Category Archives: Guest Author

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

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

Own Voices Guest Author Mercy Zephyr: Fear Fed My Words

Hi friends! A few weeks ago Mercy emailed ALBTALBS about reviewing her book, and I invited her to write a guest post for us – you know, as I do. 😛 I was thrilled that she agreed. (And I expect a review of her book to be forthcoming. I uh 😅 am also realistic about the timeliness ~problem we have here so … you know. It’ll happen though! Our review crew is small but dogged! … Other than Babs. Babs is a rockstar.)

ANYWAY!  Transpire Together looks really interesting and sweet, so I hope you read on. Mercy sent us a really lovely post, and I hope you give her a warm welcome. <3

Fear fed my words

Back in 2016, my spouse and I revealed to our friends and family that I was a woman with a husband, not a man with a wife as previously assumed. Unsure of myself and afraid, it was difficult to gather the courage to reveal that part of myself. Mostly, my family supported us, though I lost and gained family and friends seemingly overnight. Fearful, I continued to keep those parts of my life separate from all but my inner circle, keeping my life partitioned in the ways I’d kept my online presence for decades. To be open about myself seemed unthinkable, even as I raced toward inevitability where I could no longer hide the changes.

In the novel Transpire Together, I write about someone else; on the opposite side of that bridge, but with the same fear. Keith is stealth; he passes perfectly and keeps his past secret. For now, he has returned to the town he grew up in, before he transitioned. He has habits of secrecy, like me, that are of no help when the time comes to not be secretive anymore—like when meeting his high school sweetheart again, who he regrets losing touch with. Continue reading

Release Day “Guest Post” Jeffe Kennedy on The Orchid Throne + Giveaway!

Hi friends! So uh, if you care, you’d probably have noticed we’ve been a bit MIA over here in ALBTALBS land. Just a lot yet nothing going on. Which … in part might explain this post.

The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy book coverIn the Forgotten Empires magic is forbidden, dreams are destiny, and love is the greatest power of all…

A PRISONER OF FATE
As Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Lia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…

A PRINCE AMONG MEN
Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Lia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?

Continue reading

Guest Author: Nina Bocci on Disregarding the Advice to “Keep Politics Out of Your Books”

Hi friends! So Nina Bocci‘s newest book just came out this past Tuesday! On the Corner of Love and Hate has such an interesting premise, and I’m about to start reading it soon. 😀  It’s also the first of the “Hopeless Romantics” series. Anyway, Nina is a delight, and I hope you enjoy this post, and pick up her newest book! So without further ado … Nina!

On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci book coverWhen Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and current mayor of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania—suggests she help with Cooper Endicott’s campaign, she’s horrified. Cooper, one of her (former) oldest friends, drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, so Emma reluctantly launches her plan to help him win the local election.

It’s not as easy as it looks. Cooper’s colorful love life is the sticking point for many voters, and his opponent is digging up everything he can from his past. It seems that every time Emma puts out the flames from one scandal, another one flares up. Emma knows that if Cooper wants to win, he needs to keep his nose clean. The only problem? She might just be falling in love with the one person she promised never to pursue: the mayoral candidate himself.

Don’t write a book with politics.

You’re a debut (basically), you’re going to kill your chances of people picking it up.

My God, you’re an idiot, why didn’t you listen? Continue reading

SHM Pride Guest: Renée Dahlia on Learning To Feel Valid

Hi friends! So Renée actually sent me this post in early June … and you’ll probably have noticed we’ve been q-u-i-e-t here for some time now. That’s mostly on me, so my apologies, and my apologies to Renée on this delay. I’m so excited to have at least one Pride post in 2019 though, so I’m very appreciative you were willing to write this post and share with us! Thank you!

Learning to Feel Valid

Renée Dahlia

Liability by Renee Dahlia Book CoverIt took me forty years to figure out that I was bisexual. There are many times that I’ve wondered what different paths my life would have taken if I’d worked this out earlier. How many times did I dismiss certain feelings or reactions I had because I’d been taught that those feelings were wrong? Far too many.

CW: I’m going to discuss some of the things I was taught by the church as a child, but I will be keeping the worst of the slurs out of this. However, some of the things I discuss hurt me, and may hurt others too. Continue reading

Guest Author Lorelie Brown on the Book that Took Six Years to Write

As a reader there is nothing I love more than a trilogy or series I can really invest myself in. Knowing that I’ll be able to revisit characters or settings over multibook arcs make me giddy with joy! Sometimes life grabs us by the throat and enough things go awry to the point where the author may not be able to deliver that next installment as quickly as we readers may want. We’re very grateful to author Lorelie Brown for sharing with us a piece of her journey as she completed the third book in her Wayworth Academy series, A Too Suitable Duchess, which will be delivered to e-readers everywhere on June 14th!

Book cover for A Too Suitable Duchess by Lorelie Brown

Some books are invigorating to write. Some are more of a slog. A Too Suitable Duchess, the book I have coming out on June 14th was a weird beast. I originally started it in 2013. Yup, you read that right. Six full years ago. It was a fairly normal book at first. The usual stuff to work through, plot, motivation, you know it. I wouldn’t have called it either invigorating or a slog at first.

And then my life circumstances changed in a pretty big way. Problem number one. I concentrated on writing 200 words a day, something to keep my toes in. The book started to feel like a slog. Victoria and Spencer felt like gentle pandas who I was trying to make mate. They were too nice. I like to write characters who are complicated and friendly, but these two had taken it too far. They also had this annoying tendency to talk reasonably and not hold grudges.

It made the sagging middle…well, REALLY sag.Book cover for Wayward One by Lorelie Brown Continue reading

Guest Author Anna Kashina on Romance in Blade Fights + An Exclusive Excerpt of Shadowblade AND a Giveaway!

Hi friends! You might know that [adult] high fantasy romance is totally “my thing.” So when Anna Kashina contacted me about reviewing her upcoming book I was first, pretty starstruck, then [pretty immediately] was like “DOES IT FEATURE ADULT CHARACTERS AND IS THERE ROMANCE?!” And when she answered “yes” I was like “WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO BE A GUEST AT ALBTALBS?!!?” And she said yes!!! So here we are! I’m so excited to welcome Anna Kashina today! Her newest book Shadowblade is out today!

Romance in blade fights

There are two things I find irresistible in fantasy novels. One is a good romantic subplot, well balanced and integral to the story. The other is a good blade fight – especially the kind with a lot of cool technique behind it. It’s an additional bonus – as well as a challenge – to make these fights emotionally gripping, as well as being technically cool. But if one manages to achieve all this, there is only one more step to the ultimate prize: to combine the two, using blade fights as a tool to advance the romance. It’s so rewarding when it’s done well.

I am a sucker for a dark and dangerous male lead with a morally complex character. A superb swordsman, trained to become an elite assassin, in my mind, cannot fail as a romantic hero. In my books, I love to match these kind of guys with strong women who can stand up to them, and have hidden strengths of their own. When developing these characters and their relationships, a sword fight can become more engaging than a love scene, and so much more effective in showing off their strengths and limitations, as well as their morally complex sides. Continue reading