Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Carny

Today's post is my review of the contemporary romance,The Carny, by Brooke Moss. It's a great story, so read on!


At a town fair on the coast of Oregon, handsome Native American carny, Vincent Youngblood, bestows an unforgettable kiss on shy, awkward teenager, Charlotte Davenport. Then disappears without another word, leaving her baffled and enamored.

Ten years later, Charlotte is still living in the small fishing town of Astoria, while being trained to--reluctantly--take over for her philandering hotelier father when he retires. After all, who else will do it? Her two perfect sisters are busy being married to their flawless husbands and having cookie cutter children, while Charlotte remains single, childless, and every bit as mousy as she was a decade ago.

As Charlotte struggles to climb out from underneath her judgmental parents thumb, the carnival rolls back into town, and Charlotte finds herself face to face with Vin again. He's back to run his father's carnival, walking away from a promising career in medicine he started in Chicago. Will her biased and judgmental family accept her relationship with a man who is not only a Native American, but works as a carny for a living? And what unsavory secrets bind the well-educated and seemingly superlative Vin to that ramshackle carnival? After all, you can’t judge a carny by its cover.

My Review:

Charlotte Davenport is the self-appointed spinster and peacemaker in her family. She works constantly to fill the emotional gaps for each of her family members, while ignoring her own needs and sacrificing her happiness. Managing the family hotel, dealing with two perfect sisters, a mother who drinks before noon, and a playboy father keep her very busy indeed. I really enjoyed Charlotte’s journey to find the courage to reach for happiness no matter the cost. Sparks fly when she finally makes it clear that everyone is on their own because she deserves a great life too. There’s nothing like family intrigue to keep those pages turning.

Vincent Youngblood is a hero through and through. His return to Astoria includes his own steamer trunk of personal baggage. Being a very private person, it doesn’t take long in this small town for his personal issues to be on display for all to see. His father is ill, so he also makes choices and sacrifices for the good of his family. Things take an interesting turn when he realizes that its Charlotte he wants.

The Carny is a truly heartwarming story. Ms. Moss deals deftly with prejudice, mood disorders, and levels of emotional distress that have the power to change lives sometimes for the good, sometimes not. She has carefully crafted characters who will grab your heart when you aren’t looking. More than once I found myself cheering for the wonderfully mismatched couple, and hissing when horrible people insisted they be kept apart. If you love stories about people who defy all odds to be together, this is the read for you.

About the Author:

Brooke Moss lives in beautiful eastern Washington state, with her nerdy husband, four dirty-faced children, and one dim-witted dog. When she’s not changing diapers and spinning tales, Brooke often changes the color of her hair, fancies herself a cheese aficionado, and as the mother of a child on the Autism Spectrum, enthusiastically supports autism awareness. She loves to write stories that are equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching, and enjoys finding the love story in every ordinary couple’s past. Now…if she could just climb out from under that pile of dirty laundry.

Find Brooke elsewhere on the web at and on Twitter at @BrookeMoss4.

Thank you for allowing me the honor of reviewing your work. Wishing you much success with your fantastic story!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Magic of Epiphanies

Happy Friday to each and everyone of you. Today I'm thrilled to welcome the fabulous Candice Gilmer to Fox Tales. So take it away, Candice!

Thanks Sutton for having me here on your blog. It’s always fun to take over another author’s blog. I always feel so He-Man—I HAVE THE POWER! Muhahaha! (Child of the 80’s came out for a second, sorry! It happens.)

I find, both as a writer, and as a person in general, the things that occur to me far after the fact that surprise me. When I first met my husband, we were going through the VHS tapes (yeah it was that long ago) I owned, sorting them by genre, and my hubby glances at me and says “You must be a big Arnold Schwarzenegger fan.”

“Why?” I ask him, because I certainly didn’t consider myself one.

“You have seven of his movies.”

I blink, staring at the array of films on the floor. He wasn’t kidding. I had Terminator 1 and 2, Twins, Junior, Jingle All The Way, True Lies, Eraser, and Total Recall. I have this weird moment, realizing that, yes, I must be a fan, because here I was, with almost a dozen of his movies. “Holy cow, I guess I am.” As we continue, I realize I was also a James Cameron fan, due to having every one of his films except Rambo.

This happens to me a lot. Sometimes I have to have something laid out in front of me before I realize the truth in the matter.

In this same vein of realization, I figured out not that long ago, when I was going over a list of future writing projects as well as current WIP’s, that, OMG…

I write speculative fiction.

I am totally a speculative fiction writer. Granted, romantic speculative fiction, but speculative, nonetheless. I have to have my HEA, of course. And I’ve always been about the relationship between the hero and the heroine, which does make me a romance writer, but almost every book I’ve ever done has been or had some level of paranormal, magic, or other kind of twist to make it not just straight contemporary romance. I always wanted to write, and I’ve always loved romance. I didn’t realize all that romance that I love always seemed to have some element of the speculative in it. Time travel, magic, paranormal, I love it all.

Even my latest release, Rescuing Rapunzel, has its little squeeze of magic, with the witch Gothel and Rapunzel’s healing hair.

Here’s a short excerpt with Rapunzel and Gothel:

Mother Gothel’s fingernails scratched my skin but I kept my face still, not showing any sign of pain. “I thought…for a moment, I thought I saw someone outside.”

Mother spun, heading back to the window. “Where?”

I gestured to the wall, unable to lie. Mother always knew and punishment was swift if I tried such a thing.

“I see no one.” She turned back to me. “Are you certain?” Her tone suggested that I was mistaken, that I had merely imagined a person.

Maybe I had.

“I thought… Maybe…”

“You thought you saw someone, or you did?” She snagged part of my hair, jerking it. “Be certain.” Her fists tangled around one of the braids.

“I surely imagined it.” I winced. “Forgive me, Mother.”

For good measure, she jerked on the braid again, and I bit my lip to keep from crying out in pain. “Outsiders are dangerous, Rapunzel. You must be very careful.” She glanced out the window again. “Perhaps it is time, after all,” she murmured. She took a few steps away from me, hands clenched as she whispered to herself, before facing me again and pulling a small dagger from the folds of her dress.

I stepped back, though I knew it did no good.

Mother grabbed a plait of hair off the floor and, as she paced the room, let it slide through her fingers. “There are many who would wish you harm, Rapunzel. It is time, I believe, to be sure you are ready.” She found the very end of the braid, held it as though about to wield a paintbrush. The dagger glistened in the light from the window.

“Yes, Mother.” I gritted my teeth against what was coming.

The dagger was sharp, but it did not lessen the pain of Mother slicing off the bottom of my braid, though today she only took a hand’s width of hair.

Tears stung my eyes as the hair was severed but I forced myself to remain still.

Mother held the chunk of hair in her palm, examining the strands as she did every time. Then she turned her attention to me. “You must learn to defend yourself against intruders, my dear.” She dropped the rest of the hair. The braids landed with a thud on the floor.

My body sagged. It was over.

The Charming Nobles Book 1

Getting Rapunzel out the tower is only half the problem...

Rapunzel longs to live in the world she sees through her window, but more than her tower keeps her trapped. Her mother has taught her obedience without question and filled her with fear. She knows she will never reach the ground. Then Lord Nicolas von Hohburg scales her wall, breaks into her life, and changes everything.

Nick has resigned himself to a life of duty when Rapunzel’s song calls him to her tower. Soon she has his heart wrapped in her lengthy tresses and he can think of nothing else. But his responsibilities and sense of duty threaten to come between them...

Warning: A scheming witch, a damsel in distress and a Charming Noble who just might save the day.

Doesn't this sound like a great book? I love the premise, Candice. Let's find out a little bit more about you, shall we?


Candice Gilmer leads a dangerous double life as a mommy and a writer. In between diaper changes and boo-boo healing, she writes stories usually to the tune of children’s television shows.

Growing up in the Midwest, Candice stays close to her family, especially the ones with basements when the tornadoes come around. She also works as a hairdresser, which she’s done for over fifteen years, and brings her laptop to work so she can write between clients.

When she’s not writing, styling hair and taking care of her family, she gets together with her girlfriends for gossip and coffee while her husband hunts ghosts with Wichita Paranormal Research Society. All in all, she stays very busy, but really, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Well, maybe a little less children’s television.

Thank you very much for being here with us today, Candice. If you'd like to stalk, er, follow Candice and find out more about her other books, some of which I've read and highly recommend, check out the links below:

In about two weeks I'll be posting my review of Rescuing Rapunzel, so be sure to stop by. In the meantime, we wish you awesome success with your book!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Shine is Worn Off

Are blogs dying out? I wonder. I subscribe to many blogs for one reason or another and one trend I’ve noticed is that many of the people who used to blog religiously three times a week or more, only blog every so often now, or hardly at all. And I know of some writers who’ve actually shut their blogs down claiming its stealing away time from their writing.

What’s an author to do? Does a publisher still want an author to have a blog? Is a blog with only a few followers better than no blog at all?

Perhaps people are tired of trying to come up with more amusing anecdotes after working at it for years. Let’s face it. Life has its boring moments. A lot of times it’s ugly or harsh, not cute and funny. Not to mention private, pain-filled or (insert other angsty adjective here) and not the proper fodder for an audience. If you don’t have a platform, like say, marketing, best-selling, self-pubbing, etc. What are you going to talk about? And beyond that, who will care?

The list of promo places just keeps growing and growing. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, Amazon and other forums, and let’s not forget the blog tours which actually market your latest release. The list just keeps growing and spreading. Like crabgrass. Now I don’t mind most of these places. In fact I like most of them because I’m insatiably curious and want to know what’s going on pretty much everywhere. You never know when you’ll come across fodder for another story.

No one can deny they are a time sink. And yes, I’ve tried a kitchen timer, monitoring the time spent at each site and charting it, etc. And it doesn’t matter how you slice it, the time spent on marketing just keeps expanding. I think we’re lucky as authors to have all of these options. BUT, that being said, does blogging still play a viable part? Do you feel it’s still a valuable part of your marketing program?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dark Genesis

Happy Friday, everyone. Today it's my pleasure to post an excerpt from Dark Genesis, by A.D. Koboah. It's a paranormal romance that sounds simply fascinating. I haven't read it yet, but am looking forward to doing so. Please read on for the details!


Life for a female slave is one of hardship and unspeakable sorrow, something Luna knows only too well. But not even she could have foreseen the terror that would befall her one sultry Mississippi evening in the summer of 1807.

On her way back from a visit to see the African woman, a witch who has the herbs Luna needs to rid her of her abusive master’s child, she attracts the attention of a deadly being that lusts for blood. Forcibly removed from everything she knows by this tormented otherworldly creature, she is sure she will be dead by sunrise.

Dark Genesis is a love story set against the savage world of slavery in which a young woman who has been dehumanised by its horrors finds the courage to love, and in doing so, reclaims her humanity.

Author Bio:

A.D. Koboah was born in London and completed an English Literature degree in 2000. Her first novel, Dark Genesis, was inspired by the concept of dehumanisation and the impact it can have on the psyche. She is currently working on a screenplay and will begin the sequel to Dark Genesis shortly.



As I got nearer to the cabin, I saw that the door had been left open and a light was burning inside even though the sun had yet to go down. I approached gingerly. Already feeling the unease that always possessed me in the presence of the African woman, I walked up to the door, and stopped.

“Mama Akosua.”

There was a short spell of silence and then her voice floated out to me.

“I have been expecting you.” The voice was low and dry like the sound of rustling leaves.

 She probably said that every time someone came to her door, no doubt to help foster the belief that she was a powerful all-seeing, all-knowing witch. But the words still sent icy fingers trailing down my spine and I swallowed before taking her words as permission to enter.

The cabin, which consisted of only one room, was rich with the slightly bitter, but not unpleasant, smell of dried herbs. Most of the room was taken up by a long wooden table, which held bottles, bowls and an assortment of other instruments that were used to prepare her concoctions. Every wall in the room was lined with shelves holding bottles, jars and baskets of fresh and dried herbs. The only evidence that someone lived in the cabin was the pallet in the corner. This was the most furniture I had seen in any slave cabin, but as her Master profited from the sale of her herbs, it was in his interest to make sure she had everything she needed. There was another smaller table in the centre of the room and that is where she sat, peering at me by the light of an oil lamp.

She was a small lithe woman with delicate features like mine. Her head was cleanly shaven and she would have been considered beautiful were it not for the scars, rows of lines about an inch long, marking her forehead and cheeks. It was rumoured that those scars had been self-inflicted when she was first brought to America as a slave. Some people whispered that she had done it to honour the customs of her people, others, that the journey, the horrors of the middle passage, had driven her to scar her face in madness and despair. Although I would never dare to ask her, I didn’t believe she had been driven insane. The shrewd dark eyes that met mine belonged to a strong, sharp mind and I doubted that anything could, or ever would, be able to break it.

“Evening, Mama Akosua,” I said as I walked into the circle of light.

There was still daylight outside but it didn’t seem to reach the small window in Mama Akosua’s cabin and so it was always dark in here no matter what the time of day.

She gestured to the chair opposite hers, her eyes never leaving my face. I moved to the chair and when I sat down, she pushed a small cup toward me.

“Drink,” she said.

I picked up the cup and sipped the cool concoction, which tasted vaguely of mint leaves. Whatever it was, it seemed to have an immediate effect because I no longer felt as hot and the fatigue, which had been pulling on me like lead weights, seemed to evaporate.

Feeling slightly better, I was able to meet the force of her gaze fully. She seemed to have aged a great deal since I last saw her, nearly four years ago. The lines around her eyes and the ones running from her nose to the corners of her mouth had deepened and although she was not yet forty years old, she looked much older.

She studied me for a few moments and a soft sigh escaped her when she finally shifted her gaze away from my face.

“It is as I feared,” she said and stood up, wincing from the small movement.

“You hurt?”

“It is a small price to pay,” she mumbled, more to herself it seemed.

 She reached into a basket on one of the shelves and pulled out a small black cloth bundle. Moving back to the table she placed the bundle before her and when she sat down again she closed her eyes for a few seconds. She was clearly in a lot of pain.

“I have prepared what you need,” she said pulling open the cloth bundle to reveal six paper sachets of herbs.

There was no need for her to ask me why I was here. I would only risk making this dangerous journey for one reason.

“Take this tonight.” She pointed to the larger of the bundles. “The rest is to be taken for five nights after, to stop the bleeding.”

She tied up the bundle and pushed it across the table toward me.

“Thank you, Mama Akosua.”

“Is it the son this time?”

I looked up and met her intimidating gaze, but on this occasion, I couldn’t hold it. She knew how much these things shamed me yet it didn’t stop her from asking about them. When I answered, my voice was barely a whisper.


 “How long?”

 “He... he be at my cabin near about three times a week now since Easter.”

 “He is worse than his father, no?” It wasn’t a question; it was a statement.


 I fought back tears as an image came to me from a few weeks before. I was standing in my tiny cabin and Master John was behind me gazing at our reflections in a small handheld mirror. I don’t know if making me look at myself was one of the many ways he had of tormenting me or if he really was oblivious to the fact that I despised my face. Either way, he would make me stare at my piercing dark brown eyes framed by long sooty eyelashes, deep mahogany skin, small delicate features and large sensuous lips. My springy, unruly hair was pulled away from my face, something he insisted on, as my hair was the one thing a man like him could find no beauty in. It was always the same ordeal with the mirror whenever he came to my cabin. And I honestly don’t know which face I hated more, that of the blond-haired, blue-eyed man I had come to despise even more than his old, decrepit father, or my own. The face he was enamoured with. He eventually pulled the mirror out of my hand, and placing it on the bed, held his arms out.

“Dance with me,” he had said in a soft, silky voice.

I remained where I was, my face a blank mask but rage no doubt burning behind my eyes. I may not have had a say over his nocturnal visits, but I would not play these little games or pretend that I wanted him in my wretched little cabin.

Fast, so fast that I didn’t have time to protect myself, he raised his hand and slapped me, sending me crashing to the floor. Pain bloomed along my temple and the left side of my face. I had also bitten my lip when I hit my head. His foot came down on my neck and I felt the dirt on the sole of his boot rubbing into my skin as he pressed down, cutting off my air supply. I struggled in vain to breathe and was close to losing consciousness when he slowly removed his foot and hauled me back onto my feet as if he were picking up a sack of potatoes. Then he held out his arms again, that smile, which never seemed to leave his face, swimming before my eyes as I struggled to clear my vision.

I was bristling with anger and yet fear won out because he could do anything he wanted to me and there was nothing I would be able to do to stop him. No one I could go to for protection. I had been born and bred purely for men like him, not only to do with as they pleased, but to increase their riches by breeding more slaves for them to own.

“Dance with me,” he said again.

Tasting blood in my mouth, I did as I was ordered to do.

“Massa Henry used to please hisself and leave,” I told Mama Akosua. “But Massa John... he like to play.”

Whew! Doesn't that excerpt knock your socks off? Many thanks to A.D. Koboah for allowing us a sneek peek at her intriguing story. We wish her all the best with her book!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hummer Warz

This is our backyard guy. He’s a Ruby-throated hummingbird which are quite common in the Eastern US. I couldn’t believe he let me stand this close to the feeder and take photos. After doing some research though, apparently this type gets comfortable with humans pretty quickly. And they get quite defensive of their feeder. When he comes to feed, he chirps which is really cute. I had no idea they made noise. It’s not meant to be cute though, it’s a warning to others to stay away from his food. They are very territorial and are known to charge other hummingbirds and poke them with their beaks to keep them away. And this guy doesn't hesitate in the defense department, he's quick to run off all who might want to sample his food.

We’ve got one of those deck rail clamps to hang the feeder. On the other side it holds a hanging plant. In one of the photos he’s sitting on the other end. This is the first time I’ve seen one just land and sit somewhere. Not that it’s special by any means, it’s just that I’ve never had time to watch them before. Every evening around 8:30 he shows up and sits there. It’s like he’s on guard for the night. He's amazingly protective of his food source.

They also love red things and will investigate them to see if they’re something to eat. This explains the dive bombing that happens when I’m trying to dead-head the petunias hanging by the feeder. It’s got to be tough to miss all that red hair moving around his dinner.

We're thoroughly enjoying this little guy. If you have hummingbirds in your yard, I'd love to know what kind. Feel free to share!

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Hero Rising

Happy Friday, everyone! Today it's my pleasure to review author Aubrie Dionne's latest release, A Hero Rising. Read on for the blurb, and my review.

The Blurb:

After watching his love leave on a colony ship, James Wilfred must save those left behind from a planetary apocalypse. Their salvation lies in an unfinished ship tucked away in a secret government base, and only James can break in and pilot him and his people to freedom on a nearby space station.

Skye O’Connor’s boyfriend never returns after his gang attempts an assassination of the Governor, and the State Building is destroyed. Worse, crazed moonshiners addicted to the chemical Morpheus have stormed the city, and she must find a safe place for her and her boyfriend’s daughter. When a heroic man saves her, Skye asks to accompany him on his quest to find the last colony ship left on Earth.

As the city falls around them, James and Skye must work together to build a new future, all the while rediscovering their ability to love, before the apocalypse claims them both.

My Review:

James Wilfred watches the woman he cares for leave earth on the last spaceship out. The planet is dying, and there’s no place to go. Through an interesting twist of fate, James discovers there’s one more not quite finished ship on the planet. He’s determined to find it, and lead more people to safety.

Skye O’Connor is shocked to her core when her boyfriend willingly leaves his own daughter behind to abide by his gang’s dictates. Refusing to abandon the motherless young girl as her father did, Skye risks her own life trying to keep them safe.

In a world gone mad, these two people fight for freedom, and the right to exist. As each of them discovers their own strengths, they realize they are even stronger together. The shared goal of protecting an innocent child forms a bond between them. In order to discover where love may lead them, all they have to do is survive.

This story is meant as a companion story for Tundra 37 where we first meet James. And I couldn’t be happier. In James, we meet a character who really deserved his own story. Don’t worry though, this story stands alone. Ms. Dionne has hit her stride and done a fantastic job of creating a setting that not only supports the characters; it’s a vital part of the story that contributes to page-turning action. Filled with believable characters fighting against all odds, who’ll grab your heart and not let go. As a longtime fan of Ms. Dionne, I can tell you she’s written a heart-stopping thrill ride from beginning to end. Her work just gets better and better. If you’re a fan of RomSci-fi don’t miss this book.