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text 2017-05-26 00:03
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day Three
Secret Agent Under Fire (Silver Valley P.D.) - Geri Krotow
Love, Special Delivery (A Harmony Valley Novel) - Melinda Curtis
Midnight Unbound - Lara Adrian
The Bull Rider's Homecoming (Blue Thorn Ranch) - Allie Pleiter
Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd) - Jen Turano
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell
The Bollywood Bride - Sonali Dev
Breathless - Beverly Jenkins
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole

Day One

Day Two

 

Thursday morning (May 4th - and yes, there were a lot of Star War t-shirts worn by attendees) dawned and I again skipped the work outs in favor of tea and banana bread. Then I headed to the Make A Date with Harlequin author signing breakfast. I got books signed by Geri Krotow (a fellow military veteran and fellow military spouse!) and Melinda Curtis. I sipped on my peach mango smoothie and mingled. A mellow way to start day three.

 

With my registration, I was given one ticket for a trip through the goody room (just free books) to select any two books in the room. I picked up Midnight Unbound (Midnight Breed #14.6) by Lara Adrian and The Bull Rider's Homecoming by Allie Pleiter. I've read both of these authors before, so I was pretty pumped to get their newest releases. I heard people complaining the books in the goody room were not as good as in previous years and I wondered why there was diet and cook books in that room, but figured they were remainders the publishers wanted to get rid of.

 

Then I went to another author signing event called Books! Chocolate! Authors! sponsored by Christian/inspirational romance publishers Revell and Bethany. This was just an embarrassment of riches for me. I got books signed by Elizabeth Camden (To the Farthest Shores), Tamera Alexander (A Note Yet Unsung), and Jen Turano (Behind the Scenes). Turano was nice enough to take a picture with me. I also ate some of the most delicious chocolate covered strawberries and brownies. However, one observation I had about this signing/publishing event was how (and I hope I am putting this as delicately as possible) WHITE HOMOGENEOUS the author/audience was. There are a lot of talented POC/LGBT+ writing inspirational romance, but none could be found here. This is not a slam against the authors present, but this was also a promo for the publishing companies and that kind of one-note branding was noticeable.

 

It became even more noticeable when I went to my next author panel, Expanding Our Idea of Inspirationals (I swear I did not mean to make each day a particular theme, it just happened that way, LOL). The panel was moderated by Sarah Wendell (founder and head Bitch at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), who wrote a contemporary romance with Jewish characters (I read the book for Romance Bingo and Pop Sugar challenge). The panel included Tamsen Parker (author of Craving Flight, a BDSM with Orthodox Jewish characters), Vanessa North (author of Blueberry Boys, a contemporary rural m/m romance featuring a devoted Christian MC), LA Witt and all her aliases (writes romances with a variety of religious characters who are also on the LGBT+ spectrum), and Piper Huguley (writes AA historical romance). Ms. Huguley talked about how ostracized POC writers are in Christian romance circles and conventions; she made note to tell us about a FB group called Black Christian Reads dedicated to promoting POC writers and readers of inspirationals. Very enlightening panel.

 

After that panel I went to the Romance, Bollywood Style reader event, hosted by authors Sonali Dev, Amalie Howard, Shaila Patel, MK Schiller, Sienna Snow, and cover model Vikkas Bhardwaj. This was a lot of fun! They played trailers from Bollywood movies and the audience had to guess what trope(s) were being used in that film. The swag bag at the end was GORGEOUS and included a lot of goodies; my bag included a print copy of The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev. She stayed afterward to sign my copy and take a pic with me. She is as sweet and funny in person as she is in interviews. Vikkas Bhardwaj was also very funny and very easy on the eyes....very, very easy.

 

As I was leaving the reader event, I saw a line forming for the pop-up signings. This one was for Beverly Jenkins, so my butt hurried to get in line (funny enough, behind RedHeaded Girl from SBTB). I got a signed copy of Breathless (Old West #2) and a quick word with an amazing author just because I was in the right place at the right time. Score!

 

Took another break from people and then headed to the Kensington Peaches & Cream author signing. These organizers were smart and handed out maps so you knew where your favorite author was sitting and could immediately get in that line. They also gave each attendee a pashmina scarf. I got a signed book by Lynn Cahoon (The Tourist Trap Mystery series is a favorite of mine) and  Alyssa Cole's An Extraordinary Union. Again, way too many people in such a small room - you could not even turn around the room was so full of people and it was so hot in there. I bailed after meeting Ms. Cole; I learned not to care if I seemed rude for leaving an event so early if RT staff doesn't provide adequate facilities for hosting events.

 

 After the last signing I got dinner and settled into my room for the night. I also learned that is okay, good even, to skip events you are not 100% excited about - because standing in lines and crowded rooms is the price to pay for attending the event. I felt today's events were great and worthwhile and didn't feel the need to fill the entire day.

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text 2017-05-15 08:05
Release Tour - Breathless

 

 

I’m seventy feet below the Caribbean Sea, and I’m out of air.

 

BLURB:

 

A brush with death brings Leah closer to the ghosts she longs to find and throws her into the arms of the troubled scuba instructor who saves her.

 

Dale, an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, is haunted by his own restless spirits. He's on a hunt for forgiveness, and the Caribbean Sea is his hunting ground.

The peace they search for lies in the bond they never suspected they shared.

 

 

 

 

He breathes with me, using his pace to slow mine. It feels like too much. The stillness. Our breath as one. His touch against my face and unyielding gaze locked onto mine. I want to escape up to safety, but he won’t let me.

All I can do is trust him.

 

BREATHLESS BUY LINKS:

 

Amazon (Kindle) ~ B&N (Nook) ~ iBooks (Apple) ~ Kobo



 

 

Excerpt:

 

I exhale and watch bubbles float off into the churning blue above me. I draw another breath, except this time, there is no air. My lungs, in all their twenty-seven years of finding no resistance to their whims, of drawing in sweet gulps, huffs, and puffs, meet a wall of stainless steel. With the next try, that wall slams into my diaphragm.

 

My left hand grasps the air pressure gauge as it bobs and snakes down by my hip. The dial’s needle hovers at a thick black line highlighted in red. Zero pounds per square inch.

 

 

I’m seventy feet below the Caribbean Sea, and I’m out of air.

 

Heavy nausea grabs hold of my gut and throat. I almost spit out the regulator mouthpiece, but reason kicks in. I stop myself just in time.

 

Don’t panic. Stay calm.

 

But it’s so hard to follow my own instructions. The warm water cradling my body has no mercy for this tiny, helpless human, and it turns to ice around me, needling my skin with cold until I’m numb. I hold my final breath. Everything in me screams out the wrongness of this. The world on the other side of my mask fuzzes out. My mind will soon follow if I don’t do something. Now.

 

Remember the training. Just find another diver.

 

Thank God, one of the instructors is less than ten yards away. My finned feet power me to Dale’s side with five hard kicks. He’s tucking something into a waist bag, and when I thrust my air pressure gauge into his face, at first he jerks away from it. Then his eyes widen as realization hits.

 

I expect him to immediately reach for his spare regulator, the savior of rubber and metal, my sole hope if I want any fate other than drowning. Instead, he brings his large, strong hands to my face. The honey-gold flecks within his irises glint and flash in what filmy light breaches the yards of water between the surface and my airless lungs. There’s no warmth down here, and I’m out of time.

 

Dale is my only hope.

 

I let him capture my face between his palms and hold me with his anchor eyes. My heart beats a fluttery, jerky rhythm, and I count—One. Two-three. Four. Five-six-seven—and wait as though I’m not moments from my death.

 

As though I have all the time in the world.

 

But whatever he’s doing, it’s working. I’m calmer. For the first time since I found nothing behind my inhale, my heart beats steady and true. He gives me a firm nod, and I return the gesture.

 

It’s then, only then, that he unhooks the spare regulator from his dive vest. His other hand comes to the mouthpiece I still clench in my teeth. He brushes his fingers against my lips as he pulls the device free, and I give it up reluctantly even though it’s totally useless. A small, salty flow of water hits my tongue, and I swallow it down—the first of what could turn out to be a whole ocean’s worth if we mess up this maneuver.

 

 

 

 

BIO:

 

They say write what you know, so Jessica Bayliss did. Her story, BREATHLESS, was inspired by her own experience running out of air on a scuba dive—except without all the steamy romance and eerie paranormal happenings. Alas, real life. Obviously, she survived. Her genre-bending fiction holds a little something for everyone. A lover of ghost tales and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves—admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers—a touch of the mysterious always finds a home in Jessica’s work. Romance with a dash of supernatural. Horror with a bit of humor. You get the gist. Jessica also writes across age groups and is a firm believer in the motto: there is a new reader born every day, whether young or not-so-young

 

Look for her upcoming releases: TEN PAST CLOSING, a YA contemporary thriller (Sky Pony Press, Spring 2018), and BROKEN CHORDS, a YA horror novella (Leap Books, October 2017). You can find her story “Care of the Undead Dog” in ZOMBIE CHUNKS, which came out earlier this year. Read about all of Jessica’s books and stories here.

 

Connect with Jessica online:

 

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Instagram

 

 

-------------------------------------------------

 

RELEASE TOUR GIVEAWAY INFO:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Link to rafflecopter giveaway: http://bit.ly/2qmkOaa

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

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text 2017-04-17 07:01
Cover Reveal - Breathless

 

 


BLURB:

 

A brush with death brings Leah closer to the ghosts she longs to find and throws her into the arms of the troubled scuba instructor who saves her.

Dale, an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, is haunted by his own restless spirits. He's on a hunt for forgiveness, and the Caribbean Sea is his hunting ground.

The peace they search for lies in the bond they never suspected they shared.



EXCERPT:

 

He breathes with me, using his pace to slow mine. It feels like too much. The stillness. Our breath as one. His touch against my face and unyielding gaze locked onto mine. I want to escape up to safety, but he won’t let me.

All I can do is trust him.

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------

 

 

 

BIO:

 

They say write what you know, so Jessica Bayliss did. Her story, BREATHLESS, was inspired by her own experience running out of air on a scuba dive—except without all the steamy romance and eerie paranormal happenings. Alas, real life. Obviously, she survived. Her genre-bending fiction holds a little something for everyone. A lover of ghost tales and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves—admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers—a touch of the mysterious always finds a home in Jessica’s work. Romance with a dash of supernatural. Horror with a bit of humor. You get the gist. Jessica also writes across age groups and is a firm believer in the motto: there is a new reader born every day, whether young or not-so-young



Look for her upcoming releases: TEN PAST CLOSING, a YA contemporary thriller (Sky Pony Press, Spring 2018), and BROKEN CHORDS, a YA horror novella (Leap Books, October 2017). You can find her story “Care of the Undead Dog” in ZOMBIE CHUNKS, which came out earlier this year. Read about all of Jessica’s books and stories here.



Connect with Jessica online:

 

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Instagram

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------

 

 

I’m seventy feet below the Caribbean Sea, and I’m out of air.

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY INFO:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Link to rafflecopter giveaway: http://bit.ly/2nXMBcp

 

 

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review 2017-03-19 00:00
Breathless
Breathless - Beverly Jenkins I love that she always throws in great history so that if you are a history buff it makes you want to dig into some non-fiction. Very timely with suffragettes being brought up, especially in how woman of color were treated by their white counterparts in the push for woman's rights to vote and our current political climate with gerrymandering effecting people of color and woman of color being underrepresented in most levels of the political sphere.
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review 2017-02-07 19:49
I loved it
Breathless - Beverly Jenkins

Always love learning about the history of the period. Suffragette movement, Geronimo escape and the black experience.

 

 

Beverly Jenkins is one of my favorite Black historical romance writers. She not only shares black history, but familial relations and love. I've read more than seven of her large catalogue of books, mainly her historical romance.

 

In Breathless we revisit characters that I'd fallen in love with. Rhine and Eddy's love in Forbidden was enduring. I'm waiting for my Rhine. After learning about Eddie's sister's neglect of her nieces I was concerned and couldn't wait to revisit them. Breathless is Portia's story.

 

Portia is determined, strong, smart and a bit afraid of men (due to her past with her mother). From the very beginning of Kent's arrival I knew He'd have his work cut out for him. In Breathless Ms. Beverly shows that people can mature and grow and I appreciated that. I Just can't get enough about the town, people and the conflicts they encounter.

 

All in all Breathless was a 4 star read for me. A book I will revisit and share with other historical romance lovers and even with the romance naysayers.

 

Thank you to Edelweiss and Avon for the opportunity to read and review Breathless.

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