Review of : And the Next Thing You Know, by Chase Taylor Hackett

And the next Thing You Know . . . (Why You?, #2)And the next Thing You Know . . . by Chase Taylor Hackett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book came at a perfect time! I had just finished back to back weepers (see reviews for Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality and Sugar Money) and I really, really needed something that made me laugh and smile.

I honestly cannot recall reading a more consistently hilarious romance other than The Hating Game.

Chase Taylor Hackett writes laugh-out-loud dialogue. I picked up the book because I was intrigued by Jeffrey, the angry-lawyer-sleeping-his-way-through-NYC. I have to admit that Jeffrey is still my favorite, but I did end up liking Theo a lot, mainly because he is such an impervious, amusing butthead (yes, I have a weakness for that).

Anyhow, the story takes place from the perspective of multiple POVs, but mainly Jeffrey, Theo, and Thomas. The story is fast-paced and you get into the characters heads pretty deeply as the author does a great job of making you root for them. There are some heavy moments and some important themes, but the book is not dark and depressing.

I think good comedy is the hardest thing to write, but Hackett kept me rolling on the floor even though I am most likely not his intended reader (a 50 year-old). And of course the ending was wonderfully fulfilling and romantic…

5 stars!

View all my reviews

Meet Pamela Kopfler, author of the new cozy mystery, Better Dead.

Earlier this week fellow @authors18 author and blogger Dianne Freeman talked with Pamela Kopfler about her debut novel, Better Dead. Today I’m going to ask Pamela questions on one of my favorite topics: a writer’s creative process.

First, here is a brief description of the book:

Pamela Kopfler

A feisty B & B owner believes her cheatin’ husband deserves to choke on his divorce papers and spend eternity roasting in hell after nearly bankrupting her Louisiana bed and breakfast. At least, she’s half-right when he turns up dead, but she’s dead wrong when she accidentally calls him back from the grave. Unfortunately, he has unfinished business. Unless she wants to be stuck with her ghostly ex forever, she has to wedge him through the pearly gates by cleaning up the mess he left behind—a smuggling ring he started behind her back at her B&B. Now she has thirty days to solve her not-so-dearly-departed’s murder or she’s stuck with him for life. Or worse, she may be doing life.

Amazon   B & N   BAM

 

Minerva Spencer: How long did you take to write this book? 

Pamela Kopfler: It took seventy-eight days to draft Better Dead. The revision took much longer, but I don’t remember how long. Revision is something that is never really complete.

MS: What kind of research did you do for this book?

PK: Oh, it was grueling…I visited many historic homes that had been converted to beautiful bed and breakfasts, sipped lots of cocktails, and ate some of the best southern style food on earth. Don’t pity me too much though. (Excuse me while I bless my own heart before you do.) Actually, that part of the research was serious fun! Other than that fun B & B research, my family has orders to bleach bit my computer to hide my search history.

MS:  What did you remove from this book during the editing process?

PK:  I cut ten thousand words. I had a subplot that my editor felt needed to go and she was right. I hope to add some snips from the editing room floor to my newsletter. I really did cut my darlings.


MS:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

PK:  Both. I have a general idea of the whole story and an opening when I put my keys on the keyboard. After I get the opening down, I write a short synopsis just for me. As the pages pile up, sometimes the plot changes because I’ve found a better twist, so I go with that.


MS:  What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?

PK:  Revising. It’s like makeup. Everyone looks better with a little lipstick on.


MS: And finally, what is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?

PK:  Starting, hands down. Once I am writing the real world fades away, and I’m in a timeless place where the story comes to life.

Thanks for sharing your writing process with me, Pamela, and congrats on your debut!

If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries or looking to try one you can connect with Pamela on her website, or find her on Facebook,  Twitter, or Instagram

Read a FREE excerpt of the exciting new release by Kari Lemor, Running Target

An innocent in the crossfire . . .

FBI agent Jack Holland broke every rule in the book falling for the girlfriend of Angelo Cabrini, son of a New Jersey mob boss. But even if Callie Lansing’s relationship to Angelo was actually a cover and her heart was free, her relationship with Jack put both of their lives at risk. Nothing, though, could make Jack regret the liaison that led to the birth of their son, Jonathan.

After Angelo discovered Callie’s pregnancy, he went after Jack and wound up dead. Now Jack is on the run with a target on his back. The only thing keeping Callie and Jonathan safe is the mob boss’s belief that the baby is his grandchild. But if Victor Cabrini discovers the truth before Jack can put him behind bars, it could mean death for his sweet covert family. . . .

Early praise for Running Target

“Thrilling . . . Lemor once again features a dynamite protagonist who’s easily relatable, and her talent for incorporating romance and forgiveness against the odds makes Running Target even more enticing.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Ms. Lemor has delivered a scintillating read in this book where the chemistry was riveting; the secondary characters entertained me just as much as the main ones; and the ending took me completely by surprise.” ~ Book Magic Book Reviews

“Running Target is about finding one’s way back home. It’s about beating the odds when it seems like everything is going against you. And most importantly, it’s about family. I would recommend this for readers who enjoy their romance mixed with a light level of suspense.” ~Harlequin Junkie

Excerpt:

An infant’s cry broke the stillness of the maternity ward as Jack crept through the hallway. He looked toward the nursery. Should he go there first or to where Callie was? The room was less risky and he needed to see her. Assure himself she was okay.

The door was ajar so he slipped through, closing it enough to allow a sliver of light to filter in. He made out the petite shape of the sleeping woman then saw the bassinet next to her. His breath left his body. The baby was here with her.

Stepping closer, he looked down on the clear container, the blue tag proclaiming this child to be a boy. Squinting in the dim light, he read the words. Mother’s name: Callina Lansing. Baby: Jonathan.

Jonathan. She’d named the baby after him. A lump clogged his throat. A son. Damn. He had a son and wouldn’t be able to get to know him, see him grow, share in his life. This fucking world was too cruel at times.

He shouldn’t take the chance but he needed to hold him. It was vital that he touch the life he and Callie had created. He wanted—no needed—to let his child know how much he loved him. The powerful emotion emanated from his heart even as he gazed down at the tiny figure. How could love grow this fast? His first glimpse was only a second ago. Now the feeling consumed him.

Reaching down, he stroked the side of his son’s face. The baby turned his head, his bow-shaped lips opening slightly. Jack’s heart beat faster. The protective instincts that had always come into play when he was around Callie, throbbed to life and expanded as he gazed at the sweet face of his son. Heat like an electric storm surged through his blood. How could he protect this child in his current situation? He’d bring more danger upon him if he hung around. Eight months of running, trying to escape the long arm of Victor Cabrini, had shown him what hell was. Now he glimpsed a small piece of heaven.

He slid his hands under the infant, lifting him from the bed to hold him close. Jonathan barely weighed anything. His heart constricted yet again. The innocent baby scent wafted into his nostrils and he blinked back the moisture filling his eyes. The reaction was primitive and territorial. This was his son.

Their child’s eyes opened but no cry erupted so Jack relaxed. It shook him to the core knowing Callie had named the baby after him. After deserting her she had every right to hate him. As much as he hated himself. Leaving her hadn’t been in his plans but the choice had been ripped away from him. It had taken a while to recover from the stabbing. Then the fuck-up by the Bureau had happened.

He stared again at the unfocused eyes of his son, his forehead touching that of the infant’s. Kissing his face, he absorbed every little facet he could. Who knew if he’d ever see him again.

Gazing at the sleeping woman, her innocent face relaxed in slumber, caused more pain to rip through his heart. Her dark hair, streaked with natural reds and golds, was a riot of curls that framed her peaceful face. Long lashes fanned over high cheekbones, highlighting the lovely structure of her eyes. His beautiful Calico Cat.

Had the pregnancy and labor been hard? She must have looked amazing, all round and filled with his child. Regret tore through him, anger warring with that emotion. Anger that his life had been stolen from him. He’d been fighting to get it back, but didn’t seem any closer now than he’d been eight months ago.

Jonathan let out a small mewing sound and Jack snuggled him close. “I’m right here, pal. I might not be around much but I wanted to let you know…I love you very much.” His voice cracked with emotion. “I’m your Dad.”

He had a son. Was now a father. But he couldn’t be a father—not in the way that it mattered. He’d swore he’d be better than his dad. But this—he’d be worse. As it began to sink in, his hands shook with the enormity of the situation.

A noise from Callie drew his eyes to the bed. She shouldn’t see him. It was too dangerous. Still he wasn’t ready to give up holding his son quite yet. You might as well rip his heart from his chest and throw it on the floor.

Buy links:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GYPLR6A/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-target-kari-lemor/1125166579?ean=9781516100736

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/running-target/id1178479419?mt=11

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kari_Lemor_Running_Target?id=zhGJDQAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/running-target

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Spring?

A couple days ago it looked like this:

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And now it looks like this:

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Plants and animals are confused. Some humans are, too.

The apricot, peach, and cherry trees budded and flowered before the frost. At least we won’t have to can any of those fruits this year… Apples, pears, and plums seem fine and the rhubarb is thrilled. Here is a picture of it, menacing the daffodils:

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It’s also “Birds Gone Wild” here at Cottonwood House. From goose love triangles . . .

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Here are Squanto, the Space Queen, and Mr. Joshua eye-balling one another in between the violent skirmishes that make up most of their days from late February to early June. This year the triangle has become a rectangle, with the arrival of . . . Gwen. Stay tuned for details.

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And then there are these guys….

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This isn’t an actual picture of our flickers (I think I’ve demonstrated already what a lousy wildlife photographer I am), but these look just like the half-dozen males who have been screaming from sun up to sun down and beating on everything in sight, from the side of the barn, to the tin flashing to the plate-metal sculpture out in the chicken yard (seriously!)

We’ve never had as many as there are this year. I’ve only noticed males, so maybe they’ve come to town early to grab the best spots for their lady-friends.

Even with our weather fluctuation it’s still hard to believe a few weeks ago I was bitching about 96 degree weather and suffering sunburn and heat stroke. (Okay, so it’s not hard to believe I was bitching . . . )

Since returning home I’ve spent most of my time inside, regardless of weather, as I’ve raced to complete my final edits on the first book in my historical romance trilogy, The Outcasts, which Kensington Press recently purchased.

Repeat after me: Editing is fun!

To aid both me and my critique partner Marla (who is enjoying some editing fun of her own) I constructed the Editing Shrine. . .

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A few historical romances, chickens, a talisman from the Magical Pop Haydn, and a phenomenal painting by Marla, which I call “Duck in Repose”

There had been some chocolate offerings, but I’m afraid I had to eat those. I’m pretty sure the yellow bell pepper and corn nuts will serve the same purpose…