Friday, April 6, 2012


Tropical beaches, too many margaritas, add a sexy tempting stranger, and you have an engrossing tale filled with excitement and danger.


Lisa Brackmann
Hardcover, 320 pages
Soho Press
May 1, 2012
5 Stars

WELCOME to gorgeous Puerto Vallarta, Mexico—home of margaritas, sunset beaches, a shady American ex-pat community, and a barely-hidden drug syndicate. This will be the most dangerous vacation of Michelle’s life.

Michelle Mason just came to the resort town of Puerto Vallarta for a short vacation. When good-looking man named Daniel approaches her on the beach, the margaritas kick in and she decides: why not? But the date doesn’t as either of them planned. A break-in in her hotel room, switched cell phones and an encounter with a friend of Daniel’s named Gary get Michelle enmeshed in a covert operation involving drug runners, goons, and venture capitalist, Michelle knows she’s caught in a dangerous trap, and quickly finds that running in not an option. If she’s not careful she’ll end up buried in the town dump, with the rest of the trash. Now she needs to fight smart if she wants to survive her vacation.

My thoughts:  I have been looking forward to reading this book since I first heard about the setting and premise. Getaway didn't disappoint me. It's well written and all too believable. I can actually see where this situation could happen. Getaway was so good it kept me turning the pages and I finished it in one day. If you like thrillers with a plausible setting, realistic characters, and danger, then this is the book to read this summer.
Ms. Brackmann has a knack of creating characters that have faced trauma in their lives and as a result have become somewhat indifferent or ambivalent; and placing them in situations that forces them to pull on inner reserves and strengths to deal with it. 
Case in point, Michelle Mason. Recently widowed, Michelle is facing, thanks to her dearly departed husband, social scandal and financial ruin—the end of the life she has become accustomed to. Puerto Vallarta was supposed to be a vacation and a time to reflect upon what she was going to do with the rest of her life. Instead, like Alice in Wonderland, she gets dropped down the rabbit hole into a world where nothing is what it seems to be. Drug wars, the DEA, and where good guys aren’t always good and trusting the wrong people can get you killed. Michelle’s journey pulls her out of her apathy and into fighting for survival against the odds where she can’t trust anyone but herself. 
What follows is an edge of your seat, believable, tightly woven story of suspense and danger played out in the steamy underbelly of Mexico—where winning means you live.

Lisa Brackmann has worked as a motion picture executive and an issues researcher in a presidential campaign. A southern California native, she currently lives  in Venice California, with her three cats. Her critically acclaimed debut novel Rock Paper Tiger, was an Amazon best book of 2010.

You can find Lisa: Website, Twitter, Facebook

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Having New York Times bestseller, Carolyn Brown, visiting today is like having a friend over for coffee and a chat. I love the world Carolyn creates for each of her stories. Her storytelling is a joy to read because she makes her people so realnot perfect because that would be boring. You meet her character types when you stop in the local cafe for lunch, the cashier at the grocery store, the teller at the bank, the hunk who loads your hay. All real and chocked full of life's attitudes.

Her topic is one I think all writers and readers can  relate toa lesson in becoming smug. C'mon, admit it, we've all had our smug moments, haven't we?

Good morning, Sia! I’ve got a cup of coffee and I want to thank you so much for inviting me back to your blog site to promote One Hot Cowboy Wedding which hit the shelves just this week. It’s the fourth in the Spikes and Spurs series which hit the ground running last June with a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, Love Drunk Cowboy. It’s Ace and Jasmine’s story and there are three more to follow it so keep the country music playing and your boots shined.

Those next three plus my debut women’s fiction book are what I want to discuss with the readers today because they’ve taught me an important lesson about getting too comfortable and sure of myself.


That’s the only word for the way I was feeling right after the first of the year! I was Superwoman. I had finished all but one deadline ahead of time. My new woman’s fiction had even been rewritten and I’d spent a few minutes with my fabulous editor and the Sourcebooks staff coming up with ideas for a knock-your-socks-off title.

Yep, smug! Bright shiny, diamond studded smug!

And then the phone call came…

My editor had read my cowboy holiday book and it didn’t have enough Christmas in it. Could I get the third book in the new three book deal ready right quick and could it please have snow and Christmas trees and lots of holiday cheer in it? We’d slip it into the first slot where the former Christmas book was and push the other two up to slots two and three.

Yes, ma’am. No problem.

Smug had tarnished a little.


Oh, my! There was an AND! The original Christmas book would now need some major rewriting because it needed what little Christmas stuff was in it played down and turned into a straight rodeo romance. And there was a chapter that had too much back story so could we please do something with that?

Yes, ma’am. No problem.

Smug lost a few diamonds.


The woman’s fiction book still has too much romance so it will have to have some tweaking and we’re pushing the publication date up to January, 2013.

Yes, ma’am. No problem. But dear hearts, even though it’s been my dream to write women’s fiction in like, forever, it’s not easy to change horses in the middle of the stream. I’ve written more than sixty romance books and it’s wired into my brain to give everyone an HEA. But still it was yes, ma’am, no problem. I could do this if I wanted to fulfill my in like forever dream.

Smug was getting really dull.


The book that used to be in the second slot that had been moved to the third slot would have to have some reworking because of the time sequence. Secondary characters would change and believe me, the readers would KNOW if things weren’t right.

Yes, ma’am. I can do that.

Smug was thrown into the scrap metal heap.

I have tunnel vision so I focused on the first job at hand, then the second and the third. Now it’s down to one project and I’m so glad for my publisher’s and editor’s insight because what has come out of that phone call is not one but four books that are stronger and hopefully more enticing to my readers.

Smug has been erased (by a black permanent marker) from my dictionary. And my readers can look forward to Mistletoe Cowboy, Creed Riley’s story in October; Just a Cowboy, Gemma’s story in December; the woman’s fiction in January and sometime in the spring Dewar’s story (title hasn’t been decided).

I’ll be around all day to answer questions and I do believe there are a couple of books to be given away so if you want your name in the hat for them, please comment. Spikes and Spurs now has seven books in the series…

  • what makes you continue to come back and read books about rough old sexy cowboys and sassy women? 
  • What would you like to see in the future? More Spikes and Spurs, or are you ready for a new series?



A marriage made in Vegas...

Hunky cowboy Ace Riley wasn't planning on settling down, but his family had other plans for him...The only way to save his hide, and his playboy lifestyle, is to discreetly marry his best friend, Jasmine King.

Can't possibly last…

Feisty city–girl Jasmine as just helping out her friend—that is, until their first kiss stirs up a whole mess of trouble, and suddenly discretion is thrown to the wind.  EXCERPT

One hot cowboy, one riled up woman...
And they'll be married for a year, like it or not!

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than forty books published, and credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. She writes bestselling single title cowboy and country music mass market romances. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma, where she continues to write more cowboy romances! For more information, please visit

Monday, April 2, 2012


Even though I'm not officially participating in April's A-Z Challenge, there are some fabulous articles by those who are. Here is the list of those participating. As my blog allows, I will be adding articles to correspond to the letter for the day, such as today's subject, B for Britannic.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Olympic class ocean liner, Titanic. On April 15, 1912 at 2:20 a.m., the highly touted unsinkable ship, slid under the waves.

Most ships built have sister ships, so I wondered, what were the names of them and what happened to them?

The Olympic, Britannic, and Titanic
Artist color depiction
As it happens, the Titanic had two sister ships, the older sister, Olympic, which was started three months before the Titanic (launched on 20 October 1910 and served until 1935), and the youngest sister, Britannic, built in 1913 and launched February 26, 1914. Just in time for the Great War—WWI.

The Titanic disaster had taught the builders some lessons and they were employed in the building of the Britannic. Safety features like the second watertight inner skin added as she was being built and more lifeboats—enough carry every member of the crew and all passengers. Additionally, special emergency lifeboat crane davits, which would enable all lifeboats to be launched despite listing (great idea but still didn’t work with all the port side lifeboats). She was designed not to be able to sink in under three hours. Still there was the prevailing idea that these three ships were virtually unsinkable. In theory, I suppose that was true, but in reality, sadly incorrect.

HMHS Britannic
The British Navy, commandeered the Britannic to be a hospital ship, and she never saw commercial use. All her luxurious fittings were removed and she became a hospital. Her maiden voyage was to provide a hospital for the wounded of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. The HMHS Britannic completed five successful missions between the Mediterranean and Briton carrying wounded.

On November 21, 1916 an explosion on starboard side of the ship damaging two holds and the watertight bulkhead. The captain ordered her watertight doors be closed and lifeboats readied. Unfortunately, not all the doors were working and the Britannic took on water. Still, she should have been fine had the nurses not opened the portholes on the lower deck for fresh air in the wards and sadly allowed the water to pour into the ship. A lot of water. The captain had thought to make a run for the Kea shore three miles away with hopes of grounding the ship. Didn’t work. Britannic was listing too badly to make it.

The explosion was thought to be either from an enemy mine or torpedo (the German U-73’s records claim the Britannic was hit by one mine). Hospital ships were generally safe from enemy attacks, but rumors abounded that the Britannic was also carrying weapons. That may have made her a target. The Britannic was carrying 625 crewmembers and 500 medical personnel. Twenty-0ne members of the crew died along with 9 medical officers. I have no idea how many patients she carried.

The ship built not to sink in under 3 hours sank in less than 1—55 minutes to be precise.

The Britannic lies 400 feet down on the bottom of the Aegean Sea in international waters. The likes of, Jacques Cousteau, and others have explored her. In 2003, Carl Spenser, and crew dove the wreck. Sonar expert, Bill Smith confirmed there were number of mine anchors located around the ship. He also established the Britannic was hit by one mine and that the rapid sinking was a result of faulty watertight doors (probably due to damage from the explosion) and compounded by open portholes throughout the lower deck.

What a tragic ending for two bright stars of the Olympic-class liners, commissioned by the White Star Line.

HMHS Britannic today
The ship was 882 feet long and the hull broke when
it hit the Aegean floor, which is only 400' down.