Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Friday, March 29, 2013

Birthday Bash with Splash: Day Five

Thank you to divine author Nicki Elson for coining the title above!

Well, the party's almost over. *cries* My gratitude extends to all the lovely bloggers who hosted and to all of the awesome guests for the Streamline Book Birthday Bash. I hope you win a copy of Streamline!

Here are today's hosts, and you can enter the giveaway at any of their blogs:


Friday 3/29

Actin' Up With Books blog

Author Trisha Wolfe's YA Bound blog

My Bookish Fairy Tale blog

Author Nicki Elson's Not-So-Deep-Thoughts blog

A special shout-out to Ava from Book Nerds Anonymous for casting these actors in the lead roles for Streamline. I love both of her choices!

    and  

Leo                                    Audrey

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop

Thanks to Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Alethea from Read Now Sleep Later for hosting this Easter Giveaway Hop!


A friend invited me to his house for Easter dinner, and I'm having a blast finding fun Easter desserts on Pinterest. I tested the recipe for Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests:

Check out my Pinterest Easter board HERE

I'm giving away one Jennifer Lane ebook of your choice:

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Bunny hop over to these participating blogs!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Streamline Birthday Day Four

Streamline's book birthday party has been rocking due to awesome hosts and book-themed treats like Olive Garden breadsticks (carbo-loading for swimmers), grape juice (this is Young Adult/New Adult after all), and oxycontin (but who said teenagers follow the law?)

Would you like to see the actors I envision as the main characters? Check out my Streamline Pinterest board HERE.

Make sure to stop by these blogs to keep the party going today!

Thursday 3/28
Author Carol Oates' blog
Book Nerds Anonymous blog
Author Hannah Downing's blog
Author Kyra Lennon's Write Here, Write Now blog

The giveaway has three days left--get on it if you haven't entered yet. ;-)

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Birthday Bash Day Three



Streamline turns one-year-old this week! We're celebrating with a giveaway of one signed print copy and three ebooks. You can enter at any participating blog.


Here are today's party hosts!

Wednesday 3/27
Books, DIY's, and Randomness blog
Life of a Total Book Nerd blog
Christina's Book Review blog
Author Elisa Dane blog 

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Nicki Elson's Divine Temptation

It's a special day for my pub sister and friend Nicki Elson--the release of her novel Divine Temptation!


Isn't that cover divine? I loved Nicki's first novel, Three Daves, a sexy 80's college romp (see my review).  Check out the blurb for Divine Temptation:


Maggie Brock has everything under control. Even her divorce, though painful at the time, only registers as a minor blip in her carefully constructed universe. Her life in Prairie Oaks has once again returned to a smooth, predictable pace…until an angel shows up in her bedroom.



The angel is just as bewildered as Maggie about why he’s been sent to her, but their unsuccessful efforts to gain understanding of the mystery fade to the background as their relationship grows. Soon, Maggie’s biggest problem becomes the angel himself, as her feelings for him develop into something less than saintly.



While Maggie struggles to keep her desires pure, a nefarious being lurks in the shadows of Prairie Oaks, watching and waiting for the opportunity to fulfill his ambiguous purpose. Preying on her conflicted emotions, the demon manipulates her at every opportunity, but the one to deliver Maggie directly into his hands is the last person she’d expect.


Get it HERE.

It's also Day Two of the Streamline Book Birthday Bash. Head over to these blogs for reviews, interviews, and giveaways.


Tuesday 3/26
Paulette's Papers blog
Author Cherie Colyer's blog
Mich's Book Reviews blog 
Author Kelsey Ketch's Book Nook blog 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Streamline Book Birthday Bash Day One


Happy Birthday to my book baby.


Streamline turns one-year-old this week! We're celebrating with a giveaway of one signed print copy and three ebooks. You can enter at this or any participating blog.

Here are the lovely book bloggers and authors posting reviews, interviews, and giveaways:


Monday 3/25
Nawanda Files blog
Author Darcia Helle's A Word Please blog 
Reading, Writing, and Everything in Between blog 
Author Jen DeLucy's blog 

Complete the Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway!


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gearing Up for the Streamline Book Birthday Bash


Streamline turns one-year-old next week! We're celebrating with a giveaway of one signed print copy and three ebooks. You can enter at any participating blog, starting Monday March 25th:

Monday 3/25
Nawanda Files blog
Author Darcia Helle's A Word Please blog 
Reading, Writing, and Everything in Between blog 
Author Jen DeLucy's blog 

Tuesday 3/26
Paulette's Papers blog
Author Cherie Colyer's blog
Mich's Book Reviews blog 
Author Kelsey Ketch's Book Nook blog 

Wednesday 3/27
Books, DIY's, and Randomness blog
Life of a Total Book Nerd blog
Christina's Book Review blog
Author Elisa Dane blog 

Thursday 3/28
Author Carol Oates' blog
Book Nerds Anonymous blog
Author Hannah Downing's blog
Author Kyra Lennon's Write Here, Write Now blog

Friday 3/29
Actin' Up With Books blog
Author Trisha Wolfe's YA Bound blog
My Bookish Fairy Tale blog
Author Nicki Elson's Not-So-Deep-Thoughts blog

Woo hoo! I'm stoked to have so many lovely party hosts, and now we need YOU to be our guest. Stop back next week for the party that runs all week long. *Major hangover predicted*

And now it's time to bounce with Omnific Publishing. For details, visit HERE.



Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Times

Happy March to you! It's still cold in Ohio, but I'm hoping the spring thaw happens soon. I planted some bulbs in the front of my condo last fall and I'm curious if they'll appear. (My thumb isn't exactly green.)

Now to share a few happy events in my writing career:

1) I'm under contract for my fourth novel with Omnific Publishing! On Best Behavior (The Conduct Series #3) will be the third and final novel in my romantic suspense trilogy, which tracks the journey of two ex-cons falling in love and running from the Mafia. It feels wonderful to finish a series.

With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series #1) and Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2)

I can almost visualize the cover for On Best Behavior, and I can't wait to see what my publisher creates. If you want to add On Best Behavior to your Goodreads TBR shelf, go HERE.

2) I'll be a featured author at the New Adult Sleepover Weekend. One of my sisters lives near Hilton Head, so the Savannah, Georgia location is perfect for me.


This gathering of authors and readers will take place 12/6/13, hosted by Stella Price and Damaris from Good Choice Reading. Check HERE for more info.

I look forward to discussing my mature YA/NA novel Streamline with readers.

3) Streamline's turning one year old. Stay tuned next week for the Book Birthday Bash, with over 20 blogs signed up March 25-29. Details are HERE.

Finally, I meet with my tax preparer today. Gathering bundles of paperwork crap isn't so happy, but getting a return will be! Have you done your taxes yet?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Recaptured Dreams by Justine Dell: Review and Interview

Today I welcome JUSTINE DELL to the blog. She's author of two romance novels: Recaptured Dreams and All-American Girl. Here's my review of Recaptured Dreams, and stick around for an interview with Justine!

Recaptured DreamsRecaptured Dreams by Justine Dell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Past Love Recaptured

Justine Dell's debut contemporary romance has a regal, formal air about it, making the novel feel not so contemporary. It's a romance between the lovely English lass Sophia and the dashing fashion designer Xavier.

Most of the story occurs "across the pond" in England's upper-class circles, where Sophia Montel lives with her mother. Sophia is twenty-seven and lives a somewhat aimless existence following a horrible car crash that stole her memories ten years ago. Her mother refuses to tell her about her past, which greatly frustrates Sophia (as well as me!) Sophia's good friend Anne Marie takes her to a fashion show featuring Sophia's favorite designer.

American Xavier Cain has ascended from humble roots to worldwide success with his "XS" fashion line. Yet his life is incomplete without the woman he fell in love with at age seventeen who has since gone missing. When he spots Sophia at the show, his mission to find his lost love is now complete! There she is!

The bad news: Sophia doesn't remember him.

The good news: Sophia feels a strange attraction to him.

Sophia and Xavier slowly rekindle their love despite obstacles thrown their way by her mother and snooty grandmother. Then the lovers manage to get in their own way by running off or acting incomprehensibly.

When Anne Marie talks to Sophia about why she isn't directly asking Xavier about their past, I cheered when she asked "Here's a thought, darling; why don't you ask him about it?" Why, indeed?

The reason for the mystery and misunderstanding later reveals itself, which blew me away and helped dissolve my frustration.

I really enjoyed the character of Xavier and his fashion creations (reminding me of a favorite TV show . . . Project Runway!) I believe that earlier revelations may have drawn me into Sophia's struggle more deeply. Without understanding her motivation at times, I grew frustrated by her choices. I still haven't decided how I feel about Sophia's mother. I'm not sure I buy her explanation for why she acted the way she did.

With a flow of melancholy, Recaptured Dreams is a well-written story about recapturing lost love.

View all my reviews
 
Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome, Justine! I'm excited to feature an Omnific Publishing pub-sister on the blog.
Justine Dell (JD): And I'm super excited to be pub-sister (love that name!) and part of the Omnific family! 

JL: Congratulations on your recent release of All-American Girl. How would you compare All-American Girl to Recaptured Dreams? Similar themes? Different settings?
JD: They have similar themes, yes, but different settings. I love, LOVE stories about two people reconnecting. There's something so pure about a man and a woman getting back together after years apart only to discover they are perfect for each other. The settings are way different. Recaptured Dreams might feel like it's historical to some because it's mainly set in London, and has things that gives it an "old world" feel. All-American Girl is much more contemporary and set in a way that the reader could feel like they are reading about their neighbor or friend. 

JL: How did you get involved in writing?
JD: Well, I've always been a good "story-teller", but never really grasped the "writing" part. I'm not an English major and I have zero background in writing, but I just loved to tell stories. One day someone told me I should write. I shook off that thought and continued thinking it would be awesome to do, but also thinking I could never pull it off. Then I watched a wildly popular movie based off a wildly popular book and I thought, "Hey, if a regular mom could do that, why can't I?" So then I did. The rest is history, I guess. :-) 

JL: I'm a big fan of the TV show Project Runway, and I loved that Xavier (the hero in Recaptured Dreams) is a fashion designer. (And surprise…he's straight!) What made you choose this career for him?
JD: I choose that career for him because he was straight! I like creating characters that aren't what people think they should be. In Recaptured Dreams, that's the straight and hot hero, Lance. In All-American girl, it's the hot-mess Sam. 

JL: Sophia's amnesia following a horrific car accident was quite interesting. How did you develop this aspect of the storyline? (Inspiration? Research?)
JD: The plot came first and I knew to pull it off, Sophia would need some sort of memory issue. Amnesia to the rescue. In the first draft, though, I hadn't fleshed it out enough and had to do some research to make it honest and believable. Amnesia is sort of a romance "cliche" and I worried about it, but I hope the spin I put on her's separates it from the pack. 

JL: What are some of your favorite novels?
JD: I don't have any favorite novels, just authors (and I gobble up all of their books!) Lora Leigh, Nora Roberts and Sylvia Day are probably my favorite three. 

Justine lives in the Midwest, happily catering to her family, which consists of a horse-obsessed teenage daughter, four dogs, and a husband who is too good to be true. She's never moved from her hometown, but hopes to grow old in a much warmer climate.

During the day she works a normal job with college students who try their best to keep her young. They've done a good job thus far. At night, said teenage daughter and her horse require mounds of love and attention. The weekends belong solely to her and her writing. That's when she morphs into a sticky bug, unable to leave the confines of her computer chair.

She started writing four years ago after seeing a movie that set off a chain reaction she couldn't have stopped if she'd wanted. It's not a hobby for her; it's an obsession. One she loves and one she loves to share.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia: Review and Interview

Today for the Insecure Writers Support Group, I'm supporting an author friend from Omnific Publishing.

I love an emotional read, and my pub sister Debra Anastasia has written a story that will make you howl with laughter and tears!

Poughkeepsie is a New Adult story about a psychology graduate student falling in love with a kind, sensitive homeless man. It's about growing up in a harsh world when love and friendship are the only things to keep you going.

Following my review is an interview with the kooky authoress and a giveaway!

Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie, #1)Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deeply Touching

I've been wanting to read this story for some time due to the many elements that appeal to me: healing, redemption, crime, a psychology graduate student character (Livia), a homeless character (Blake), and a story full of emotion. Wow! I got all that and more.

Livia is one of the kindest people around. She smiles at everyone, including the quiet homeless man who frequents the shadows of the Poughkeepsie train station. One morning when some thugs threaten the man Livia's come to known as "Green Eyes", Livia stands up for him. Their first words are adorable:

"You might want to find another place to sit," Livia said. "Those idiots could cook up a plan for revenge."
Instead of being the friendly advice Livia intended, her words seem to slice into him.
Why is he in such pain?
"I can't leave." Green Eyes took a huge breath. "This is the only place where I get to see you."


I fell for the sensitive soul Blake from the start, especially after learning that he counts each of Livia's smiles. His foster brother Cole explains:

"He counts. You've smiled at him four hundred and forty-six times as of a few minutes ago."

How cute is that?

Blake might have a chance with Livia because her boyfriend Chris is a total CAD. I mean, he calls psychology "the study of psychos"! Grr.

There are fantastic secondary characters in this novel:

* Livia's younger sister Kyle. What a potty mouth! Blake says "Pretty sure Kyle lacks any kind of editing mechanism". Their mother took off shortly after Kyle was born, and Kyle blames herself for not being worthy enough to make their mother stay. Kyle's low self-worth leads her to promiscuity. But perhaps she can find a love match in one of Blake's foster bros?

* Cole is Blake's foster brother who's studying to be a priest. He has a violent past he's running from.

* Beckett is a wildly colorful foster brother who aged out of the system before Cole and Blake, determined to pave the road for his brothers by committing all sorts of sins so they wouldn't have to. He's pretty much become a crime boss, with a muscled assistant named Mouse. Kyle refers to Beckett as "the human steroid." He doesn't believe in following rules, like parking in between the lines:

"I'm telling you, Cole, that's how it all gets started. The government's beating us down, and it all begins with those goddamn lines in the parking lot. Set yourself free, my brother. If you see a line, ignore it.

Eve and Mouse were also wonderful characters, along with Livia and Kyle's police officer father.

The flashbacks to the boys getting beaten by their foster dad, and the intensity between Beckett and Eve made me cry so hard.

There are also so many freaking funny lines in the story, but I won't share all the off-color words here ha ha. But one chapter title "My Penis Rules the World" gives you a good flavor! And this excerpt when Kyle berates Livia and Blake at a religious ceremony is priceless (naughty language alert!)

"Will you get your asses up here? People are waiting. I mean Beckett here has maybe a few hours before he's bent over a metal toilet getting it up the ass from a guy named Bubba. Do you want him to have fun now or not?"
The streetlight illuminated Beckett as he appeared next to Kyle. "Why would I be the bitch? I don't think that's a fair f*cking assumption."
Kyle refused to look at him and crossed her arms. "Of course you'd be the bitch. You have dimples. Bitches have dimples. And I bet your ass is soft like two pillows."


Debra, I love your screwballs sense of humor ;-) And I love even more that your story made me laugh and cry. An EXCELLENT read!

View all my reviews

And now onto the interview!

Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome to the blog, Debra. Obviously, I loved Poughkeepsie! The drama and humor are wonderful. Where does your whacky sense of humor come from?

Debra Anastasia (DA): I love to laugh and I was raised with a bunch of pranksters. We really tried to laugh our butts off everyday. I hope my kids are able to say the same someday.

JL: Why did you make Livia a psychology graduate student? What would be Livia's dream job?

DA: I wanted Livia to really have to show her kindness and lack of preconceived notions. And I also wanted her to have a need to help people work through difficult situations. I think her dream job would be working in a shelter, helping people get back on their feet.

JL: Hard question: Which brother would you most like to date? Which brother would you want to marry?

DA: I already married Blake. (Well, he was never homeless, but his manners and beautiful soul is the same.) And I would date Blake as well. Those bad boys can't always be changed, when I entered something as permanent as marriage, I wanted to know who I was dealing with.

JL: I hear some of your devoted fans actually got tattoos like the one the brothers have (see the book cover). What an amazing tribute! How do you feel about that?

DA: I think it rocks. And they have more guts than I do. I'm glad the story touches them because I certainly wanted it to convey love and loyalty. 

~*~

Sound awesome? Debra's giving away an ebook of Poughkeepsie to a lucky commenter on this post. To enter, leave a comment including your email address before 3-13-13.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mental Health Benefits of Exercise


How do you feel about exercise? Love it? Hate it? Obviously, exercise is great for our physical health . . . but did you know that exercise can work even better than medication for reducing anxiety and depression?

I'm one of those strange people that actually enjoys exercise. (If only I enjoyed eating right.) And the main reason I love exercise is the stress relief. Exercise makes me a happy camper.


Today, Ken Myers -- President of Morningside Nannies -- is here to tell us more!


Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Everyone knows that exercising has great physical benefits for ensuring your own longevity. However, not many realize the mental benefits that can come from regular activity as well. Exercising can do more than build strong muscles as it solidifies a variety of brain functions. There are several ways that your mental acuity can be healthier by exercising regularly.

1. Blood Flow - First, exercising in any form gets your blood pumping throughout your body. As your brain requires a continuous flow of oxygen, getting the blood moving faster will help it function on a higher level. This movement of blood increases a wide variety of mental operations, which can prevent depression. Some speculate that exercising benefits mental capacities because the blood moves nutrients faster to the brain in order to boost productivity.

2. Self-Confidence - As the source of a great amount of anxiety, stress, and depression, your dislike of your physical appearance can be detrimental to your mental health. All too often people look at themselves in the mirror and feel disgust by what they see. Exercising regularly can help people feel stronger, and focus on what their bodies can do instead of how they look. If people are happy with themselves, then confidence will be sure to follow.

3. Release of Negative Emotion - There are many people that harbor feelings such as anger, frustration, or anxiety on a regular basis, and stuffing these feelings down can be harmful. Regular exercise is a way to help reduce these feelings as your energy is spent on other tasks. It is a common belief that pushing yourself to exercise while you're angry or frustrated helps reduce these feelings as you become too tired to feel anything else by the time you're done. Because exercise helps decrease these negative feelings, some believe that exercise creates a happier you.

4. Not Just Your Muscles - Exercise does far more for your body than simply building muscle. When you focus on the task at hand, working your mind and body in concert, you strengthen your brain too.  In fact, activities like Yoga and martial arts have been known to alter brain structures due to the deep breathing, meditation, and coordinated movement. Exercise can bolster the mind-body connection.

Though it's a challenge to squeeze in a workout in your busy schedule, exercise is definitely worth it. Not only will you impress others with how 'ripped' your body is getting, but they will also notice a change in your attitude and emotional state. Keep your body and your mind fit and a better lifestyle will be yours.

Author Bio:
Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

~*~

Thank you, Ken! I often help my psychotherapy clients incorporate balanced exercise into their lives for all of the reasons you mention above.

Do YOU wish you could motivate yourself to do more exercise? Check out the Exercise is Medicine website. HERE is an assessment you can complete to identify your barriers to exercise.
 


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