Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Virtual Blurb Blitz Tour: The Opposite of Wild by Kylie Gilmore"

Critters at the Keyboard
The Opposite of Wild by Kylie Gilmore

Kylie will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card + The Opposite of Wild Romance Trading Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon gift card with The Opposite of Wild Romance Trading Card to two randomly drawn hosts.

The Opposite of Wild
by Kylie Gilmore



Unleash the wild woman…?

Ex-cop Ryan O'Hare takes one look at buttoned-up control freak Liz Garner and just itches to loosen the woman up. Not that he’s into her. Because a woman like that comes with way too many expectations. Not to mention, she practically works for him, and he didn’t hire Liz to watch after his beloved Harley-stealing Gran so he could turn Liz loose in his bed. Still, there’s something about her, a hidden wild side, that makes him wonder what it would take.

Liz must be crazy to work for the insensitive, arrogant, horriblyhot man she's avoided for years. Unfortunately, she needs the money and Ryan's grandmother needs a keeper. (Midnight tango lessons and ziplines with Gran, anyone?) Ryan's rare smile and swaggering confidence have Liz torn between throwing her favorite pinot grigio at his head or throwing herself at him. Can this control freak find a way to let loose with the tough, no-strings guy who once broke her heart?


Excerpt One:

Ryan just stood there, his sharp eyes studying her. "You're a puzzle, Liz."

"I am?"

He reached out and smoothed a lock of hair behind her ear, and her heart caught in her throat at the gentle gesture. "You seem souptight," he said. She stiffened and took a step back. "But I know you were checking me out when I was mowing."

She flushed, but rallied quickly. "I was only bringing you water." She crossed her arms and said primly, "You surprised me when you dumped the water on your head. I was merely looking to see if you were going to do any othersurprising things."

His lips twitched. "You're like a librarian just waiting to let loose."

"Is that supposed to be a compliment?" she bristled, hands on her hips.

"There it is." He smiled and stepped close, crowding her space. She drew in a quick breath, but held her
ground. "The puzzle—fire and ice."

She put both hands on his solid chest and pushed him out the door. "Next time, mail it." She shut the door in his face, turned and leaned against it. "Urgh!"

"That's what I'm talking about," he said through the door.

She ripped open the door. "Go away."

His head cocked to the side while he bit back a smile. "Is that any way to talk to your employer?"

"Gah!" She slammed the door and locked it. She heard his low laugh as he walked away.

Excerpt Two:

Ryan handed her the check. "Not going to let me in?"

"I'm having a movie night with Daisy."

"You know I've met Daisy before. She was only a grade behind me."

"Thank you for the check."

He put a hand on the doorframe above her head and leaned close. "Gran says she's having fun with you." His silky voice sent shivers through her.

"Yes," she breathed. He was so close she could see the golden flecks in his hazel eyes framed by those long lashes.

He grinned. "So you do know how to have fun."

She stiffened at his teasing tone, whirled around and grabbed the doorknob. He placed a hand over hers on the knob. She looked at his large hand covering her smaller one and her heart seemed to stop and lurch painfully forward. "I'm not a puzzle," she told him quietly. "I’m not fire and ice. You just don't know me."

"I think I do."

She could feel the heat of his body on her back. If she turned around, she'd be in his arms.

"If you hand deliver my next paycheck"—she scrambled to think of a suitable threat—"I'll-I'll—"

"You'll what?" His breath was hot on her ear.

"I'll dump ice on you!" She slipped inside and shut the door. Again she heard his low laugh as he walked away. She wanted to rip open the door and yell at him some more, but stopped herself because she didn't want Daisy to see the insanity he provoked in her.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kylie Gilmore was lucky enough to discover romance novels at a young age as they were strewn all over the house (thanks, Mom!). She writes quirky, tender romance with a solid dose of humor. Her first book in the Clover Park series, The Opposite of Wild, will launch in January 2014 featuring the oldest of three brothers and his lady love. The next two books in the series give each brother his dream girl (eventually).

Kylie lives in New York with her family, two cats, and a nutso dog. When she's not writing, wrangling kids, or dutifully taking notes at writing conferences, you can find her flexing her muscles all the way to the high cabinet for her secret chocolate stash.


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Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Critters at the Keyboard

RoseAnn will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.


When Emma Grant returns to her family's Audubon Springs beach house to fulfill the stipulations of her father's will, she has every intention of forcing her former lover out of the house for good. She's never fit into her wealthy family and would prefer avoiding her past, but with her brother threatening to reveal her young daughter, she has no choice. Rafe Iuliano has other plans. The wealthy Grants tried to bribe him out of Emma's life years ago, but he's determined to prove once and for all that a master carpenter is worthy of Emma and the house. Their ridiculous and steamy battle for the house reignites the love and passion that bloomed between them years ago. But when Rafe discovers she's kept their daughter a secret for two years, can he overcome anger and pride to claim his family and the love of his life, or will the deception drive a final wedge between them?


 “It’s good to see you too, Emma.” Rafe smiled. A flash of dimples tugged on her memory and heart. “Is falling into men’s flower beds a habit or should I feel special?” 

“As it happens, I don’t see this as your flower bed, but rather my own.”

Covered in dirt, Emma feasted her eyes on Rafe. She didn’t try to stand. Instead she pushed her hands further into the sticky mulch, needing something to hold on to, momentarily thankful to be on solid ground. She licked her lips. He looked good. “Finally here to claim what’s yours?”

 “Are you going to help me up or not?” Rafe took a deep breath, and reached out a hand. When they touched, the same powerful jolt of electricity that used to exist between them ran up her arm and straight to her heart. He pulled harder than necessary and Emma slammed into his chest. She took a quick step back, needing space, and almost landed in the garden again. Rafe held on and steadied her.

“Whoa, easy. I don’t think the shrubs can take anymore.” Her stomach twitched at the sound of his voice, so close it resonated in her ear and vibrated down her spine. His scent, masculine and fresh from-a-shower-clean, mesmerized her. He surrounded her even though he only stood in front of her, balancing her. 

“Let go of me,” she whispered. He complied by raising his hands, palms out, in the air as if they’d been burned. His heat lingered on her skin, and she ached with the loss of his touch.  Emma went to work brushing the gritty mulch from her shaking hands. 

“You always were a bit clumsy, huh, Ems?”

 She snapped her head up, and her eyes landed on his playful grin.

The Author's idea writing space

Hello and thank you for having me as a guest at Critters at the Keyboard! Today I have been asked to describe my ideal writing space. It could be old man winter has me down and feeling rather like a shut-in, but honestly when I think of my ideal writing space, I think of Emma and Rafe’s ocean side home in my fictional town, Audubon Springs.  The town is a fictionalized version of my personal favorite Jersey shore town, Spring Lake. The house itself is a mix of two homes you’d find on pristine Ocean Ave.  The homes are lovely sprawling Victorians with large covered porches and amazing views of the ocean.

So what does the ideal space within the home look like? The office is on the second story of the house with a set of French doors leading to a porch that boasts a white wraparound railing. This setting affords me the opportunity to work indoors with the doors flung open wide, the long white curtains billowing in the wind, carrying the fresh scent of the sea into the room for inspiration. Outside on the porch, I’d have a chaise lounge for when I take a break to read, or from where I can work on my printed edits. The porch would also have a table with chairs so I could sit and have a meal while jotting down notes for my current work in progress.  The sights from the porch, that of the ocean and nature, and knowing my family was close by within the homethat is my ideal setting in which to write.  


RoseAnn DeFranco grew up in upstate NY with her nose in a book and a song in her heart. Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, she turned her creative energy to writing romance. RoseAnn blogs about her writing experiences with her critique partners at www.the A NJ shore transplant, she enjoys time spent at the beach with her family. She would love to one day live in a quaint shore town like the fictional town Audubon Springs from her BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series.  More information about these Contemporary Romantic 

Comedies can be found at 

Web links: www.radefranco;









Monday, January 20, 2014


Critters at the Keyboard Welcomes

Mohanalakshmi will be awarding a free ecopy of An Unlikely Goddess to one randomly drawn commenter at every stop, and a Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon GC will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


Sita is the firstborn but since she is a female, her birth makes life difficult for her mother who is expected to produce a son. From the start, Sita finds herself in a culture hostile to her, but her irrepressible personality won’t be subdued. Born in India, she immigrants as a toddler to the U.S. with her parents after the birth of her much anticipated younger brother. Her father’s academic ambitions take the family all over the United States, as he chases grant funding at universities in several states. His financial challenges make life at home stressful for Sita, her mother, and younger brother – but the women of the family bear the brunt of his frustrations – both physically and emotionally. Hers is a South Indian family, from Tamil Nadu, one of the most conservative states in the subcontinent.

Enjoy this excerpt:

The Hindu goddess, Sita, is said to have been born from the Earth.

King Janaka discovers the beautiful infant and in her beauty, believes in her divinity. He raises her as his own daughter……


Unlike her namesake, Sita's first mistake was being born.

A girl, her mother thought, eyes dark in abject terror. What if he leaves me? She swallowed, increasing the dryness in her post-delivery mouth, the stiches across her abdomen itching. No water. Only ice chips until her bowels passed the tests. Mythili pressed back against the pillows. She closed her eyes, pushing her fingers into the sockets until the darkness was punctuated by bone-white stars. She wished she could as easily tune out the gurgles of the baby in the bassinet beside her.

Yet, even premature and unwanted, Sita was obliviously happy to enter the world, beaming her infant smile at anyone or anything she saw: the nurse, her aunt, her mother's back, the noxiously-pink cement walls of the Madras hospital in which she found herself. Several pounds underweight, she was otherwise fine—a petite, brown-skinned baby with tufts of black hair crowning a smooth scalp. How could she be expected to know that from her first breath she was, and always would be, a living reminder of her mother's failure to produce a first-born male heir?
Though swaddled and placed in the bassinet immediately after delivery, her eyes were alive with motion. She blinked up at the faces of passersby, but they were admittedly few, so instead, she followed the blinking lights, the creeping shadows and the occasional appearance of a nurse. Everything about the world kept her busy with delight until sleep washed over her little body

 “Look at that smile,” the young nurse said, cradling Sita against her flat bosom.

Aamam,” Priya, the childless aunt, agreed, rubbing a forefinger across the baby’s somewhat wrinkly face.

Instead of replying, Mythili, Sita’s mother, pulled a see-through blue sheet up to her chin and turned her face away.

Did that Really Happen to You?
By Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

I was at a book talk a few weeks ago and someone in the audience asked the author, a survivor f the Khmer Rouge, how much of the book “had happened” to her. She was referring to a novel in which the main character suffers abject abuse and horror while still a child. I was appalled at the question; it seemed voyeuristic somehow, as if the suffering of the character, and the thousands of unnamed people in real life, didn’t matter as much as if the author hadn’t experienced suffering herself.

The “did that really happen?” is one of the most awkward questions you can ask a writer after reading his/her book. We want the reader to be lost in the narrative, not wondering how much of it is autobiography.

My latest release, An Unlikely Goddess, will no doubt spark a similar set of questions. The story of an Indian girl who immigrates to the United States with her parents, suffers much heartache, and finds solace in academia, is not that different from own. Sita’s trajectory, however, is a composite of many people’s journeys as immigrants, not only mine. In some ways she is the Everywoman of the female coming of age for South Indians.

I found this story also important to tell because it shows how the immigrant experience is not always the making good on the American dream we have come to expect from the “Model Minority” of Asians in the United States. The recent interest in Indian Literature in English, depicts a very specific part of the Indian diaspora – often well educated, Bengalis – did not speak to my experience or those who I knew growing up.

This book is a testament to all of the above.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to a full time passion.  She has since published seven e-books including a mom-ior for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me, a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories, and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace.

Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. The Dohmestics is an inside look into compound life, the day to day dynamics between housemaids and their employers.

After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha.





Friday, January 10, 2014


Critters at the Keyboard 

Cristelle will be awarding a signed paperback of Ruby Heart plus a signed copy of book 1, Russian Dolls, to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US ONLY)Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 

Some thoughts on Writing from Cristelle Comby

Now, in the present tense

Writing in present tense is the reality TV of literature. You can tune into Big Brother at any time and begin watching the action. People like action, so why not tell a reader what is happening, as it is happening? You see it real time, you are in the thick of the action. But what happens if this is the first time you have watched Big Brother and its half way through a series? Who are these people? What are they arguing about? What was the big event yesterday that has resulted in two people trying to escape from the Big Brother house? This is precisely the reason why so few books written in the present tense and why the ones at do, rarely succeed in achieving what they set out to achieve.

The challenges to the author when writing in the present tense are numerous. How do you introduce prior events, maintain perspective and filter the stream of consciousness? I’m not trying to say that any fiction written in present tense cannot have its merits. I am just concerned about the growing trend of “trash” literature which uses the present tense and by doing so, seems to feel like it was written with half an eye on something other than writing.

I will detail some of the problems that someone might and people often do, encounter when writing in the present tense.

If a scene is well written it should have only one perspective. Readers focus on one character and the scene is described through that characters experience in the novel. By definition the focus is often on the protagonist. Through the protagonist we experience the scene. In the past tense, if the author wishes, that same scene can be depicted again from a different characters perspective. The author can do this because the scene is written in the past tense. We know what has happened.

Present tense writing has an immediacy which makes writing about events very difficult. We read about what is happening as it is happening, not about what has happened. Therefore there are obvious limits to the author showing a scene from multiple perspectives. The author can “lose” the reader by shifting focus into a different perspective as the scene becomes disjointed and less believable. When it has been achieved, this is a powerful tool, but it is rarely achieved. Some Science Fiction novelists, who often write in the present tense, have mastered this art.

As I mentioned, introducing prior events is always going to be tricky in the present tense. There will always be an experience before the current experience, but in order to describe them in a present day story, the author must shift to the past tense. If the author did that, it would no longer be a present tense narration. A character can look entirely without motive in their actions if the author hasn’t adequately described something in the past, motivating them to perform in the present. It is very difficult to accomplish as the reader can begin to wonder when the previous event being described actually happened. The author must separate the present and past, without it becoming disjointed, losing flow and therefore affecting the readers’ engagement with the present events.

The human brain is always thinking. If the author tells us everything a character is thinking it could very
repetitious and boring very quickly. The challenge to a writer is filtering the narrators’ stream of consciousness to include only the details necessary to the plot. Shifting between thoughts and actual action will be the biggest challenge to a writer as they have to weigh up the inner and outer at the same time, as it is happening. Once the narrator has finished thinking about something, they then can’t relate the action that was happening whilst that was going on. To make the prose flow, the writer needs to make it clear that the narrator doesn’t think something important, be involved in an important event, in a repetition of thought then action. It won’t feel very believable to the reader and therefore won’t hold any appeal.

Good examples of present tense writing can be found in the Science Fiction genre. My advice is to go to any book stop, find the darkest deepest corner. Look at the science fiction section, which will no doubt be found there, and spend some time looking at a couple of chapters from some different novels. There will definitely be an author using the present tense. It is a difficult skill, but those that have mastered it, grip the reader through the journey of the novel.

Blurb for Ruby Heart

When elderly client Doris Hargrave informs private investigator Alexandra Neve that her beloved antique ruby heart necklace has gone missing for the second time in a period of over sixty years, Alexandra knows this is no ordinary jewellery theft. The ruby heart is a family heirloom and the only thing that connects an ailing Mrs. Hargrave to her parents, who were murdered during the Holocaust.

To solve the case, Alexandra and her business partner, blind history professor Ashford Egan, must sift through obscure Holocaust documents to find out the truth. It’s that way that they learn of a secret World War II-era love affair which could hold the key to all the answers they are looking for. Meanwhile, Egan is under immense pressure from the university to quit his private investigating business, and Alexandra is afraid that a man she trusts will leave her. Again.

When Alexandra begins to receive anonymous threats and her flat is vandalised, this all becomes personal. Knowing that there is someone out there to hurt her, Alexandra vows to find that elusive ruby heart if it’s the last thing she ever does.

About the Author:
Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.

Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting. 

Ruby Heart is her second new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the Neve & Egan series.

Twitter:,br> Amazon:

Monday, January 6, 2014


Critters at the Keyboard Welcomes 


author of 


Mark will be awarding a signed eBook gift card (ePub, Mobi or MP3 audio book) to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop and a Grand Prize of not only the ebook giftcard signed by Mark, but a limited edition cover poster autographed by both the author and the illustrator will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 

Classic Stories are Color Blind
By Mark Binder

When Netflix in the USA first began running the updated Dr. Who, I was amazed that Rose Tyler, the Doctor’s companion-to-be, had a black boyfriend. I don’t mean that in a bad way, either. Here in the USA, there’s no way that a major television series would portray a blonde ex-cheerleader in a loving and non-racially charged relationship with a 20 something black man named only “Mickey.”

It was a thrilling reality check. The United States has a black President and that’s huge news, and about all in the way of progress. In the UK, diverse colors have become part of the fabric of society. We are definitely lagging.

For more than a decade, I performed my spoken-word stories for a racially diverse mix of kids in inner city Boston. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Indian Subcontinent, they were all there. The same summers I was traveling to Newport, Rhode Island, to share my work with a program for severely handicapped children. I wanted a story that would connect both groups (even though they weren’t in the same wibbly-wobbly space-time continuum).

Jack and the Beanchair didn’t work. (Hard to get a chair up and down the beanstalk.) Little Red Riding Chair almost worked, but the wheels kept getting stuck on tree roots in the woods.

Cinderella Spinderella was a perfect hit because, as the fairy godmother says, “You can’t dance in glass slippers, but a girl in a wheelchair can rock those shoes!”

When I performed the story (imagine a comedian doing a routine, except the point is the story and not getting every laugh – there’s a link to the video at I never described what Cinderella looked like. I seriously doubted they would see me, a white male, as Cinderella. I always hoped that in the minds of the listeners they would see themselves.

When it came time to make the book, we went straight to ebook, not because it was less expensive to distribute (it really isn’t), but because we could have five princes and five Cinderellas. Readers could pick what their royal pair would look like. A school could buy one book and anyone in the classroom could find his or her family.

And it works. At the beginning of the tale, you pick. Then you read the story. Later on, if you pick something different, Cinderella, the Prince and the seasons change, but the story and most of the pictures remain the same.

Maybe if we’d had the budget of Pixar or Disney, we’d have changed up every single version, but I like to think that the book that we produced reinforces the fairy godmother’s truism:
“It doesn’t matter what you look like, what matters is who you are.”

Cinderella Spinderella is a book that is fun to read, beautifully illustrated, and behind all that is the story of a young woman coming to terms with her own identity.

I hope that you and your family enjoy it.

- Mark Binder, Providence, RI, USA


Cinderella Spinderella is an illustrated ebook (and audio book) for families 

More than the dress or the shoes, Cinderella Spinderella tells the story about a young woman powerfully asserting her identity. 

"It doesn't matter what you look like… It's who you are that counts."
—The Fairy Godmother 

Winner: Moonbeam Award for Best Multicultural eBook for Children! 

The classic story of Cinderella has been modernized and urbanized in this beautifully illustrated edition, written with delightful humor and a surprising twist. 

Cinderella Spinderella uses ebook technology to allow readers to choose how Cinderella looks. Is she Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, or from the Indian subcontinent? You can pick! 

Check out some screenshots and images at the following links!

Buy links:

Kindle edition:

iBooks Edition:

Google Play:



Audio Book 




Google Play Audio:

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Mark Binder is an award-winning author and story performer and a parent. Over the past twenty years he has shared his Bed Time Story Book series with tens of thousands of readers and listeners around the world live, in print and in audio recordings. His most recent book is Cinderella Spinderella. 

Detailed bio at:


Twitter: @barkminder