Mar 21, 2015

Command the Tides by Wren Handman–Excerpt


Book Title: Command The Tides (The Chronicles of Midvalen, Book One)

ISBN: 9781623421809

Genre: Romantic Fantasy

Available in Paperback and Ebook March 17, 2015


Enter Midvalen, a world of kings and kingdoms, princes and pretenders.
In the Kingdom of Miranov, Taya seems to have it all: she owns her own store, she’s engaged to be married to a handsome man, and she’s a success. But the truth is more complicated than anyone could guess. Her engagement is a sham, an agreement of convenience that she made with Darren so she can own land and he can get his mother off his back. She thinks things have become complicated when she realizes that she's fallen in love with him, something she never planned to do. But what's worse is discovering that her simple sailor boy is actually the crown prince of neighboring Sephria, and his usurping Uncle is trying to kill him.
When Darren shows up at her door, bleeding and fleeing assassins, Taya is drawn into a complicated mess of politics, fighting, and broken hearts. Her allegiances will be questioned, her love will find a new course, and she’ll do it all while trying to stay alive, save the day, and guard her heart.


“David, help Ryan cover the trail. I’ll help Sarah take Darren. Taya, take my sword and cover us.”

“The girl? She’s like to cut off her own feet as an enemy!” Liam hissed.

Taya felt her face grow hot. As always when she felt embarrassment closing in, she covered it with anger. She grabbed Jeremy’s sword by the hilt, drawing it out with one smooth motion and swinging it down so the point touched the

ground just an inch in front of Liam’s foot. She felt Jeremy take a staggering

step backward, startled.

“I will not only cut our enemy, I will cut the feet off of our enemy and

leave them to bleed in the dirt. I haven’t let us down yet, and I certainly don’t

intend to start now. And if you ever call me ‘the girl’ again, I will show you

exactly what I am expert at cutting off,” she snarled, and then she hoisted the

sword and spun on her heel, storming away before he could react.

She stood at the edge of their sad, sodden company, the hilt of the sword

resting snugly in the palm of her hand, her back straight and her head held high,

and the only thing going through her mind was the fact she had absolutely,

completely, no idea how to use a sword.

Amazon    Goodreads     Simon and Schuster

Author Bio

Wren Handman is a novelist, fiction writer, and playwright. Her first novel, Last Cut, was published by James Lorimer Publishing Ltd (Sept 2012) and is aimed at teenagers with reading difficulties. She has published short stories both in print and online, including in the anthology Voice From the Planet (Harvard Square Editions) and the online magazine Crow Toes Quarterly, an award-winning Canadian children’s publication. For regular updates check out her short fiction project, Lucid Dreaming (, which responds to original art pieces with flash fiction stories.

Mar 17, 2015

Why I’m stepping back from Publishing for now


Writers who keep writing are those who must. Even on the dark days when it seems no one wants to read what they are writing, there’s always one more story they have to get down, one more idea to flesh out, one more perfect first line that leads to a second and third. You catch my drift here. They will gasp out their last breath tapping on a keyboard or with arthritic fingers grasping some writing implement or another.

Those writers will never stop writing because it’s in their blood. It’s in mine.

Publishing is a different kettle of kittens. A writer doesn’t need to publish. Publishing isn’t writing. It’s been my experience that one has very little to do with the other. This might sound like a strange admission coming from a writer with a fifth novel recently released. There are all sorts of reasons to publish--Reach is one, sharing a story through a medium that may be beyond the individual. Some publish for the glory, for the sense of achievement, or the money. Although money has always been the worst of all reasons to publish. Most published authors will agree there is little money in comparison the the hours put in.

I envisioned my stories in the hands of people from every corner of the world. To do that I felt I needed to belong to the publishing community. I saw myself writing everyday, interacting with other writers and readers while my books did the reaching with me. Anything beyond that seemed like a pipe dream.

Books have always been important to me. They are a means to escape when I can’t. A way live in other worlds when my own becomes overwhelming. To be other people and have grand adventures when my life sucks. So, I also wanted to be a part of the book industry. To be blunt, I never expected to earn vast sums or top best seller lists but I also didn’t expect to fail so abysmally as an author.

I write and I spend months revising, then there’s the submission. And then the real work begins. Making a book is incredibly time consuming and involves a number of people. Writing, by comparison, is the easy part. Once it’s done, it’s done. After the book is out there, there is the constant promotion to garner even a couple of sales. In the past, I’ve had days where I spend about 25 minutes working on a story and several hours a day working on promotions. As of today, my latest Something Wicked (released January 20th) is still out of stock on US Amazon and only recently stocked elsewhere. Because stuff happened in publishing, deadlines, and time slots, and miscommunications. Not necessarily anyone’s fault but no less stressful because it isn’t.

Publishing is a business. I don’t want this to sound like sour grapes. I don’t in any sense feel I deserve to sell books. I don’t feel readers owe me reviews or word of mouth. I’m extremely grateful to those who have given me their time. I’m grateful to those who have supported me because I know that’s a gift they didn’t have to share. I’m grateful for the reviews, good, bad, and indifferent. I came into this with what I thought were realistic expectations. It’s not a sense of entitlement. I don’t feel I entitled to have my books read just because I put them out in the world. But I did hope they wouldn’t disappear into oblivion.

I know the reality is that I’ve been lucky. Despite atrocious sales, my publisher continued to believe in me and continued to invest in my work. I will always be grateful for that. I write what I want and don’t limit myself to one genre, age, or even to happy ever after. There isn’t a lot of consistency in what I produce.

The terrible truth is, my books don’t sell. To be honest, they don’t garner a lot of interest in giveaways either. It would appear in the grand scheme, there are very few readers who connect with my style of writing and storytelling. As much as I hate to disappoint faithful readers, my options are change how and what I write or keep writing what I love and step back from publishing before shouting into the void and chucking my work(and the work of all those who help me create my books) into the abyss drives me insane. Neither is ideal, but I know I can’t just write something I don’t believe in. I can’t change how I write.

I’m not one to quit. It’s not in my nature, so this has been an almost impossible decision for me. My instinct is to keep slogging away until the bitter end. But I don’t want to think of publishing with bitterness. I want it to be something I’m proud of and something I may well return to one day. I’m not planning to disappear from the blogosphere or social media and I’m not saying never. I don’t know what the future holds. Maybe I will take another pop at publishing in the future. Maybe my time will come. But for now, I’m taking a break from chasing my next publication to enjoy simply writing for pleasure again.

It’s been a roller-coaster. Thank you for taking the ride with me. 

Mar 14, 2015

Fix You by Beck Anderson Review and Giveaway

Adult Contemporary Romance 
New release from Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster) March 2015
Previously released by Omnific Publishing

In this modern-day Cinderella story with a charming twist, a young widow with two rambunctious sons falls for a gorgeous movie star. But can she handle life in the limelight?
When Kelly Reynolds’s husband died two years ago, he left her to raise their two young boys. She’s barely pieced herself back together and takes refuge in her routine, running her kids around town and running the trails near their Idaho home.
A chance encounter on a trail run brings famous actor Andy Pettigrew into her life. He’s clearly interested in her, but Kelly hates risk, and a love affair with Andrew is certainly tempting fate. She doesn’t fit into his Hollywood world. She doesn’t own a pair of Louboutins, and she couldn’t walk five steps in them if she did. Andrew oozes cool. She reeks of dork.
Despite this, they click. But Andrew struggles with the pressures of his fame, and Kelly’s hold on a so-called normal life is already tenuous. So as much as she wants to indulge the fantasy, she doesn’t know how either of them is supposed to cope with stalkerazzi and tweet-happy fans with camera phones. Especially when she and Andrew both have secrets that seem impossible to keep…

I had already read The Jeweler by Beck Anderson so I had some idea what to expect in terms of writing style. 

Beck has a way of shooting you through the story so that a lot of time elapses over the course of the book, however, it never feels rushed in any part. The writing is tight and descriptions are concise but emotive. The landscapes and scenery in this book almost feet like extra characters, with the stark contrast between laid back Idaho and glittering Hollywood parties. 

A particular scene in the first few pages of the book left me breathless in the worst way. There was a moment between Kelly and her husband, a very simple, completely ordinary moment but something in it reverberated through me. It was so completely real, the beginning of something bigger than either of them. The imagery of the couple at the top of the ski route was perfect. I imagined sweeping downward, the sensation of unstoppable momentum carrying them forward. It was a perfect and I was hooked.

As a character, Kelly is likeable. She's strong and sensible, beautiful but a little damaged around the edges. There were a couple of moments I wanted to shake her. A couple of times I felt she was mothering Andrew rather than treating him as a partner. But for the most part, I could see why someone like Andrew would fall for her. 

As for Andrew, okay, I'm going to say it. I don't know if Andrew was based on any actor in particular, but I know who I immediately pictured. I did feel a little like a voyeur in a real person's life, it gave me a couple of moments pause. This could have been me and not the book at all. I don't usually picture actors as book people, but it could have been just that Andrew was so completely flesh out that he jumped off the page as a real person. 

The romance was slow and simmering. Rightly so, under the circumstances. Andrew is romantic but in a way I like. I'm not a grand gestures sort of girl so I liked they started with shopping and tea, frozen pizza and sweaty running clothes. 

When the truth of Kelly and Andrew's pasts are revealed it swept me sideways. It was unexpected but at the same time foreshadowed. Looking back, clues were there, but I can't say I saw it coming. 

Overall this is a well-written romance with real depth and texture to it. I'd give it a solid five stars. 

About the Author
Beck Anderson loves to write about love and its power to heal and grow people past their many imperfections. She is a firm believer in the phrase "mistakes are for learning" and uses it frequently to guide her in writing life and real life.
Beck balances (clumsily at best) writing novels and screenplays, working full-time as an educator, mothering two pre-teen males, loving one post-40 husband, and making time to walk the foothills of Boise, Idaho, with Stefano DiMera Delfino Anderson, the suavest Chihuahua north of the border.


To celebrate the re-release of Fix you, the author is hosting a giveaway of a $25 Amazon giftcard and a print copy of the book. 

Follow other stops on the tour here 


Feb 27, 2015

The Jeweler by Beck Anderson

Adult Contemporary Romance 
Published by Omnific Publishing
Fender Barnes profits from an institution he doesn’t believe in marriage. He’s a talented designer, but a reluctant jewelry store owner, thanks to his pop’s retirement. He’s cynical, he’s jaded, he’s not entirely certain about the concept of love, but he’s happy to sell an eager young guy an engagement ring for his fiancĂ©e to be—until moments after the transaction when that eager guy is hit by a car and killed, and Fender’s conscience pays a rare visit.
He retrieves the ring and decides to find the woman his customer intended to marry. That woman turns out to be Ginger Stevens, twenty-something ski instructor, who—despite being full of guilt and self-doubt after the death of her boyfriend—is someone Fender finds he quite enjoys being around. He’s smitten.
Which is all well and good, except that after he meets her, Fender can’t do it. Though it’s right there in his pocket, he can’t tell her about the ring. Instead, he embarks on a long, ridiculous quest to find a way to tell her the truth he knows she deserves. Aided by advice from Pop and the antics of his best friend Sam, Fender tries desperately to juggle his budding romance with the reality he knows could ruin it.
Will he find love or foul it up? Can Ginger move out of the past to embrace what the future has to offer? Meet this unlikely pair in Beck Anderson’s heartfelt and fabulously funny second novel, The Jeweler.
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This book was a surprise, in the best way. I didn't read any other reviews before I read it. I don't know why but I expected Fender to be completely different to what he turned out to be. I expected someone slight slick and maybe a little sleazy. Well, he does make his money from romance and love when he doesn't believe the hype. 
He was actually a fairly regular guy and much easier to relate to than I thought he would be. 
Ginger I took to straight away. I could really relate to a woman who is almost married but isn't quite sure how she got there or how much of herself she lost along the way. 

The writing flows. It's descriptive but compact, allowing for the story to zip by without feeling forced and giving all the characters plenty of time to develop naturally. This is good. I was pulled in quickly and knew who I was dealing with quickly. 

Ginger's grief and guilt is weaved  throughout and at times seems an insurmountable challenge for Fender to get through.He starts off on the wrong foot and just keeps stepping wrong. I was rooting for these too. 

I can recommend this book for anyone who loves romance with emotional substance. 

5 stars

About the Author
Beck Anderson loves to write about love and its power to heal and grow people past their many imperfections. She is a firm believer in the phrase "mistakes are for learning" and uses it frequently to guide her in writing life and real life.
Beck balances (clumsily at best) writing novels and screenplays, working full-time as an educator, mothering two pre-teen males, loving one post-40 husband, and making time to walk the foothills of Boise, Idaho, with Stefano DiMera Delfino Anderson, the suavest Chihuahua north of the border.