow up, live our lives, build families, all while knowing we need to accept change as a part of our lives. The very concept of growing up is really about change and how much we are willing to do it.

Sometimes circumstances happen that make us change. They alter was…is fundamentally part of who we are. We get up every day, we do the same things, yet we are completely different on the inside. It might seem like nothing has changed, but deep down we know we have. Nothing will ever be the same. I never really considered how these things have made me into the person I am today. Life goes on… We love, we lose, we gain, and through it all life just goes on. Even when we want to curl up in a ball and give up it still goes on. We do what we have to in order to survive. We push through the pain to support those that are depending on us. Nothing and no one can ever make it right. But we know we have no other choice, because yes it bears repeating, life goes on.

I have lost a lot in my life. There are some that has lost more. Those losses have become a part of me and they have created the person I am today. There are times I wish I could change things in a different way. People say everything happens for a reason. Well you know what? I want to scream and say who freaking cares. That reason didn’t matter to me when my heart was ripped out. When people turn to me and say how sorry they are. It doesn’t help the people who are hurting way more than I am or ever could. Those reasons can be shoved in places no one ever wants to go.

It doesn’t matter what those reasons are. What does matter is we are still here. We need to find a way to move forward, be more than we are. Find strength when we didn’t think we had any more. Loss is hard to get through. It becomes a fundamental part of our inner being. We live and breath it. Life moves forward whether we want it to or not. We do things like go to work (bills need to be paid after all) prepare dinner (family needs to eat) go to sleep or not sleep depending on our frame of minds.sometimes-the-things-we-cant-change-end-up-changing-us

For me I promo a book when I’d rather not. I write blog posts to drain out my tumultuous thoughts and help get the word out about things in my world. Events get planned, contests go up, and life goes on. It has never left my mind that not too long ago loss was a shock that rocked my world. It still sits inside of me as part of my being. I still question why. It still doesn’t make any damn sense to me. The only difference between then and now is at least for me the loss isn’t as devastating as it was for others. The missing piece wasn’t a part of my daily life. It makes moving forward slightly easier, but no less heartbreaking. I can separate it and compartmentalize it enough to know I have no choice but to accept the change. There is no other choice left for any of us really but to accept that the thing that has changed, has altered us unrepairablely. None of us will ever be the same after the loss of someone we loved so much.

Just remember to breathe in and breathe out. Lean on those offering support. Keep moving forward and maybe in time when a stray thought rolls through your mind it won’t break you down. You’ll smile through the tears and know you’ve made it far enough to see the light at the end of the darkness. Someday for us all life doesn’t keep moving on. Appreciate it while you can.

Review: When Love Comes by J.H. Croix


This was a sweet romance. Hannah is still reeling from the loss of her parents and feels alone in the world. She returns home after finishing her undergraduate degree. When she gets home some things come easy–others don’t. She has to find her place in familiar surroundings without the two people she always relied on. Living without her parents changed her in a lot of ways. She had to grow up and stopped being reckless with her decisions. She stopped dating altogether.

Luke moved to Alaska after a bad break up with an ex. He is running away from love and relationships so he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. He likes his life living in Diamond Creek with his two brothers Jared and Nathan. He doesn’t see any reason to change that. He is undeniably attracted to Hannah and can’t resist getting to know her better.

Their relationship started out feeling awkward as they started to learn more about each other. They both could feel the chemistry, but each had their own reason for taking things slow. Things heat up between them when Hannah realizes she has a long lost family member and Luke’s parent’s pay them a visit.

It was a nice sweet ending when they finally admitted to each other their shared love. The slow build of their relationship and the awkward beginning gave it validity and made it seem more real. It wasn’t burning passion that fizzled out fast, but a slow steady burn that made you root for them. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

Highland Storm by Victoria Zak

Highland Storm - Tour Banner

Plans for the New Year
Plans for the New Year, well I have a few, but most of all I will be kicking cancer’s ass. Right before Thanksgiving I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Very shocking and set my world spiraling out of control. I had just finished writing Highland Storm and working on edits, and at the same time dealing with test and working out a treatment plan. Definitely a crazy time.

So, my number one goal is fighting cancer and to continue to write book three in the Guardians of Scotland series. I also have a few ideas for two new series. Vampires in Scotland… Vikings in Scotland… why yes.
Thank you for having me on your blog today.
Victoria Zak

So how about a few questions to learn more about Victoria Zak:

1. Why did you become a writer?

I wanted to write my own stories so, I had a vision and went with it.
2. Do you have any siblings?

Yes, two sisters.
3. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

4. Why?

I love to go on a castle tour and just soak up Scotland’s history and beauty.
5. If the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow would you be ready?

lol No way. I would end up a brain eating zombie.
6. What is your favorite genre to read?

Paranormal Romance
7. If you could meet anyone past, present or future, who would it be?

I would love to meet J.R. Ward. She’s amazing!
8. Where do you see yourself three years from now?

9. Paper or plastic?

10. Home cooking or take out?

Home cooking
11. What is the one thing your readers don’t know about you, but you wished to share?

I’m pretty much an open book.

TITLE – Highland Storm
SERIES – Guardians of Scotland series book two
AUTHOR – Victoria Zak
GENRE – Scottish historical fantasy romance
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) –

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00073]
A long forgotten Ancient kingdom has been awakened and threatens to change the Dragonkine world forever.

Can passion weather the dragon’s storm?

The only true pleasures in life Conall Hamilton yearned for were to marry a good woman, raise a family, and hide away into seclusion to live a normal life away from battle and war, not an easy task for the Dragonkine warrior and Clan Douglas’s second in command. Assigned to investigate an allied clan, he vows upon his return to marry his love, Effie. That’s until the Dragonkine warrior finds himself accused of a crime he did not commit, murder. Imprisoned, he must find a way to escape not only to save his own life but to save the life of the woman he loves.

In time the past will catch up with you…

Effie Douglas is a survivor. Though not born a Douglas, Effie leaves her old life behind to seek safety within Clan Douglas. For five years Conall Hamilton has been her secret lover and savior, helping her pick up the pieces of her damaged past. Hiding the true nature of their relationship from their clan had become a burden for the red-headed lass and now she desires more. She wants Conall’s name. When Effie is summoned home, she is plagued with unwanted memories, treachery, and new found information that will change her life forever. Will Effie have the courage and strength to weather the storm that rages around her?


Highland Storm - Author Photo
Growing up in the sister city to Stirling, Scotland, Sottish flare was abundant throughout Dunedin. From her High School band to the annual Highland Games that took place right across the street from her childhood home, the bagpipes beckoned her toward her calling. It seemed only natural for Victoria Zak to want to write in the Scottish historical romance genre. Add to the fact, she was also a paranormal romance junkie, there was no doubt that her influences would be the driving force behind her stories.
Although, she never sought out a writing career, her desire for the written word grew the more she read. Her love for Scotland, curiosity of history, and passion for romance has inspired her to write her first book, Highland Burn. The Guardians of Scotland series continues this winter with Highland Storm.
Now, Victoria Zak lives in the sunshine state with her husband, two beautiful children, and three furry friends. Living in paradise, being a stay at home, and to be able to share her stories has been a blessing.
Victoria loves to hear from her readers. You can connect with her through FB, Twitter, G+, and her website,


Hi everyone:) I just started a Thunderclap campaign for my new release Highland Storm and I would love your support. Supporting my campaign is easy peasy. All you have to do is click on this link and add your support. That’s it.

What is thunderclap you ask… Thunderclap is a crowd-speaking platform that will blast out a timed Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr post from all my supporters (you), creating a wave of attention. If you want to know more about Thunderclap click this link.

Thank you for your support

Release: A Treasured Lily


To celebrate the release of A Treasured Lily I am giving away ONE ebook copy of A Treasured Lily and ONE ebook copy of my backlist (not to include A Treasured Lily). Just click on the rafflecopter to enter.


What Lilliana Marsden wants—she gets. The thing she believes she desires most is to live in Charleston on a plantation. Her problem? Parents who refuse to listen to her. Lily decides to make her wishes come true and who better than a handsome American ship captain to help her.
Randall Collins finds Lilliana bewitching and quickly falls under her spell. When she asks if he can take her with him on his next voyage he finds himself agreeing—for a tiny fee. A kiss as payment and he’ll take her anywhere she wants.
As they set sail sparks fly between them. Will Lily find something more desirable than owning a plantation and can Rand convince her he’s the better choice?



He wondered how far he could push her. The decision to give into her and take her on his ship had already been made. Lilliana just didn’t know he already decided to let her come back to America with him, but only because it worked in his own plans.

“What do I get for my trouble?” he asked. “I’d be risking quite a lot to assist you with your scheme.”

“What do you want? Money? I certainly can afford to pay for my passage.”

Rand’s lips rose into a cocky smile. He desired a lot from her, but at this point only one thing would do as payment. Would the lovely lady be willing to give it to him? He had nothing to lose and only one way to find out.

“How about a kiss?”

Lilliana looked stunned as she stared unblinkingly at him, and then just as suddenly she stopped dancing right in the middle of the dance floor. Her face flushed a pretty shade of pink as she began to move to the music again with him in the lead.

“How forward of you. I’m not sure I like your idea of compensation.”

“It’s a small thing, one little kiss. To be given to me at a time of my choosing.” He leaned in close to her and whispered in her ear. “Are you afraid?”

Lilliana’s breath sucked deep into her chest, and he could feel her slowly exhale it in little pants. Her pulse raced on her wrist beneath the palm of his hand and thrummed a small beat as he held it firmly in his grasp. A blush formed on her cheeks turning them a nice shade of pink, and her lips parted in anticipation. Her body’s reactions suggested she had an interest in kissing him also. Would she take the bait and give him what he desired? He needed her to accept the proposal. Once she did he’d have her sailing with him in a few short days.

“All right, you have a deal,” she agreed.

Buy Links:

Amazon|All Romance|BreathlessPress |Smashwords

Click on the link below to enter the rafflcopter 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Print Release: Witness Protection by Carolyn LaRoche

Thank you for having me here today. I am excited to share the print release of Witness Protection on January 20th with all of you!

From Witness Protection:
Someone wants NYPD detective Angelina Ferrara dead…again. Following her heart instead of her mind landed her in Witness Protection. Can she trust it and handsome detective Logan James to keep her alive this time?
As far as the world knows, NYPD detective Angelina Ferrara died in a violent firefight on Chelsea piers over a year ago. Living in the witness protection program as history teacher Lucy Taylor was supposed to save her life but being alive and living were two very different things. Until she meets detective Logan James when he goes undercover in the same private school where she works. Something about the handsome man with the gorgeous blue eyes piques her interest. There’s no doubt he has secrets… but then so does she. When the Ricci crime family discovers she’s still alive, can she trust the same heart that landed her in the witness protection program in the first place to let Logan to help her survive it?

Her little car had an engine about as powerful as a hamster wheel. There was no way she was going to outrun the truck that was accelerating with lightning speed. On one side of her was a deep ravine, the other the steep slope of a mountain towered high and tree covered. The steering wheel shook violently as she pushed her little car to its limits, sheer adrenaline keeping her focused on the winding road. As she rounded a sharp curve, the back tires spun and fishtailed out from behind her. The tiny car shook violently as Lucy struggled to maintain control. The SUV caught up with her then, ramming into her rear bumper. The car groaned but held on. Lucy spun the wheel to make the next sharp curve, all the while her eyes searched for a way off the dangerous mountain highway. Another crash from behind jolted her car forward with such force Lucy lost her grip on the steering wheel. The car veered right but she managed to straighten it out before hitting the tree line.
“What the hell do you want with me?” she screamed at the truck in her rearview mirror.
The driver responded by slamming into the back of her car again. Metal ground against metal, gravel flew everywhere, and the car careened toward a thick bank of trees to her left. Straightening the car once more, Lucy crushed the gas pedal to the floor and watched as the speedometer climbed quickly. Lucy felt the little rush of excitement she always got in a good pursuit despite the fact that she was the one being pursued.
She whipped around yet another curve, and the SUV caught up with her. Just as she managed to get her little car under control again, the SUV crashed into her back end again with such force Lucy thought her car might shatter there in the middle of the road. The little car veered to the right, aiming straight for the side of the road and the ravine beyond. Lucy tried to regain control but the effort was in vain. She braced herself as the car plowed through thick vegetation, hit something, and started to slide down the steep embankment.
She heard the growl of the SUV’s engine roaring away over the revving of her own engine as the tiny car crashed through the underbrush. The car flew over a log and landed on the slick vegetation covering the incline. The car lost its hold on the ground and rolled its way down the slope, finally landing up against the trunk of a large pine tree where the engine died. Lucy’s head smacked against the steering wheel knocking her near to senseless. Everything fell deathly silent as she fought to remain conscious.
A loud crack broke the silence. As she watched through the broken windshield, the tree in front of her began to wobble. Blood trailed from her forehead into her left eye blurring her already shaky vision. Rubbing at it with the back of her arm, she used her other hand to desperately claw at the seat belt release.
If she didn’t get out of the car, the tree was going to fall right on top of her.
The giant pine swayed once and then began its descent toward Lucy and her crumpled car. Yanking hard at the jammed seat belt, her head swimming and her stomach churning, Lucy finally freed herself. Just as the tree crushed the roof of her car, like it were nothing more than a tin can, Lucy pulled her body through the opening that used to be the driver’s side window.

About the Author:
Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.

Social Links:

| Blog | Facebook Goodreads |

To get your copy:

|BreathlessPress | Amazon |

Free First Chapter Critique and Content Edit

Awesome way to get some feedback on your current WIP!!

Musings by Mandy

images penIt has been a long time since I did this! I am happy to be reviving my splendid idea for paying it forward:)  Because I am human, and have editing responsibilities at Lyrical and Three Worlds Press’s I have to limit the number of free critiques. I will be accepting the first five I receive for edits.
Here’s how it will work:
1.  I will post GO on my blog on January 21st. When you see it you can send in those first chapters.
2. I will post go around noon that day.
3. Once I receive five, I will post closed.
4. I will content edit the chapters and provide some feedback.
The rules, because everything needs rules:
 Once you see the invitation e-mail your first chapter to
 Include your name, genre, email address and a short synopsis.
 Chapter not to exceed 2,000 words.
 One chapter per writer/author…

View original post 14 more words



A week or so ago I wrote a letter to my brother. The one I’d lost so many years ago. Tears streamed down my face as I put those words on the screen…each word came straight from the grief that still fills my heart.

I was heartbroken–I still am.27208_10150145179190523_1059022_n

Today I have new reason to be. Today an angel gained her wings. Like her father she left us way to early. She gets to see him again. Glen gets to hug his daughter and wrap her in his love. It’s the only thing I can find comforting right now. Part of me is just numb with disbelief.

I can’t express with mere words the wealth of emotions going through me right now. I can only say when I wrote that letter to Glen last week I never once envisioned I’d be writing this blog post now. Words are inadequate to express how much my heart hurts.


But this isn’t about me. It’s about my beautiful niece who has survived through so much. She fought her way through debilitating injuries sustained in a car accident. Her strength was amazing. Earlier I said I didn’t have a hero. I was wrong. Alison is–was mine.I even wrote a dedication for her saying as much.

In July I wrote a book. I wrote it for Alison. It was–will be dedicated to her. The dedication is just going to change a little bit as she will never get the chance to read it.

I will miss you Alison. I wish you could have been given the chance to show the world how strong you are. Having you, even remotely, as a part of my life was a blessing. I only wish I’d had more time with you.I hope you are at peace and looking down on us with happiness. I’m not saying goodbye for I’m sure one day we will see each other again. I love you.goodbye-quote1



A long time ago we used to be friends…to quote the Veronica Mars Theme song…

I was listening to it earlier and I thought about all the friends I’ve lost over the years. The ones I fought to keep and still lost…hang around in my mind. They linger there as I dissect the last remaining threads trying to understand where it all went wrong. Why am I no longer friends with these people? There are a variety of reasons, but no matter how you look at it they meant something to me once upon a time. So there will always be a hole in my heart where they used to be.

The ones that hurt the most are the ones you never think you’ll lose. You just expect them to be there no matter what happens in your life. Never once do you think something that had an impact on your life will make them disappear and write you off. Hell the one that kills me is when you do nothing at all. They quit being the person you thought they were when they admit that its not you—it’s your family. So something you can’t control makes them not want anything to do with you.

Yes I’ve made choices I’m not proud of. Yes I have a bunch of miscreants in my family that make decisions that is out and out stupid. Did I stand by them? Yeah I did. That’s what family does for each other. Did I condone their decisions? Hell no. I think they are stupid too. They are my family and no matter what nothing is going to change that. Sometimes, hell most days, I’d like to disown them along with the rest of the world. I’ve dreamed about moving out to my own private island and cutting off all ties to the outside world. It’s not practical, but damn is it nice to picture the peace it would bring me.


They are not the sole reason I’ve lost friends though. I can’t blame it on them. Once a long time ago I made a decision to this day I regret. I won’t get into the gory details…it is what it is. I can’t change it no matter how much I want to. Someone I believed was my friend stopped talking to me. One of my bestest of friends from high school. No explanation or even one accusation–just dead silence. I had no clue what was going on or that she even knew what I’d done. I thought, foolishly, that those I’d entrusted with my secret horror had kept it to themselves. That should tell you something. No secret ever stays secret. Did I try to reach out to her? Hell yeah I did. I even emailed her a year later. Her response? I must be desperate for friends if I kept trying to contact her.

Let it be known I don’t have to beg anyone to be my friend. If you don’t want to be in my life anymore that’s your decision. I only thought that, as one of my longest friendships to date, you’d like to mend something that had been broken between us. Sorry I was so wrong.


Why am I talking about broken friendships today? Because it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I read something that said that you could go without talking to a true friend and nothing would change. I disagree. A lot can change. People change everyday. Some just quit accepting things that they used to dismiss. I have some wonderful amazing friends that I talk to every day. It’s the one’s I don’t talk to on a regular basis that I miss. They will always be in my heart. The only difference is now I’m trying to not let it hurt so much that they are no longer the friends they used to be in my life. At least I can take comfort that only one has completely quit talking to me. Right? We do what we do and we move on. It’s how we get through life’s hardships. Just because something is lost doesn’t mean it never can be found. Maybe one day a previously lost friendship can be regained. It just won’t be the same as it used to be. Who knows it could be a hundred times better.


and for those of you curious about We Used to Be Friends by the Dandy Warhols…

Review: When Sparks Fly by Sabrina Jeffries


Ellie doesn’t believe she is beautiful. What she is and can’t help is filthy rich. So during her season she’d had the not so welcome pleasure of fending off various fortune hunters. So she decides to take herself of the marriage mart.

Enter the rumored black baron. He is believed to have killed his brother to gain control of the title and wealth. The ton ostracizes him. Ellie has no idea of his reputation when she meets him. She believes he is called the black baron because he dresses in all black and is frequently covered in soot.

So what I liked about this book. It shows us two unlikely characters thrown together. They each see something in the other no one else had bothered to look for. They love each other and don’t care who knows about it. It’s a nice tale of two individuals finding love when they didn’t believe they’d ever find or deserve it in their lives.

Review: Nothing To Wear by Sally Max

sally_max_maude 1650 x 2500

Quick, fun, and sexy. If only we all had preparty fun like Kit and Byron. I like the idea of a diary to look back on when we are much older. It’s nice to have fond (and sexy) memories of times gone by. Writing in Maude (her so named diary) is Kit’s way of ensuring excitement when she’d stuck in a nursing home with her husband Byron. This is the first entry and it’s a hot one.

This book is only around sixteen pages long, but each page is jam packed with fun topped off with enough heat to keep you flipping the page (or swiping your finger across your tablet as I did). If you want something that is steamy enough to keep your attention and don’t have a lot of time to invest this is your book. It won’t take you long to have each page wrapped around your brain…in a good way.