Genesis by Anna Alexander

Well, August is half over and the air quality here is not great because of all the wildfires. That means staying indoors, which means I’m getting more work done. The first story of my fantasy series is off to the editor and I think I’ll have a firm release date in another month or two. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a review about a modern-day superheroes story I read. I liked it enough that I pre-ordered the second book. I’m definitely hooked on this series.

Anna Alexander Genesis

My review: This was a fun book to read, with action, attraction, and superpowers. The cover drew me in, the description made me want to read it, and it was right up my alley. Full of fantasy and attraction and action. I love the premise of super powers. And the tension between Max and Crystal is through the roof. This was a very entertaining and I loved Max learning there’s more to life than making his father pay. I also liked the secondary characters and got an inkling that some of them might be the focus of additional books in this world. I have to keep reading because I want Ripley’s story.

Here’s what the story is about:

People suck, at least according to reclusive inventor Max Madden—except for his friend and mentor, Anthony. But now Anthony is dead after uncovering evidence that an avaricious financier caused the current economic crisis and is out for world domination, a man Max knows has the money, resources, and charm to succeed—his own father. Now Max is out for vengeance and he doesn’t need a distraction like Crystal Evans tagging along.

The provocative psychic may have soft lips, curves like a Ferrari, and a scent like vanilla sugar, but she also has a thirst for redemption that will never be quenched. Max can’t help but admire her tenacity, and when she leads him to others who also have superhuman powers, he agrees to lead this team of crime-fighting supers if they all agree that he will be the one to take his father down.

But fate and circumstance has a way of bitch-slapping a man to awareness, and emotional hungers Max once detested have become what he now craves. When Crystal becomes the key to Madden Sr.’s downfall, Max must choose: Can he send the woman he’s come to love on the mission, a mission during which she has seen her death in a vision, or have his revenge?

NOTE: Since I wrote this review blog, I’ve read the second book, Instinct. I liked it as well or even better than the first.

Anna Alexander Instinct.jpg

Here’s what I said in my review of that story:

When I read Genesis, I know I wanted Ripley’s story, and it did not disappoint. I love it when the next story is as good or better that the last one. He’s got some powerful lessons to learn and Alisia is exactly the right person to teach them. These two are soul mates. The pull between them is strong and the reasons that tear them apart are larger-than-life and very emotional. I loved how this story started, how it progressed, and how it wrapped up. I’m definitely a fan.

(These are not Young Adult stories, by the way.) 🙂

Click here for Anna’s website.

 

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

I hope everyone’s summer is going well. I’m deep into edits on my fantasy series and a new romance story. Plus we decided to renovate. Just one room, but boy, does that list grow when you start a simple thing like painting the ceiling. But I did managed to find some time to pick up a book or two, and I thought I’d share one of my recent reads with you.the-great-alone-kristin-hannah

Kristin Hannah did it to me again. I always know I’m going to be up late and crying my eyes out when I pick up one of her books. The Great Alone didn’t stray from that pattern. Leni is a formidable kid tossed into a swirling vortex of survival from all different angles. Ms. Hannah shows us the gritty side of life on the Alaskan frontier, giving us an in depth look at life at it’s very basic: the need for food, heat, shelter.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t ready to stare the horror of PTSD in the face. Ernt is not a man I could like. But the resilience of the women kept me reading. Especially Leni, who at thirteen, is tossed into the wild, so to speak. She learns the hard way that the only person she can count on is herself. Well, maybe there’s one other person. 🙂

I cried for about the last 150 pages of this story. It was a cathartic cry, and I was so glad I kept reading all the way to the end. As with every single Kristin Hannah story I’ve read, it was worth it. So yes, this story is a highly recommend from me. It’s not an easy read, but it’s a fulfilling one.

Here’s what the story is all about:

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

Click here for Kristin’s website.

 

 

A Herald of Spring

It’s been very cold here in the Pacific Northwest. Unusually cold. I hope you have all managed to survive your winters. We’ve had snow off and on for the past week or so. Now, I’m seeing sunshine mixing in with the clouds. As much as I love winter (and I do love hibernating) I’m ready to turn the corner into spring.

Even with the cold, our hardy daffodils have begun to bloom.

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So I see this as a sign that spring is near. Hopefully soon. Another awesome sign of changes to come is that my story, Survival, the lead story in my Guardian Druids: The Royan Legacy series, just won the SWFRW Joyce Henderson contest fantasy and paranormal genre!

SWFRW Paranormal Winner 2017

That’s a good omen as I search for representation for this series. It makes me hopeful. I want to thank you all again for supporting my stories. I wouldn’t be on this journey without any of you. I hope you all get to bask in some sunshine soon!

Laurie Ryan

 

New Year Happenings

As 2018  begins, I wanted to send out greetings and wishes to each of you for a year that is safe, peace-filled, and with a lot more happy than sad in it.

For me, the year means some changes to my writing. I’ve added a new genre – fantasy. The romance will stay and continue, but there’s been a fantasy  idea percolating in my head for years that I will also be working on. And it’s that genre that I have fun news about.

Laurie Ryan Fantasy

I entered the first story, Survival, (as yet unpublished) in my fantasy series, Guardian Druids: The Royan Legacy, in a contest and it’s a finalist! Winners won’t be announced until February 24th, but it feels like a good omen.

Things are going well in the romance genre, too. Healing Love, which is part of the Holiday Magic anthology with Lavada Dee, is now also a stand-alone novella. And there’s a new short story in the works…Lost, Then Found. Healing Love by Laurie Ryan

So I hope to be offering new content soon. And I wish you all a very, very Happy New Year!

by Laurie Ryan

Mt. Rushmore – Bucket List Item – CHECK!

Check out where my newest story is set…thought I’d share my blog from Over The Backyard Fence.

Over The Backyard Fence

I had the awesome privilege of visiting Mt. Rushmore in May. I have wanted to take a road trip for the longest time, and this stop was top of my list.

Late last year, I started writing a young adult fantasy series and I set it around Mt. Rushmore. My husband swears I used that setting to get him to go there with me. Personally, I thought it was a great place to set a post-apocalyptic fantasy. It had nothing to do with how much I wanted to visit and now had a reason to. Really. Well, sort of.

Hubby, who doesn’t like road trips, gave me the greatest gift this year. Nine days on the road. Different sights every day. We combined a couple things. First, he spent 3 years in the Air Force stationed in Glasgow (Northwest Montana). So we went there first and I finally got to…

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Indie Author Fringe

For any authors or writers who don’t know about Author Fringe, my friend Lavada Dee posted about it. I’ll be listening in tomorrow. Have gotten some great tips and information from past Fringes. Thanks, Lavada, for reminding me. 🙂

I know those of you who follow this blog are both writers and readers and I try to do posts that speak to both. However this one is for authors or those who might be entertaining the idea of writing.

ALLi-LogoIndie Author Fringe is an online workshop put on by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI). They are putting on the next event this coming Saturday, June 3. It starts at 10:00am Eastern time. But the good thing about Fringe is that you can view the workshop sessions anytime. And you can pick which ones you want to do. I usually try to do one session a day sometimes skipping a day.

There is a wealth of information in the Fringe sessions and on the ALLI website itself. I can’t say enough about the value to Indie authors this group provides.

I will look forward to hearing from anyone…

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Open House on Murder: a romantic suspense story & interview

My good friend Lavada Dee has re-released her book Open House on Murder (originally titled Open House on Love) and I thought I’d ask her a few questions about it because I don’t read much romantic suspense and I was curious about a few things.Open House on Murder by Lavada Dee

First, I’d like to say this book totally held my interest. In fact, I read it in a weekend, unusual for me. With a hero named Quin, I’m in from the beginning. I love that name. Add in that this is a reunion story and that the way they were torn apart feels different and innovative and I kept turning the pages. With a killer targeting people in Aimee’s line of work, she and Quin have no choice but to get up close and personal. There’s a bit of a paranormal thing in it, but since that’s not listed in the blurb, I’ll just say it felt realistic to me. I bought into the story, the romance, and the world Lavada created.

The interview:

Laurie:  I love the name Quin, and Quin and Aimee has a great ring to it. How do you name your characters? Do they name themselves or do you hunt around for the perfect choice?

Lavada:  A good question, but not a definitive answer.  With Open House On Murder I had the names in mind right from the beginning but this isn’t always the case.  A lot of times I search for a perfect name by googling baby names.  And I’ve even changed a name midway through writing the story.  Sometime the name just doesn’t fit as the character develops.

Laurie:  Googling baby names works great, doesn’t it? And I love that the characters sometimes tell you they need a different name! I’ve never written a suspense story. Do you find it difficult to pepper in just enough clues to entice, but not enough to completely give it away?

Lavada: Again, the mechanics of writing Open House was different than anything else I’ve written.  I’m what they call a ‘seat of the pants’ author.  Meaning, I just for the most part sit down and write without plotting or characterization.  And forget about work sheets!  With Open House I diligently did all the steps of plotting.  The result was that I wrote this book faster than any other I’ve ever written and… I hated it.  I didn’t even want to have a critique.  I knew it would only tell me what I already knew.  This story was boring.  So… I put it under the bed and wrote the next one which I loved.  Then, since I hate waste, I dug Open House back out and revised the heck out of  the characters as that was what was wrong.  The plot was almost perfect, but the characters were like cardboard figures.

Laurie:  Well, your revisions worked, because the story is great. Including the setting. In fact, there’s an old armoire in this story that almost felt like a character in the story. It’s richly described and I’m wondering where you came up with the vision of it?

Lavada:  Strictly my imagination on the armoire.  I love old houses and the furniture when it’s in them and not in my house.  I needed something to point to that old mansion and the armoire was the perfect thing to do it.

Laurie:  It worked. I could see that armoire so well. Okay, only a couple more questions. Reunion stories can be hard to write, showing the love and attraction, but holding out on the ultimate happy ending until the right time. You’ve managed to do that and I’m wondering if it came easily to you or if the characters had their own ideas about why they were struggling.

Lavada:  It did come easy.  Maybe too easy as I had to work so that it wouldn’t seem like a tired  and well used cliche. In this case it help endear Quin to me and from what I hear readers.

Laurie:  I already mentioned that I think the way they were torn apart seems anything but cliché, so well done. Do you have any other romantic suspense stories in the pipeline? We’d love to hear a little bit about them.

Lavada:  I think the next novel I will write will be a western historical. I do have another romantic suspense that is out of print right now and I want to get it re-released before starting something new.  It’s titled Forever Love because the publisher wanted the word ‘Love’ in the title but I’m thinking of renaming it Escape To Die for as it fits the story better.  The story is about a serial killer targeting women that are residents or associated with a safe house.  I love Mary Higgins Clark and how she puts in all the twists and turns that make it hard to know who did it.  I tried to do that with this story.  I’m hoping readers will let me know if I successfully accomplished it.

Laurie: Thank you so much for taking the time to visit today. I’m happy I had a chance to showcase another awesome story. For anyone who’d like to read more about this, here’s what the story’s about and links:

Aimee Forrester has returned to the small town of her high school dreams. When her longtime friend offered her a partnership in her real estate company Aimee leaped at the chance to restart her life in the place she left her heart nineteen years earlier. Now with a new home, and a job she loves, she pushes away memories that still fill her nights with dreams.

Working with an elite serial killer work force Detective Quin Martina finds himself in his own back yard investigating a string of murders. The killer is targeting real estate agents conducting open houses. Bad enough, but worse when an agent in the reality office Aimee Forrester owns a partnership in, is a victim.

The investigation forces Aimee and Quin together and their past attraction to each other flares to a new passionate emotion that both fight to deny. With the killer spiraling more and more out of control Aimee is drawn in and gets his attention. The violence and fear ramp already stretched emotions.

Quin knows they have to bring this killer down fast before more lives are lost and before Aimee becomes a target.