Review: Rider of the Crown

Rider of the CrownRider of the Crown by Melissa McShane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


While you do not have to read the Crown of Tremontane books in order I do think it helps. Rider of the Crown takes place about 20 years after the events in Servant of the Crown, featuring new main characters, but I did get to see some great cameos from favorites from the first. Rider is more of an action adventure book with a strong romance where Servant was a stronger romance with a political adventure subline. I think both appeal to readers who love any of these aspects. Both books share strong but flawed female leads who begin the book feeling like they know the course they want for their lives and then discovering they can be so much more.

Rider features Imogen, a Kirkellan warrior, whose goal in life is to become the warleader of her people. When her mother brokers a peace treaty Imogen’s life changes all at once and she finds herself among enemies. I really love Imogen. I like that she’s not physically perfect, but that she’s happy with who she is. And I like seeing her growing through her time with the Ruskalders and then as she breaks away and joins the forces in Tremontane.

It’s nice to see Tremontane through the eyes of an outsider as that makes some of the world building stronger than it was in the first book. Through Imogen we learn more about devices and we are introduced more fully to not only the culture of Tremontane but the surrounding countries and Tremontane’s place in the bigger world.

I also really love Jeffrey. I enjoy seeing the parts of him which are influenced by his parents, but without him being a duplicate of Anthony or Alison. He is firmly his own man and a good foil and Imogen. And that’s all I can say about that without getting spoilery.

There are certainly flaws in the book but I find I get swept away in the story to the point they don’t pull me out of the narrative unless I sit there and LOOK for trouble. For me that’s a sign of a really good book/story as I can critique and pull apart with the best of them, but my favorites invite me to sink in and just enjoy.

So all in all, I’m thrilled to come back to Tremontane. Three readings later I’m still enjoying it and can’t wait to have the whole series on my shelves.

View all my reviews

Release Day: Desert Rains

It’s finally here! Today is the official release day for Desert Rains, Book 1 in the Desert Romance Saga.

Desert Rains is a Science Fiction/Western/Romance introducing readers to the planets of the Cluster and the denizens of the Double P Ranch. Desert Rains is a clean romance, or what my friend calls a chaste romance focusing on the romance story and emotional arc rather than graphic details. If it was a movie it’d be rated between PG and PG13.

Desert Rains

Life in the future isn’t so different after all. Welcome to Galileo, a planet of extremes where air cars and horse-drawn wagons march side by side, and powerful storms compete with the burning sun. A planet where a man can make his fortune…or lose it.

Richard Tyler came to Galileo in pursuit of Anna Reches, the girl of his dreams. Taking a job at the Double P Ranch was convenient and paid the bills. He never thought he’d come to love it, nor did he expect an undeniable attraction to his employer, Miss Charlene. With two paths spread before him, which does he choose? The wealthy socialite and luxury he was born to, or the cattle rancher who challenges him at every step and makes his blood run hot?

With a busy desert ranch to run, Charlene Petersmire doesn’t have time for a relationship, nor does she want one, at least not until Richard Tyler walks into her world. He’s a brilliant technician and a charming man, but as her employee he’s strictly off-limits and her heart’s been broken before by a handsome face. Does she dare cross boundaries for a man courting her enemy?

Will they face the oncoming storm together, or will love be washed away by the fury of the desert rains?

Teal Pumpkin Program

I have a book coming out tomorrow. This has me in a very spazzy mood. It is a little like when I had my little girl, but not nearly as uncomfortable. However, we’re not going to talk about that today. I know, shocking. Instead today I want to highlight the Teal Pumpkin Program.

Teal pumpkin project

What, you may ask, is the Teal Pumpkin Program? It’s a program which was started in 2014 by the national organization for Food Allergies Research and Education (FARE). The program is pretty simple and aimed at making a happier Halloween for children with allergies. If you want to participate you simply paint a pumpkin bright teal, or post a teal pumpkin print out by your doorbell. Then have non-food treats which are an option for treak-or-treaters. This way parents who are working with a child who has food allergies can know which houses to visit for a guaranteed treat! As I’ve seen the struggles of people in my own family and friends to find options for their children I’ve become a big supporter of the teal pumpkin.

You can be sure to find one on my porch!

For downloadble print outs and to take the Teal Pumpkin Pledge visit the FARE Teal Pumpkin Project Website!

Blog Tour: Ginger C. Mann and BEYOND THE WAIL

Today on the blog I’m participating in a blog tour for Xchyler Publishing and their latest anthology Beyond the Wail. Welcome Ginger C. Mann, author of “The Poltergeist and Aunt Betty”.

Ginger Mann_200x274

Ginger C. Mann is a poet, musician, and digital security engineer. If you can’t find her doing those things, look for a woman chasing around her small children with a camera. A Texas artist, she enjoys writing for other Texans. Her song, “River Night,” premiered on October 12, 2013 in North Austin. During that same weekend, her first short story, “China Doll,” began selling on She is also a key writer, and digital security adviser, for “Think Before You Click,” the Cyber-Safety campaign of legal counsel, Rick Mann. Ginger lives with her family in the Austin, Texas area.

How did you come up with the concept of your story?

There were multiple inspirations for me, but two of them stood out. First of all, I chanced to meet an adorable, brilliant, and quite eccentric woman with a giant head of flaming red hair. She stuck in my mind, and I could not get her out. My character, Betty, is kind of a reaction to her. I barely know the woman I met, but I knew I had to write a story with her image in it.

The character I came up with, I think I like even more than her original. This woman is probably a genius, but so completely “out there” that her gifts blend into the noise of her mental illness. Perhaps the point I’m making is that we dismiss people every day based on reasons that make sense to us, but should we? Just because a person is paranoid doesn’t mean something isn’t out to get her.

The second inspiration came from my own little boy. At the time, he was three years old. He had a habit of waking up in the wee hours of the morning, when he would wander silently into my bedroom suite. He materialized there at around the time that I was getting ready for work in the morning. Most of the time, I kept the lights low, to let my husband sleep. The little boy was patient, and willing to wait until I could give him attention. He would stand still in one spot and wait without moving a muscle. So having said all of that, it was not uncommon for me to stand in front of the dark mirror, begin to dry my hair, and then look down toward the counter to see a pair of eyes staring straight up at my face. It literally made me scream out loud a few times. Low light, sudden moves in the mirror, silent approach . . . yeah, a ghost would pull a stunt just like that.

At some point, I put both of those images together, and made the red-headed woman an eccentric great-aunt. No one ever listens to crazy people, especially not if they are crazy live-in relatives. Is there a better candidate for a haunting than this? Someone whose credibility is faulty to begin with?

What was the most surprising part of writing this book?

This story surprised me in the way it fell in together. I outlined it almost entirely by oral repetition, telling little stories about Aunt Betty to my friends and family. It was like joke-writing for a comic. I knew I had something if I could keep them laughing. I don’t know why I chose to make the story less spooky and more of a comedy, but it was just how Aunt Betty struck me.

What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?

The hardest part was the discussion of the ghost. Paranormal requires death, usually. I don’t like to kill anyone, especially not an innocent, but death is a part of life. It’s just that the way this person left earth was gut wrenching for me, personally. I had some trouble fleshing out that scene, I found I shied away from it. After awhile, I contained myself well enough to finish it, but I don’t think I toned it down. When I read it out loud to my husband, he wept openly.

Again, no spoilers, but there is a good reason that Aunt Betty is tormented by a ghost. At the end, I have to tell that story. It rips me apart even to remember it, but the best thing about inventing a tragedy is that I may also invent a resolution.

I am fond of my resolution.

What is your preferred writing genre?

To be honest, I wish to write science fiction or technical thrillers. I am a software engineer who is fond of space, and I think I have plenty of stories about science in me. However, I find that I am enjoying fantasy and paranormal more than I imagined I would. They require as much imagination, and a little more humanity.Who is your favorite author?

Who has most influenced your work?

I love so many authors, but I have to give a sweeping bow to a few heavy hitters. I will never forget the literature of J. R. R. Tolkien or the philosophy of C. S. Lewis. For characters and rich plots, Orson Scott Card is a hands-down favorite, and for “otherness,” I like some of Clarke and Asimov. But I keep returning to silly and satirical. I guess I will never stop trying to entertain my family.

My favorite authors of the absurd are Douglas Adams, James Lileks, and Kurt Vonnegut. In fact, Kurt Vonnegut gave me the image I have kept as a writer until this day: “If you open your window and try to make love to the world, your story will suffer pneumonia and die.” This was his way of telling me to stop trying to please everyone. Hey, it worked! I think I even made someone mad last week.

How does writing impact other parts of your life?

Sadly, writing sucks up a lot of my family’s time. So, I have made it a point to put off the major writing projects until a little later. However, even the writing I do now has gained me a society of friends that I did not expect. Also, I have to admit to a few extra “cool points” in the office. Software developers love scary stories, in particular.

What are some of your other published works?

I have written two other short stories in Xchyler Publishing anthologies.

  1. China Doll, in Shades and Shadows, a Paranormal Anthology
  2. Jilted River, in The Toll of Another Bell, a Fantasy Anthology

I have also written songs for local musicians here in the Austin area, and my poem, “The Chase” opens the newly revised novel, A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk. Other than that, I enjoy blogging at

What is your advice to writers?

Which writers? If they have something in the queue, my advice is to find me. I love to meet writers, and sometimes I want to swap notes with them — publically. If their book sweeps me away, I could devote days to exploring it with them, and I want to use all of that to their best advantage. Check my author pages at, I don’t like to leave stones unturned.

If a writer is new, or if someone wants to write, my advice is to start writing and keep writing. At the risk of sounding like a bumper sticker: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Your job is to write. Let someone else be the critic later — much later.

What’s up next for you?

Music, blogging, prayer services, blogging, computer programming, blogging, and . . . oh hang on, this: A fantasy tale came to my husband in a dream. A lovely one with two witches and a baby who loses her finger. The baby’s finger is restored by her protector, but at a very high price.

Well, that was the crux of the dream. The rest is up to me to write. Teaser coming on Watch for it.

Follow me on twitter @gingersnotes. Better follow close, or you’ll miss the duck.

Yes, duck. See you online, friends.

BEYOND THE WAIL: 12 Grave Stories of Love and Loss

Book Release Blog Tour

Featured Author: Danielle E. Shipley

Danielle E. Shipley

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Are you Afraid of the Dark?

John’s Writing

Spreading the Writer’s Word

Featured Author: Alex McGilvery

Alex McGilvery

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Ash Krafton: Emotion Between the Lines

Scott E. Tarbet, Author

Writer’s Law of Motion

Featured Author: T.N. PAYNE

Nicole Payne

Monday, October 12, 2015


png” alt=”L.K. McIntosh” width=”200″ height=”274″ /><a hrefMelissa McShane, Author

Sarah’s Secret Stash

Notes from Author Ginger C. Mann

Featured Author: Ginger C. Mann

Ginger C. Mann

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


L.K. McIntosh

J S Brown

Fairies & Pirates

Featured Author: L.K. McIntosh

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Rampant Games

Scotty Watty Doodle All The Day

Terra Luft — View From the Crystal Ball

Featured Author: Jay Barnson

Jay Barnson

Thursday, October 15, 2015


A Storyteller’s Journey

Creativity from Chaos

Christine Haggerty

Featured Author: A. F. Stewart

A. F. Stewart

Friday, October 16, 2015


Tales by Julie

Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind

Anna Winter

Featured Author: Amanda Banker

Amanda Banker

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Sebastian Bendix

Alex Campbell

Semi Short chic

Featured Author: Julie Barnson

Julie Barnson

Sunday, October 18, 2015


The Ink Caster

The Road to Nowhere

Featured Author: Sebastian Bendix

Sebastian Bendix

Monday, October 19, 2015


The J. Aurel Guay Archive


Featured Author: Tirzah Duncan

Tirzah Duncan

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Alex McGilvery’s World


Featured Author: F.M. Longo

F.M. Longo

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Ever On Word

The Cult of Me

Proofs are here!

There is something so thrilling with getting your paper proofs in the mail. Yes, I know that ebooks are wonderful and for a lot of people the wave of the future. However, when I started down the path of wanting to be an author I always wanted the moment of holding MY book in MY hot little hands.

And here’s the first one with many more to follow.:)