Temporal Shift (Dark Desires #4) by Nina Croft-Review and Interview

Temporal Shift (Dark Desires #4) by Nina Croft-Review and Interview

Temporal Shift

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Release Date: November 17, 2014

Caught between destiny and desire…

After diving into a black hole in search of the source of Meridian, the key to immortality, the crew of the Blood Hunter finds themselves stranded in an alternate universe.

Engineer Devlin Stark doesn’t want immortality. He just wants to live long enough to get his revenge on the man who murdered his brother. Now, he’s trapped in a strange world with a crazy woman who claims he’s fated to be her lover.

Saffira Lourdes has a destiny: to save humanity and lead her exiled people to the Promised Land. Haunted by visions of the past and future, she’s been sustained through the years by a dream lover. Unfortunately, Devlin doesn’t believe in fate. But it’s obvious there’s a connection between them, one that will soon be tested by the limits of time and space. Saffira is about to make the crew of the Blood Hunter an offer they’ll find impossible to refuse.

They’re heading back to Earth, and they’re going back in time.

••••••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: TEMPORAL SHIFT is the fourth installment in Nina Croft’s adult, paranormal, sci-fi DARK DESIRES (Blood Hunter) fantasy, romance series focusing on the crew of the space cruiser-The El Cazador (now known as the Blood Hunter 2). This is GM (genetically modified) engineer and leader of the Resistance Devlin Stark and Saffira Lourdes’s storyline. Although it is the fourth in the series, it can be read as a stand alone but for cohesion and backstory, I recommend reading the series in order.

Some background: 1000 years after Earth’s demise, the ruling Collective, and the self-proclaimed Church of Everlasting Life play a major role in the control of space. The Collective control the rights to the rare radioactive element known as Meridian-that will bestow immortality on those who can afford the price. The Church is in the business of exterminating the genetically modified beings-considering them abominations and a sin against God. These two ruling factions are currently at war with one another and will destroy anyone that gets in their way.

Told from third person point of view TEMPORAL SHIFT finds the crew of the Blood Hunter on the other side of a black hole. Hoping to locate the planet from which the element ‘Meridian’ originated, the crew will travel to an unknown planet where they will meet beings similar to what Callum Meridian (leader of the universe) and the Collective have become. What they did not expect to find is a humanoid female who claims Devlin is her lover and asks the impossible from the ship and her crew. Saffira Lourdes has been chosen as ‘the one’ to save her species and possibly that of old Earth but to do so, Saffira must travel back in time before Earth’s demise.

The relationship between Saffira and Devlin is fraught with anger, betrayal and mistrust. Saffira continues to lie to the crew of the Blood Hunter, about what it is she must do. Saffira has seen the future and the future claims that Devlin is her mate. Devlin wants nothing to do with Saffira, especially after she has placed the crew in danger time and again, but Devlin’s body wants something more.

The world building continues as the Blood Hunter space ship shuttles between black holes, unknown planets, wormholes and deep space. The secondary characters include the crew of the Blood Hunter, most of the previous storyline couples: Tannis and Meridian: Rico and Skylar; as well as Captain William ‘Thorne’ Thornton-a man who has vowed to protect Saffira with his life. The time line covers thousands of years through the black holes and wormholes, yet only days to months will have passed in current time. Saffira will travel back hundreds of years only to come face to face with the man that she will love over fifteen hundred years later.

Nina Croft’s DARK DESIRES (Blood Hunter) series is an addicting and remarkable journey into the unknown travelling through time and space; through black holes and into alternate universes. There are moments of passion, seduction, romance and pain coupled with the intensity of a crew whose lives are constantly in danger but will never leave a crew member stranded or alone. Nina Croft will captivate your senses, your imagination and your need for romance and the paranormal.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight Black and Yellow

BREAK OUT
(Blood Hunter/Dark Desires #1)
by Nina Croft
Genre: adult, sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy, romance

ABOUT THE BOOK: Re release September 30, 2014

Click HERE for our review of BREAK OUT

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Break OutThe year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.

Two-thousand-year-old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous—or so fun.

____________________

DEADLY PURSUIT
(Blood Hunter/Dark Desires #2)
by Nina Croft
Genre: adult, sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy, romance

ABOUT THE BOOK: Re-release November 1, 2014

Click HERE for our review of DEADLY PURSUIT

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Deadly PursuitHe craves his own freedom.

Jonathon Decker knows how to keep his enemies close—and his allies closer. But what about his women? Everyone wants a piece of the world’s sexiest werewolf, now that he’s been broken out of prison. Enter Alexia, the High Priestess of the Church of Everlasting life. Captivating and independent, Alexia is everything Jon could want in a woman. But can she be trusted? It will take more than one night of endless passion to find out…

And she is his to possess…

After twenty-four years of faithfully playing by the rules, Alex is finally ready take fate into her own hands. Her passion for Jon is a force to be reckoned with—and the way he makes her feel keeps her coming back for more. But their desire could lead them both down a dark path—one in which there’s no turning back. How much will each of them risk to be together…for all time?

_______________________

DEATH DEFYING
( Blood Hunter/Dark Desires #3)
by Nina Croft
Genre: adult, sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy, romance

ABOUT THE BOOK: Re-release November 25, 2014

Click HERE for our review of DEATH DEFYING

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Death DefyingPart snake, part human, and—some would say all bitch—Captain Tannis of the starship El Cazador has one goal in life—to earn enough credits to pay for the Meridian treatment to achieve the immortality she craves. And one last job will get her there. The assignment: protecting the most powerful man in the Universe.

Being leader of the known universe isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks big time. And after five hundred years, Callum Meridian, founding member of the Collective, is bored out of his mind. But as things are changing, he’s changing—into what, though, he isn’t sure. Callum is determined to discover the truth, and he’s employed the crew of El Cazador to help him do it.

Not everyone agrees with his plan, though. His own people will stop at nothing to prevent the truth coming out, the Church is taking advantage of the confusion and attempting a coup, and even the crew of El Cazador seem close to tossing him out the airlock without a space suit. But defying death has never been more dangerous, sexier, or more fun.

Interview yellow:black

TRC: Hi Nina and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of TEMPORAL SHIFT, the latest instalment in your DARK DESIRES (Blood Hunter) series.

We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

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Nicola CleasbyNina: I originally come from the north of England – a spectacularly beautiful area known as the Lake District. But from the age of eighteen I found myself drifting south in search of the sun. After living in a lot of different places and travelling extensively, I’ve now settled in the mountains of southern Spain on an almond farm with my husband and a whole load of animals. Here I spend my time soaking up the sun, drinking wine, writing romance and travelling vicariously through my characters.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Nina: Growing up, I had three older sisters, whose books I would pinch, and they all had very different tastes in literature. And then there was my mother, who would devour vast amounts of Mills and Boons romances. So I ended up reading just about everything. Romance, fantasy, sci-fi, historical. And—because I’m a strong believer that you should write the sort of things you love to read—I’ve ended up writing just about everything as well. I love mixing up genres.

TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?

Nina: Reading. Swimming in the summer. Also, I have a horse and ride most days, and three dogs, so I walk a lot. I like to drink wine and I live in a very beautiful part of the world so I spend a lot of time lying under fig trees with a book and a bottle, admiring the view.

Temporal ShiftTRC: TEMPORAL SHIFT is the November 2014 release (and book four) in your DARK DESIRES (Blood Hunter) series. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the series? And the latest book?

Nina: The series follows the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of the crew of the space ship, the Blood Hunter.

The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Unfortunately, Meridian is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super-rich and immortal soon evolved. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.

But as with any civilization, there are some people who just don’t want to be ruled. And that’s definitely the case with the crew of the Blood Hunter. A motley bunch of space pirates, the crew includes a vampire, a werewolf, genetically modified beings, and really anything else I can come up with.

Dark Desires is the series where I allow myself to do anything and go anywhere—my imagination is the only limit and that’s certainly the case with Book 4, Temporal Shift. Temporal Shift contains just about my favourite sci-fi trope—time travel—and tells the story of Devlin and Saffira and a love that survives the vast distances of time and space. Time travel is complicated…it’s fair to say that my head nearly exploded numerous times while plotting the book—I sort of hope it has the same effect on my readers.

TRC: Is there a reason the series name has been changed? Different sites show different series names e.g. DARK DESIRES or BLOOD HUNTER.

Nina: It was purely a decision of St. Martin’s Press, the publishers who recently re-released the books in mass market paperback format. They made some very pretty new covers and felt that the series needed a title that more strongly suggested romance.

Dark Desires Series

TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters of the series, which models or actors would be represent your ideal image?

Nina: Hmm – I always find this really hard, but I think a red-headed Scarlett Johansson for Saffira and maybe Hugh Jackman (think wolverine…) as Devlin.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?

Nina: There are six books planned for the series. Book five, Blood and Metal, is written, book six, Flying Through Fire, I’m struggling with right now. Maybe I just don’t want to bring it all to an end.

TRC: Who or what was the influence behind the premise of the Dark Desires series?

Nina: I’d finished watching Firefly (maybe my favourite TV series ever) for the third time and I really wanted to write a space opera. But then I started thinking about my characters and Rico my pilot suddenly morphed into a vampire. And I thought why not? If people escaped the destruction of Earth, why wouldn’t vampires (and maybe a whole load of other things as well?)

TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background, scientific) did you encounter writing this particular story and series?

Nina: This is actually one of the easiest series to write because I literally make it all up. That’s the fun of writing speculative fiction. I can write anything I want as long as I can make people suspend disbelief just long enough to enjoy the books.

Actually though, for Temporal Shift, I did quite a lot of research on time travel and black holes and quantum mechanics (did I mention my head exploding?)

TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Nina: I think the important thing is to foreshadow, very subtly, throughout the story. So when something pretty wild happens (which it does quite often in this series) it’s been set up and instead of people saying – no way! They’ll say – hmm, of course.
That’s the theory anyway.

TRC: What are your thoughts on writing a series and ending an instalment with a major cliff hanger?

Nina: I think there are situations where cliff-hangers work, though personally I find them really aggravating when I’m reading, especially if the next book in the series isn’t out yet! But I write romance, so while there’s an overlying series storyline, each individual book is complete and standalone, following the romance of one couple and coming to a happy-ever-after ending.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Nina: I’m a total plotter, so I tend to spend a lot of time getting to know my characters before I start to write. While I’m plotting, I’ll allow them some leeway and we’ll go off at tangents and do unexpected things, but that’s fun and necessary. I’ll only start to write the actual story once I understand them; their goals and fears and motivations. And at that point they’d better not try and do something that’s out of character.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Nina: I think they need to make the reader care about their characters. They don’t necessarily have to like them (and I’m very fond of a lot of characters who aren’t particularly nice) but they have to care. I think one of the strongest ways to get people to care is to make the character want something…desperately. Give them a good reason for wanting it and then make it obvious that they’re not going to get it. So probably, where writers fail, is that their characters don’t care enough—so why should the reader?

TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?

Nina: I tend to try and just push through it. I do my best writing, and I’m happiest, when I give myself a daily word count (right now 3000 words per day) and stick to it, even if I’m convinced what I’m writing is rubbish. I think accepting that the first draft you write is not going to be perfect can be very liberating.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Nina: My poor husband gets to listen to a lot of my plot problems. So does my horse. Neither are particularly good at solving them. But I’m in a couple of fabulous online writing groups and I can go there if I get really stuck on anything or just want some brainstorming help.

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

Nina: Write lots, and be healthy and happy.

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Nina: I have a three legged Vietnamese pot-bellied house pig, called Piggles.

The Telepath ChroniclesTRC: On what are you currently working?

Nina: I recently wrote a short story, No More Lies, for a sci-fi anthology, The Telepath Chronicles (which released this month!) I so enjoyed the world and it had so much potential, that I’m basing a series on it and am currently writing book 1. I don’t have a title yet (hopefully it will come to me) but it’s sort of contemporary/sci-fi/romance about a rogue covert operations group of telepaths and their search to discover their origins (and it’s going to contain all my favourite sci-fi themes!)

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Nina: Just that I’ve had great fun writing the Dark Desires series and hope people have as much fun reading the books.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food - Cheese

Favorite Dessert - Ice cream

Favorite TV Show At the moment – Sons of Anarchy or maybe the Walking Dead

Last Movie You Saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I enjoyed it!

Favorite Musical Group - Maroon 5

Dark or Milk Chocolate - Both

Secret Celebrity Crush - Charlie Hunnan – actually it’s not that secret.

Last Vacation Destination - I visited my sister in Cambridge last year.

Pet Peeve - Injustice

TRC: Thank you Nina for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulation on the new release and we wish you all the best.

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The Affair (1-8) by Beth Kery-Review and Interview

  The Affair (1-8) by Beth Kery-Review and Interview

The Affair 1-8

ABOUT THE BOOK: Serial Release Dates September 16 –November 4, 2014

Innocent yet unconventional hospice nurse Emma Shore has secured a new position at The Breakers, the sprawling mansion of enigmatic and dangerously handsome racecar billionaire Michael Montand. Hired as caretaker for Montand’s stepmother, Emma expects few complications. But one night, lost in the mansion’s maze of corridors, she comes upon a woman and a man she can’t identify engaged in a raw, naked interlude of sexual subjugation. Silently, from the shadows, Emma watches – shocked, appalled, and unnervingly aroused.

But Emma wonders… if this mysterious stranger is not Montand, then who is it? And what other surprises are in store for her? Night after sleepless night, she’s considering the possibilities. And for the first time in her life, she’s not going to run away from them.

••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE AFFAIR is the latest contemporary, erotic romance serial by Beth Kery. Released as an eight part serial THE AFFAIR focuses on hospice nurse Emma Shore and billionaire/racecar owner /developer Michael Montand.

Told from close third person point of view, the eight part storyline follows the building relationship between Emma and Michael. Emma’s position within the Montand household has an expiry date-hired to care for Michael’s dying step mother, Emma ‘accidentally’ witnesses Michael and another woman in a BDSM scene. Both turned off and turned on, Emma will come face to face with the man who would eventually bring Emma into his world. When Emma walks in on her boyfriend of two years having sex with another woman, Emma is free to explore what it is she truly wants.

The relationship between Emma and Michael begins as employer and employee but soon develops into something more. When Michael tells Emma he doesn’t do relationships and the only thing he can offer is sex, Emma offers Michael five weeks of sex and adventure then she will walk away. Michael will soon realize that five weeks with Emma is not enough-he wants a lifetime. The sex scenes are numerous, intimate and provocative.

THE AFFAIR is also a story of family, betrayal and letting go. There are moments of heartbreaking sorrow for a man who has lost everyone that he has loved and in return was rejected by the one person who should have been there from the start. Michael’s family is the epitome of dysfunctional and in this he is a man who will not commit to something more.

The world building brings the reader onto the racecar circuit and Grand Prix tours of Europe. The secondary characters include both Emma and Michael’s extended family members, friends and frenemies. Everyone has an agenda or a connection to the past.

The writing style is simple. There is no over the top angst or anxiety as the outcome is predictable. The BDSM premise is secondary to the storyline but it does command a good portion of the story. Michael’s persona did not scream Dominant but more of a need to control the world around him. The billionaire Dom and inexperienced sub is a familiar scenario. There are no hardcore BDSM scenes, no safe words, no anxious moments or questions of consent.

THE AFFAIR is an erotic romance storyline with a happily ever after. Fans of Beth Kery will recognize her signature BDSM storyline trope and you can’t help but fall in love with her leading characters.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

The Affair #1-You’ve Tantalized Me: Amazon.com/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

The Affair #2-Soon: Amazon.com/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

The Affair #3-Take A Chance: Amazon.com/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

The Affair #4-Forbidden Fruit:Amazon.com/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

The Affair #5-Let Me Spoil You: Amazon.com/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

The Affair #6-No Reservations: Amazon.com/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

The Affair #7: Can’t Stop Thinking About You: Amazon.com/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

The Affair #8: Never Let Go: Amazon.com/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

Interview 1

TRC:  Hi Beth and welcome back to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of THE AFFAIR.

Beth:  Thank you, and I’m very happy to be here.

TRC:  We would like to start with some background information. For anyone who does not know BETH KERY, would you please tell us something about yourself?

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Beth KeryBeth:  Sure. I worked as a psychologist for years before leaving and becoming a romance writer. Some say it’s a strange combination of professions, but I think anyone who does either job might realize the similarities. Like a psychologist, writers are usually keen observers of character and the dynamics of relationship and emotion. I’ve written around forty novels to date, along with several novellas, and prefer the contemporary romance/erotic romance genres. I’ve lived in downtown Chicago for too many years to name, and love the culture and energy of the city. However, I’m originally a small town girl, and love the country as well. When it comes down to it, I’d be hard pressed to say whether I prefer a bustling city or a mountain retreat.

TRC:  Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Beth:  Certainly my mother, who read to me in the womb I think, and is an avid reader herself. There were books everywhere in my house growing up. Books were impossible to ignore. My father, too, was a big reader. Although I read in all genres, I had the feeling I could write romance. I’m not sure why. I just got the pace and process of it. I’d definitely have to mention romance authors as influencing me. I loved Sandra Brown, Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, Emma Holly, Jaci Burton and many, many more throughout the years. Some people say work hard, play hard, but I’d say work hard, read hard. For me, a good romance was like a gift certificate to the spa or a gift of premium chocolate—permission to indulge.

TRC:  When not writing, what do you do to relax?

Beth:  Surf and shop the internet, watch favorite shows like Downton Abbey, 30 Rock or Grimm, shop (at real stores!) with friends or family, go to the Art Institute or Chicago History Museum, walk in Chicago or along the beaches of Lake Tahoe, keep in touch with friends and family via phone, text or Viber, read a book.

TRC:  THE AFFAIR is an eight-part erotic serial focusing on Emma Shore and the enigmatic Montand. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the series?

The Affair 1-8Beth:  Sure. Although on the surface THE AFFAIR is a super sexy love story, it’s also a book about grief and forgiveness, about finding the strength and will to live and love again. The hero and heroine are Michael Montand and Emma Shore—two characters that I truly came to adore. They are so perfect for one another. Emma has a bone deep, eternal strength about her. Montand calls her fey. Because of an experience she had with death early in life, she has this sort of grace and calmness about her. As a hospice nurse, she deals with issues on a daily basis that most people would run from. It’s her peace, unconventionality and strength that calls out to Montand.

Montand, on the other hand, is cynical about almost everything. He’s experienced terrible loss and grief throughout his life, including the death of his twin brother in a drowning accident where Montand was present and survived. So he carries a great deal of survivor guilt. Emma and Montand are quite a character contrast, but the rub off on each other. They learn from each other, and grow into better people during the journey of the book. At its core, I believe that THE AFFAIR is incredibly romantic. Yes, it’s erotic, but there is such tenderness between this couple, such poignant, sweet moments. Those ephemeral moments of romance between Emma and Montand are what I prize most about the book.

TRC:  What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story?

Beth:  THE AFFAIR is a serial, which means it was released in eight parts over eight weeks’ time. It was very arduous to write. It’s the size of two books in length. Plus, it’s a very emotional story. The serial format is very tricky to do in general, much more mentally challenging for me then a regular, linear novel. Despite what many people might think, the serial is not a regular novel that’s been chopped up into pieces. THE AFFAIR was written as a serial and is meant to be consumed over an eight-week period. I’ve told the story to coincide with the first eight weeks of Michael and Emma’s relationship, so that each week of the serial is a week of their love affair. There were times I didn’t think the time element would work. It’s like doing a rubric’s cube to get everything to fit just right into the time allotment and weekly installment. I eventually got it, and everything clicked into place. By the end of it, I was kind of wrung out, and at the same time, extremely happy with the results.

TRC:  If you could virtually cast the leading characters, which models or actors would best suit your ideal image?

Beth:  They both are solely from my imagination, but I thought Carey Mulligan was a great fit for Emma—strong, fresh, a little fey. As for Michael, he was more challenging to find a look-alike for. I imagine him as a European-type—a real Mediterranean God, so to speak. Strictly on a physical characteristic basis, I chose Theo Theodoridis on my Pinterest The Affair page as being akin in looks to Michael Montand. Beautiful. Tragic.

TRC: Theo is definitely tragic and beautiful.

TRC:  Do you have plans to continue the series? Spin-off?

Beth:  I’d love to tell Niki Dellis’s story. I have something special in mind for him. However, I have not contracted for a Niki-book to date.

TRC:  You were one of the first author’s to venture into the serialized storyline format. What do you believe is the appeal of the serial format?

Beth:  One thing that the serial has highlighted for me is the reminder that there are many different types of readers out there. Not all readers are the type to consume a novel in hours or in one night. There are people who really enjoy the serial’s pace and the anticipation of waiting for the next installment. Busy, mobile people often enjoy this shorter, episodic version of consuming a book. Also, people write to me and say that they have never been a big reader, or haven’t really read since high school, but they enjoy the serial. They feel positively reinforced for completing an installment when they have struggled finishing an entire novel. That positive reinforcement makes them want to read the next week’s part. The serial offers an alternative way of reading, and I believe it hits a different market. Of course the rabid readers can love the serial too. I hear from many several-books-a-week readers who follow the serial because it’s fun and a change of pace.

TRC:  What do you believe is the ‘down’ side of the serial format?

Beth:  Probably that the rabid booklover can feel unfulfilled by the weekly episode. They want to continue when they want to continue. I completely understand that. The serial isn’t for everyone. The one thing that I tell people who feel unsatisfied with the serial is, the traditional book will always be available to them. The serial isn’t a threat to traditional reading any more than an e-book is a threat to a print book. When a reader says to me, “I just don’t get the point of the serial. Why not just publish it all at once?” I say simply, there are people who like the serial for the reasons I’ve stated above. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it really works for some. Plus, even for the most rabid reader, the serial has the advantage of coming out quicker and being available for reading before the traditionally published novel.

TRC:  Are any of your characters or the premises (of any or all of your books) based in reality or a combination of reality and fiction?

Beth:  None of my characters come from reality. They are products of my imagination. The thing about my characters and plots that is based in reality is that I’m very aware of people’s coping styles, their defense mechanisms and both healthy and dysfunctional ways of dealing with emotional angst or stress. That’s why I think there’s a decent level of reality to my characters, despite the fact that I’m writing a romantic fantasy.

TRC:  What are your thoughts on writing a series and ending an installment with a major cliff hanger?

Beth:  In regard to the serial? I’ve changed my opinion a lot on cliffhangers now that I’ve done three serials. I used to think each episode should dangle in the midst of the scene at the conclusion of the episode. Although there are still some cliffhangers today in my serial, I’ve come to realize that it’s not entirely necessary to create anticipation and excitement for the reader. If the reader is invested enough in the characters and their romance, it’s enough of a cliffhanger. Today in my serials, there are many installments that come to a fulfilling temporary conclusion. In regard to a traditional novel and a series, I try to avoid the cliffhanger as much as possible. For instance, I’m currently writing a story that has a two-book arc called GLIMMER and GLOW. This is one really large and developed story, and it took me two books to write it. So at the end of GLIMMER, while it is obvious that there is more story to tell, I attempted to bring it to a satisfactory climax between the hero and heroine, a temporary resting point. I didn’t want to leave the reader in too much anxiety over the wait between books.

TRC:  When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Beth:  That’s a good question. I like to think I control things, but there are many times a character develops a mind of their own. Michael Montand, for instance, from THE AFFAIR was originally cast as much more cynical and aloof. But then he started interacting with Emma, and she’s so fresh and unexpected that he started revealing more of himself than I’d anticipated. He began to show his need for her much more intensely than I originally planned. Things happen like that all the time when I’m writing, and you just have to see where it leads you.

TRC:  The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Beth:  I believe they truly have to understand not only their characters, but have a good understanding of dynamics and the ebb and flow of emotional interactions. I was talking with another writer recently and she was trying to write a psychologically complex scene. I said, do you understand what this woman is experiencing right now? Can you feel a measure of it? A good author must be truly compassionate, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean they have to enter in to the complete angst of having cancer, or experience the wild euphoria firsthand of an impulsive romantic tryst, or endure repeated losses of loved ones. But they do have to be willing to enter partly in to that experience. They have to feel along with their character, or they really won’t understand how their character is going to respond. I think the best scenes come when the writer is truly is inside their character’s head, and the dynamics of the scene naturally unfold.

TRC:  What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Beth:  I kind of have a closet fascination with psychic phenomenon, like ESP, psychokinesis, clairvoyance. I’m not interested in it from a scary perspective, but a scientific one. I realized not many people know this about me because recently, one of my sisters, whom I’m close to, by the way, expressed surprise that I believed that a poltergeist phenomenon could occur. I’d love to write a book that involved some psi element . . . along with a romance, of course.

TRC:On what are you currently working?
Only for YouBeth:  I’m writing on the second book in the two-book arc I referred to above. It’s called GLOW. GLIMMER and GLOW are both contemporary, sexy romances, but they have more of a new adult feel with elements of suspense. At times, it even feels like bit of a ghost story. ☺ GLIMMER was a ton of fun to write, and I’m very excited about how everything is going to develop and deepen in GLOW. Also, the next novel in the One Night of Passion series, ONLY FOR YOU, is debuting on December 2, so I’ve been working to spread the word about that. ONLY FOR YOU is Seth’s story. Seth is a Hollywood special effects makeup artist at the top of his game, and he’s devoutly avowed to avoid actresses in the romance and sex department. Of course, fate just has to send his soul mate in the form of Hollywood’s sweetheart, celebrity Gia Harris. What’s life without a challenge? These are two smart, independent people who have to work to find their way to each other. I think readers will really enjoy taking that journey with them.

TRC:  Thank you Beth for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success. We wish you all the best.

Beth:  Thank you so much for having me at The Reading Café. It’s been fun.

Beth Kery is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty novels. She loves romance, and the more emotionally laden and sexy the romance, the better. Beth holds a doctorate degree in the behavioral sciences and enjoys using her knowledge of human nature to add depth and intensity to her stories. Her works have been translated into more than fourteen languages. Connect with her online at  BethKery.com and Facebook.com/Beth.Kery

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Stolen by Melissa De La Cruz/Michael Johnston – Review & Catching Up Interview

Stolen by Melissa De La Cruz/Michael Johnston – Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Stolen
Heart of Dread series – Book #2
by Melissa De La Cruz & Michael Johnston
Release Date: November 18, 2014

StolenAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository / BAM

Description:
Who is Eliza Wesson?

Months after Nat and Wes said good-bye on the shores of the Blue, Nat is learning how to control and use her new power. She and her drakon are the last of their kind—and she’s risked her life for their reunion. When she receives a mysterious distress call, she races to help, soliciting the guidance of her new friend, the beautiful and aloof Faix Lazaved of the Blue.

Still heartbroken over losing Nat, Wes is racing cars on a New Vegas racetrack while his team is scattered and lost. When he finds out that his sister, Eliza, is being held in the golden domes of El Dorado, he does what he’s best at—running to her side—and gambles on luck to see him through one more time.

Magic, romance, and danger collide as Nat and Wes become entangled in a dark new adventure that leads right to the heart of the mystery of their frozen, broken world. They soon discover that the answer to both their quests lies in the same question: Who is Eliza Wesson—what is she capable of, and why was she stolen from her family so long ago?

 

 

Review:
Stolen by Melissa Dela Cruz & Michael Johnston is the 2nd book in their Heart of Dread series. This is a YA Paranormal/Fantasy Dystopian storyline, with two wonderful leading characters in Nat & Wes. When Frozen, the first book in this series left off, they finally had found the promised land, Blue. Nat discovers she is the last Draykonrydder, with her own Drakon. She was where she belonged, to help protect Blue.   Wes, with the promise that he would come back, walked away to return with his friends to live life on the edge; stealing to survive, and make ends meet. Wes does have a reason, as he has been looking for his long lost sister, Eliza, who was kidnapped 12 years ago.

The story picks up with Nat and Mainas, her Drakon battling the evil RSA, as they have done since they became a team. Only this time, her Drakon is hurt, and must go underground to heal, leaving Nat completely alone. She meets up with her trainer, Faix to guide her how to use her powers. During the difficult training on using her mental awareness to be able to do almost anything, she receives a telepathic call for help. Together, her and Faix leave Blue to try and find Liannan, a sylph and one of Wes’s team.

While they race to find Liannan, Wes and two of his friends are captured while looking for Eliza. It is here that Wes and Nat find each other again. The romance between the two of them lights up the pages, as we know how they feel about each other. Since this is YA, there are no sex scenes, but Dela Cruz and Johnston do a wonderful job showing their love. Will that be enough to keep them together?

The action is non stop, intense and very exciting. There are so many twists, betrayals, constant danger, and to tell you much more would be spoilers. The adventure revolves around Wes, Nat, Faix and the boys to find Liannan, and Eliza with all the enemies surrounding them. Expect the unexpected, when they reach their goal and all hell breaks loose. There a major game changer at the end, which is a cliffhanger that will keep us holding our breath until the next book. If you like adventure, fantasy, a magnificent story, and two great heroes, then Heart of Dread series is a must read.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publicist

 

Interview beige 2

Melissa_de_la_Cruz_credit_Denise_Bovee
The Reading Cafe is thrilled to welcome back the wonderful Melissa De La Cruz. Today Melissa will be discussing her new release, Stolen, which she co-wrote with her husband Michael JohnstonStolen  is the 2nd book in their Heart of Dread series.

Let’s catch up with Melissa.

 

 

 

Hi Melissa. Thank you for taking the time to visit us again at The Reading Cafe, and to give an update as to what you have upcoming in 2014/2015.   

TRC: For those who may not have read the first book, can you give a brief description of the premise of your Heart of Dread series?  

Melissa: The Heart of Dread series is about a girl named Nat with a dangerous secret and a boy named Wes who helps get her to safety. Set one hundred years in the post-apocalypse New Vegas, the story melds fantasy and science fiction tropes to create a fast-paced and gritty story about two young people tossed together in a great adventure. In the first book, Wes helps Nat on her journey and in book two, Stolen, we find out more about their background and how the world was destroyed.  

Mel and Mike pic, credit Wendy Werris
TRC:
The Heart of Dread series is written by you and your husband, Michael Johnston. Can you please tell us your process in writing the book together?

 

Melissa: We talk a lot. Talk, talk, talk, talk. Then one of us will write something down and give it to the other to develop then we trade it between us until the book is done. Mike usually does a lot of the work in the beginning and I do a lot of work at the end.

 

Stolen
TRC:
Stolen is the 2nd book in this series, being released tomorrow. Can you please give us a brief description of Stolen?

Melissa: Stolen picks up a few months where Frozen left off, Nat is learning to use her power and Wes is reduced to driving in the death races in Vegas. Wes gets a tip about his missing sister and races to her, only to find himself in the same place as Nat. They uncover more terrible secrets of in both the fantastic world of Vallonis and the gritty world of the RSA.  

 

TRC: You write a number of genres. Do you find it difficult to switch between genres? 

Melissa: No. I love it. Keeping my work different is what keeps me going. 

witches-east-end-season-2-spoilers


TRC:
Your Witches of East End series is now in its second year on television (Lifetime).   You have a wonderful cast on the show. I love Jenna DewanTatum & Daniel Di Tomasso together. How does it feel to see your characters come to life? Also, how do you feel the television series is portraying your storyline in comparison to the book?  

 

Melissa: It’s awesome. Just a joy to see my characters on screen. Pure joy. The TV show has a different story, but it kept the heart of the book – the love triangles, the family dynamics, the small town, the mythology. I love it, I’m a huge fan. I’m devastated at its cancellation but I have other projects I’m working on that will hopefully be on television soon. 

The Ring and the Crown
TRC:
You have a new series, The Ring and the Crown. Can you please give us a brief description of this series, and how many books are you planning? 

Melissa: The Ring and The Crown is an alternate historical fantasy set in the early 20th century where France and Britain have combined into one kingdom and Merlin has been alive a thousand years. It is about princesses, love, magic, betrayal, romance and sisterhood. I am unsure yet of how many books, at least three, maybe more, but that all depends on sales. Publishers want to see series selling or they cancel them too.  

TRC: Would you like to share with us anything else that you may have upcoming in 2015? 

Melissa: My big Disney Middle grade book is Isle of the Lost: a Descendants prequel – Descendants is the new Disney Channel Original Movie that comes out in August 2015. My book comes out in May.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else? 

Melissa: We’re also currently developing The Ring and The Crown as a television show, so hopefully that will get picked up. We can only hope! 

TRC: Thank you, Melissa for giving us an update on what we can look forward to in 2015, and we wish you the best of luck with Stolen.

If you want to learn more about Melissa, you can find her at the following links:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Tumblr

Giveaway beigeMelissa’s publisher is offering a hard-copy of STOLEN to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1.If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE us on FACEBOOK and click GET NOTIFICATIONS

4. Please LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Please LIKE us on GOODREADS  for an additional entry.

6. Please LIKE Melissa De La Cruz on FACEBOOK.

7. Giveaway is U.S. only

8. Giveaway runs from November 17- 20, 2014

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Is This What I Want? (Is This All There Is? 2) by Patricia Mann-Review, Interview and Giveaway

IS THIS WHAT I WANT? by Patricia Mann-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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Is This What I Want?
Is This All There Is? #2
by Patricia Mann
Genre: adult, contemporary, fiction
Release Date: October 17, 2014

Is This What I Want

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 17, 2014

Click HERE for our review of IS THIS ALL THERE IS? the first book in the series.

Four difficult months have passed since Beth’s husband Rick discovered her affair with a former student. The couple has worked hard in therapy to salvage their marriage and understand their roles in everything that happened. Things are looking up until Dave reappears, awakening Beth’s fantasies of what could have been had she taken their affair to the next level. Now that she is faced with another opportunity, Beth battles an even more impossible dilemma than the first time she was caught in Dave’s web.

Amidst the trouble in her marriage and pressure to shield her children from the discord, Beth is also called upon to help her two best friends, both with serious problems of their own. The stress sparks temptation to seek comfort in her favorite vices. But she knows she can’t hide if she wants to save what matters most. The question is, what does she want?

~~~~~~

REVIEW:IS THIS WHAT I WANT is the second installment in Patricia Mann’s Is This All There Is series focusing on thirty-five year old Beth Thomas. Beth is a wife, mother, part time college professor and a woman at a cross roads in her life. When a former student, 22 year old Dave, professes his desire for Beth, our heroine steps out of her comfort zone and into an area that is no longer black and white-but considerably many shades of grey.

Told from two alternating first person points of view (Beth and Rick) the premise of book two finds Beth and her husband in therapy-both couples and individually. Beth’s infidelity has caused a riff between she and Rick-one that continues to grow as Rick suspects Beth still harbors feelings for her former student.

The relationship between Rick and Beth is not unlike many couples who have experienced the heartbreak of an affair but in this case Beth’s step outside of her marriage was more of an affair of the heart. While Rick considers his options for the future, Beth considers all options for herself.

IS THIS WHAT I WANT is a storyline that focuses on Beth’s inner turmoil between what she wants and what she knows she should do. Beth is a woman whose marriage has stagnated and she is looking for something different; something new and in this her choices will affect her family and her life. She is a woman whose immaturity reigns supreme throughout book two as she endeavors to experience the life of those around her. The grass always looks greener on the other side-and Beth believes that there is something more-waiting for her on the other side. When a trip to Vegas with Rick turns ugly, Beth’s marriage will suffer irreparable harm.

Patricia Mann writes about a controversial subject where moments of awkwardness and heartbreak make for some disenchanted bedfellows. IS THIS WHAT I WANT looks at the choices made, for good and for bad, and how theses choices affect those that we love. It is a story about one woman, whose relationship with her husband had been sidelined by pregnancy, children and work, and in this she seeks physical and emotional fulfillment from another source.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

 

Interview

 

TRC: Hi Patricia and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the recent release of IS THIS WHAT I WANT?

Patricia: Thank you so much, Sandy! Thank you for this interview also and for all your support and kind words about both of my books!

TRC: We would like to start with some background information.  Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Patricia MannPatricia: I’m a part-time professor and consulting business owner so I work and travel a lot. Like my main character Beth, I have a husband and two sons. I’m similar to Beth in some ways, which is why I use the pen name. But we are so very different in many ways as well.

TRC: What were your goals and aspirations growing up?

Patricia: I always wanted to be a teacher and a writer. I guess I’m pretty lucky that I found a way to make both of those dreams come true. I also wanted to find true love and have a family. Blessed again – though it hasn’t been the easy road I expected by any stretch of the imagination!

TRC: What or who influenced your foray into writing?

Patricia: My dear friend, Corie Skolnick, who is the author of the beautiful and heartbreaking novel Orfan, which is about to be made into a movie, was the greatest influence. She believed in me, showered me with praise, gave me honest constructive criticism, and pushed me to keep writing even when I told her was giving up (which happened about 100 times and still happens regularly).

TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?

Patricia: I don’t relax much. I work a lot. I try to stay involved in my kids’ lives. I exercise almost every day. I volunteer my time a lot. I try to help everybody with everything. My life is mostly void of true relaxation time. But okay… I like to drink red wine. I also like to watch a mindless TV show now and then and if you give me a People magazine, expect to be ignored for about two hours as I devour every word. That’s why I have never subscribed. Inside scoop on people’s personal lives is my crack.

Is This What I WantTRC: IS THIS WHAT I WANT ? is the second installment your contemporary adult IS THIS ALL THERE IS? series. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the series? Of the novel?

Patricia: On the surface, Beth has it all. She is educated, has a good career, has a stable husband and two healthy kids. Yet, she feels something is missing. I think a lot of women feel that way in life. We tell ourselves we should be content, but for some of us, our hearts long for something new or different. Something that allows us to feel more fully alive, or more seen by another person, or more excited about something the next day has to offer. Unfortunately, there are many temptations to meet those needs in ways that are not healthy for us, but provide a temporary sense of satisfaction – things like excess food, alcohol, binge-watching a favorite show on Netflix… the list could go on forever. In Beth’s case, she gets caught up in an infatuation, an affair. It’s actually a very common situation, one I’ve seen time and again. And it rarely ends well.

TRC: Are any of the characters (or is the premise) based in reality or a combination of fact and fiction?

Patricia: All of the characters and events are based in reality with a touch of fictionalized qualities and experiences thrown in. Beth’s story is a mix of fact and fiction, but definitely more fact – from my own life as well as many women I’ve known.

TRC: What genre would you categorize the series? Women’s Fiction? Romance?

Patricia: It’s women’s fiction but romance is an important aspect of Beth’s story. I was once told that romance novels must have one clear hero and one clear heroine. Love triangles are frowned upon. Beth, Rick, and Dave are in one hell of an ongoing love triangle so it seems that the four of us are not welcome in the romance world. Still, in my defense, I must say that there’s a lot of juicy romance in my novels.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?

Patricia: It will be a trilogy. I’m working on book three now.

TRC:  Many readers have felt a ‘kindred spirit’ of sorts to Beth’s character in IS THIS ALL THERE IS? especially the women who may have experienced some of the same issues and felt lost in their current situations. What do you say to these women or anyone who has considered stepping out of their marriage and into something they see as more exciting

Patricia: Get therapy. If you can’t afford it, talk to smart friends, preferably older friends who have been through many relationships. They’ll tell you the same message I try to convey in my books: love yourself, work on yourself, a relationship will not heal or save you.

TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters in this storyline, which models or actors best represents your ideal image?

Patricia:
Beth: Kate Hudson (with a little brown hair dye)
Rick: Matt Damon
Dave: Zac Efron

TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Patricia: You draw upon your own experiences (and/or those of people in your life) but make them bigger, scarier, and much more compelling. At least that’s what I try to do.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Patricia: The characters are totally in control. They are real people in my head. They tell me what they want to do and sometimes I fight with them to try to talk them out of their stupid choices. They always win.

Is This All There IsTRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen?  Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Patricia: I think the writer needs to feel the emotions of the characters while writing, at least to some extent. When I’m reading, I can sense that energy coming through the page or screen. Even if an author hasn’t had the same experience as the character, the pain, shame, guilt, lust… whatever should come from deep within the author’s emotional center. For me, a writer fails if I don’t pick up on his or her profound connection to the story and characters on an emotional level as I’m reading.

TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon.  How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s
block?

Patricia: Still trying to figure that one out. I suppose setting small goals such as writing a page a day might help. Maybe letting go and reminding yourself that even if you write crap, you can always delete it and start again. As you said, it’s a very real phenomenon and not one I feel I have the best handle on yet.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background,) did you encounter writing this particular story and series?

Patricia: Separating my personal experiences from the fictional story was tough for me. Not much research was necessary because the backdrop of Beth’s life is so similar to my own. Writing a sequel was challenging at times because I had to make sure that all the little details were consistent with the first book. But honestly, for the most part, this second book just poured out of me. Thankfully, I had a great editor who caught little slip ups, which allowed me not to worry about things like that so much.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family.  With whom do you bounce ideas?

Patricia: It would take pages and pages to acknowledge all of them! I have so many author friends now and I adore every one. But okay, here are some of the ones I talk about writing with regularly: Corie Skolnick, Shelly Hickman, Sárka-Jonae Miller, Renee Carlino, Eileen Goudge, Meredith Schorr, Samantha Stroh Bailey, Eleanor Parker Sapia, Lori Verni-Fogarsi, Emha Goliesh, Isabella Louise Anderson, Amanda Askel, and many other Booktrope authors as well as the women in the Chick Lit Goddess writing group. I’ve left so many out, I feel terrible, but I love them all!

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Patricia: The third book in the Is This All There Is? trilogy. It picks up eight years after the second book leaves off.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Patricia: Just a final thank you to everyone who has read either book or both books, especially you, Sandy. They are not easy stories to read, but my intension is to help women appreciate themselves, take better care of themselves, and make healthy choices. I also want to dispel the myth that anyone who is unfaithful in a marriage is a bad person. These situations are complicated and there are always a whole host of factors that play a role and should be examined carefully.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Kale and Quinoa salad

Favorite Dessert: Pinkberry original frozen yogurt with pomegranate seeds

Favorite TV Show: Walking Dead (at the moment)

Favorite Entertainer: Oprah

Last Movie You Saw: Gone Girl

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush: George Clooney

Last Vacation Destination: Italy (aka paradise)

Pet Peeve: Cruelty of any kind

TRC: Thank you Patricia for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of IS THIS WHAT I WANT? We wish you all the best with your future projects.

 

Giveaway-Purple:Black

Patricia is graciously offering the following giveaway exclusive to The Reading Cafe:

First Prize: an ecopy of IS THIS ALL THERE IS ? and an ecopy of IS THIS WHAT I WANT? (books 1 & 2) to ONE (1) lucky commenter. ONE commenter will win both books.

Second Prize: an ecopy (winner’s choice) of either  l IS THIS ALL THERE IS? or book 2 IS THIS WHAT I WANT  to TWO (2) lucky commenters.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. Please LIKE us on Twitter

5. Please LIKE us on GOODREADS 

6. Please LIKE Patricia Mann on FACEBOOK and CLICK get notifications under LIKE

7. Giveaway is open internationally

8. Giveaway runs from November 10-14, 2014

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Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler – Interview, Review & Giveaway

Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler – Interview,  Review & Giveaway

 

Her Lone Wolf Nov 14Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository / BAM

Description:
It took everything she had for FBI Special Agent Danica Beckett to walk away from the man she loved. But if she wants to save his life, she has to keep her distance. Now, with a killer on the loose and the stakes higher than ever before, the Department of Covert Ops is forcing these former lovers into an uneasy alliance…whether they like it or not.

Seeing her again is even worse

The last thing Clayne Buchanan wants is to be shackled to the woman who broke his heart. She gets under his skin in a way no one ever has and makes him want things he has no right to anymore. All he has to do is suffer through this case and he can be free of her for good. But when Clayne finds out why Danica left in the first place, everything he’s tried to bury comes roaring back—and there’s no way this wolf shifter is going to take no for an answer this time

 

 

Review:

Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler is the 2nd book in her X-Ops series, which is romance suspense at its best. Paige Tyler writes an exciting suspense filled story, with a wonderful romance between a fabulous couple. Danica Beckett works for the FBI, and is one of their best agents. Two years before she had worked for DCO (Department of Covert Ops), but was blackmailed to leave.

Clayne Buchanan is our hero, and he was Danica lover two years before. She left without any real reason, and he has been heart broken and bitter. Clayne is a wolf shifter, and we learn early on, when he was recruited to join DCO, that he is volatile and needed to learn to control his temperament.

The story picks up with a serial killer on the loose, and Danica knows from her time with DCO, that the killer is a shifter. The FBI does not know the supernatural beings like shifters, and has no idea that DCO exists. Danica calls her old boss to tell him about the situation with already a few deaths. Unfortunately for Danica, the person sent to help under the guise of Homeland Security is Clayne. He is very cold to her, not happy to be on this assignment.

All this is early on, and I do not want to give spoilers. What follows is a tense and exciting adventure with the search for a killer that taunts them to play a game…..”catch me if you can, while I hunt my victims.”   The FBI ia having a hard time, but it is Clayne who uses his shifter abilities to come closer to the killer. However, the stakes are raised, as the killer knows Clayne too is a shifter.

While this adventure is ongoing, with continued violent deaths, we get to see Clayne and Danice become closer. In time she will tell him the truth, and everything changes. Their romance becomes sizzling, and the danger escalates to those close to the case, as the killer becomes vindictive. There is also a side story of our heroes from the first book in this series. It was great to see Landon and Ivy play a part in this story.

Paige Tyler has done a wonderful job giving us a fast pace & pulse-pounding non-stop action, a terrible villain, tense moments, great characters, and a fantastic romance. The gripping storyline comes to a satisfying conclusion, but many things still remain to be resolved within DCO. This is what romance suspense is all about, and you need to start reading this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Interview-RED

Paige, welcome to The Reading Café. We would like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

Paige: Thanks so much for having me!

TRC: Please tell us about yourself:

Paige_Tyler_Paige:  I was born and raised in New Jersey, then moved all over after marrying my hubby (South Korea, Louisiana, Atlanta, Washington State), and currently call the beautiful Florida coast home. I’m a USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, romantic fiction and I’ve written over fifty books in practically every genre of romance, but I have to admit that my favorite is definitely the paranormal/romantic-suspense combo. Hubby, my very own military hero, and I live with our adorable fur baby (also known as our dog) and spend a good portion of our time writing. While I graduated with a degree in education and was well on my way to being an elementary school teacher, I decided to pursue my passion and become an author instead. These days I’m fully committed to writing books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them.

TRC:  When and how did you first become interested in writing?

Paige:  It seems like I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I remember writing stories about all the kitties we had when I was nine or ten. They were cute little stories about them having adventures and playing with each other. No romance, though. I thought cats were girls back then, and dogs were boys, and everyone knows that dogs and cats don’t get along! :)

As I got older, I entered writing contests and took a lot of creative writing courses. I had some great teachers that really encouraged me to keep going—big shout out to Sharon Griffin, my creative writing teacher in high school. I feel so completely fortunate to have had those inspirational people around me at the right time. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now without them.

TRC:  What challenges have you faced getting your novels published?

Paige:  I remembered when I first started writing back in the 1980’s…on a typewriter. I wrote stories, then spent hours in the local libraries getting the addresses for literacy agencies in New York. There were a lot who wanted you to attach a check with the manuscripts. As you can imagine I never heard back from any of them. I realize now that they were scam artists, but back then, I was crushed.

Once I got going with my digital career, and had a few books under my belt, I attended pitch appointments at various conferences trying to get in with New York. Those pitches scared me silly, and while a lot of them helped move my career forward, I still remember vividly the ones that ended within the first fifteen seconds, usually with the agent or editor saying, “I don’t like that idea. Do you have anything else?” That was hard to deal with, but I realize now it’s just part of the process.

Even with my current X-OPS series, which is doing great, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. I went through 174 agents before I found the one who believed in me and my story. But again, you realize after the fact that it was simply part of the process and it makes you really appreciate finding that perfect agent who really gets you. And I heart mine!

Her Perfect Mate

 

TRC:  Your X-Ops series began with Her Perfect Mate, which we reviewed earlier this year. For those of our members who may not be familiar with your series, can you please tell us the premise of the series, and how you came up with the idea?

Paige:  I’d love to!

HER PERFECT MATE revolves around the Department of Covert Operations (DCO), a top secret organization within the Department of Homeland Security. They pair the very best soldiers, law enforcement people, and spies together with shifters—humans who have special animal attributes in their DNA. Think of it like pairing one of them with one of us. They take on impossible missions few people in the world will ever know about.

The heroine is a sexy but deadly feline shifter named Ivy Halliwell who gets teamed up with yet another soldier—and she definitely isn’t thrilled about it. Both her previous partners hated her because she was a freak in their eyes, and she figures this new guy won’t be any different. But Captain Landon Donovan is Special Forces, so he’s used to taking crazy situations in stride. Not only are they amazing on the job, but they’re amazing in bed, too. There’s only one problem—getting romantically involved with your partner is against DCO policy. So, not only do they have to hide that they’re lovers, they also have to deal with people trying to kill them every few chapters.

HER PERFECT MATE is a paranormal shifter story that combines romance, action, suspense, and military elements into one exciting package that will keep you up reading late into the night—I promise.

My hubby and I came up with the idea at the Lori Foster Get Together in 2011. We were having dinner at PF Chang’s with our friend and one of my favorite writers, Monette Michaels, and her friend, Linnea Sinclair, talking about writing, especially how to make the jump from ebook/indie publishing to New York. Linnea said some really insightful things about finding a niche and a voice that is undeniably mine, then she pointed at hubby and suggested I should be using his military experiences to lend an edge to my books that other writers might not have.

Hubby’s always been reticent to take any of our books in the military direction…that’s an aspect of his life that he’s always considered personal and private. But after this long talk with Moni and Linnea, we both started thinking that maybe this was the way to go.

Around this same time, there was a lot of Special Operation stuff going on in the news, and an idea started developing. Wouldn’t it be cool to blend military elements with paranormal, specifically shifter, elements?

By the time we left Lori’s a few days later, I already had an outline going for the X-OPS Series. Hubby really got behind it, and our biggest problem became keeping the stories down to a manageable size. The first draft of HER PERFECT MATE was over 140,000 words!

Her Lone Wolf Nov 14TRC:  Her Lone Wolf is the second book in your X-Ops series, which was released yesterday. Can you please give a brief description of this story?

Paige:  Better yet…here’s the blurb! :)

Leaving him was Impossible…

It took everything she had for FBI Special Agent Danica Beckett to walk away from the man she loved. But if she wants to save his life, she has to keep her distance. Now, with a killer on the loose and the stakes higher than ever before, the Department of Covert Ops is forcing these former lovers into an uneasy alliance…whether they like it or not.

Seeing her again is even worse…

The last thing Clayne Buchanan wants is to be shackled to the woman who broke his heart. She gets under his skin in a way no one ever has and makes him want things he has no right to anymore. All he has to do is suffer through this case and he can be free of her for good. But when Clayne finds out why Danica left in the first place, everything he’s tried to bury comes roaring back-and there’s no way this wolf shifter is going to let her get away this time.

TRC:  How many books are planned for the X-Ops series?

Paige:  For everyone out there who absolutely loved HER PERFECT MATE, Book 1 in the X-OPS series, I have good news. The overarching storyline for the series has so much intrigue, distrust, and backstabbing going on, not to mention the myriad subplots and cast of secondary characters, that it has endless possibilities.

While each book has a main hero and heroine with their own standalone adventure and romance, I weave in a fun collection of secondary characters and plot arcs in to every story. Essentially, the characters continue to move the basic overarching storyline along in each book, much of it revolving around the fear that the people they work for at the DCO may be as evil and dangerous as the people they’re being sent after, all while enjoying their own romance and suspense-filled adventures.

Right now, I have the first ten books outlined, with basic conceptual material for at least another dozen or so. I think the readers are going to love having the X-OPS stories around for a long time to come!

Vampire 101TRC:  Modern Day Vampires is another series of yours. Can you give us a brief description of this series?

Paige:  This is fun vampire series I started quite a few years ago. While I love me some dark and brooding Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I didn’t want to go that route because it had already been done.

In Modern Day Vampires, my vampires aren’t demons. They’re vampirism is caused by a blood disorder which prevents their own blood from carrying oxygen properly. The vampire side effects (strength, speed, teeth, etc.) are all evolutionary changes that have come about over the centuries as their bodies came up with ways to help them be able to hunt for what they need to live—blood.

In the “old days” vamps would feed straight from the vein. Hence all the vampires getting a really bad reputation. But in this “modern” day and age, things have become quite a bit more civilized. There are blood banks and blood deliveries, and rule books on how to behave and conform. There’s a lot of humor as the vampires try to blend in. Think bureaucracies and paperwork, suntan lotion, and dedicated vampire 911 lines.

In the first book in the series, VAMPIE 101, the heroine, who grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a hard time adjusting when she’s bitten by a rogue I’m-not-going-to-follow-your-rules vampire and left for dead. After rescuing her, the hero has to teach her everything she needs to know, while protecting her from the rogues who have decided they want things to go back to the good old days.

Here’s the blurb!

Being a Vampire Isn’t What It Used to Be.

Savanna Royce is a weekend Goth-girl who’s always been fascinated with vampires. She doesn’t really believe in them, of course, but that changes when she’s bitten by a rogue vamp and left for dead. Fortunately, two-hundred-and-seventy-eight-year-old vampire Kaige Travers is there to rescue her. Unwilling to let her die, he turns Savanna into a vampire to save her life—not knowing if she’ll thank him or hate him for it.

While Kaige is teaching Savanna what she needs to know about being a vampire, neither of them can deny the chemistry that’s there. Somewhere between getting her registered at the local vampire admin office and teaching her how to order blood on the internet, they fall for each other—fast and hard.

Just as things are heating up between the sheets—and everywhere else—they encounter one minor problem. The rogue vampire who attacked her is back and this time he wants to finish the job he started.

I’ve been working on Book 2 in the series for a long time, and I swear I’ll get it done—as soon as I figure out how to clone myself. :)

Animal AttractionTRC:  What can you tell us about your Alaskan Werewolf series?

Paige:  I also started this series years ago, though I’m happy to say that I just re-release Book 1 in the series—ANIMAL ATTRACTION—in the summer. I wrote this series for a particular publisher who had a wonderful “Men of Alaska” series going. I figured what better place to put werewolves than the great outdoors of Alaska. After getting the rights back from that publisher, I revised the story, adding more characters, storylines, and adventure.

I’m also working on a re-issue of the second book in the series—ANIMAL INSTINCT—and hope to have this book out by next summer (2015). If I get that cloning thing down. I’m also looking for a group of minions to hire (they must work for bananas), so I can find more time in the day for writing.

Here’s the blurb for ANIMAL ATTRACTION!

Not only are werewolves real, but they’re damn hunky, too.

Frustrated when none of the real newspapers will hire her as a reporter, Eliza Bradley takes the only job she can get–at a paranormal magazine. Her first assignment takes her to Fairbanks, Alaska to investigate the rumors that a werewolf has killed two local men.

When she meets Hunter McCall, a local college professor and an expert on wolves, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to him and ends up spending more time in his bed than worrying about werewolves. That’s when Eliza finds out Hunter isn’t just an animal in the sack, he’s an animal out of it, too–of the werewolf variety. Talk about a complicated relationship.

But Eliza can’t dwell on Hunter’s little shapeshifting issues for long. There’s another werewolf out there with a taste for human blood, and she and Hunter are the only ones who can stop him. If they don’t, they’re likely to become his next victims.

TRC:  You like to write a few genres, such as Paranormal, Romance, and Contemporary. What genre do you find is more challenging to write and do you have a favorite genre?

Paige: That’s a killer question! I love working in all subgenres of romance, be they paranormal, suspense, erotic, sci-fi, western, but right now, with my X-OPS and SWAT series going so well, my new favorite is romantic suspense genre. Of course, as anyone who has read HER PERFECT MATE (X-OPS 1) will tell you, even my romance suspense has a good dash of paranormal in there, as well as some serious heat. :)

As far as the most challenging genre to write, I think contemporary is the hardest. In general, if you’re talking pure contemporary, you aren’t going to have zombies jumping out of closets, the hero & heroine won’t be running for their lives from some deranged killer, they’ll be no threats to the city/country/world/current time-space continuum, etc. The writer has to move the romance and story along using those conflicts that keep everyday people from coming together—doubts, insecurities, social and economic differences, etc. I tend to love action, drama, and suspense (and monsters!), so it can be a bit challenging writing romances without those elements.

TRC:  What are you working on now?

Paige:  Right now, I’m just about going crazy with all the stuff I have going on (I really do need those minions)!

As you can see from this blog, I’m doing lot of promo for HER LONE WOLF (X-OPS 2), but I’m also getting ready to do the promo for a special free novella in the X-OPS Series called HER SECRET AGENT. It gives the readers a peak behind the scenes of the very beginnings of the DCO. You get to see a younger John Loughlin, the Director of the DCO, getting to know a certain “foxy” shifter extremely well. It will be available on the 2nd of December from Sourcebooks, but you can pre-order it now.

I’m also putting the finishing touches on Book 2 of my Special Wolf Alpha Team Series (SWAT…as in a pack of werewolves working on the Dallas SWAT team. Cool, right?). At the same time, I’m working on the first draft for Book 3 in that series, due to the publisher sometime in January. Plus, I’m starting to rough in the details on Book 4 of X-OPS. Or is it Book 4 of SWAT? I get a little confused sometimes.:)

Oh, yeah! BTW, I’m also putting out a military ménage boxed set for Veteran’s Day, with a tribute to each of the uniformed services. It’s your basic old fashioned girl meets two guys and decides that anything two can do…three can do better!

TRC:  What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies?

Paige:  Did you see my schedule in the previous question? LOL! When I’m not writing…I’m either in the shower, or I’m sleeping. Even then, I’m still working out plot points.

But seriously, when I can drag myself away from my laptop, I’m usually out exercising with hubby (We love to jog and do P90X yoga. Have to do something to unkink from all that time behind the computer!). Or we’re out taking our fur baby for walks. We try to get in a movie now and then, and we have a few TV shows that I will always find time for—Teen Wolf, Supernatural, and The Walking Dead.

TRC:  Can you please tell us your writing process? Do you have a favorite spot or specific time to write?

Paige:  My hubby is a key part of my writing process. We typically go to PF Chang’s to brainstorm a story outline over spicy chicken. When we get home, he’ll start the outline/rough draft while I’m working the second and third drafts of a previous story. I check what he’s doing every night. Have to keep him on point or he’ll add random zombies into the story just to see if I’m paying attention. By the time I’m emailing a polished draft to my editor, he’s tossing me the next rough draft. Sure, he’s not much for romantic dialogue (he’ll just throw in a line such as “The hero should probably say something romantic here.”) and his intimate scenes are usually synopsized down to a single line (“Insert mad monkey sex here.”), but the plot work he does really saves me a ton of time and helps me meet deadlines.

You already know that I write all the time, but as far as where I write, mostly it’s on the couch. I just curl up with the laptop and go to town.



LIGHTNING ROUND:

FAVORITE FOOD: PF Chang’s Spicy Chicken and Brown Rice.

FAVORITE DESSERT: Chocolate anything

MILK OR DARK CHOCOLATE: Dark

FAVORITE FICTIONAL CHARACTER (not your own): Sam and Dean Winchester…I get to have both…they’re brothers!

LAST MOVIE YOU SAW: The Maze Runner

DOG OR CAT: Dog

TRC:  Thank you, Paige for answering our questions. The Reading Café wishes you the best of luck with Her Lone Wolf. Keep us informed about your upcoming releases. We look forward to working with you again.

Paige: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for having me!
*hugs*
Paige

You can find more about Paige at the following Links: 
Website: http://paigetylertheauthor.com/
Blog: http://paigetylertheauthor.blogspot.com/
Facebook Profile Page: http://www.facebook.com/paige.tyler.9
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/PaigeTylerAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PaigeTyler|
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/paigetylerauth/
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/paigetylerauthor
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/101473514319460388322/posts
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2300692.Paige_Tyler
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/BBrEP
Email: paigetyler@paigetylertheauthor.com

 

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Storm’s Rage by J.L. Barnett-Interview with the Author

Storm’s Rage by J.L.Barnett-Interview with the Author

Storm's Rage

 

NOTE: At the time of this interview, STORM’S RAGE was still in edits and the release date has been pushed back.

Interview beige

TRC: Hi JL and welcome back to The Reading Café.

JLBarnett-1JL: Hello Sandy, and TRC fans. Thank you so much for having me back.

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself since last we spoke?

JL: Well, 2 years have passed since our initial interview. Besides writing, I have also had to focus on my other profession, Photography. Just after the first interview and release of Storm’s Wake, the publishing firm I was with went out of business 3 months later. Sadly, it happens. So, I spent 6 months pursuing other venues and decided after many rejected queries to postpone the release of my work until I was closer to having the series complete.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

JL: I would say the catalyst that started me writing this series was a combination of events. I began writing after lose my mother in 2008. I was in a really dark place in my life. I opened word, typed what I was feeling and a co-worker was walking by my desk and glanced over my shoulder at what I was writing. She said it sounded like a great opening to a book, had I ever considered writing. So, over the next few days, I started creating a story from the dark feelings I had. From there, I read my work to my family and they eagerly wanted to know what was happening next. So, I’d say my mother’s death was the start and my family’s interest became the influence that kept me going.

TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax? For fun?

JL: I enjoy watching some of my favorite tv shows with my family. Also, I have a hobby/business in photography that I work at. I know, you asked about relaxing and fun. I love editing and graphic design. I don’t see post editing as a chore. For me, it’s like working in a Zen Garden. Making minor changes here and there, it’s peaceful for me. I also love riding my motorcycle. This is very relaxing.

Storm's Wake coverTRC: STORM’S WAKE is the first installment (released in January 2012) in your Chronicles of Jake series. For anyone who has not read the storyline, would you please tell us something about the premise of the series?

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/

JL: Storm’s Wake, was initially released in 2012 and has been re-released this year back to Amazon. As for the premise of the series. While I don’t have one, dedicated premise or theme technically, I’d have to say that following what you believe, having faith in yourself and perseverance can and will lead to success, even if you fail along the way.

TRC: STORM’S RAGE, book two in The Chronicles of Jake Trilogy is about to be released. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Storm's RageJL: This is a continuation of the first book. The decisions and realizations become harder, testing his belief as more of who he is becomes evident.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story and series?

JL: My biggest challenge is my ADD. I have a struggle focusing my attention while I’m writing. Yes, while on a creative role, especially the first book, just seemed to happen. Book 2 has been more of a struggle as I’ve had to learn and adhere to writer concepts while attempting to perfect my craft. For this series, I have always seen it like a movie in my mind. I want my reader to actively imagine the book, challenging their minds to open to what I see.

TRC: From where did your ideas originate?

JL: I initially created this book from my emotional state. My friends and family have always said I have a vivid imagination. For me, inspiration for books can come from anything.

TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters in this storyline, which models or actors best represents your ideal image?

JL: This has been a question I’ve asked myself before. If I had the chance to cast for the characters, who would I pick? For Jake – Ian Somerhalder.. For Tessa – Scarlett Johansson or Jessica Alba

TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

JL: As being my first works, while creating the story/plot, it evolves and becomes its own entity (somewhat). I do add real locations and events to keep things grounded.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

JL: I’d say there is a mix of both at times. While this is written from Jake’s view, there is a realization that time and the world exist in parallel.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

JL: I believe each writer has their own style and voice. For myself, sharing my thoughts and words with my family allows me to see how they respond. I also have a select circle of friends who have different likes and follow different genres of work. Hearing their input allows me to see how my work will impact a reader, in a general sense. Sort of like a comedian testing his material on a small select audience. I believe some writer’s fail in this because they take their reader’s aspect out of the equation. If you’re not writing to entertain your audience, why are you writing?

TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?

JL: A famous writer once said, to be successful at writing you have to write every day. I too have suffered with writer’s block and it is difficult to overcome sometimes. For me, going on a ride, taking a break and looking at something else, reviewing whatever muse inspired your work, helps me get back on track.

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

JL: This might sound a little cliché but I’d like to be a best seller. I hope to one day be invited to writer’s conventions, scifi con’s, etc. Last, I’d like to see my work in the movies.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

JL: Book 3 is in the works. I also have a few new book ideas waiting for me for some much needed attention.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

JL: I believe readers will enjoy where this series is going and I want to wish everyone happy reading.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Sport – Basketball

Secret Celebrity Crush – Scarlett Johansson

Last Vacation Destination – Panama City Beach, FL.

Do you have any pets? - Yes. Dog, cat and 2 birds.

Last book you read – A Star Trek Novel by William Shatner

Pet Peeve – Disrespectful children.

TRC: Thank you JL for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you all the best in your writing career.

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The Chalet (The Submissive Series 3.5) by Tara Sue Me-Review and Interview

THE CHALET (The Submissive Trilogy 3.5) by Tara Sue Me-Review and Interview

The Chalet

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 21, 2014

New York Times bestselling author Tara Sue Me’s Submissive series is an international sensation. Now, Abby and Nathaniel’s story continues with their romantic wedding and a honeymoon too hot to believe…

Submitting her body was only the beginning.

Abby King didn’t know true passion until she gave herself to Nathaniel West, one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors and desired Dominants. Now, on the eve of her marriage, she realizes all her dreams are coming true. And with a romantic honeymoon getaway planned at a secluded Swiss chalet, she’s sure Nathaniel will find even more fantasies to fulfill…

Nathaniel never thought he’d settle down until Abby broke down his barriers and changed his plans. With their wedding only weeks away, he can barely wait to possess her completely—heart, body, and soul—and show her the true meaning of being both a wife and a submissive.

Only Abby has one more challenge in store before she becomes his: no sex and no collar for one month before the wedding. Nathaniel is willing to give it a shot but he has one scandalous stipulation—once that month is up, anything goes…

••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE CHALET is the latest installment in Tara Sue Me’s contemporary, adult The Submissive erotic romance series focusing on ‘Dom’ Nathaniel West and his submissive Abby King. Because THE CHALET is part of an ongoing series focusing on one couple, it should not be read as a stand alone because important background information about our couple is revealed in the previous storylines.

Told from alternating first person points of view (Abby and Nathaniel) THE CHALET is a novella that focuses on the weeks up to and after Abby and Nathaniel’s wedding wherein Abby has declared a no-sex policy during the 30 days prior to the ceremony. Nathaniel is a Dominant who fell in love with his sub, and because their Dom/sub relationship focuses more on the sexual aspect of their lives, the month of celibacy is something new. But it is during the honeymoon phase at a chalet in Zermatt, Switzerland where Abby will ask more of her Dominant than Nathaniel had expected to give. It is a time to explore her truly submissive side-not just on weekends-but throughout the week as well. When Abby accidentally calls Nathaniel ‘sir’ in a playful exchange, she begins to understand that perhaps she is a ‘true’ submissive –after all.

THE CHALET is a sexually graphic, erotic storyline that continues to explore the D/s sexual relationship of Abby and Nathaniel. While vacationing in the Swiss Alps, Abby will discover that she enjoys the submissive side of their relationship and is willing to accept everything Nathaniel has to offer.

The secondary characters include some of the previous storyline couples including Nathaniel’s cousin Jackson and his new wife (and Abby’s best friend) Felicia. Felicia is aware of Abby and Nathaniel’s relationship and is slowly learning to accept that her friend has a submissive side that needs to be addressed.

With THE CHALET, Tara Sue Me’s offers up another side of Abby and Nathaniel’s D/s relationship. Theirs is not a true, hardcore BDSM exchange but one built upon mutual understanding, marriage and love. I do foresee some difficulties in the relationship as Nathaniel will begin to demand more from Abby then she is willing to give.

Reading Order

1. The Submissive
2. The Dominant
3. The Training
3.5 The Chalet (October 2014)
4. The Enticement (April 2015)

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

TRC: Hi Tara and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the success of THE SUBMISSIVE series and the release of THE CHALET.

American Author Tara Sue Me We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Tara: Thank you for having me! Honestly, there’s not much to tell. I’m a forty-something mother of two who likes to write sexy love stories.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Tara: I think as a writer, everything, everyone, and every experience influences me in some way. Some more than others, certainly.

TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?

Tara: When I’m not writing, I’m usually thinking about writing! It’s so hard to turn my mind off or make the characters give me a few minutes of silence. For those rare opportunities I can, I either swim or read.

The ChaletTRC: THE CHALET is your most recent release (and novella) in THE SUBMISSIVE series focusing on DOM Nathaniel West and submissive Abby King. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Tara: So many readers wanted the details of Nathaniel and Abby’s wedding and to be honest, those details didn’t fit in with the plot of THE TRAINING. But as I thought about it, I decided it would be fun to see what happened at their wedding and where they went on their honeymoon. I couldn’t make an entire novel out of it, so I decided to write a novella.

TRC: SEDUCED BY FIRE is the first book in your new PARTNERS IN PLAY series. Would you please tell us something about the book?

Order: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository

Seduced by FireTara: SEDUCED BY FIRE tells the story of a woman exploring her submission and what she does with that information when she is faced with the dangerous side of play.

TRC: Do you have any information regarding the next book in the series?

Tara: Funny you should ask that. I’m actually combining Partners in Play with The Submissive Series. When I sat down to plot out the next few books, it made sense. Everyone is in the same geographical area, they’re about the same age, have the same interest, and Daniel and Nathaniel work in the same field.

The EnticementSo, you’ll see Julie, Daniel, and Jeff (from SEDUCED BY FIRE) in THE ENTICEMENT (April 2015) and then Jeff and Dena’s story will be out in July 2015 (THE COLLAR).

Pre Order : Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

TRC: What are your thoughts on writing a series and ending an installment with a major cliff hanger?

Tara: I know I don’t like it as a reader and for the most part, I won’t read a series until all the books are out if I think that’s going to happen.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Tara: I always like to think I’m directing the characters, but the truth is, nine times out of ten, they don’t listen to me and they do their own thing. I’ve learned, the hard way, they know what they’re talking about and that I need to listen to them.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Tara: A writer has to make the character act in character. This is actually one of my personal pet peeves when it comes to reading because if it’s not in character, the reader isn’t going to believe you no matter how well written the story is. I think as writers, we often feel the need to add drama or some issue to the plot and it doesn’t work because it doesn’t make sense.

The Submissive Trilogy

The Submissive (book 1):Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Barnes and Noble / KOBO/ The Book Depository

The Dominant (book 2): Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

The Training (book 3): Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO

TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?

Tara: Writer’s block for me occurs because I want the scene to be absolutely perfect and I know it won’t be with the first draft. I have to tell myself just to get words on the paper and fix it later. Butt in chair. Writing. Even when you don’t feel like it.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Tara: Mr. Sue Me is good to bounce ideas off and my crit partner, Elle, is awesome, too. The general premise for THE ENTICEMENT came about after a chat with another crit partner, Cyndy.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Tara: I’m currently working on THE COLLAR. This is Jeff and Dena’s story and it’s unlike anything I’ve written before. Jeff and Dena are an experienced BDSM couple with a common tragic history they think won’t allow for a future.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food Salmon

Favorite Dessert Anything chocolate

Favorite TV Show Property Brothers

Last Movie You Saw Maleficent

Favorite Musical Group The Police

Dark or Milk Chocolate Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush David Gandy

Last Vacation Destination Alaska

Pet Peeve Aggressive drivers

TRC: Thank you Tara for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the success of THE SUBMISSIVE series.

Tara: Thank you for having me!

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Seducing the Groom by Cheryl Holt-Review and Interview

Seducing the Groom by Cheryl Holt-Review and Interview

Seducing the Groom

ebook only .99¢ at time of posting: Amazon link not available until release date

Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 30, 2014

Stephen St. John, Viscount Banbury, is in a bind. His father has cut off his allowance, so he’s had to rein in his decadent habits and split with his beautiful, spoiled mistress whom he can no longer afford. When an American heiress comes to London and dangles her fortune in Stephen’s direction, he sees it as the answer to his prayers. He’ll wed the pretty, delectable heiress, but he won’t let her interfere with his decadent lifestyle. He’s a confirmed bachelor and determined to have a marriage of convenience.

Ellen Foster has traveled to London for the express purpose of buying a titled husband. She’s been husband shopping for months and can’t make up her mind. All the available candidates seem tepid and boring. But when she lays eyes on handsome, dashing Stephen St. John, she knows he’s the one, and with her large fortune as bait, he’s easily snared in her web.

When he suggests a marriage of convenience, she pretends to agree. But she has no intention of living separate lives. She plans to enjoy every delightful, wicked minute that marriage to a rake can provide. With Stephen determined to avoid her, seduction seems the only choice.

Though Stephen doesn’t realize it, Ellen always gets her way, and as she turns their bedchamber into a den of erotic pleasure, poor Stephen doesn’t stand a chance…

•••••••••

 

4 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Well that was a sassy, naughty historical read. I enjoyed that!

Seducing the Groom by Cheryl Holt is a historical erotica novella about a bride taking care of her business on her wedding night. Ellen Foster, American heiress has just married notorious English rake Stephen St. Jean. Stephen has been cut off from his family and is in dire need of a prosperous union. When he agrees to marry Ellen, little does he know that this seemingly proper heiress has been spinning her web and will ensure that this so called “proper marriage” is more naughty than proper. On their wedding night, Ellen poses as the aloof bride while parading around tempting her groom. Stephen is taken back when his bride appears to be anything but interested, which funny enough, gets his clock ticking. Off we go on a naughty cat and mouse chase that stirs the blood, makes you smile and believe that a little deceit can go a long way.

A pretty quick read. I did find it a little flowery at times, but that is complimentary to the historical genre. I suppose that means I like my smut a little more modern even when it’s displayed in a different genre. That being said, I have discovered a new author in one of my fave genre’s and I look forward to reading more by her.

Like a quick yummy read with a splash of vixen and rake … check this one out!

HAPPY READING! :)

Copy supplied by the publisher

Reviewed by Rachel T.
Interview

TRC: Hi Cheryl. Welcome to The Reading Cafe. Congratulations on the upcoming release of SEDUCING THE GROOM.

Cheryl HoltWe would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

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Cheryl: I have been writing for twenty years and published for 14 of them. I am a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” author. I’m considered one of the masters of the romance genre, and for years, I was hailed as the “Queen” of erotic romance. I don’t write erotics anymore. But I do write some of the most wicked, driven characters in the world, so I’m also known as the International Queen of Villains. I’m currently writing Novel #38.

TRC: With the numerous degrees to your name including a career as a lawyer, who or what was behind your decision to become an author?

Cheryl: I started writing novels because I had two babies back to back, and I was suddenly stuck at home, and trying to figure out how to earn an income at home to replace the one I’d lost by leaving the workforce. There aren’t many options for a woman who wants to work at home, and most of them involve selling cosmetics or something like that. I don’t have the skills to sell things, and I’d always thought I might write a book someday. I jumped into it—when I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I just forged ahead and figured it out in a big way.

TRC: Would you please tell us something about your latest release- SEDUCING THE GROOM?

Seducing the GroomCheryl: My new book, SEDUCING THE GROOM, is a sort of “lost” book for me. I originally wrote it in 2004, when I was just starting to be acclaimed as the Queen of erotics. It was published in an erotic anthology, but the price was $15.00 so very few people bought it or read it. The rights recently reverted to me, so I’m releasing the book myself, and I’m excited that everyone will finally have a chance to read it.

My books are set in Regency England, which is early 1800s London. The hero is a rake and confirmed bachelor who—due to his extravagant living—has had his allowance cut off by his aristocratic father. He’s desperate to refill his bank accounts, and he meets and weds an American heiress who’s in London and looking for a husband.

He hardly knows her, but weds her merely to spite his father. Before the wedding, he tells her that he’d like to have a marriage of convenience, and she pretends to agree. In reality, she has no intention of living through a chaste marriage, and she sets about to seduce him on their wedding night.

TRC: Is SEDUCING THE GROOM a stand alone storyline or part of a series?

Cheryl: The book is a stand-alone story.

TRC: What are your thoughts on historical accuracy when writing a fictional historical romance novel? Do you believe the readers want historical accuracy in the storyline?

Cheryl: I think readers want and like historical accuracy in a book, but in my case, my plots aren’t ever dependent on a historical event. They are simply set in a certain time period—the Regency Period in England, which is the favorite time period for romance readers—so I know all the fashions and carriages and that sort of thing. I don’t have to do research for each book, because I know the historical details to put into the story. My historicals have more to do with the historical setting (particularly the restrictions placed on women during that era) than actual historical events, and the plots never revolve around historical events. However, during this period, there were plenty of wars raging, so many times, my heroes are war veterans or have fought in famous battles.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Cheryl: I direct the characters; the characters never direct me. I always have several storylines in a book, and I have lots of plot twists and turns, so I can’t let the characters just go off on their own, or they’d never arrive at the places they’re supposed to be at the appropriate plot points.

I do an enormous amount of prep work before I ever start writing the rough draft. I write in-depth storylines, and I block out chapters and scenes before I ever type the first word. When I finally sit down at the computer to write, I know exactly what will happen in each chapter and each scene.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Cheryl: In my books, I always use larger than life characters, and the stakes are always very high for the characters—particularly the heroine. I like her to be in dire straits because it pushes her to make choices she wouldn’t usually make. I also always use very macho, very tough heroes. They’re the kind of men who bluster through life, taking what they want without regard to the consequences. And I use very wicked, very driven villains who will do whatever is necessary to achieve their goals.

These bigger choices mean that I can include much bigger “scenes”, with lots of emotion, heartbreak, and betrayal. Lots of “stuff” happens in my books. People get killed, people get betrayed, people have their dreams dashed. I use big issues and big characters and big events, so that when readers get to a certain plot point, they’re shocked or hurt or enraged or emotionally drained right along with the characters.

I think writers fail at raising the emotional temperature in their books because they don’t make big choices. They don’t raise the stakes for their characters, and if the stakes are low or non-existent, there’s very little “feeling” to the writing. I think this is a particular problem in the romance genre, where the books are more often simply a character study that examines how two people meet and fall in love. But if the characters are nice to each other in the beginning, nice in the middle, and nice at the end, there’s no character arc and nowhere for the story to go.

TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?

Cheryl: I don’t ever suffer writer’s block. I have been doing this for many years, and I’m very experienced as a writer. As I mentioned above, I block out my books before I ever start writing the first page. So when I sit down at my computer in the morning to get to work, I know precisely where I am in the story and what has to happen in the scene I’m writing.

I always tell new writers that the “cure” for writer’s block is to get more experienced as a writer. Finish the book you’re working on, then start the next one. Finish it, and move on to the next one. With each book a writer finishes, he or she becomes much more experienced and has a clearer of idea of how to get from the beginning to the end. Experience will insure that you don’t get lost in the middle.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story and series?

Cheryl: I didn’t have any challenges or difficulties.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Cheryl: I don’t bounce ideas off anyone. I constantly have new ideas pop into my head, and I always jot them down. When I get ready to start a new book, I go to my list of ideas, pick one, and get started. I have a great “feel” for story and characters, and I know what works and what doesn’t in my stories. I don’t need to bounce ideas off anyone.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

wonderfulCheryl: Currently, I’m working on my next trilogy, which will be novels #37, #38, and #39 for me. I’m calling it the “Lost Lords of Radcliffe,” but I’m not ready to release much more info than that. I have a big book launch coming in January, and I’ll spread all the details then What I can tell you is that when I finished my last trilogy, my Reluctant Brides, the 3rd and final book was titled, WONDERFUL. I left a plot line dangling, so I could move one of the characters into my next series of books.

The three books of the Lost Lords trilogy tell the stories of the Blair siblings. When they were very young children, their mother was convicted of a crime and sent to the penal colonies in Australia. Her four children were left behind in England and cast to the winds of fate. In WONDERFUL, two of the siblings cross paths by accident. In the new Lost Lords trilogy, they begin the search for their other lost siblings, and they begin the fight to reclaim their stolen heritage.

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

Cheryl: I have a three-year goal right now—rather than a five-year one. My main goal over the next three years is to finish 11 more novels, so that in three years, I will have written 50 novels. I can write 3-4 books per year now, so I think I should be able to get there with no problem.

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Cheryl: If I’d known how to make a different life happen for myself when I was younger, I would have been a singer and songwriter.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food—potatoes, cooked any style

Favorite Dessert—anything chocolate

Favorite TV Show—Chopped on HGTV

Last Movie You Saw—Guardians of the Galaxy

Dark or Milk Chocolate—Milk Chocolate

Secret Celebrity Crush—none

Last Vacation Destination—Oahu in Hawaii

Pet Peeve—people who read their emails, but don’t answer them! Or who read their text messages but don’t answer them! Or who never listen to their voicemail!

TRC: Thank you Cheryl for taking the time to answers our questions. We wish you all the best.

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