Reviews Published

Friday, October 31, 2008

Books for Halloween

What are your favourite books set at Halloween? I must confess, I can’t think of very many off-hand. So far, I’ve come up with:

- “A Slave of My Own Desire”, Eve Summers, Red Rose Publishing

- “Trix & a Treat”, Aliyah Burke, Red Rose Publishing

It’s probably because I’m in Red Rose mood! So please leave a comment to help me expand my list.

Just a reminder, I’m chatting online on 31 October 2008, 4.30am EST at the Wild Rose Press garden. Come visit!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Cleopatra herself is rumored to have purchased emeralds"

Today we welcome Melody Knight, author of the newly released Emerald City. Emerald City is published by Red Rose, and is Melody's third book with them.
Click here to buy the book now, without reading anything about it. Come on, be spontaneous!)

Q. What inspired you to write Emerald City, Melody?
A. I've been studying archeology for several years now. My goal is to eventually become a contract archeologist - that is, I'll go to sites and explore the archeological ramifications of construction, and whether building will damage our cultural heritage. As for Emerald City? It combined my love of the paranormal with Egypt, artifacts, and a heated romance. It's difficult to go wrong with those elements!

Q. Is this your first erotic romance? Do you feel the eroticism overshadows the rest of the story?
A. Until two years ago, I'd never written a romance novel. Oh, I'd penned a number of action/SF/fantasy works, but nothing in the romance genre. Last year I attempted my first erotic novella, and quite enjoyed it. Writing erotica makes me feel just a little decadent and unexpected. As for overshadowing the rest of the story? No. I merely heat up the love scenes, making them more explicit. After all, sex is the culmination of a romance. Why shouldn't we write about it?

Q. Tell us a little more about Emerald City. Why that name?
A. Berenike is the Emerald City of the ancients. It was a port and a trading center. At that time, most of the world's emeralds were found within several hundred miles of Berenike, and Cleopatra herself is rumored to have purchased emeralds to give as gifts to foreign dignitaries, often with her face inscribed on the stone surface. The Berenike region is where the story is set, and it's all about Claudia, an archeologist fairly new to dig sites. She has come to Egypt to learn, to be the resident expert on trade networks, and to rid herself of her past life, which includes Nigel. Nigel is her lover, only she has never known him "in the flesh". When she meets CT, another archeologist on the dig, she has to decide between her love for these two men: one living, and the other, dead.

Q. And now, an excerpt from Emerald City...
A. First, Yvonne, I'd just like to thank you for hosting me on your blog!

From Emerald City:

It was midday on the second day when it happened. According to her map, and her sources, there was a small town a mile or so off-road, which the mine workers had once inhabited. No one had done much more than note its existence, and Claudia felt the thrill of discovery. Who knew what a place like that might hold? Other Mons Smaragdus towns had yielded pottery and metals, low grade gemstones, and a variety of other, more homely items. There were sure to be buildings, if the place had been impressive enough to be noted on the map. Gooseflesh danced down her back. The wadi region was laden with small piles of rubble -- the remnants of ancient huts. This township held the promise of oh, so much more.

She readjusted her hat, conscious of her thirst. It seemed she was always conscious of her thirst in this wretched heat! She sucked on her canteen then mustered ahead. No track, so she'd just have to make her way. A couple of times she glanced back at the truck, even climbing one of the little hills to make sure it was still within sight. It was only on the last check that she saw it had disappeared, but that was what she expected. This was hilly country, after all, and the town should be just ahead.

Only, it wasn't, nor could she find the truck. She tried tracing her own footsteps, but this area was rock, rather than sand, and it was no use. Her compass was erratic, due to magnetic deposits, leading her nowhere. Two hours later, dragging her body through the heat, Claudia had to admit it -- I'm lost. Lost in the damned desert. Her water bottle was dry, but she refused to panic. If I don't check in, they'll come looking.

The sun had never been so hot, and Claudia knew she should have been resting midday away instead of hiking. But it was too late -- too late for anything. She rooted around in one of those piles of rocky debris, picking up rocks that burned her hands to pile them into a wall that might offer her partial shade -- if it didn't fall on her head first. She didn't possess the building secrets of the ancient Romans or the Bedouin. And her blistered hands were shaking so badly she didn't know how she'd survive the next few hours.

It was then an icy chill came on her, colder than death.Nigel!

She didn't speak -- she didn't have to. He was there…for her.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Eve Summers' New Release

Eve Summer's had a new release. Check out "The Slave of My Own Desire" published by Red Rose Publishing.

Buy 4 books and hope to win a pair 0f real black and white diamond earrings!

Speaking of black and white, "The Slave of My Own Desire" is an interracial romance.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What do you call someone who...

What do you call someone who would rather read her own books than anybody else's?

Well, this week, the answer is: Yvonne Eve Walus.

I'm doing the final edits on my latest book and selecting promotional excerpts for the book that's going to be released tomorrow (have a look at Red Rose Publishing and their contest to win real diamond earrings), and I actually WANT to do it all more than I want to read "Buried". Mark Billingham, please forgive me. "Buried" will have to wait.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Mighty Macallan

It’s been a while since I last updated my Single Malt Diary, but you know how it is: so many whiskies, so little time.

I lost track a year ago in South Africa, when I was kindly invited to a Whisky Tasting Festival. It was a dream come true, an experience I have since fantasised about over and over again. It was an orgy of pure malts, politically incorrect blends and crossing the culture boundaries from Scotland to Ireland. And as with any orgy, I’m now a classic case of I’m-so-sorry-I-know-I’ve-had-you-but-I-can’t-remember-your-name (although I am confident that I could tell the Irish from the Scottish blindfolded).

The orgy, gratifying as it was, only confirmed my opinion that Lagavulin is my favourite and my best, the perfect combination of arrogance and sweetness. Last month, however, my loyalty was sorely tested.

The contender was Macallan, an unassuming-looking Speyside single malt. Its marketing blurb is that they mature their core in 100% sherry oak barrels, which, though interesting, hardly makes the earth move for me.

Nevertheless, a single malt is a single malt, even more desirable when offered during a bridge evening by a sexy guy in tight jeans. I succumbed. I tasted. I may have moaned.

My preference is for peaty, and the Macallan tends towards the sweet, yet the complexity of flavours is so overwhelming that it honestly doesn’t need the darker side. [And here is an aside: tell me what whisky you love and I’ll make sweeping psycho-babble statements about the kind of lover you are.]

Yes, I was impressed enough with the Macallan 12. The 18 is another story... and it’s x-rated.

Here is a teaser, though, from the Macallan website (marketing department, please note: I will accept gifts and review samples):

Tasting notes:
Colour: Light Mahogany.
Nose: Dried fruits and ginger with hints of citrus, vanilla and cinnamon.
Palate: Rich dried fruits, spice, clove, orange and wood smoke.
Finish: Full dried fruits and sweet toffee, with a hint of ginger and wood smoke.

PS: It’s fortunate that I tasted the rare Double Matured Lagavulin on the same night as the 18-year old (... Macallan). The verdict? Lagavulin still rules my mouth.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I have a confession to make: I'm a sucker for anything with the word "forbidden". "The Forbidden Daughter" is a title that makes me want to read the book straight away. We have with us today the book's author, Shobhan Bantwal. Shobhan, how did you come up with the title?

Thank you, Yvonne, for inviting me over to your blog for an interview. It is always a pleasure to talk to folks who are interested in discussing books. They are my passion.

To answer your question, THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER as a title just sort of came to me while I started writing the story. The protagonist’s in-laws are forbidding her to have another girl, and that triggered the title right away. It was short and catchy and set the tone for my book.

It is catchy for sure! What made you decide to write this particular book?

A deep interest in women’s issues combined with the love of fiction inspired me to write a book about gender-based abortions in India. I had an opportunity to bring awareness to the issue by weaving it into a story of romance and intrigue and drama. Interweaving a hot-button social issue into a fictional story was the ideal outlet for me.

Now for the question that every fellow author itches to ask: who is your publisher and how did you get the contract?

My publisher is Kensington Publishing and THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER is the second book in a two-book contract. The first one was THE DOWRY BRIDE, also based in India and built around a hot-button social issue like this present one. The first book was released last September. My literary agent sold the rights to my books to Kensington. I did not approach them on my own.

I can see that we need a follow-up interview on the topic of "How to get a literary angent who can sell you to Kensington". LOL. What are you/they doing to promote the book?

This Virtual Tour, which includes your blog and various others, as well as another tour, which I completed in September, are my main promotional tools for this book. I am also doing some local book signings at bookstores and libraries, and doing some advertising on selected Internet sites.

What are you writing or planning to write next?

I have another two-book contract with Kensington, and I am still in the planning phase for the third book, so I don’t have much information to share. My editor and I are rolling around some ideas at the moment.

What's the worst piece of writing advice you've ever heard?

The worst piece of advice I have received is that one should strive to write something totally different from what one likes, as a challenge and exercise in creativity. Writing what I actively dislike is not something I can do with any interest, let alone with passion. I did not particularly care for that advice.

I'm with you on that one! Now, tell us where we can get hold of "The Forbidden Daughter".

THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER is available at all bookstores in the U.S. and Canada and all online bookstores that are capable of shipping anywhere in the world. Information on purchasing the book is available on my website as well:

For more information about Shobhan Bantwal’s virtual tour, visit –
The Forbidden Daughter can be ordered at:
You can visit Shobhan Bantwal at her website –

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A thinking woman's read

The sequel to ~In Trysts~


In Flames

1 - "Fast paced and edgy tension highlights this passionate
thriller. In Flames is a roller
coaster ride of secrets and ghosts and sizzling sensuality. The plot line is
solid and kept this reader guessing to the dramatic end. Marco and Sophia are
likable individuals that I felt an affinity with from the opening. Melody
Knight is an author whose back list I look forward to reading."

Lettetia Elasser

Affaire de Coeur July/August 2008

2 - "Her combustibility and the secrets of her past form the basis for this intriguing mystery." Literary Nymphs


Sophie opened the door, then stood, reluctant to enter. There was a smell, a scent in the air…

Cigarette smoke, fresh and pungent.

It might just as well have been sulfur and brimstone. Wherever Damian lingered…it was hot.

There was a small pile of ash on the floor, but no cigarette. She spotted a new mark on her dressing table—a charred circle.

Sophie lifted the silk skirting, and touched the hole with her fingertip.

A perfect circle.

Like a ring. At the end, when he feared losing her, he’d talked marriage. A lifetime of beatings and bliss.

She'd left him instead. Left him and moved on.

Damian had moved on, too—to the Hereafter.

A little defiantly, Sophie lifted her head. This room had meant so much to her. It had been her sanctuary, at a time when she had no longer needed saving. It had been proof of her resolve and good fortune—the sign that she no longer had to hide, that she was now self-sufficient and self-contained.

No longer.

Because this haven was no longer hers. If she’d needed a sign of usurped ownership, it was there in the burns marring her dresser, the holes in her clothes. Someone—or something—else owned it now.

With a shudder, she grabbed her purse, then dashed out and slammed the door behind her.


She’d gone down maybe a dozen stairs, following always that acrid smoke smell, her keen sense of smell guiding her. She wound through a maze of tunnels and intersections, Ys, in the dark, arms flailing, trusting to stink and instinct—and all the while dreading what she would find at the end of it.

She had been right to dread. The incinerate glow leached out into the darkness, staining the corridor red and orange. She knew, when she felt the heat emanating from within, that she’d reached Hell.

It was hot and holed and cavernous, and inhabited by maybe a dozen robed figures. The wall lengths were broken by alcoves; flattened bottoms with rounded arches above. A New World solution to Old World catacombs. The roof was a giant rock chute, and the smoke churned, eddied and swirled upwards and out.

The center was an inferno—a stone altar alternately orange, yellow, blue, red, black. Flames licked it, dancing like the wood-coal which fed it. Dying wood which glowed with that peculiar animacy of searing orange and bred in the efforts of sweating men in motion. Their robes flapped and their hoods slipped, as they fought to sustain illusion in the face of toil. Crackle, snap, branches flung and logs thudding against the base. The searing heat made the scene wobble in waves of molten air, and already heated tempers flared to incandescence at the pyre's demands for fuel.

Sophie stood there blankly, wobbling on her feet, blood leaking down her legs. She looked from the altar to the arched crevices around the walls. The dancing orange light picked up the dull dark brown of carbonized bone.

Carbonizing bone.

She was seen…of course. By Damian and not-Damian. They were both there, but only one was hers. The other one, she decided later in her nightmares, had been present only to show her there was more than one demon in Hell.

Damian and not-Damian had hit her, kicked her, pounded her, again and again.

Smoke, fire, flames, corpses.

And the demons danced on.


Sophie lost him in the smoke and steam. She screamed, choked on soot and swallowed water—then it was all gagging, paddling, churning her way through the wash. The surge was relentless, all troughs and waves, floating wood and falling stone. She was slammed against the wall and felt her shoulder give. Sophie shrieked and fought for air. “Marco!

He had her. Marco grabbed her, and clung. She held onto him weakly, and opened her eyes to find he was smiling.

A death’s head grin. It was Gerald Beaumont.

Sophie!” he cried, clawing at her head, her shoulders, climbing her like a bobbing tree. She was going under, down, when Marco snatched her out of Gerald’s grasp and flung him aside.

But Marco’s hold on her was tenuous, and Beaumont’s frantic antics cost him. Scratch, tear, rip, fling, but in the wildly swirling muddle, of dirt and bone, ash and wood, filthy foam and churning backwash, Sophie was jarred loose from Marco’s grasp once more, out of his reach. He heard her choked off “Marc-!” as she vanished beneath the rising waters.

AUTHOR WEBSITES: N. D. Hansen-Hill Melody Knight