Cover Reveal for THE CHINA DOLL! And a giveaway!

02/24/2014 13:15

The book will be out soon, and the cover is being revealed today!



The China Doll

By Deborah Nam-Krane

Genre: Mystery/suspense

Hypocrisy, half truths and lies...

Sick of being treated like she's going to break, Jessie Bartolome is back to her old ways and calling everyone on their hypocrisy. Sheesh! One little breakdown and even easygoing Martin Shepard thinks she's too fragile to handle their age difference. Good thing her older and equally yummy teaching assistant Robert Lester thinks otherwise…right?

After spending so long cleaning up after everyone else, Jessie's cousin Richard has never had the time to start a life of his own. However had he managed to find his girlfriend Zainab? So what is Richard going to do now that everyone else has grown up? Marry Zainab and start a family? Things have never been that easy for a Hendrickson…just ask his cousin Michael.

Richard's mother, Lucy, is one of the most powerful women in Boston... so when is she going to put a stop to the blackmail ruthless Alex Sheldon has been holding over her for years? And if Richard knows more than he's letting on, why hasn't he gone after Alex himself? The question is, how much does he- or anyone else- really know?

Welcome to the Bartolome/Hendrickson family.

The China Doll is Book Three in The New Pioneers Series.




“My dad drowned. My mom died in her sleep.”

“How old was she?”

“About twenty-six.” Jessie shuddered just a little bit. “Just a little older than Miranda is now.”

“That’s awfully young to die in your sleep.”

“Heart condition, they said.”

“Who’s they?”

“Richard and Lucy.” Jessie shook her head. “No. Just Richard.”

“What did your aunt say?”

“Nothing,” Jessie said quietly. “She just let Richard do all the talking.”

“How old was he?”

Jessie sighed. “Thirteen, I think.”

“And how old were you?”


“So how do you know you remember it correctly?”

Jessie looked at him square in the eye. “Because you know when you’re that age. When you’re a little kid, you don’t have to go through the apologetic BS you do when you’re older. When you’re eight, even. You just get it. And people think you’re crazy or in the way or rude because you get it and then you say it. So then no one wants to talk to you or they send you to your room. Then you start making up excuses for why they must be right and you must be wrong. Then you grow up, and you realize that you had it right back then, and if your world seems messed up, it’s because you bought into someone else’s lies. So don’t lie anymore, and everything will be just fine.”

“And when did you come to that nugget of wisdom?”

“When I was fifteen,” Jessie said quietly. “And I’ve been very happy ever since.”



The Smartest Girl in the Room

Genre: Coming of Age

Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she's going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily's ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She's going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn't the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she'd cross the line for would do the same for her?









The Family You Choose

Genre: Family Saga

Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough to bring her back?











Deborah Nam-Krane is a writer living in Boston proper who has been storytelling since she was a little girl and writing those stories down since she was eight. Any given day will find her reading, writing, reviewing, editing and, just for fun, homeschooling her three school-aged children (she’s very grateful the fourth is now college-aged).

The China Doll is the third installment of the New Pioneers series, the sequel to The Smartest Girl in the Room (March 2013) and The Family You Choose (September 2013). While her long-suffering editor works her magic on the fourth installment Let’s Move On, Deborah is working on the fifth. That book will be set in the world of Boston and Massachusetts politics, and her job will be to tone down the true stories she’s heard so they seem believable.

Deborah is all over the place on the internet- no, really- but the best way to keep in touch is to follow her blog Written By Deb and subscribe to her newsletter (only publishing news, never spam).








$10 Amazon gift card

5 copies of both The Smartest Girl in the Room and The Family You Choose


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Down the Hatch!

02/21/2014 08:55

February 22nd is National Margarita Day AND World Sword Swallowers Day!


I’d say these two days are equally interesting to watch someone else celebrate, but only one would be fun to participate in celebrating.  I’ve drunk many a margarita in my day, as my college friends would attest to, but I’ve definitely never swallowed a sword.


First, let’s discuss the margarita.  Some people are purists.  Their margaritas must be the traditional lime flavor, on the rocks, with a salt rim.  Not me.  My fave is the frozen strawberry margarita with a sugar rim.  I’m no purist, and I don’t care if it’s a sissy drink—I like it.  My personal favorite of all strawberry margaritas are the ones we made every Friday night in college.  Chi-Chi’s Strawberry Margarita mix, ice, extra sugar, and then blend it up.  I recall there being some confusion as to when to add the extra sugar—before or after blending—some of us preferring a smooth drink, others preferring it gritty.  Either way, it was the perfect drink for college partying.  You never had to remember the “Beer before liquor, never sicker” rule if you were only drinking one thing, and your belly would get full long before you’d get wasted.  

Ah, good times.  On to sword swallowing!


Folks, I have absolutely no experience in or knowledge about sword swallowing.  That being said, I think it looks wicked cool.  With my gag reflex, I could never, ever, do it, so I respect those who can even more.  There’s obviously a technique to it, because how does one swallow a sword correctly every time, when most of us choke on bits of food and liquids on a daily basis?  I found some instructions, in case anyone wants to try it out. 

It works, obviously, because people do it everyday and we know from x-rays, etc. why it is physiologically possible.  But what I want to know is:  who was the first person way back in the day (around 2000 BC) that thought “I should stick a sword down my throat and see what happens”?


Well, regardless of how you celebrate, just remember:  Do NOT try to celebrate these two occasions at the same party.




02/19/2014 09:12
Winning is easy! All you have to do to be eligible to win is: 
1. Sign up for author Carolyn Ridder Aspenson's newsletter by visiting her website at
Five lucky winners will receive a kindle copy of Carolyn's bestselling novel, Unfinished Business An Angela Panther Novel and one extra lucky winner will receive a handmade scrapbook/journal. 
Enter today! Winners will be announced on Saturday at
ANGELA PANTHER HAS A PERFECT LIFE:  A lovely home, an attentive, successful husband, two reasonably behaved children, a devoted dog and a lot of coffee and cupcakes. But while her life might border on mundane, she's got it under control. Until her mother, Fran dies-and returns as a ghost. It seems Fran's got some unfinished business and she's determined to get it done.
Now Fran's got some nifty celestial superpowers and isn't opposed to using them to levy a little ghostly retribution on her granddaughter's frienemies and even her own daughter, which doesn't make Angela happy.
While Angela's shocked and grateful to have her mother back, she's not thrilled about the portal to the afterlife Fran opened upon her return. Now every ghost in town is knockin' on Angela's psychic door, looking for help-and it's a royal pain in the butt.
Now Angela's got to find a way to balance her family life with her new gift and keep her mother in line. And it's a lot for one woman to handle. 

Happy Anniversary, TEAR STAINED BEACHES!

02/18/2014 11:47

Congrats to my author friend, Courtney Giardina, on her one year book anniversary!

Buy it on sale here!

One year ago this week, Tear Stained Beaches was published by Take Two Publishing as an ebook! In September of this year, it was released as a print version and since then has read been read by many happy customers! In honor of its one year anniversary, Tear Stained Beaches will be on sale for 3 days only, February 18-20. So stop on over and pick up a copy and share with a friend.

Tear Stained Beaches was a great little "Beach Read". Very easy to read with a storyline that draws you in. The main character is very relatable and her pain as she goes through this difficult time is palpable. I found myself crying during one of the final scenes in the book, as I imagined what those emotions must feel like. Looking forward to reading more!”

“I simply could not put it down. I was drawn immediately to Haylie's character; she was so well written and I could feel the emotions she was feeling. I kept hoping that there was some other explanation for her husband's actions; I wanted to trust him too. Haylie made the best possible decision for herself. I think Chase loved her but he was just too weak. I hope for a sequel; I would love to hear what happens next for Haylie.”

I wanted to take this time to say a big thank you to all my readers, authors, family and friends who have supported me along this journey. I couldn’t have done it without you! --Courtney




My Favorite Romantic Gestures

02/14/2014 10:18

I originally wrote this blog post for a guest spot I did on Melissa's Mochas, Mysteries & Meows, a fun cozy mystery blog.  In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I would bring it out again, because it's all about love!


Let’s face it, ladies, we LOVE love.  And what is love without a little romance?  In my bestselling debut novel, IT’S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH, the hot leading man, Blake, has quite a few romantic tricks up his sleeve—although he doesn’t really need them to woo Lizzie, who’s been crushing on him since the moment she saw him.

My list is a combination of gestures that my fictional leading man and my real-life leading man have both used to add a little romance to their respective relationships.


Cook for her

Last year on Valentine’s Day, it just so happened that I was scheduled to be in charge of my community’s soup kitchen.  I love volunteering there, and there’s nothing more important to me than making sure that people are fed and cared for.  I was a little bummed that it fell on Valentine’s Day, but what better way to show love, right?  Well, when I got home, hot and tired from cooking and serving over steaming pots and starving because I didn’t have time to eat, my husband had made an entire Chinese dinner (at that time, he didn’t cook hardly at all, so this was monumental), complete with my favorite wine (which he doesn’t even like), roses, AND earrings!  And just this morning, I was treated to a huge surprise breakfast buffet, complete with an omelet, hash browns, and gravy!


In my book, Blake, also not known for cooking much, takes it upon himself to make Lizzie a lovely breakfast of waffles, bacon, and coffee in her kitchen while she’s still sleeping.  Lizzie had had a difficult weekend, getting her car blown up, being questioned by the police, and getting her favorite dress ruined by a catty frenemy, so Blake decides to surprise her and pamper her a bit.


Give gifts:  flowers and jewelry, but not chocolates—and for heaven’s sake, NEVER a scale.

Flowers as a gift for various holidays are great, but flowers for no reason—now that’s romantic!  I’ll have to say that my husband did the “flowers for no reason” thing a lot more when we were dating, but it still happens every once in a while, and when it does, I get all swoony.  Jewelry is always great.  Just make sure it’s real and not heart-shaped.


There are gifts that can backfire, gentlemen, and chocolates are one of them.  If we ladies are on a diet (which, face it, most of us at least pretend we’re on a diet constantly), then chocolates are not always well-received.  Along the same line, never, EVER buy a woman a scale.  Just don’t.  Even if it’s state-of-the-art, beams your weight wirelessly to your computer, etc.  Don’t.  Do.  It.  My husband got me one for Christmas last year.  Granted, it was kind of a symbol of a commitment for us both to get healthier, and we did actually lose 100 pounds between us.  But please, wouldn’t it have been better to just buy it, and not wrap it up and put it under the tree?  Nothing says “You’re fat” like the gift of a scale.



Nothing says “I love you” more than showing it in front of the whole world.  Guys, women like to be touched—and by “touched” I don’t mean “groped”.  There’s a difference.  Public groping is uncool.  Don’t do it.  It makes us feel cheap.  (I only remember it happening one time to me, and the idiot got slapped.  And dumped.)  However, holding our hands, putting an arm around us, brushing our hair back from our face (gently, especially if we’ve spent an hour styling it), and maybe a quick peck on the cheek or lips is all good, and very welcome.


Blake loves to be near Lizzie.  They work together, so there’s definitely no PDA in the office, but he takes every opportunity elsewhere to hold her hand, play with her hair, hug her, and kiss her.  The only instance of Blake’s PDA gone wrong is when he and Lizzie broke into a suspect’s office, and as they were trying to avoid the police, he pulled her to the ground and kissed her.  He tried to convince her that their “cover” was that they were engaging in a little outdoor hanky-panky rather than fleeing the scene of a crime.  Yeah, Lizzie didn’t buy it, either.


Save her life

Although I can’t say that my husband has ever had to do this for me, I’m confident that if faced with the situation, he would be very heroic.


Ever the hero, Blake saves Lizzie in the end.  I don’t think I’m giving away too much of the plot here, because the book is a mystery, and they have to deal with a killer, so it stands to reason that there would be a big finish.  And, considering there is a sequel, Lizzie obviously is indeed saved.  Anyway, this might not be a gesture that can be done on a regular basis, but when it is, it is the ultimate romantic gesture.



BETWEEN THE SHEETS launches today!

02/14/2014 09:47

BETWEEN THE SHEETS, the sequel to BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS by my friend Sarka-Jonae Miller, launches today!

Get it on Amazon here!


It's been three years since 25-year-old Jan Weston swore off men, and her resolve isn't what it used to be. When a family emergency diverts her travel companion to LA, a fun semester abroad in Bangkok turns into a lonely trip for one. Although she's supposed to be studying international business at Thammasat University along with Thai massage at the famous Wat Pho, Jan finds herself studying her teacher, especially his cute butt.

But she isn't just hot for teacher. Jan also meets an athletic Italian ready to show her a good time and an artistic Thai man who says all the right things. Can she resist the allure of dating abroad? Could she even choose which of the three she wants between the sheets? And if she does give in, can what happens in Bangkok stay in Bangkok?

As Jan struggles to finish her education amidst so many distractions, she must also deal with the loss of a friend, a deep betrayal, and news of a death in the family that could lead to an overdue reconciliation. Between The Sheets is a sensual story of making mistakes, overcoming obstacles, and finding love in the strangest of places.


About the Author

Sárka-Jonae is a novelist, publicist, and journalist, among other "ists" there aren't room for. Her novel writing career began with Between Boyfriends, an edgy chick-lit book for women who've been "Between Boyfriends", which is much cooler than being single.

Sárka-Jonae is a graduate of Syracuse University. Before writing full-time, she was a personal trainer and massage therapist, helping people tone up, slim down, and chill out. In her free time, SJ loves to dance in flash mobs, in music videos, on speakers, or at home in her underwear. She practices kung fu and yoga, was briefly a Buddhist nun, and travels extensively for "research". She's a huge animal lover and has been vegan since 1999. She's committed to respectfully unveiling the truth about the horrific way factory farms abuse animals. SJ lives in San Diego with two cats and two dogs.


Social Media links:








02/11/2014 12:05

Congrats to my friend, Lilian Roberts, on her recent success!

Booktrope is re-releasing Arielle Immortal Awakening by Lilian Roberts today. The novel is the first of four self-published books in a paranormal romance series picked up by the publisher and set for re-release this year. The next four books in the series will quickly follow. Lilian submitted Arielle Immortal Awakening into the MARSocial Author of the Year Competition last November and was just named a runner-up. The novel is also a Book Rooster Reviewer Pick. The Paranormal Romance Guild said, "I thought this was a great storyline, and I really did enjoy it... I would like to read the second book in the series." Book 2, Arielle Immortal Seduction, will be re-released in about 6 weeks. 

Arielle Immortal Awakening Summary


A mortal soul… 
From the time college co-ed Arielle Lloyd had been young, she had been able to hear the thoughts and feel the pain of certain others, and those she comes to think of as her special group. One friend’s dabbling with spells and magic showed her the power of love that can endure beyond the grave. But another friend’s terrifying encounter with a warlock left Arielle wary of those who claim otherworldly powers. On holiday in the south of France, a chance encounter could change her mind. Or could cost her life. 

An Immortal man… 
Sebastian Gaulle is the wealthy, handsome owner of an international company. He is also an Immortal. For five centuries he has sought the one soul who can fulfill his dreams of everlasting love. Then he meets Arielle, whose heart calls out to him like no other. 

A timeless love… 
Sebastian has made his choice clear. But jealous Immortals from his past threaten retaliation. They have vowed to destroy any woman who becomes involved with him. In spite of the powerful protection amulet Sebastian gives Arielle, death stalks their newfound love. Their love may be eternal, but they may be running out of time.


Buy Links


Amazon US


Amazon UK


Barnes & Noble


Launch Day for IF YOU ONLY KNEW!

02/07/2014 13:36

Congrats to one of my author friends, Zanna Mackenzie, whose new Chick-Lit book, IF YOU ONLY KNEW, launches TODAY!

I LOVE the cover!

Get your copy today--buy links are below!


Book: If You Only Knew

Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing

Published on:  February 7th 2014

Genre: Chicklit

Tag line:   Is the past about to destroy the future for Faith when she discovers her new boyfriend and her first love are in business together?

Book blurb:

Would you have the courage to feel the fear and fall in love anyway...?

Faith owns The Coffee Pot in the outdoor adventure sports mecca of Derbyshire’s Peak District. She hasn’t had a man in her life for a while, as she has been too busy serving cakes to weary rock climbers and mountain bikers to find time for the complications of a relationship with the male of the species.

Then Zane and Matt arrive on the scene as the new owners of the Carrdale Adventure Sports Centre.

Dating Zane, she soon discovers he’s not the Mr Perfect she thought he was; and why is he so reluctant to talk about his past?

As for Matt – well, to Faith he isn’t Matt at all because he was a completely different person when he broke her heart all those years ago.

With her new boyfriend and her first love running Carrdale as business partners – Matt out to cause trouble and Zane keeping secrets – Faith struggles to keep the peace between them whilst trying to figure out how she feels about the two men in her life…


Main buy links for book:

*Crooked Cat Publishing 

*Amazon UK

*Amazon USA


Book extract:

This couldn’t be happening.

Zane had said his business partner was called Matt. She was sure of it. Yes, he’d definitely just introduced him as Matt. But the man standing before her wasn’t Matt.

It was Aaron.

Faith wiped her hands on a tea–towel. She wanted to speak, but couldn’t get her brain into gear enough to make her mouth form the words.

She’d thought Aaron was gone from her life.

It looked as though she was wrong.

She took a step back, wrapping her arms around herself. Suddenly she felt cold and shaky. Aaron was back? This was impossible.

Yet here he was, standing in her kitchen. She felt dizzy and light-headed.

How should she react? Should she admit they knew each other? Why had Aaron changed his name to Matt anyway? Would he prefer it if the fact they knew each other was kept quiet?

But she knew she couldn’t keep something like that from Zane.

As she debated what to say and do next, the room remained awkwardly silent. Zane was looking at her questioningly.

What should she say?

Come on, think, woman. Think.

Too late. Aaron spoke first.

“Faith, it’s amazing to see you again after all these years.”

OK. So he didn’t want to keep it a secret that they already knew each other.

“Aaron,” she managed to say. “This is a bit of a shock.”

“That’s an understatement,” Matt replied, stepping forward to pull her into a hug.

“Hang on a second,” Zane said, pushing into the room. “Aaron? That’s your proper name isn’t it?” He raised enquiring eyebrows at Matt. “What’s going on? You two already know each other?”



Author bio:

Zanna Mackenzie lives on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border with her husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.

Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!

If You Only Knew is Zanna’s third novel; her previous books The Love Programme, and How Do You Spell Love? were both published in 2013.

Find out more about Zanna on her blog, on Twitter via @ZannaMacKenzie or on Facebook at


Follow Links:

Find out more about Zanna at:

Twitter: @ZannaMacKenzie


Goodreads -

Amazon Author Page -




01/30/2014 15:44


One year ago today, IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH became an official book for purchase on  A couple of months later, paper copies became available, and other outlets like Barnes & Noble and iBooks had it for sale as well.  In August, it became a bestseller, and in November, it captured the attention of a literary agent!  Right now, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will meet the approval of a publisher and get its own book deal!

Help me celebrate by entering the contest below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


It's National Get Organized Month

01/29/2014 09:16


Get crackin', slackers!  January is National Get Organized Month, and it's almost over!

This is my pantry.  Anal much?  It doesn't look like this because I'm such a neat freak--it's to keep the mice away.  Between living in the woods and having a useless waste of oxygen for a cat, mice are something that are inevitable, unless you go all Monica-Geller-on-crystal-meth on your house, which I did.  Try to get my food now, suckers!

But seriously, a little organization never hurt anyone, and there are even support groups for neat freaks professional associations of organizers that can hook you up with someone you can hire to do it for you.


Or, you can just politely enlist the help of your family members and make keeping the house clean and organized a group effort.



Sure, your house doesn't always have to look like it could be in a magazine, but a little organization can save you from being featured on an episode of Hoarders, unless, of course, that's your only way to make it in reality TV.




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