Zone Award Finalists, a new Wedding dress, and some advice

Let’s start with bad news on my end and hopefully all brides can avoid this. Don’t hire people your mother knows from a party to cut the dress for the big day. I wasn’t happy and with six weeks to go, I had a major dilemma. Can it be fixed or do I just suck it up and go for a new dress? I sucked it up. I now have a new dress. And it was fun to go with just my mom to the Bridal store. She is way more complicated in clothing than I am. Her choices for me were no, no and no. I decided to try on a bridal gown like Belle in Beauty and the Beast with all the ruffles at the bottom, as on every bridal show, my fiance mentions ruffles are pretty. But I’m simple. We went with an all white dress that I can dance in. So I’m happy now. Crisis averted, and if the other dress can be salvaged, well then call me Kim Kardashian then.


This weekend, the FRWriters Cruise conference committee from front to back, Kristin Wallace, me Victoria Pinder, Kimberly Gonzales and Demi Alex.


For the FRWriters cruise, we’re setting everything up to ensure that our key note, Julia Quinn, along with our founding mother, Heather Graham have an amazing time. And with six weeks to go, what do I end up doing on the ship after we picked rooms… I ate ALOT. I can definitely say the desert table was amazing. Slightly too delicious and I’m happy I had to get off the ship. Otherwise, the wedding dress drama would have been even worse than a cut too short bottom. (Anyone following me on facebook knows how I feel about Ms. Quinn. I’m so excited.)

And while on the ship, I found out through Facebook, I made it to the finalist round for the RONE award. I’m so honored. First I had an amazing review. Then I made it past the online voting phase. And as a finalist, it’s now all about a committee. I’m slightly terrified and even more honored to have my book make it this far. If prices of plane tickets to Vegas decrease $200 to a I’ve seen the price of the ticket online two weeks ago return, I might end up at the Romance Novel Convention in July. I’m definately going to RWA in San Antonio and then New Jersey for the Put Your Heart in a Book conference.

But first I should read the books that are nominated with me. So I’m adding the reviews that started it all for all the finalists. No matter who wins, it’s all about the story and how honored it is to be in this number.

So for the Science Fiction/Fantasy category for the RONE awards are…


Since the Surge that released the dark gods three years ago Aislinn Lenear has lost everyone and everything she’s ever cared about. Forced to choose between using her magic to fight the dark gods for the Lemurians (the Old Ones) or die, she chooses to live, fight the dark gods and figure out a way to someday defeat the Old Ones and their hold on humans. Seemingly impossible tasks, until the day she is bonded to a wolf and then stumbles upon her destined mate, Fionn MacCumhaill. Even though Aislinn doesn’t want to care about another being for fear of losing them, suddenly the fight doesn’t seem so impossible if only she can loosen the hold she has placed on her heart.

The desolation of Earth is richly detailed in Aislinn’s narrative. The bleakness, hopelessness and helplessness are so keenly felt one wonders how she can go on. Despite the things that have happened, though, Aislinn has such a strong will to live that it reaches out and grabs the reader, pulling one right along as she struggles to do what is required of her and still keep her humanity. The world of magic and mythology come to life and the mysterious plans of the dark gods and the Old Ones as well as the prophecies are so fascinating it’s easy to lose oneself in the story and forget everything in the real world. In spite of a bit of world-building confusion at the beginning this tale is a hit right out of the park!

Carol Conley


Winter Queen (Fairy Queens #1)


HIGH FANTASY:  As the new clan mistress, Ilyenna has a lot of responsibilities for a seventeen year old.  Her dedication to her people is fierce, and is never so apparent as when she sacrifices her freedom to save her father, the clan leader’s life.  Prior to the skirmish in which she is enslaved, Elena’s life is also saved…by the winter fairies.  The price for her life is her humanity, her joy, laughter, and sadness.  Now a tiam, or a slave, she is taken to the enemy’s village where the heir to the chiefdom starves, beats, and debases her.  Ilyenna’s only hope comes from Rone, her childhood crush, and her interactions with the fairies.  Now she and Rone must try to not only stay alive and save their clanspeople, but save all of the land’s clans from traitors and invaders.

What an exciting world this author has built!  The clans and their way of life is fascinating.  A sprinkle of magic adds a bit of whimsy to the drudgery, but the overwhelming tone of the book was brutal and intense.  The story itself is engaging and fast paced with a nice balance of romance to lighten the mood now and again.  The fairy part of the story was a little ambiguous and hard to understand until the very last.

Ilyenna, this proud and noble heroine, truly makes this book worthwhile.  She’s an easy heroine to root for, the villains easy to hate. Even though the end of the story leaves unanswered questions, the main plot line concludes on a satisfying note yet still leaves the reader asking for more.

Nicole Duke


Dance With The Enemy


Elena has known she was marked with the blood of the one she would marry from a very early age.  Although she was raised to accept the honor, it doesn’t lessen the terror of leaving her home and all she loves dear, to travel to a place she has never seen, to marry a man she has never met.  Being of royal but banished lineage only exacerbates both the problems and her fear.

Upon arriving, Elena joins the other women marked for marriage and awaits the ceremony where those men must instinctively find their mates.  As the men are turned loose and begin searching, however, Elena realizes the man whose blood she carries is Tahbruk, her family’s archenemy!  Suddenly it all becomes a terrible nightmare and Elena can think of nothing but to run.  Her flight is short-lived, though, when Tahbruk tracks her down and forcefully carries her to his home.  Can these two enemies find love in a land where it is not needed among people who determined it will not happen?

Although a fantasy, this story holds threads of so much more! It deals with cultures, their customs, and prejudices of any age or realm,  then it slowly dissects their causes and the wonderful power that love can emit in conquering them.  There are times when the telling lacks the depth needed to truly grasp the intensity and Elena’s actions aren’t always realistic or believable, but for a fairy-tale getaway, this one is perfect!

Ruth Lynn Ritter


Troll-y Yours (Book Two, The Centaur Series)


Ella is a troll with self-esteem issues resulting from a mother who is lacking in maternal instinct. Fed up, Ella decides to open her own business….Troll-y Yours, a speed dating service. During her first day of business, the roster is full – however, one participant doesn’t show and it throws off the numbers. Enter the most eligible bachelor, Kempor Aleksander, a shape shifting centaur. He has been sitting at the bar watching Ella, wanting her. When the participant problem arises, Ella asks Aleksander to fill the empty slot. This gives Aleksander the chance to get to know Ella better, and hopefully get her where he wants her…underneath him. As time passes, Aleksander begins to realize he wants more out of life (besides sex),and that includes Ella. However,  with a sudden uprising in the Boronda forest, Aleksander and Ella will be caught right in the middle. Will their newly blossoming relationship survive?

“Troll-y Yours”, is the sequel to “Remedy Maker”, but is a book that easily stands on its own four hooves! Ms. Fredricks has a quintessential knack for building unique worlds, and characters.  Even though Ella lacks self esteem, she is smart and one can’t help but fall in love with her. Aleksander is one dreamy centaur….sexy, funny, and just plain yummy! The only uncomfortable oddity is that Ella’s new business seems to just… disappear.  There is no explanation so one never knows what happens. “Troll-y yours” has something for everyone…humor, lust, love and intrigue, It even subtly deals with the issue of racism! For lovers of  unique and enchanting fantasy love stories, this one is a must! Well done Ms. Fredricks!


Tonya Smalley

And last, my book

The Zoastra Affair


SCI-FI:  What would life be like if you were taken from your own body and put in someone else’s? Would you do everything in your power to get your body back?  These are the challenges facing Grace as she struggles through the journey to get her old life and husband back. Ariel has taken something that was not hers – she has taken Graces body!  She regrets having done so. But what’s done is done, and she learns to live with it, or does she? It is not easy, Grace is determined to get her life back. but hopefully it will be  worth it in the end.

What a fascinating take on other worlds, space, and lives that intertwine! It’s a very interesting tale that makes the reader ponder questions such as, “How far would you go to get your life back, or to make someone else’s yours, just to live?”  It’s also a story of body-snatching and life in space with all its struggles to survive. Readers will find themselves liking both Grace and Ariel, while wondering how the author will fix the mess that has been made between them. It’s enthralling to read what is happening to them, along with their thoughts. Some readers may find it a little confusing going back and forth between the two women’s lives’, making it confusing to determine what’s really going on. However, it all comes together in a surprise ending that will delight all!

Melody Prat


All the books sound amazing. I have no idea how the committee will choose. But I’m excited to be in this category. Thank you everyone who voted!!! You are amazing.