Saturday

Waking Jamal - Back Cover

Artist Maria Fanning
Their physical and mental survival depends on them bonding.

Jamal Zumati joins the military, determined to repay the country that fed and housed him. But during his Hamask activation, his senses go offline and he enters a berserker rage. The United States Hamrammr Program, or USHP, has only one option: put him into hibernation.

Despite his extraordinary ability to read and manipulate situations, Vargr Lt. Rum Walker has stepped on one too many brass toes, and the USHP demoted him back to teaching new candidates. Rum is one paranoid thought away from self-destruction when he is recruited for a covert mission: pull Jamal from hibernation.

The problem is, no one has ever survived a berserker fury—at least not officially. If Rum is to challenge the military stereotypes, he’ll not only need to wake Jamal—he’ll need to get him to agree to bond as a Hamra Pair, the ultimate supersoldier team.




When Jamal and Rum team up with an FBI Hamra Pair to stop the terrorist group Dios Provee, Rum thinks he’ll show Jamal their true potential lies in an equal partnership, but Jamal is convinced Rum should take the lead. Will Rum stop Jamal from going berserk again and destroying both of their futures?

Coming March 25, 2016

Wednesday

Cover Reveal - Waking Jamal

Coming April of 2016!
A huge thank you to DSP and my cover artist Maria. This rocks!


I've got a bunch of stuff I'm working on. Here's an overview, in case you are interested. Valhalla Initiative Book One - Waking Jamal will be out this spring. Book Two - Saving Wick is almost ready to go to my critique partner and beta reader. I've agreed to write a short for an Idaho Author Anthology. Then I'll be finishing Built to Spec which is the third book in the Rise of the Amazon series. Then the top secret project....shh, Order of The Black Knights.


On a fun note:
My latest blog post on Everybody Needs a Little Romance
http://wp.me/p2FGqy-4QY

Monday

Holiday Traditions


I live with a Grinch. He growls at the sounds of Christmas music which are band from the house until the week before. My kids 'practice' their holiday songs before he gets home. He waits until the last minute to buy presents, usually online with overnight shipping so he doesn't have to go into stores. And he would happily not decorate at all except for the afore mentioned kids, and some times not even for them.

So what is my favorite Holiday tradition? Finding new ways to torture my Grinch. No just kidding.

He is amazingly good at Christmas giving. He buys me paper and tells me he believes in my writing. He remembers my favorite type and color of pen and picks them up like flowers for his love. He kisses our kid's foreheads when he comes home late after spending ten hours at the office and six at school. And he always makes sure there is milk in the fridge, something he often went without growing up.

So he can growl and grumble and we'll always know, he might dislike Christmas but he will always love us.

Tuesday

Deception of a Highlander - An Interview with Madeline Martin

Recently I had the chance to interview author Madeline Martin about her book Deception of a Highlander.

DeceptionOfAHighlander_CoverMadeline, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I recently read Deception of a Highlander. I want you to know first off that I lost sleep over your book. It was a willing sacrifice on my part because I just couldn't put it away to go to bed. High praise? Perhaps, but deserved. Mariel Brandon is a spy for a shady man named Aaron who sends her to Scotland with the hero Kieran MacDonald. For once the heroine is the more damaged of the two characters. What inspired this book? Why Scotland and why a female spy?

Madeline Martin: That is high praise! Thank you so much, Amberly - I'm so glad you enjoyed Deception of a Highlander! When this book idea first came to me, it was Mariel who burned the thought into my mind. I wanted to know what would go through the mind of a female spy/assassin - a woman who could externally demonstrate considerable strength and skill, but whose subconscious was mired in constricting desperation at her own situation. 

Why Scotland? When I was on maternity leave with my first minion, I let myself fall into Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and I was in love! I had Scotland not only on the brain, but on the heart - and it's never faded.

Me: Oh that sounds lovely. The reader finds out early on about Mariel's mission from Aaron. Plenty of pages to speculate yet I was just as surprised as Mariel to find out the truth. (trying to avoid too many spoilers) The book deals with physical and emotional abuse. What do you think makes those topics so easy to relate to for readers?

While you work out that tough question, let me ask you an easier one. I love books with kick ass women. One of my favorites is by Jackie Ivie called Lady of the Knight. In Deception, Mariel is skilled in hand to hand and with knifes. If you could be superskilled, what would be your area of expertise be and why?

Madeline: If I could have any area of expertise, I'd love to be super badass skilled at hand-to-hand combat. I'd never need to worry about having a weapon on hand, and I'd probably be in such great shape, I wouldn't feel so guilty about having a handful (or two!) of M&M's.

The other question is a tough one!! With physical and emotional abuse, both leave one feeling beaten down, worthless, and helpless. While all of us may not have been subjected to abuse, we all know what it's like to feel those emotions and can relate to how debilitating they can be. Great questions, BTW!

Me Plain or peanut? I'm a firm believer that the protein level in peanut M&Ms make them a healthy snack. I agree that it's not whether or not we had the same experience but if we have felt the same emotions. You have other books based in Scotland; are they in the same series? Do any of the books contain characters from this first book?

Madeline: Peanut butter M&M's, actually. Those things are addicting!!

The other two books are part of the first in that they are the other men's stories. Possession of a Highlander is Colin's story and Enchantment of a Highlander (coming out January 19th) is Alec's story. They can all be read independently. 

Me:  I really like Alec as a character and can't wait to read more about his past. Enchantment is going on my Christmas list. You mentioned earlier that you have minions. My daughters are 14 and 12. What do your kids think about you being a published author? If they grow up to write, what do you want them to learn from you?

Madeline: Thank you. Aw, I bet your girls are so sweet! I have two daughters too! Mine are 6 and 9. They are my biggest fans. Every time we meet someone new, YoungestMinion digs a bookmark out of my purse and asks the person to please buy my book (I swear I didn't put her up to that!!!). LOL

Every time I get a new book out, they ask for bookmarks to pass out to the staff at school - it's so sweet. Once I was apologizing for my release day being busy and YoungestMinion said, "Don't feel bad, feel proud! We're proud of you!" Melt my heart.

If they grow up to be writers (OldestMinion is already treading the path!) and it makes them happy, I'd fully support them. My biggest piece of advice would be for them to always appreciate what others do for them. Writing is almost a community effort these days - not just with an editor and an agent, but also fellow authors and, of course, readers.

Me:  That is amazing! Best minions ever. As one of your readers, I'm glad to be part of your community. In fact you acknowledge quite a few people at the end of the book for their help in making all this possible. One name that jumped out at me was Margie Lawson. She came to Boise in 2008 (I think) for a Master Class. Brilliant. With community increasing and interaction with your readers a greater possibility, do you think that brings more pressure to the writing life?

Madeline: Thank you - I definitely think my minions are pretty special and I totally agree with your assessment of Margie - brilliant! I did one of her immersions last year and it was amazing. I already want to do another one! I recommend her to every new author who asks me for advice.

The reader interaction brings more pressure, but it's not a social pressure as much as it is a time-limiting one. I love my readers and interacting with them daily makes me smile. They are a wealth of knowledge and humor and suggestions. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know so many wonderful people because of it. But it does take time and that starts to cramp sometimes when things get busy. Fortunately, everyone is also very understanding and I've never had anyone seem offended when I am running late on replying to a post or I say I need some time off for a while.

Me: Before I ask my last question, I just want you to know it's been a pleasure to interview you. I think if we met in person we would totally get along. You have an epilogue of sorts and the book has a happy ending, all good romances do. What was the hardest part of the book to write and why?

Madeline: I totally agree! If you go to San Diego this year, we need to meet up for a cocktail.  
The hardest part to write was the travel from England to Scotland. Probably not what you expected. Long travel scenes are so hard to write. They can be tedious if not done right or too "what the heck just happened?!" if too quick. But in a historical, it's a constant necessity since everything was by horseback. I wrote and rewrote that trek to Scotland and deleted TONS of unnecessary words to keep it trimmed up. It was a total pain to deal with. LOL

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. I enjoyed your questions and have had fun chatting with you. Hopefully you'll be in San Diego and we can meet in person. Have a wonderful holiday season and a fabulous new year. 

You can get your own copy of Deception of a Highlander here. Also, follow Madeline on Facebook or visit her website.

If you'd like to be interviewed, it's tots fun, drop me and email with a link to your kickass book.

Sailing for Trouble - An Interview with Brenda Hammond

Recently I had the chance to interview author Brenda Hammond about her book Sailing for Trouble.


Brenda, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I recently read Sailing for Trouble. Alexa Lloyd has just arrived in South Africa for the first time and has plans to find her father's treasure and care for her loved ones back home in Canada. The whole book has wonderful, rich descriptions of the country and it's people. Yet the opening scene especially draws a vivid view of the docks, boats, and streets of Cape Town. Have you been? Or do you've got an affinity for google maps?

Brenda Hammond:  Hi Amberly, So happy that you asked me, and thanks for the kind words about Sailing for Trouble... and for reading the novel! Yes, I lived in Cape Town for fourteen years, and spent many Christmas holidays (summer in the Southern hemisphere!) in a cottage on Leisure Isle. So I became familiar with the lagoon, its tides and treasures. I got to visit again last February and it's still one of my favorite places. As to google maps, I have a story to tell. On our way back to Canada from the States one summer, we stopped at a small town for gas. Waiting to pay inside, we stood behind the Google guy -- his special car was parked outside -- who asked 'Can you please tell me where I am?' His cell phone battery was dead, so he had no means of knowing!!

Me: What a great story! You spotted the mythical creature, a man that will ask for directions. It sounds like you've traveled extensively and have been exposed to many different cultures and racial issues. As a firm advocate of diversity and accurately representing people in fiction, I was pleased to see your story handle these issues intelligently without getting too preachy. So, Alexa is a strong independent woman, who will chase after muggers and save herself from boating accidents. Without giving too much away, she has to be plucky to stop the 'bad guys' and help her long lost brother. What do you think makes Alexa so driven and so likable as a character?

Brenda:  I'd say it's her adventurous and indomitable spirit, but also that, underneath it all, she has a kind heart. Also, her curiosity and longing to deepen her understanding of her late dad, his roots and background, so foreign to her, is like an insatiable need. This plays into her eagerness to experience as much as she possibly can during her short time in the Cape, South Africa. Plus, of course, who wouldn't want to find a long-lost and never-met half-brother??

Me:  Yes, her love for her father drives her forward. I noticed you've written for Harlequin. What was that like? Why did you switch to Indie Publishing?

Brenda:  I enjoyed writing for Harlequin because I love writing humor... different from my South African set stories. At Your Service, Jack did well for me. A second romcom was in the works when the Temptation line ended. She's the Boss is now published under my pseudonym, Alice Bramley (amongst a couple others), which already kind of explains my decision to go indie. It was my editor at Harlequin who suggested I try a submission to the new Bombshell line, although that too was nixed fairly soon. However, this was what brought Alexa into my life! She was my Bombshell heroine and she hung around persistently until I eventually gave her my full attention.

Me:  Pesky characters, always wanting their stories told. I'm glad your blazing the Indie path. It gives us so much choice and responsibility. Which intentionally leads me to my next question. What is up with this cover? It isn't bad but I almost didn't read it because of the cover. Thank goodness I did or I would have missed a terrific story. And yes, sorry if you or your second cousin's niece made the cover, but it reminds me of teen romance novels in the early 90s. There is so much going on here than romance.

Brenda: Well, I'm chuckling here re your remarks about the cover. No need to apologize, though. One of the great benefits of being a writer is that you have to learn to take criticism. Anyhow, it was supposed to appeal to the new adult market, so in a way you're right. My budget at the time was minimal. And even now I'm struggling to find a suitable cover for my novel Cape Town, published here in Canada, but I retain rest-of-the-world rights. I hope to put it up soon as Dance to Freedom. Also, talking of covers, I have to confide that, as pretty much a feminist, I freaked when I saw mine for At Your Service, Jack. So there we have the dilemma. For me as a mid-list author, trad publishing has its advantages and disadvantages and so does Indie. Simply writing, on the other hand, brings me great pleasure and keeps me interested in people, the world, and life in general.

Me:  Yes, seeing the world through our writerly eyes...I love that thought. Now that you mention it, Sailing for Trouble would appeal to the New Adult market. Early twenty somethings on grand adventures, still figuring out a few hard truths about life. For my last question, what are you working on now? What's next book wise for you?

Brenda:  I'm actually working on two manuscripts. This week has been final revisions on a women's fiction all about what happens to three different couples when they attend a wedding in Vermont. Next week it's back to South Africa for my companion novel to Cape Town. Many readers asked for a sequel. My response? 'Sequel? There's no sequel.' But then an idea took hold (you'll know what that's all about, I'm sure) and I began to explore what was happening in the life of one of the other dance students. The first draft is about two thirds done, and I'm loving the way the story is revealing itself to me. But the process will take another few months before I reach the end and achieve a draft that's as good as I can make it.... So that's it from me. Many thanks again, Amberly, and especially for the thought-provoking questions and insightful responses.❤

Me:  It's truly been a pleasure! Thank you for answering my questions.

You can get your own copy of Sailing for Trouble here. Also, follow Brenda on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday

FREE BOOK - Counting Down - Some Assembly Required

My book Some Assembly Required will be out this Friday on Amazon in both print and ebook. To celebrate, the first book in the Rise of the Amazons series Bravery Not Included will be FREE for a limited time.

Rise of the Amazons book 1
Rise of the Amazons book 2













Bravery Not Included

Amazons are real. Not bullets-and-bracelets Wonder-Woman real, but really real.

Once facing extinction and scattered across the world, women with the rare genetic makeup for super-strength and lightning reflexes have re-emerged through HOAX—Home Of the Amazon eXchange—a website Liesel Grant developed to connect with other freaks like herself.

Then Amazon children start disappearing, the website and their super-strength the only thing they have in common. Desperate families hire Private Investigator Jim Griffon to find the missing kids. Jaded, manipulated and used by powerful women in the past, Griffon refuses to work with Liesel to uncover the kidnappers.

The danger escalates when Liesel's search uncovers evidence that the Amazons aren't the only "secret human race." Instead of scattering and trying to blend in, the Mightys became a secret society of power. When their next patriarch, Jordan Matthews, goes missing, they'll leave only dead bodies in their wake to find him.

Can Griffon put his trust in a woman? Has Liesel's hunt for truth exposed her people to even more danger? Can they find and stop the kidnappers in time? And when Griffon discovers Liesel is an Amazon—stronger than he could possibly imagine—can they find love?

Go get Bravery Not Included for FREE before times up.

Tuesday

Lies That Bind - An Interview with Kathy L. Wheeler

Recently I had the chance to interview author Kathy L. Wheeler about her book Lies that Bind.


Hi Kathy, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Your book, Lies That Bind, is a sequel to Quotable but completely stands on it's own. I was intrigued reading the excerpt how it would tie into the previous books. Turns out it's a pair of friends and a pair of brothers. Do you have any more books planned for this series? Will we get to see more of the Gentrys?

Kathy L Wheeler: Thank you. There is one more big planned and started. Little Kenny's story. 

Me: Ah, being secretive, okay. I'll get more out of you on the next question. Alex, the rich hero of Lies that Bind, asks Kelly, our heroine, to go to Colorado under false pretenses, is angry about her bringing her daughter (Taylor), is pissed that she is so attractive--he is very much a romance alpha. What are his redeeming qualities? Also, what about alphas appeal to you?

Kathy: Eeek. Sorry. Didn't mean to be so secretive. Emily, Alex's sister is the heroine in the fourth book. She is a spitfire too. Regarding Lies, Alex actually has some great redeeming qualities. He just finds himself stumped when he specifically asked Kelly to leave Taylor behind. He's pissed because it's dangerous. Taylor throws him for a loop. He has no idea how to talk to or interact with an outspoken 5 year old. But he comes through for sure.

Me: Absolutely, Taylor is a huge catalyst for Alex's character arc. She is precocious and very determined. It sounds like you have a full series planned out. What do you love about reading and writing series?

Kathy: I love how very different the characters are. Genna, the introverted brainiac; Lorianne, the sexy, yet insecure loyal friend; Kelly, devoted single parent, with a bite; Emily, a spitfire. And that's just the heroines...

Series are fun because the characters don't have to stop with "THE END". It seems as if my Cinderella Series will never end! Its already five books, with at least one more to go.

Me: Yes, it is absolutely difficult to say goodbye to characters you've invested so much time and energy to. So this is a spoiler question - Kelly's emotional struggle involves Alex telling her she has to make the first move when her rapist said she came on to him. Talk about a black moment! What inspired Kelly's backstory? How does she heal?

Kathy: I'm not sure what inspired her backstory, except possibly the opening line when Taylor asks Alex if he's gonna be her dad.... Her healing process comes through trust as most do. And when he handed her an envelope she had returned to him unopened from the attorneys of Smith and Jones. That sealed it for her. She knew he loved her then.

Me: Okay, one more tough question and we'll move to the easy stuff. You've got a cat (in real life) not in the book. I've got a pair of cats and they fill my life with so much joy. Why'd you name your cat Carly?

Kathy: Let's see if i can explain this from my phone, properly... my husband saved this cat one night a few years ago. It was really cold and rainy. She had a big hole in her side and almost died. I didn't find out about her for about a week because he took her to the vet. And so when I learned about her I said "So, we have a cat now?" He said, "Well, until she's well enough to be adopted." I said, " We're not giving her away. You saved her effing life." So, we had a cat. Then one day it's still very cold and he's walking down the hallway, (i was working on the Lorianne story  at the time) and he asked me if I'd gotten his email. I check my email and there were lists of names. He's going to these different cat websites to see what a good name would be. I forgot to say that in the beginning I asked him what he named her. And he said he had to come up with something that would be good for a girl or a boy because he didn't know what she was. So he named her Jo. I didn't really like Jo {as a name} for a long-time. So he had this list of names: Ginger, Stormy, Ally Callie, cetera et cetera. Ally was too much like Al which is his name. Callie was too much like Cal, his brother in law. I didn't want anything like Stormy or Ginger. Carly was on the list too. So we decided on Carly. 6 months later he said, "I don't think she seems like a Carly." I rolled my eyes and said, "Her name is Carly. And she knows her name." I mean she really does she acts like a dog. My husband is a little OCD. Sometimes it's really entertaining and sometimes it's really irritating but overall it cracks me up and makes a good story.

Me: It does make a good story. Quiet the heroic advantage your husband had. Okay, final question. If you got a chance to send a message to the you before Lies that Bind, what would you tell the slightly younger you?

Kathy: I'm not sure. Because that story is very dark. And a younger me might not have been able to write a story like that. At least from the heroine's standpoint.

Me: I think we reveal to ourselves inner truths with each book. Alright, that ended on a down beat. Lies that Bind was emotionally intense but pulls off the all important Happily Ever After at the end. Thank you so much for answering my questions. Please let me and my readers know when book four of the Bloomington Series comes out!

Kathy: Will do. Thank you so much for your interest!

You can get your own copy of Lies That Bind here. Also, follow Kathy on her website or Twitter.