And the Reader Recommends…Nightwalker by Jacquelyn Frank


Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 11.33.11 AMNightwalker by Jacquelyn Frank


Read by Heather


Kamen is a powerful Bodywalker trying to fix a mistake that could destroy the entire world. Not too long ago, he brought back a destructive and deadly god, Apep. Apep is now preparing to unleash his fury, and Kamen needs to find a way to stop him. As soon as he realized what he did, he sought refuge among those he had tortured and fought against for thousands of years. He has spent every day going through ancient books and writings in hopes to find the solution. With time almost up, he stumbles across a possible way to undo the curse that could unite all the Nightwalkers, and bring an end to Apep. This quest is what brings him to Viève, a half-human and half-Wraith practically shunned by her people. She joins him at the compound and they become closer than anyone expected. However, Apep is about to attack, and the lives of all the Nightwalkers are at stake.


This was my first Jacquelyn Frank book, and apparently this is the last Nightwalker book. I had no problems following along with the story, but I can tell that there are some very interesting stories that come before this one. There were a lot of different characters with very different abilities, and they all seemed to have faced some very significant situations in the past. I would love to go back and get more details about them. I thought Kamen and Viève were a great example of opposites attract. Kamen has spent most of his life treating people horribly, and Viève has spent her whole life being treated horribly. I enjoyed the effect the two had on each other. The build up to the battle, and the battle itself was interesting. This book had a lot of fascinating and creative character details that came together in a magnificent way. I had a lot of anticipation leading up to the battle because Frank does a great job building it up. I knew there was going to be a lot of power involved, and there would be casualties. I was on the edge of my seat wanting to see what the outcome was going to be. I really liked seeing Apep’s perspective throughout the book. I thought him dealing with his pregnancy was entertaining, and it really showed me what type of god he was. Even though I have not read the other books yet, I think Nightwalker does a great job concluding the series.

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I’m Back!!

Darynda Jones and Barbara Vey
Darynda Jones and Barbara Vey

It’s been a rough year for me, healthwise, but it’s time to jump back in.  All is well, and I’m raring to go.  I have learned that I really need an assistant to take things over for me if I’m not able to (and to bounce ideas off).  Funny how we always wait for something catastrophic to happen before we realize we are not infallible.  But, enough about that.


This past weekend I spent in Minneapolis giving the keynote to a wonderful group of writers at the Fall Harvest of Midwest Fiction Writers.  It’s always exciting to deliver a keynote and have them learn a little about me that maybe they didn’t know (although, sometimes I feel like an old-timer and everyone knows everything already).  I had never been to Minnesota, so another state to check off my list.  I did get to see the Mall of America from the outside, but since I’m not much of a shopper, that was good enough for me.


Darynda Jones putting a spell on her audience
Darynda Jones putting a spell on her audience

Darynda Jones did the workshops and made all the magic happen.  She spoke to a sold out crowd and as we were leaving I heard many writers saying that they couldn’t wait to get home to start writing.  A winning workshop, in my book.  The scary thing was that Darynda (and her sister, Annette) almost didn’t make it at all.  The airline in Maine lost her reservation.  That’s right, even though she had a reservation number, they couldn’t find her in the system.  Lucky for us, there was a later flight and they made it in time for dinner in a delicious Italian restaurant.  But, Saturday night was even better because we had Mexican with a much appreciated Margarita (one’s my limit, but oh so worth it).


Next year, they have Eloisa James lined up, so mark it on your calendar because their Fall Harvest sells out fast.

.Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 9.21.00 AM

To celebrate my return to daily blogging, I’m giving you all a chance to try Darynda Jones by giving away a hardcover copy of Seventh Grave and No Body.  Read it yourself or give as a gift to a book loving buddy.  Just leave a comment (a “Hi” will do).


Bottom Line:  Help Wanted: Be an assistant to a book lover who will make you read and talk about books, authors and their events…all the time.

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And the Reader Recommends…Dead Center by Danielle Girard


Dead Center by Danielle Girard

Read by Heidi
The Rookie Club of the Police Force is being targeted by a serial rapist. Jamie Vail is determined to catch him. She knows it’s him. He’s sending messages through his victims, but he’s too fast, too sneaky, and too good at not getting caught. YET. The more victims there are, the more personal it becomes. Jamie knows it’s only a matter of time before he comes after her. And she will be ready.
The adrenaline that was created while reading this book was AMAZING!!! I thought I knew what was going on and then there was a quick turn and I was down another rabbit hole. I am really happy there are more books in this Rookie Club series so I can have the rush again!

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Television Personality

My Mom: The Television Personality

Andy's HeadshotThose of you who usually follow Barbara Vey’s blog already know who I am. She mentions me on the blog (to the point of embarrassment sometimes) and I have been to a few events with her and have met a lot of you in person. For the rest of you, I’m Barbara’s youngest son, Andy.

Did you see my mom on TV this morning? She was excellent! She was on The Morning Blend, a local daily morning show on TMJ 4 in Milwaukee, WI. They asked her on to talk about her event, the 2016 Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend that will be going on in April. Oh man, did she do a great job!

I woke up early this morning to drive Barbara to the television station and I was nervous. I didn’t tell her I was nervous, but I was. I mean, this is my mom! She has a tendency to embarrass me from time to time. I’m a 33 year old man and she still treats me like I’m 10 years old. I have to help her with computer stuff from time to time… You know, like you do with moms. So, of course I was nervous! She was going to be talking on camera! In front of tons of people–LIVE in Milwaukee!

"I'm ready for my close-up"
“I’m ready for my close-up”

She wasn’t nervous at all. Cool as a cucumber, that mom of mine. She walked in, head held high, and everyone was so excited that she was there. They talked about the last time Mom was on the show and what was new in her life.

She even made friends very quickly with the other guests on the show: two men from the Milwaukee Comedy Festival and a writer for Milwaukee Record. She told them nerdy stories about meeting Bruce Campbell and they were impressed. My mom, she’s really great.

From off set watching Barbara Vey on The Morning Blend
From off set watching Barbara Vey on The Morning Blend

Then, it was time for her to go on the air. I got a good spot so that I could take pictures and I got to watch my mother be amazing. She was delightful and charming, she made the cohosts laugh. At one point, an employee came up to me and said, “Your mom seems like she’s a really fun person to be around!” That’s when I realized that I had been grinning from ear to ear watching her kill it on live TV.

Anyways, just wanted you all to know that.

Bottom Line:
Barbara Vey really make’s her son proud.

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Historic Davenport Hotel

Historical Romance Retreat

When I held my first reader luncheon four years ago, there weren’t a lot of reader events where the focus was only on the reader.  Now I’m happy to see them pop up all over the country.  The newest to throw their hat in the ring is geared to a very specific genre, historical romance.  Brainchild of authors Renee Bernard and Delilah Marvelle, the Historical Romance Retreat will make it’s debut September 2016.  Renee is here today to tell us all about it.


BV:  It’s quite ambitious to be so genre specific with an event.  Why did you decide to do it this way instead of mixing it up with many different types of romance?

RB:  I never really thought of it as a risk. Other events seem to be about specific heat levels or even just one specific author; but more and more of them were just a mix and mash-up with more industry professionals than readers in the room. We didn’t see anyone carving out an experience just for historical romance or stepping up to say that there is really nothing “old-fashioned” about today’s historicals.  We wanted to celebrate historical romances and the authors who write them, but most of all we wanted to put the readers who love them in the VIP chair. We wanted to create something new where they could truly escape into the worlds they love, rub elbows with heroes and feel like the magic in those books was right at their fingertips.

We’re also hoping that any fan of romance, of any genre, will consider attending and risk falling in love with thirty-six author friends and the books that set the bar for Romance—in any category.


Renee Bernard

BV:  What do you want readers to get out of it?

RB:  Besides armloads of books and prizes, gifts and swag, I hope Readers come away with the reader experience of a lifetime! I mean it. Our Inaugural Retreat will never come again. (The Historical Romance Retreat, yes, but it’s only the first HRR once.) Our goal is to keep them constantly amazed at the company they’re keeping, the fun they’re having and to make sure everyone has to pinch themselves at least three times before they go home because the Retreat is so incredible!

If we do it right, we’ll exceed their expectations and reset the bar for every other event they ever attend. (Except your event, Barbara….I don’t think anyone is trying to match that one!)


BV:  What can readers expect?

RB:  To laugh, to truly meet every author in attendance, to bring an empty suitcase so that they can get all their books home and to wonder why they have to wait until 2018 before we do it again.

Delilah Marvelle

BV:  Who are some of the authors attending?

RB:  Here’s our line up for 2016!  Victoria Alexander, Katharine Ashe, Mary Balogh, Renee Bernard, Pamela Britton, Elizabeth Boyle, Christi Caldwell, Anna Campbell, Isobel Carr, Tessa Dare, Robyn DeHart, Lila DiPasqua, Eileen Dreyer, Shana Galen, Cecilia Grant, Lorraine Heath, Elizabeth Hoyt, Madeline Hunter, Callie Hutton, Sabrina Jeffries, Erin Knightley, Jenn LeBlanc, Rose Lerner, Kathryn LeVeque, Julia London, Julie Ann Long, Deb Marlowe, Delilah Marvelle, Cathy Maxwell, Christina McKnight, Jess Michaels, Linda Lael Miller, Miranda Neville, Cindy Nord, Erica Ridley and Ava Stone!


BV:  The event will be in Spokane, WA.  Why did you decide to hold your event there?

RB:  I think eastern Washington and Idaho aren’t exactly event central for the industry so I was happy to think outside the box. But the real truth is that the Retreat is launching in Spokane, WA because that is where the historic Davenport Hotel is located. And once Readers walk into this hotel, they’ll understand that we couldn’t be anywhere else. The venue isn’t just stunning; it’s awe-inspiring. Readers won’t have to use their imaginations to pretend that they’ve stepped into historical settings. They will be in historically romantic settings and every corner, column and ballroom will make their hearts beat faster. The amenities are world-class and we’ve negotiated a very affordable stay for our attendees, so no one is left behind!

One day, we may add an east coast location to the Retreat, but it would have to match the Davenport’s ambience to get the nod, so we’ll see…

The Historic Davenport Hotel


BV:  What makes historical romance and by association, historical romance readers, so special?

RB:  Where do I begin? Historical romance has it all—and for many readers, it is the Big Bang of Creation when it comes to romance as literature. Every flavor of romance that has evolved since its inception can trace its roots back to historicals. The exciting thing is that historical romance never got dusty, never stopped growing and evolving on its own and readers who love historicals know it!

Readers of historical romances are intelligent, well-informed, savvy and sensitive. They want stories that transcend the page, that can withstand the test of time and earn a spot on their precious “keeper” shelves. They are the most loyal and discerning readers in the world! (And in my humble opinion, they are also the greatest people on the planet!!)

BV:  Will readers of other genres enjoy the Retreat?

RB:  YES! If they love romance, mystery, drama, history, thrillers….anything with human beings in the story….come on down!  Historical romances have anchored the literature of women for as long as they have not because of ripped bodices and silly prose. These are books that pack a punch.  Don’t let the petticoats fool you.

Pride and Predudice

BV:  Do readers have to dress up in costumes?

RB:  No.  We want everyone to be comfortable and relaxed.  Now, will some readers dress to make the most of the parties and gatherings? Yes, we hope so. Am I looking forward to seeing their creative and colorful costumes if they choose to dress up?  Yes!  Will we make anyone feel ‘left out’ if they prefer to wear what they want?  Nope!  No chance of it.  Readers rule at the Retreat!

We do ask you to wear clothes of some kind. (So not too comfortable and relaxed, please.)

BV:  Final thoughts?

RB:  Delilah Marvelle and I are so excited to launch this event and to welcome authors and readers from all over the globe. We don’t underestimate the challenges ahead and we’re putting our hearts and souls into building a new model for reader/author events.  But we also don’t underestimate the love that Readers have for historical romances and how eager historical romance authors are to share their gifts with the fans who make everything possible!

Please come to the Historical Romance Retreat and fall in love again!

You can get all the information about attending the Historical Romance Retreat here.  And, as a special treat, Renee Bernard will be giving away a  digital copy of the entire Black Rose Trilogy! (Lady Falls, Lady Rises and Lady Triumphs) and Delilah Marvelle will give a digital copy of THE DUKE OF ANDELOT.  Two winners will be chosen from the commenters and be announced in tomorrow’s blog.


Bottom Line: “Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde

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Hot New Releases

Thanks for the warm welcome for Wendy yesterday.  She was thrilled and I know she’s excited to visit the US next year for the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane.  Tomorrow I’ll post a blog about the event.  It’s brand spanking new and I’m looking forward to it.  Now here’s some books you may be looking forward to.



Permanent Vacancy by Katy Lee (Harlequin, Love Inspired Suspense)

No Woman Left Behind by Julie Moffett, , Carina Press (HQN).

Misled, Hidden Lies Book #: 1 by Lea Griffith  (Hartwood Publishing)


Banshee Seduction, Montgomery’s Sin Book #: 1 by Diane Saxon  (Hartwood Publishing)

Paint, The Art of Kink Book #: 2 by Becca Jameson and Paige Michaels  (Hartwood Publishing)

Isabella’s Airman, Out of Time #2 by Sofia Grey (Hartwood Publishing)



Shev by Tracey Devlyn (TDC Creations, Inc.)

The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert (Forever E-Book)

Operation One Night Stand by Christine Hughes (Forever Yours E-Book)



One More Shot by Victoria Denault (Forever Yours E-Book)


Bottom Line:  Kind of hard to do beach reads when the temperature is 45 degrees…come on Wisconsin, it’s June!



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In Love with a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle


This week is exciting because we have two new book lovers in the house who will be writing about the books they just read.  First up is Wendy who lives in the UK and loves historicals.  I met Wendy about 18 months ago when I was in London.  She had friended me on Facebook and contacted me when I arrived.  We met for lunch and then Wendy and her sister, Marcia, came another day so we could tour London.  Wendy is an avid reader and is now in contact with several authors in the UK and planning a visit to the US next year to attend the Historical Romance Retreat (look for the inside info on this conference in Wednesday’s blog).  So, please welcome Wendy and enjoy her book blurbs.



In Love with a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle read by Carolyn Morris


Listened to by Wendy


Kate, Lady d’Allenay is a Baroness in her own right, one of the few hereditary titles in England that can pass through the female line should there be no male to inherit. She therefore enjoys the freedom this affords her and has given up on love and marriage. Whilst out riding in a bit of a temper after an argument with her younger sister, she literally collides with Lord Edward Quartermaine – or Ned as he is known, he takes evasive action and ends up taking a bad tumble from his horse, resulting in a bang on the head and a temporary amnesia – as the perpetrator of his accident Kate has him taken to her home to recuperate.


I adore Liz Carlyle and in this delicious and delightful tale of a love which grows under apparently impossible odds, she does not disappoint. As Ned’s memory returns it is obvious that he has led a less than salubrious life as the proprietor of London’s most notorious gaming salon, a life which does not suit Kate’s utterly respectable, aristocratic and cloistered, country life style, despite the love and desire growing between the pair. Ms. Carlyle is a mistress of characterization, and her cast is entertaining, loveable, sometimes slimy, and in the case of Kate’s Mother, Aurelie, hilarious. Loved it…highly recommended.

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Book Expo America: Promoting Books

Dan took the picture, but I love how he tagged it, “Okay, I have to start with this: I met Brené Brown!!! We chatted, and she called me a midwife for authors.”

BEA (Book Expo America) is a huge trade show going on now in New York.  I didn’t get to go this year and I’ve got to tell you, I really miss it.  In the past, I’ve run into celebrities (Kevin Sorbo, Julianne Moore, Tim Conway, Cary Elwes) and met many authors (famous and brand spanking new).   Lucky for me, Dan Blank sends out amazing newsletters every Friday and today he highlighted BEA and really explained what’s it about who goes and why.


In Dan’s blog today, An Inside Look at How the Publishing Industry Promotes Books, he says, “In walking the show floor this year, I was thinking about the elephant in the room that some writers either don’t know about, or don’t want to know about: that to write is one thing (it is the first thing); but to sell, is another thing entirely.”  I have talked to many authors over the years and this marketing the book part is always scary and confusing.  Dan Blank shows through pictures and words how different groups try all different things to get their books noticed.


The floor of BEA.


More insight from Dan:  “As I journeyed through BEA this week, I considered: what are all of the sales tactics being used to sell books here? A partial list:

  1. I have to start with this one: the first great sales tactic to sell a book is to indeed write a great book!
  2. Location (the Javits Center in NYC is flashy and expensive)
  3. Booths and booth design (you see lots of different strategies here)
  4. Free books, including advanced copies of highly anticipated books that won’t be published for months.
  5. Costumes (yes, there were people in costumes promoting books)
  6. Autographs from authors
  7. Celebrities
  8. Swag: free stuff
  9. Posters & banners (some 30 feet tall)
  10. Panels, sessions, concurrent events. In some of these situations authors become teachers, but in all the person on the stage is facing their fear of public speaking. My gut is that 99% of them would classify themselves, to some degree, as an introvert.

Now this is less then half the things that Dan noted and you can read the whole blog (including many pictures) here.


This should be pretty eye opening to many readers and writers who don’t realize how much thought and creativeness goes into the process of getting the books in the hands of readers.  Dan Blank is a must read for me (because there’s so much I still don’t know).


Bottom Line:  Maybe next year BEA…maybe next year.

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