Author Archives: ALBTALBS

Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Christie Kelley

Hi friends! I’m very excited to welcome Christie Kelley to ALBTALBS. I believe she’s a first time guest, so I hope you all give her a warm welcome! I do also want to note that this post was initially supposed to go live on January 9th, but … well. Anyway! What’s important right now is that A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet turned 10, and Christie Kelley is kind and generous and offering you a prize! Remember those ~zany interviews I used to do as part of the monthly “Guest Author & A Giveaway” series? Christie opted to do one of those, so here are her questions and answers!

Ten Ways to Ruin by Christie Kelley book coverWhat was your favorite book as a child? And what is your favorite book now?
When I was a child, I devoured the Little House on the Prairie books. I think I’ve always felt like this was not my time period, which is probably why I write historical romance.

Learning about my family as I was growing up, my mother always talked about her how her relatives had crossed the Appalachians by the early 1800s, and finally settled in Missouri and Kansas so I felt an affinity toward Laura Ingalls.

I’m not sure I have a favorite book now. I love Pride and Prejudice but my favorites change depending on my mood and what is happening in my life. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of cozy mysteries.

If you could create any movie mash up – which films would you combine? (Why?)
I have to be honest here, this is not something I think much about. So I did a little Googling and saw a movie post for The Bounty Hunter staring Jennifer Anniston and Boba Fett (from the Star Wars franchise). Admittedly, as a Star Wars fan (not fanatic like my sons), I thought the idea of Boba Fett finding out his ex-wife is his next bounty was great. I don’t think he’d be as easy to get away from as Gerard Butler.

What inanimate object would you eat if it was safe to do? Why?
Hmm, well as I write this, I’m staring at my Christmas tree, which fills me with happiness. So why not munch on a Christmas tree. Maybe not full size, though. I’m assuming the ornaments would be little candies that could be pulled from the main tree, which would be cookie or cake. And now I’m hungry. Continue reading

Blogiversary Guest Ainsley Wynter: Sliding Into 2021 and Leaving the Ghosts of 2020 Behind

Hi friends! I’m very pleased to welcome [back] Ainsley Wynter to our blogiversary celebration! (Especially since 😬😅 I still owe her a review… reviews?) And seriously – I think we’re all in on this topic, yeah? [I think … it might be important to note that she sent it to me on January 4th…]  So without further ado, Ainsley!

SLIDING INTO 2021 AND LEAVING THE GHOSTS OF 2020 BEHIND
By Ainsley Wynter

Kissed at Midnight by Ainsley Wynter book coverAs the door closed on 2020, I was one of the people who slid out without saying much of a goodbye. At midnight on New Years Eve I sat on the couch with my kids and husband and watched the ball drop—twice, since I live in the Midwest—and then went to bed. I did that heroine thing of holding a breath that I didn’t know I was holding. Some time later on the morning of January 1st, I carefully blew it out. Maybe 2021 wouldn’t be a total shitshow. Maybe we could leave some of the awful in the past year behind. Continue reading

Blogiversary Guest Jody Wallace: Cats Are As Perfect As Books

Hi friends! I can believe it less than you, possibly, A LITTLE BIT TART, A LITTLE BIT SWEET HAS TURNED 10! I put out a few calls on social media asking for people to help celebrate, and the wonderful Jody Wallace was all over it, so a big thank you to Jody! <3 She’s also got some pretty amazing prizes up for grabs, so read till the end. Yes, every guest post in January will have a giveaway! (And some of the other ones too …)  We’re starting out 2021 right here at ALBTALBS! So without further ado … Jody!

Cats Are As Perfect As Books

Curled up PipLimecello told me I could write about whatever I wanted, so let’s talk about cats. Specifically, our new cat, Pip. She’s five pounds of sass and attitude, and we have not yet fully integrated her into our household of four people, one bearded dragon, and two dopey dude cats and two old lady cats. First we maintained a general ‘getting a shelter cat healthy’ quarantine and now we’re having to maintain a ‘turns out the sad little shelter cat has a ton of attitude once she feels better’ quarantine. Continue reading

We’ve Hit Double Digits! AKA ALBTALBS Turns 10!

Happy 2021! We made it! Limecello here. 

Hi friends! I’m writing this as I watch the game. There are less than 5 minutes left. I “opened” this post just as the game started so … my emotions have been ALL OVER the place. Which … is kind of how A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet has been since its inception.

The past few years, if you’ve stuck around, you know have been slow. For various reasons. First and the biggest being blogs are a “bygone” thing … but also there’s just … a lot going on here with the crew. I’m a mess. Others in the review crew have a lot going on. At least one of us is still in school.

So! I really wanted to thank you for sticking with us! <3

I’m really going to try to post at least a BIT more regularly. Definitely Aidee and Babs are really consistent with providing reviews. Faster than I post them. 😬😅 So there’s that to look forward to.
I’d like to revive the Smithsonian Heritage Months … we’ll see how that goes. (If anyone would be interested in participating, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!)

As a thank you, nearly every post will include a giveaway this month. All the guest author posts will, definitely. And you know what? SO WILL THIS ONE!

I want to be clear, anyone is always welcome to enter any A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet giveaway. Sometimes there will be US-only giveaways because of location, or different prizes… and/but here’s one for the authors. I’ll do a 50 page beta read of anything you send me. I might do more, but I promise to read and comment on at least 50 pages. I tend to edit as I go, so you’ll get that too. I’ve beta read and edited for NYT and USA Today best sellers in the past, and was the editor-in-chief of a law journal.

Comment on this post, and throughout the month … I’ll be drawing a name at the end of the blogiversary. If you’d like me to do a beta read, drop a comment here and if you want, the gist of your story. The winners will as always be drawn randomly to keep things fair.

Anyway, thanks for sticking around, I hope you win a prize or two, and you’re also always welcome to write a guest post or review!

*ETA: As some clarification … Please add in your comment if you want to enter the beta read giveaway. I’m going to assume everyone who has already commented is a yes, just in case, unless I personally know the person or they tell me not later … but anyone after 6 PM on Saturday, January 2nd, please indicate whether or not you’re interested in the beta read. Thanks!

Guest Author Pam Rosenthal on Second Chances: Notes on Reissuing a Story Written Long Ago

Hi friends! Please welcome Pam Rosenthal to ALBTALBS! We’re very excited to have her – and just look at that book cover!

Second Chances: Notes on Reissuing a Story Written Long Ago

A House East of Regent Street by Pam Rosental book coverMy husband Michael and I have often worked together over the course of our more than 50-year-long marriage: from the joint film reviews we wrote in our twenties, to nine years together as booksellers, to our current copyediting business, where we charge by the word so we don’t have to worry about the cost to a client of the occasional time-consuming battle royal over a comma. (And yes, we love editing romance.) When I was writing erotica and romance, Michael’s part in the collaboration sometimes took the form of direct intervention, like his rewrite of my meandering synopsis of The Bookseller’s Daughter. It might also entail his bringing home some new book, casually remarking, as he put it on the coffee table, that I might find it interesting – most notably, an anthology called Erotikon: Essays on Eros, Ancient and Modern, which sparked the thoughts at the heart of my last romance, The Edge of Impropriety. Or it could mean taking my editor’s side when I resisted her request to change a scene in Almost a Gentleman. Bullheaded as I was, Michael changed my mind by convincing me that David and Phoebe would not have done that sex act at that point in their relationship. Continue reading

Guest Author Jackie Barbosa: Sleeping with the Enemy

Please welcome Jackie Barbosa to ALBTALBS. It’s been a while since we’ve had a guest so we hope you enjoy!

On September 15, the fourth and “final” (more about why that’s in quotes toward the end of the post) book in my Lords of Lancashire series comes out. Sleeping with the Enemy is a book I never really planned to write. But then, I didn’t plan to wait to release the third book in what was originally meant to be a trilogy until a full 7 years after the first one, either.

So let’s get into the way-back machine. In the early days of 2011, I had self-published a short story called The Reiver that was originally included in the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance. And entirely against my expectations, it did really well, especially on Amazon. The experience galvanized me to write a new series with the intent of self-publishing it. (N.B. The Reiver is currently free for kindle.) Continue reading

Guest Author: Stephanie Burgis Discusses Her Upcoming Release, Moontangled

Hi friends! Stephanie Burgis reached out to me about reviewing her Hardwood novella – and I asked if she’d be willing to grace us with a guest post! I’ve read the prequel novella to the Hardwood Spellbook series, Spellswept, and really enjoyed it 🙂 So without further ado, Stephanie!

Stephanie Burgis on Moontangled

Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis book coverIn the world of 19th-century Angland, no extravagant Prince Regent or parliament of gentlemen rules the nation. Instead, a group of hard-headed and pragmatic women politicians form a ruling Boudiccate, leaving all irrational magic—by tradition—to the more “naturally” emotional and irrational gentlemen.

It’s the way that society has been divided ever since Boudicca first expelled the Romans with the help of her second husband, a mage. Even now, every ambitious young politician is expected to take a mage for her own spouse if she hopes to ever rise to the Boudiccate. Of course, because of all of those ingrained social rules, mages can only ever be male…

Until now. The formation of Thornfell College of Magic for Women (founded by the first known woman mage, Cassandra Harwood, in the novel Thornbound) means that every unthinking social rule is suddenly open to question. Society at large is reeling with the impact—and two young women are hoping to finally seize their chance.

Caroline Fennell has been in strict training to become a member of the Boudiccate ever since she was eight years old, under the patronage (and control) of her famous and powerful aunt—who has ordered Caroline to follow the expected path by marrying a gentleman mage no matter what her private inclinations may be.

Juliana Banks spent her own youth forced to hide all of her brilliance and natural gifts as her family was horrified by her forbidden magic. Finally, as a student at Thornfell College, she’s found a home where she belongs and she can shine. As soon as she graduates, she’ll be a certified mage and thus—if the rest of the nation will accept it—a suitable spouse after all for Caroline Fennell…who’s been her secret fiancée for years, unbeknownst to the rest of the world.

Everything seems to be on track for all their years of passionate hopes and dreams to come true…except that ever since the events of Thornbound, Caroline has suddenly gone strangely distant. Now, as Thornfell College prepares for a magical outdoor ball to be held on the edges of their enchanted woods, Juliana is determined to win back her secret fiancée—but Caroline is equally determined to break her own heart by giving up Juliana for Juliana’s own good…and no one has ever accused Caroline Fennell of being easy to dissuade from any of her principles.

When they sneak into the fey-ruled woods together, every one of their plans will be thrown into turmoil. They’ll need all of Juliana’s magic and Caroline’s tactical brilliance to save each other and their love by the end of the evening. Continue reading

Guest Author Ainsley Wynter on Naming Characters

Hi friends! Ainsley sent this post originally on January 12, so if the ~timeline seems a bit weird, that’s why, and that’s on me. We’re very happy to have her visit with us again though! 🙂 She’s even got the end questions covered, so without further ado… Ainsley Wynter

HOW NOT TO NAME YOUR CHARACTERS
By Ainsley Wynter

Kissed at Midnight by Ainsley Wynter Book CoverThis is not the blog post topic I’d been noodling over when Lime put out a call for blog posts a few weeks ago. I’d intended to write about the newest book in my fantasy romance series, Once Upon a Princess. I wrote that book and the first one, Kissed at Midnight, as a dual timeline. Some of my favorite books by my favorite authors are written in a dual timeline. They are so cool when they’re done well. Overlapping plot points, a couple of the same scenes with different points of view, heroes who fight each other in a weirdly complex sword-fighting scene, and all in the first two books I’d ever written. What was I thinking?? Ahem. After many revisions I think I made it work. But this is not that blog post. Continue reading

Release Day Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: A Reluctant Bride by Jess Michaels

Hi friends! Welcome to 2020 and our first “guest post!” I’m actually really surprised to say this, but I think it’s our first from Jess Michaels! And – as you see, it’s an excerpt from her book A Reluctant Bride that is out today! So you can read this snippet then go snag yourself a copy! Win!

A Reluctant Bride by Jess Michaels book coverWhen the Jasper Kincaid, the Earl of Harcourt, offered to marry one of the infamous Shelley triplets, he was doing it for the dowry to refill his depleted coffers, not for anything so silly as love. But when he realizes it is Thomasina Shelley masquerading as his fiancée at their final engagement ball, not his true intended, a desire for her that he has been ignoring sparks. And when it becomes clear her sister has run away with another, an opportunity arises for a marriage with a much deeper connection.

Thomasina’s feelings for Jasper have never been appropriate and she doubted the prudence of pretending to be his even for just one night. Once she’s caught, everything escalates so quickly. Suddenly she’s going to marry this stern, fascinating man who is not particularly pleased at her perfidy. Add to that her worry about where her wayward sister has gone and it’s a recipe for both passion…and disaster.

As the two slowly grow closer, Jasper realizes his former fiancée’s disappearance may have more to do with his own past than he originally realized. And the longer he keeps that from Thomasina, the more painful it will be when the truth comes out. Can they let each other close enough to fight together against the dangers right around the corner? And will they survive to meet the future they could have if they do?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Thomasina couldn’t feel her legs. Or her arms. They were all tingling out of control and she had no idea how she was keeping herself upright as she walked across the ballroom, forcing a smile at the felicitations her sister’s guests called out. She had played the role of Anne before, of course, but she regretted agreeing to it this time. Schoolgirl pranks were nothing like this…monstrosity. Continue reading

Guest Author Jackie Barbosa (aka M.A. Parker) Discusses the Anthology Do It Again

Hi friends!! I … well Jackie Barboasa aka M.A. Parker has a sale to tell you about! An anthology that is only 99¢ – Do It Again: A We Write Our Own Books Anthology – with a number of your favorite or soon to be favorite authors! 😉 
Do It Again - romance anthology by Kate Davies, Jayce Ellis, Tara Kennedy, M.A. Parker, Sabrina Sol book cover

One of my favorite themes in romance is the triumph of hope over experience. Whether that comes by way of a second chance with an ex or characters who’ve been burned before learning to love again, I’m there for it. There’s nothing more terrifying than risking your heart when you know exactly how vulnerable that makes you.

I suspect that one of the reasons I’m so drawn to this theme is that it’s very much like the process of writing and publishing a new book. Every time, it feels like starting over from scratch. And in my case, it’s maybe a little more like starting over from scratch than for other authors because I took a nearly five-year publishing hiatus and then, like the overly optimistic fool I am, thought it would also be a good time to launch a new pen name. Continue reading