Julie Leto

So Long 2013, I’m Leaving You.

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2013 sucked2013 was filled with lessons.  I learned to listen to my inner voice and my true self more than ever.  I also learned there were things that I was not meant to conquer.  While I was temporarily upset, I ultimately felt elated.  The weight was removed from my chest and I was able to breathe again.  It was empowering.  Sometimes the best lessons learned are those associated with loss.  They may be painful, and show us parts of ourselves we may not be comfortable or satisfied with, but the mirror they hold up to us reflects reality, and helps us move forward.  Grieve, for what was lost,  if we must.  Then grin, as we say, “Whew! Time to try something new.”

Books were my constant companions and led me to amazing friendships with readers, authors and bloggers.  These authors’ words helped me through a year of personal and professional failure.   They provided bright spots on bleak days and a few moments of escape, while I regrouped.  I will be forever grateful.

My “daughters,” Kristen and Sammy, and I solidified our bond and I look forward to meeting them in a few short months.  They are some of the strongest women I know and unbelievable examples of motherhood.  I thank Julie Richman for writing the books that brought Kristen and Sammy into my life.

Hayson Manning’s books brought this sumptuous Kiwi goddess into my life.   She has been an amazing Facebook pen pal, whom I hope to meet someday soon.  We have a date on a beautiful island in the South Pacific to sip frosty beverages and ogle gorgeous, shirtless, alpha men.  For research purposes, of course.

Julie Leto, whose work I have admired for many years, joined the ranks of independently published authors with her Dirty Dare novellas, which have recently been released as one novel Dirty Dare (Sexy Suspense Novel).   She has been writing intelligent, strong female characters for many years and I highly recommend her work.   (I hope I don’t lose my fangirl mind, when I meet her in 2014, for café con leche.  I really have loved her, since the old Blaze days at Harlequin.  And, I do mean old days.)

Military romances, a longtime passion of mine, also featured predominantly in 2013 and I read books by Heather Long, Tonya Burrows, Kelsie Leverich, Bella JuarezJeanette Murray Melissa Schroeder, Laura Kaye, Kaylea Cross, Cristin HarberJ.M. Madden, Tawny Weber and Ann Mayburn.    Many featured Veterans finding, and keeping love, while dealing with the aftermath of their service, like PTSD and injuries sustained in combat.   These women write with an understanding and deep respect for men and women in uniform and I am excited to read their offerings in 2014.

Towards the end of the year, I “discovered” Robin CovingtonAvery Flynn and Kimberly Kincaid or the “Man Warriors.”  I was drawn to their quick, yet snarky, senses of humor and began to read their books.  I was not disappointed, as their characters reflected each one’s unique style and attention to character development.

My paranormal “jones” was satisfied by Shelly Laurenston, Rosanna Leo, Milly Taiden, R.E. ButlerLauren DaneAlexandra Ivy, Lauren Wright, Laura KayeHeather Long and Christine Warren.   Wolves, big cats and bears…oh my!   Last, but not least, were Gina Maxwell who made tough, tattooed MMA fighters lovable and Tymber DaltonJoey W. Hill and Cherise Sinclair, who have known how to push my “envelope” just right, for years.

24384685-happy-new-year-2014-replace-2013-concept-on-the-sea-beachMy other constant companions were Hubby and our K9 kids.  They kept me sane, grounded and made me laugh when I could not and smile when I thought I would drown in my tears.   I am blessed to have them in my life.  Hubby, your gentleness, strength and patience knows no bounds.  I love you more today, than the day I married you.

So 2013, I bid thee adieu.  Don’t let the door hit you on the ass, on the way out.  You will not be missed.

Why Hello, 2014…you’re a sexy beast.  Sit right down here and let’s get to know each other, shall we?

E-Publishing – As Seen by an Established Author

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Interesting discussion on e-publishing from the perspective of an established NY Times Bestselling author.  http://www.plotmonkeys.com/2013/04/24/the-new-publishing-model/

Becoming a Book Reviewer

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Over the past month I have ventured into the world of ebook reviews.  Not as an “expert,” just as a fan, who is moved by the creative words of women writers.    Looking back, I wrote reviews on books I either loved or hated, anything in the mid-range, got nothing.

Ironically, Facebook has brought me “closer” to one of the authors I’ve followed for many years, Julie Leto.  Before I was married, or even met my husband, I had a subscription to Harlequin books.   The books we all read, in the privacy of our own bedrooms, where the female leads were beautiful, successful, sexy.  And so were the men.

Well, Julie’s heroines were real women, of all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds.  She knew how to write about women with big, loud, loving families, and she wrote about the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

Imagine my surprise when I “found” her on Facebook and began to learn more about her.   It happened slowly, over the course of the 2012 Presidential Election.  I saw that our views on many subjects were similar.  For example, Julie is part of a closely-knit family with strong ethnic roots, she went to USF and pledged an NPC group.  I could identify with her and it gave me some insight into why I was so drawn in by her characters.  Each one of her female leads shared one, or more, of her personal attributes – championing those less fortunate, loyalty, friendship, fidelity, sexiness, and a distinct sense of self.

One of these days, hopefully in the near future, I will be able to meet Julie, in person, to tell her how much her writing has entertained me.

It was my pleasure to receive a review copy of her latest ebook, and introduction into the world of independent publishing, “Dirty Dare: The Rescue.”  My review can be found here:  http://www.amazon.com/review/RA5CQ46WZ6THA/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_cm_cr_notf_fhv_fbt