Today's special guest author is
Today I'm introducing you to author Markee Anderson and featuring her wonderful romantic novel, Cameo Appearance. I know that Markee has a lot of fans out there, so we'd both love it if you joined us for the Cameo Appearance Book Discussion that is running simultaneously with this blog. It is an active discussion between readers and the author herself!
Markee is giving a free e-copy in any e-format you want of Cameo Appearance to all viewers of Sandy's Spotlight. To pick your copy up, use the Smashwords coupon code JY95V. Click here to pick up your copy. This coupon is good through January 5th, 2012. If you'd like to join in on the Cameo Appearance Book Discussion, you have plenty of time to pick the book up, read it and join in! The Book Discussion will run through January 12th!
Markee is also giving away a $10 gift certificate to Amazon to one lucky person that leaves a meaningful comment on this blog. The winner will be picked randomly on Thursday, January 12th. Markee will personally notify the winner by e-mail on that day. You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
I'm excited to introduce Markee to you because if you're like me, when I find an author that I enjoy, I love to read more of their work. Markee is a prolific writer and I can't wait to dig in to some of her other novels. Currently, Markee Anderson is writing under five pen names. That's right! I said five pen names! You can find all of Markee's books as well as everything she's written under different pen names listed on SweetTale Books. I've also listed all the books by pen name and genre for you below. I've also recently heard through the grapevine that Markee just sold her 10,000 book! Mind you, that does not include giveaways. Congratulations, Markee! After reading Cameo Appearance, I can certainly see why so many people enjoy reading her books.
Click on the book cover, coupon code JY95V
Here is my December 29, 2011, 4 star review for Cameo Appearance:I loved Cameo Appearance!
So here's my thought process: You know those artisan chefs that can take an old classic meal that we all love, deconstruct it, make it look like something beautiful and brand new, but still keep the integrity of the wonderful original? In my opinion, that's exactly what author MARKEE ANDERSON did with CAMEO APPEARANCE.
This book is Cinderella-esk but completely modernized beautifully. Instead of evil step-sisters, you have an evil, demented killer that swears if he finds Cameo, he will kill her. You have an evil, psychotic blackmailer that has been terrifying Cameo that he will hand her over to the killer if she doesn't do as he asks. Cameo's character is a strong woman with strong beliefs that is forced into a position of complete submission that is sucking the life's breath from her. She lives in fear for her life as well as in fear for those she loves. And then you have the prince. And what a prince he is! I want him to show up at my front door! He is not the stuffy prince of days gone by. He is a strong, vibrant, brilliant character that not only knows how to handle himself, but can physically put a bully in his place. The prince has a wonderfully written cast of characters as brothers and sisters that I want to get to know better.
I hope that Ms. Anderson will sincerely think about doing at the very least a sequel to Cameo Appearance, but I would love to see a series come from the royal brother and sister characters she has so wonderfully created. I WANT MORE! I really enjoyed reading this book.
Books by Markee Anderson - Contemporary Romance
Books by Andie Alexander - Mystery and Adventure
Books by Kyra Myles - YA Paranormal and Sci-Fi
Books by Eryn Grace - Christian Romance
Books by Paige Ryter - Currently Contemporary Romance
Please share this blog with your Twitter peeps and FaceBook friends! Markee and I look forward to seeing you over at the Cameo Appearance Book Discussion. Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
Today's special guest author is
Today I am so excited to introduce you to author Linell Jeppsen and feature her wonderful novel, Story Time.Today is also a day of firsts for Sandy's Spotlight. I'm honored to tell you that my review of Story Time was done as an invited Guest Reviewer for the Paranormal Romance Guild. I have also started a Book Discussion blog to run simultaneously with Linell Jeppsen's Story Time feature. This will be an ongoing event to include all future books featured on Sandy's Spotlight. For a calendar of upcoming authors and novels, please take a look here. If you have read Story Time, we would love to have you join the discussion, ask Linell questions and leave her feedback about the book. If you have not read Story Time, the Book Discussion blog will run for two weeks. You still have time to read it and join in on this fun interaction with the author. Everyone is invited!Linell has some exciting news. Besides being a gifted author, she has recently opened a small bookstore called New Voices Books and Gifts in Republic, Washington.
More about this wonderful bookstore in Linell's own words: It was named New Voices because of all the fine, new authors I have met since having my first book published in March. We sell mostly good quality used books, but also carry the New York Times top twenty bestsellers. We also make custom perfumes and a bath and body line, home-made candles, assorted gift items and antiques. Once a month I feature Indy or small pubbed authors and have as many book signings as possible.
Story Time is available in Print and e-book formats
The following is my December 15, 2011, 5 star PRG review:This review of Linell Jeppsen's novel, Story Time, was completed by Sandy Wolters, as a guest PRG Reviewer, for The Paranormal Romance Guild. All rights reserved.
I must start this review by stating the fact that I have never in my life read a science fiction book. I must admit, I was a little nervous to pick this book up, knowing full well that I would be reviewing it and the only experience I have with Sci-Fi is in the form of the original TV show, Star Trek.
Given my obvious lack of familiarity with this genre, I must say that Story Time by Linell Jeppsen was probably the very best book I could have picked to cut my teeth on this genre with. I LOVED IT. I was concerned that I, as a reader, would start out on a planet that I was unfamiliar with and have unlikeable little green men/women as lead characters. That could not be farther from the truth. I want to warn you that I have tried to generalize my review so I would not give too much away, but there are spoilers if you continue.
Story time starts present day in the United States. Events start happening in the novel, that I have actually read and worried about in the papers within the last year. By starting Story Time out in this fashion, the author sucked me right into the story. The events escalate from birds falling out of the sky, to earthquakes, to a cataclysmic caldera eruption.
People are trying to survive these events as well as they can, and then suddenly, aliens appear on the scene. There are two types of aliens, "bad aliens" and "good aliens". I thought the parallel that Linell Jeppsen drew between the aliens and humans was absolutely brilliant.
The "bad aliens" moved in and started raping the earth of its natural resources prior to the earth's apocalyptic end. They did not care who or what they killed while mining these precious resources. Humans were insignificant to them. The "bad people" killed, raped and pillaged others to get what they needed to survive, turning their backs on those that did not belong to their group and never giving a thought to the heinous crimes they were committing. Needless to say, the "bad aliens" and "bad people" far outnumbered the good.
Ms. Jeppsen gives the reader hope with the "good aliens" that are here to help a select few humans be a part of the Harmony continuum to maintain the balance over the extinction of the human race as we know it. These aliens would only harm humans in the event that they were killing and destroying other humans. The "good humans" feel compassion for others, protect what is theirs, but will not kill another human unless it is absolutely necessary.
Story Time is told beautifully through Naomi, the leader of the people at Harmony ranch. You learn of the different character's journeys, hopes, fears and compassion. The final attack scene is so horrifying, that Naomi is willing to give her life to make it stop. Linell Jeppsen made you feel Naomi's pain, her sorrow, and her deep rage at what the human race had sunk to. While the subject matter is difficult and violent, you are left with a sense of peace at the end of the book.
This is absolutely a must read. Even if, like me, you've shied away from science fiction, you will love this story about human weakness, human suffering, and human strength.
Excerpt from Story Time:
The old woman was helped onto the stage by two young men. They guided her to a wrap chair, fussed with its cushions, adjusted the foot-stool, and positioned the speak globe, so it hovered approximately eight inches away from her mouth. She smiled at them, when they bowed slightly, and stepped to the back of the stage. The lights on the stage dimmed, until only one light remained; a spotlight that bathed her in a cocoon of gold.
She cleared her throat, and grinned out at the audience. “I have never gotten used to these things,” she said. There was a stir of laughter, as the speak globe shuddered, and moved another four inches to the left. She clasped her hands together and announced, “Welcome to Story Time!”
The applause started slowly, rising in volume, until it thundered through the amphitheatre. The purr-grass, sensing the emotions of the beings within the theatre, hummed and undulated in shades of pink and purple… the colors of love and joy.
The woman held her hands up. “Please, sit down children!” she laughed. “We don’t want to upset the grass, do we?”
There was more laughter, but after a few moments, the teachers settled their students down and they waited for the old woman to speak. There were almost as many adults in attendance as children for today’s story, as it had been many years since the story was told.
A hush fell over the crowd. For a moment, the speaker looked up at the emerald sky and its three attendant moons, and she was overwhelmed with emotion. One tear fell from her eye, and one of the young men rushed to her side, with a glass of water in his hands and a question in his eyes. She waved him away, with a smile. She glared briefly at the speak globe and said, “Shall we begin?”
Linell and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Book Discussion! Please share this blog on Facebook with your friends and family and don't forget to tweet your peeps!
Click here to go to Story Time book discussion
The Versatile Blogger Award
I'm excited to announce that I received notification from Dannye Williamsen that she awarded my blog, Sandy's Spotlight, the title of "The Versatile Blogger".
I want to thank Dannye from the bottom of my heart. Sandy's Spotlight has become very important to me because I think it's vital to spread the word about wonderful indie and small publishing house authors and their work.
I was asked to share seven things about myself.
1) I'm a chocoholic.
2) I've only read indie and small publishing house authors for over a year.
3) I love old movies. (Gaslight, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, anything with John Wayne)
4) I'm addicted to my computer.
5) While I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to reading, my favorite genre is romance of any kind.
6) I love to camp in a tent, fish, hike and do anything outdoors.
7) I'm a Nascar junkie.
I'm passing this award along to these five blogs that you might enjoy as well:
1) Sylvia Says, hosted by Sylvia Massara
2) Book Reviews by Norma Budden, hosted by Norma Budden
3) Snap, Crackle, and Popping Blog, hosted by Sharon Buckbinder
4) SweetTale Books, hosted by Markee Anderson
5) Indie Author in the Spotlight, hosted by Ken Hoss
Today's special guest author is
Today I'm introducing you to author Rebecca Stroud. We are featuring her short story/novella, Do Unto Others.Here's a little about Rebecca in her own words: I am an avid animal lover…have been all my life. My experience with them has been all over the map. I worked for veterinarians; for humane societies and wildlife sanctuaries; and - then - became a columnist, writing The Animal Advocate for various newspapers. Now, I'm proud to say, I'm an 'indie' author.
So it should come as no surprise that everything I write involves an animal (primarily dogs, who I personally think are the most fabulous creatures on this planet).
That said, Do Unto Others is not a 'comfy cozy' book. Meaning: Over the years, I've become so sick and tired of animal abusers getting off with a simple slap on the wrist that I took my frustrations out in this fictional story.
As our legal system seems to be perpetually hamstrung when it comes to punishing those who commit horrendous crimes, my 'special' twins have no such problem. Ergo, the book is - at times - quite gruesome and graphic.
Of course, I understand this book isn't for everyone. Yet, if you believe as I do that those who abuse the helpless - be they animals, children, or the elderly - deserve to pay dearly, then this novella may be right up your alley. For I think most of us harbor a deep desire for justice in whatever shape or form it may come…
Do Unto Others
The following is my November 30, 2011, 5 star review:
A must read for those that abhor animal abuse.
DO UNTO OTHERS by Rebecca Stroud is a very well written short story/novella (approximately 15,000 words) about animal abuse and vengeance taken on their behalf by people who have suffered life-long abuse themselves.
I really liked this story, although I must admit that it is not for the faint of heart. What made it truly believable to me is the fact that we've all heard the stories of animal abuse on the news and said to ourselves, "Just once, wouldn't it be great if the abusers got a little taste of their own medicine?" The only difference is that we, as people offended by the abuse, would never actually think of carrying that thought out. In the book, two sisters, who have been abused their whole life and find themselves helping the abused animals have no problem seeking vengeance for those atrocities against the animals. Their actions against the abusers are even more bloodthirsty than those of the animal abusers.
If you love animals, you should read this book. If you are an animal abuser, you should read this book.
Excerpt from Do Unto Others:
Warning: This excerpt contains violence.
Set up for excerpt: Amanda Silver is an animal-loving homicide detective and her fiance, Kevin Monroe, is the lead investigator for the Jacksonville Animal Cops Unit; Bullet is their dog: Sonia Forbes & Linda Jacobs are identical twins who work at the county shelter as euthanasia technicians: Bobby Cochran and Serenity Smith are animal abusers.
A twenty-six year old man was found tortured to death this afternoon in what police are describing as one of the most horrific sights they've ever seen…
Amanda switched off the TV and flopped down on the couch next to Kevin. Hoisting her glass of wine, she sighed. "What a crappy day."
"You can say that again," Kevin agreed as he proceeded to tell his roommate, lover, and best friend - now his fiancee - about the mutilated puppies, about their strangled mother that had been discovered in the trash after he'd already left.
"Good God, Kev! Do you have any leads on who did it?"
"Yeah. We got the shithead. Some scumbag who's done this before. Naturally. And, naturally, he'll be out on bond before we eat dinner."
Stroking Bullet's head, Amanda said, "Why is it that these monsters always get off? I mean, don't any of them ever get locked up for years? Hell, they don't even serve any time at all…" Her voice trailed off in frustration.
Kevin pulled her close. "I know, babe. Maybe if the state of Florida would change its laws and stop looking at animals as mere property. But I wouldn't hold my breath on that one."
"I swear to God, Kevin, when I saw that guy today literally oozing from all those bites, I thought, damn, how could anyone do this. Then when I heard he'd been arrested on multiple counts of animal abuse…well, I could almost understand."
Pouring more wine, Kevin said, "I hear ya. Man, do I ever."
* * * * *
Midnight, yet still as hot as an oven. Parked a block away from the ritzy condos, the two women let the van's engine run, cranking up the AC to full blast.
"So, how long are we going to wait?" Sonia asked her mirror image.
Linda scouted the street and said, "Half an hour maybe?"
"Okay, then let's go over the plan one more time."
* * * * *
Serenity Smith parked her Mercedes in the underground garage and took the private elevator to her penthouse. Dropping her purse on the bar, she poured a Scotch, kicked off her shoes and headed to the bathroom.
As the manager of a strip club, Smith should've still been at work. But exhausted from all the questions those "animal people" had drilled her with, she'd left early and now wanted nothing more than a cool shower followed by some cool sheets.
Just before undressing, she heard a loud rapping at the front door. "Who is it?" she yelled at the top of her lungs. No reply. Thinking they'd gone away, she started to turn on the water when the knocking came again. This time, non-stop.
"Shit, shit, shit," she cursed as she stomped out to glance through the peephole. And what she saw confused the hell out of her: Two gorgeous - and identical - brunettes stood smiling in the foyer. One was completely naked.
How they'd gotten past security, Smith had no clue. But never one to turn down possible new talent, she turned up the intercom and said. "And may I ask what you two are doing on my doorstep at this ungodly hour?"
The nude replied, "Applying for a job?"
Weary as she was, Serenity couldn't resist the temptation and opened the door.
* * * * *
Bobby Cochran was a thug. At the ripe old age of nineteen, he'd been in and out of jail at least ten times. Charged with everything from petty theft to attempted rape, he'd nevertheless skirted the justice system because of the good ol' boy network. Meaning: his daddy was a state senator.
Short and wiry with flaming red hair, Bobby was the spitting image of his father, J.R. He also possessed the same explosive temper. Quick to anger, he lashed out at anything that pissed him off. Including the family pets. Having already killed the last three, Bobby - now living independently in a trailer park - had one of his own.
Chained to a post in the remote and weed-filled backyard, the mongrel was as filthy and decrepit as Bobby's living quarters. Her name was Lady and Bobby hated her guts. But she served a purpose as she was a fantastic outlet for his anger and he was taking advantage of that now.
At two o'clock in the morning, few would hear the howls of agony as Bobby Cochran stuck a screwdriver into Lady's nose. And twisted with all his might…
* * * * *
Serenity Smith lay spread-eagled on her canopied bed, arms and legs tied at each corner post. Sonia was no longer naked but Smith was. And she was bleeding profusely.
The sisters sat on either side of her and told her why she wouldn't live through the night.
"First of all, Serenity," Linda said in a calm and matter-of-fact voice, "you betrayed an innocent creature. A dog who loved you with all his heart, who depended on you for everything. Yet you chose to ignore him completely. He had no food, no water, he literally lived in his own crap…" She gritted her teeth, her voice trailing off in disgust as she held up the pair of small lawn clippers, prepared to remove the last of Smith's toes.
"Furthermore, you thought you'd get away with this, didn't you?" Sonia sneered at the gagged and terrified woman, nodding at her sister to proceed.
Smith's eyes bulged as Linda smiled and snipped off Serenity's right thumb.
"Sorry," she said. "But your stinking feet were making me sick."