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I’m ENGAGED!!!

engagmentI’m sorry for the late post, for those of you that follow along. The winds of change are blowing me down like a weather vane in a hurricane. On January 19th the love of my life proposed to me on our three year dating anniversary.

*WARNING! If you aren’t one to read mushy proposal stories feel free to like my post and move on.*

After work that chilly Saturday night he picked me up and we went to a hotel in Los Colinas. It’s a beautiful city just outside of Irving with modern restaurants and a small river walk that goes through the middle of downtown. The tears started early for me because he made me a mix tape as one of my gifts that he put in the CD drive on the way into town. The first song on the album was, “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. It was the first song that he ever played for me on his guitar and I was deeply affected that he remembered such a small memory from so long ago.

I knew that we were celebrating our anniversary but this hotel was on a whole other level; it had marble floors, a coat check, and valet (it was a far cry away from the Hampton Inn or Best Westerns your girl is used to). We went to a Mexican Restaurant that we had been meaning to try, El Famoso, with a reputation for good queso. I had been waiting to give him his gift all night but I already knew the gift card I had for him would be nothing compared to the ramblings of what I heard he had for me.

You see, Kanyon is really bad at keeping a secret from me when he is excited. It’s kind of cute because he will tell me that I won’t get any hints from him in a way that is worded more to convince himself. It’s as if he has to remind himself, “don’t tell her” repeatedly as I sit back and wait for him to tell me more.

At dinner, he pulled out a box and opened up a pair of gorgeous diamond earrings. I wish I could say that it was a complete surprise but as before mentioned, he is not good at holding back things from me. I put them on, immediately feeling shame for the gift I gave him. This was the first time I have given him a gift card because I wanted him to buy a suit he could wear to the scholarship banquets and job interviews that were sure to come. Not the most romantic of gifts but I knew it would be one that would serve him the most seeing as though he can play out the logistics of buying a $400 guitar but won’t pay $300 for a suit. I can’t judge, I do the same things with clothes and books.

After we arrived back at the hotel the cold winter air was blowing in from the North. He asked me if I wanted to walk down the city’s river walk and I wasn’t convinced it was a good idea. It was dark, after all, and I had on my shiny new earrings. I caved as he pleaded his case and walked the two blocks down to the entrance of the walkway. We held hands and took a couple of shivering selfies before a blistering wind blew through the cracks of the buildings and picked up the chill of the river’s water.

I oh, so eloquently said, “Okay, I’m done.” and turned to exit back up the stairs.

He called behind me, “Wait, I have to tie my shoe.”

I didn’t even look back as I continued to wattle my nice shoes on the cobblestone ground, “I’ll meet you at the stairs. You can catch up.”

He called out for me to turn around but I continued to keep walking. It wasn’t until he called out, “Lauren, for the love of God, turn around!”

Time stopped. To my surprise, there he was on one knee with a diamond ring shining just as brightly as the lights sparkled off the water. I couldn’t move. He was actually proposing and I had no idea it was coming.

I wish I could tell you all the wonderful things he said verbatim but I can’t seem to remember the phrasing just right. However, I can tell you about the look in his eye of fear and love. I can tell you about how our time dating together flashed before my eyes as if it was all leading up to this moment. A moment I would never forget. I no longer felt cold, or tired, or any other emotion other than joy in its purest form.

We laughed about how I ran away from him and I buried my head in the crook of his neck. I said yes about a thousand times as I wrapped him in my arms and showered him with kisses.

In my heart, I know this is just the beginning for us, and I can’t wait to share more with you all. So expect wedding planning posts along with book reviews in the months to come.

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Review: Buried Lies by Kaylea Cross

Buried Lies (Crimson Point, #2)Buried Lies by Kaylea Cross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buried Lies by Kaylea Cross

This book takes entertainment and goes one step above. You don’t just get one plot in this tortured love story, you get three. Being the second in a squeal, and my first time reading anything from the series, I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to read the first book to enjoy this one.

Poppy is a girl with a tangled past, looking to start a new life and a new business, Whale’s Tale, just off the coastline. Noah is the small town’s “sexy” sheriff, and the most sought after bachelor for miles. Everyone wants a piece of him except for his new hardworking neighbor Poppy. If running from a dark past wasn’t enough to stifle a new flame from igniting, then a suspected serial killer on the loose makes the plot boil over.

Women keep disappearing off the coastline and the FBI is finally closing in on their lists of suspects. He’s local, friendly, and has his eye on the newest flower for his garden. Now that the beautiful Poppy has moved into town, maybe she will be the last kill the monster inside of him needs to complete his own wicked garden.

Molly has been married to Carter for years but after he came home with a Purple Heart from combat, he hasn’t been the same. After moving closer to their friends in Crimson Point Carter’s behavior started to become increasingly more violent. He wasn’t the same man she fell in love with anymore. Soon they became separated and she was grateful to have her friends surrounding her, including Jace, Carter’s best friend. What Molly wasn’t aware of was that Jace has been in love with her since the moment they met. Now that his best friend was hurting her emotionally Jace would do anything he could to protect her, even if that meant ruining his relationship with the man he considered as one of his brothers.

Critique:

This book is cram-packed with action, romance, and suspense. The structure of the novel can be confusing to adjust to but I appreciated getting the point of view from all of the characters (I just wish they would have been more clearly defined when switching pov). If the element of the serial killer wasn’t in this book my review would probably be a lot different because I feel that at times the thoughts and feelings of the characters are spoon feed to the reader multiple times. We get it. They like each other, she is damaged, he doesn’t want to push her. Thank you. However, that being stated, the serial killer’s thoughts were on point and a nice contrast to all the relationship term oil in the book (I also appreciated the addition of the red herring. Nice touch.).

Overall, I would read this author again and hope they focus on more murder mysteries in the future. The drama and intensity is there in the writing and I would recommend this book to anyone that craves a mix of horror and romance to spice things up.

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Review: How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Books, Blogging and More by Joanna Penn

How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Books, Blogging and MoreHow to Make a Living with Your Writing: Books, Blogging and More by Joanna Penn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Books, Blogging and More by Joanna Penn

This book was a wonderful look into the difference between being an indie writer and a traditional author. I love the way how this is laid out breaking down the entrepreneur side of writing in today’s market. If you are looking for an easy to read guide to kick start your independent writing career then this would be on my short list of recommendations.

What really established her ethos in this self-help book was that Penn discourages readers to continue reading that want to traditionally publish, however, she still offers options for writers that is seeking help. This made me feel like she was truly interested in the success of her readers instead of making a profit with offering false promises or leaving the audience high and dry without resources. That being said, she does self promote her blog TheCreativePenn.com throughout the book, pointing towards specific posts that feature guidelines or interviews with other indie writers and cover artists.

It’s important to remember when reading this book that it is written for the purpose to make a sizeable living out of writing. I have to say that she along with many other top bloggers, self-help resources, and authors out there believe in quantity over quality. Please take this with a grain of salt if you are planning on controlling the quality of your work. If you are interested in writing books quickly (the correct way) then I would like to take this opportunity to suggest reading Stephen King’s On Writing. It is not only a good read but it will help to have advice given by a master writer that mass produces quality work (look for my review to come!).

How has the book helped me?

As you know if you follow my blog that I have been having trouble with traditional publishing. I have had a lot of interest in publishers however the hope of getting a traditional contract is running thin. Must of publishers today are considered “vanity publishers” which offer to publish certain titles if money is put upfront by the author to cover the initial publishing costs. For more information check out my post last week, Self Promoting AKA Publishing 2019.

This book has helped me see the benefits that can be had by becoming an indie author. Penn walks the reader through the steps it takes to become an indie author from writing and editing to cover design and creating a marketing plan. I have been creating a marketing plan of my own for my first ever full-length novel, Tempting Indiscretions, to be placed on the market in the Summer of 2019!

I highly recommend this book to other writers looking for some much-needed direction.

Also a good blogging friend of mine has started a 2019 campaign to unit all bloggers together! I highly recommend checking out this post and meeting other bloggers at The Captain’s Speech.

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Self Promoting AKA Publishing 2019

self-promotion

My mind is racing with too many cooks in the literary kitchen. I want to be a great writer and I’m learning to get any traction at all I have to make my presence known to the reader sphere by contributing regularly (daily) to social media outposts. Facebook, Instagram (Bookstagram), Twitter, Goodreads, and WordPress are all outlets that I have started to build as a platform and it is more exhausting than I thought it would be.

Long forgotten were my dreams of sitting in a cafe wearing a barret opening my acceptance letter with a full traditional publishing contract. (With an advance with enough money to put a dent in my student loans.) I feel nostalgic just reminiscing of those false memories of being a diamond in the rough. Now, I just feel rough. Publishing companies offer less and less opportunities for new writers to be traditionally published without putting up a large sum of money to kick-start your own career. Sure, I can see the practicality behind the business model but it takes away from the authenticity of the writing.

I know this because I have read so many posts and comments from other writers that clearly show they didn’t read their own blog but feel the need to say something in order to solicit their own blog or social media brand. Hell, I have been guilty of this myself while feeling the urge to grow my views and likes. I post and share and comment on things more than ever before but sometimes I feel more behind than I should on this whole self-promoting market that we live in. Hashtags and abbreviations I can understand but long and complex threads subjected to a response of 280 characters or less is a new beast that I am unprepared to battle. All of this communication and I feel like most people are saying the same thing. Like me. Befriend me. Support me.

It wasn’t until I took a step back from all of the social media and blogging to realize that I have spent so much of my time and energy gaining a media presence that I have not had time or energy to write new material. I didn’t even realize that my creative energy was dying in the weeds until I took the time to give myself a break and realize that I can’t post and blog and tweet without new material being cultivated and created. Otherwise, I’m just reviewing other people’s writing with no time to regard my own.

The point is this, there has to be a balance in this new-aged way of marketing and self-promotion that allows writers to feel encouraged about continuing to fight the good fight. Social media is important and it isn’t going anywhere. Let’s be real, I’m complaining about having to have a social presence on a blog. My blog. The same blog that gives me a rush when someone likes my reviews or views my page for the first time. The same blog where I’ve read and shared ideas with others to further my career and others careers as literary Jedi’s of the 22nd century. The same blog where I now promise to myself that I will put more focus on my writing and encouraging others to write then promoting myself. I can’t promote if I have no material to promote and I can’t encourage others if I can’t encourage myself. So, self, this is the pat on the back that I have laid the seedwork but it’s time to get back to doing what I love the most. Writing.

Happy Writing,
L. R. Rutherford

26 Calls for Submissions in August 2018 – Paying Markets — authorkdrose

There are more than two dozen calls for submissions in August. As always, anything you can think of is wanted – flash fiction, speculative fiction and poetry, creative nonfiction, children’s stories, along with several interesting themed issues. All of these literary magazines pay, and none charge submission fees. Make sure to follow submission requirements […]

via 26 Calls for Submissions in August 2018 – Paying Markets — authorkdrose

Review: The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones

The Bastard (Filthy Duet, #1; Dirty Rich, #6)The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones

I have problems saying that I quote, unquote “like” this book because I do and I don’t. This was a fun and fast read with steamy intimate moments but it bordered the realm of unrealistic to man-you’ve-got-to-be-f**king-kidding-me. For example, the lead character is a billionaire, a Navy SEAL, and a genius/ savant. Sure. Yeah. That could happen. Harper, his love interest, is his stepsister who works for his father that doesn’t love him because he is a bastard, and she is harboring a secret after they hooked up at a formal event six years ago in a cottage… I’m not sure which layer of this plot lasagna is the hardest to digest.

This being said, I did enjoy reading this book and I look forward to the before mentioned sequel coming out, The Princess.

Critique:
The author does a great job of grabbing the reader’s attention and investing their attention in the plot of the story. However, the critiques I have about this novel are not to be ignored. The story is told from the point of view of Eric and Harper as they navigate the thin ice a new relationship is starting to form from. Overall this is well done but throughout the book, the main frustration between the two characters seems unfounded because they just met after not seeing each other for 6 years. Everything about their build-up is forced and Harper’s emotions that hold her back are beaten to death in the prose. He left six years ago after a hookup, he didn’t owe you anything, do we really have to hear about it the ENTIRE book?

Harper has the foundation to be a solid female character and there are elements of her that I adored in the beginning. I think readers will agree that the chemistry set up between Harper and Eric is undeniable, and a joy to read. I would suggest that the writer take a look at the inner monologues and cut out about half of the times she refers to Eric as “this man.” Unless you are Jodi Ellen Malpas I think this term of endearment has been exhausted. The novel ends on a cliffhanger that will lead into the next novel and I feel that this was strategically done because I don’t think I would continue to read if I wasn’t invested into the ending of the first novel.

This is my first time reading Lisa Renee Jones and I feel like I will be looking out for more of her novels in the future. I rate this a three and a half stars but I mark it at four because I think this is a novel readers will enjoy overall.

Summary (with no spoilers):
Eric is the bastard son of the head of the Kingston Motors company in Denver. His mother, sick with cancer, made sure that he was claimed before she died giving him a gift that will curse him forever as the bastard son of an empire. After dropping out of Harvard Law and joining the Navy SEALs he goes to a family party to prove to himself once and for all that he doesn’t need to gain his father’s approval as more than a bastard son. Feeling the animosity for blood that won’t claim him he is just about to leave until he sees her, the Princess. Standing apart from the crowd she looks like royalty in a ballgown and Eric knows he has to make her his, if only for a night.

Issac, the legitimate heir taunts him by explaining the truth behind this wondrous creature, their new stepsister Harper. Before he leaves the family for good she follows him for a cottage for a night they both don’t forget. She is enough to make him think about staying but after seeing her making a speech with his family he turns his back on all of them for good.

Six years later..

Eric teamed up with a friend Bennett from Law School that believed in him and together they started an investment company worth billions. His past is kept behind him until the princess of his dreams walks in a steals his breath away all over again. The business is in trouble, his father and brother are up to something that will ruin the company and take her biological father’s legacy down with it. Helping her means helping them, something he vowed never to do.

Will he come to the rescue and save the family that has forsaken him? Or will he be there just in time to claim the princess and wash his hands of Kingston Motors for good?

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Her Guilty SecretHer Guilty Secret by Clare Connelly

Her Guilty Secret by Clare Connelly

Underwhelming. This book was underwhelming and hard to finish. Although this is a book that is meant to be a quick read, character development was not there and the absurdity of the “connection” between Conner and Olivia was repetitive and lackluster. I don’t like giving bad reviews because I believe there were some good qualities about this novel. For example, the intimate scenes were hot and have the potential to be well-written.

I think this author has a unique and bright voice, however, they need to refine the story behind the characters. In my opinion, the beginning is very rudimentary and dull because it is the stereotypical fireworks off the bat, no pretense or background explanation, just BAM the characters want to bang and have the same thoughts. Saying that I do feel like the story picks up in the middle and the ending is a lot better than the beginning. I don’t want to give away spoilers but if you do read to the end you will feel more connected to the characters right before they slip from your fingers forever. I wish that feeling could have been present in the beginning.

Critique:
I would not recommend this novel for purchase until major structural elements are corrected and refined. These elements include making sure the point of view is clear to the reader instead of jumping around multiple times in one chapter. Explaining more about the Donovan case at the beginning of the story so that the reader isn’t pressed for information midway through. Perhaps being more subtle about the fact that Conner is staring at her (or appearing to) the entire time of his lecture. -If I were a student I would know 100% they are hooking up without needing confirmation. Also, giving his lectures some depth and detail that would play into the ending would help by leaps and bounds to establish his status in the legal world. Sure you say he is a top-lawyer in Ireland, but where is the proof he has a brain when he isn’t baiting Olivia?

Summary (with no spoilers): Available February 1st, 2019
Olivia Amerelli is a senior law student at uni in London with dreams of making a name of herself as one of the UK’s top prosecutors. Nothing is going to stop this shining legal star until guest lecturer and top criminal attorney Conner Connelly gets in her way. This Irish barrister uses the law to free the prosecuted and upturn legal proceeding for the mega-rich. The energy between them is electric but acting on their feelings would put both of their careers in jeopardy. Can they fight the heat growing between them? Or will his sinister job be her undoing?

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