Review for Hurricane By Jenna-Lynn Duncan

I anxiously looked around, my heart palpitating, just in time to see an alligator slink into the green algae covered water that was on either side of us. I swallowed hard, and my heart raced even faster. Alligators were a different type of predator—the one thing I was afraid of. Now I was on my own personal swamp tour. What if my kidnappers left me in the middle of a swamp with five of
them creeping up on me? I’ve had that nightmare before and—oh no, if my dreams really are a sign of the future—I couldn’t breathe now.

Excerpt:
Adriana couldn’t decide what was worse—that Hurricane Katrina was heading for
New Orleans, or that she might not survive her kidnapping to see its potential
effects. She had trusted Hayden, even fallen for him, and now he and his
brother Luke were taking her deeper and deeper into the Bayou. Why had two of
her classmates, the mysterious Boudreaux brothers, kidnapped her? Why had
Adriana’s dreams started predicting the future? Most importantly, would she
make it out of the Bayou alive…

My Thoughts:

Adriana’s mom has never been part of her life, and her father is slowly backing away.  Life with nothing, but a catastrophic hurricane looming down on the city she loves, allows her to yield to the opportunity to find out about another world that exists; a world she is a part of.  Being a lover of all things, Louisiana, made this one a no-brainer for me.  Jenna Lynn’s descriptions of the city of New Orleans made me long to walk the French Quarter and nostalgic for pre-Katrina days.  Jenna Lynn is a wonderful storyteller and you will be sucked into the new world she has created and left wanting more.

Don’t miss this one!!!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, The Mulligan Man Available @ www.astraeapress.com

Coming Soon:  Jamais Vu

10 Editor Nightmares

I feel like an expert on some of these!  The truth is, every writer has stumbling blocks that require hours of editing and practice to get past.  I’ve listened to editors and publishers complain about many of these and here is a … Continue reading

Fan-tastic #3 Mandy Anderson

I first met Mandy on Facebook and accosted her for a review.  She runs the book review blog Twimom227 Book Blog (http://twimom227.blogspot.com).  She read The Keepers and fell in love with it and we hit it off! Okay we hit it off before she fell in love, but it doesn’t hurt that she likes my book 😀  Ya’ll check out her blog and follow her on Facebook.

When did you first develop your passion for reading?

Mandy:  I am guessing my love affair with books began back in elementary. I always loved Library Day…just being around all those books was so magical to me. I could get lost in all those books.

Me too!  You know the other kids thought we were nerds! What are your hobbies?

Mandy: READING! I also love to sew. I have an etsy shop that I really need to go put more stuff in. So if I could ever make myself put down a book, and go to my sewing machine..I might have more money in my paypal acct.

Who is on your list of favorite authors?

Mandy:  I would say Amanda Hocking and Jennifer Laurens. I love Amanda Hockings work. But also to be a great author, it takes more than great writing. I think it also takes being a great person and interacting with your readers. And Jennifer Laurens is just that. She is always tweeting and commenting to her fan base. I have seen first hand a Best Selling author be absolutely rude and flat-out mean to her followers. Its sad really.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my best friend when I finish reading a book….do you do that?

Mandy:  Yes, absolutely. In fact that is why I don’t do well with short stories. I get too attached and want to read all I can. Take for instance your book The Keepers. I just finished your book and am already itching for more of Jess and Justin.

Out of all the books you’ve read if you could have dinner with a character who would it be and why?

Mandy:  Ooooh that’s a good one. But also a hard one to answer. I think I would love to have dinner with Colin from Jennifer Laurens’ Overprotected or maybe even Tamani from Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series.

What are you currently reading?

Mandy:  I just started The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Any strange habits while reading? I

Mandy:  sometimes I skip paragraphs when I think its dragging…then find myself missing some key info a few paragraphs away…so  I then have to go back and re read it. 

How much description do you like in a book?

Mandy: A good amount…just not a whole bunch..cause then I end up getting confused or bored.

Anything else about you, you’d like to share with us? 

Mandy:  I still like going to the library and getting lost in all those books. And I love that my girls enjoy reading too.

If you would like Mandy to review your book, you can email her at Twimom101@yahoo.com.

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13

WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com

Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Facebook:          https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511255176

Author Page:      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monique-OConnor-James-Author/151581321573144

Buy Links:  http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662245&mode=product&product=4435578

Characters to Love

While I’m on vacation I thought I’d leave you with a couple of blogs so you don’t completely forget me!

Every couple of days in the writer/reader community on social media the following question is posed:  Who is your favorite character and why?

We all aspire to have a character or two that gets mentioned in every one of these threads.  How does one create characters who stick with readers, you ask?  If you google the question, you will get the same answer phrased a million different ways. But, I believe there are several things which come together to make  life-like and lovable, heroes/heroines and villains we can love to hate. Most of them are not covered on these lists.

If you’re like me you love to people watch.  Every person in the world has some habit or idiosyncrasy which makes them unique.  Remember in the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, when Jane realized the other spy was John?  She saw him wiggle his leg in a video and recognized him immediately.  These things make people interesting to look at and endear them to our hearts, whether we know it or not.  Does your hero chew on his thumb?  Does your villain bite his lip right before he tells a lie?

You can tell tons about a person by the way others react to him/her.  Does your heroine adore your hero?  Or does the sight of him make her skin crawl?  Your readers will react to all of characters’ feelings about each other, so craft these thoughts carefully.

What goes on  in your MC’s head?  I find the thoughts and questions which formulate inside a characters mind really tie me to them.  Make sure you sprinkle some of this inner dialogue in your story so your readers know precisely how he/she thinks.

When you are writing dialogue make sure you take into consideration the players background, accent, and geographical location.  Read it aloud and ask yourself if that person would really say those things.

Finally, have the character achieve some emotional or intellectual growth throughout the story.  The person doesn’t even have to be aware they have changed. However, within the paragraphs of your tale you can illustrate the differences in their reactions and ideals from the beginning of the story to the end.

Hope these suggestions help!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
 
Check out my novel The Keepers at Amazon, B & N, Astraea Press, or my website www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Add my cover for The Keepers as your Profile Pic and Win!!!!

I was goofing on FB and tried to hypnotize everyone into adding my cover as their profile picture. What do you know?  It worked!! I’m leaving to go on vacation 6/16, so I’ll make this a quick contest with a great prize!  Here’s the deal.

1. Make sure I’m your friend on FB (not part of the contest, but it makes it easier).

2. Make the cover for The Keepers your profile picture until Friday July 15, 2011. 

3.  Send me a message or comment me that you did this. 

4.  I will do a random drawing Friday afternoon 6/15/11 for the winner.

Winner receives:  Drum Roll Please…………………………………………………………………

(If you are confused about how to do this go to my profile pics and click on the cover (or cropped cover) and click make this my profile picture.  If you already have one, win it as a gift for someone else 😀

A signed copy of The Keepers IN PRINT

Have Fun and Good Luck

Cheers!!!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

My Guardian Angels Are All Drifters

I’ve told this story before, but I can’t remember where.  It’s a testament to inspiration and moreover, to seeing things for what they’re meant to be.  The title of this blog is funny, but it’s the truth too.  You’ll see what I mean.

As you all know I’ve written a story or two about angels and therefore, I guess they cross my mind a lot.  My mom was obsessed with them.  She had a curio cabinet full of her favorites, and the statue of a black winged angel, that sits on my bathtub was once hers.  Perhaps because she had breast cancer, the sight of them brought her some comfort, but I can remember her talking about the winged creatures long before she was diagnosed. 

After I wrote The Keepers, there seemed to emerge a theme in my life; what I considered to be guardian angel sightings. You will notice in my stories the angels are all male, and thusly all the sightings have been the same.  It  happens that for me, each time I have a run in with a guardian they are all drifters or maybe even homeless. Maybe, they are not celestial beings; perhaps they are mere mortals and this is all coincidence, but that is neither here nor there.  The point is, if we open our eyes, there are people, and maybe even something higher, looking out for us.  Enjoy their stories. 

The first protector appeared in just the nick of time. I’m convinced  he saved my life.  I’d pulled in to the convenience store after a busy day of work and absent-mindedly dug my wallet out of my purse.  I shoved it under my chin, turned the car off, pulled my keys out, and locked the door.  I’ve heard you should always be aware of your surroundings, but this particular day I had my head in the clouds. I was probably thinking about the mound of laundry on the floor in my kitchen, or what we were going to eat for dinner.

I pushed through the glass door and glanced up to see a reflection behind me.  A young man, perhaps in his early twenties, was standing dangerously close.  I could feel his breath on my arm and smell his cologne.  I glanced over my shoulder and he greeted me with a warm smile.  Being a normal woman, in this day and age, I was unnerved and pushed my way inside and hurried over to fix a fountain drink, thereby putting space between me and the stranger.

I couldn’t help but watch him though. He looked like he could be my brother, with the same skin color, dark eyes, and dark hair.  I fiddled with the plastic lid trying not to be obvious about the way I stared at him. His eyes were on me though, and I knew I’d been caught. I spun around glancing at the clerk, as a group of young men came in and started harassing her.  Without pause, my body reacted to the scene by cutting my oxygen supply and rendering me frozen.  There was something wrong, and something bad was about to go down.

Without hesitation, the young man who’d followed me in, charged across the store, grabbed my arm, and marched me to the door.  He followed me to my car and said two words, “lock it.”  I got in, cranked it, and then looked up to say thank you, but he was gone.  I didn’t have time to peer in the store or search for him; instead, I drove off feeling sure I’d avoided something horrendous.  That night my husband stopped by the same shop and was told they’d been held up earlier in the day.  So here’s to the stranger who saved me.

Fast forward several years and I’m sitting at a red light on a particularly gloomy day.  I was thinking of my brother.  I hadn’t laid eyes on him in fifteen years.  I was kind of sad, because we hadn’t had the opportunity for the relationship most siblings have, and he was weighing heavy on my heart.  Two young men crossed in front of my car as I stared off into space. One crossed the street and stood waiting in a parking lot, while the other stopped by the center of my hood and smiled at me. 

I remember him to this day, in detail.  He had curly brown hair, which peeked out from under a brown baseball cap, blue eyes, and a wickedly perfect smile.  When I glanced up at him, he spread his fingers wide and signed with one hand that I was beautiful.  He stood there several seconds and then crossed the other lanes of traffic.  I watched him walk away, his back pack hanging from one shoulder, and wondered who was missing him.  This guy became Kasey Kibodeaux in my next release (9/7/11) – Jamais Vu.

Finally, a few weeks ago I was having one of those days.  The mortgage company had taken my payment out of my account twice!  I don’t know about you, but I can barely afford one payment.  I’d spent the day on the phone arguing with the bank and the mortgage company, and as I exited the interstate, a stream of tears smudged mascara down my cheeks.  I glanced up in the median and there stood a man.  You know the one…holding the sign for money?  He had a dog with him, and the dog looked happy and well fed, but my mind was not on him. It was on the music playing while I was on hold, yet again, for the mortgage company. 

However, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, and as he watched me,  his face  turned beautifully serene.  I thought there was something to be said for the anguish I was suffering while he seemed so calm.  He put his sign down and reached into his bag and pulled out a deflated mylar balloon.  The balloon was yellow and adorned with a huge smiley face, and he held it for me to see.  I couldn’t help but smile.  Then he set the balloon down and laid his hands out flat reaching them for the sky.  “God will lift you up,” he mouthed.

After turning the corner, I set the phone down and smiled.  I thought about all the wonderful things I had in my life, and I let go of the anxiety I’d been carrying all day.

The purpose of my stories is not to be preachy, but just to illustrate how sometimes in my life, for sure, I find comfort in the oddest places.  Maybe, that’s where the inspiration for writing angel stories comes from?

Everyday I look out for that guardian who has been placed in my life to make something that’s terribly wrong feel right.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, I find them.  Hope you do too!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Always feel free to share my blog with others 🙂
 
Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
 
The Keepers is currently on sale for $1.99 hurry and get your ebook copy or order the print copy at regular price on my website!  🙂 

Chapter 4 Meet Justin – The Keepers get a peek then go buy it for $1.99!!!!

The sale on The Keepers has been extended through this week!  It’s $1.99 and the price will go back to $6.99 after the sale!!

Read this excerpt and then go get a copy for your e-book reader or phone!  🙂

Earlier, Justin had sat alone in his bedroom watching rain trickle from the roof line onto the patio outside, where it collected in an empty Coke bottle. He’d planned to be knee-deep in a pity party by the time his brother Rory returned from work.

It was difficult not to feel sorry for himself. He was utterly surrounded by the stench of humanity. He had asked for this very thing. He’d wanted to commune with them, be part of their world, but he’d soon discovered they repulsed him. He watched the human race and wondered how they managed to take their faultless existence and make it complete crap.

So he passed his time on days off watching the horrid humans, and even he found it pathetic. If he wasn’t dealing cards at Harrah’s, he sat on the couch in the French Quarter townhouse he shared with his three brothers and loathed his circumstances.

Dealing cards at the casino kept his mind from lamenting on things over which he had no control. Cards distracted him from the examination of mankind. They held no surprises and fell in predictable patterns. The stability comforted him. The notion that something so simple calmed him was ridiculous, but the serenity he found behind the table was the reason he returned to the casino night after night.

Justin’s principles had been complicated by the years he had wasted on Earth. The average mortal got out in eighty years, maybe ninety if they lead a mundane existence, but he had been stuck here for over three hundred, and for him the second-hand no longer swept across the clock. The totality of his life was mind numbing, so he tried to block it out with work.

A life lived well beyond the average lifespan, had become redundant, especially given the intense hatred he’d developed for the creatures sharing the planet with him. Rory insisted Justin was a bigot, too preoccupied with himself to understand the human dilemma, but Justin denied it. If he was somehow prejudiced against humans, it was through no fault of his own. They were after all, repulsive most of the time.

He was comforted by the rain as it streamed down the window. It had been a full decade since Justin had experienced adventure. He couldn’t remember the last time something piqued his interest. The music these days was mediocre at best, and it was rare that some poor soul was able to pour their thoughts into a book which could hold his interest.

He would have remained in his room pondering his restlessness, but his brother hauled him to their usual hang out. They were all there together, Blake, Lathan, and of course, Rory. Dez’s was a safety net of sorts, a place where they could drink and talk. Thankfully, the other patrons ignored them for the most part. In fact, Justin couldn’t remember the last time a newcomer graced the place, which is exactly why the girl across the bar
intrigued him. He didn’t know her, but that was only one reason he had spent
the evening absorbed in watching the slim brunette with the haunting sorrow in
her eyes.

He hadn’t heard her name – not yet. She’d wandered in from the rain shaking an umbrella and trying to look aloof. It had taken Vi less than ten minutes to engage her in conversation, and once Vi hooked the girl, they sat together for the rest of the evening. Vi had been his friend for years, and she could unfailingly be counted on in these matters. They often found the same people intriguing, and he knew she would befriend the newcomer.

New Orleans was a sea of appealing women with pleasing accents flowing from pretty lips, but there was something about this girl’s beauty, something that kept Justin’s eyes planted on her. She caught him gawking at her, and he didn’t bother to look away. Humiliation was just another useless human emotion he wouldn’t even pretend to possess.

Rory wanted to introduce himself, but Justin vetoed the plan with a look of warning. Luckily, his brother seemed more interested in Vi and sat down again with an easy grin. Justin was entirely relaxed until Dawson placed himself at their table begging for a fight. Dawson could always be relied on to kill a good mood. His Mohawk was tapered into precise points atop his head, and that alone made Justin want to punch him.

“What’s the matter Justin? Rory baggin’ all the babes or did someone shoot your dog?” The smell of tobacco and wet hair gel clung to Dawson like a disease. Only the fact that he had lost the ability to stave off the odor of humanity, made him less annoying.

Justin didn’t respond. Maybe if he ignored the moron he would take the hint and buzz off. Besides, he couldn’t take his eyes off the beauty with Vi, and Dawson’s gaze followed his.

“Ah,I see. You know she’s off limits.” Dawson leaned in closer, and used his foot to jolt Justin’s boot from the chair next to him. “Don’t touch me again, Dawson. And drop it. She’s human, in case you haven’t notice.”

“A human I bet I’ll take home tonight.” Dawson’s sardonic grin dripped with conceit and punctuated the dramatic wink he granted Justin. Justin slid his palms together as the skin over his knuckles hardened into stone. He allowed Dawson to gloat long enough to take a sip from his drink, and then laid him out with one colossal blow. He didn’t bend over to say all the things he was thinking; he figured the black eye would say it all.
The girl was watching, and Justin nearly felt ashamed, but she was just another
human, and he wasn’t going to concern himself with what bothered her. Not now
anyway.

 

Don’t forget a portion of the proceeds for this book will go to Susan G Komen Race for the Cure. 🙂

Monique O’Connor James
Author of:  “The Keepers”
 Twitter:               mjames13

FAN-TASTIC! Fan Interview with Kristina Haecker

I kind of snagged this idea from Kay Springsteen blog.  She is doing a Reader’s Corner weekly and I thought it was a brilliant idea to highlight some of the fans who are so supportive and give them a moment in the spotlight to let you know what they do!

I chose Kristina first, because she is a reviewer and one of the administrators at All Things Books on Facebook.  She is just a genuine southern belle who has done so much for me as far as sharing my links, passing the word on about “The Keepers”, and you can find the review she did on all the major websites.  Enjoy getting to know her and make sure you add her to your Facebook as she will be an up and coming author someday soon!

First tell us a little about yourself: I am a 20 year old full time college student that works at a Catholic school and lives in Texas with her parents and younger brother. I am a huge Green Day and Lord of the Rings fan! I collect bookmarks and other cool swag from my favorite authors. Basically, I’m a nerd. 🙂 My favorite color is blue and I drive the cutest little blue BMW. I have the two best friends in the world. I have even been labeled “The Optimist Queen” and “too nice for my own good”.

I love music too and Green Day Rocks! When did you first develop your passion for reading? I’ve been reading, well…since I could read. When I was little, my mom would read to me. Both of my parents liked to read in their spare time. It was kind of like a double whammy. Both of them liked to read… So, I LOVED to read.
Reading has always been my escape. When I got home from school or work, I would feel better knowing that I could pick up a book and slide into someone else’s world and forget everything for a bit. I got teased in school for carrying a book around with me, but I was never ashamed of that. Now I have a Nook that I take everywhere. I’d rather stay curled up in my bed with a book or my Nook (hehe, I love how that rhymes!) rather than go out on a Friday night.
  I know you like to design shirts (wink) and read, but what are your other hobbies?
I love to dance. I was on the dance team in high school and have taken some classes in college. Music is a big part of my life. It is my other escape. I put my headphones on and  hear nothing other than the music I choose. I enjoy going to concerts. (I’ve seen Green Day twice!) I like photography. And of course, all of the other things women my age like to do: shopping, hanging out with friends, texting, and facebooking. Traveling, too. Two summers ago I visited England, Whales, and Ireland and after that, I want to see more of the world. I recently just started to review books, and I love it!
I’m so jealous that you went to Ireland!!  Who is on your list of favorite authors? I have a lot, so bear with me. Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Colleen Houck, Meg Cabot, Suzanne Collins, Ednah Walters, Deena Remiel, Gracen Miller, Maggie Stiefvater, Ellen Hopkins, Jennifer Laurens, J.R.R Tolken, Shakespear, Becca Fitzpatrick, Karen Kincy and, of course, you! 🙂 There are many others, but those are the ones I can list off the top of my head. 🙂
What genres do you like best? Paranormal romance or just straight up romance. I used to read some mystery too, but I’m a hardcore romantic. 😉
Do you find yourself getting emotionally attached to characters if a book is well written?  Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my best friend when I finish reading a book….do you do that? If a book is well written, yes! Especially with your book The Keepers. I bawled through the last half of it! Only the best of books can grab a person like that. I was also really attached to the characters in the Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck. (Two more great books I’ve read recently!)
Out of all the books you’ve read if you could have dinner with a character who would it be and why?
That’s a tough one. I think I would say Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy books. She’s so fierce and funny. Maybe she could show me a few self-defense moves.
What are you currently reading? I just finished your fabulous book, The Keepers, and now I have no idea what I’ll start. I have so many books on my TBR pile. I guess I should finish Water for Elephants since I am halfway finished. I put it aside to read Trinity by Deena Remiel and never went back to it. If not that, then Slow Burn by Ednah Walters.
Any strange habits while reading? I have to have complete silence to read. I have no idea why, but I just can’t focus with so much going on around me. It’s incredibly hard to read in my house because my family is so loud. That’s why I stay up reading long after they fall asleep, or before they get up. I don’t really like to read outside either, for the same reason.
How much description do you like in a book? I like a good amount. But I don’t want the book I’m reading to be just description. I few weeks ago I read a book that had all the description based on a couple kissing. It made the rest of the book quite boring and I struggled to finish it. I guess you have to have the right amount of description versus everything else.
Anything else you’d like to share with us? I am currently working on a book of my own about a badass female assassin that has to protect a young and handsome weapons dealer on their journey to a secret location. I hope to finish the book and publish it in the next few years!
I am an admin on the Facebook page All Things Books. I also am on the review team of an upcoming author.
Everyone Add Kristina she’s really a great person to know!  Thanks Kristina for taking the time to answer my questions!!! 
Check out my other blog posts as there are two contests going on right now.  One for The Keepers and one for Mulligan Man!!!
Cheers!
Monique O’Connor James
Author of:  “The Keepers”
Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Thank you Contest for The Keepers!!!!!

Heading for #1??!!!!

The last time I checked The Keepers was #3 on the list for Teens/Spiritual and #1 on the Hot New Releases!  My dad keeps me updated when I’m busy and forget to check so I’m pretty aware of where things stand! 

I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am to all those people who have supported me, posted for me, bought my books, and sent encouraging words.  My friends, family, fans, reviewers, bloggers, etc, etc, etc, have all been so gracious and I’ve made tons of new friends.

If The Keepers makes it to #1 on Amazon I’m giving away a signed copy.  I should get the print copies at the end of July and I will mail it to the Winner at that time!  All you have to do to participate is comment below!  I’ll draw from everyone who comments! 

Please repost on Facebook and Twitter and tell your friends so we can hit that #1 spot!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Keepers-ebook/dp/B0054LO9E8/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1  Here is the Amazon link.

Also don’t forget to add my facebook pages to keep updated on coming releases!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=511255176  and

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Monique-OConnor-James-Author/151581321573144 – Author page.

Thank you guys!  Love your Guts!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Twitter:               mjames13
WordPress:         www.moniquejames.wordpress.com
Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

PARTY ‘TIL YOUR HEELS FLY OFF: MEGA AUTHOR BLOG HOP TOUR – Mardi Gras Ball

The main school of thought concerning Mardi Gras, is it started thousands of years ago, as a celebration of fertility.  Eventually, the Catholic church became involved, in an effort, to stop parishioners from partaking in pagan festivals.  The Church changed the … Continue reading