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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book Review of Puppy Dog Tales by Liwen Ho


I highly recommend Puppy Dog Tales by Liwen Ho. 

There are several things by which I evaluate a book.

1) Is it well written? Puppy Dog Tales is well written. Liwen Ho is one of my favorite authors and her writing style is exactly the way I like to read.

2) Does it deliver what it promises? Yes, this is a sweet and clean romance with no swearing, nothing even remotely suggestive or inappropriate.

3) Is it the kind of book that captures my attention and I ‘can’t put it down’? It definitely captured my attention, and I couldn’t put down.

4) Is the story predictable and cliché? If a writer can shock me or have a twist that I didn’t see coming, that deserves super high marks. Unfortunately, Puppy Dog Tales was quite predictable, there were no twists and turns, and it was cliché.

I still very much enjoyed reading it and always look forward to reading more from Liwen Ho. Have you read Puppy Dog Tales? What’s your opinion?  –Julie L. Spencer


Other books by Liwen Ho




Friday, December 9, 2016

Book Review of Kisses, Kids, and Bundles of Joy



I didn’t think I was going to like this collection of novellas, but I actually enjoyed it very well. I don’t like the title. I think it’s cheesy and cliché. But, the collection contained one of my favorite authors, Liwen Ho and for that reason alone, I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. The whole thing was well-written, it delivered what it promised (sweet, clean romances that all included children or babies, a Christian theme, and a winter setting), it captured my attention and I couldn’t put it down. There were a few twists and turns, which I like, and I’ve gained a few new favorite authors! Highly recommend this collection.

Another great Christmas book by Liwen Ho, The More the Merrier















Book Review of The Writer’s Book Launch Guide by Keely Brooke Keith


The biggest challenge I struggled with in reading The Writer’s Book Launch Guide by Keely Brooke Keith is the insinuation that we (as authors) are thinking about our book launch twelve months before the book is launched.

Many writers nowadays are Indie writers (independently published) and we want to publish our books as soon as they are ready. We don’t wait a year. The book I launched last week had not even been written a year ago.

Other than that, this book is chock full of good advice. The best part about this advice is that it applies to all aspects of improving our publishing and marketing experience, not just the book launch itself. This is particularly helpful for those same Indie authors who don’t want to wait a year.

If you have a year, great. Follow slowly through the good advice. If you barely have six weeks, like most of us, plow through the details and use them to your advantage. On that note, I need to look through my Works in Progress and decide which one I can launch a year from now!


Have you read The Writer’s Book Launch Guide by Keely Brooke Keith? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Use the companion resource The Writer's Book Launch Journal


For more books by Keely Brooke Keith, check out her author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Keely-Brooke-Keith/e/B00MWGGTR8/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Earn Points During Book Launch Party for Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage




Welcome to the Launch Party for my new novella Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage

The great news is that every one of you will be going home with a Party Favor (a donated book by one of our Spotlight Authors)!

Twenty-five of my author friends have generously donated a copy of one of their books!
You will get to choose which of those books you’d like to take home. The person with the most points will get to choose first, second most points gets to choose second, on down the line. Even if you get zero points, you will still get a Party Favor to take home, just for being here.

Points are awarded on an honor system because I just won’t have time to keep track. Sometime between now and whenever you go to bed tonight, send me a Private Message with the number of points you’ve accumulated and your top 3-5 book choices.

Within the next day or two I’ll let you know which Party Favor you have won. We will then connect you with the author so you can give them your contact information.

Here are some of the ways you can earn points:
  • Share ANYTHING from this party on your Facebook page (one of my posts, one of the Spotlight Author posts, a link to one of our books, a blog post, a Review, etc.)
  • Tweet or Retweet anything from this party or anything that one of us Tweeted (one of my posts, one of the Spotlight Author posts, a link to one of our books, a blog post, a Review, etc.)
  • Ask a question of one of our Spotlight Authors.
  • Go to Amazon and leave a review on one of my books (if you’ve already done this, it still counts as a point), either The Cove or Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor? or Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage
  • Invite a friend to come to this party (one point per invited friend, even if they don’t come!)
  • Purchase any of my books, The Cove or Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor? Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage (Give yourself an extra ten points for purchasing one of the books!)
  • Purchase any one or more of the Spotlight Author’s books (Give yourself an extra ten points for purchasing one of the books!)
  • Send me an email and request to be on my mailing list: juliespencer1998@gmail.com
  • Have fun and enjoy getting to know one another (Give yourself at least one point for every time you smile or laugh while here at the party!)

Thank you again, so much for being here! It means the world to me that you are sharing this exciting night with me! –Julie L. Spencer





Party Favors for Buxton Peak Launch Party



Dedra Tregaskis (Paperback of My Christmas Gifts)




Lisa Rector (digital copy of Fallen Emrys)





Liwen Ho (digital copy of Spoonful of Spice)





EJ McCay (digital copy of 'Winner's Choice' of her stories - Called Warrior, Broken Like Glass, or Charitable Hearts)









https://www.amazon.com/EJ-McCay/e/B01FSZE28W/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
https://twitter.com/ElizabethJMcCay
https://www.facebook.com/EJMcCay




Faith Blum (digital copy of box set Hymns of the West)





Audrey Rich (digital copy of Masquerading Our Love)






Rachel John (digital copy of A Zombie Love Story)





Cassie Shiels (digital copy of The Royal Spy)





Richard Houston (eBook of A Book to Die For)





Lindzee Armstrong (eBook of Miss Match)





Chrissy Sabol-Johnson ("The Heights of Perdition" (Book 1 of the Divine Space Pirates Trilogy)





Erica Laurie (digital copy of Foxtails or Eun Na and the Phantom)







Jess Elliot (eBook of Holly and Mr. Ivy)





AJ Goode (digital copy of Letters to Caroline)





Earl Chinnici (Maybe You Should Move Those Away from You)





Destyni Shirley (paperback of Invisible by her grandfather Daniel Fuller)





Shaun Stevenson (paperback of Secret of the Lost King)





Mark Malcolm (Signed copy of first book in the Guardians of the Herald series)






Frances Hoelsema (digital copy of Growing Up Neighbors and Next Door Neighbors)







RS Sexton (digital copy of Samuel Parker and the New Templars)




KC Turner (signed paperback of Strong Motive)



https://kcturner.net/
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKCTurner/





Saturday, November 26, 2016

Book Review of Fallen Emrys by Lisa Rector



Lisa Rector is a master storyteller!

I had the unique opportunity of reading the prequel to the Chronicles of the Half-Emrys series, which is probably something most people had not done at the time. Chronicles of the Half-Emrys: Fallen Emrys is now available for purchase!

As a fellow author, I was given the chance to read an advance copy. I loved it and couldn't put it down. I became a Lisa Rector fan immediately. When I was done reading the prequel I needed to read the rest of the books, so I bought all three of the main series. I have now read the whole series, Book One: Master of LiesBook Two: The Two Masters and now Book Three: Master of Time.

Chronicles of the Half-Emrys: Fallen Emrys takes the reader on a journey that feels reminiscent of leaving pre-earth life and coming to earth. The dragons could be guardian angels or protectors, yet in the Chronicles of the Half-Emrys, the Emrys are actually protectors of the dragons. It’s fascinating.

This is not my usual genre. I don't normally read fantasy novels and I have never read anything with dragons in it. If I hadn't had the opportunity to read the prequel I may never have stumbled upon the rest of the series. I'm very glad I did read the books because they're great.

I told Lisa half way through my reading of Book One that these are not so much fantasy novels as they are powerful love stories. The passion between the characters is phenomenal. The passion in the prequel is even better! I can’t wait for the world to read it!

I highly recommend reading anything by Lisa Rector. I will seek her out in future reading endeavors. Great author, great series.

Have you read Chroniclesof the Half-Emrys? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer








Book Review of Chronicles of the Half Emrys Book Three: Master of Time by Lisa Rector




In Chronicles of the Half Emrys Book Three: Master of Time, one of my favorite bad-boy characters takes center stage. Meuric makes a mistake that takes him back in time and forces him to align with a sworn enemy. Catrin is livid to be stuck with Meuric and vows to make his life miserable until he returns her to her normal life. What could possibly make things worse? Attraction? A dark force following close at their heels? Realizing they have to rely on one another or be stuck together forever?

I had the unique opportunity of reading the prequel to the Chronicles of the Half-Emrys series, which is probably something most people have not done at the time of my writing this. (Note: since writing this, Chronicles of the Half-Emrys: Fallen Emrys is now available for purchase!)

As a fellow author, I was given the chance to read an advance copy. I loved it and couldn't put it down. I became a Lisa Rector fan immediately. When I was done reading the prequel I needed to read the rest of the books, so I bought all three of the main series. I have now the whole series, Book One: Master of Lies, Book Two: The Two Masters and now Book Three: Master of Time.

This is not my usual genre. I don't normally read fantasy novels and I have never read anything with dragons in it. If I hadn't had the opportunity to read the prequel I may never have stumbled upon the rest of the series. I'm very glad I did read the books because they're great.

I told Lisa half way through my reading of Book One that these are not so much fantasy novels as they are powerful love stories. The passion between the characters is phenomenal. The passion in the prequel is even better! I can’t wait for the world to read it!

I highly recommend reading anything by Lisa Rector. I will seek her out in future reading endeavors. Great author, great series.

Have you read Chroniclesof the Half-Emrys? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer










Friday, November 11, 2016

Christmas Shopping: Signed Copies of My Books

Let’s go Christmas shopping together!

Do you have someone on your Christmas list who loves to read? Personalized, signed copies of books make great gifts, and you can skip the long lines at the mall. 

Here are the books I have available this year:

The Cove by Julie L. Spencer


The Cove is a powerful love story filled with twists, turns, heartache, betrayal, and loss of innocence. Genre is New Adult Clean Contemporary Love Story with a strong underlying Christian theme. Maturity is PG-13 (closed-door reference to a premarital relationship). Cost: $10 + $3.00 Shipping (Payment by check only. I’m not accepting credit cards at this time. Sorry!)

Here is the back copy for The Cove:

Some accomplishments are easier than others…

For Olympic swimmer Gail Pederson, gold medals came easy. Finding true love and marrying him in the temple? Not so easy. Especially with three men competing for her attention, and temptations leading her further and further from her goal.

Choices have consequences, and each choice Gail makes affects all four of them. One choice changes their lives forever, and leaves unexpected consequences in its wake.

Innocence lost, promises broken, and friendships destroyed. Gail may choose how to live her life, but she can’t choose the consequences.

Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor? by Julie L. Spencer


Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor? is the first novella in a series about a rock band called Buxton Peak. Genre is New Adult Clean Contemporary General Fiction with a strong underlying Christian theme. Maturity is PG-13 (drug reference and frank discussions/innuendoes about sex and the importance of waiting until marriage) Cost: $10 + $3.00 Shipping (Payment by check only. I’m not accepting credit cards at this time. Sorry!) Multi-book Discount: Purchase Buxton Peak Books One & Two together for $18 + $4.00 Shipping.

Here is the back copy for Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor?

Ian just wanted to be loved for who he was on the inside…

When he meets Megan, a small town college girl at church in a remote part of Michigan, he figures out pretty quickly that she knows nothing about him. So he makes the decision to hide his fame from her.

His plan backfires when Megan finds out who he really is and decides she doesn’t want to live her life in his spotlight, with all the baggage that comes with it. She just wants to live a quiet life in rural Michigan with a normal husband and family.

Can she forgive Ian for his deception (and embarrassing her on live television)? Is she willing to give up her dreams in order to follow his? Or will Ian throw away everything he’s achieved to stay in her life?

Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage by Julie L. Spencer


Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage is the second novella in a series about a rock band called Buxton Peak. Genre is New Adult Clean Contemporary General Fiction with a strong underlying Christian theme. Maturity is PG-13 (multiple drug references, frank discussions/innuendoes about sex and the consequences of indiscretion) Cost: $10 + $3.00 Shipping (Payment by check only. I’m not accepting credit cards at this time. Sorry!) Multi-book Discount: Purchase Buxton Peak Books One & Two together for $18 + $4.00 Shipping.

Here is the back copy for Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage

Center stage can’t last forever.

Even a rock band as talented as Buxton Peak can come crashing down.

Protecting his bride from cameras and scandals is the least of Ian’s worries. While he is blinded by love, his band is torn apart by distractions, temptations, and drug abuse.


Will Ian stand beside his mates, letting their problems become his problems? Can they pull together as a band? Or will the pressures of stardom rip them apart?

Please email me at juliespencer1998@gmail.com for ordering information. -Julie L. Spencer

Would you rather read my stories on your Kindle?



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Stories in Pictures: Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage at the CMU Library

“Well, the good news is, I think Uncle Dave likes you enough to accept the very large security deposit you just offered, and is willing to allow us to rent month-to-month since we’re not sure how long we’re staying…”
“What’s the bad news?” I’m almost afraid to ask. Ian climbed into the passenger seat of Megan’s car and clicked the seatbelt into place.
“The bad news is: I’m late for my study group,” Megan said. She raised her eyebrows and bit her lip. “So, you either have to ride back to the hotel with Kai and Rhonda, or go with me to the library.”
“You’ve been meaning to show me the library, right?” Ian shrugged his shoulders. “You told me it was really cool and has moving shelves, or something.”
“Stacks,” Megan corrected. “They’re called stacks. They’re like long rows of shelves on tracks that move with a push of a button. And, yes, they’re very cool.” Megan turned her head and backed out the driveway of the duplex that would soon become their new temporary home.
“I’m hearing a subtle hesitancy in your voice,” Ian said.
“The thing is, you can’t distract me during my study group. You pretty much have to go sit somewhere else and wait for us. It could be a couple of hours.”
“I can handle that.” Ian nodded his head. “I’ll go explore the stacks and maybe even pick out a book to read.” What could possibly be more boring than that?
Megan smiled over at him and sighed as if she’d been worrying that he’d be upset. Her shoulders relaxed as they got closer to campus.
Ian watched out the window at the ever-more-familiar campus. The buildings sprawled amidst blossoming trees and grasses so green they almost didn’t seem real. Michigan is beautiful this time of year. He craned his neck to see the fourth floor of the impressive rounded glass building before him. “That’s… the library?”

“Told you it was cool.” Megan crept up and down rows of parked cars trying to find an empty spot and finally pulled into a space that looked out over another building. It was not nearly as tall as the library, but Ian felt drawn to it. The bricks were separated by parallel lines that almost looked like a music staff. Tall, thin windows extended up from the base of the building, and were spaced at interesting intervals, almost like piano keys.

“What… is that?” Ian felt his jaw slack and gape open. He gulped and took a step toward the brick building and away from their intended destination of glass walls.
“That’s the music building,” Megan said. She came around the car and placed her hand lightly inside his, tugging gently. “I’ll take you there another day, okay?”
“Promise?” Ian whispered reverently.
“I promise,” Megan said. “I’m afraid if I let you go alone, you’ll be swallowed whole and I’ll never find you again.”
Ian kept his eyes facing south as Megan pulled him west. He barely registered when they turned and entered the main corridor of the library. Until he regarded the interior. The floor was a complex pattern of zigzags and the lobby opened up to an atrium that reached all four floors and displayed balconies at each level. It was incredible. Students and faculty crisscrossed the cavernous room, barely interacting, a hushed reverence that encapsulated the space.
No one paid them any attention, until they reached the desk where Megan had to present her student ID in order for them to step through the portal. The bored gatekeeper barely looked up from her phone but mumbled “Hey Megan, you guys are meeting on the third floor today. Everyone else is already up there, I think.”
“Cassie, I want to introduce you to my husband, Ian.”
“Oh, hey, I didn’t know you’re married.” Cassie didn’t really glance at Ian, only at Megan’s left hand.
Hmm… I should probably buy her a ring one of these days. Ian looked down at his own left hand and realized he’d never even thought to wear one either.
“We got married over Christmas break,” Megan said.
“What’s your major?” Cassie finally looked up at Ian and her eyes grew wider.
“I’m not a student,” Ian said, his British accent hung in the air. He shook his head slightly and regarded Cassie with more interest. Thick black eyeliner hid what he thought were green eyes, but they almost looked fake, like she was wearing green contacts. A small piercing detracted from what was probably a pretty smile under the dark red lipstick. Bleach blond hair, sliced at an angle, hung across her face and was tipped with purple. She was fascinating.
Cassie took a deep breath and cocked her head to the side. “Megan, yer husband’s hot.”
“Yeah, I know.” Megan grabbed Ian’s arm and pulled him away. “Come on, we’re late.”
“She has no idea who I am, does she?” Ian whispered when they were far enough away.
“Cassie’s pretty much always stoned,” Megan said. “She’d probably get along great with Gary.”
“No way, neither of them would ever accomplish anything again for the rest of their lives. They’d live together in a room painted black graced by the colorful lights of a few carefully placed lava lamps.”
“You’re so funny, Ian.” Megan chuckled as they climbed a long set of stairs. He continued to stare down at Cassie until they rounded a corner and faced the daunting second set of stairs.

“Don’t they have an elevator in this lovely building?” Ian gripped the railing as they climbed more steps.  
“You need to get in better shape,” Megan said. She reached over and patted his belly as if it were rounded and fat instead of the tight six-pack of abs he was so proud of. He firmed his muscles under her hand and raised his eyebrows suggestively. The gleam in her eyes teased him as she turned back around, reached for his hand and pulled him up the last few steps to the third floor.

In a little nook, a small group of students sat together with textbooks on the table. They all looked up when Megan came into view. One of the girls at the table jumped up and came running toward them, squealing quietly.
“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. You brought your husband.” She was talking to Megan but staring at Ian. “Can I meet him?”
Ian took the initiative and stuck his hand out. “Hi, I’m Ian.”
“I know who you are,” she said. He could hear the implied ‘duh’ to the end of her phrase. “You’re Ian Taylor of Buxton Peak! Oh my gosh, I love you!” She held his hand in both of hers as if she was planning to detach it and take it home with her.
“…thank you,” Ian said. He pulled his hand away and placed it protectively back into Megan’s.
“Ian, this is my classmate, Gina.”
“Nice to meet you, Gina.” Ian kept his hand securely in Megan’s and squeezed it gently. She winked up at him. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to everyone else.”
The two other girls stood up and reached out to shake Ian’s hand, with gleaming eyes and excited smiles. But the one guy at the table narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips. Ian narrowed his right back but reached across the table, forcing the young man to put down his pen and return the gesture. Megan didn’t seem to notice the hesitancy in the exchange. She draped her arm through his and beamed at her classmates. She told him their names, but Ian only remembered one: Jared. I don’t like him.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“Well, Ian’s going to find something to read or explore the library or something while we work,” Megan said. She finished introducing her husband but knew she’d kept their study group waiting long enough. “We took too much time house hunting and didn’t get back early enough to drive him back over to the hotel, so he’s stuck with me.”
“I’m very happy to be stuck with you, babe. We were apart for too many months already.” Ian pulled her close and planted a quick kiss on Megan’s cheek. “As long as you promise to take me to see that very intriguing music building soon.” Ian craned his neck in that direction as if he could see it from here.
“There’s a great view of the music building from this floor,” Gina said. She pulled Ian’s arm and tugged him in the direction of the floor-to-ceiling windows. “Better from the fourth floor, but come look. It supposedly looks like a grand piano from an aerial view, but I personally don’t see it.” Ian didn’t hesitate, his apprehension of being mauled by a super-fan briefly overshadowed by the opportunity to see the music building. Megan noticed him shove both hands in the pockets of his jeans, probably preventing Gina from holding his hand again.
While Gina played tour guide, Megan sat down at her usual seat, which Jared had conveniently kept empty for her, like he always did.
“You’re moving in with this guy?” Jared whispered through clenched teeth. “Whatever happened to a long-distance relationship?”
“We got married over Christmas break,” Megan said. She chuckled. “I take it you haven’t seen the YouTube video?”
“Your wedding is on a YouTube video?” He sounded shocked. Jared picked up Megan’s left hand. “Why aren’t you wearing a wedding ring?”
“We just haven’t gotten around to buying any yet.” Megan pulled her hand away quickly and creased her eyebrows. “What’s it to you, anyway?”
“What kind of guy doesn’t buy his wife a wedding ring?” Jared scoffed.
“A guy who needs to keep his marriage a secret for a few months.” Megan was growing uncomfortable with Jared’s interrogation.
“A secret?” Jared’s eyes grew wide. “I have been waiting patiently for you to get over this long-distance relationship so you’d finally go out with me, and you marry a guy who wants to keep your marriage a secret? That’s just wrong!”
“Jared, I was never interested in you as anything more than a friend,” Megan said. She scooted her chair a little farther away. “Plus, I deserve a little anonymity for a few months while I finish college.”
Ian walked quickly back and sat down in the chair next to Megan, glaring at Jared with vitriol in his eyes. Jared shifted away and seemed suddenly very interested in his textbook. He picked up his pen and readied it as if he was taking notes. Always the gentleman, Ian casually changed the subject.
“That music building is beautiful. We should go check it out tomorrow.”
“I’d like that,” Megan whispered. She opened her textbook and pretended nothing was wrong even as she felt the heat rush to her face.
“There’s a stack of magazines on that table over by the windows,” Ian said, nodding his head toward the table. “I’ll go sit over there and enjoy the view and relax for a bit while you all study, alright?”
Thanks for understanding. Megan bit her lip and looked him in the eye. Ian winked at her, glared one more time in Jared’s direction, and stood up. Jared never looked up from his notes. Ian leaned down and kissed Megan lightly, then walked away.
“He is so dreamy,” Gina said as she sat down. She didn’t seem to notice the tension at the table. “You are the luckiest girl alive!”
“Thanks, Gina.” Megan decided to brush off the incident and begin their study session. “Okay, tomorrow’s test is over the molecular proteins we observed in lab last week…”
“Did you know your husband is flirting with two girls?” Jared interrupted. “Oh my gosh, he just gave her his phone number!” They all looked over to where Ian was sitting talking to two students who had sidled up next to his magazine-covered table. One of them had slid her notebook in front of him and he was leaned over it, smiling and flirting.
“He’s just signing autographs for them,” Megan said. She laughed and realization clicked into place. “You have no idea who my husband is, do you?”
Jared creased his forehead and frowned. He glared in Ian’s direction.
“Oh my gosh, you don’t?” Gina said. “He’s Ian Taylor from Buxton Peak!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Jared lifted his chin and sniffed dismissively. “Who’s Ian Taylor? and what’s Buxton Peak?”
“Buxton Peak is, like, the coolest rock band ever,” Gina said. “Ian’s their lead singer.”
“I don’t listen to rock music,” Jared said. He glared back over at Ian as the two girls walked away. Ian looked back over at them, winked at Megan, propped his feet up on a chair and picked up a magazine. He looked a little smug.
“I thought I was the only one,” Megan said, chuckling softly. She turned back to her books and picked up her pencil. “Nice to know I’m not alone in my ignorance.”

Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage is now live on Amazon! 



Also, I highly recommend reading Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor? before reading Buxton Peak Book Two: Center Stage: