Welcome to the blog tour for WHEN THE WIND CHIMES, an adult contemporary holiday romance, by Mary Ting. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, an exclusive interview with the author, and details on her giveaway.
When she receives an invitation to spend Christmas with her family on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, she feels it may be the perfect medicine.
She throws herself into helping her sister’s struggling art gallery, even taking a temporary job for extra money by looking after a little girl from her nephew’s school. She also begins to paint again, something she’s been unable to do since her breakup. It’s tempting to stay on Kauai, but she has obligations back in Los Angeles.
Life gets more complicated when circumstances keep putting her close to Leonardo Medici. Not only is he drop-dead gorgeous, he’s a local celebrity. But Kaitlyn can’t shake the feeling he’s hiding something.
Should she believe the rumors that he’s romancing half the island’s single women?
Or is the random sound of wind chimes when he’s close-by a sign that an angel is near and the secret to her happily ever after?
WHEN THE WIND CHIMES is quite a departure from your recent young adult fantasy novels. What was it like for you to step outside those fantastical worlds and into contemporary? It’s definitely a change of pacing and descriptions, but I had a lot of fun. I enjoy writing all types of genres.
Also, that last sentence of the book blurb makes me wonder if there isn’t a little supernatural twist in there. Is this something you want to share or would you prefer for readers to discover the magic themselves? Well, I think it will depend on the readers, if they believe in fate or not. ☺
What do you most want readers to take away from WHEN THE WIND CHIMES?
Sometimes you just have to take a chance. When one door closes, another will open.
Hawaii is so beautiful, so magical, so breathtaking; the perfect winter escape. I love that you set it on Kauai instead of Maui or Oahu. Any personal stories about a visit there you’d like to share? I’ve been to Kauai twice. I love how the island is lowkey and small. There are pockets of tourist places but it’s not as busy as the other islands. Kauai feels like a second home to me. Once you’re there, it’s like paradise. All your worries go away.
Switching gears, how are you weathering the fires near where you live? Thanks for asking. It’s been horrible. Fire after fire. It just doesn’t seem to end. I didn’t have to evacuate but some of my friends had. Thank God the fire near our homes were put out quickly … thanks to the hard-working firefighters. God bless them for putting their lives on the line.
I spotted a Funko Pop on your Twitter timeline. I love me some of those big-eyed bobble-headed characters. Who is that peeking over your shoulder as you read ISAN?
Those Funko Pops are Ava and Rhett from ISAN. I love them. ☺
Fantasy, scifi, contemporary, done, done, done. What’s one genre you have yet to tackle that you’d love to sink your teeth into? Those are the three genres I enjoy reading and writing. I think I would like to try adult fantasy instead of YA.
What can we expect next from you?
CODE, ISAN book 4 (April 20, 2021, Ronin Witch (YA fantasy September 14, 2021), and Abby, Kaitlyn’s sister from When the Wind Chimes will get her own story.
Author Mary Ting
About the Author International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.
Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years..
Welcome to the book blitz for IT’S RAINING MEN, a stand-alone adult contemporary romantic comedy, by Rich Amooi. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive interview, and details on his giveaway.
Synopsis On a dare, Faith Daniels tosses a coin into the infamous “Fountain of Love” and wishes for the perfect man, laughing it off as the dumbest thing she’s ever done. Like magic, her quiet life turns upside-down when men begin to appear out of nowhere. There’s a doctor, a lawyer, a firefighter, and a swimwear model, for starters. All of them are kind, generous, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. All of them are interested in Faith. But who is Mr. Right?
A feel-good romance novel about love, friendship, and living life to the fullest!
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate almonds. Five to six each day after lunch.
Who was your first celebrity crush? Farrah Fawcett. I had a poster of her up in my shag-carpeted fort in the rafters of the garage. I even got in a fight with my brother one day when I caught him making out with the poster. I tried to clean it with Windex and ended up erasing Farrah’s mouth.
First car? Lime green 1970 Chevy Nova with polyester seats that stuck to my legs in the summer.
Is there an idea out there that you wish you’d thought of? Absolutely. These two lines from the movie Airplane!
“Surely, you can’t be serious.”
“I am serious—and don’t call me Shirley.”
Living without my wife.
What inspires your book ideas? This may sound crazy but some of my ideas start with just a title. The idea for my fourth novel came to me while in line at Starbucks. A woman reached over and smacked her husband on the arm and said, “Quit being so crotchety.” I smiled and thought Mr. Crotchety would make a great title for a book. Then I brainstormed the story and wrote it.
Caramel, kettle, cheese or regular popcorn? Yes, please.
What’s on your pizza? Pineapple and garlic.
Biggest pet peeve?
People who drive fast through residential neighborhoods.
Nickname as a kid? Stitches. Let’s just say I was on a first name basis with the staff at the emergency department.
First author hero?
Favorite ’80s artist? Hall & Oates.
Betty Crocker super moist yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A DJ on the radio. I ended up working at some of the top radio stations in Silicon Valley for over thirty-three years. Then my wife encouraged me to take a few creative writing classes at Stanford and here I am writing romantic comedies!
If you were a Disney princess, which one would you be?
Did you really just ask me that? Can’t you see how much testosterone I have? It’s just oozing out my pores. I should be offended! I really should be! But I’m not. The answer is Cinderella.
Author Rich Amooi
About the Author RichAmooi is a Taleflick Discovery Winner, Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Recipient, Holt Medallion Finalist, and the Amazon Bestselling author of 15 romantic comedies, including It’s Not PMS, It’s You, Dying to Meet You, There’s Something About a Cowboy, and Madam Love, Actually. Over 500,000 downloads from readers around the world.
A former radio personality and wedding DJ, Rich now writes romantic comedies full-time in San Diego, California, and is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.\
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Selina Marcille, author of CORPSE ARTISTE, a young adult mystery, releasing October 15, 2020. See below for information on the book, preorder links, my exclusive interview with the author, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
Synopsis Eunice Griggs does not want to spend the summer working in her family’s mortuary, but her parents give her no other choice. Dead bodies and the smell of formaldehyde is not what she was looking forward to the summer before her senior year.
Despite her hatred at first, she quickly finds her calling as makeup artist for the dead. With the summer coming to a close, she is looking forward to finishing her job and celebrating with friends as she tries to grab the attention of Shawn Linden.
But when a body goes missing on her watch, Eunice is racing against time to get it back, lest a zombie outbreak be her fault.
1) I love me a young adult mystery. They’re so much fun. And CORPSE ARTISTE sounds especially entertaining. What is the story behind this book? I think any good story involves some sort of mystery! The origin of this story comes from me sitting on a ping pong table in the middle of winter in the white mountains of New Hampshire. I was at my MFA residency and had just come back from a critique group. A good friend, Ted Flanagan- an amazing writer, had used the word “daguerreotype” in his recent piece. A faculty member didn’t like it but the concept intrigued me. A daguerreotype is a Victorian death portrait- a way for the living to have a physical memory of the dead. And these things are creepy! They would take the dead body, dress it up to look as lifelike as possible, pose it (usually in some semblance of an “action pose”), and then take a photo. Photos then are nothing like digital photos now, so it would take a long time to take… though they didn’t have to worry about their subject moving and causing a blur… most of the time.
After chatting with my friends and getting a bit snarky, the idea for Eunice and her work as a modern daguerreotype architect was born. It started as an elaborate joke piece mostly to try and prove that the word was awesome, but it turned into Corpse Artiste!
2) The setting sounds like a blast. What kind of research did you have to do to get all the details just right? I mean, hanging out in a mortuary isn’t something most people do. Perhaps this is morbid, but I WISH I had taken the time to scope out a real mortuary! I have always found that type of work fascinating and thought it would be one of the least desirable places to be when you’re trying to fit in during high school. The research was a lot of time scoping out Google Images and reading articles and real life accounts of morticians. A colleague connected me with her friend who worked in the business and I was able to develop a basic understanding of some of the work. You’ll note I focus on the make-up… not the science! I didn’t want to get too technical, but just enough to come across as true to the work they do. I did take some liberties for the sake of the story, so I don’t want anyone to assume that the “cremation station” comes standard in every funeral home!
3) I absolutely adore your main character’s name. How did you settle on Eunice? It’s so old-fashionedly hip! It started off as a joke! I tried to think of a really uncommon name that is out of fashion and is seen in a much older generation. It was really an in-joke for myself, but I liked the idea of my Eunice having deceased (very old) Eunices coming across her make-up table. Since her family is in the funeral business, I had this made up story that her father’s first funeral he did himself was for a lady named Eunice and he decided to name his daughter after her. Kind of creepy, right?
4) Based on the description, the book sounds like it has a fair amount of comedy in it. Do you find that writing comedy comes naturally to you? I think so! I am the sort of person who really struggles when something is serious. The struggle comes in my inability to keep it serious- I am always thinking of something to try and lighten the mood. Comedy is tragedy plus time, and I find that it takes me very little time to try and see the humor in something and I think that is reflected in all of my writing. As for being funny myself- I know my dad would say that, at the very least, I look funny! Gotta love those dad jokes…
5) Is CORPSE ARTISTE the first in a series? Because I have a feeling these characters are going to become huge fan favorites. Maybe? I haven’t ruled out the idea of a sequel, but I would want to settle on a really good story. One thing I don’t think there is enough of in YA Lit is older lit… like freshmen in college. Since my primary day job is working directly with college students, I think I could see something playing out for Eunice and company when she goes off to college. Perhaps something Halloween themed this time around?
6) I love that cover SO much. Who designed it? The cover artist(e) is LaSquizzie. The cover is just the perfect combo for this book and definitely has the Scooby Doo vibe I was going for. Look closely and you’ll notice some alignment with those famous characters…
7) I see based on your Twitter profile you’re a fan of the Oxford comma (I mean, who’s not), but please give our readers your best argument for using it. In my day job, I teach writing. My favorite example comes from strippers! I love to show this image when I am teaching my college freshmen about commas. They are always so surprised to hear this silly example, and I hope the oxford comma idea sticks because of it!
8) You’re a mom of small children. Any advice on balancing Mommy time with writing time? Audiobooks. Any good writer knows that in order to become a better writer, you have to read. Carving out time to read is a huge challenge when you have other things to think about- laundry, dishes, daycare drop off and pick-up… So I am an avid audiobooker whenever I am doing something that doesn’t require full critical thinking. From there, I find that I am able to draw inspiration for writing and make sure that I have dedicated writing time. For me, that is keeping a notebook next to my bed and being sure the last thing I do every night is write at least one sentence. Handwriting takes longer than typing, but by committing to writing at least one sentence per day in the notebook, I am finding I write more that way than I ever have on the computer. I promised myself to write every day back on November 1, 2019 and haven’t missed a day yet. Sure- several days where I spew out a 3 word sentence and that is it, but 3 words is better than 0!
9) Instagram tells me you dove head-first into the quarantine baking experiment. How did that go? I have always loved spending time in the kitchen. One of my favorite hobbies is meal planning and reading cookbooks. With quarantine, I opted to focus more on some of the more savory options so that I didn’t gain the covid-15 (that’s a thing, right?). I inherited a sweet tooth from my mother and have passed it down to my daughters. We made a couple of batches of Oatmeal Choco-Scotchies (Oatmeal cookies with butterscotch and chocolate chips) and 6 dozen of those cookies are gone in two days in my house. To avoid this temptation, I, like many others out there, made some sourdough. All good sourdough starters should have a name! The one my daughter and I have kept alive so far is named Jean-RalphiDOUGH in honor of the greatest TV show of all time- Parks and Rec. Unlike Jean-Ralphio in the show, Jean-RalphiDOUGH has matured nicely and makes a killer loaf of bread. Next on the baking list is figuring out something else to do with sourdough starter that isn’t bread. I have a lot of good ideas and am looking forward to the colder weather to make more savory goodness. Any suggestions?
10) So what’s next from you? I have this bad habit of “double booking” myself, in the sense that I work on two projects simultaneously. I think the project I am most serious about right now is a project I started back in 2015 called “The Night Virus.” It was inspired by the board game “Pandemic” and is just too fitting for the world we’re in right now. It is about a group of teens who get locked in the children’s section of the library while everyone else on their island community is infected with “The Night Virus,” a virus that causes anterograde amnesia and evening rage. They have no way of communicating with the outside world apart from the few open children’s websites on the ancient library computer. They have to figure out a way to save themselves and their whole town before the “Night Virus” consumes them all.
Author Selina Marcille
About the Author Selina Marcille has been getting lost in books since before she could read. It was in 7th grade when an unsuspecting language arts teacher told her that she was a good writer. This bit of encouragement was all she needed to start putting her own adventures to the page.
She currently lives in New Hampshire with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. She teaches writing and listens to audiobooks to an almost obsessive degree and tears out more magazine recipes than she’d ever be able to create.
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Caity Schmidt, author of HUNTERS and ALLIES, the first two books in the fantasy series, The Wanderers’ War. See below for information on the books, buy links, my exclusive interview with the author, and links to add them to your Goodreads TBR.
HUNTERS (The Wanderers’ War Series #1) by Caity Schmidt
Synopsis All Jac Torres wants is to get back to Braora — to the world where she had magic in her hands and purpose in her heart. She wants to be back in a world that was just and good.She wants to go home.Despite what she wants, Jac has accepted that she invented it all during a psychotic break as a pre-teen.
Miserable for the last decade, she welcomes the meds that keep her from thinking about Braora and allows her to ignore the tingle of remembered magic in her veins. She checks off boxes and counts down to the day she can escape from the reminders of the mental illness that has plagued her.
Now, if only her new therapist would stop demanding she talk about what never happened, she could stop fantasizing about breaking probation……And his nose.When Jac finally faces a choice between certain misery on Earth and a possible happiness searching for a home that may not exist, hope has to be enough.
ALLIES (The Wanderers’ War Series #2) by Caity Schmidt
Synopsis No one can accuse Finn of being a coward, only an idiot.
He wakes to the comfort of a Peregrine healer at his bedside, but that relief is short-lived. His exile stands, the Order holds him responsible for the threat of the Hunters, and he’s all alone. In fact, his last ally stabbed him. For some reason, Finn is still fool enough to want to help her…If he can find her.
But Jac has no intention of being found.Still searching for the only place that feels like home, Jac continues to jump through Gates and chase the dream of returning to Braora. Until she finds it, she refuses to think about what happened or what she did. She refuses to let anyone get close, because wanting someone to be good doesn’t make it so.
That might change when Jac stumbles into a new traveling companion: an ally who could prove her theory wrong. Did she find someone she can trust, someone who could give her purpose and someone who could help her find her home?
Hope is tenacious, and Braora is within reach, assuming she can survive the growing conflict between the Peregrines and the Hunters, and if Finn doesn’t find her first.
1) The Wanders’ War sounds like exactly my type of book. Book 1, HUNTERS, launches the reader into this world. Does ALLIES pick up where HUNTERS left off, or can the books be read out of order? Allies picks up almost immediately after the close of Hunters, which is for the best considering how Hunters ends. I’m sure someone will read them out of order, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
2) What is something about this fantastical world you created you want readers to know, but isn’t in either book’s blurb? Well, since I write from a limited pov, and no one on the Map actually knows this, I’ll never manage to include it anywhere else. The ability to travel between worlds is a genetic mutation that can be picked up if a pregnant person gets close to, or passes through a gate during a certain period of the pregnancy. So a lot of worlds believe that it’s passed down by a mother, and the data gets close to that, but it isn’t quite right. Jac’s mother, for instance, can’t leave Earth, but while she was pregnant with Jac, she went for a walk and passed by a gate. There’s also a bit of randomization involved. Not everyone that lives in the Gate region of a Core World is a wanderer after all, but it’s much, much more likely.
3) Give us a one-sentence description of your main characters beyond what’s in the books’ blurbs. Jac Torres lost everything and will crawl through glass to get a scrap of it back.
Finn Kersaht lost everything and won’t admit it’s gone.
4) It looks like HUNTERS is our debut novel. How long did this story marinate in your imagination before you got it all down on paper? I’ve joked before that Jac strolled up, fully formed, in the back of my head. She was the shadowy stranger in the corner of a tavern, and glared until I started writing down the story she told me. I wish it all came that easily, but it took about two and a half years before I understood the universe, the magic, and the characters well enough to send it into the world. Thankfully, my kid brother helped me out by poking holes in the logic of everything so I could create something that held water.
5) If the series was being turned into a TV show, who would you want to play your lead characters? Jade Hassouné has been my face claim for Finn for years now, mostly because he has the smirk, but Riz Ahmed would also be fantastic. For Jac, I changed my answer recently! I’m watching Lovecraft Country, and near the climax of the first episode, I realized that Journee Smollet would be perfect for Jac; her energy and her intensity are amazing. I’m a big fan of casting roles to keep my mental image consistent, so Javica Leslie and Chris Evans are also on the pin board, for Fasavi and Kalrah.
6) Switching gears a bit, 2020 has been tough on everyone, but living in So. Cal. has had its own challenges. How are you coping with the fires up there? LA’s air quality has been much better than it is up north, and I’m grateful for that, since I already have a cough from this. Where I am is safe right now, but I did refill my gas tank, and bought extra gallons of water, just in case. I’ve lived in a couple places that had a fire season, and it makes it really hard to brush aside climate change. You see the proof of it constantly, and you know that turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth isn’t enough to get ahead of the problem. This year is particularly bad, and to be frank, it’s making me a bit of a radical.
7) Scrolling through your Twitter feed, I see you’re just as devastated as I am by the loss of Notorious RBG. She meant everything to me, beyond just what she means to a semi-balanced court. I’ve read her book MY OWN WORDS and it forever changed my views of her, for the better, if that was even possible. Can you give us a few words that capture how you feel about losing this American icon? RBG did so much for women’s rights in this country that it’s hard for me to grasp that it’s one person’s legacy. She seems impossible. She quite literally changed the lives of every American. She did so much, and she did it so well, that I didn’t know until a few years ago that it had happened in the last few decades. As I’ve fought for respect and a place at the table, I was working on a foundation she made; one that was so sturdy it didn’t occur to me how recently it was poured. I know there’s work to be done still, especially in intersectional feminism, but when I saw the news, my reaction, overwhelmingly, was that honoring her legacy meant fighting every bit as hard as she did, to preserve and expand on what she gave us.
8) I also see you’re an artist. Please tell us more! What medium do you like to work with most? Where can we see some of your art? I got my degree in theatrical design and scene painting; when I can, my medium is latex paint by the gallon. I’ve been a designer in themed entertainment for the last few years though (museums, vip lounges, etc), which means I now live and die in digital modelling and rendering. I’ve got some of my art on Instagram, including world art for the books, some designs from other people’s books, but for the most part seeing my art means going to one of the venues, and those are all across the country.
9) Back to the Wanders’ War. Will there be more books in the series? If so, when can we expect to get our hands on Book 3? Assuming the kaiju don’t arrive in December to round out this hellacious year, Book three will be out in late 2021. The whole series has been outlined since last year, to hopefully avoid the car crash so many series seem to hit in their finales. Book three has a couple of moments I’m downright giddy about writing, but four – which will be the last of the series – will let me pull together all the threads I’ve laid down, and that’s my favorite part of writing.
10) What’s next from Caity Schmidt beyond this series? I have a standalone book within the universe of The Wanderers’ War that’s simmering, and an urban fantasy story which I’ve only seen in flashes. Outside of writing, my industry took it on the jaw from Covid, so my future is pretty much wide open. Ideally, I’d find something in political advocacy or awareness, but I don’t know where I’m going.
Author Caity Schmidt
About the Author As a kid, Caity Schmidt told people she was going to be an artist and was immediately asked what her ‘real job’ would be. It had to be true, that being an artist wasn’t a real job, because adults said it. She then started writing, which prompted the exact same question. To spite those people, she decided to do both.
Caity went to school for theater and took classes in drawing and painting and writing. She then graduated, looked at the economy and immediately decided to take more classes. She followed her education with a career in themed entertainment design, which has turned her casual enjoyment of storytelling into a passion. In particular, she’s fascinated by — and susceptible to — the human need to reach out and pluck a chord that will resonate with others.
When Caity writes, she pulls inspiration from classic novels, niche stories, transformative works, Greek dramas, stage plays, history, and most especially from the surreal millennial experience of coping with a world that has broken every promise. Rather than re-examining the problems of the world in reality, she looks for their brighter reflections in fantasy and fiction, where swords and magic make them more palatable. Dissatisfied with stories that ignore or gloss over mental illness and trauma, Caity explores the realities and pain they cause, paying special attention to the messy road recovery follows. Her themes of home and a sense of place are influenced by the journey she’s taken in her own life, and what she’s lost.
Caity currently lives in Los Angeles at her 18th address, in her eighth state, despite not being a military brat — just unlucky. There she can be found complaining about the lack of weather, sleeping late, baking, futilely attempting to grow something beyond petunias, and drinking what her friends tell her is an unnecessary volume of coffee. She strongly disagrees.
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Elzabeth A. Seibert, author of THE BRO CODE, a young adult contemporary romance. See below for information on the book, buy links, my exclusive interview with the author, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
Synopsis As a certified stand-up bro, Nick Maguire knows that some things in life are sacred: Do not skip ab workouts. Never back down from spicy foods. And always accept the outcome of Rock, Paper, Scissors. For these are the revered doctrines of The Bro Code, rules of conduct that have been passed down through the ages from bro to bro.
Heading into his senior year, Cassidy High’s star soccer player has his priorities straight and intends to spend his time playing sports, hanging out, and living by the code. But when his best bro Carter’s sister Eliza returns from studying overseas, the awkward, academic girl Nick remembers is different.
Carter might be Nick’s bro, but Eliza becomes his whole world—and he has to make a choice between them. Is being with the girl of your dreams worth breaking the most important rule: never date your best friend’s sister? Somehow, Nick never expected that following The Bro Code may have even bigger consequences than breaking it.
Q. So beyond the blurb, tell us something about THE BRO CODE that would entice a reluctant reader. A. The story is a romantic comedy with deeper social commentary, and also includes a cupcake business, lots of pizza, and cute soccer players.
Q. What about these two characters will hit home with readers? A. Nick and Eliza both love prank wars. They also have a deep understanding of each other and can communicate with each other in ways that they can’t with the other characters.
Q. If you were going to compare your book to another author’s, as in if you like ___, you’ll love THE BRO CODE, what would that be?
A. If you love To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han you’ll love The Bro Code. I hope.
Q. Without giving anything away, what is something you hope readers take away from the book?
A. The message of the story is that rules are made to be broken, but that also means that social norms are meant to be broken. Males and females shouldn’t be forced into social roles based on their gender, which can happen even as teenagers. This book explores that.
Q: You first drafted THE BRO CODE back in 2012. It’s now eight years later and you’re publishing on September 22. What did THAT revision process look like? A. It was long! I had to add about 30k words, and I also wanted to update it to hold up after the #MeToo Movement in 2018. Many of the characters have totally different roles and the second half of the story is completely rewritten. So if you read this book and read the original story on Wattpad, you will read two different stories that happen to have the same characters, kind of like fanfiction.
Q. You’ve had an interesting education and I’m super jealous. How does one go about inventing their own major?
A. Haha I got my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where they have a program called the “Bachelor’s Degree with an Individual Concentration.” This is basically for students who have interdisciplinary interests or are already double or triple majoring, which I was (economics, psychology, and communications). I was able to combine the requirements for these majors that I saw value in and genuinely wanted to learn, to create a degree called Behavioral Economics and Media Writing. (Which is a fancy name for studying peoples’ behaviors, learning how to quantify it, and knowing how to write about the results in a variety of media.)
I initially thought I wanted to use this degree for marketing, which I did for a few years, but it has also come in handy with writing characters and being able to synthesize interdisciplinary ideas into my stories.
Q. I want to know more about NO CAPES. What can you tell me about this superhero novel?
A. I know we’re not supposed to pick favorite stories, but NO CAPES is definitely vying for that place in my heart. It is another YA novel, but it is a mystery/adventure where the main character, Madeline Roberts, begins working with a supervillain to save her city. It’s a fun story because instead of having to figure out who the main “bad guy” really is, the readers have to figure out who the real heroes are. I also invented new superheroes.
Q. I saw you visited my fine city of San Diego last year. What was your favorite thing you did while here? A. Oh yes! I loved San Diego, am definitely going to miss it this winter. I especially loved kayaking in La Jolla cove. I’m envious of the people who live there year-round.
Q. As a superhero fan, I have to ask, have you ever been to Comic-Con?
A. Unfortunately I have not! It’s on my bucket list, however.
Q. What else would you like us to know about your books and yourself?
A. My favorite part of writing is discussing stories (mine or otherwise) with other writers and readers. I invite you all to share your stories with me as well!
Q. What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
A. I am a triplet I have two sisters who are the same age as me (and no we are not identical).
Author Elizabeth A. Seibert
About the Author Elizabeth A. Seibert has been an author, sunscreen-obsessed lifeguard, barbecue-loving waitress, finance reporter, nine-to-five marketer, and aspiring superhero. Her stories on Wattpad have amassed over thirty million reads, and she’s been featured in Imagines: Celebrity Encounters Starring You (Simon & Schuster).
Elizabeth attended the University of Massachusetts Amerst and currently lives in Massachusetts, USA, where she attends Harvard University. Elizabeth loves to cook and play board games and ultimate frisbee. The Bro Code is her debut novel.
Contemporary romance author Elle Greco is joined by her fellow romance authors to talk about writing all the naughty bits in her brand new podcast, STEAM SCENES, launching on September 22! See below for all the details.
STEAM SCENES Podcast
About the Podcast Title: STEAM SCENES Host: Elle Greco Release Date: September 22, 2020
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Website | Apple | Stitcher | Spotify
Synopsis In each episode, Elle will be joined by a fellow romance writer to talk about all things steamy scenes – what makes a good one, what it’s like to write one, where to find inspiration, and even some of their favorite ones in literature. Get ready to look at your favorite steamy scenes in a whole new way!
Upcoming Episodes September 22 – Alex Rosa September 29 – Sara Whitney October 6 – Samantha Chase October 13 – LB Alexander
Author Elle Greco
About the Host I write fiction about badass women (and the people they love).
Urban Fantasy lovers will know me as Karen Greco, author of the best-selling Hell’s Belle series. My Contemporary Romance books are written under Elle Greco. While the genres are worlds apart, strong female characters are the chain that links all my worlds. These women are magical. They wield wicked weapons. They play a mean drum solo. They fall in love. They rule the boardroom and the bedroom. Whatever they do, they do it with swagger.
My storytelling career began when I forced everyone play “make believe” with me when I was a kid. That eventually morphed into banging out short stories on my mom’s old manual typewriter. As I got older, I graduated to penning bad poetry, then not terrible plays as a teenager. I studied playwright in college but my career took a detour and I ended up working in journalism and then entertainment publicity, which kept me busy for 20 or so years.
My “day job” has taken me from gritty rock clubs in The Bowery to glam red carpets during movie premieres and awards shows. My background working with talent (and the suits) in the industry has served me well with the LA Rock Star Romance series. A few years ago, I decided to pursue my original passion and a few full-length novels later, here we are. I love anything spooky and impossible to explain. If you love hanging out in cemeteries, the older the better, I’d totally go on a road trip with you. I have two rescue dogs, a patient husband, and an awesome kid.
Welcome to the blog tour for KEEP FOREVER, a standalone adult historical romance/women’s fiction, by award-winning author, Alexa Kingaard. See below for information on the book, buy links, my exclusive interview with the author, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis “Unlike some war stories that focus on intense, harsh and graphic depictions of post-combat trauma, this tale unfolds gently, like an Edna Ferber novel, spread across many decades, detailing the impact this soldier’s illness has on an entire family, including children and grandchildren. KEEP FOREVER is a wonderful, emotionally satisfying read that I highly recommend. ” GARY SEIGEL, author of “Haskell Himself”
Paul O’Brien’s idyllic childhood in Southern California comes to a halt when his mother dies in the summer before his senior year of high school and a very different persona of his father emerges – isolating himself inside the house, turning to alcohol for comfort, and barely noticing his only child. Simultaneously, the war in Vietnam is sending shock waves around the world and young men from one coast to the other are being called upon to serve. Paul enlists in the Marines before receiving his draft notice.
Elizabeth Sutton is eager to gain some independence from her father’s old fashioned notions and looking forward to her first year in high school. At fifteen years old, tragedy strikes with the loss of both parents in an auto accident, turning her childhood into one of responsibility and worry overnight. The four siblings are scattered when her nine-year-old twin sisters are sent to live with their Aunt and Uncle on Nantucket Island, and Elizabeth is left behind in Boston with their grandmother. Her older brother, Sam, enlists in the Marines, eager to join the conflict a world away as opposed to dealing with the one unfolding at home.
A bond develops between Paul and Sam in Vietnam, and both are injured in a bloody battle that costs Sam his right hand and sets the stage for a lifetime of nightmares and sleepless nights for Paul. Matched by similar tragedies at a young age, Elizabeth and Paul’s first introduction by Sam upon their return from Vietnam is the beginning of friendship and love that survives five decades.
After marrying, welcoming their first child, and inheriting a small beach house, the couple adapts to their new surroundings, but distant memories of Vietnam continue to haunt Paul. In an era when veterans refuse to speak of their pain and the government denies that thousands of soldiers are coming home irreparably damaged, he is left to deal with the challenge of caring for his loved ones amidst his his erratic flashback episodes and moods. As their lives unravel from the lingering effects of PTSD, Elizabeth learns to accept the burden that Paul brought home, and together they make their own memories to keep forever.
Inspired By A True Story
Q: I see that KEEP FOREVER is inspired by a true story. Can you tell us a little more about that?
A: Anyone who was a teenager in the 60s’ and 70s’ has Vietnam firmly embedded in their history. It’s the story of my generation, and many of my girlfriends married veterans either right out of high school or when the men returned. Women were a part of this war, mostly as nurses and unsung heroines, but it was mostly a war fought by middle and lower class males, those who were not college bound or who were unable to get a deferment. As with every conflict, combat veterans bring home mental and physical burdens, but none were vilified like the young men and women who fought in Vietnam.
It stained their psyches, and many passed it down to their children – the second generation suffering the effects of this conflict. Wives were kept in the dark, the VA was not established until the late 80s’, and PTSD didn’t have a name. Aftercare was minimal, and many kept their unseen wounds bottled up for decades. I fell in love with a Vietnam veteran in 1969, nine months after he came home. This guy, and many like him, were just kids. Surfing and attending community college one day, picking up a machine gun and participating in a bloody fight for their lives the next. We married almost a decade later, had two children, and divorced after eleven years. But there was always that link that never faded, and a lot of guilt that I carried because I didn’t have the insight to deal with or understand PTSD at the time.
Q: What inspired you to tell this story now?
A: September 27, 2011, my veteran and I had become close again and spent almost all our free time together. His health was failing, he suffered from depression, but not lately, and on this day, he was on the top of his game. We were returning from a coffee date in the Village about a mile away from home. I was the driver – I always drove – and as I waited at the bottom of the hill to make a left turn a half a block away from the house, we were rear-ended by a large vehicle, twice as heavy as mine, going 50 miles an hour. Physically, we were not hurt. My car sustained $6,000 worth of damage, and the impact and collision triggered a PTSD episode in my veteran. Seventeen days later, October 13th, he committed suicide.
Q: What kind of research did you have to do to get all the historical details right?
A: I lived through most of it. People who know me recognize what is true, and what is embellished, but when I sat down to write, I didn’t have to think very hard. It was effortless, even though the first edition may not have been very polished. I was 68 years old and never published, never thought about writing a novel – ever. But shortly after my veteran died, I joined a Veteran’s Writing Group that welcomed me as the collateral damage that was never discussed. Most were Vietnam veterans, and I was a fly on the wall for five years. I was also a mess, but little by little, the story evolved in my head. Every month I listened to stories these men shared, never with their wives and families, and sometimes it felt like they forgot I was even there. Their memories were raw and gut-wrenching, fifty years after they returned. I was compelled, I had to tell this story. It is my mea culpa and tribute to my veteran, and every other service member who fought and was affected for a lifetime by this war.
Q: How do you think this story differs from one that would be told about PTSD today?
A: Thanks to the Vietnam veterans who fought for decades for better care, the younger veterans have a more stream-lined manner in which to apply for benefits. Even though they may need to wait 12-18 months for approval of an application, Vietnam veterans are literally falling apart, and are still getting denied in record numbers. I am grateful that as of five years ago, the Vietnam veteran now has their own day set aside for them, March 29th. But it took fifty years. Today, we also have wonderful non-profits, like the Gary Sinise Foundation, who have brought the struggles of our returning military into the light. But PTSD is the same in every war, just different settings and conflict. It is still a struggle for families and loved ones to watch and understand what their veteran is going through on a daily basis.
Q: What is the most important thing that you want readers to take away from KEEP FOREVER?
A: That the burden brought home is shared by everyone, from family members to government entities. Even if a veteran physically survives, it alters their entire life once they have seen combat. I can’t even imagine, even though I am closer than most to the reality that accompanies a veteran home.
Q: If you had to pick a theme song for the book, what would it be?
A: That was an easy one.. ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ by Paul McCartney.
Q: What are you working on now? And what stage are you in?
A: I write a newsletter every month for my website subscribers, but throughout the quarantine, I have been keeping a journal. The situation and my thoughts change daily, sometimes hourly, and some of my friends suggested I share my unique experience with my readers. I tend to think that we are all in the middle of our own unique experiences, but I started to publish my thoughts every week, blog-style, on my website.
I have also written the first twelve chapters of my third novel, MIRACLE. Don’t hold me to the title, it could change. I’m not sure where these little nuggets of inspiration come from, but after KEEP FOREVER and MY NAME IS ROSE, I noticed that I like writing about nostalgia. I also write about characters that are normal and ordinary, faced with difficult and extraordinary circumstances. It’s the human condition that moves my stories forward.
Q: Switching gears, how are you coping with being quarantined? I see from your Instagram account that you are not riding it out at home. Has that impacted your ability to write?
A: Thank you for noticing! What had started as an extended visit to Oahu to assist my niece and her family with their relocation from the East Coast, has turned into lock-down situation from the first week. Schools were closed almost immediately, resorts and tourist attractions were shuttered, coffee shops and restaurants closed, and all the tourists were sent home. Flights in and out are being closing monitored and if an individual does not have a place to stay when they arrive, either with family or friends, perhaps an Air B&B, they are being given a free, one-way ticket back to where they came from. These strict measures are keeping the number of confirmed cases fairly manageable, but I have now been in total quarantine for over four weeks with my niece, her husband, their daughter , and a German Shepherd. Nothing but walks, but I can’t complain about the weather.
It’s not been easy keeping a kindergartener entertained, but overall, I think my family unit has risen to the occasion and we are doing our part to remain healthy. My stay has been extended to whenever, and I’m anxious to get home to Southern California, but my circumstances are far better than many. As far as writing, I’m more determined than ever to complete the first draft of MIRACLE, whether I decide to publish it or not. I can write almost anywhere, alone or in the midst of others – but I need to be productive. I need to have something tangible to show for my weeks of no excuses that I didn’t have enough time to write or be creative. I’m limping along on a refurbished iPad and my phone, sometimes long-hand, but I’m moving quickly. The whole story is in my head, just have to get it typed out on paper.
Q: Have you seen the meme about picking a house to live in during quarantine? A lot of them are going around, but I’m going to give you a unique one. Pick a house from the list below and tell us why you chose it.
House 1: JK Rowling Ruth Bader Ginsberg Kanye West Jon Stewart
House 2: Stephen King George W. Bush Britney Spears Samantha Bee
House 3: Janet Evanovich Michelle Obama Tom Cruise Jimmy Fallon
House 4: Paulo Coelho Colin Powell Miley Cyrus Ellen DeGeneres
Of course, there are one or two in every house that don’t make my short list of people to socialize with, but the most well-rounded one to me would be House #1. The wisdom of Ruth, the sharp and intelligent humor of Jon, and the persistent, never-give-up attitude of JK would make for an interesting household.
Author Alexa Kingaard
About the Author ALEXA KINGAARD, a California native, currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of a son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders.
October 13, 2011, was the day that changed her life forever when her ex-husband, a Vietnam veteran, took his life during a PTSD flashback episode. Inspired to share this tragedy that continues to rob husbands and wives of their spouses, children of their parents, mothers of their children, brothers and sisters of their siblings, and comrades of their friends, Kingaard relied on her own experiences to shed light on this crisis. The burden brought home is not partial to Vietnam, but is an insidious aftershock endured by combat veterans of all conflicts.
Kingaard continues to pursue her literary career, writing about nostalgia and the human condition, the common denominator of our lives.
Welcome to the book blitz for UNEXPECTED COMMANDER, the third book in the adult science fiction romance series, Unexpected, by Layla Stone. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive interview, and details on her giveaway.
UNEXPECTED COMMANDER (Unexpected #3) by Layla Stone
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: UNEXPECTEDCOMMANDER Series: Unexpected #3 Author: Layla Stone Release Date: June 24, 2019
Genre: Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis She’s shy and timid. He’s unsocial and arrogant.
Yon’s past hardened him to the point that he speaks the raw truth without thinking about the consequences. He’s always been that way, but if he’s not careful he’s going lose more than the sweetest female he’s ever known, he’s going to lose a potential mate.
Yelena’s past conditioned her to be obedient and silent. She’s always been a loner, but when she meets Yon in the cages of Brica, she’s drawn to him and his strength. If only he’d notice she’s not as weak as he thinks she is.
Yelena has a chance to help find the Numan who turned her skin luminescent. During the mission something goes wrong and she has to rely on Yon once more… or is it Yon who has to rely on her?
Author Interview: Q: Are there any secrets from the book, you can share with your readers?
A: I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I will suggest to pay attention to Ansel in this one.
Q: Can you share a snippet that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?
A: “Are you always like this?”
Yon placed her on the bed, took a pillow, and handed it to her. “Keep the foot elevated. And, no, I’m not always like this.”
She held up her hand, hoping he wouldn’t leave her yet. She wanted to understand him better. “And when you say, ‘not always like this,’ do you mean you don’t knock people unconscious a lot?”
His head tilted slightly. “No, I meant I don’t usually come down to the planets I hate just to find a specific female and bring her back safely.”
It took a half-second longer than it should have for her to process that. “You came for me?”
“You shouldn’t have been down here in the first place.”
Yelena didn’t know what to say to that.
“Good thing you didn’t like Lotus Adaamas, because it was the last time you’re going to see it.” Yon was still holding out the pillow. His tone didn’t sound angry, more matter-of-fact.
She took the pillow and said, “Is it because of my skin? Or because of something else?”
“All of that and more.”
“What else could there be?”
“I will write you a list.”
Q: Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
A: I’ve meet males like the hero before and I’ve always wanted to see him with a happily ever after, but more often than not, he can’t soften enough to be in a relationship.
Q: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
A: I hope they are interested in the next book, to be honest.
Q: Can you give us some insight into what makes the hero tick?
A: He’s got a chip on his shoulder a thousand miles high, brought on by upbringing
Q: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
A: It was hard to soften the hero enough to make him a character my readers would enjoy instead of hate. I re-wrote this book three times just to get the romance right.
Q: What was the highlight of writing this book?
A: My favorite part of writing is sending 2-3 chapters to my beta reader and getting her thoughts via marco-polo app.
Welcome to the book blitz for WINTER’S HEIST, a standalone adult romantic suspense, by Emily Duvall. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive interview, and details on her giveaway.
WINTER’S HEIST by Emily Duvall
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: WINTER’S HEIST Author: Emily Duvall Release Date: December 6, 2018 Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Beautiful. Haunting. Rare. The Fabergé Eggs are on display at the Carter Museum of History and Science. Jason Hood, the museum’s pretentious owner, knows their value is bound to attract attention, but the coordinated attack on the exhibit is not something he saw coming. A field trip to the museum for Amara Massey and her students takes a deadly turn. She finds herself at the center of a police investigation with few leads. Convinced Amara is withholding information, Jason pursues her to get the answers he cannot get on his own. The outcome neither of them expect is their surprising need for each other. What must they sacrifice to get everything they want?
Interview Q: What is the first book that made you cry? A: Not the first book, but a scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Harry witnesses Cedric’s death-I think I was just riding on the emotion of the series and then when that scene hit, I just started to cry. The dialogue and actions were beautifully written.
Q: What are some traps aspiring writers should avoid? A: It is important for writers to create the story they want to write. I’ve made the mistake of letting people review manuscripts too early, and then making every little change. Feedback is extremely valuable, but there is a time and a place for incorporating suggestions and building confidence for what must stay and what should go. A writer can lose valuable writing time changing every detail based on each suggestion. Bottom line? Trust your vision.
Q: Have you ever gotten reader’s block? A: Big yes. I was just telling a friend that I’ve been in a reading slump the last few months. I think it’s because I see the story from a writer’s POV now or maybe because there are so many choices for books in every genre, that it can feel overwhelming with what to pick and what to read.
Q: As a writer, what would you choose as your avatar or spirit animal? A: Big Foot. It reminds me of Indie Authors. We’re out there and we’re writing and publishing even if you can’t see us.
Q: What’s the best way to market your books? A: Word-of-mouth is still the most powerful tool, but with social media, I like engaging in readers that I follow on Instagram or Twitter and asking them to beta read. If they like the story, they’ll do these amazing posts with the cover of the book and reach far more readers than I can do on my own.
Q: Do you view writing as a spiritual practice. A: Yes. The heart has so much to say.
Q: How do you select the names of your characters? A: I look up names on baby naming websites. They’re all there with rankings and popularity. Mostly though, I just look to see if a name catches my attention.
Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? A: Yes, there’s always the occasional inside joke or word choice that is based on someone I know. Whether they pick up on it, I can’t say 😉
Q: What is your favorite childhood book? A: Nothing’s Fair in the Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements
Q: Do you believe in writer’s block? A: Absolutely. I was at a writing retreat a few years ago and Sylvia Day was the guest speaker. She said that writer’s block means that something is wrong with your story and that point resonated. Now instead of wasting time trying to move forward if I’m stuck, I go back and re-read the chapters before, and that usually unlocks the problem and the solution.
Author Emily Duvall
About the Author Emily loved reading books as a young girl and filled up her journals with characters (both real and not). Romance is her favorite genre to write. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. She loves hearing from fans and readers.
Welcome to the blog tour for THE DEVIL’S STANDOFF, the second book in the young adult historical dark fantasy series, The Devil’s Revolver, by V.S. McGrath. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive interview with the author, and details on her giveaway.
THE DEVIL’S STANDOFF (The Devil’s Revolver #2) by V.S. McGrath
Synopsis Welcome to the birthplace of the Devil’s Revolver, where untold danger lurks for Hettie Alabama and her companions…
The second book in the epic, magic-clad Devil’s Revolver series follows Hettie and her sister south of the Wall into Mexico, where they must unmake Hettie’s infernal mage gun while confronting a magic- and land-hungry army and a monster from hell drawn to the powers of the weapon. Hettie wants nothing more than to break her bond to the cursed Devil’s Revolver and find a way to keep her sister safe — but Abby’s indigo powers are growing stronger, and in the gated, walled village where they take refuge, nothing is exactly as it seems. Pursued by the Pinkertons, left without allies or guardians, Hettie has to rely on her own grit and determination to do the right thing, no matter the cost.
This second installment of V. S. McGrath’s sweeping and high-stakes saga draws its truly unforgettable gunslinger heroine to her limits and ends with a satisfying bang..
Interview What’s your favorite thing about your main character, Hettie Alabama? Her tenacity. Most people, myself included, would have given up so many times in the book, facing the challenges she does. She won’t.
What makes Hettie Alabama different from the other heroines on the YA shelf? I don’t know that Hettie is that different from other YA heroines. She’s complex and isn’t sure where she stands on a lot of issues, which I think many characters in her age group struggle with. Hettie’s sole concern is for her sister’s well-being, and she’s willing to cross into a lot of morally gray areas to save and protect Abby without gnashing her teeth about it too much. Her willingness to jump headfirst into a situation, guns blazing, doesn’t always end in ethical introspection. She’s also not consumed by a burgeoning romantic relationship with a dark, brooding hero figure…despite herself.
Did you know you wanted this series to be about an older sister before you started writing? Yes. Hettie was a middle child, like me, but when circumstances thrust her into the role of eldest child, she had to woman up and learn to take care of her family. That was something I’d wanted to explore—not only from the perspective of a young woman during a difficult period of history, but also as a daughter whose future was uncertain, especially considering her sister’s situation.
Your series has been referred to as a “feminist western.” Did you set out to write a feminist western series, or did it end up like that on its own? Yes. I knew I wanted the main character to be a young woman, and I knew that she would have to solve her problems herself, and that men were the causes of most of those problems. Most Westerns are male-centric, and I wanted to turn that on its head, exploring the tropes of the genre through the women who are usually relegated to set dressings—madams and prostitutes, schoolteachers, farmers wives, and so forth.
What has been your favorite scene or type of scene to write so far? I relish anytime I get to take a serious character down a peg or two. Sometimes, certain characters come off way too pompously self-important, broody, or angsty. If I can insert some levity and self-reflective humor, I feel I can relate to them a bit more.
About the Author Vicki So, writing as V. S. McGrath, is a published romance author (as Vicki Essex) and has six books with Harlequin Superromance: Her Son’s Hero (July 2011); Back to the Good Fortune Diner (January 2013), which was picked for the Smart Bitches Trashy Books Sizzling Book Club; In Her Corner (March 2014); A Recipe for Reunion (March 2015); Red Carpet Arrangement (January 2016); and Matinees with Miriam (November 2016). She lives in Toronto, Canada.
Welcome to the book blitz for ASSASSIN’S SOUL, the first book in the adult paranormal romance series, The Angel Crusades, by Noella Royce. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive Q&A with the author, and details on her giveaway.
ASSASSIN’S SOUL (The Angel Crusades #1) by Noella Royce
Synopsis He’s an enigma. Seductive, dominant, dismissive, distant… and this just makes her want him more.
He’s an Adonis, all rippling muscles, magnetic charisma, and supernatural strength
And just might be a murderer
Why can’t I stay away from him?
All our lives are on the line on this mission
But the one man I can’t trust is the one I desire
Two groups, the empaths and the tattooed assassins, have joined together to attempt to wrest control of the city of Chicago from the evil demon sorcerer who invaded and took it over ten years before. Andie Oster simply wants to focus on the mission at hand and try to keep herself and her friends alive, challenges made harder by the fact that their new assassin teammates and their commander don’t seem to trust the empaths.
This is especially true of their field leader Dante, a magnetic killer with dark eyes, an insane body, and emotions locked behind a tight wall that no empath can reach. Andie is instantly drawn to Dante, and can’t stop herself from hooking up with him even when he’s dismissive, behavior she’d never put up with before in a guy.
What was it about him she couldn’t resist, and why was she sure he was more than he appeared?
And would her infatuation get them all killed, since there was a murderer in their midst, and all the clues pointed to Dante being the culprit?
Assassin’s soul is an 80k paranormal romance about inexplicable connection in high-tension situations with empaths, assassins and demons. Guaranteed HEA, no cheating and no cliffhanger, explicit sex.
Author Q&A What was your inspiration for Assassin’s Soul? This is a bit embarrassing to admit, as it’s so very silly, but the idea came to me, almost fully formed, after watching the John Hughes film “Sixteen Candles” for the first time in many a moon. I’ve always enjoyed the romance between Samantha and Jake Ryan but thought they that two year age gap would be a serious issue in keeping them together. So I had this sequel in my head where they were apart for a few years, grew up, and came back together as stronger, more mature people. (I do this to romances I enjoy, mentally write what happens next; I know I liked a story when I can’t stop following the characters in my head!).
I started to think about how that could be an original story, and somehow psychics and demon killing assassins was where my brain went. Then the idea sat for a couple of years while I changed careers and moved.
Then the story of Dante and Andie knocked on my mental door again, and from there came the creation of the whole of the Angel Crusades series.
What did you learn while writing this book, your first M/F novel length PNR romance? World-building is easy compared to getting the romance and chemistry between the main characters right! Especially when your guy barely talks and mostly glowers. That took some balance on my part.
In your world, Angels and Demons are neither inherently good or inherently evil – what led to that decision? One of the things I love most about paranormal romance is its flexibility, namely, the ability to take existing myths, fairy tales, and supernatural tropes and spin them any which way that you’d like. Angels and demons are such powerful concepts, even beyond religion; the idea of ‘demons’, creatures from the underworld who work for a diety of evil, persists in many cultures, and the idea of angels has appeal beyond their religious meaning. “She’s a little angel”, the idea of “guardian angels”, “send me an angel” (great song!) – the symbolism and appeal is undeniable, and I wanted to take the idea of these two ancient foes and make them my own.
I approached each as different cultures with diametrically opposed values and beliefs, and built out their ancient conflict from there.
And, of course, it’s super fun to figure out what pairings to do, mixes to create! I can do angel/demon, human/angel, human/demon, half-demons, half-angels – so many fun options!
What romance authors are your inspiration? I actually take inspiration from all genres, as I’m kinda a book and category magpie. But in PNR and UF I love Nalini Singh, Illona Andrews, Charlene Harris, Patricia Briggs, Stacia Kane, T.S. Joyce… So many great authors! I adore YA UF, but at the same time I’m not sure I could ever write it; I like the complications and sensuality that come with adult relationships. In the regency space I think Cat Sebastian, Eloisa James and Sarah MacLean are goddesses and amazing writers. I can love contemporary romance, but it can also frustrate the crap out of me; I find too many very well written books use a fatal stupidity or insecurity of the heroine as the dramatic engine, and this makes me want to fling it across the room. As the book is usually on my Kindle, this could get hella expensive very fast!
Author Noella Royce
About the Author Noella Royce has been writing romance casually for about a decade, but she came up with the idea for the Angel Crusades and decided to fling herself into the self-publishing world whole hog and with bells on. She loves mixing metaphors, having about ten different books in ten different genres going at any given time, sewing, reading manga, and annoying her cats and husband in equal measure.
If you’d like to keep up to date with Noella’s latest releases and what she’s up to, please check out her webpage at www.noellaroyce.com and sign up for her newsletter!
Welcome to the book blitz for A Criminal Magic, a young adult historical urban fantasy with a touch of magic, by Lee Kelly. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive Interview and details on her giveaway.
A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
About the Book Title: A Criminal Magic Author: Lee Kelly Publisher: Saga Press Release Date: February 2, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Magic/Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly’s new crossover fantasy novel.
Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.
It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.
Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.
Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.
A CRIMINAL MAGIC casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties..
Interview with Lee Kelly
1. What do you think is your lead character’s best trait? I’d say Alex’s best trait is his ability to read people – he ends up being very good at undercover work because of his sensitivity to human interactions, emotions and experiences. And Joan’s best trait is her relentless commitment and determination – to her family at the outset, and eventually, to her work within the Shaw Gang. Ironically I guess both Joan’s and Alex’s “best traits” can also be “worst traits” given the context.
2. Are there any characters in your book based on a real person? Not directly, I guess – though Harrison Gunn is actually named after my friend and old co-worker, who insisted that I name a character after him in this novel (so take the bad guy Harrison ☺)! Most of the characters in the book are my own creations or some kind of combination of multiple people: like Alex is sort of a combination of me and my husband, while Joan is a combination of me and my sister.
3. What’s something your readers would be surprised to know about you? I’m strangely superstitious, or at least I used to be. I’ve stopped most of these superstitious “rituals,” but I used to have to turn the lights off three times before leaving my apartment or I’d think I’d have a bad day, or I’d have to wear a certain pair of earrings to an interview.
4. Where is your favorite place to write? The place I always write is the office off my bedroom, so I guess that’s my default answer. But I really enjoy writing on the second floor of my town library, Millburn Library, because of the views of the woods – and I love those moments when I’m away from my everyday life and actually get in some writing time… like my parents’ kitchen table during the holidays before anyone gets up, or on vacation while my husband and kids sleep in. It feels like I’m sneaking out on a date with my characters.
5. What did you want to be when you grew up? A writer – though the answer briefly changed to archeologist after I watched the Indiana Jones trilogy.
6. What is your favorite book of all time? I’d have to say The Phantom Tollbooth. I think the books you read as a child have a way of staying with you.
7. Describe your writing style in three words. Character-driven, otherworldly thrillers.
8. What is your writing process? It’s evolved, for sure. Before City of Savages, I had a really hard time finishing anything: I was a perfectionist, and needed each chapter to read complete and final before I moved on to the next. But sadly, after the first twenty pages of a manuscript, I’d clam up and start worrying that I’d make a mistake.
Eventually, I realized that the only way to overcome the fear of imperfection was just to submit to it: my first drafts were going to be messy. So now I write “with a spit and a polish.” I’ll initially draft a passage or a chapter really quick and messy – sometimes with just sketches of ideas – and then the next day, I usually polish the previous day’s installment so it’s a little more readable. But after that quick one-two, I move forward with the story without any more second-guessing.
After I’ve completed a first draft, I step away from it completely for a couple weeks. When I begin the second draft, I let that “perfectionist” sit down at the computer. Draft two is more like rewriting than revising, but that’s okay, as writing is less scary when I have 85,000 or so words under my belt (even if they’re the wrong words). My third draft involves input from beta readers and critique partners, followed by another fairly full-scale revision.
Author Lee Kelly
About the Author Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and children in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker. She is the author of A Criminal Magic and City of Savages.
Welcome to the book blitz for The Devil’s Own Chloe the seventh book in the romantic comedy series Bistro La Bohème, by Amazon bestselling author, Alix Nichols. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive Q&A and details on her giveaway.
The Devil’s Own Chloe by Alix Nichols
About the Book Title: The Devil’s Own Chloe Series: Bistro La Bohème #7 Author: Alix Nichols Publisher: SAYN Press Release Date: May 1, 2016 Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Young Parisian architect Chloe Germain hires childhood friend Hugo Bonnet as a builder. Lethally toxic to loved ones, Chloe keeps them at arm’s length in order to protect them.
Or so she thinks.
Capable, strong and patient, Hugo prides himself on being able to fix anything. Trouble is, he’s never tried repairing a chasm in someone’s soul before.
Will his love save Chloe or will fixing her leave him broken?
IS THE BISTRO LA BOHEME SERIES FOR YOU?
The Bistro La Bohème books are romantic comedies with an edge, a good deal of spice, and heroes you won’t want to forget. In addition, each book can be read as a standalone. Hey, who says you can’t have it all? Gentle reader, don’t listen to naysayers! You absolutely can, because you’re worth it.
Q&A with Alix Nichols
Tell me about your latest book. Like the rest of the books in the Bistro La Bohème series, “The Devil’s Own Chloe” is a contemporary romance set in Paris. Albeit not as “light” as some of my other stories, it will still keep you turning the pages and make you laugh out loud every now and then.
The heroine, Chloe, is an up and coming French architect who’s great at her job, but not so good with people. An adoptee who’s seen too much loss in her childhood, Chloe is convinced she’s toxic to everyone who loves her, and so she must push them away to keep them from harm.
Are any of the characters based on specific people? The characters in this book aren’t based on any one person but rather some of the people I know, and some of the issues they’ve had to grapple with.
What inspires you to write? Quite a few things, actually. My first novel, What If It’s Love?, was inspired by a friend’s story and Marina Tsvetaeva’s love poems. Under My Skin was inspired by Sting’s 1991 ballad Mad About You. The hero of Falling for Emma—recently blinded rock star Cyril—was influenced by Al Pacino’s Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman.
The name of the bistro where all the BLB books except Winter’s Gift are set is a tribute to French chansonnier Charles Aznavour’s signature song La Bohème.
Oh, and let’s not forget the incomparable, forever-young-in-my-eyes Colin Firth a.k.a. the best and truest Mr Darcy, and my official muse.
Paris plays an important part in this book, and the entire series. Do you see it as one your recurrent characters? In many ways, yes. I adore this city, and I hope my books convey some of its magic. A few years ago, when I visited San Francisco for the first time, I had an impression I was returning to a familiar place thanks to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. My ambition is that when my readers set foot in Paris for the first time, they feel the same warm glow of recognition I experienced when I walked the streets of San Francisco, looking for 28 Barbary Lane.
What do you love about writing? How about a down side? The best part of writing a book is when your characters begin to prompt their lines, and when things you didn’t even realize you knew jump into your story straight from some secret corner of your brain.
One of the down sides is when you wake up in the morning, reread a scene you were quite pleased with last night, and you realize it’s crap.
Hemingway once said, do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Every writer knows what he meant. “There is nothing to writing. All you
Author Alix Nichols
About the Author Alix Nichols is an unapologetic caffeine addict and a longtime fan of Mr. Darcy, especially in his Colin Firth incarnation. She is a Kindle Scout and Dante Rossetti Award winning author of critically acclaimed romantic comedies.
At the age of six, she released her first rom com. It featured highly creative spelling on a dozen pages stitched together and bound in velvet paper.
Decades later, she still loves the romance genre. Her spelling has improved (somewhat), and her books have made Amazon bestseller lists, climbing as high as #1. She lives in France with her family and their almost-human dog.
**For exclusive content, giveaways and special offers, including a bonus book, subscribe to the monthly newsletter on her author website: www.alixnichols.com.**.
I’m delighted to spotlight author, Deanna Dee today. See below to her fascinating answers, plus details on her upcoming release, Finish Him, the third book in the new adult contemporary romance, Games of Love series.
Q: How would you best describe the type of books you write? Beyond the geek romance, I mean. A: Excellent question. As far as genre goes, the books are new adult age-wise. Beyond that, they’re books about kind of who I was in college. I didn’t drink a whole ton. I didn’t really party. I wasn’t your “typical college student,” I guess, and I wanted to write about the kind of people I was and that I hung out with, the odd balls, if you will. So I guess I’d call them “new adult for the college student who feels like they’re ‘doing it wrong.’” Because you aren’t “doing it wrong.”
Q: What common denominator do all of your protagonists share? A: They are outcasts. They all had a point where they didn’t feel like they belonged anywhere, which is how they found each other. They also all love to game, but that’s rather self-explanatory by their actions in the books.
Q: How do you approach character development? A: I start writing. Maybe that isn’t the usual way, but I’ve found out my characters will reveal themselves if left to their own devices. So I let the words flow and let the character voice develop as it will. Somehow, in the end, I wind up with people..
Q: If you could build your ideal writing environment, and the budget was of no concern, what would it look like? A: There would be figurines of dragons and wizards and any other mythical stuff you could find everywhere. I’d have a throne for an office chair, and I’d have some medieval-looking desk. There would be a huge window overlooking the water, and said window would have thick (possibly velvet) red curtains with gold trim. The ceiling would be vaulted. There would be torches in sconces. There would be a chandelier at the center, and the walls would be dark wood paneling. (No, I haven’t thought about this at all. Lol).
Q: What is the one thing, other than your computer (or pen and paper if you’re old school) you cannot write without? A: Quiet. I need to be able to concentrate. Occasionally, I can write in a louder environment, but I have to really be in the zone.
Q: Who is your biggest writing influence? A: That would be my dad. When I was a kid, I’d wander into the den/office he and my mother shared and say “dad, what are you doing?” He’d respond (while typing away on his typewriter), “I’m working on my book.” Somehow, that got planted in my head as a thing to do, and it’s turned into writing books for publication.
Q: If you could have lunch with one of your characters, who would you choose to sit down with and why? A: Probably Craig or Scott. Both are the kind of guys I find it easiest to relate to. Craig is the teddy bear type, and Scott is the “you don’t expect it from him” guy. Either way, that would be one awesome lunch.
Q: What’s your favorite book you’ve read so far in 2015? A: Can I cheat and say favorite series? (Well, I’m going to anyway.) So the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan, and if I had to pick a favorite from those, it would be The Royal Ranger.
Q: If for some reason you could no longer write romance, what genre would you write instead? A: Fantasy (which I do as a different name). Fantasy is actually my first love. I came up with the idea of gamer romances, and I couldn’t get rid of it. So now I do both.
Q: And lastly, pretend you’re writing fan fiction — take a character from one book, plop them down in the world of another, and use a plot from a third book – who, where, and what happens. A: Okay. I’ll take Lydia from my books, put her into Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles world, and give her the elemental powers of some wizards in Derek Landy’s Skullduggery Pleasant series. The result would be Lydia taking out the Lunar people with concentrated gusts of wind, fireballs, and waves of water. To put it shortly, she’d have way too much fun.
Finish Him (The Games of Love #3) by Deanna Dee
About the Book – On Sale for just $0.99 through November 24! Title: Finish Him Series: The Games of Love #3 Author: Deanna Dee Release Date: November 17, 2015 Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Round One, FLIRT
Sonya Black never expected a petty sibling quarrel could lead to her sister being drugged. Overcome with guilt, Sonya vows to bring the jerk to justice.
When she dives into her own investigation, she lands belly up in the company of Jaxon Nyles, the security guard who may have all the answers.
But being a detective isn’t as easy as Sonya thinks. On top of that, Jaxon always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Is he a suspect, or is he falling for her? More important, is she falling for him?
The round has begun.
Who will flirt? Who will win?
Will hearts break in the process?
Author Deanna Dee
About Deanna Dee Deanna Dee is strictly human and does not, to her knowledge, own a hyena.
She lives by the sea, which she takes full advantage of in the summer time. Nerd culture and pop culture make up the shameless downtime of her life.
The rest of it is writing, and she’s okay with that.
I’m delighted to spotlight young adult/new adult crossover author, Kayla Howarth today. I met Kayla on Goodreads when we were both looking for critique partners for our young adult dystopian series. What started out as a critique swap has turned into a nearly year-long friendship, online of course since she lives “down under”. Recently she agreed to let me pick her brain in a fun little interview. I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about this talented author.
Q: When did you get the first spark of an idea behind The Institute and what fanned those flames? A: I used to be one of THOSE people. I’d read a book, roll my eyes, and say “I could so write a book.” So, on my 29th birthday, my friend encouraged me to make a 30 before 30 list; 30 things to do in the year before I turn 30. Write a book was #1 on that list. I’ll be the first to admit that I had NO clue how much work went into a book, and it was a little overwhelming. I had a newfound respect for authors and suddenly felt bad about ripping apart books in my reviews on Goodreads.
The idea behind the story of The Institute came about from working as a courier. Being on the road a lot, my mind would always wander. The story changed numerous times and there were about a billion drafts. From Shilah being a lot younger, to Allira wielding lightning, there were many ideas that didn’t make it to the final product.
Q: Did you always set out to write a trilogy? A: When I first had the idea for The Institute, it was meant to be a single book with the possibility of a sequel. I got about halfway through book #1 when I realised it would definitely have to be two parts. I finished writing them both with no intention of making it into a trilogy until my best friend (who encouraged me to start writing in the first place) told me there is no way I could wrap the story up in an epilogue after the events of Resistance (book #2). So that’s when book #3 started to come into fruition.
Q: Did you know how the last book was going to end before you wrote the first? A: I didn’t even know there was going to be a third, so it’s pretty safe to say I had no idea how it would end. A recent review of Defective (#3) said they loved how the third book was basically an epilogue to the whole series. I hadn’t actually looked at it that way before, but I think it sums it up perfectly. The main conflict is settled by the end of book #2, and rarely do books go into the “Well, what happens now?” portion of stories or how solving their problem affects the characters’ lives many months/years later.
Q: Your characters are deep, nuanced, and far from perfect, but incredibly relatable. How do you go about character development? A: When I started writing about Allira’s story, I wanted her as real as possible (even if she lived in a world with supernatural abilities). I tried to remember back to when I was a teenager and all those emotions I felt. A lot of these emotions ended up being deleted during editing because it felt like I was trying to make Allira like me, when she was her own person – someone I wished I could’ve been as a teen. I was shy, awkward (okay, some of that made it into Allira’s story), and never stood up for myself, let alone someone I cared about.
Most of my characters write themselves, I just have to give them a little push and provide a bit of back story, but sometimes they have a mind of their own. In a current WIP (the Litmus Series – a spin off to The Institute Series), there was a character who was meant to stay in the background and not play a major part. He ended up pushing his way to the front and stealing the show, becoming a main character.
Q: Your story is set in Australia, but it could really be set anywhere. How did you go about your world building for The Institute series? A: I thought about what the world would be like if the majority of the population was wiped out by disease. TV and movies would suggest the government would fall, chaos would ensue, and everything would go to hell. Which may have happened in Allira’s world in the beginning, but her story is set 60 years after the pandemic. The government is functioning as it would in today’s society, there’s structure and rules, but not run by a dictatorship.
Being set in Australia, I wondered what it would be like to be cut off from the rest of the world – something that could very well happen being an island far away from anywhere. As a country, we may be advanced in medical innovation, but we rely on others for things like technological advances. So I assumed technology would suffer, perhaps taking a step back. I kind of focused on advancing the essentials for surviving, like food and medicine, leaving out luxuries like TV and Internet, cell phones and cars. The city and surrounding areas featured in The Institute Series were loosely based on the area I live in in South East QLD, just so I had a reference of how long it would take to travel between Allira’s home/the city/the Institute.
Q: What other genres do you see yourself dabbling in beyond young adult/new adult dystopian/scifi? Any contemporary in your future? A: I do have plans for a contemporary YA book that addresses bullying in high school. The story revolves around a nineteen-year-old girl trying to make it in the music industry, but has a lot of setbacks and self-esteem issues about her weight, stemming from years of teasing in high school – which she never finished, having left before her senior year because of the bullying. I also have plans for a husband/wife thriller where the wife is convinced her husband is trying to kill her. The idea may or may not have stemmed from a running joke I have with my husband that he is trying to kill me.
Q: Can you send me a snapshot of your writing space? What is the one thing in your space (beyond the laptop) you’d have to have if you went on a writing retreat?
A: The only thing I need to write is my laptop and access to coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
Q: If you went on a worldwide book tour, which five cities would you HAVE to hit?
A: San Francisco because it’s my favourite city in the world (editor’s note – mine too!) – I’ll always find an excuse to go back there. New York because the only time I’ve ever been there was during a snow storm (and not the exciting snow, but the type that just basically creates black ice on the pathways and roads) so it wasn’t exactly fun for me the first time. Budapest, because of random reasons – I’ve just always wanted to go there. (And okay, singing George Ezra’s song repeatedly has some appeal.) Copenhagen, because it’s on my list of places I want to go (and I’ve actually sold a whole of six books there. Lol). And Paris, because I loved Paris.
Q: Who is your biggest writing influence? A: When I started writing, I aspired to be like Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games is one of those books that I’d read and wished I could write like that (unlike those other books where I thought I could do better). I can’t even tell you why I love The Hunger Games so much, or why I haven’t found another book or series I love just as much. Perhaps it’s because THG was the first time I really got into reading since high school, so it will always be my first love.
Q: Pretend you’re writing fan fiction — pick two characters by two different authors in two wildly different genres and give us a brief overview of your setting and plot. A: Janine from Divergent meets Amy from Gone girl for a cup of coffee to brainstorm how to be successful in their manipulative ways. Janine suggests Amy use mind control to make her husband obey her, and Amy tells Janine she really has to let the mind control thing go. They have words and end up turning on each other. That’d be a pretty cool showdown to see. Janine has minions, but Amy is psycho. I wonder who would win …
The Institute (The Institute #1) by Kayla Howarth
About Book 1 Title: The Institute Series: The Institute #1 Author: Kayla Howarth Release Date: January 7, 2015 Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis Allira Daniels will do anything to keep her family safe from the Institute.
They claim to protect the Defectives, but really the Defectives are trapped and segregated.
Allira’s brother Shilah is not dangerous like everyone assumes all Defectives are.
He just sees things before they happen, and Allira knows that if anyone finds out, they will turn on the entire Daniels family. So they live by one simple rule: be invisible.
They try to blend in at school, try not to draw unnecessary attention to themselves.
But when Allira witnesses a car accident that critically injures two of her classmates, her family’s rule and her dad’s warnings are tossed aside.
Allira is quick to discover that saving Drew’s life could just be the best and worst thing she’s ever done.
The Resistance (The Institute #2) by Kayla Howarth
About Book 2 Title: Resistance Series: The Institute #2 Author: Kayla Howarth Release Date: May 14, 2015 Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis It’s what every Defective person wants – freedom, liberation from the Institute.
Allira had her chance. Then why is she still working for them?
It has been three months since she first started working as an agent for the Institute.
She’s good at her job. She has to be. There’s too much at stake.
After an arrest goes awry, she’s faced with the possibility of escaping again, and an offer too good to refuse.
Things are meant to be different at the Resistance, everything is meant to be better.
But when life is about survival, sacrifices must be made. What will Allira sacrifice for her freedom?
Defective (The Institute #3) by Kayla Howarth
About Book 3 Title: Defective Series: The Institute #3 Author: Kayla Howarth Release Date: September 1, 2015 Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Dystopian Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Eighteen months has passed since the Institute was liberated.
For Allira Daniels, she’s still trying to live with the consequences of her actions.
The Defective are free, but are their lives truly any better?
Attacks on Defectives are on the rise, and Allira has to wonder if she’s directly responsible.
Keeping busy to escape her guilt, Allira is trying to move on, but how can she when her past is always haunting her?
Author Kayla Howarth
About the Author Kayla was born and raised on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. She still resides there with her husband and son, working part time for a medical pathology lab while working on her writing.
Her love of reading and movies inspired her to start something she never dreamed possible: Writing her first novel.
When she’s not working, looking after her son, or writing, you’ll most likely find her hosting her own dance party in the kitchen while she does the dishes. (Where her husband will argue that more dancing is achieved than clean plates.)
Looking for the Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt? You’ll have to wait just a little longer. The post goes live at noon, PDT on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Stay tuned, you won’t be sorry!
Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes!
Author T.H. Hernandez
My name is T.H. Hernandez, and I’m your host for this leg of the hunt. How does the hunt work? I’m glad you asked! Follow the authors from blog to blog, gaining access to exclusive content from each author, and collecting the clues. Add up the clues, and enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team!But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
If you landed here first, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to get all the details about the hunt. There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one of them or all of them! I am a part of the PINK TEAM –but there’s also teams for RED, BLUE,GOLD,GREEN,ORANGE,TEAL, and PURPLE, each with a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
Looking for my exclusive bonus content? You’ll have to keep searching. Somewhere on a Pink Team blog is a bonus scene from The Union. All I can tell you is that it may involve a shirtless Cyrus. Before you go looking for it, check out the amazing author I’m hosting, Clara Stone.
Scavenger Hunt Puzzle
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PINK TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator).
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Scavenger Hunt Post
Author Clara Stone
Today, I am hosting Clara Stone. Clara Stone lives in the beautiful city of Boise, Idaho. Unlike what most believe about Idaho, it’s more than a sack full of potatoes. When she’s not writing, you’ll catch Clara reading YA and NA books, mostly romance, and enjoying time with her family. She is a proud CW TV addict.
Synopsis Hudson and Blake Lovelly lead a charmed life—successful careers, loving family, beautiful home. Now, on the eve of their daughter’s birth, they’re counting their blessings. Life wasn’t always so generous . . .
Fifteen years ago, seventeen-year-old Blake Voss walked into Cranbrook Preparatory High to participate in the school year’s most-prestigious debate competition. She never expected to fall for the pretentious, golden-haired boy on the opposing debate team, and he never expected to be ensnared by the quick-witted prankster with a heart of gold.
Their mutual love for joking pretense soon leads them to pull their biggest prank yet–pretending to be in love. But when danger threatens, Hudson can’t conceal his growing affection. He’ll do anything to be with Blake, even if it means risking his heart to protect her.
They didn’t plan for their friendship to grow into a love story. But sometimes, all it takes is a little Hope.
This powerful companion to Forever Kinda Love tells the history of Hudson and Blake’s relationship. Laced with haunting emotion and beautiful sentiment, this is a tale about overcoming even the darkest moments, reminding us all to love more. Give more. Without regrets.
A NOTE FROM CLARA:
I had always intended to write only one story in the Lovelly series. It was about Heath and Ace, two best friends that found each other through loss and friendship. But by the time I was done with their book—Forever Kinda Love—the other Lovelly brothers demanded their story be heard. That was how I came about writing a story for Hudson Lovelly—Flirting with Love— and currently plotting Harrington Lovelly’s story—Title TBA, Release early 2016.
Since not a lot of you are aware of the Lovelly brother, I figured I’d sit down with the boys and do a quick “This or That” interview with them for the YA Scavenger Hunt. Just know that they might have deviated from the interview at times.
Without further ado, here’s the special interview for all YA Contemporary Romance readers! Please welcome: Heath, Harrington, and Hudson Lovelly!
Clara: Hello boys! How are you? So we’re here celebrating Spring YA Scavenger Hunt and I thought it’d be fun to interview you all. Remember this is YA readers, so be good. **glares at Harrington*
Harrington: *raises an eyebrow* Why are you look at me like that? I didn’t do anything.
Clara: Yet. *looks at notecards * Okay, so first question. Villian or Hero?
Harrington: *grins* Villian
Clara: Question 2: In Love or For Love?
Heath: In Love
Hudson: In Love
Harrington: *gag* I refuse to answer that question.
Clara: *rolls eyes* Always so dramatic. Anyhoo. Moving on. Ghosts or Sci-fiction?
**Heath and Hudson look at Harrington*
Harrington: *shrugs* What? Ghosts are freaky dude!
Clara: Question four: Flight or Fight?
Harrington and Heath respond at the same time: Fight
Hudson: *Looks at his brothers* *Blinks* Seriously? *Sighs* Fight—But only if it can’t be avoided
Clara: **looks at notecard then to Harrington, then back at notecard* I seriously don’t’ know what I was thinking writing this question down… But alas… **sighs*: Brains or Beauty?
Harrington: You both are such losers! Beauty. I don’t care what anyone says, but you get judged in this world for how you look. And being beautiful matters.
Heath: Beauty is so subjective.
Hudson: And it doesn’t last long.
Harrington: Says the two dou—
Clara: Harrington! Language!
Harrington: *clears throat and continues* Can you two be any more hypocritical? It’s easy for you to say it cause your woman are H.O.T.
*Heath rolls eyes*
Hudson: Did you every think that maybe you think they are ‘beautiful’ because you see their inner beauty.
Harrington: That’s like telling a homeless guy “You’re hungry cuz you haven’t eaten anything in days.” It doesn’t make sense.
Clara: Okay! I think it’s safe to say that’s all the time we have Lovellys. Thank you all for joining and taking part of this fun –get to know your characters for FUN interview.
Heath: Thanks Clara, from all of us!
Clara: **looks at Hudson and Harrington with worry*
Heath: Don’t worry about them. They’ll be okay once they figure out they can’t stay mad at each other for long.
Clara: Hope you guys had fun getting to know Heath, Harrington, and Hudson during this short, but fun “This or That” interview. Be sure to check out Forever Kinda Love and Flirting with Love if you get a chance. Both books can be read as standalones!
Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books, includes a signed copy of The Union by me, Flirting with Forever by Clara Stone, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 5. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the pink team and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
Continue the Hunt
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Cidney Swanson!
Welcome to the next stop on the Into a Million Pieces blog tour. Today, I have an exclusive interview with the author, Angela V. Cook. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom to find information on the book and details on her giveaway.
Exclusive Interview with Author Angela V. Cook
AIW: Congratulations on publishing your first novel. How did you celebrate Pub Day? Did you put Best Day of My Life by American Authors on replay on your iPod?
AVC: Haha! I wish I had some awesome story about how I celebrated Pub Day, but in all actuality, it was a super-crazy day (note to future published authors: if you work outside the home, take the day off—trust me). I woke up early on release day to get all the online promo going, and then I had to go to work. I came home, did more promo work, and then I went to my mom’s for a celebratory dinner. As crazy as it was, it was a fantastic and amazing day, and one I’ll never forget.
AIW: It’s a long road from first draft to publishing, what did you feel when you held that paperback copy in your hands for the first time?
AVC: I felt proud. Getting published was something I had worked so hard to accomplish. When I finally got my book proof in the mail, I took it out of the box, fanned the pages, and said to myself, “I wrote all that.” The realization hit me, and I actually started crying. It finally felt real.
AIW: You have such a unique twist on the young adult paranormal story. Just when everyone says paranormal is over, you breathe new life into the genre with something new and different. How did the story evolve?
AVC: I’ve always loved the YA paranormal genre. I like stories that take place in the real world, but there’s just something a little… off going on in that world. I got the idea for INTO A MILLION PIECES during the summer of 2010. Back then, there was a short-lived TV show called The Gates. It was about a gated community where the residents were of the supernatural persuasion (werewolves, vampires, witches, etc.). One of the residents was a teenage succubus. Every time this girl kissed her boyfriend, she absorbed some of his life energy, which in turn weakened him. I had never heard of a succubus, but I loved the idea of a teenage girl who was in love, but couldn’t so much as kiss her boyfriend without harming him. Also, I knew a teenage succubus was a premise that hadn’t been done to death in the YA paranormal genre. It was then the wheels of creativity started turning.
AIW: As the mother of identical twins, I’m intrigued by all things twin. But as mine are as alike as two people can be, I love the idea that Allison and Jade can be so different. How did you approach their twin/sister relationship?
AVC: I have two siblings, and all three of us are complete opposites. Growing up, we probably fought more than we got along; even so, we were always extremely protective of one another. I remember my older brother getting into a couple of fights, because someone was picking on his “little sister.” And even though my younger sister got into some trouble during her teen years, I’d go off on anyone who said anything bad about her. That’s the kind of relationship I strived for with Allison and Jade. I wanted to show two sisters, who were as different as night and day but incredibly loyal to one another.
AIW: What is one thing you hope readers take away from Into a Million Pieces?
AVC: I’m not the hoity-toity literary type. I don’t write the kind of highbrow literature that gets awards and recognition. My only goal is to entertain. My hope is that I wrote a novel that readers will have a hard time putting down once they start it. I want them to get lost in Allison’s (my main character) world and not think about that test they have coming up or that load of laundry in the dryer. If I can do that, then I’ll feel successful.
AIW: Without naming names, were any of your characters based on any real people?
AVC: I think all of my characters have personalities that include little pieces of people I’ve encountered in the real world, but on a whole, they are completely fictitious.
AIW: In addition to writing young adult, I notice you read quite a bit of it, too. Who are your biggest influences?
AVC: I think all writers have their own unique style and voice, but Stephanie Perkins has been a huge influence on me. Her books inspired me to embrace my own style/voice. She’s easily one of my favorite young adult writers (if you enjoy young adult contemporary, you HAVE to check out her books!). When you read her work, you really get the feeling that you’re reading a narrative written by a seventeen-year-old girl falling in love for the first time, not something written by a thirty something year old trying to write like a teenager. She’s one of those writers who seem to have been born to write young adult stories. I don’t think any other author comes even close to capturing the teen experience in their books like she does.
AIW: What is one non-book (reading/writing/research) related thing you love to do?
AVC: I love to go to the movies—especially if it’s something I’m DYING to see (it’s kinda sad how excited I get when, say, the latest Hunger Games movie is about to come out). I know this makes me sound like a big nerd, and my answer should’ve been “hiking” or “painting” or whatever, but I can’t help it; I love a good story. ☺
Great questions, Theresa! Thanks so much for having me!
Into a Million Pieces by Angela V. Cook
About the Book Title: Into a Million Pieces Author: Angela V. Cook Release Date: January 27, 2015 Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | GooglePlay
Synopsis Allison McKready is a succubus. So is her twin sister. But while Allison spends her summer break hiding in the library behind her Goth makeup, Jade fools around as often as she can.
Allison can’t believe Jade would ignore their mother’s fatal example so recklessly, but concealing a cursed bloodline and its dangerous effects is far from Allison’s only problem.
Mean girl Julie’s snob mob is determined to ruin her summer, and Aunt Sarah’s Bible thumping is getting louder. Only her new friend, Ren Fisher, offers safe haven from the chaos of her life.
When one of Jade’s risky dates leads to humiliation and sudden tragedy, Allison reels, and Ren catches her. But as her feelings for him grow, so does her fear that she’ll hurt him—or worse—in an unguarded moment.
The choice is coming—love him or save him—but Allison might not live to make it. One way or another, the curse will have its due.
Author Angela V. Cook
About the Author Angela V. Cook lives a very unexciting, but never boring, life with her husband and two children just outside of Detroit. Like most writers, she’s been making up stories for as long as she can remember and can’t imagine a life that doesn’t involve creating worlds.
Angela loves to write novels for teens because it’s the best outlet for her sarcastic personality, immature sense of humor, and love of romantic firsts. Her idea of the perfect day involves a quiet house, a good book, and a piece of cheesecake. Or two.
I loved A Game Worth Watching so much, that as soon as I finished it, I emailed the author to tell her how much I loved her book and asked if I could interview here. Lucky for me she agreed. Here is my exclusive interview with Samantha Gudger, author of the young adult sports novel, A Game Worth Watching.
Exclusive Interview with Author Samantha Gudger
AIW: As you know, I absolutely loved your book, A Game Worth Watching, and I’m not really a big basketball fan, although I might be now. But what I really loved about your book was the character development. Emma’s home life is so messed up, and her character so perfectly fits that. I’m almost afraid to ask this, but how did you craft her so well? What was your inspiration for her?
SG: Emma’s character is one of those gems that just came to me. The more I wrote about Emma and her story, the more alive and developed she became. I think one thing that inspired her character and home life was that I worked at the Boys & Girls Clubs and heard all kinds of stories about kids in our Clubs who overcame rough family lives to rise above adversity and bless others. I wanted to capture this in my writing, therefore, I knew A Game Worth Watching had to be about more than just a good basketball player who turned the girls’ team around. Her resistance to joining the team, her opposition to girls, her low self-esteem—all of it centered around the kind of home life she had. At the beginning of the writing process for this story, I don’t think I intended her family to be that bad, but they took on a life of their own and, it all just made sense as the story developed.
AIW: What is one thing you hope readers take from A Game Worth Watching?
SG: That the world has need for each and every one of us. That each of us have talents that the world needs and we can bless those around us if we have the courage to let our light shine.
AIW: I’ve heard rumors you’re working on a sequel. Can you give us any idea when you might be ready to release it?
SG: Yes, I’m working on a sequel!! I would love to be able to tell you when it’s coming out, but this past year has sent me some curve balls, so I’m really not sure. Hopefully some time later this year. I can tell you that it’s coming along pretty well, and I’m really excited for all of you to read it.
AIW: You have a pretty busy life and I know writing is just one more thing you need to squeeze in, so where and when do you find that time and how do you get in the writing zone?
SG: Obviously I don’t find as much time as I need/want, otherwise, the sequel would be out already. 🙂 I used to be under the impression that if I didn’t have at least 2+ hours then it wasn’t really worth the time to sit down and try to write, but I’m realizing more and more that I have to take advantage of every five minutes of free time I have. Although I love to write, it seems like I can come up with a million excuses to distract myself and convince myself it’s never a good time to write, but I’m working hard to overcome this and be more disciplined to make time to write every day, whether it’s five minutes or 2+ hours. In terms of getting in the writing zone, sometimes it’s listening to the right music, sometimes it’s reading over one of my favorite scenes and remembering why I love the story and NEED to write it, and sometimes it’s thinking about a scene when I’m away from the computer and writing it in my head so when I sit down at my computer I know exactly what I will be working on. Other times it’s just a matter of sitting down at my computer with the mentality that I WILL write, no excuses.
AIW: Do you listen to music when you write? And if not, why not? If so, what kind of music inspires you?
SG: It depends on the mood I’m in. Most of the time I do listen to music, but other times music can be a distraction, so I go without it. I listen to all kinds of music, but the kinds of songs that inspire me are the ones that relate to the story I’m writing. For instance, when I write basketball scenes I like to listen to fast-paced songs with a good beat that drive the action forward. When I write scenes that focus on relationships, I listen to songs that encompass the emotions I’m trying to portray (ie. fear, heartbreak, hope, etc.). Given that, I usually develop a sort of soundtrack for each of my stories and compilations range from soft rock to country to alternative. In other words, the kind of music that inspires me is any that reminds me of the story/characters I’m writing about.
AIW: If you were to write another genre under a pen name and no one would know it was you, what do you think you’d choose and why?
SG: Hmmm, good question. Maybe paranormal or mystery because I like suspense and whodunnit stories, although I’m horrible at figuring out the guilty party. I also have doubts as to whether or not I’d be able to create the perfect world for these types stories, although they are fun to read. I’d love to write picture books too because I think reading for the children is so important and fun that I would love to create stories for this age as well.
AIW: Switching gears from writing to reading, most authors are also avid readers. What is one of the best books you’ve read in the past year?
SG: I would have to say Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (the finale to her Shatter Me series).
AIW: What is your favorite genre? Do you try to read young adult books with a sports theme, or do you find that thrillers are what you reach for to break away from all the angsty drama?
SG: When I find young adult books with a sports theme, I will oftentimes read it if it sounds interesting because it’s fun to actually see these books on the shelf. When I was growing up, books featuring female athletes were far and few between, so I get excited by the fact there are more and more of them nowadays for young people to read. In terms of my favorite genre though, I don’t know if I can pick because I just like good stories with strong female characters. I like paranormal romance, contemporary romance, fairytales, spy stories, mysteries…basically anything with a good story and characters.
AIW: What is one of your favorite young adult books of all time?
SG: I absolutely LOVE the Harry Potter series. In addition to great stories and characters, I love the good prevailing over evil that is seen throughout the Harry Potter books.
AIW: And finally, what does your bracket look like for this year’s NCAA tournament? Or do you not have one?
SG: Uh…yeah. I don’t have one (hangs head in shame).
A Game Worth Watching by Samantha Gudger
About the Book
Title: A Game Worth Watching Author: Samantha Gudger Release Date: January 16, 2013 Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis All her life, people have told 17-year-old tomboy Emma Wrangton that she’s not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to succeed in life.
Somewhere along the way, she started to believe them.
Without the promise of a respectable future after graduation, all Emma wants is to cherish her senior year by playing basketball with the guys and spending as much time as possible with her best friend before he heads off to some fancy university, leaving her behind.
But when the high school basketball coach recruits her to join the team—the girls’ team—Emma discovers life is anything but a slam dunk.
How is she supposed to know how to be one of the girls when all she’s ever been is one of the guys?
Author Samantha Gudger
About the Author A former three-sport athlete in high school, Samantha grew up with a ball in one hand and a book in the other. From the moment her first grade teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, Samantha knew she wanted to be an author.
Samantha currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, a ball-obsessed Australian Shepherd, and a cat that can’t get enough cuddle time. Books, writing, sports, music, and marshmallows top her list of favorites.
Welcome to the next stop on the Redemption blog tour. Today, I have an exclusive interview with the one and only Randi Cooley Wilson.
Exclusive Interview with Author Randi Cooley Wilson
AIW: In writing the series, do you have all five books outlined (in your head at least if not on paper)? Or do you just have a general idea of where the series is going but don’t have a definitive idea of each book until you sit down to write it?
RCW: When I began to write this series, back in 2008, I wrote all the first and last chapters to each book. I knew what the series plotline was going to be, but not each book. When I picked my writing back up in 2013, that is when I plotted out the storyline of each book. Since I was extremely inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost, I use a quote from the poem at the beginning of each novel as the reader’s clue as to what to expect out of that particular book’s storyline. I do outlined the books before I sit down to write them, but for some reason the characters end up defining the story and taking over so it’s usually all for not.
AIW: What is your favorite scene in Redemption you can share without spoiling anything?
RCW: I have a few favorite scenes in Redemption. There is this great dialogue scene between Abby and Callan over ice cream which had me in stitches as I wrote. I adore the scene when Asher returns, it was very emotional for me to write and I think fans will love it .My favorite scene though, is Gage and Eve in The Land of the Leprechauns.That’s all I can say (laughs).
AIW: I love how you weave the themes of redemption through the book. Do you usually have the book name first, knowing the themes, or does the theme unfold as you write and at some point mid-book, do you say, “Aha! The name of this book shall be __________.”?
RCW: Thank you, and yes, all the titles were decided on way before I wrote the books. Basically, I knew what each ‘theme’ would be and titled the book appropriately, while weaving the meaning throughout each storyline.
AIW: So you’ve got some steamy scenes in your novels and Redemption raises the stakes again. Does your husband read your books? And if so, do you blush a little when he gets to the good parts?
RCW: (Laughs and Blushes). Yes, I suppose my books are steamy. They are after all, new adult (smirks). There is nothing I hate more as a reader than getting all worked up and teased without a payoff. So, I don’t do that to readers, I like the steam. My husband does read my books and is impressed with my, ah, imagination (laughs). I do blush when my mother-in-law reads them though (winks).
AIW: How do you come up with all the pithy sayings on Callan’s aprons? They’re hysterical. And do you have an Etsy store where you sell them? Cause if not, you really need to.
RCW: Callan’s aprons are so much fun. His shirts too. They just kinda come to me on off moments. For instance, the ones for Redemption, happened when my husband and I were tailgating at a Jimmy Buffet concert with friends. We might have had a few margaritas as well. I don’t have an Etsy store, but we are setting up a Zazzle store that should be ready early 2015 which will host a lot of products containing his sayings.
AIW: You paint such a vivid world in your books, they come alive almost as much as the characters. Where do you find your inspiration?
RCW: Thank you, world building is my favorite thing to write. Inspiration comes from all over the place. I have a six year old, so we do a lot of imaginative play. I try to use things in the worlds that I know she loves such as fairies, horses, butterflies, etc. Actually, in Redemption The Land of Leprechauns was created because my daughter spent two straight months eating Lucky Charms. The only thing was, she would only eat the marshmallows so I would find just the cereal constantly. I got so mad, I wrote that chapter out of frustration.
AIW: Again, without spoiling anything, what is one thing you hope readers take away from Redemption?
RCW: I hope that readers will fall in love with the characters all over again in Redemption. This book really focuses on the why’s of their behavior and character attributes. As with all my books, I just want readers to enjoy that few hours it takes them to read and get swept away in new worlds. Far away from reality, because I feel like these days, we could all use a break.
AIW: When can we get our hands on book 4 because you really left us hanging, woman!
RCW: My editor was so mad at the end of Redemption she threatened to send me hate mail (Laughs). Revolution, book 4 releases in Spring 2015, followed by the the last installment Restoration in Summer of 2015.
Thanks so much for having me today, it’s bad a lot of fun.
Redemption (Revelation #3) by Randi Cooley Wilson
About the Book
Title: Redemption Series: Revelation #3 Author: Randi Cooley Wilson Release Date: December 15, 2014 Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords
Synopsis A LOVE RETURNS.
A LOYALTY IS BROKEN.
AND WAR BEGINS.
For Eve Collins, darkness has descended after her love vanished into the night sky. A new protector has been appointed, one who challenges everything she’s believed to true.
In this third installment of The Revelation Series, Eve will become aware of dangers and worlds that exist only in her nightmares and bloodline secrets that will trigger a centuries old war.
You can escape anything, except your destiny.
Readers captivated by Revelation and Restraint will become enthralled with Redemption.
Author Randi Cooley Wilson
About the Author Randi was born and raised in Massachusetts where she attended Bridgewater State University and graduated with a degree in Communication Studies. After graduation she moved to California where she lived happily bathed in sunshine and warm weather for fifteen years.
Randi and her husband recently moved back to Massachusetts with their daughter where she was encouraged to begin writing again.
Revelation is her first novel and The Revelations Series is her first New Adult Paranormal Romance book series.
“I’ve had a love affair with books, writing and storytelling since childhood. It has been a dream of mine to introduce this world and these characters to you. I hope I’ve done them justice.”
Randi loves to hear from readers, you can reach out to her via Twitter: R_CooleyWilson and/or Facebook: authorrandicooleywilson
I’m delighted to have been able to interview, J.L. Berg. If I didn’t already love her for her books, I’d love her just for being the witty, fascinating person she is. To find out more about J.L. and her book, Within These Walls, see below.
Exclusive Interview with Author J.L. Berg
Q: What are you most excited about sharing with your readers in Within These Walls?
J.L.: There are so many things. So. Many. Things. Within These Walls was so difficult to write. I cried and suffered with these characters and as much as each book is a part of me—this one really became my ultimate favorite. Lailah and Jude’s journey is a special one and I hope readers love it as much as I did writing it.
Q: What is the one thing you hope most that your readers will take away from it?
J.L.: Hope– that is what I want readers to take away from this book. This book really is a journey of two broken people finding each other after extraordinary circumstances. I hope readers feel inspired by their love story.
Q: I read your “One Year Ago Today” blog post, and as an aspiring author only months away from hitting that same button, I was inspired. How long did your idea swim around in your head before you actually decided to put it to paper?
J.L.: Honestly, not long. Once the idea of Logan and Clare formed in my head, it was hard to ignore them. I was excited, scared and felt invigorated all at once. It’s the same feeling I get every time an idea hits me—that feeling that I need to get these ideas out of my head and share them with someone, anyone. I never had grand ambitions of bestsellers lists or book signings when I began writing When You’re Ready—I just wanted to write and I hoped that maybe someone out there would want to read it.
Q: Even though you’re relatively still new to the published author arena, are you living a lifelong dream or is the writing bug something that sort of crept up on you over time?
J.L.: Writing was a childhood dream—something I tucked away when real life got in the way. Term papers and tests replaced my creative writing time and I took a practical route and majored in psychology. Professors always told me I had a knack for writing but who has time to write for fun in college? After I graduated, I started working full time and became a mom. Life was always in the way. Finally I decided there would always be roadblocks if I allowed them and now I find myself doing the one thing I always wanted to do for a career.
Q: You’ve written a number of books since you published When You’re Ready, Do your ideas just come to you, or do you find yourself struggling to come up with the next story?
J.L.: The ideas come to me all the time—at random, weird times. I keep a journal of ideas for future projects. It’s just a matter of deciding which ones are speaking to me the loudest.
Q: You, being you, must have something fabulous already in the works after Within These Walls. Is there anything about your next project you can share with us at this time?
J.L.: I do! I am currently writing Ready or Not, the next book in the Ready series. After that, I will be writing Roman’s book – a spin off of Within These Walls. Readers are already dying for this one. After that, I may have some plans for Jude and Lailah. I’m still deciding.
Q: Describe your writing environment? Do you need silence? Music? A venti vanilla latte?
J.L.: It depends on what I am writing. Sometimes, if it is a heavy or difficult scene, I need silence. Other times, I write with music. Right now, I am writing with Sofia the First playing in the background. My kids are still home for the summer, which has made writing over the last few weeks very interesting! I can’t wait for my silence back!
Q: You’re known for your contemporary romance, but what if you could write under a pen name that no one would ever discover was you? What genre would you just secretly love to write?
J.L.: I love paranormal romance. It was my first love and for years, it was all I read. I would love to be able to create a world like J.R. Ward or Karen Marie Monning. But, for now, I think I’ll stick to contemporary tear jerkers!
Synopsis Within these walls, he became my solace, my sanctuary and my strength.
I am not strong. I am just a survivor of circumstance.
Isn’t that what we all do? Survive?
Each of us has our own set of circumstances to muddle through. Mine are just more…complicated.
Born with a severe heart defect, I’ve seen the inside of a hospital room more than my own bedroom.
I was drowning, a prisoner to the illness that owned me, until he appeared. He thinks he’s blocked out the world with his tattoos and hard exterior, but I see the real Jude, the one he so desperately wants to forget.
But is he the answer to my prayers or will he break my already damaged heart forever?
My name is Lailah Buchanan, and this is our story of hope, redemption and sacrificing it all for the one you love.
About the Author J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis.
When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.