Great new review for UPON YOUR RETURN!

This review is from: Upon Your Return (Kindle Edition)
4.5 stars

I won this book from a Facebook contest and loved it! The reason for the 4.5 stars is because it took me a little while to adjust to it being written in the 1850's POV. She did a great job in grabbing my attention though with first the amazing cover and second by the well developed characters. I could relate to Fara for being determined and opinionated.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great romance story!

4 Star Review for M&M on Free World Authors!

Book Review – Magick & Moonlight

Title: Magick & Moonlight
Author: Marie Lavender
Price: $.99
Distribution Channel(s): Amazon
From Midwest author Marie Lavender comes an exciting tale of romance and magic. To start things off, here’s a short synopsis from
Messing with free will is always a bad idea…
Magick & Moonlight cover
Magick & Moonlight
Ethan Hamilton moves to a lazy little town in Oregon, hoping to escape his demons. But, instead he discovers a woman dancing nude in the moonlight. This woman who claims she is a witch dazzles him with her sensual presence. He thinks she’s crazy, but what if she’s not?
Jessie Anderson has been taught that her kind hides who they really are. And she has a problem on her hands. Someone knows her secret and she has to do all she can to protect herself. What other choice does she have? Jessie casts a love spell on a good man, a man with whom she can’t fight her attraction. The spell doesn’t work quite as planned — she ends up falling for Ethan.
To top it off, Ethan’s treatment of her, his “love”, is so addictive. Deep down, she knows the spell will wear off, and yet his feelings seem genuine. It’s just a spell…right?

The Review

Magick & Moonlight” is a heartwarming short story of love lost and regained. I was pleasantly surprised at the emotional roller coaster Marie took me on, as “Magick & Moonlight” packed just enough oomph in a few pages to give me a good read for a lazy afternoon. Here’s the full breakdown:



The cover of “Magick & Moonlight” is a beautiful representation of the story within. The purple and black-colored theme put me in the mind of romance and magic, and I assume that was the impression Marie was going for. Score for the quality cover!


The author didn’t waste any time getting to the heart of the story. One thing that perturbs me about some short stories is authors who take too long winding up their engines. You don’t have time for that. Get to the point!


I don’t expect a full character arc in a short story, but Ethan Hamilton and his love interest Jessie Anderson do change some throughout the course of the story. Add in Ethan’s heartbreaking backstory, and you have characters that the reader can get to know quite well. Also, Jessie broke the stereotypes of a witch, or wiccan. It’s easy to assume that she would be dark and conniving, but she’s not. Good job, Marie.
One thing that bugged me, though not a definite minus, is Ethan’s character. He’s a flawed guy, and that’s good, but I figured he was going to be just another chiseled hunk with a “smooth, massive chest.” Boy, was I ever right. I never understood why so many romance stories just have to have perfect-looking male characters with rippling muscles.


The plot did for me what I hope it will do for others: Sometimes people do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Forgiveness is a strong value, and without it, Ethan may not have found out what Jessie has to offer. Things were far from perfect between the two, but I was glad Ethan made the right decision, no matter how hard it was.



Let me be clear, the writing is okay, but it came across kind of pediatric. The overly simple sentence structure grew redundant after a while. I would like to see more creativity when describing a scene, Marie. Use more tropes to help the reader see the same things in a new light. And, for sure, vary your sentence structure with some compound and compound-complex sentences to break up the monotony of simple sentences.

Magick & Moonlight: Wrap-Up

Overall, “Magick & Moonlight” is a wonderful read. The love scenes are good and I really liked the characters (well, Jessie. Ethan, not so much). For $.99, you could certainly do a lot worse! I recommend “Magick & Moonlight” for a quick burst of entertainment.

FWA Rating
Four stars

First review for UPON YOUR HONOR on Goodreads and Amazon! Five Stars!

Marie Lavender has a way with words and is a sensational writer. This is book two of the Heiresses in Love series and in my opinion she becomes better with each of her books. Our book continues the story of the Hill family with this one about Gabriel, our hero. Our heroine is Chloe Waverly, just orphaned by her father's death. According to the attorney for her father she has just been betrothed to a very cruel man. Having no other family other than her grandmother in New Orleans she stows away on the La Voyageur owned by Gabriel's father. The story is very strong filled with suspense and twists you just won't see coming. Nothing is predictable and yet when love is involved it is the only thing you can predict. At any moment Chloe was in danger either from thugs trying to kidnap her or from losing her heart. Gabriel had made up his mind that he was the owner of his fate but fate has a mind of its own and he's in the same danger as Chloe. His determination to protect and escort Chloe to the safety of her grandmother is a responsibility that is very serious to him but Chloe in relating her circumstances left out the part that she was running from her finace and the finace was just as determined to have her back! The best thing I liked about the story was the vivid characters, so well developed and brought to life with the powerful descriptions.  Of course the story line was full of interesting people, places, mysterious plots with surprising twists, romance, delicious seduction, but yet fascinating with the play on all of the emotions.  At times I was crying, then laughing, upset with a fierce anger, totally surprised, shocked, full of happiness or in complete despair and then cheering for the good guys or girl but so completely drawn into the story that I read the whole thing at one setting.  I just could not stop reading even though I really tried to so that I could get some just kept playing in my head and I finally gave up and was so glad I did! I'm cheating a little on my review because part of this is the same thing I said about book one "Upon Your Return" but it says what I feel so well that I just have to repeat it. Both of these books are so good, not just romance or sex, they are about love, seduction, suspense, fear, happiness and put together so well and yet SO different! I can't wait for book three. GREAT READ!

Author Interview on Maurice Tudor's blog


Upon Your Honor

Tell us a little about your background/country etc

I am from a small town in the Midwest.   I was always creative, pursuing writing or singing.  I was in choral groups from the time I was nine all the way into my last year of high school.  I also took several Creative Writing classes.  I pretty much always knew I wanted to be a writer though.

What gave you the idea to start writing?

My imagination fueled a lot of my early child’s play.  I have to admit that stories were forming in my head at a pretty young age and I wrote them down even then.  Of course, the stories then were as juveline as I was, but I did get to the second round in one competition.  Since then, I have had characters and and scenes play out in my head.  Writing books is what I’ve always wanted to do.
What is the title of your latest book?

Upon Your Honor is the title of the latest book.  It just came out on April 21st.

Is this a one off book or do you have more in mind?

Upon Your Honor is actually a sequel to a previous release, Upon Your Return.  And yes, I am writing the final book in the series.

How long does it take you to write a book?

That is a complicated question.  My books have taken me anywhere from months to years.  It really just depends on the book and how complicated it is.  My ideas can take root at any time, but I may not focus on them completely at first.  Only when I fully put my mind to a project does the real work begin.  I have had books that didn’t take long at all.  Upon Your Honor took a year or so to write, but the first book in the series took nine years.  It was, however, my first historical romance so I was a little new at writing that genre.  I do, however, have nineteen books published.

Do you do anything special to attract readers to your book/s?

I have a website and I run three blogs.  I have accounts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  I do interviews and guest posts a lot, and I have placed book cover ads now and then.

How do you publish your books?

Starting in 2010, I began to self-publish my books.  Upon Your Return was my first traditionally published novel and that was released through Summer Solstice.  Recently, I also released Magick & Moonlight through Solstice Shadows and Upon Your Honor was released through Summer Solstice.

What is your favourite thing about your writings?

There is lot of variety.  Although I do stick to romance for the most part, I do romantic suspense, contemporary romance, historical romance and paranormal romance.  Occasionally I write poetry and literary fiction.

Which is your favorite book and why?

Upon Your Return will always have a special place in my heart because I fell in love with the characters and I spent so much time with them.  I got to revisit them a little when I wrote Upon Your Honor, and I will be sad to see them go after the series is finished.  Of course, I love the characters from any of my books.  I think both Leather and Lace and A Touch of Dawn touched me as well.  I am both proud and sad to step away from a project after the book is published.  I suppose it’s a bit like sending your children off to college.

What are your future goals?

For now, I am just taking it one day at a time.  I plan to finish Upon Your Love, the third book in the series and get that published.  Beyond that, I hope to start a new series about a coven of witches in the 1700s.

Tell us a random fact about your book that the readers might find

I think that the heroine, Chloe Waverly, will surprise a lot of people with her motivation.   She is very strong, very complex for a woman put it in a difficult situation in the 1890s.

What’s your favorite book genre?

Ah, right now I would have to say paranormal romance.  I have a thing for books about vampires or shifters.  I also love historical romance.

Do you have any favorite authors?

Of course.  I enjoy reading any books by Nora Roberts, J.R. Ward, Catherine Coulter, P.C. Cast, Kris Tualla or Chloe Neill.

If asked to give advice to a new writer, what might that be?

Never give up.  That’s probably been said so many times, but it is very true.  Without persistence or perseverance despite the odds, you are likely to give up your dream.  And that’s a fate I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Promo and Excerpt for UPON YOUR HONOR on Some Like it Hotter blog

Friday, April 25, 2014


Book Info:
Upon Your Honor is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and CreateSpace.

Genre:  Historical Romance
Era:  Victorian
Setting:  New York, Nassau, New Orleans
Themes:  Suspense, maritime, dueling

Book blurb for Upon Your Honor
Deception is a dangerous path…

New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms.  As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be.
Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life.  But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.


He paused outside the door of the cabin, rested his forehead lightly against it. He turned his body slightly; his ear against the wood, and wondered if he could hear anything on the other side. Was she sleeping now? What was she doing? Had she actually been affected by the events that occurred today? She had certainly not shown it. Her courage was astounding. He wanted to hold her against him, reassure himself that she was well, that she had not come within a hair’s breadth of losing her life. It was not to be.
No, he should not bother her. He turned away, but stopped. Something drew him back, though. The desire to see her again won out. He returned to the door, grasped the handle and turned the knob. It didn’t budge. He shook his head in a wry fashion. So she thought she could defeat him. He unearthed a key from his pocket and inserted it in the lock, and the sound grated for a moment. He opened the door and stepped inside, shut the door behind himself.
A mass of blonde curls splayed across the bed. With real concern, he stepped forward to check on her. Her eyes were closed as he leaned over her, and her breath stirred over him. She was obviously all right, but he did not immediately step away. She was asleep, and his heart constricted in his chest as he watched her. She looked like an angel. He paused over her for a moment, inhaling her feminine fragrance, then brushed his lips over her cheek. He froze as she twitched slightly, then went still. “Ah, mon ange, if only this were possible.”
Finally, he stepped away, knowing full well she would be outraged if she knew he was there. He saw a letter on the desk and curiosity got the better of him. When he saw who it was addressed to, he picked it up.
Dearest Gabriel,

It pains me to say this, but I must. There is much you do not know about me, and I am only endangering you if I stay. If you receive this, I have most likely found a way off of La Voyageur. Believe me, it is nothing you have done, and the last thing I want is for you to feel responsible for my abrupt departure.
If I have left, it is simply because I see no other way. There are things in this life I could not have anticipated, and if I stay any longer, I will place you in unnecessary danger. It may affect all of you. I feel, in fact, that I am an omen brought upon this voyage, an unlucky passenger. I should not be welcome into your open arms and hospitality. You have all been so kind, and this betrayal of mine is more than I can bear.
So with a heavy heart, I must leave you. I am truly sorry it has come to this. I never intended to…but, never mind that. Forgive me, if you can.

Your loyal companion,
Chloe Ann Waverly
His heart raced with true panic. Mon Dieu, she could not leave, not now that he’d found her. He’d have to show her that her presence was not unwelcome, but instead encouraged.
She obviously had secrets, many she hinted at but did not reveal in the letter. It did not matter. He could not let her go.
He grasped the letter in his hand and crumpled it in his fist. He shook with an emotion he could not place. Then he left the room abruptly.

Author Bio:
Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 18 other books. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013. Top 50 Authors on Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.

At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child's play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted - to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.
Since then, Marie has published nineteen books. Marie Lavender's real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. She just released Magick & Moonlight, a paranormal romance, in March. Upon Your Honor is her second historical romance. Feel free to visit her website at for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your ReturnMagick & MoonlightUpon Your Honor

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

​Author ​

What Is This Weird "Twitter" Thing, Anyway?

I just had a fellow writer ask me how in the world to do this Twitter thing so I thought I'd give my thoughts about it.  I've written about it before in other social networking related posts, but this is a bit more detailed.

"So, what is this weird Twitter thing, anyway?  What do I do with it?"

As someone who used to be very new at it, I totally get why it seems overwhelming.  I even know people who avoid it because they think it's silly.  But, it's not silly; it can be very useful for a writer or anyone who wants to get out there in the social networking hemisphere.

Ah, Twitter.  The wonderful Twitter where you can “tweet” like crazy.  You can create your author account here.  Yes, it is an advertising tool for the most part.  Or it seems like that.  It doesn’t have to be.  If you are a new member, you will need to “follow” your interests.  Most likely, Twitter will offer a tutorial.  Once you have established what interests you, Twitter will make suggestions based on that.  You can also search for what you want to follow.  If you like healthcare, follow the CDC, NIH or companies like Beckton Dickinson (BD) or Covidien.  If you like a band or artist, follow them.  If you like writing, follow other authors and their books.  In most cases, people will “follow” you back.  

You want to get as many followers as possible. This may seem hard.  It will look as if you follow more than you’re followed.  Keep pushing forward.  You will also receive notifications about Tweets the people you’ve followed have posted.  Yes, it does make your inbox crazy.  I believe you can change the notification settings here too.  Another tip.  With Twitter, you can customize your profile with your book cover, author pic or other background to make it look nice.  Other people will see this when they follow you.

Twitter is a pretty neat tool to use.  You can tweet about pretty much anything from your book to interviews to where you went to eat last night to how you took your dog for a walk.  I’m not kidding about the last two.  People actually do that.  Nowadays, it’s becoming the standard to talk about things besides what you really want to post.  That is why you see the celebrities you follow tell everyone they just ate a bag of Doritos or painted their toe nails.  Really?  That’s nice.  I know.  Not very exciting.  And not very hopeful for the burgeoning writer.   

So, there are a few things you can do to ramp up your presence on Twitter.  Sure, you can post news about your writing.  I recommend it.  But, do more.  Try to gain a following by following other authors or your own interests (i.e. companies or brands you like, people you admire).  Chances are they’ll follow you back.  And on the left side of the page, Twitter gives you recommendations, kind of like the age old, "if you like this, you'll like this" notion.  And always try to follow those who have followed you on Twitter.  If someone direct messages you, asking a random question like, “What is your favorite food?” or maybe they want to talk about how they just finished a needlepoint project, go ahead and reply back.  This puts out the idea that your efforts are not self-serving and you actually do want to talk to people, which is most likely the case.  The downside of Twitter is this:  some of the people you follow are not exactly professional, and you may get some pretty nasty comments or propositions.  The best way to handle this is to go through your list of followers and unfollow those rude people.  They may still follow you, but by unfollowing them, you have just saved yourself a big headache and a ton of embarrassment.  

Oh, Twitter.  It’s beautiful if you spend 24 hours a day in front of your PC.  Retweet, post, retweet, post, get a little creative, post, reply to a witty remark, reply to a lovely quote, reply to someone’s suggestion on what movie to see, retweet, post.   

Okay, I think I’m getting dizzy.  Follow a ton of people.  I have.  So you say, “Well, I have a lot of followers now.  But, are they all following me?” No?  Then you have to ask yourself, “Should I unfollow someone, and will that have a major impact?”  Possibly.  See, the problem is that Twitter likes to freeze you.   They block you from following anyone else at around 2000.  From there, you have to boost your followers until you can follow more.  So, you think, “I’ll just stay where I am.  I’ve followed who I’ve followed.  I’ll do what I can to have them follow me.  But, if they don’t, what can I do?  If my numbers change and I’m able to follow more, great!  If not, I guess I’ll just keep doing the Twitter thing.  Hopefully that helps.” 

Eventually, you want to get to the point where most of the people that you follow on Twitter follow you back.  Well, how do you do that?  There is a nifty tool at  Yes, you will have to sign in with your Twitter account, but it is SO helpful.  And I mean that.  Currently, I am following back 100% of my followers because of this tool and people like that.  It did take a while to get to that point though.  The nice thing about it is that it does tell you by email when people unfollow or follow you.  So, whenever you want, you can go into the tool and check the latest activity.  Twitter always has limits on how many people you can follow, of course, so you have to do what you can.   There is a section for ‘recent unfollowers’.  Click on that.  Here, you have a choice of unfollowing them or you can try to do a shout out on Twitter (i.e.  something like, “Follow and RT @---- @----- @----“).  That may not always get them to follow you back.  You also have to really take stock of who you are following.  Prioritize it a little.  Are you following random businesses like VISA or Microsoft or Verizon (whoever your provider is)?  Well, that’s great.  But, it’s not going to win you any points.  And unless you want to see their tweets coming up all the time when you click ‘home’, it’s pointless because they most likely will not follow you back.  You can look at who is not following you back by clicking on ‘Not following back’.  Take stock and decide if these companies or individuals are the kind that would follow you back.  I have a few that I follow because I like them, but I don’t imagine any big names would actually follow me back because they’re too busy.  For the rest, I prioritize.

Think of what you’re interested in (books?  Great!  Follow people who write books or people who like books).  People will naturally follow who their connections follow.  You will find more people to follow.  But, always follow someone back if they have followed you unless they directly offend you.  You can follow back your followers on that great tool I just mentioned by clicking on the ‘fans’ section.  Follow as many people listed as you can before Twitter gets insane and says, “ Hey!  No more today!”  LOL.

Also, keep track of who is retweeting you or doing mentions of you.  It’s a good practice to try to follow them back as well.  You can check your notifications for that.  Always tweet a thank you to them.  It is the nice thing to do.

For more tips on Twitter, I would recommend Anne Bayes’ article:

She also mentions another article that is useful:

Twitter can be a crazy marketing tool, but it can also be rewarding.  For myself, I enjoy reading some of the posts when you click the home button.  For those not familiar with Twitter, that shows the tweets of the people you are following.  Some people post pics and I try to respond to those.  The number one thing is that because my time is pretty limited, I only do what moves me.  If something is really interesting, catchy or worth retweeting, I will always do it.  If a picture or saying makes me really think, I am going to reply to that person.  I can’t be on Twitter 24/7, but I can try to do my part.  And yes, I do promote my books, but I also help my followers by retweeting. 

And the other thing?  Find something interesting to say.  Whether you are sticking to a certain theme (something you do professionally) or you just want to mention how great the weather is (or whatever else that strikes you), just say it.  A long time ago, I got into the habit of putting my thoughts about romance on Twitter.  I created my own hashtag, #iloveromance.  I have created other hashtags as well (#WritModAge or #HeiressesinLove or #histrom). Learn more about how to create your own hashtags here:  If you’re just starting out, sometimes it’s best to use the ones that are already out there.  Based on your genre, there is probably a hashtag for it.  When you’re promoting a book, using #bookplugs is helpful because they always retweet you.  I have also included @wemarketbooks and @kindlepromoter in tweets because I know they do free retweets of book tweets.  Also, get in the habit of using URL shorteners because you are only allowed to use 140 characters on Twitter.  The best one I have found is  Enter the URL you want and click 'Shorten'.  Then use the shortened link in your tweet.  But, don’t advertise all of the time.

The point is that you have something to say besides advertising your book or service.  You want to be human too.   

If someone is having a bad day and they state that, don’t hesitate to respond.  Just like on Facebook or any other place, it is more about the “social” in social networking than anything.  Take a bit of time and read the tweets.  Click on the blog links to articles that appeal to you.  If you like their sites or articles, retweet their tweet or use the Twitter button on that blog post.  I have found a TON of useful information on there.  Do your part and help your followers by retweeting. 

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts on Twitter.

Official book release of UPON YOUR HONOR!

Hi, readers!  I just wanted to announce the exciting release of Upon Your Honor, the sequel to Upon Your Return!  Here is the blurb and cover:

Book 2 of the Heiresses in Love series 

Upon Your Honor

Deception is a dangerous path…

New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms.  As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be.  

Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life.  But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.

Purchase Links:


Taking a Break from MLB

Yes, readers, that's right. I'm on hiatus for a while. I know I haven't posted for a bit, and that's really the reason why I...