February 23, 2018

Promo for Bound to Fate by @KiruTaye

Start the amazing and emotional Bound series for only 99c/99p. ❤📚🔞💯❤

Bound to Fate by Kiru Taye | F: @AuthorKiruTaye | T/IG: @KiruTaye

A relationship between Ike and Lara is forbidden but love like theirs cannot be denied. Catastrophe lies in wait and one night changes their lives forever.

Bound to Fate is a story about surviving tragedy, forgiveness, and the overwhelming love that pulls through against the odds.


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: https://goo.gl/TMPYsX (runs until February 28)

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: http://www.kirutaye.com/bound-series

February 16, 2018

Promo for Desperate Measures Romance Collection


Romance Collection
99c/99p for a limited time
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
#lbaspromos #99cents #boxset #romancenovels

From mind twisting thrillers to pulse-pounding suspense, this limited-edition collection of today’s hottest best-selling authors has something for all tastes.

Whether you are on the edge of your seat or curled up into a ball with fright, this set from Romance Collections will not disappoint.

Step inside the minds of these characters. Ride along with them on their journeys. Indulge in their action-filled tales of suspense.

The time has come for… Desperate Measures.

Nicole Morgan  @authorNicMorgan
Eva Winters  @EvaWintersBooks
Maggi Andersen  
Aubrey Wynne
Cara Marsi 
Samantha Holt
Janis Susan May  @JanisSusanMay
Kris Bock  
Kiru Taye  @KiruTaye
Stacy Deanne  
Erin Lee
Krista Ames  
Michelle Grey  

Angus Robertson: https://goo.gl/oTJR8g 
Indigo: https://goo.gl/VPZ4Fy

February 15, 2018

Night Owl Romance "A Tea Party & Books" Scavenger Hunt

From the folks at Night Owl Romance...

It's a wonderful time of the year where we dream about all the great books we will read and add to our 2018 lists. Let us help you find some great authors and books to add to your To Be Read Pile. Plus along the way get entered to win Amazon Gift Cards that can help make all your reading dreams come true.


1st Place - $100 Amazon eGift Card

$50 Amazon eGift Card (2nd Place)
$25 Amazon eGift Card (3rd Place)
$10 Amazon eGift Card (25 Winners)
$5 Amazon eGift Card (95 Winners)

As one of the sponsors of this event, I'm going to introduce you to new authors and help you find some great new books. Make sure to check out my featured title—A Vampire's Tale—along the way.

There are $900 in prizes up for grabs for 123 winners.. including the grand prize of a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Enter now.

Don't wait. The hunt ends on March 8.

February 9, 2018

Game of Thrones versus Outlander

At the People's Choice Awards last January, HBO's Game of Thrones lost both the Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series and Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress to Starz's Outlander.

Which series do you prefer?

<< caution spoilers ahead >>

Game of Thrones

George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones (GOT) is epic. There is no doubt about it. I fell in love with this series during the first terrifying moments of season 1 episode 1.

(I haven't read the books (yet) so my observations are based purely on the show.)

It's a complicated story with a lot of complicated characters. That's the simplest way to put it. In fact, there are so many characters—the story begins with nine different families—it's difficult to pick a favorite. Even though, not unlike a daily soap opera, an episode may focus on a cross-section of the cast, allowing the viewer the opportunity to form a tangible attachment. It may be difficult to pick a favorite character, but it is not challenging to pick a least favorite. << clears throat >> Cersei Lannister.

With such a vast number of players fighting for the Iron Throne, death is inevitable, and GOT features some truly, horrific (and unexpected) deaths. Is anyone thinking about Season 3's Red Wedding? Martin has taken Stephen King's "kill your darlings" advice to heart. This phrase, originally coined by William Faulkner, means either letting go of the parts that don't advance the story or killing characters your audience has grown to love.

The GOT family tree is also (unsurprisingly) complicated. I found this lovely graphic on pinterest.ca.

The basic premise for GOT is dispute over the Iron Throne. The Baratheons had stolen it from the Targaryens. The Targaryens want it back, but so do the other Baratheon brothers, the Lannisters, the Tyrells, the Starks... with those not directly vying for the crown aligning themselves with those who are. It's an elaborate game. Strategic, like chess, but with potentially fatal results. The characters have differing motives—power, peace, unity, honor, protection—for pursuing the fight. It's the classic medieval quest, a prolonged and perilous journey filled with misadventure and hard choices. And dragons and a massive undead army.

GOT is set in the fictional Westeros. Martin has created a truly fantastic world. Fans take the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros very seriously. In my search for a map, I found many versions—hand drawn, vintage, comparative, Google-style—before finally selecting this graphic by Kitkat Pecson.

The title sequence is brilliant as well, with a three-dimensional (moving) map featuring different locations—depending on the episode—that foreshadows the next party of the story.

Overall, the show is magic. It's like watching a story come to life... which it is.


Diana Gabaldon's Outlander is an equally epic story. I discovered the series on Netflix and was instantly obsessed.

I actually stopped watching it for about a week to get my addiction under control.

The show and the books (I've read 1-4 so far) are fantastic. The show's casting was as close to perfection as I've ever seen. In my mind, no one could have depicted Claire, Jamie, and Frank/Jack as captivatingly. As a story, Outlander is simply marvellous—historically accurate with the ultimate in love triangles—a twentieth century woman trapped in the eighteen century with a love in both time periods.

The cast of Outlander is much smaller. The leads Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser are definitely my favorites.

Claire Randall is a strong, intelligent woman who doesn't mince words or hold back punches. Jamie Fraser—the embodiment of a braw Highlander—is brave and reckless, and possesses an intelligent mind capable of seeing beyond the present reality. And did I say damn sexy? I now understand swooning. Every woman wants to be loved like Jamie loves Claire.

"Don't be afraid. There's the two of us now."

Outlander is fantasy, but it injects enough realism—historical content, logical actions—that you feel the story itself could be possible. You can put yourself in the character's shoes—you can immerse yourself in their world.

The premise of Outlander is time travel. While on vacation in Scotland, Claire Randall accidentally travels 200 years into the past leaving her husband Frank alone and bewildered in the twentieth century. She lands in 1743 in the middle of a skirmish between the British Army and a band of Scottish Highlanders. The Highlanders save her from a British officer with nefarious intents. Upon discovering she has time travelled, she works on a plan to get home. Returning to her own time is hardly an easy feat. Claire must rely on her knowledge of eighteenth century Scotland—good thing Frank is a historian—and her wits to survive among the Highlanders. Both the British and the Scots are suspicious of her sudden appearance. Marriage to Jamie Fraser protects her from the British Army. Then, the unexpected occurs—she falls in love with Jamie. When faced with the choice of staying with Jamie or returning to Frank, she chooses Jamie.

Unlike GOT whose main focus is continuously on the game, each season (book) of Outlander moves in different directions—storyline and physical location.

The Comparison

Believability. Game of Thrones begins like a war-focused historical drama in the fictional world Martin built. The dragons, magic, and undead army make it a complete fantasy. Outlander takes place in (mainly) existing locations and follows true historical events. Once you reconcile with the time travel, the rest of the story is fairly credible.

Story. The game in Game of Thrones keeps expanding—adding exotic locations and characters with incredible back stories. A single location or character could provide enough material for a standalone story. Outlander's story is more grounded and focuses on the two main characters regardless of external circumstances.

Characters. Game of Thrones includes a tangled web of characters—heroes and villains. The story follows each character and their relationships with the other characters. Characters face challenges and adversity—with betrayal and brutal violence. There are too many 'main' characters to count. Outlander has clear main characters who also face their share of life-changing situations. With fewer characters to follow, the audience has a more intimate experience.

Chemistry. Love or hate. Both Game of Thrones and Outlander sizzle with the sheer amplitude of chemistry between their characters.

Pacing. Game of Thrones has an abundance of fast-paced action. The characters move from one significant event—battle, revelation, plot twist—to the next with lightning speed. In contrast, Outlander moves at a much slower pace, switching intermittently between action and drama—with no holds barred in its fight scenes.

The Conclusion

Clearly, both shows rate high on the epic scale. Game of Thrones is intricately plotted—including unexpected twists and neat conclusions—and doesn't shy away from the taboo. With GOT, you get action, romance, adventure, mystery. Add in the complicated family trees and the extraordinary world of Westeros... and you find a story bigger than life itself. Outlander includes paradoxical elements—time travel itself opens the flood gates of contradiction—that eventually make sense. It's more than a love story, containing a fair amount of action and (mis)adventure. You become invested, immersed in Outlander's characters, and their fate evokes strong emotion.

Both authors have created literary magic—I am amazed and inspired to create magic of my own. It's not a matter of which concept is better. The important thing is to read / watch / create fantasy. Believe in fairy tales and happily-ever-afters. I do.

February 2, 2018

When 'busy' became 'productive'

Maybe less than two years ago, my husband and I realized 'busy' had a negative connotation. Everyone we know was busy, is always busy.

'How was your week?' 'Busy?' 

'What did you do?' 'We were busy.' 

Busy, busy, busy. We, like many of our friends, were drowning in busy. What was this new state of 'busy' we had identified? It was regular life—work, school, activities, housework, hobbies—but it was out of control—more like running on an accelerating treadmill than actual living. At the end of each day—week, month—we were exhausted. What had we done? We were busy.

We decided to step off the treadmill. We made a conscious choice to turn 'busy' into 'productive'. Being productive gave us a feeling of accomplishment. Instead of running errands around town like a mad hamster, we completed errands. Being productive was positive. It indicated progress toward our goals. Being productive was the first step toward living instead of doing.

There's an app for that. And not just one. The smart phone is actually, really smart. Seriously. I'm not joking. My husband and I were tech late bloomers, not buying iPhones until 2014. Its capability impressed me then, and still continues to impress me. I use my phone to organize my life... and this is how...

Some of the gems I use:

Cozi is a shared family calendar—including reminders—with shopping and to-do lists, recipes, and a journal. I use the free version, but you can upgrade to Cozi Gold which has a few more bells and whistles than the free one. I use it mainly for the shared calendar—no more double-booking the family car—and grocery lists. You can receive reminders on your phone and by email. The app is also on the iPad.

I found the list making function on Cozi rigid so I use Wunderlist to organize my personal to-do lists. Reminders also come via phone and email. You can assign due dates and reminders for your to-do items. You can schedule recurring items. You can create subtasks. Items can easily move between lists as well—something Cozi can't do. Wunderlist is synced on my phone and MacBook.

Tody is my latest find. Its a shared cleaning app that's very convenient for roommates or families. If you feel behind in your housework... like it's almost spring and the fall cleaning isn't done yet? Tody might be for you. Those of us with productive lives tend to push housework to the end of the list. Maybe the bathroom and kitchen are (passably) clean, but when did you last santitize your light switches and door knobs? I did it last Friday... because Tody reminded me. I don't typically pay for apps—but after some comprehensive research on cleaning apps and there are a lot of them—I paid $9.99 for this one. It's a new purchase—I bought it last Friday—but I am very pleased so far. Getting stuff done is rewarding, and this app is definitely encouraging me to get stuff done!

Mint is a financial one-stop shop app. You can't make transfers or pay bills, but it provides a great snapshot of your financial situation—bank accounts, loans, investments, mortgage, assets, credit cards. You can input a monthly budget. I use it to keep on top of spending. It's convenient to track credit card purchases in real time instead of logging into a website or waiting for the statement.

DS File is how I access our home network-attached storage (NAS) device. It's like a personal cloud. It holds pictures, home video, and computer backups. I also back up on an external hard drive... you can never have too many backups!

Dropbox is how I share pictures with family and friends. I mostly use it through the website though. I can't remember when I got the app, but it's an easy way to save and share files so I'll keep it on my phone.

iCloud Drive is the Apple version of Dropbox. I backup select files from my phone and laptop. Plus, I use it to sync my Safari bookmarks.

These are some of the apps that make my life easier. I select apps based on intensive online research. I'm currently looking into apps for a home inventory system for groceries. Have you tried any of these? What are your thoughts?