Interview with Cover Model & DJ Mitchell Wick

Interview with Cover Model & DJ Mitchell Wick

TRC:  Hi Mitchell and welcome to The Reading Café.

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

Follow Mitchell: Facebook / Instgram / Twitter / Website

Mitchell Wick 12Mitchell:  Hey I’m Mitchell Wick, born in Sydney, Australia. I’m the youngest of three, with two older sisters and  a very close family which are everything to me. Enjoy getting outdoors and keeping fit, when I’m not doing that I’m working on my music 🙂

TRC:  What were your dreams and aspirations growing up?

Mitchell:  Wanted to be a professional footballer (soccer) 

TRC:  What first sparked your interest in modeling? Is there a defining moment where you knew that modeling was something you were interested in pursuing?

Mitchell:  I was approached at a music festival in Miami, USA. At the time I was over working at my current job (telecommunications technician) so decided to take the risk and give it a go! Best decision of my life to date haha 🙂

Mitchell Wick Trio


TRC:  Have you ever had a photo shoot that went completely wrong?

Mitchell:  Wouldn’t say completely wrong but Ive had some rough days that’s for sure, one especially in Colombia when not one person in the crew could speak English which made for a very difficult long day of shooting!


TRC:  Nudity in modeling or acting can be controversial.  Some pictures can cross the line between sexuality to pornography. What would you tell young models/actors just entering the business about nude modeling and photography?

Mitchell Wick Leslie McAdam duo

Mitchell:  Nudity is part of life and if shot properly is beautiful, but if its not then it can be the total opposite and you don’t want to be apart of that! You have to be smart about who you are going to shoot nude with and really trust that photographers vision and have a good relationship with them beforehand to make sure you are both comfortable. Also make sure you know what the images are going to be used for exactly and the mood of the shoot before you commit to anything!


TRC:  The modeling industry exposes you to many people and sometimes it can be very stressful.  What do you do when the stress becomes overwhelming?

Mitchell:  Escape to a place I know I can forget about everything like going surfing or hiking, these are the best ways for me to clear my mind, relieve stress and just enjoy nature without worrying about a thing!

TRC:  At times, there has been a ‘stigma’ surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry but the popularity of the romance story line has skyrocketed in the last few years especially with the erotic and sensual cover images. What is your opinion about the recent popularity and the very busy industry of the ‘romance cover model’?

Mitchell Wick Kim Karr covers

Mitchell:  As I’ve been on multiple romance covers now its obviously great for me as its work, but on top of that I really enjoy seeing my image on the cover of these books and the buzz it creates!

TRC:  Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Mitchell:  For sure, I believe a appealing cover plays a huge part of a successful book. Who wants to pick up and read something thats not visually appealing to the reader? Especially for a romance novel!

TRC:  Do you know the number of novel covers that your image has appeared?

Mitchell:  I believe around 7-8

TRC:  Do you remember the first romance cover on which you appeared? Do you have a favorite?

Mitchell Wicke Cover 4Mitchell:  I do, my first cover was for Leslie McAdams – Stars in the sky, she was amazing and got me involved with the community 🙂


TRC:  Would you please tell us what you do to relax?

Mitchell:  Surf, hike, listen to music and hang with friends.

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

Mitchell:  Greater success in modelling/DJing, start a family & settle down in one place 🙂


TRC:  What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

Mitchell:  I can’t give that away then everyone will know right? ….. but I sleep kinda weird with my arms tucked up at times…. you have to see it to believe haha it’s a little odd 🙂


TRC:  What do you believe is the biggest misconception about modeling ?

Mitchell Wick duo 2

Mitchell:  Easy work and high paying, its not true at all! Its a hustle and very testing at times but I love what I do and will continue to keep pushing myself to achieve more in the industry!

TRC:  What type of music do you listen to? What songs are on your playlist today?

Mitchell:  House & techno mostly, that’s what I mix when DJing 🙂

TRC:  On what on your currently working?

Mitchell:  DJing tour 🙂

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Seafood

Favorite Dessert: Frozen Yoghurt

Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption

Favorite TV Show: Game Of Thrones

Last Movie that you saw: Wind River

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk

Do you have any pets? No, I travel too much 🙁

Pet Peeve: Greed

TRC:  Thank you Mitchell for taking the time to answer our questions.Congratulations on all of your success and the amazing cover images. We wish you all the best and many more covers !!

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Heart of Honor (Knights of Honor #5) by Alexa Aston-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

HEART OF HONOR (Knights of Honor #5) by Alexa Aston-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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HEART OF HONOR
Knights of Honor #5
by Alexa Aston
Release Date: August 21, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, medieval romance

Heart of Honor

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 21, 2017

1375 A.D. – When Sir Christopher “Kit” Emory’s beloved mother falls ill, he decides to seek the help of someone he met briefly at the royal court years ago—Lady Alys de Montfort, a renowned healer despite her young age. While traveling to her home at Kinwick Castle, Kit is accosted by a band of highwayman, who beat and rob him, leaving him to die. Fortunately, an escort party comes across him and Lady Alys insists they take the stranger home so she can use her skill in the healing arts to save his life.

The man awakens and has no memory of his identity, but Alys believes he might be Kit Emory, a young man she’d met once when she was a young girl. Kit comforted her when the queen died and Alys never forgot his kindness to her. Alys does what she can to jog Kit’s memory, even as she struggles with her growing attraction to him, knowing Kit was betrothed and must now be wed. Kit also finds his desire deepening for Alys, but he doesn’t know his own name, much less if he has a wife or family. Until he recalls who he is, he refuses to commit his heart to Alys.

Once Kit regains his memory and realizes he is free to pursue Alys, their road to love is anything but smooth.

Join Kit and Alys as they overcome events that continue to tear them apart and threaten the love they have for one another.

Each book in the Knights of Honor series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: Heart of Honor is a medieval romance and book five of the Knights of Honor series by Alexa Aston.

This is the story of Christopher Emory and Alys de Montfort. If you are fortunate enough to have read the other books in this series, you will recognize Alys as the daughter of Lord Geoffrey and Lady Merryn. This wonderful story is every bit as talentedly written as the others.

Alys is in court and serving the ailing Queen Phillipa when she meets Kit (aka Christopher). He has been sent by the king to ask Alys to attend to the king’s headache. She also was requested by the queen to bring the king to see the queen. They have a momentous first meeting and the king attends the queen on her deathbed. This is also where she learns Kit (the only man to attract her attentions) is betrothed to another.

Six years later, Alys is home at Kinwick castle and learning more from her beloved mother. Her father and others have just returned from fighting the French. Kit has also returned from the war to find his beloved mother ill, his unbeloved wife dead. With his mother very ill, he remembers the lovely girl (the only one he’s ever been really attracted to) comes to mind as a wonderful healer and the wife he really wants to have. He immediately sets out to retrieve the Lady Alys for both reasons.

On his way to Kinwick, he is beset by robbers. The Montfort’s are escorting their sons back to their fostering home and find the unconscious man, stripped naked and left for dead. Alys doesn’t recognize him but sends for a cart and they take him to Kinwick for healing.

This is what begins this marvelously romantic and adventurous story. The twists are heart rending and the love scenes are heart thumping. The story is fast paced and full of familiar and wonderful characters. The two main characters are wonderfully developed and capture you heart.

If you’re a fan of this series, this story does not disappoint. If you have not read this series, Good Lord why not? These are tales of knights of honor and adventure, love at its finest. Do yourself a favor and put these in your collection or your TBR. You’ll be happy, I promise.

Click HERE for Georgianna’s review of book 3 CODE OF HONOR

Copy supplied for review.

Reviewed by Georgianna S

Guest Post

The Code of a Medieval Knight

I’m in the middle of writing my Knights of Honor English medieval romance series, so I’ve been doing tons of research about knights—their training, their oath of knighthood ceremony, and what they are responsible for once they’ve become a knight of the realm.

Various sources report about the vows every knight took. French literary historian Leon Gautier published La Chevalerie in 1883, where he tried to summarize many of the vows knights took into what he termed the Ten Commandments of Chivalry. They included:
• Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions
• Thou shalt defend the Church.
• Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
• Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
• Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
• Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
• Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
• Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
• Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
• Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil
In The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland), an epic poem based upon 778’s Battle of Roncevaux, Charlemagne’s knights adhered to this code of honor:
• To fear God and maintain His Church
• To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
• To protect the weak and defenceless
• To give succour to widows and orphans
• To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
• To live by honour and for glory
• To despise pecuniary reward
• To fight for the welfare of all
• To obey those placed in authority
• To guard the honour of fellow knights
• To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
• To keep faith
• At all times to speak the truth
• To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
• To respect the honour of women
• Never refuse a challenge from an equal
• Never turn the back upon a foe
Taking all of these vows into account, I began crafting my different heroes and their stories. In my first Knights of Honor tale, Word of Honor, I combined a few of these ideas and had my hero Geoffrey de Montfort remain true to the word he had pledged to another and living a life of honor by keeping a sacred promise—even though it almost costs him the woman he loves, his wife, Merryn.

In Book 2, Marked by Honor, my knight Raynor Le Roux must protect weak and defenseless (or is she?) heroine Beatrice Bordel. He also must persevere to the end and remain true to his commitment to deliver Beatrice to her betrothed, although his heart breaks in doing so, for he has fallen in love with this lady.

Book 3, Code of Honor, has knight Michael Devereux valiantly serving his liege lord, Geoffrey de Montfort—and falling in love with Geoffrey’s niece—as well as keeping his faith in God and restoring his mother to her rightful, honorable position.

Journey to Honor, Book 4, features Kenric Fairfax, a fierce knight who believes he hasn’t lived up to his knightly code and hacks off his hard-won spurs, which reveals to the world he’s fallen short of his duties. With the help—and love—of heroine Avelyn Le Cler, Kenric redeems his honor and once more is seen wearing his spurs.

In my latest release, Book 5’s Heart of Honor, hero Kit Emory doesn’t even know if he’s a knight! Kit was attacked on the road and suffered a head injury, causing amnesia so severe that he doesn’t even know his own name. Heroine Alys de Montfort helps in the recovery of his memory, and Kit rises to the challenge, showing his valor and resourcefulness.

As I continue writing this series, I will weave in as many of these knightly tenets as I can!

One random commenter will win an electronic copy of Heart of Honor.

Stay in touch with me through my social media sites:

Website: https://alexaaston.com
Blog: http://www.embracingromance.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexaAston
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralexaaston
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15846438.Alexa_Aston
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/alexaaston
Newsletter: http://madmimi.com/signups/422152/join

(A special thanks again to The Reading Café for having me as their guest today. They have been supportive of my Lauren Linwood books and now my Alexa Aston books, as well.)

giveaway

Alexa Aston offering an ecopy of HEART OF HONOR 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

3. Follow Alexa Aston on Facebook.

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

9. Giveaway runs from September 2-6, 2017

 

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The Flirtation (The Submissive #10) by Tara Sue Me-Rview, Guest Post & Giveaway

THE FLIRTATION (The Submissive #10) by Tara Sue Me- Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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THE FLIRTATION
The Submissive #10
by Tara Sue Me
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, BDSM, romance

The Flirtation

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 8, 2017

Lynne has not wanted for anything since she began working as Nathaniel and Abby’s nanny–until the night they invite her to a group BDSM meeting. The abrupt breakup she had with her last Dom made her turn her back on the lifestyle, but now she’s ready to dive back in. When she starts chatting on online BDSM message boards, she’s shocked to discover Simon, her former Dom, is a frequent poster–and even more shocked at herself when she creates a secret identity and strikes up a conversation.

After messaging with a mysterious submissive online, Simon forms an immediate connection. Lynne and Simon’s D/s relationship grows in intensity, but can their relationship survive after the truth is exposed, and Lynne’s identity is laid bare?

•••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE FLIRTATION is the tenth installment in Tara Sue Me’s contemporary, adult THE SUBMISSIVE erotic, BDSM romance series. This is Dominant and sadist Simon Neal, and masochist, nanny and college student Lynne Ryder’s story line. THE FLIRTATION can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. Several characters from previous installments, including Nathaniel and Abby West, cross over for cohesion and familiarity.

NOTE: If you have issues with S & M (Sadism and Masochism) including whipping, flogging, spanking and punishment, this story line may not be for you.

Told from dual third person points of view (Simon and Lynne) THE FLIRTATION is a second chance romance story line that focuses on the rekindling relationship between Dominant and sadist Simon Neal, and the woman he claims as his own-masochist, and nanny Lynne Ryder. Months earlier Lynne Ryder was the submissive to Simon Neal but when Simon abruptly cut off their relationship Lynne found her life spiraling out of control including the loss of her job, a broken heart, and leaving the lifestyle she was growing to love. Working for Nathaniel and Abby West as their live-in nanny Lynne took stock of her life and with the decision to return to school to become a primary school teacher, our heroine found herself living in the West’s Manhattan penthouse, preparing for a future at Columbia University. But curiosity got the best of Lynne Ryder, as she began an internet search of the man who broke her heart-Simon Neal-masochist and Manhattan Dominant-and the man with whom Lynne had fallen in love. What ensues is an online relationship of lies between Lynne and Simon-a relationship that will fall apart when Simon discovers the truth about the woman he believes is someone else.

THE FLIRTATION is a story of second chances but Simon and Lynne will fall victim to an act of vengeance, jealousy and betrayal. Not only will Simon and Lynne be targeted but so will Simon’s New York BDSM club-a club that prides itself in privacy and anonymity. With so many unresolved issues between them Lynne’s lies add fire to an already volatile situation.

The relationship between Simon and Lynne is one of second chances but Lynne’s lies and online fake persona push Simon when the truth is revealed. The numerous $ex scenes are intimate; the S & M scenes are erotic and intense but may not be suitable for all readers.

There are a large number of secondary and supporting characters including Nathaniel and Abby (The Submissive Series), Dominants Cole Johnson and Luke DeVaan, as well as submissive Anna Beth.

THE FLIRTATION is a sexually graphic story line. The premise is interesting but the secondary conflict, the threats against our story line couple, seemed unnecessary and overdone. In my opinion it was a futile attempt to bring suspense into an otherwise predictable story line. The characters are colorful and energetic; the romance is erotic and intense. I received an ARC copy for review and the story line ended at 70%. The remaining 30% was a bonus novella-THE CLAIMING-originally released in September 2016.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

guest post

When I finished writing THE TRAINING, I had no plans to write anything else with Nathaniel and Abby. Their story had been told. After all, not only did I leave them happily engaged, but the Epilogue gave a sneak peek into their life after children.

But as soon as THE TRAINING was published,I started to hear from readers about how they wanted to see the wedding and the honeymoon. There wasn’t enough story to write an entire novel, so I decided to do a novella, THE CHALET.

And I still got requests for more.

So I thought about it and realized if I continued AND expanded, I not only got the opportunity to explore the relationships of different couples, but also to get glimpses of Nathaniel and Abby. In writing what would become THE ENTICEMENT, I realized that Nathaniel and Abby still had a lot of story left in their journey. After all, life doesn’t end with the Happily-Ever-After. That’s when it begins.

Because, you see, the wedding is never the end of the story, but the gateway into an entirely different one. There is so much that happens AFTER the couple gets together, AFTER the honeymoon, and yes, AFTER the kids are born. And it’s raw and real. It’s sexy and intimate. And it’s terrible and beautiful and so much more intense because OMG, you’re in this deal FOR LIFE.

The risk, of course, is throwing drama into the story for the sake of drama and I’ve never been a fan of that. There needs to be drama, but it has to develop naturally from the character’s growth and (big one here) it has to make sense. Any reader who has been with me since THE SUBMISSIVE will know immediately if I have Nathaniel or Abby act out of character and the story won’t be believable to them.

And that, that heartache and happiness, that joyous triumph, that emotional and physical connection with your soulmate is something worth writing about.

Just like everything else in life, writing a set of characters through several books is a balancing act. Treat it delicately and the story will flow. Throw everything but the kitchen sink at it and you’ll only have a hot mess.

I’m not a plotter and that works well for my writing style. I love not knowing what’s going to happen next in a book. I think I’m able to enjoy it because in romance you’re guaranteed a happily-ever-after. That gives me a certain level of comfort and I hope it does the same for my readers. They can go along with me because they know no matter what I put the the main character through, everything’s going to turn out okay.

The thing I have to remember as an author, though, is I can throw the twists in, but they 1) have to make sense and 2) there needs to be trail of breadcrumbs. I don’t think the reader has to see the breadcrumbs on the first read, but they have to be there. When they go back and reread the second time, that’s when they think, “Ohhh, now I see.”

The other thing that is imperative listening and trusting your author voice, which is more than your story voice, but also the one in your head that talks to you while you write.

If you’re a writer, you know all about That Scene. It’s the one where you stare at your laptop for hours at end. The one you try every trick you know and still only net 500 words, if that many. For me, it’s been up to two weeks of author hell, knowing something was wrong, that ended with me deciding I didn’t care what words I put on paper, I just wanted words.

And when I went back over them, that’s all they were, words. But the scene was finished so I wrapped up the chapter, sent it to my crit partner, and wiped my hands of it. Now as a writer, you need a crit partner who will be brutally honest with you. And that’s what mine was. She confirmed what I knew: the scene was merely there. There was no emotion, no intensity, nothing.

I took a deep breath and went back to the scene, determined to make it work. The first thing I did was start over completely. I didn’t want to use any of the previous words. I wanted a clean start. And so, even though part of me feared I was going to spend another two weeks struggling, I went to work.

I decided to change POV from the hero to the heroine. Just to see how it went. Maybe she’d be chattier while I was writing. I started typing and hours later the scene was finished. What had taken two weeks in the wrong POV was completed in hours in the right one.

Lastly, you can’t talk about writing romance and not talk about sex (well, you can, but you shouldn’t.) Let’s face it, we all know how sex works. And yes, writing it well is a must for erotic romance. However, you could craft the most perfect, mind-blowing, finely crafted sex scene, but if I’m not emotionally engaged with the couple, it’s going to fall flat.

If you were to ask me what makes one erotic romance better than another, it wouldn’t be how well the sex is written, the number of sex scenes, or even how creative the couple was during sex. What makes an erotic romance stand out for me is everything surrounding the sex. That’s what connects me with the characters.

It’s that connection with the characters that makes the physical scenes so intensely satisfying. It’s much easier to write insert part A into part B, but when you do that, it becomes exactly what it sounds like – cardboard. And cardboard may have its place, but erotic romance isn’t one of them.

Good erotic romance, the really good erotic romance, has the power to transcend itself beyond the sex into a work of fiction that literally makes your heart race and your knees turn to jelly.

And isn’t that why we all read romance?

~~Tara Sue Me~~

About the Author

FOLLOW: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Tara-Sue-Me-

Tara Sue Me is the New York Times bestselling author of the Submissive series, including The Enticement, The Training, The Dominant, and The Submissive. She lives in the southeastern United States with her family, two dogs, and a cat.

Giveaway

The Reading Cafe and Tara Sue Me’s publisher are offering a paper copy of THE FLIRTATION 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

3. Follow Tara Sue Me on Facebook.

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from August 9-13, 2017

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An Interview & Giveaway with author Robin Bielman

An Interview and Giveaway with author Robin Bielman

Talk British to Me Giveaway Robin Bielman

TRC: Congratulations on the June 2017 release of TALK BRITISH TO ME

Robin Bielman

Robin: Hi! Thank you so much! And thanks for having me here today.

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

 

Website /Facebook /Twitter /Goodreads/

Robin: I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We have two boys and a mini labradoodle named Harry, and since it’s baseball season, that’s what’s on TV all. the. time. 🙂 Right now I’m on a taco kick, and since it’s been quite warm in So Cal, an ice blended vanilla latte kick, too. 🙂

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Robin: I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it took a long time for me to figure out it was romance novels I wanted to write. The first romances I read were by Carly Phillips and Vicki Lewis Thompson, so I’d say they had a big influence on me as I learned the craft.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Robin: Time is probably my biggest hurdle! I also have a part-time day job, so between that and wanting to be with my family, too, I often struggle with managing it all.

Talk British to MeTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of TALK BRITISH TO ME and the WHEREVER YOU GO series? Will Harper and Levi’s story be next?

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon. uk / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo / ibooks /

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of TALK BRITISH TO ME

Robin: The book takes place in Los Angeles and centers around Mateo and Teague. Mateo is The Dating Guy on a popular morning radio show and he uses a British accent and fake name (Bennett) to stay anonymous. Teague works for the biggest wedding planner in Beverly Hills and has a huge crush on “Bennett.” When she meets the all-American Mateo IRL, friendship and sexy shenanigans ensue as the two navigate their feelings for each other. 🙂 And yes! Harper and Levi’s story is next.

TRC: Do you have any plans to participate in another multi-authored series similar to the Bachelor Auction?

Robin: That was so much fun to write and I loved working with other authors, but no. Right now I have no plans for another series like that. I am, however, co-writing a book with the awesome Samanthe Beck, and I’m super excited about it. It’s scheduled to release early next year.

TRC: What kind of research/plotting do you do, and how long do you spend researching /plotting before beginning a book?

Robin: I am a huge pantser! Which means I write by the seat of my pants, and don’t spend a ton of time plotting before I start writing. I do flesh out my characters and have a brief outline so I have some idea of the story, but basically I love to just jump in and go where my characters take me. Sometimes this backfires on me, and I stare at my computer screen for hours before typing a word, and on those days I wish I was a plotter! LOL

TRC: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

Robin: I don’t think it changed my process. However, having deadlines now means I have to get the words on the page no matter what.

TRC: What was your hardest scene –ever-to write?

Robin: Ever? Hmm…I think it’s one in my next book, actually. I can’t give it away, but it involves Harper and her past.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. Many authors are re-issuing their previously erotic story lines with ‘cleaner’ versions without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. What do you believe has precipitated this move or change in direction?

Robin: I think it’s probably to reach a broader audience. I love reading all kinds of romance, but I think universally, what we all love is the “will they?” or “won’t they?” and that’s written in the sexual tension between characters, not the actual act.

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Robin: Definitely.

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

Robin: My characters totally lead me!

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line 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?

Robin: Have a good editor. For me, I’m lucky in that my amazing editor always knows where to help me dig deeper so that readers will hopefully feel what my characters are feeling. It’s hard to always get what’s in my head on the page and that might be where we all falter without some assistance from someone who is reading the story with fresh eyes.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?

Robin: I don’t listen to music while writing, but I often listen before I write. Usually when I’m on my treadmill. That’s where I do my best thinking!

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Robin: That writing a book is easy. It’s hard!

TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

Robin: Growing up, I played competitive tennis and had dreams of being a professional.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Robin: I’m currently working on the third book in my Wherever You Go series. It’s Elliot’s turn!

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Robin: Thanks again!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Tacos, sushi, strawberries, cinnamon toast

Favorite Dessert: Anything chocolate

Favorite TV Show: I have many, but currently it’s Younger (love that show!)

Last Movie You Saw: The Mummy

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Both

Secret Celebrity Crush: Chris Hemsworth (although it’s not so secret)

Last Vacation Destination: Big vacation: Australia (it was amazing) Small vacation: San Diego (it was wonderful)

Do you have any pets? The best dog ever!

Last book you read: The Last Guy (loved it!)

TRC: Thank you Robin for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release.

Robin: Thank you so much!! xoxo

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Robin Bielman’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of TALK BRITISH TO ME to ONE (1) 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.

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The Playboy Prince and the Nanny by Donna Alward – Review, Tour & Guest Post

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny by Donna Alward – Review, Tour & Guest Post

 

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The Playboy Prince and the NannyAmazon / B&N Nook / Google Play / Kobo  / iBooks

Description:
Prince Diego Navarro is the “spare” to his brother’s “heir”. While Raoul performs his crown prince duties with the appropriate sense of nobility and poise, Diego’s garnered a bit of a reputation as a playboy – despite the good he does behind the scenes with his favorite charities.

But when tragedy strikes and his sister-in-law is killed in a car accident, Diego knows it’s time for the playboy to step up. If not for his brother, then for his niece and nephew, who now find themselves without a mother.

Which is where Rose Walters comes in.

Rose isn’t intimidated by money or glitz. The veteran nanny has worked for the rich and minimally famous, but a manor house is no comparison to a castle… or the handsome princes who live there. However, the worst thing she could possibly do is fall for the gorgeous playboy with a surprising heart of gold. He’s a prince; she’s the help. He lives in the tabloids; she loves her privacy. But when her two darling charges start to play matchmaker, Diego and Rose don’t stand a chance.

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny is the first book in Donna Alward’s royal duology.

 

Review:

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny by Donna Alward is the first book in her Royal Duology. Once again, Donna Alward gives us a wonderful sweet delightful romance.  The Playboy Prince and the Nanny revolves around a Royal family, but this book was so much fun to read, as every single character was great, and I loved every moment of it.

Prince Diego Navarro is with his friends at a bar, living the life of a playboy prince, when he sees on the television the news of terrible tragedy in his homeland of Mazazur.  His sister in law and the nanny were killed in the horrific car crash, and Diego heads home to help his brother, Raoul, the crown prince, as well  as his niece and nephew through this trying time.  Raoul has always performed along with his father, the King all the duties required of nobility, leaving Diego to live his fun wild life.  But Diego is determined to step in and show his brother and father that he is more than capable of handling any duties required.  It will be Diego who will hire a new nanny to help with the children.

Enter Rose Walters, the new nanny, who has come with excellent references with the rich and famous.  Rose knows the rules, and is very good at her job.   Rose was wonderful with her two charges, Emilia and Max, and in a short time they come to love her, as does she, and helps them learn to adapt to the loss of their mother.  When Rose arrived, she was met by Diego, and though he was handsome, caring and totally different than his playboy image, she knew she needed to avoid him as much as possible.  Her attraction to him was real, and soon Diego will find himself enjoying the friendship he had with Rose.  Both of them find it hard to keep their distance, as Diego tried to spend time with the children and Rose. 

Of course, with a Royal family, pictures are secretly taken and Rose find herself exactly where she did not want to be; on the cover of the papers.  She was help, and he was a prince.  There could be no future.  Rose must decide if she should stay, or leave the precious children, who would get hurt again. However, the Navarro family does not let the media dictate their lives, and to her surprise, Raoul and his father are supportive, finding themselves caring about her, too.  Diego is determined to show Rose how much he loves her and that she will be accepted into the Royal family.  I loved Diego and Rose together, and I adored both Max and Emilia. 

The ending was so well done, happily emotional and very satisfactory.  If you enjoy a sweet well written romance, with so many likeable characters, you should read The Playboy Prince and the Nanny.  If you have not read Donna Alward, and you enjoy romances, you should be reading her books.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

 

Guest Post-White and Aqua

The Inspiration behind the Princes of Marazur…

When it came to really sitting down and planning out the Princes of Marazur duet, I had to do some serious thinking about my princes. I’d already established them a bit in The Rancher’s Runaway Princess, but this was different. They had more of a walk-on role in that book, and now they were going to be center stage.

I knew that:

Raoul is the Crown Prince, and takes it seriously. That he’s married with a girl and a boy. That he and Diego lost their mother when they were very young, and that Lucy (their half-sister) is born of an affair.

Diego is the “Spare” heir, and he’s the one who rebelled as he grew older, establishing a reputation as a palace bad boy and playboy. Sure, he went to university, but he was more interested in the polo ponies and fillies of other sorts than really studying. I also knew that when the story started, he would need to be trying to shed that reputation, build some credibility, and be an asset to the family.

Sound like anyone else you can think of? #willandharry

I also found myself thinking about the remake of Sabrina that was out years ago, featuring Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear. Now granted, this heroine isn’t going to fall for Diego and then really realize she’s in love with Raoul. But it does represent a bit of the dynamic between the brothers, much like Linus and David in the movie. Linus doesn’t think David will ever settle down, doesn’t think he takes things seriously, and David’s used to being underestimated. In the end, Linus learns to loosen his stranglehold on his responsibilities and trust David, who is ready to grow up and show there’s more to him than his past reputation.

Of course, once I started writing, the characters took on a life of their own and simply became Diego and Raoul, with their own issues and struggles and triumphs.

 

About The Author

Marti Corn Photography donna alward H-R 1600

 

A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody’s Baby, and Someone to Love.

Social Links:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Author Blog / Pinterest

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Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

 

 

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Knight on the Texas PlainsAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository  | iBooks | IndieBound 

Description:
UNDER A STARRY TEXAS SKY

Duel McClain was no knight in shining armor — he was a drifter who prided himself on having no responsibilities. But a poker game thrust him into the role of father to an abandoned baby, and then a condemned woman stumbled up to his campfire. The fugitive beauty aimed to keep him at shotgun’s length, but obvious maternal instincts belied her fierce demeanor. And she and the baby were clearly made for each other. Worse, the innocent infant and the alleged murderess opened Duel’s heart, made him long for the love of a real family. And the only way to have that would be to slay the demons of the past.

 

Review:

Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday is the first book in her new Texas Heroes series. When I decided to read this Western historical romance that takes place in 1880 Texas, I was not sure what to expect, since I do not read a lot of this genre.  Upon completing the book, I am so glad I did. I loved Knight on the Texas Plains.

Duel McClain, our hero, is a loner who is privately grieving over the loss of his wife to childbirth years before. During a card game, Duel wins a little baby girl, and despite his original refusal to accept the child, he will change his mind.  Duel doesn’t want the child to be tossed around by the nasty man who was keeping the child, and the little girl (Marley Rose)was quickly clinging to him: he then  makes the decision to head home to his family ranch, where hasn’t been since he left home. 

Jessie Foulty, our heroine, is on the run, and comes across Duel and Marley sitting by a campfire for the night.  Jessie is scared, and badly bruised. Duel can see that she was beaten up, and tries to help her.  Jessie trusts no man, but when she watches Duel with little Marley, she begins to relax and in her desperation, she will accept Duel’s offer to come his ranch with him and take care of Marley.  Eventually Jessie, who feels she is unworthy will tell Duel the truth:  she killed her husband, and even if she was defending herself, Jessie knows if they find her, they will have her killed.  Duel, who slowly begins to care for Jessie, knows she suffered very badly, and when he sees the branding on her shoulder (like a cattle branding), he knows she is truly the innocent one.

What follows is a unique and wonderful story of two people broken, for different reasons, will find love for each other and a child, who has brought them together.  I loved when they got to the family ranch, and Duel’s family was great.  Marley was such a precious child, so cute and bubbly, and we too could not help but adore her.  I enjoyed when an injured stray dog becomes Marley’s friend (Boobie), and will become another addition to the family.  To protect Jessie, Duel convinces her to marry him, as they bring up Marley together.  Most important was watching both Duel and Jessie find their way past the loss of his wife, and her discovering how Duel was sweet, gentle, and loving, not like other men who tortured her.  This was a very emotional story line, which was also suspenseful, especially when Jessie is discovered and brought back to the town where she killed her husband.  But when the family stands by her and the truth of what she endured during her marriage is revealed to all to see, there is hope.

I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this heart wrenching story, and the wonderful characters Linda Broday has created.  I strongly suggest you read Knight on the Texas Plains.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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What Were the Unique Challenges of a Romance on the American Frontier?

To survive on the frontier took a lot of hard work, but I think many things took a big toll on romance and marriage. Distance was a huge hurdle to overcome when they were courting. Even if the couple lived on ranches next to each other, they rarely got to do things together because the ranches back then were pretty large. Travel was so slow that it took hours to get anyplace and it wasn’t seemly for a young woman to stay over at her prospective groom’s house.

They lived for social occasions. The dances, church socials, harvests, other events were much anticipated. Life for those who lived too far to attend these functions was extremely solitary and boring. Humans are social creatures. We simply need that interaction—and to meet members of the opposite sex.

The lack of women presented the biggest problem to men. There just weren’t that many until after the Civil War when women in the East outnumbered the men and turned to the booming mail order bride business. They were willing to marry a man sight unseen so they could ease the loneliness and have a family.

Once a couple married, they faced many hardships—the weather, the crops, the prospect of losing their land and home. They worked from sunup to sundown and barely had any time to sit and just talk. The never-ending work took the romance from a lot of people.

I think wives had it harder though. They faced childbirth without a doctor or even a midwife. The mountain of work was unbelievable. Cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, milking cows, churning butter, and a million other things. They had no time for romance.

Also, loneliness stole a woman’s spirit. With her husband out working all day, she had no one to talk to and the incessant wind only made everything worse.

I hope readers will try KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS. Duel McClain marries Jessie Foltry in order to hide her from the lawmen who are looking to arrest her for murder. Jessie’s been through a horrible ordeal and it take a while to see Duel as anything other than a protector. The bridge between them is a poor little babe Duel wins in a poker game. Together they become a patchwork family.

 

theauthor
LInda Broday

At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

 

Find Linda Online:

Website: / Facebook: / Twitter: / Goodreads:

 

 

BLUEANDYELLOWGIVEAWAY

Linda Broday’s Publisher is offering a paper copy of Knight on the Texas Plains 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

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SEAL Wolf Undercover (Heart of the Wolf 22) by Terry Spear-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER (Heart of the Wolf #22) by Terry Spear-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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SEAL Wolf Undercover
Heart of the Wolf #22
by Terry Spear
Genre: adult, contemporary, paranormal, romance
Release Date: August 1, 2017

SEAL Wolf Undercover

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Chapters Indigo / Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound

About the book: Release Date August 1, 2017

Never be so foolish as to fall for the enemy…
Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews has joined the jaguar-run United Shifter Force to track down a deadly criminal. She’s even willing to work with PI Vaughn Greystroke―until the hot, growly SEAL wolf makes the mistake of getting in her way. Naturally, she shoots him. Who could blame her?

Vaughn Greystroke has always worked alone. But when a string of attempted murders puts him in the crosshairs, teaming up with the Shifter Force begins to sound like a good idea. Even if he has to work with alluring―and potentially treacherous―Jillian Matthews. Vaughn is a trained SEAL, after all. He can surely keep his distance from Jillian…no matter how much she’s getting under his skin.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is the twenty-second installment in Terry Spear’s contemporary, adult HEART OF THE WOLF paranormal, romance series. This is PI and former SEAL Vaughn Greystroke, and Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews’ story line. SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER crosses over with the HEART OF THE JAGUAR series, as the author continues to build the USF-United Shifter Force headed by the jaguar team of Demetria, Everett and Howard first introduced in A Very Jaguar Christmas .

Told from dual third person perspectives (Vaughn and Jillian) SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER follows the search for a potential killer. Vaugn Greystroke’s Colorodo pack mate and friend Douglas Wendish was attacked and left for dead while on vacation in the backwoods of Oregon, and the first person to stumble upon the scene is Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews, who shoots first and asks questions later including shooting our hero Vaughn Greystroke. But Vaughn struggles with the possibility that Jillian’s brother Miles is a suspect and the fact that Miles refuses to come forward places Vaughn in an awkward position as he quickly comes to realize that Jillian is his mate. Enter jaguar shifters Demetria, Everett and Howard, who along with Jillian and Vaughn, set out to hunt for the shifter responsible. What ensues is the fast-building relationship between Jillian and Vaughn, and the realization that Douglas Wendish kept secret his reasons for his most recent vacation

SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is a detailed story with mystery, intrigue, family, friendship, romance and love. There are moments of humor and fun, action and danger, sexy times and a happily ever after. The relationship between Jillian and Vaughn begins as a case of mistaken identity as Vaughn targets Miles, and Jillian targets the shifter threatening her brother. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive. The sexual energy was low key as the story line focused on the search for the truth and the hunt for a potential killer. Jillian’s brother Miles struggles for meaning in his life but what he finds are lies and betrayal.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including both wolf and jaguar shifters. The requisite evil has many faces but not all necessarily with the same end-game in mind.

SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is a lighthearted, spirited and energetic look at the supernatural. The premise is engaging; the characters are colorful and passionate; the romance is intimate and fated. SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is a satisfying and delightful addition to Terry Spear’s HEART OF THE WOLF paranormal series.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

guest post

How do you develop your hero and heroine? Do the ideas come to you fully formed, or do you figure them out as you write?

Creating characters is fun, but I don’t make lists of their likes or dislikes. Or faults and strengths. I think that’s what makes them so interesting to me.

While I’m writing about my hero and heroine, they come to life in the situations they have to deal with. Conflict helps to show what they’re made of and everyone will handle a different scenario in their own unique way based on their life experiences. But I don’t know what they are, oftentimes, until I’m writing the story. It really depends on the story too.

When I was writing about Sarandon Silver in The Bounty Hunter Gets Her Wolf, the heroine is brand new to the scene, but he isn’t. He’s been in several Silver Town stories, and so he has a rich history of trouble with the pack, mostly concerning his father, the former sheriff of Silver Town. That means I have to use previous stories, his life history, to ensure he’s true to his character from the past.

With SEAL Wolf Undercover, SEAL wolf Vaughn Greymere has been in one other story as a secondary character. But I was also tying him in with the jaguars, who have been in other stories, and a brand new gray wolf, Jillian…to the scene. I wanted to open up the story where the two wolves see each other and admire each other, but don’t really meet. I wanted Vaughn to show the kind of stuff he’s made of. At a jaguar dance club, he believes a dancer on one of the high platforms that breaks away, is about to fall to her death, and being a SEAL, and an alpha wolf, and a hero type, he rushes to rescue her. This makes a great impression on Jillian, though she doesn’t know he’s a SEAL or a wolf. Or that jaguar shifters existed at that time.

They’re all thrown in together later—the jaguars and wolves—to search for whoever has injured wolves and jaguars. Only he believes Jillian’s brother is the suspect and she shoots Vaughn to protect her brother.
And that’s how it all begins when he actually meets her. He’s hot, naked, wounded, and she can’t help the way her pheromones are telling her this guy is the one she needs in her life, when he’s out to get her brother! And Vaughn’s sure she’s protecting her brother when he’s the one they need to be taking down. Though, despite her shooting Vaughn, he can’t help but want to keep her in his sights. And more.

Every hero and every heroine has their own past, their weaknesses and strengths, their dreams and goals, their likes and dislikes and all of these things help to mold them into the characters they are today. But I only learn this as they go through all their trials. In the beginning, all I know is they have to be in a situation that changes their life in some way and how the hero and heroine meet. This will also have something to do with who they are—their jobs, their goals, their dreams. And from there, the story and their characters unfold.

~~Terry~~

About the author

Terry Spear Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Love, love, love romance, the paranormal, hunky Highlanders with their delicious brogue and hot kilts, so Terry Spear writes about those hunky Highlanders both in medieval times and as wolves in contemporary times. Jaguar shifters too! And young adult urban fantasy. And romantic suspense. She grew up reading mystery, adventure, mythologies from around the world, ghost stories, the paranormal, fell in love with Dracula and Wolfman, and felt they needed loving too. Everyone should have someone to love. Which means her stories always have a HEA. USA Today Bestseller residing in Central Texas from Sacramento, California who creates award-winning teddy bears too!

Giveaway

Terry Spear’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

3. Follow Terry Spear on Facebook.

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

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9. Giveaway runs from August 1-5, 2017

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Fly Away With Me (Blue Moon Harbor #1) by Susan Fox-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Fly Away with Me (Blue Moon Harbor #1) by Susan Fox-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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FLY WAY WITH ME
Blue Moon Harbor #1
by Susan Fox
Release Date:July 25, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Fly Away with Me

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Dat July 25, 2017

Known for its rugged beauty and eccentric residents, tiny Blue Moon Harbor is big on love . . .

For busy lawyer Eden Blaine, a trip to a Pacific Northwest island she’s never even heard of is far from a vacation. Eden’s ailing mother has tasked her with finding her long-lost aunt, who once had ties to a commune on the island. Still reeling from a breakup with her longtime boyfriend, romance is the last thing Eden is looking for. But her gorgeous seaplane pilot has her wondering if a carefree rebound fling is exactly what she needs. . .

Aaron Gabriel has no illusions about happily ever after. His troubled childhood made sure of that. But he does appreciate a pretty woman’s company, and Eden is the exact combination of smart and sexy that turns him on. Still, as he helps her search for her missing aunt, the casual relationship he imagined quickly becomes something much more passionate–and much harder to give up. Can two people determined to ignore romance recognize that their heated connection is the kind of love destined to last?

••••••••••

REVIEW: Fly Away with Me begins with Eden Blaine embarking on a trip to try and find her mother’s long,-lost sister. Through a series of very unfortunate events, Eden’s mother has no idea if her sister is dead or alive. The only piece of information they have as to her whereabouts is the name of an island, Destiny, where the aunt headed to long years ago. Eden is bound and determined to find what happened to her aunt, even though she really has no idea where to start. Two things she does know: a little time away may do her some good and failure is not an option. Eden’s mother has been battling cancer, so, Eden being Eden, sets out to make everything okay.

Aaron Gabriel meets his passengers at the port where he will pick them up and fly them to various spots, including his home base of Destiny. Once he’s dropped off everyone except for Eden, he strikes up a conversation with her and offers his help in finding her aunt. The one thing Eden has to promise for his help? Have a little fun while she’s here.

As Eden and Aaron get to know each other a little, Eden immediately realizes that she will indeed need his help. Seems folks on the island have a little bit of a hard time warming up to outsiders. While they set out to question long-time residents of the island, they do start to have a little fun. Their attraction to each other grows and they both find themselves thinking things that they never thought they would. However, as the mystery deepens surrounding Eden’s aunt, neither know what is in store for their very near future.

Fly Away with Me is a nicely written story, and a first for me from author Susan Fox. I loved the character development of the main characters, as well as the eclectic secondary characters. This is not a story with an immediate HEA. They both have to work on themselves individually, as well as trying to be a couple and what comes with that. Fly Away with Me is ultimately a story that teaches you nothing is written in stone, and with hard work, you might carve out a whole lot of happiness for yourself. The first half was a bit slow, but the last half was worth the wait. This one touched me in ways that a romance hasn’t in a very long time. Like I said, this was my first story by Susan Fox, but it definitely won’t be my last. If you’re a romance fan that loves stories with a slow simmer and a real life storyline, you won’t go wrong with Fly Away with Me. Well done, Susan Fox!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

Interview-Blue

TRC:Hi Susan and welcome to The Reading Café.

Susan FoxSusan: Thank you so much for having me here!

TRC: Congratulations on the recent release of FLY AWAY WITH ME

Susan: Thanks again! I’m thrilled to be launching a new series (Blue Moon Harbor) set in my own part of the world.

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

Follow Susan: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Pinterest / Amazon / BookBub

Susan: I’ve lived in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, all my life, and I love the great outdoors as well as great restaurants and theatre. I have degrees in psychology and law, but rather than choose a sensible profession with a secure income, I drifted from job to job, looking for the right fit. I found it, with writing.

I’m fascinated by people, personality, character growth, relationships – and writing romance and women’s fiction is the perfect place to indulge that fascination. My world is a diverse, multicultural one, and that’s the kind of world I write about. I believe a writer has a responsibility, and so my stories always have messages, sometimes pretty blatant and sometimes more subtle. Equality and appreciation of differences are strong values for me. You’ll find some issues in my books, such as dealing with major illnesses or injuries (e.g., Eden’s mother’s cancer in Fly Away With Me) and dysfunctional families (such as Aaron’s), and so on. The stories aren’t heavy, dark ones, but they do involve some emotional stuff. As well as love and laughter, good friends, and some steamy sex. I love romance because the reader (and author!) always knows that no matter how much angst the characters go through, they will emerge stronger, and they’ll find love.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Susan: It took me forever to figure out that I didn’t just love reading fiction, I wanted to write it. That happened when a friend gave me Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. When I started to write my first book (which will never be published), I knew I’d found my passion.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Susan: The biggest challenge was in getting my work published. I’m smart, organized and efficient, and I’m a good writer. And yet it took me 10 years to sell my first book. That was back in the days when self-publishing wasn’t an option. What I learned is that it’s easier to be a lawyer than to sell a book to a publisher. Becoming a lawyer is mostly within your own control: work hard and get good marks, work hard and finance your education, work hard and learn the law, hang out your shingle, and work hard to bring in clients then devote your best efforts to serving them well. But all the hard work and best efforts can’t make a publisher buy your work. I came close, so many times. When I did sell that first book to Kensington in 2005, it wasn’t that that particular book (Champagne Rules) was any better than the previous ones, it was a matter of luck and timing. I’d written a book that happened to fit with the new Aphrodisia line that Kensington planned to launch.

Trying to make decent money as an author is an ongoing challenge. I’ve written for Berkley and Harlequin as well as Kensington, and I’ve also done some self-publishing. Right now, Kensington is the best home for me. I’m certainly not getting rich, but I’m writing the kind of stories I want to write, with a supportive editor and publishing team.

Fly Away with MeTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of FLY AWAY WITH ME and the Blue Moon Harbor series?

Susan: The idea for the series setting came from my boating in the Gulf Islands near Victoria, British Columbia (something my partner and I do every summer). I love the ocean and the islands, which have a diverse and quirky population. So I’m writing about a small community setting, as with my Caribou Crossing books which are set in ranching country in B.C.’s interior. But an island has the added quality of only being accessible by water or air – it’s isolated and weather-dependent.

I created a fictional island and named it Destiny, because I thought that would lead to some interesting book titles. I named the village Blue Moon Harbor because who doesn’t love the romantic notion of a blue moon? My publisher, Kensington, decided to use Blue Moon Harbor as the series name.

I love seaplanes, and they’re an intrinsic part of island life, so making my first hero a seaplane pilot was a “well, duh!” kind of thing. To make for contrast and conflict, I thought Aaron needed an off-island heroine, and who could be more different from him than a big city lawyer? Eden’s not there on holiday, but on a mission for her ailing mom, to find her mother’s long-lost sister who ran away from home in 1969. A newly-discovered letter indicates she joined the island commune way back then.

Eden is responsible and driven. Aaron is easygoing (at least that’s the image he presents to the world) and he’s determined to teach Eden how to have fun.

Coming off a breakup, Eden’s not interested in a serious relationship, but a rebound fling sounds good to her. And Aaron, whose dysfunctional childhood made him cynical about finding love, only ever seeks casual relationships. So they’re on the same page – at least until their heartstrings start getting tugged!

But how could long-term be possible for them? She’s devoted to her family and career in Ottawa. He’s equally devoted to his career on Destiny, and to his single-parent younger sister and her little girl.

All the same, when you find your love on Destiny, life will never be the same!

I had originally titled the book Destiny Calls, but my publisher wasn’t keen on using “destiny” because they thought it might have religious connotations for some people. Fly Away With Me was my agent’s suggestion. It’s perfect, because of course Aaron flies away with Eden’s heart.

TRC: What kind of research/plotting do you do, and how long do you spend researching /plotting before beginning a book?

Susan: I’m not a big plotter, but I do need to feel fairly confident that I have enough of a story to make a 100,000 word book. I don’t need to know many plot details, but I need to know that I have characters who can carry a romance story. They need to be interesting, complex, relatable, and they need to have issues.

I don’t tend to do a lot of research ahead of time, just enough to get me into the story. For Fly Away With Me, for example, I already knew the setting because I’ve visited the Gulf Islands all my life, and as I said earlier, I go boating there a lot. (We have a 1960s vintage old wooden boat, a 36’ Shepherd.) I did do a bit of historical and factual research on the islands, to draw on in creating my fictional Destiny Island. I wanted to use a fictional island rather than a real one so I’d have more creative freedom.

The hero Aaron is a seaplane pilot. I’ve flown in seaplanes – and even flown one – so I didn’t have to do initial research on that. I did some as I was writing, to fine-tune the details. Eden’s a lawyer with a foundation that funds charities, and I had a pretty good idea of her job. But with some books, if I don’t know much about the heroine’s or hero’s occupations, I may need to do up-front research.

Or if a heroine or hero has an illness or injury (e.g., my hero’s leg amputation and PTSD in Ring of Fire), I’ll need to research that in order to get a clear idea of the issues that character deals with on a practical and emotional level. Those things are key to the character’s personality – and personality is key to how the story will develop.

So, basically, I do enough research up front to understand my setting and my two main characters, and then I let the story develop as I write, and do additional research as needed. I’ll often skip some of the nitpicky details while I’m writing and then fill them in later.

TRC: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

Susan: It made me write faster and be more focused. I no longer had the luxury of messing around with a manuscript for as long as I wanted. I also felt the pressure to make each book the absolute best I could, because real people would be reading it. But I’m a disciplined, organized person, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch. And I was so thrilled to finally have publishing contracts and to know that my characters and stories would be reaching readers, I was happy to put in the extra hours and effort.

TRC: What was your hardest scene –ever-to write?

Susan: The hardest were probably a couple of sex scenes in Bound to be Dirty, one of my Dirty Girls Book Club erotic romances for Berkley Heat. The premise of the series was that each time the book club read a “dirty book,” one of the members would have a sexy romance that in some ways paralleled that story. In Bound to be Dirty (which came out after Fifty Shades of Grey), the club decided they had to read a BDSM book, since everyone else was doing it. Book club member Lily (a family practice doctor) was married to Dax (a helicopter bush pilot), their marriage was in serious trouble, and they started trying out some very mild BDSM stuff. It was more about exploring their relationship and developing communication, trust, and intimacy than about actual BDSM sex, but I did have to figure out how to write all aspects of the sex scenes.

And there lay my problem, because I personally can’t relate to BDSM. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, for two equal partners who both want it and consent and have a safe word, but for me the concept of one person being dominant and the other submissive makes me squirmy – and not in a nice way! But it was good for me to have to push myself – and of course the story wasn’t about me, it was about Lily and Dax and how they felt about themselves and each other. I also had an interesting time with the book club as they discussed the novel they were reading. Four young, intelligent, self-sufficient women, sharing their viewpoints!

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. Many authors are re-issuing their previously erotic story lines with ‘cleaner’ versions without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. What do you believe has precipitated this move or change in direction?

Susan: The publishing world goes through phases. My first book (Champagne Rules) came out in February 2006, and all the traditional publishers were jumping on the erotic romance bandwagon, after seeing how successful e-publishers had been with those books. My Awesome Foursome series with Kensington Aphrodisia and my destination wedding series with Berkley Heat were branded as erotic romance. They were spicier than the books I’m writing now, but not hot or kinky enough for a lot of erotic romance readers, so they didn’t do terribly well.

The next trend was for many contemporary romances to become steamier, and at that point many of the erotic romance lines faded away. But then came Fifty Shades of Grey and the world “discovered” erotic romance. LOL. That seemed ridiculous to the authors who’d already been writing erotic romance for many years, but what that one book did was break through to the truly mainstream audience. It also spearheaded another surge in the popularity of erotic romance – especially the kind that featured BDSM.

But now that trend seems to have faded again, and we’re back to just having a nice range of romance. Everything from super-hot and kinky through to barely even a hint of sexual tension. It’s terrific that readers can find just the level of heat that works for them.

Why are authors turning their previously issued erotic stories into cleaner ones for reissue? For many, I’d guess that they figured those books had their opportunity to reach erotic romance readers. Now the authors have their rights back and are self-publishing the books, and they hope to reach a different audience.

Also, authors get tired of writing the same thing. Writing hot sex that’s believable, original, and steamy is really difficult. And you can, if you’ll pardon the pun, burn out on it. So if an author who once wrote erotic romance has turned to writing less erotic, as I have, then she may want all her current releases to appeal to her current readers rather than shocking or disgusting them with too much or too explicit or too kinky sex.

It’ll be interesting to see how some of those reissues work. With erotic romance, I always figured the premise of the story needed to be a sexy one. You had to find some reason for the characters to have sex early in the story. And then you needed not just a lot of sexual tension but also a fair number of sex scenes, because that’s something the readers were looking for. So, how do you take a book that’s as “erotic” as it is “romantic,” and take out the eroticism? Seems to me it would be like trying to take the suspense out of a romantic suspense novel, or taking the religious aspect out of an inspirational romance. But if authors can do it, and readers enjoy the result, then more power to all of them!

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Susan: It sure does for me, and I know I’m not the only one. The cover conveys so much about the book. For example, I usually won’t choose a book with a “hot, semi-naked guy” cover, because to me that suggests the book’s going to be more about the sexuality of the relationship than the emotionality. Nothing against sex – I write explicit sex scenes myself – but I want the emotions to be the most important part of the book. If I’ve read a blurb or review that really appeals to me, I won’t let the cover put me off getting the book, but if I’m just scanning a page full of covers, I pretty quickly narrow my focus to the books I’m most likely to be interested in.

Kensington asked me for cover ideas for Fly Away With Me and I said I wanted to convey the setting, and the fact that the story is a romance. I thought the seaplane aspect of the book was interesting, so suggested a couple on a dock with a seaplane. Kensington did a cover shoot and gave me everything I asked for! My only complaint is that the male model isn’t as rugged and masculine as Aaron.

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

Susan: A bit of both. It’s a joint effort, and we kind of trade off. In the beginning, I put a fair bit of thought into figuring out who they are. My goal is to create characters who are so multi-dimensional and genuine that they can then more or less take over and I just transcribe as they direct me. But usually I’ll stall at one or more points as I’m writing, which basically means they’ve stopped telling me what to type. Then I have to step away from the keyboard and do some more reflecting. I need to talk to the characters in my head, do more analysis, get to know them even better. And then they pretty much decide what they’re going to do next, and I get back to taking direction from them.

TRC: How do you select the names of your characters?

Susan: In all sorts of ways. Sometimes names just pop into my mind or I see interesting names in TV credits or magazines. I have lists of names that interest me and I review them when I’m naming new characters. I’ll check popular baby names for the year the character was born. Ethnic background is a factor. I’ve also asked for suggestions on my Facebook page.
Here’s how I came up with the names in Fly Away With Me. Eden: A friend gave her baby that name, and I loved it. Blaine: I wanted a simple surname, one syllable after the two-syllable first name, something that sounded good with Eden, so I just hunted through names until one felt right. Aaron: He was originally Adam, a name I like and have never used for a hero, but someone pointed out that Adam and Eden was too Biblical – something I’d never actually realized myself, even though it seems obvious – so I looked for something similar and hit on Aaron. Gabriel: It’s a name I just love, one I’ve used as a hero’s first name (in Finding Isadora), so I indulged and let myself use it again, this time as a surname. I also loved naming Di and Seal SkySong, but if I told you any more about that, it would be a spoiler!

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line 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 writers fail in this endeavor?

Susan: I totally agree with you. For me, reading is all about the emotions. That’s why I write stories that are character-driven more than plot-driven. I think the key, for the author, is to “go deep.” Deep into who the character is, how her (or his) life up to now has shaped her, what she hopes for and fears, what she cares about and values, all of that stuff. Who she is when the story starts, and how she reacts emotionally to everything that happens during the story. How she makes decisions (e.g., mostly with her heart or with her mind?) and how she evaluates those decisions. And so on, and so on. I have a psychology degree and I’m fascinated by everything that goes into making us who we are and shaping our behavior and emotions. So, for me, I spend a lot of time getting to know my characters and then I try to put myself into their shoes. I talk to them in my head, like I’m having a conversation with someone I care about, whom I want to know even better.

As for other writers, well, I hate to judge. And reading is so subjective. Different things appeal to each of us. But if a reader is looking to be pulled into the emotional journey and finds that isn’t happening, then maybe the author didn’t actually want it to happen. Maybe the author wanted a story that was more plot-driven – perhaps thrilling or humorous – so that the reader cares more about events and actions than emotions. I find that some mysteries and police procedurals are like this.

In other cases, I think authors just don’t take the time to “sit with” their characters and stories for very long. They may be driven to turn out X number of books per year, and while some authors are capable of producing brilliant and emotional stories in a short time-frame, others just aren’t.

Or, of course, some authors simply don’t want to “go deep” on some emotional issues. For example, it was hard for me to write about Eden’s mom’s cancer, because my mother had cancer too. Ovarian cancer, in her case, and she did survive. But it was of course very hard on her, and on my stepdad and me. I used lessons from that time in writing Fly Away With Me, and I shed some tears. If an issue hits particularly close to home, an author just may not want to “go there” on a deep emotional level. And so they don’t take the reader there.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?

Susan: I don’t listen when I’m actually writing. I find music too distracting. But occasionally, if a certain song is relevant to a story I’m working on, I’ll listen to it before I start writing, or during a writing break. With the Caribou Crossing Romances, I listened to a lot of country music and developed a real appreciation for it. It was fun finding songs to match the stories, and then seeing that those songs influenced the direction of the story.

For the book I’m writing now (Sail Away With Me), one of the songs I’ve listened to is Ricky Nelson’s “I Will Follow You.” My heroine’s grandmother said it was the story of her romance with her hubby – and let’s just say, the song plays a role in my heroine’s love story, too!

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Susan: That we’re rich! Or that we write just because we love it, not as an actual job. They therefore think it’s okay to download free books that have been pirated (i.e., stolen) from us. I don’t expect my doctor or car mechanic or hairdresser to work for free, so why should some readers think they shouldn’t have to pay for books? For most authors, if we can’t earn an income from our writing, then we have to do it from some other job – which means we have less, or even no, writing time. Which means fewer books out there for readers.

TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

Susan: My parents split up when I was in my early teens and didn’t tell me. Supposedly, my father was away on a business trip. How did I find out? When someone phoned for him, I said he was out of town, and they said they’d seen him in town the previous day. This was at Christmas. Let’s just say, it wasn’t the happiest Christmas of my life. Within a few months, they were divorced.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Susan: I’m continuing the Blue Moon Harbor series. The next story is “Blue Moon Harbor Christmas” in Winter Wishes, a holiday anthology (October 2017) that also contains novellas by Fern Michaels, Jules Bennett, and Leah Marie Brown. Then Come Home With Me will be out in late December, and Sail Away With Me in the fall of 2018. I’m just finishing the manuscript of Sail Away with Me now. And pitching another book in the series: Come Dance With Me.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Susan: I’d love to hear readers’ thoughts on my new series, my writing process, and my new release. I’m also happy to answer any questions.

I hope readers will visit my Website (where they can subscribe to my newsletter, find all sorts of info about all my books, and get in touch with me) and my Facebook page. I’m also on Amazon , Pinterest, Goodreads and BookBub.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Depends totally on my mood.

Favorite Dessert: The Grand Marnier soufflé I was served at a French restaurant on the island of St. Martin. Other than that, I’d go with a rich dark chocolate cupcake with almond icing.

Favorite TV Show: Heartland. It’s a Canadian production, set on the prairies, about family, relationships, and horses.

Last Movie You Saw: Dirty Dancing. I watched the TV version and was so disappointed, I had to go back and watch the original Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey original. Which I just happen to own.

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark. Only ever dark.

Secret Celebrity Crush: Richard Gere, at any age. Love, love, love his eyes and expressive face.

Last Vacation Destination: That’s actually a tough question! Boating in the Gulf Islands – does that count? Last winter’s motor home trip to southern California. Or, if you mean an actual real big trip, then St. Martin, a few years ago.

Do you have any pets?: No. Our lifestyle doesn’t really allow for it. I just enjoy the wildlife around me.

Last book you read: Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor.

TRC: Thank you Susan for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release.

Susan: Thanks again for this opportunity!

giveaway

Susan Fox is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of FLY AWAY WITH ME to ONE (1) commenter at The Reading Cafe. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

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