Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Review - The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer

The Black MothAbout the Book - Jack Carstares, an Earl turned highwayman, and his enemy, the enigmatic Duke of Andover, engage in an intense rivalry over the beautiful Diana Beauleigh.

Seven years before the story opens, Carstares protected his brother by allowing himself to be disgraced for cheating at cards. His brother, suffering intense guilt, isn't aware that they played right into the hands of the Duke of Andover.

The disgraced Earl now roams the countryside until a confrontation with his rival thwarts the attempt to kidnap the lovely Diana. But now the Duke is more determined than ever to have Diana for his own, and the two men will meet at sword point before the Earl's name can be cleared and he can claim his fair lady.

My Thoughts - As regulars of this blog know, I love Heyer's books. She has a style of writing that just flows. The energy never dulls. The stories might not be perfect, but I can never quite fault Heyer's execution of them.

The Black Moth (368 p, Sourcebooks Casablanca, Isbn-1402219520) is Georgette Heyer's first novel, written when she was 17 years old to amuse her sick brother. I liked the story, but certainly did not love it. Heyer's immaturity as an author is obvious in the use of tired plot devices, a hesitant pace, scattered storylines etc. Diana, the heroine doesn't seem to have much beyond startling beauty to inspire such passionate feelings from such obviously different men. Jack didn't really have much to recommend him either, except brotherly devotion. In fact, surprisingly enough, I liked the villain better than the hero. Even Heyer seems to have felt so, for she brings the villain back in some of her later books.

Some of the other secondary characters/relationships are far more interesting than the protagonists. Such as the tumultuous relationship between Jack's brother and his by turns immature, loving, virulent and submissive wife; the spirited and playful give and take between Jack's best friend and his witty wife etc.

Overall, The Black Moth is a nice story, enjoyable in its own unseasoned, romantic way. Heyer's subsequent books are definitely far superior.

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review & Giveaway - A Black Tie Affair by Sherrill Bodine

A Black Tie AffairA Black Tie Affair

Fashion curator Athena Smith will do anything to get her perfectly manicured hands on the Clayworth family's celebrated couture collection for her exhibit. So when she's called in to make sure the gowns are the real deal, she's ecstatic...until a dress she's examining turns out to be loaded with toxins (talk about killer threads!) and Athena faints, only to wake up face-to-face with the One That Got Away, notorious Chicago bachelor Drew Clayworth.

Drew still believes Athena betrayed him all those years ago, and he's sure he can't trust her. But when the priceless gowns go missing, she offers to help track them down. Reluctantly allied in the quest, Drew and Athena are soon stunned by the barely restrained passion still sizzling between them...and memories both bitter and sweet. Is their new partnership just a business arrangement? Or is this something more?


A sweet novel with fun characters, A Black Tie Affair is a light-hearted way to pass an afternoon. I found myself smiling a lot when reading this book and there were even a couple of laugh out loud moments. The story is generally engaging, but a couple of things jarred. Like an aspect of the mystery (which isn't that deep) that remains a mystery. And the whole reason over which the protagonists remained alienated for years, seemed very trivial. High fashion is so predominant that it could almost be termed as another main character and those who worship at its altar will find this story so much more. The author clearly knows what she's talking about when it comes to fashion - mystery, not so much.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • Recommend me any other upcoming light-hearted mystery.
  • You must include your email address at the end of your comment, so you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner. Use the format abc AT xyz DOT com, to avoid spammers. 
  • Readers who've won here in the last 6 months are not eligible.  
  • No PO boxes, please
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.

Deadline   Midnight CST of Feb 26, 2010.

Eligibility  US & Canada

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!

*** Edited to Add ***

And here is a guest post from the author about her book and experiences with it. Due to poor health, I couldn't add it to the post earlier.


Thank you for asking me to chat about my research for A BLACK TIE AFFAIR and my passion for fashion -- in this case they were a perfect fit!

The research for A BLACK TIE AFFAIR started the instant my friend, Tim Long, Curator of Costume at the Chicago History Museum told me about being poisoned by a black Dior evening gown.  When he added that there was a huge fallout shelter where fabulous vintage gowns are stored I was hooked.  Really, how could I NOT share such a fascinating story and place with all of you!

I LOVE "hands on" research and have been able to share exciting adventures with you -- I've gone to prison, hung out in New Orleans with a voodoo priestess, been in a operating  room observing open-heart surgery to name a few.

For A BLACK TIE AFFAIR I was allowed in the Chicago History Museum "Costume Vault" where they house much of their 50,000 piece collection (the second biggest in the world).  I had to "suit up" with lab coat and rubber gloves, plus promise not to touch (which was tough for someone who talks with their hands!).

It was thrilling to see up close and personal priceless gowns from the past -- the fabrics and workmanship truly amazed me -- they are literally works of art.

Best of all were the stories behind so many of the pieces worn by Bertha Palmer and other icons of Chicago's rich history.

Many of the gowns I write about can be seen in my trailer for A BLACK TIE AFFAIR where I introduce the Smith sisters - Athena, Venus and Diana - and the Clayworth Men.  Come visit me at www.sherrillbodine.com so we can dish about my adventures in the vault and my trip to Milan Fashion Week last September when I attended the Versace and Gucci Runway Shows -- yes, I have many more stories to share -- please stop by soon! 
xo Sherrill

Good to know, Sherrill! And thanks for stopping by.

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

A Conversation with Deidre Knight (& Giveaway)

Butterfly TattooReaders, please join me welcoming Deidre Knight, author of Butterfly Tattoo who's guest blogging here today!

Who is Deidre Knight? She's a lady who wears many caps - a literary agent, mom, wife, novelist and southern woman - and proud to answer to all of these titles. Before she founded The Knight Agency in 1996, Deidre worked behind the camera in movies and television. During the thirteen years since she launched her literary agency, she has grown The Knight Agency to national prominence, shepherding authors on to every major bestseller list. She has been writing in one form or another ever since, creatively stalking Spartans, aliens, werewolves, and other sexy Alpha males who strike her fancy. Strictly on the pages that she pens, of course. Butterfly Tattoo is Deidre’s seventh published book. You can follow her on Twitter and also at her Ning social networking group.

Today, Deirdre is here to answer some questions we've all been dying to get the answers for!

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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos1 - What inspired you to write BUTTERFLY TATTOO?

I was at a time in my life where I was processing my own grief over several different significant losses, and trying to put myself back together, much like these characters do over the course of the novel. I wound up channeling a lot of my journey into the book—it definitely wasn’t a “rush write.” For me, writing is often about reinterpreting things, looking at them through a prism, discovering a new understanding of the events of my own life. Writing Butterfly Tattoo was definitely one of those times.

2 - Why do you think readers and critics have responded with such powerful and impassioned support for this unconventional love story? 

That’s a great question. I believe readers really respond to the message that love is universal, that it transcends barriers, that it can’t be limited or defined into something smaller than it is. And everyone can see part of themselves in these broken characters, people who are trying to start over, to heal. We’ve all had our down times, and especially right now, with the economy and world the way it is, I think the themes of hope and redemption probably resonate even stronger with people.

3 – What is the most important message you want people to walk away with after reading this book?

That love comes in many forms and that family does, too. There’s a line in the book, something like, “Family is wherever you find it.” I truly believe that. I’m the product of a big blended family, one that doesn’t necessarily look like you’d expect. I’ve also been blessed to find “family” among a variety of friends throughout my life, groups that come together and nurture and support each other.

I also want people to realize they can overcome whatever has happened in their life. That God does bring healing, even when you’ve suffered or are still suffering immense pain and grief. When I started writing this book, I was numb and lost, just like Michael Warner is in the beginning. But by the time I’d finished writing the novel, I’d also walked out my own healing journey. So I want people to read this book and feel hope and empowerment.

4 - How did your environment/upbringing inform and/or influence your writing?

As mentioned above, I’m from a big blended family. I was raised with a stepmother who I was very close to, and she passed away while I was writing this book. For thirty years, she was my other mother. And I’ve also had an amazing stepfather for the past twenty years—which means even more because my own father passed away more than ten years ago. My stepfamily (and I don’t usually use that term—we are *family*) is a loud, wonderful, boisterous crew. Think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, only with my stepdad wearing a kilt at big holidays. I think my love of family—and appreciation of its many faces and forms—is the bedrock of BUTTERFLY TATTOO.

5 - Whose point of view was more challenging to write, Michael or Rebecca’s, and why?

They were equally challenging. I never had the sense that one voice was easier than the other, although I was a little in love with Michael myself. So maybe I should say Rebecca’s was harder. I loved putting Michael on paper and getting to spend time in his head. He’s still real to me, even now.

6 - If you had it to do all over again, is there anything about BUTTERFLY TATTOO you would change?

Honestly? No. I’m very happy with how it turned out.

7 - After waiting almost six years to see this book released in print from, what is the best advice you can give other authors on how to handle the long journey to publication?

To realize that a big part of realizing your dreams can be timing. I never gave up on this book, never accepted that it was unpublishable. I didn’t keep sending it out there every month or anything; I shelved it for quite a while. But I really never did give up in my heart and I believed that one day, it would be published. Too many writers are daunted by rejection, either taking it personally or as a sign that they don’t have talent. You have to keep at it, don’t give up, and visualize what you want.

8 - If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

It’s funny, but a number of my clients are also literary mentors. For instance, Louisa Edwards was my first editor. We often talk about craft and ideas. Karen Marie Moning was my client for ten years and we’ve always had amazing discussions that inspire me. My own husband is definitely my first and greatest literary mentor (he mostly writes nonfiction). I learned a lot about writing from him, starting back when we were dating.

9 - Can we expect more contemporary romances from you in the future? Is there anything on the horizon you can share about upcoming projects?

I’m really excited about a digital novella I have coming out from NAL/Signet in May called RED BLOODED, about a blinded Iraq war vet who winds up hunting vampires. I’m also developing several more novels in the vein of BUTTERFLY TATTOO and look forward to sharing more about them very soon. For now, though, look for more of my Gods of Midnight novels with Signet, as well as a short story in DARK AND STORMY KNIGHTS (July, St. Martins Press).
Thanks for those candid answers, Deirdre. It's inspirational to see how you juggle so many things and yet find time to write. Something I've been meaning to do for a long time and somehow never seem to find time for. Hopefully that'll change soon :) It was great to have you here and hopefully we'll do something again in the future!
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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • Tell me why you want to win this book.
  • You must include your email address at the end of your comment, so you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner. Use the format abc AT xyz DOT com, to avoid spammers. 
  • Readers who've won here in the last 6 months are not eligible.  
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.

Deadline   Midnight CST of Feb 25, 2010.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blog Tour - Jill Myles' Gentlemen Prefer Succubi (& Giveaway)

Gentlemen Prefer Succubi (Succubus Diaries)Readers, please join me welcoming today's guest blogger, debut author Jill Myles. Gentlemen Prefer Succubi (Succubus Diaries) is the first of two fun and sexy paranormal romances featuring a succubus, a vampire, and a fallen angel.

About the Book - Jackie Brighton woke up in a Dumpster this morning, and her day has only gotten weirder. Her familiar B-cups have somehow become double Ds, her sex drive is insatiable, and apparently she had her fi rst one-night stand ever...with a fallen angel. All she remembers is gorgeous Noah's oddly hypnotic blue eyes...and then a dark stranger whose bite transformed her into an immortal siren with a sexy Itch. With help from Noah, Jackie begins to adapt to her new lifestyle -- until she accidentally sends Noah into the deadly clutches of the vampire queen and lands herself in a fi erce battle for an ancient halo with the queen's wickedly hot righthand man. Who just happens to be the vampire who originally bit her. How's a girl supposed to save the world when the enemy's so hard to resist?
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosSuccubi Origins

Succubi have had a bit of a bad rap in the past. The earliest mentions of succubi-like creatures come from Ancient Sumeria, where lascivious, nasty demons preyed on people in their sleep. Lilith (Adam’s first wife depending on your religion) is sometimes considered to be a succubus and the demon-mother of multiple other demons. Nice, right?

It gets worse in the middle ages. Succubi began to crop up in all kinds of theological stories – of priests and monks that had been visited by demonic women in their sleep. These women would hop on and (pardon the french) ride them until exhaustion and it was only through luck they would break free and wake up. Even one pope confessed to an affair with a succubus! This only proved the point that in medieval times, women were evil and boners were never the fault of a man. Yeah.

According to the Malleus Maleficarum (written in the middle ages as well), succubi would collect semen from the men they slept with. They would, in turn, give this semen to incubi (I don’t know how, but I’m guessing it involved turkey basters). The incubi would then impregnate women with someone else’s semen, and create evil babies called ‘cambion’.

Sounds so pleasant, right?

Knowing all that grim history, I wanted to write something a little more pleasant when it came to succubi. Given the fact that some of the worst stories surfaced in medieval times, back when women were considered to be just one step up from a goat in the hierarchy of things…I wondered if there was room in succubi lore for a bit of revisionist history.

What if it was all just a bad rap? Why does any woman with a mind of her own and a few powers automatically mean EVIL and DEMON? What if a succubus wasn’t a demon at all?

Armed with nothing but a few ideas, I decided to play around with the succubus legend and see if I could make it fit my setting but still keep the inherent concept behind it – a female who needs sex with men to survive. The first mentions of succubi started in ancient history, so I went there first. And it seemed natural to make my succubi as companions/servants to the fallen angels that populated my world.

So to recap – no sperm-sucking female demons in my books. Just good clean (well, okay, maybe not so clean) fun!

Current Popularity

Succubi are definitely more popular now than before. While I wouldn’t say that they’re everywhere, they’re definitely encroaching on mainstream media.

If you’re looking for big-screen succubi, your best bet is Jennifer’s Body. This is a film that stars Megan Fox who turns into a succubus that has to eat male victims. For succubi on TV, you have a lot of guest-star options. Succubi have been everywhere from South Park to Supernatural to Charmed.

Succubi in video games? They’re there too. World of Warcraft allows characters that are the Warlock class to summon a succubus pet. In Everquest II, it’s the necromancer that can summon the succubus. Succubi also show up in older games like Diablo and Planescape: Torment.

Want to read up on succubi instead? The most popular series is Richelle Mead’s adult urban fantasy series, the Georgina Kincaid books. They start with Succubus Blues, and follow Georgina, a succubus in Seattle who falls in love with a human guy. There’s also the terrifically dark Hell on Earth series by Jackie Kessler (start with Hell's Belles) that look at how a succubus on the run from hell would try and blend in on earth. Hint: it involves stripping. If you’re looking for a more glam-lit version of succubi, check out Nina Harper’s Succubus in the City.
A start of a delish new series, wouldn't you say? I look forward to reading it. Here's wishing you, Jill, lots of success in the upcoming years!

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • Read Jill's guest post and leave a thoughtful question or comment for her.
  • You must include your email address at the end of your comment, so you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner. Use the format abc AT xyz DOT com, to avoid spammers. 
  • Readers who've won here in the last 6 months are not eligible.  
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.

Deadline   Midnight CST of Feb 24, 2010.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Review - Dying Scream by Mary Burton

Dying ScreamAn aspiring artist. A high-school senior. A stripper. Three women who seemed to have nothing in common except their sudden disappearance. But one man knew them all. Wealthy, privileged Craig Thornton even claimed to love them. And for that, they paid the ultimate price.

When Adrianna Barrington receives an anniversary card from her husband Craig, she assumes it's some crackpot's idea of a joke. After all, Craig is dead. But then come phone calls, flowers, messages. . .all reminding her how much Craig misses her. While Adrianna begins to doubt her sanity, grisly remains are found on the Thornton estate. Detective Gage Hudson is convinced the bodies are linked to Craig. But the biggest shocks are yet to come.

A psychopath has taken up his chilling work again, each death a prelude to the moment when she is under his control at last. And the only way for Gage and Adrianna to stop him is to uncover the truth about a family's dark past--and a twisted love that someone will kill for, again and again.

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I've been reading Burton's books for the past couple years and I was beginning to think I had a pretty good handle on how she writes. I was wrong. The whodunit part of a mystery is one I love the most and one I've gotten good at guessing over the years. This time, however, Ms. Burton got the upper hand. Her red herrings were so good I totally fell for them and never guessed the truth.

The way the story developed was good, with the suspense and the stakes ratcheting up with every turn of the page, making for a breathless finish. The romance part of it was almost sidelined and believe me when I say, that's a good thing. Oftentimes a good mystery is totally spoiled when the sex and love and all that mushy-mushy stuff takes over. Not so here. In this story, the protagonists have a history together and not a nice one at that. Which makes their getting closer now all the more harder and more interesting. Plus, the suspenseful events, the growing pile of bodies, the stalking etc are events that so overshadow their burgeoning relationship that it becomes almost, but not quite, sidelined.

In the end, a satisfactory conclusion is reached, although I must say the far-fetched explanations were right out of some melodramatic Hollywood movie of bygone years. Still, it was a good read and the author does a great job of developing the story, characters and the mystery.

Dying Scream
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra
  • ISBN-10: 1420100289
Disclosure - This product was received for review/feature consideration.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Author Guest Post - Lindsey Davis (& a Giveaway)

Rebels and TraitorsAuthor of the New York Times bestseller Alexandria and internationally acclaimed Falco novels, Lindsey Davis brings us a new work of historical fiction, Rebels and Traitors (St. Martin’s Press; February 2010). Set against the backdrop of the terrifying English Civil War, Rebels and Traitors shows the internal struggles of English citizens of all classes during this historic era of change.

Gideon Jukes and Juliana Lovell, on opposite sides of the struggle, meet during one of the era's most crucial events. After adversity and loss, their mutual attraction may one day bring the comfort and companionship for which they both have yearned.  But the flowering of radical thought collapses; its failure leads to endless plots and strange alliances.  And shadows from the past threaten them individually and together in their hard-won peace.

Like Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind and John Jakes' North and South, Lindsey Davis brings to life a turbulent time through the stories of those who struggled, fought, lived and loved on all sides of a defining and devastating struggle.

And here is Lindsey herself to tell us all about . Welcome, Lindsey! I have to say I adored the Falco novels, btw :)
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Author Lindsey Davis at  A Boook Blogger's DiaryRebels and Traitors is published in America on 19 January, and I am thrilled. I have lived with the intention of writing this book for over forty years - since I was too young to know or understand much of what now happens in it.

My interest in the English Civil War began in my teens, and around that time I decided I wanted to write a novel about that period in my home city of Birmingham (then a small but aspiring country town). When I eventually tackled this as an established novelist, my editor was sure he could not sell a historical novel set in Birmingham, even with pillage and rape and a firestorm. It was just as well I had not yet looked into Sir Samuel Luke, Parliament’s Scoutmaster-General, who sited his headquarters at Newport Pagnell – now best known as a motorway service station!

I was writing Rebels and Traitors for three years, pausing in between to complete Saturnalia and Alexandria. I had told everyone except my agent and editor that I was slowing down and taking a break. In fact it was the busiest period of my professional writing career.

I loved it. It was truly refreshing, after 20 years of the Romans. I especially loved the research. With the ancient world, you have to stretch the material. With modern history, there is masses of literature, often accessible online. The range of original material is fabulous. This was the dawn of modern newsprint journalism and there are personal memoirs aplenty. Unlike Latin texts, which are invariably by men and aimed at the aristocracy, some of the most vivid and poignant Seventeenth Century writings come from people lower down the social scale. And I did read English at university, so this was my world. Important sections of the story take place at Oxford, which is where I studied. London, where I have lived since the 1970s, has its own special role too.

When I went to the British Library I enjoyed that too, feeling like a student again – though this time a student who really did some work. I think I understood what I doing much better than I did at university.

I also went back home and re-read the material that first inspired me. It was interesting to see the shift in how local events were regarded: once, what happened to Birmingham was ignored by mainstream historians; they only discussed sieges of grand houses or famous battles. Now, the events in Birmingham are included in textbooks and TV documentaries because they show so very clearly the horrible effects of the Civil War on ‘ordinary’ people.

As a novelist I wanted to tackle both set pieces and local episodes. My characters have individual stories – a printer who fights for Parliament and becomes intrigued by new radical ideas; a girl who marries a Royalist and struggles to survive as an abandoned wife and mother; a scavenger who endures appalling hardships, knowing that the war is certainly not being fought for her. Slowly their stories come together – but it turned out to be much slowly than I had anticipated – and by gum there was a lot of it! I had to devise a computer spreadsheet to keep control of the wordcount.

This is a very long book. Well, people do keep begging me to write more… Assuming they can be persuaded to like a novel without Falco, this should keep them happy.

Technically, although we see events from various viewpoints – something I particularly wanted to try after the first-person Falco books - there is one overall narrative that moves towards a particular point; then when my heroine and hero meet, everything travels forward together from there. What happens at the very end – I won’t give it away – is tragic, though I hope it is also compassionate and holds some promise for my characters. Sadness is inevitable in a serious book about the Civil War, because there was so much destruction and bloodshed to achieve so little gain. The revolution that nobody really intended eventually failed; the innovative Commonwealth was too beset with plots against it to survive. Everyone is desperately tired of strife. We have followed idealistic characters as they tried to bring about change; we know they are bound to be disappointed. The monarchy was restored under Charles II in 1660, and I can’t change that.

You will find this a very different book from the Falco series. I take courage from the success of The Course of Honour, which was also so different. I very much hope that people will like Rebels and Traitors on its own terms

Lindsey Davis
London, 2010

I adore long books and in fact, am well into this one, but haven't quite finished it yet. Hopefully soon :) From having read her Falco novels, I know that Lindsey does her research very well. Moreover, through her characters and their experiences she gives readers a first hand glimpse into history that makes it come to vivid life! So be prepared to be sucked into a good book.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • Tell me why you want to win.
  • You must include your email address at the end of your comment, so you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner. Use the format abc AT xyz DOT com, to avoid spammers.
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.

Deadline   Midnight CST of Feb 21, 2010.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pamela Samuels Young Stops by...

Buying TimeReaders, please join me welcoming Pamela Samuels Young, author of Buying Time, who's guest blogging here today! Evoking John Grisham with a dash of Terry McMillan, Buying Time is a scandalous tale of blackmail, murder and betrayal.

Waverly Sloan is a down-on-his-luck lawyer.  But just when he's about to hit rock bottom, he stumbles upon a business with the potential to solve all of his problems. The stakes get higher when Waverly brokers the policy of the cancer-stricken wife of Lawrence Erickson, a high-powered lawyer who’s bucking to become the next U.S. Attorney General.  When Waverly's clients start dying sooner than they should, both Waverly and Erickson—who has some skeletons of his own to hide—are unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosYou can hardly believe it! The new year is already here and last year’s resolutions are still undone. Don’t fret. Today is a new day, which means you have a fresh opportunity to pursue your passion.

Have you been thinking about changing careers? Perhaps you’d like to go back to school or start your own consulting firm. Maybe being a stay-at-home mom is your dream job. Unfortunately, every time you think about taking the first step, the fear of leaving the virtual security of your current job floods your head with dozens of sound reasons why you should stay put.

Whether your dream is to write a novel, become an interior decorator or start your own catering business, you can make it happen. Here are five tips that will help you begin your journey.

1. Find Time To Plan Your Career Move

With the demands of work, family, church and community activities, you may think you don’t have a spare moment to even think about, much less pursue, your dream career. You’re wrong.
If someone had told me I could’ve published four novels in four years while still practicing law, I would’ve said, “No way.” The key is having a passion and a plan.

It won’t be easy, but you can find free time where you least expect it. The next time you’re taking a neighborhood jog or walking on the treadmill, use the time to think about possible locations for the day spa you’ve dreamed of opening or mull over the plot for that book you’ve wanted to write. Instead of listening to your favorite CD during your morning and evening commute, use the time to work on the business plan for your jewelry-making business. A Dictaphone can be a pretty handy tool in that situation. Your lunch break and the two to three hours you spend in the beauty shop can also be put to good use. With your family’s support, you might even find an evening or two to run off to your local library or a nearby Starbucks for some business-planning time. Even if it’s only an hour a week, use it.

2. Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

You may not realize it, but you have a multitude of resources all around you -- family, friends, colleagues, church members, sorority sisters, and even strangers. Don’t be afraid to request an informational interview. If you want to run a bed ‘n breakfast, call up the owners of a similar establishment in another community, invite them to lunch and tap their brain. People love to talk about themselves and many will be flattered that you want to ask them for advice. The Internet is also a valuable resource. You can enter a few key words on Google and thousands of helpful articles will appear right before your eyes. Just remember: research, research, research!

3. Join Professional Organizations

It’s a good idea to surround yourself with others who share your interests and passion. There are hundreds of professional groups whose sole function is to help their members develop their creative talents and realize their business goals. As a writer, I belong to Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America. I rarely make many of the meetings, but when I do, I always learn something or make some contact that helps me along in my writing career. No matter what your passion is, there’s bound to be a networking group you can join.

Organizations like Minority and Women Business Owners, Women Entrepreneurs, Inc., and BizyMoms.com, just to name a few, provide information, support and networking opportunities. Find the organizations that can be most helpful to you and join them.

4. Understand That It Won’t Happen Overnight

Unfortunately, entrepreneurial ventures don’t come with the guarantee of a regular paycheck. I assumed that after releasing my first novel in 2006, Oprah would call and the rest would be history. That has yet to happen. Somehow, I’m still balancing both my legal practice and my passion: writing legal thrillers. It can sometimes be quite stressful, but each time I have a new book that hits the stores, I’m re-energized and more committed than ever about reaching my goal of becoming a full-time writer.

There will no doubt be disappointments when things don’t happen in accordance with your time schedule. But if you remain faithful and focused on your goal, it will happen.

5. Ignore The Naysayers

We all know people who believe you should find a good job, work as hard as you can for 30 years, then retire at 65 and enjoy life. For them, the thought of leaving a secure, well-paying position for the uncertainties of entrepreneurial life is unthinkable. That kind of limited thinking won’t help you realize your dream.

When I proudly tell people I hope to one day give up practicing law to become a full-time novelist, they smile and look as if they want to pat me on top of my head and say, “That’s nice. Now run along back to your briefs.”

You have to decide what you want to do and go for it. And don’t be surprised if you turn out to be your biggest obstacle. When that happens, just look your self-doubt squarely in the face and command it to go away. The same degree of preparation and persistence that helped you land your current position will also help you smoothly transition into your dream career.

So don’t just dream about pursuing your passion, make it happen!

*Pamela Samuels Young is a Los Angeles attorney and the author of four legal thrillers. Her most recent release, Buying Time, is a fast-paced tale of a down-on-his-luck lawyer who’s unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder. A former television news writer, Pamela is the Fiction Expert for BizyMoms.com and is on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. To contact Pamela or to read an excerpt of her books, visit her website at www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.
Those are great steps for anybody, writer or reader. I'm going to see how long I can stick with them. What about you? What are your goals?

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