Shades of Treason by Sandy Williams – Review, Interview & Giveaway

Shades of Treason by Sandy Williams – Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Shades of Treason
Anomaly #1
by Sandy Williams
Release Date: July 1, 2015
Genre: adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

 

Shades of TreasonAmazon / Kobo

Description:
Lieutenant Ramie Ashdyn is an anomaly, a person whose genetic makeup makes her stronger and smarter than the average human. She’s pledged her life to protect the Coalition, an alliance of thirteen planetary systems, but when a top secret operation turns bloody, she’s charged with treason and the brutal executions of her teammates.

The Coalition needs the information Ash’s team stole on their last mission, so they send in Commander Rhys “Rest in Peace” Rykus to get it. He’s the man who’s responsible for turning Ash into an elite soldier… and he’s a man who isn’t, never was, and never will be in love with the woman he trained. Or so he tells himself.

Ash wants nothing more than to clear her name and be the woman her former instructor wants her to be, but the enemy who killed her teammates did more than frame her for treason and murder: they telepathically silenced her mind, preventing her from saying anything that might point to the truth about what happened.

Now Ash is trapped and set to be executed, the truth dying with her. Unless she can prove her innocence. But taking that path could destroy the Coalition she’s sworn to preserve and protect…

 

Review:

Shades of Treason by Sandy Williams is the 1st book in her new Anomaly series.  Our heroine is Ramie Ashdyn (Ash), and she is an anomaly, who is much smarter and stronger than the normal person. Anomaly’s are usually trained soldiers who will do every to protect the Coalition, which is an alliance of 13 planetary systems.

In her last mission, which ended badly, Ash’s team was all murdered. She is charged with treason, suspected of executing her team. This mission involved stealing some top secret information, and Ash has coded the information, which no one can decipher. Ash remembers what truly happened that day, but she is unable to tell anyone. Because of a revolution in the making, her supervisor, who was also killed, told her to code the information and not tell anyone in order to save the Coalition.

Commander Rhys Rykus, our hero, has been called in to break Ash into telling them the code that she hides. No matter what he does, he cannot get her to reveal the code. Those determined to get the information any way they can, will think nothing of killing her. But Rykus knows Ash, as he trained her and feels something isn’t right. She was too loyal to do what they suspected.

What follows is an exciting adventure that will find Ash escaping, with Rykus in charge of finding her, and discovering the truth behind why Ash cannot explain what happened that day. The truth will reveal powerful enemies bent on destroying the Coalition, with the betrayers controlling many of the political members. Rykus does not know who to trust, but he learns that Ash is a victim and together they will work to find the leader and try to stop the revolution.

Rykus also discovers his hidden feelings for his former student, and in difficult and trying times, those feelings come forth. I really liked Ash and Rykus together, though it seemed that this relationship was impossible, since Rykus was too centered on his job, not allowing himself to show those feelings to Ash.

The last third of the book was very exciting, as it seemed their chances to prove Ash’s innocence, as well as save the Coalition was slim. The forces against them were too strong; especially with the powers they had that allowed them to control certain people and situations.

Shades of Treason is a very good start to the Anomaly series. Sandy Williams has given us another wonderful heroine in Ash, and a romance that we hope will continue to grow. Though this is not a cliffhanger, it is left open ended for us to wait impatiently for the next book. I fully recommend you to start this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author

 

Interview-Gold

Hi, Sandy. Thank you for taking the time to visit us again at The Reading Cafe, to discuss your upcoming new release “Shades of Treason”, as well as to give an update as to what you have upcoming in 2015/2016.

Sandy:  Thank you for having me! I love my visits to The Reading Café.

TRC:  You have just released your first book in your new Anomaly series, Shades of Treason. Can you please give us a brief description of your new series?

Sandy:  Sure! Shades of Treason is about Ramie Ashdyn, an elite soldier who’s been charged with treason and the brutal murder of her teammates. The only way she can clear her name is to destroy the Coalition she’s sworn to preserve and protect. Ash also happens to be an anomaly, a human whose mental and physical scans come back a hundred points higher than a normal person’s. She’s a bit faster, quicker, and smarter than most people, which is how I justify her having the strength and endurance to be an elite soldier. :)  I’m a fan of Star Wars and Firefly, and this series will fit into that genre, and it comes with a good shot of romance.

TRC:  How did you come up with the idea of the Anomaly series? Also, how many books do you anticipate for this series?

Sandy:  I’ve been a fan of science fiction for years, and the majority of my previous, unpublished manuscripts had spaceships in them. In fact, the idea for The Shadow Reader was originally set in space. I can’t remember why I decided to turn it into an urban fantasy, but it worked for that series. All the time I was writing it, though, I was missing writing sci-fi, and the idea for Shades of Treason crept into my mind during a really long, boring meeting at work. I’m planning on at least three books starring Ash and Rykus, her former instructor and love interest. But I also intend to write standalones in this universe. They’ll lean more toward romance than the main storyline, and either the hero or the heroine (maybe both!) will be an anomaly. I love the anomaly concept, and coming up with their quirks and abilities, and finding the perfect man or woman to make them better people, is so much fun. 

TRC:  What was your biggest challenge in starting this new series?

Sandy:  Prepare for the understatement of the century: the situation I created for Ash was challenging to write.  Extremely challenging. Early in the book, Ash is telepathically straightjacketed. She can’t say or do anything that gives any indication of her innocence. She’s not able to tell the Coalition the truth about what happened on her last mission, and why her teammates are now all dead. The Coalition believes she’s a traitor, and the only way she can prove her innocence is to escape, which means she has to get rid of Rykus, her former instructor who is the biggest obstacle preventing her from escaping and clearing her name. Trying to summarize the situation in a way that makes sense is hard, too! I had to be really aware of writing inconsistencies, but I think the struggles and the end product were totally worth it. I love how this story turned out! And the tension between Ash and Rykus was my favorite part to write.

TRC:  In your last book, The Sharpest Blade, which was the final book in your Shadow Reader series, what was the overall reaction to the one McKenzie chose at the end. Of course, I was very happy. :)

Sandy:  Nearly everyone was happy with how it ended. Hurray! It really couldn’t have ended any other way, but like me, there were a good number of people who wished things had ended a little differently. I’ve mentioned it before elsewhere, but if I was McKenzie, I would have made a different choice. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not her! :)

TRC:  Would you like to share with us what you are currently working on, and what you have in store for us in 2015/16?

Sandy:  I’m working on more books set in the Shades of Treason universe. I’m hoping to have two more books out by the end of 2016, a continuation of Ash and Rykus’s story, and a standalone that deals with another anomaly and a very disciplined warship captain. I’d also like to find time to sneak in a few short stories and novellas set in the Shadow Reader worlds, including more Aren POVs. I already have a few on my website (link: http://bit.ly/1DjCvFi), and more will be sent directly to readers as I write them (to receive these and more behind-the-scenes info, just sign up here http://bit.ly/1e8EYUa). And if I learn the art of writing fast, there’s a new urban fantasy series I’m dying to write. I have lots of plans! It’s just finding time to get to them. :)

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Sandy:  If you don’t usually read science fiction, I hope you’ll give Shades of Treason a try. I’ve written it as an urban fantasy set in space (space-UF). It’s character and plot driven, with “science” that works like magic because I’m so not a science person. I’m intrigued by science, but can’t wrap my mind around it, so I promise not to bog readers down with details of how the universe works. :) I slip in the worldbuilding, much as I slipped it in during the Shadow Reader books. If you end up enjoying Shades, please ask me for more space-UF recommendations. I love to rec books!

TRC:   Thank you, Sandy for giving us an update on Shades of Treason, as well as what we can look forward to in the future. It was a pleasure talking with you again. We wish you good luck with the Shades of Treason, and hope to catch up with you again in 2016.

Sandy:  Thanks for inviting me back! And happy reading!

 

About the author

SandyWilliams
Sandy graduated from Texas A&M University with a double major in political science and history. She thought about attending law school. Fortunately, before handing over her life’s savings, she realized case studies weren’t nearly as interesting as novels and decided to get an MA in Library Science instead. She worked as a librarian until her husband whisked her off to London on an extended business trip. She’s now back home in Texas, writing full-time, raising twin boys, and squeezing in time to play geeky board and card games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Runebound.

She loves hanging out with other readers and talking about books. For recommendations, check out her Goodreads account. And if you have a favorite book or author, she’d love to hear from you on   Facebook Twitter or via email.

 

giveaway

Sandy is offering a paper copy (USA only) or an e-copy (internationally) of SHADES OF TREASON 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 FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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

6. Please LIKE us on TSU for an additional entry.

7. Follow Sandy Williams  on Facebook.

8. Giveaway is open to USA and Canada only

9. Giveaway runs from July 3 to 7, 2015

 

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This is another chance for you to win a copy of Shades of Treason.

NOTE: The Reading Cafe is NOT responsible for the rafflecopter giveaway. If you have any questions, please contact the tour provider.

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Possessed by the Fallen by Sharon Ashwood – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Possessed by the Fallen by Sharon Ashwood – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Possessed by the Fallen
Horsemen #4
by Sharon Ashwood
Release Date:July 1, 2015

 

Possessed by the FallenAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book DepositoryHarlequin

Description:
When his lover learned his darkest secret, she betrayed the elite vampire agent… 

Now the beautiful fey Jessica Lark is back in Jack Anderson’s life. With the fate of a royal wedding and a high-stakes mission depending on his complete attention, Jack has no room for distraction. Especially the sort this temptress poses. A fey spy who also seems to be guarding dangerous secrets that aren’t her own. 

The two agents don’t know if they can trust one another. But if they hope to unravel a dark plot and fight an evil queen, they’ll have to try. Their undeniable attraction might just save them…but first they’ll have to travel through a portal to a hidden, treacherous fairy-tale kingdom.

 

Review:

Possessed by the Fallen is the conclusion of the terrific Four Horsemen series by Sharon Ashwood. Can you hear me weeping? It’s been a wonderful ride; each installment delving deeper into the massive rift between the Marcari and Vidon kingdoms. But more importantly, each Horseman lovingly featured. We met, and lost, vampire Jack Anderson, aka Death, the lynchpin of Les Compagnie des Morts in the introductory novel (all previous reviews available here). Jessica Lark, the brilliant dress designer, suffered the same fate, but like Jack – “The agents of the Company seem to have a phoenix-like talent for resurrection” – they painstakingly went underground. Separately. Ready to love Jack and Lark? You most certainly will!

So…hugs all around at the reunion? Not.even.close. Going undercover does wonders for the mind…it hones your memories…keeps revenge alive and hot if you were stabbed…by your lover! How does one even get over that?! Betrayal is unforgivable, and Jack’s got an infinite amount of time to seethe, but his heart is ever traitorous where Lark is concerned; she was, after all, the one who made his “still heart” beat again.

His entire being was flooded with desire and rage, and she was at the core of it all.

With the upcoming royal nuptials two weeks away, there’s little time to focus on love affairs gone horribly wrong. “Bridal apocalypse” is to be prevented by all means necessary and “this marriage had the power to seal the gates to the Dark Queen’s prison forever.”

In spite of Lark’s offense, she stole Jack’s dark secret to dissect and exploit for her own Light fey kind, Jack needs all the allies he can muster against Selena, the evil Dark Fey Queen.In my previous review (Faran’s book), I alluded to discoveries and nefarious action. The deadline is fast approaching and Jack must resurface, more powerful than ever, to gather up his troops and ensure the portal is sealed permanently. Uncertainty with Lark aside (reduced to spy vs. spy for the time being), will those closest to Jack welcome him back without pause? I would, he’s a hot ass vampire, but those trust issues Jack is holding against Lark could be the same accusations being flung at him by his own Horsemen.

Jessica Lark. I shouldn’t like her, but Ms. Ashwood makes her forgivably flawed and vulnerable. Yes, she did the unthinkable against the man she loved, but it wasn’t without personal cost. The aftermath of suffering, physically and emotionally, led Lark to visit the dark side, and sadly, this is no Star Wars reference.

Ms. Ashwood is tying loose ends, coming full circle, but she does it intriguingly, writes it decadently, every bump of the way. The subplots held their own glamour; inching their way toward final connections that achieve vision/purpose. But instead of being formulaic, Ms. Ashwood introduces new magical elements for good and complicates Jack’s already shaky comeback a la Me, Myself and Irene, only this time deadly. You’ll understand my meaning when you read the book.  

Forgiveness isn’t shameful and we witness its healing effects on those who need it the most. Ms. Ashwood described spectacular action, you’ll practically lift up your own hand to guard against the flames of battle, but she’s created, more significantly, memorable characters with stunning counterparts who envelope you in swoon-worthy romance. Possessed by the Fallen is a perfect finale for an incredible series. Sharon Ashwood deserves high praise for maintaining such exuberance throughout four books.

Reviewed by Carmen

Copy provided by Author

 

Guest Post-White and Purple

Who Doesn’t Love a Wicked Fairy Queen?

Well, my characters don’t, but I hope readers find her entertaining! In Possessed by the Fallen, the conclusion of my paranormal romance series, the action moves into the realm of the exiled Queen of the Dark Fey. Our hero, Jack, was one of those responsible for putting her there and, needless to say, the queen wants revenge almost as much as she wants to escape. Fortunately, Jack is accompanied by the heroine, Lark, who is one of the Light Fey and who knows how to navigate the twisting snares of the Fey Court.

Cultures across the world have legends of fairies, and I had opportunity to use a few of the common ideas about these hidden creatures. One is that the fairy realms are divided into Dark and Light. That doesn’t quite equate with “good” and “evil” but more like “will agree to a conversation” and “run the other way immediately.” At best, the fairies have their own concerns and see no reason to deal with humans unless there is a benefit to themselves. At worst, they’re the monster under the bed.

Fairies are also very literal. This means you have to be extremely careful when making a bargain with them, because they will take advantage of the smallest loophole. This is where Jack is very lucky to have Lark on board—she’s better than a team of lawyers when it comes to deciphering fey trickery. Also, don’t try the local cuisine. Fairy tales are filled with the adventures of unwary travellers who sample fairy food and fall under their power. The unwary might be trapped, driven mad, or waste away. In other words, fairies represent the ultimate “stranger danger.”

The peril represented by the fey says a lot about the cultures that created them. Scholars of the Victorian era spend a great deal of time exploring fairy tales as expressions of sexual desire—that gives a whole new meaning to goblin fruit—where others interpret the fairy world as a representation of raw nature. Fairies are wild, capricious, and indifferent to human suffering. They are tricksters who, like Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, love to cause chaos for its own sake.

In my story the fey are certainly dangerous (and lusty) but more easily understood. They have their own agenda, but they feel as we do—especially Lark of the Light Fey, who yearns desperately for a reunion with her lost love, Jack.

As for that wicked queen, she is well and truly a stinker. But what is a good fairytale without a villain—one with consummate style and all the best lines? No self-respecting fairy would be disappointed with a role like that. I invite you to come visit her realm in company with my hero and heroine. The queen has granted safe passage to readers, but don’t strike any bargains with the locals!

 

about the author

Sharon AshwoodSharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.

Sharon is the winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.

To learn more about Sharon Ashwood, you can find her at the following links:

Website /   FacebookTwitter  / Pinterest / Goodreads

 

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Sharon is graciously offering a signed paperback of Possessed by the Fallen to one (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. Please register using the log-in at the top of the page.

2. If you are using a social log-in such as Twitter or Facebook, 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. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Please Like and Follow SHARON ASHWOOD on Facebook

5. Giveaway open Internationally

6. Giveaway runs from July 1 to  July 5, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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Witchlock by Dianna Love -Review, Interview & Giveaway

Witchlock by Dianna Love -Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Witchlock
Belador #6
by Dianna Love
Release Date:July 7, 2015
Genre: adult, paranormal, fantasy

 

WitchlockAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Description:
The Beladors are back in WITCHLOCK, Book 6 of the bestselling urban fantasy series by New York Times bestseller Dianna Love.

Witchlock vanished in the 13th century… or did it?
Some win. Some lose. And some will never be the same again.

After finally earning her place among the Beladors, Evalle is navigating the ups and downs of her new life with Storm when she’s sucked into a power play between her Belador tribe and the Medb coven. Both groups claim possession of the Alterants-turned-gryphons, especially Evalle, the gryphon leader. But an influx of demons and dark witches into Atlanta threatens to unleash war between covens, pitting allies against each other as a legendary majik known as Witchlock invades the city and attacks powerful beings. Evalle has one hope for stopping the invasion, but the cost may be her sanity and having to choose which friend to save.



Review:
Witchlock by Dianna Love is the 6th book in her wonderful urban fantasy Beladors series. Those of you who have read my reviews know that I am a big fan of this series, and it’s heroine Evalle. Dianna Love, who is a master at writing romance suspense thrillers, once again gives us another sensational new story, with most of our favorites, Evalle, Storm, Tzader, Quinn and my wonderful Feenix. Thank you, Dianna for giving me more of Feenix. :)

In Witchlock, one of our regulars, Adrianna, steps up to the plate playing a major part of this story, and escalates herself to be one of Evalle’s group, and an ultra powerful ally. I really loved Adrianna in this book. Make no mistake though, as much as we love the secondary characters, the Beladors series belongs to one of the best kick-ass heroines, Evalle. I have always loved Evalle from the start of this series, and she just continues to get better, especially now that she has the love of her life, Storm.

Evalle is tough, powerful, loyal and totally independent, not to mention always having to prove herself to the gods.  Because she will never cease to fight for her friends, and responsibilities,her relationship with Storm becomes strained at times, due to his wanting to always protect her and keep her from harm, which does not sit well with Evalle. It was fun to watch them try to solve this issue, while all hell was breaking loose around them.

Witchlock continues with both the Beladors (Macha is their goddess), and the Medb coven (lead by the recently revived goddess, Maeve) fighting for control of the Alterants, who are lead by Evalle. The Alterants currently are part of Belador, but Medb wants them, as well as Evalle. While this fight goes on, with Evalle in the middle, the crux of this story belongs to a powerful witch, who has been secretly absorbing powers from other powerful witches. Many many years ago, Witchlock, the ultimate power, disappeared, as the witch who had that power died. That witches coven has been grooming a young witch, Veronika since she was a child, to be able to take on this power and become the most powerful of them all.

Since I do not want to give any spoilers, what follows is an exciting pulse pounding thriller that has Evalle working with Adrianna and others to stop this witch or everyone will die. At every turn, it begins to look hopeless, as Veronika is already an unstoppable force. The last half of the book was a nail biter, which had me unable to put this book down until I reached the end.  

If you have not started this series, and enjoy urban fantasy, a fantastic heroine, fun exciting stories, a beautiful romance that keeps building, great secondary characters….then I ask you, why have you not started the Beladors series? I love Dianna Love’s writing, her wonderful imagination, and her ability to grab us from the start of each book she writes, and keeps us there until the end… Everytime. Witchlock was a wonderful exciting and fun read, and Dianna once again justifies why her last name ends with Love :) .   Please give yourself the enjoyment of reading this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author

 

Interview-RED

Hi Dianna. Thank you for taking the time to visit us again at The Reading Cafe, and to give us an update on your new release, Witchlock as well as what else you may have upcoming in 2015 or early 2016.

Dianna:  I’m thrilled to be back at The Reading Café. I love this site and all the great books and interviews you share with readers!   

TRC: On July 7th, you will be releasing Witchlock, which is the 6th book of your wonderful Belador series. Can you please tell us the premise of this series, for those who may not have read it?

Dianna:  Beladors are descendants of an ancient race of Celtic warriors, and are governed by the goddess Macha. Beladors look human, so present-day Beladors live among humans all over the world. Many of them are part of VIPER, a coalition of powerful beings who protect the world from supernatural predators. The series is primarily set in Atlanta, Georgia.    

TRC:  Witchlock is your next book in the Belador series, which is expected to be released on July 7th. Can you give us a brief description of this book?

Dianna: 
Witchlock vanished in the 13th century… or did it?

Some win. Some lose. And some will never be the same again.

After finally earning her place among the Beladors, Evalle is navigating the ups and downs of her new life with Storm when she’s sucked into a power play between her Belador tribe and the Medb coven. Both groups claim possession of the Alterants-turned-gryphons, especially Evalle, the gryphon leader. But an influx of demons and dark witches into Atlanta threatens to unleash war between covens, pitting allies against each other as a legendary majik known as Witchlock invades the city and attacks powerful beings. Evalle has one hope for stopping the invasion, but the cost may be her sanity and having to choose which friend to save.

TRC:  How many books are you planning for your Beladors series? Hopefully many many more.

Dianna:  LOL, yes, I do plan many more and thank you for reading them. :) I can’t give you an exact number, but we’re in the early stages of the series arcs. We had one major arc complete at the end of RISE OF THE GRYPHON and the next one has already begun, with big things in store for the main characters. I don’t believe in continuing to put books out when it’s clear the series should have wrapped up so I’ll just say that when it’s time, I’ll let everyone know. :) 

TRC:  What is it like to have created, and continue to write such a fantastic heroine in Evalle? How hard is it to keep Evalle being as great as she is? 

Dianna:  I just love Evalle. She has come from the most horrific background and was treated as an outcast among her own people for so long that it’s such a joy to watch how she evolves, which is one of the things that makes me want to write these stories. I’m flattered at the response to this character. As for continuing to develop her – she’s got a lot of things yet to learn about herself and the world, so it’s like opening up a new petal on a flower every time I work on her. Writing is hard, but not nearly as difficult when it’s a character who constantly tugs on my heartstrings. Plus, she’s with Storm, so I also get plenty of Storm time. ;0)  

TRC:  What’s coming next for your Slye Temp series? 

Dianna:  Speaking of ending a series – the last official Slye Temp novel, FATAL PROMISE, will be released summer 2016. That one is Sabrina and Gage’s story. It will conclude the major Czarion arc that has connected the entire series. But … the HAMR Brotherhood romantic suspense series will launch and include characters from Slye Temp. Those who read KISS THE ENEMY met Marguax, Logan and Logan’s HAMR Brotherhood team.

Logan and Margaux were on stage again, helping Tanner during DECEPTIVE TREASURES, and they’ll be around during the last Slye Temp book, too, then you’ll see more of them and the other Slye Temp characters as the HAMR Brotherhood books take off..    

                    TRC:  I cannot wait for Sabrina’s story. I so look forward to this.  I am also thrilled about your new series featuring Logan’s team. I loved their story.

TRC:  What are you currently working on now? Also, would you like to share with us what you may have upcoming in 2015 or early 2016.  

Dianna:  I am so excited to share that Tristan (character in the Belador series) will have a novella this winter (his story is just starting to unfold so we’ll see more of him in the upcoming stories, too), because I couldn’t fit him into WITCHLOCK without distracting from the main story that had to be told. The next full-length Belador novel, ROGUE BELADOR, will be out April 2016, and I’ve got other books brewing, but I want to be sure of the schedule before I share all that.  

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Dianna:  I have so many surprises in WITCHLOCK. I’m as anxious to get that book to readers as–they keep telling me–they are to receive it. I really appreciate the huge support readers have given this series, which keeps me excited to spend more time in the cave on new novels.  

             TRC:  I absolutely loved Adrianna in this book. 

TRC:  Thank you, Dianna for giving us an update on what we can look forward to in 2015/2016, and we wish you the best with Witchlock

Dianna:  Thank YOU, Barb for sharing so much with readers and supporting authors every day.



About The Author

Dianna Love

New York Times bestseller Dianna Love once dangled over a hundred feet in the air to create unusual marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies. Now she focuses her energetic muse on storytelling. The first book she wrote won a RITA® Award and sold out in six weeks. She writes high-octane romantic thrillers and urban fantasy. STOLEN VENGEANCE, book 6 in the sexy, fast-paced Slye Temp romantic suspense series released March 2015, and WITCHLOCK, book 6 in the bestselling Belador urban fantasy series will be out July 7th.
When not in the writing cave, Dianna loves touring the country on her BMW motorcycle. She lives in the Atlanta, GA area with her motorcycle-instructor husband and a tank full of unruly saltwater critters.

Connect with Dianna on facebook at Dianna Love Fan Page or sign up for the crazy fun on her Dianna Love Street Team

Excerpts of all her books are at AuthorDiannaLove.com.

You can learn more about Dianna at the following links:
Facebook (Fan page)  / Dianna’s Street Team / Website / Twitter

 

 

giveaway

Dianna Love is graciously offering an ebook of WITCHLOCK and a set of signed Belador Keeper Kase Cards 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 FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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

6. Please LIKE us on TSU for an additional entry.

7. Follow Dianna Love  on Facebook.

8. Giveaway is open Internationally.

9. Giveaway runs from June 29 to July 3 , 2015

 
 

 

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Delta for Death by Michele Drier-Review and Guest Post

Delta for Death by Michele Drier-Review and Guest Post

Delta For Death

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 26,2015

California is in the middle of a catastrophic drought and water managers are scrambling to find ways to conserve the resource. The Governor has proposed a plan to dig massive tunnels under Delta, a sprawling tract of islands, sloughs, farms, marinas, resorts and historic small towns. The project will ship Sacramento River water south, to the thirsty corporate farms and cities of Central and Southern California, not a popular idea in Northern California.

When two bodies turn up at a state corporation yard in the tiny Delta hamlet of Freeland, Amy Hobbes and her police reporter, Clarice, are determined to find out if water is an issue worth killing for

••••••••••••

REVIEW: Delta for Death is Michele Drier’s new novel. This is Book Three of the Amy Hobbs Newspaper Mysteries.

Amy Hobbs is the Managing Editor for Monroe Press in the Central Valley area of California. Her ex-husband up and left for Illinois with his pregnant girlfriend, leaving Amy and her then teenage daughter to make a life for themselves. The teenager became a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a nursing degree as Amy continues her career. She has since moved on romantically as well, she has a casual, for the moment, relationship with a wonderfully romantic and adventurous man, Phil. Phil happens to work for the San Francisco Times.

This marvelously entertaining story develops slowly as Amy and her reporters go through their day discovering stories of murder and mayhem in this small town California area. Stories develop in interesting ways, as do the relationships between the people.

Author Michele Drier has written a wonderfully entertaining story, combining great characters, behind the scenes looks at what’s behind some of the headlines in California, murder and the many possibilities for it, as well as a developing romance. All are entwined to make a fun and interesting read.

I’ve had the privilege of reading Michele Drier’s SNAP (Kandesky Vampire Chronicles) Series, and after reading this story, I’ll have to catch up by reading the first two Amy Hobbs Mysteries as well.

Grab you favorite beverage, curl up and have a great read with this wonderful new addition to her series! Enjoy everyone, I certainly did.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Georgianna S

Guest Post

What do You Know?

Many of us don’t know what we know.

That sounds like a non sequitur. Of course we know. We went to school. We work. We read. We watch television. We talk with friends.
We’re learning every day.

But lot of what we’ve learned just passes through our minds if we have no immediate use for it. Even if we don’t use it, though, it’s still there, lodged somewhere behind grocery lists, our mother’s uncle’s second wife’s phone number and birthdays of people we worked with ten years ago.

So when a writer is advised to “write what you know,” what does that mean?
The foremost idea is to set your protagonist in a career or relationship or place that you, as the author, are familiar with.

Many authors do this. I’ve chosen a protagonist for my mystery series who’s a newspaper editor. Hmmm… maybe because I spent about twenty years in that job?

And the setting for the books is California’s northern Central Valley, a place where I spent a chunk of my childhood and have lived for a quarter of a century as an adult. This deep knowledge of a career, a location and a point in time, makes it easy to close my eyes and be there.

I’ve also chosen to develop plots around roughly current news. The first book in the series, Edited for Death, is about finding masterpieces stolen by the Nazis in World War II. It was written a few years ago when pieces of stolen art, notably a Klimt work, were found. And not too long ago, George Clooney put together a movie, Monuments Men, about the group of scholars who tracked down and recovered some of the looted art.

Labeled for Death looks at the winegrape growing industry in California, a several billion dollar a year economic shot in the arm for the state…and some well-known and wealthy growers. Premium wines are made from grape varieties and some grapes bring a lot more money per ton than others. Is someone passing off inferior grapes as premium?

California’s severe drought is the backstory for Delta for Death. The governor has a plan to dig huge, deep tunnels under the Delta where the major north-south rivers join up to flow into San Francisco Bay. The tunnels will divert Sacramento River water under the Delta to ship it south to the ag lands in the lower Central Valley and eventually into the Los Angles basin. Is water in California an issue worth killing over?

Even knowing the situations and places I’m writing about, sometime small memories pop up and say, “Me too! Don’t forget about…” That’s how Amy Hobbes and her lover end up at a sports car race in Monterey in Delta for Death. Or a building in Heidelberg houses stolen art in Edited for Death. Little things I experienced, tucked away and forgot about for years.

What have you learned that you know? What small (or not!) piece of trivia is in a locked file drawer in your brain, just waiting for the key? Finding out what you know can be a great voyage of discovery.

~~Michele~~

About The Author

FOLLOW: Website /Facebook /Twitter / Amazon

Michele DrierMichele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.

She writes the Amy Hobbes Newspaper mysteries, Edited for Death, Labeled for Death and Delta for Death, published May 2015.

Her paranormal romance series, The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, was named one of the best paranormal vampire series of 2014 by reviewers of the Paranormal Romance Guild. SNAP: All That Jazz, Book Eight of The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, was awarded second place for best book of 2014.

The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles include SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, DANUBE: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights and SNAP: All That Jazz. SNAP: I, Vampire, Book Nine in the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles is scheduled for publication in 2015.

Box Set ebooks Vol 1-4 of SNAP: Kandesky Vampire Chronicles only $6.99 : Amazon.com / Amazon.ca/ Barnes and Noble/ KOBO

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Skeleton Run by John L.DeBoer-Review, Interview and Book Tour

Skeleton Run by John L. DeBoer- Review, Interview and Book Tour

Skeleton Run

Amazon.com / / B&N / KOBO / itunes / Google Play

SKELETON RUN by John L .Deboer

About the book: Release Date April 14, 2015

Add SKELETON RUN to your GOODREADS shelf

Twenty years ago, four teenage boys left a baby behind in a crushed car after they caused the tragic accident that took the mother’s life. Ever since, they’ve guarded the secret that would’ve ruined their lives and destroyed their future careers. But when one of them succumbs to illness, a blackmailer makes contact, and the survivors realize that, somehow, someone else knows. Now, everything that matters to them is at stake.

Las Vegas billionaire Wendell Logan is pursuing the role of political kingmaker, and he’s selected his unsuspecting king: Alan Granger, governor of Pennsylvania. Granger confesses his closet skeleton to Logan, but the tycoon has invested too much time and money into Granger’s future presidential campaign to let him and his old friends endanger Logan’s power play.

It’s time to run.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: SKELETON RUN is a contemporary, adult suspense storyline from author John L. Deboer. Told from first person point of view-Dr. Jim Dawson- and several third person perspectives SKELETON RUN follows four friends who twenty two years earlier, during their senior year of high school, were involved in a car accident that killed a young woman abandoning her eighteen month old son alone and helpless on a cold winter’s night. Promising never to speak of that night, our four friends will eventually find themselves the victims of blackmail when a deathbed conversation reveals too much information, and one of their own confesses the truth during a run for political office.

John Deboer builds a story of intrigue and suspense using personal tragedy and guilt to reveal the different experiences and resulting fall out for each of our four storyline ‘heroes’, and I use the term hero rather loosely. We follow the successes and failures from physician, and football hero: to governor, and a young life cut short by a deadly disease; lives will be threatened and lost when blackmail and politics take center stage in a struggle for power and the ultimate control of man by the political elite.

The world building follows four high school age students over a twenty two year period wherein the memories of that fateful night burrow into the sub conscious of each man but not everyone experiences the mind numbing guilt in similar ways. While three of the men are unable to forget about the child that was left behind, another presses forward as though nothing had happened to change the direction of his own life and that of his future plans.

John Deboer’s character development is thorough without the use of over the top romantic descriptive narration; their personal demons rarely ride close to the surface but the guilt is ever present and not easy to forget. The past will become their present when the future is clouded in what ifs and the possibility of what is to come.
SKELETON RUN is a well written storyline of mystery and suspense. The premise will keep your attention until the very end; the characters are colorful, intriguing and charismatic. John L. Deboer builds an intense, imaginative and fateful storyline that could have been ripped from today’s headline news.

Copy supplied by the publisher.

Reviewed by Sandy

excerpt

 

 

Chapter 1
Late February 1995
Richmond, Vermont
Jeanne Favreau kissed her eighteen-month-old son and put him in his crib for the night. Exhausted from her long day at Bolton Valley, she flopped into her own bed across the room. Sufficient snow on the popular ski resort’s slopes kept the snack bar busy on Saturdays. At least she had the next day off. She quickly fell asleep.
The baby cried, and Jeanne’s eyes snapped open. No light crept through the blinds. She turned on the nightstand lamp and glanced at the clock radio: 10:15. Crap! She stepped to the crib, where Timmy stood gripping the side rail and emitting unhappy squawks.
“What’s the matter, sweetie?” Jeanne lifted him over the rail and held him to her shoulder while checking his diaper. Dry and empty. Then she felt his forehead. Hot.
Oh, Christ! Another ear infection? Probably. With a sigh, she carried Timmy into the bathroom and took the bottle of Tylenol suspension from the medicine cabinet. She closed the bathtub drain and turned on the water. She went into the small kitchen and deposited him into his highchair, where he rubbed his right ear with a fist.
“I know, Timmy. You don’t feel good,” Jeanne cooed, “but Mommy will make it better.” She opened a cabinet drawer, got a spoon, and poured the liquid Tylenol into it. The pediatrician had said he could have a full teaspoon. Unfortunately, Jeanne had become experienced dealing with ear infections. After successfully getting her child to take the medicine, she picked him up and returned to the bathroom.
From the back seat of the Toyota Land Cruiser, I gazed out the window at the passing forest. Though clouds intermittently obscured the face of the half moon, enough light bathed the landscape to provide a contrast between the smooth, untrampled snow and the skeletal stands of hardwood trees rising above it.
My buddies and I had taken full advantage of the good conditions on the slopes, and with the end of the season looming, we wanted to double down and continue skiing into the evening under the lights. But our social director had another idea in mind.
Alan Granger chuckled as he piloted the SUV down the Bolton Valley access road. “Hot babes in a hot tub. Doesn’t get any better than that. Didn’t I tell you? Stick with the Grange if you want to party? Bring your swim trunks just in case? I’m definitely going to give that Tammy a call tomorrow.” Tall and lanky, with a shock of unruly dark brown hair, a handsome face, and a gregarious personality, Granger was well known in our high school as a chick magnet. And starring as a wide receiver on the football team hadn’t hurt.
Bob Kretchman, sitting next to me, grunted and took a gulp from his beer can. With his intimidating size and ferocious tackling exploits for that same team, his nickname of “Crushman” had evolved naturally. He scratched his scalp through his blond crew cut. “Yeah, it was fun. But I can’t see us taking this any further. They’re college chicks, dude.”
“Get me one of those Buds, will you?” Granger said. As I reached into the Styrofoam cooler behind me, he continued, “What difference does a year make, Crush? In seven months, we’ll be in college, too. So we lie a little to get laid. You know, like we usually do.” He laughed again.
I popped the can and handed it to our driver.
“What about you, Jimmy?” he asked me. “Going to give Green Bikini a call? You two seemed to be getting it on pretty good.”
I smiled, thinking of those luscious tits practically rubbing against me as we “got to know each other” in the spa’s swirling water. The girls, Pi Beta Phi sorority sisters, were sophomores at the University of Vermont, all from out of state. They were staying in the ski condo belonging to the parents of Granger’s date for the weekend. Unfortunately, the father and his wife were also there, so we had to confine the frolic to the public hot tub. But we’d all said we would like to get together again in the near future—hopefully to take our newfound “friendships” to the next level.
“The lighting helped,” I replied, “since I don’t look ancient like the rest of you guys. But I don’t think my face could pass for a college stud in the light of day.”
Tom Webster faced me from the front passenger seat. He twiddled his index fingers in his cheeks and grinned. “Mr. Dawson, she’d just think you’re cute. Go for it, man. Sometimes you gotta go for the long ball.” The team’s quarterback turned his broad shoulders back to the front and nudged the driver with his elbow.
“Amen to that,” Granger responded.
“Hey, Jim,” Kretchman added, “you can’t always dance your way through the line. Somebody like me could be waiting for you, stop you in your tracks.”
I laughed at the ribbing, since I was used to it. They had been my friends since grade school. Though in good shape, able to hold my own in the weight room, and certainly not short in stature, I was the “little” kid among them and the youngest by four months. Not to mention my young-looking face. “Well,” I said, returning the linebacker’s grin, “if there’s a hole, I’ll be sure to find it.”
“Good one, Jimmy!” Granger laughed and took a pull from his can.
“And,” I said, “you seem to have forgotten that ninety-five-yard touchdown run I made against Essex. The Burlington Free Press certainly thought it was noteworthy. Didn’t the article say it was a school record? And how about those two—I repeat, two—kickoff returns for TDs against BFA? I can go long, too.” I gave him a light punch in the arm.
“Yeah, you’re a legend in your own mind,” Granger said over his shoulder. “Anyway, those girls do open up some possibilities.”
The car came to a stop at the bottom of the hill before turning right onto US 2. The exit for I-89, the route we’d take back to Burlington, lay just a few miles ahead.
At eleven p.m., after bathing Timmy in tepid water, Jeanne checked his temperature again with the rectal thermometer. 103.6! His fever had risen a full degree. Listless and lethargic, Timmy was no longer crying. Not a good sign.
She placed him on the bed while she quickly dressed and put on her parka. Then she wrapped a blanket around Timmy, picked him up, and went out the trailer door. Along with her child, the decrepit singlewide was all she had left to remind her of her ex-boyfriend, who’d run off as soon as she revealed the positive pregnancy test.
She secured Timmy in the rear-facing infant car seat of her beat-up Yugo and then drove out of the trailer park. The medical center in Burlington, just twenty minutes or so to the west, was her destination. Richmond didn’t have a hospital. But that’s what my baby needs, and soon.
The heavy beat of Meat Loaf erupted from the Land Cruiser’s CD player as snowflakes began to hit the windshield.
Granger turned on the wipers. “Where the hell did this come from?”
“Some freak snow flurry,” Webster said from the shotgun seat.
“More like a freakin’ storm.”
I leaned forward to peer through the windshield. The headlights’ illumination reflected back at us from the fluffy crystals. We appeared to be the only car on the road, so playing Follow the Leader wouldn’t help us pick our way through the wall of white. Roadside lights were non-existent.
“Better slow down,” I said. As Kretchman had implied in his metaphor, I was usually the cautious one. I preferred to call it the “voice of reason.”
As the car rounded a turn, Webster yelled, “Watch out!”
At the same moment, I saw it as well. A dim red glow penetrated the heavy snowfall directly in front of us. A car’s taillight.
Granger tromped on the brakes, but the SUV skidded on the slick asphalt. “Oh, Jesus!” he shouted, and we all watched helplessly, knowing a collision was unavoidable. The heavy Land Cruiser slammed into the rear of the much smaller car, sending it careening off the road and into a stout maple tree.
“Shit!” Granger regained control of the SUV, pulled onto the shoulder, and put the car in park but left the engine running. He scrambled out of the vehicle and headed toward the stricken sedan, his open parka flapping.
The rest of us followed. Snow crunched beneath my boots as I hurried to the car. The initial shock of the collision became full-blown panic as I feared the worst. The Yugo’s right headlight had escaped damage and sent its beam onto the cornfield beyond the tree. The front of the driver’s side of the car had received the full force of the impact. Snow continued to fall, its insulation imposing an eerie quiet. Except for our heavy breathing and the slight tick of the Yugo’s engine, no sound reached my ears.
We gathered around Granger and looked through the shattered driver’s side window. Faint light from the moon revealed a young woman pinned to her seat by the steering column. She wasn’t moving.
“Are you all right?” Granger spoke through the window as he tried and failed to open the door. No response came from the woman who appeared to be, at best, unconscious. “Bob, give the door a try.”
While Kretchman put his bulk into the effort, I went around to the other side and opened the front passenger door. The dome light came on, illuminating the woman, and my fear became real.
The collision had driven the dashboard assembly, including the collapsible steering column, into her chest. Her unblinking eyes stared ahead as if expressing shock at the sudden catastrophe. Med school was still more than four years away for me, but I didn’t need medical training to diagnose the obvious.
Still, I felt for a pulse in her cool, lifeless wrist. “She’s dead,” I announced.
“Oh, my God!” Granger wailed. “What’re we going to do?” He banged his fist on the roof of the car. “Shit!”
From behind me, Webster said, “Look in the backseat, Jimmy.”
Though I’d thought my despair couldn’t get any worse, it climbed to a new level.
Webster opened the rear door, and I leaned in. The infant car seat lay askew but still restrained by the seat belt. The child in it was motionless, eyes closed. Oh, Jesus, no! I put my ear close to the baby’s mouth, and the sound of rhythmic breathing rewarded me. Thank God! I didn’t see any apparent injuries. Granger and Kretchman came around the car.
“I think the baby’s okay,” I said as I backed out and stood upright. “Call 9-1-1 on your car phone, Al.”
“Yeah… all right… good idea.” He started for his car then came back to us. “Oh, man. We should think about this first. I killed somebody, for Christ’s sake! Vehicular homicide is what they call it.” He shook his head. “I’m in big trouble, guys.”
“It was an accident,” Kretchman offered. “Bad weather conditions, slippery road. That car came out of nowhere.”
“And it only had the one taillight,” Webster added. “We’ll back you up, man.”
“Except they’ll say I was going too fast for the conditions, since I rear-ended her. Slam dunk there. And I was drinking. Unlike you guys, I’m eighteen, so I’m screwed both ways. I’m not allowed to drink, but legally I’m an adult. I am totally fucked!”
I couldn’t argue with that assessment, and apparently, the others couldn’t either as indecision paralyzed all of us. I glanced at the baby. We had to do something for it and soon.
“Even if I can stay out of jail and my old man doesn’t disown me, there goes law school. Think I could get into Georgetown or any other top school with this on my record?” Granger put his hands on the sides of his head. “Oh, man. What am I going to do?”
“So let’s get the hell out of here,” Webster said. “You gotta make that call because of the kid, but do it when we’re on the road and keep it anonymous.”
“I think the cops can trace those calls,” Granger replied. “Can’t take that chance. I need to find a pay phone.”
“What about the baby?” I asked. “We can’t just leave it here. If something happens to—”
“Uh-oh, car coming,” Kretchman said.
I looked to the east. The trees lit up from an approaching car that had not yet rounded the curve. We watched as the car came into view and then reached our location. I held my breath, but it continued past us without even slowing.
Maybe the snow had obscured the driver’s view. Maybe something else had distracted him. Maybe he had issues of his own and didn’t want to get involved in our problem. Whatever—his appearance on the scene emphasized our precarious position.
“We better get going before a Good Samaritan or a state trooper comes by,” Granger said.
“The baby?” I asked again.
Granger looked at the sleeping infant. “He’s got a warm blanket.” He reached in to tuck the wool fabric around the kid. “It’s not that cold. Gotta be above freezing.” He gazed at the sky. “And the snow is letting up.” The panic in his eyes told me whose welfare he was really considering. “The kid’ll be okay. He’s not even crying, Jimmy. I’ll call 9-1-1 as soon as we hit town. Twenty minutes, tops.” He headed to the Land Cruiser. “C’mon, guys, let’s book.”
Kretchman must have sensed my hesitation. “Jimmy?”
I didn’t know what to say.
Webster grabbed my arm. “C’mon, man. I don’t like this any better than you do, but we’re all in big shit here. Al’s right. This is the only way out for us.”
It wasn’t right to just up and bolt, leaving the mess behind us. Okay, it was Al’s mess, really. But Webster had a point. We were all involved. Even though I had only been a bystander, I wasn’t innocent. I had been drinking, too, had even given the driver a beer. Because of us, a woman lay dead, and her baby had lost its mother. A terrible thing.
Guilt was one thing. I’d have that regardless. Suffering real-world consequences was another matter. In the short term, I’d be grounded for sure. But I could imagine how this incident could forever mar my reputation. I’d be one of “those boys”—the drunken teenagers on a joyride who killed a woman. And Al, my buddy, was right. He would be in a shit-pot full of trouble, legal and otherwise, if this got out.
Self-defense and loyalty finally won the debate. We could do nothing for the woman now, and the baby would be fine, I told myself. I leaned in once more to check the baby and made sure the blanket was secured around his sleeping form. I closed the door and said, “Okay, let’s go,” then followed the others to the car.

 

 

Interview

TRC: Hi John and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of SKELETON RUN.

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

Follow John: Goodreads / Website/ Facebook / Twitter/ RAP

 

John L DeboerJohn: I was born in Long Island, spent my childhood in New Jersey, then moved to Burlington, Vermont for high school. Then college and med school in the same city. After that was my surgical training, followed by three years in the Medical Corps. Then I left Uncle Sam for private practice. Thirty years later, I retired and started a new career as a writer. I enjoy cooking, films and film history, playing tennis, politics (I’m a junkie), and the amazing wonders of the cosmos. And, of course, reading.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

John: My parents, both highly literate and authors themselves as sidelines (non-fiction) had to be my most influential motivators. When I gave them a school essay I wrote for them to critique, I could always depend on their opinions. My high school English teacher, Miss Dyke (yes, that was her name), was old school (literally!) and drilled the points of grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation into me. I’ve always enjoyed putting sentences and paragraphs together to make a point. While my surgical career did not allow for much literary expression, or the time to indulge in it, I kept my hand in by writing professional articles for surgical journals and writing the family Christmas letter. Friends and family recipients of these seemed to like my quirky prose and would occasionally suggest I write a book. So I did! And I’ve been writing novels ever since.

Skeleton RunTRC: SKELETON RUN is your April 2015 release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

John: The Supreme Court decisions that currently allow billionaires to finance presidential campaigns was the starting point in my idea for this novel. I wondered how far someone would go to foster – and protect – this investment. Including murder? In “The Godfather,” Michael Corleone said to Kay, when she sneered at his explanation of his father being no worse than a powerful senator, Kay replied, “Don’t be naïve, Michael. Senators don’t have people killed.” And Michael said, “Now who’s being naïve?” When the stakes are high, who really knows? “Seven Days in May,” “No Way Out,” and “Absolute Power” are three films that touch on this subject. Fascinating – and believable, in my view. Anyway, I start out with three high school seniors, friends and members of the football team, who cause a tragic accident. Not wanting to get caught, they flee and guard the secret. Twenty years later they are snug in their adult careers, when the secret gets exposed and a blackmailer surfaces. One of those teens is now the governor of Pennsylvania, and the man a Las Vegas billionaire has decided will be the man he’ll put in the White House. But because of the blackmail attempt, the governor has to divulge his closet skeleton to his benefactor who decides that, with all the effort he’d expended to make the governor a viable candidate, he won’t be stopped now. Anyone with knowledge of that long-ago tragedy must not be allowed to reveal it. And that sets up the conflict for the rest of the novel.

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

John: Because I was creating this fictional campaign with fictional players, I couldn’t set the story in the past or even present. It had to be in the near future. But, knowing how long it takes from writing a novel to getting it in print, I still had a problem in this regard. I needed a governor of a state that was important electorally, but not hugely covered by the national press. So I picked Pennsylvania. I happened to have lived there for a number of years, so I was familiar with it. But speaking of fictional characters, I wanted to use real-person Karl Rove in a small part; my publisher didn’t allow that. So I had to work around it. All of the settings in the book I was relatively familiar with, and that didn’t present much difficulty. I just had to make sure that what I described as being extant in 1995 when the story begins was accurate.

TRC: Did your career as a surgeon in the U.S. Army Medical Corps impact the premise of any of your storylines? If so, how?

John: I’ve written other novels in which a surgeon was the protagonist. And they’ve sometimes done their training in the Army. Write what you know? In this one, the main character is a pediatrician, university-trained. But medical expertise plays a role in most of my stories. In this one, it acts only as background, and in the two novels I’ve written since, none of the characters are physicians. So perhaps, unlike Robin Cook, I’m expanding my horizons!

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

John: In “Skeleton Run,” this proved to be a tricky problem. It took some doing to save the reveal for the right time. And it did sacrifice some word count!

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?

John: I’m very pleased with what the artist came up with for the cover. I submitted a list of elements I thought were important based on my vision, but she came up with her own idea based on her knowledge of the story. And frankly, I think she nailed it. The cover is what attracts the eye, so that’s a start. But if there’s no there, there, a cover won’t get beyond that. Personally, although I love this cover, I think covers are overrated. I’ve seen really bland covers of top-notch books by bestsellers. Okay, they’re bestsellers; a blank white cover and the author’s name would probably be enough. But I think you know what I mean.

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

John: Good question! It has to be both. I write personalities into the characters, who then must act in keeping with them. The writer then has the option of allowing their personae to direct the action, or thwart them via other characters. And who will do what is the challenge. Not the why, because that should have been established.

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?

John: I think the key thing is to present a situation with which the reader can identify. Not necessarily from personal experience, but from expectation, if the scene/characters has been set up properly. If the emotions of a scene aren’t logical – Why is she laughing for no reason? – then the scene fails. Proper preparation is essential. No shortcuts allowed if an emotional response is important to the scene – and it should be!

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

John: No, I don’t listen to music. I usually have the TV on in my man-cave (the garage) to serve as background “white noise,” though. And it’s usually some talk show, so crescendos and decrescendos won’t affect my writing mood.

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

JOHN: Number one, survive for five years! Number two, get more widely known for my novels. Number three, build that dream house at the beach.

TRC: Have you collaborated with any other authors/writers? If not, have you considered such an enterprise?

John: I tried writing a novel with another author once, but that didn’t work out. Delegation of responsibilities proved to be too difficult.

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

John: I bounce ideas about new projects off my wife and a very few friends. Two, actually. I workshop all my novels in an online writing community, posting one chapter at a time. I find the feedback from this invaluable.

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

John: I don’t really know. I find only positive responses when I meet strangers and tell them I’m a writer. That usually piques their curiosity and starts a conversation.

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

John: If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

John: My WIP is a story about the ISIS threat to Americans, tentatively titled, “When the Reaper Comes.”

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

John: A big thank you for participating in my “Skeleton Run” book tour!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite food - Italian (anything but calamari)

Favorite dessert - pies (any kind except for pumpkin)

Favorite TV show - That’s a toughie. Hmm. Okay, “House of Cards”

Last movie I saw - “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Dark or milk chocolate - Dark

Secret celebrity crush - C’mon

Last vacation destination - The Cloisters, Sea Island, Georgia

Pets - Two cats

Last book read - Lee Child’s “Gone Tomorrow”

Pet peeve - Well, I think it’s when someone always starts out answering a
question with “Well,…”

TRC: Thank you John for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of SKELETON RUN. We wish you all the best

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GO ! (Hold On ! Season 2) by Peter Darley-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

GO! (Hold On ! Season 2) by Peter Darley-Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

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GO!
(Hold On Season #2)
by Peter Darley
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Genre: adult, contemporary, romantic, suspense

Go

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 26, 2015

Brandon Drake has escaped from Leavenworth, aided by a new player who has entered the game. Tyler Faraday is the heir to an empire––and Brandon’s long-lost brother. Tyler enables Brandon’s reunion with his lover, Belinda, but Brandon is no longer the man she once knew. Haunted by memories of a life that never happened, he succumbs to the lure of alcohol.

Tyler has discovered he and Brandon have another sibling. Having been raised in a convent, their sister, Emily, has a crisis of faith and flees. On the road, she is kidnapped by a ruthless human trafficking organization run by a mysterious kingpin called Sapphire. Brandon, Tyler, and Belinda learn of Emily’s plight and begin their search for Sapphire’s location, hampered by Brandon’s growing alcohol dependency.

Meanwhile, Andrew Wilmot, new leader of a rogue government faction, seeks to use Brandon for his own nefarious plans, and hunts him down.

Brandon, Belinda, and Tyler’s quest leads to Los Angeles, where they search for the only one who knows Sapphire’s location––a former captive known only as Siren, and who may not even exist. Their quest is destined to lead to the most explosive action in the series so far.

••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: GO! is the second installment in Peter Darley’s high energy, Hold On romantic, suspense series focusing on former soldier Brandon Drake. Two years have past since the events of book one-Hold On-wherein Brandon found himself sentenced to Leavenworth for crimes against the US government.

Told from several third person perspectives, GO! finds Brandon and Belinda on the run. After escaping Leavenworth Prison, an injured Brandon finds refuge with a brother he barely knows, and the woman he hasn’t spoken to in almost two years. What ensues, is Brandon’s recovery; Tyler and Brandon’s search for a missing sibling they knew nothing about; and the hunt for Brandon and Belinda by a rogue government faction who has other plans for Brandon’s special skill set and ability to evade his captors. The search for Tyler and Brandon’s sister places our heroes on a path to uncover a human trafficking ring wherein our hero’s intrepid brother goes undercover as a high stakes bidder for human sex slaves.

GO! is an ensemble storyline with a large cast of supporting and secondary characters whose actions directly affect Brandon and his search for Emily Drake. From rogue government agents, the FBI and CIA, to friends and enemies of Brandon Drake, everyone is suspect and no one can be discounted as a potential threat against Brandon’s mission to find the sister he hasn’t seen for over twenty years.

The action and suspense of the hunt are the primary driving factors that continue to push the storyline forward. Brandon has some personal and emotional issues that he has to overcome, and in this, Brandon has some traits of the anti-hero when life begins to overwhelm and everything appears to be crashing around them. But Brandon is a man without a past and there are some things about Brandon that are both frightening and dangerous to everyone around. He is a reluctant hero-a man epitomized by the American public for his acts of bravery, and fight against corruption and government crime. Brandon is an enigma; a man with deep flaws and a darker history. We will question the limits of Brandon’s moral integrity, his insecurities, and his ability to get the job done.

GO! is a storyline with military style action and adventure; a tale of suspense and intrigue, espionage, murder, and drama. Peter Darley’s GO! is an action movie set to ‘virtual’ paper; an intense look at one man’s need to save the people he loves, and the world around them.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight

Hold On !
by Peter Darley
Release Date: July 7, 2014
Genre: mystery, suspense, action,romance

Hold OnClick HERE for Sandy’s review of HOLD ON !

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 7, 2014

Two lovers! A deadly conspiracy! A race to freedom!

When Carringby Industries, a government-contracted arms manufacturer, is raided by what appear to be terrorists, the CEO’s secretary, Belinda Reese, is rescued by Brandon Drake, a dashing young AWOL soldier. Using an experimental test aircraft, he flees with her to his remote, isolated cabin in the mountains of Aspen.

While assisting in the design of military weaponry, Brandon discovered a plot within his own government to attack its own facilities, under the guidance of immoral politician, Senator Garrison Treadwell. Belinda’s body was not found among the dead at Carringby Industries, and Treadwell suspects that Drake was responsible for rescuing her. In an effort to entrap him, Treadwell arranges for an all points bulletin to be placed on Belinda

Deeply in love, Brandon and Belinda attempt to escape from America, only to endure one harrowing experience after another as they try to evade and expose Treadwell’s corrupt faction.

But on the run, with danger around every corner, Brandon makes a discovery so devastating that it shatters the very foundations of his reality.

Guest Post

Go! and the Cliffhangers Behind the Scenes

Hi everyone. It’s great to be back at The Reading Café. ☺ With what’s happened since the last time I was here, the fact that I made it back makes this even more special.

Go! – Hold On! Season 2 is the latest instalment in my novelized, hypothetical TV thriller series. I began writing Go! in 2012 in reaction to the excitement I felt when its predecessor, Hold On!, was picked up for the first time by a publisher in Michigan. Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there. A week before Hold On! was due to be released, my publisher folded, and my agent retired. It was then tentatively picked up by Fifty Shades of Grey’s original publisher – who went silent without explanation, after four months of us working on the book. Go! was still being written through all this, and the uncertainty of the future of the series seriously impaired its completion.

Several weeks later, in late 2013, Hold On! was picked up by a publisher in New York, which, at the time, gave me some incentive to complete Go!. What ultimately happened with this publisher was a total nightmare – which is a story I will get to in a moment.

The story in Go! was a work in progress for some time. Many have commented (and even complained) that Hold On! ended on a cliffhanger, and yet I never saw it that way. When I originally completed Hold On! back in 2011, I had no concept of a sequel. It ended on an apparent HEA. There was an opening for a continuation, but I didn’t feel it was essential. I believe that the ‘cliffhanger’ so many were vexed about was an optical illusion created by the excerpt from Go!, which was published on the page after Hold On! ended. It was down to the mere fact that a sequel had arisen. I do believe that the original version of Hold On! could have stood alone without Go!.

With the release of the second edition of Hold On! (now called Hold On! – Season 1) that has changed. There are definitely cliffhangers at the end now. This is mandatory for this idea, really. All thriller TV show seasons end on the essential ‘season finale’ hook. For that reason, I added the ‘Season 1’ subtitle in order to give my readers a heads-up from the outset.

In the story of Go!, I had to consider the human factor, and how such circumstances would affect real human beings. Brandon Drake is an extraordinary, enigmatic hero, but he’s also a man. He isn’t a machine. Hold On! and the early chapters of Go! illustrate what he goes through. It’s extreme, both emotionally and physically.

In order to be credible, it was important to contemplate how all of this would affect someone? Soldiers on the battlefield often suffer PTSD, which can lead to extreme, self-destructive behavior. For this reason, I wanted to keep Brandon real, and he becomes an alcoholic. In turn, this alcohol plotline made for an entirely new type of cliffhanger. In Hold On! Brandon would get them out of a tight spot, but this time – he’s utterly useless. How are they going to get out of it now?

Continuing to explore the myriad types of bullies and controllers in the world, I picked up the story exactly where Hold On! left off. The government conspiracy storyline continues, along with a human trafficking subplot.

In Hold On! it was revealed that Belinda had been sexually abused by a priest when she was a child. In Go! I gave a deeper exploration of what she went through. I had reservations about her flashback scene, and it wasn’t easy to describe something so ugly without it seeming graphic and exploitative. Nevertheless, I am confident that I succeeded, basing a non-graphic, purely ‘audible’ memory on the accounts of actual victims of this crime. My intention was to show the harm that it causes to the individual, and its far-reaching consequences. In my opinion, crimes such as this should be exposed, and not swept under the rug.

A new cast is introduced in Go!. We get to meet Brandon’s long-lost brother as they risk everything to rescue their sister from a brutal human trafficking organization. Along the way, we share Brandon’s struggle to overcome his alcohol addiction and restore himself to his former greatness. All plot threads build toward an explosive finale, which leads into the final book in the current story arc: Run! – Hold On! Season 3. We are currently working on the final touches of Run! in preparation for its release on August 17th.

After Hold On! was signed, my former publisher accepted Go! and sent me a publishing contract for it in April, 2014. Before long, I noticed that their promotional measures were virtually none-existent, and there was an insensible complacency in them. None of the promotional efforts I was making, or even Hold On! having picked up a sterling celebrity review, seemed to be of any interest to them. Any asset which would have propelled the visibility of the book was discarded by this publisher, who seemed to be comfortable with all of their books languishing at the bottom of the Amazon rankings.

Whatever their business model is, it does not explain this blatant aversion to success. Whether you run the village bakery or if you are an international arms dealer, the bottom line of any business – is profit. If profit is not the agenda here – what is? Could it have been set up intentionally to make a loss in order to reduce the tax liability on another venture? I just don’t know.

On my publisher’s author ‘support’ blog, I bore witness to threats, by an editor, to authors who dared to question this complacency. Soon, I would find myself on a chilling excursion into utter insanity.

I was in preparation for a major promotion of Go!, into which I would have been investing almost $1,000. It should be noted that my publisher would have reaped the majority share of the proceeds from this. Before I went ahead with it, I needed them to add the sequel’s release date to the end of the first book, and upload the amendment to Amazon. I’ve done this myself, countless times by now. It takes exactly four minutes. With the expenditure involved, their silence and complacency was beginning to agitate me.

My subsequent discussions with my publisher became heated. In retaliation, this person claimed that Go! required ‘major revisions’, wouldn’t tell me what those revisions entailed, and all communications between my editor and I were blocked. Lies and false accusations – that I had asked to be released from my contract, and that I had rejected cover art (that I had designed!) – ensued. All attempts at reasoning with this person failed. In breach of our contract, I had a termination agreement for Go! forced on me – while they stated they were going to keep Hold On! (which would have remained at the bottom of Amazon’s rankings, without my input.) I could do nothing with the sequel without Book One. I was also accused of not ‘acting in good faith’. If that were true, wouldn’t it also have applied to Hold On!?

Extremely creepy commentary came back from my publisher: “We are cancelling your sequel, but we are still willing to work with you on Hold On! so you can still be a part of our ‘family’.” And “Read back through this thread and you will see why ‘this is happening’.” I’ve kept all of the emails, read through them, had them vetted, and nobody can decipher what this was supposed to have meant. To me, it was all a bit ‘Twilight Zone.’

Ultimately, it cost me close to $800 to buy Hold On! back from them. (This was preferable to an estimated $100,000 in transatlantic legal expenses.) It’s interesting that they threw in the cover art as part of the deal, when previously they’d claimed I’d rejected it. Why would this person think I’d want something I’d allegedly rejected?

But what had I got myself involved with? If they are not a business in pursuit of profits, what are they? And why do they seem so intent on such vindictive behavior? I am now extremely wary of publishers. Authors seek them, largely as a result of having no knowledge of marketing. The truth is – neither do many publishers.

I have since set up my own outfit. With my new cover designer, Harris Channing, and my editor, confidante, and dear friend, novelist Patricia Harreld, I am taking the Hold On! series all the way to the end. Patricia has been amazing. Through a series of deep discussions, leg-pulling, and practical jokes, we have become the best of friends. I am also acting as consultant on her new sci-fi thriller novel, DASH, which involves a magician. I’ve never disclosed this in a writer’s forum before, but I actually am a professional close-up magician (the David Blaine type), so this collaboration between Patricia and me has worked out beautifully. ☺

At the conclusion of Hold On!’s first major promotion on Amazon after its re-launch, it reached #1 in young adult, #1 in thrillers, #1 in romance, mystery and suspense, and #2 in ‘all books’. Its reviews and ratings have been overwhelmingly positive, with only a negligible number of naysayers. The reviews and ratings for Go! seem to be even better than for Hold On!. (So much for ‘major revisions required’.)

I am hopeful that this pattern continues so that I can take the Hold On! series into the next wave after Season 3. Maybe all of this will, ultimately, have a HEA. ☺ I don’t think I handle any more cliffhangers (lol.)

The links for the Hold On! and Go! video trailers are:

Hold On! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM3ZRKoYNhE

Go! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fA0ufEp-MU

 ~~Peter~~

 

About The author

Follow Peter: Blog / Twitter / Facebook /

peter-darley1Peter Darley is a British novelist, whose professional history is in show business. He is a graduate of the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama, and studied television drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA.) Peter’s television credits include guest-starring roles in UK productions such as BBC’s Crime Limited, Stanley’s Dragon for ITV, The Bill, Sky One’s Dream Team, and numerous TV commercials. He also worked as a model, presenter, and voice-over artiste for ten years, and has been an agent for several variety acts.

Peter’s lifelong admiration of heroes, and love of roller-coaster-style thrills have been a huge influence on his writings. He is also a professional close-up magician, a keen athlete and body builder, and lives with my wife in rural England.

 

Giveaway

Peter is offering an ecopy of HOLD ON! and GO! to ONE(1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe. ONE commenter will win a copy BOTH ebooks.

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 and Follow Peter Darley 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 us on TSU for an additional entry.

8. Giveaway is open internationally

9. Giveaway runs from June 21 – 25, 2015

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All The Right Places by Jenna Sutton – Review, Interview & Giveaway

All The Right Places by Jenna Sutton – Review, Interview & Giveaway

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All The Right Place
Riley O’Brien & Co #1
by Jenna Sutton
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance
Release Date: June 2, 2015

 

All the Right Places

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

Description:
Amelia Winger is a small-town girl with big dreams of becoming a successful designer. So when she gets a gig designing accessories for denim empire Riley O’Brien & Co., it’s a dream come true. Amelia can handle the demanding job, but she isn’t quite prepared for sexy CEO Quinn O’Brien. She’s doing her best to keep things professional, but the attraction sparking between them makes it personal. And so does the secret project she’s working on behind his back…

Quinn’s not interested in the new accessories, but he is interested in the woman designing them. Amelia is smart, sexy, and talented, and he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her since they met. Mixing business and pleasure isn’t wise, but that doesn’t stop him from coming up with excuses to spend time with her. He thinks he understands the risk he’s taking when he gets involved with Amelia. But he doesn’t know he’s risking a lot more than his heart.

 

 

Review:

All the Right Places by Jenna Sutton is her debut novel, which is the 1st book in her Riley O’Brien & Co. series. This was an enjoyable sexy romance, and written very well by Jenna Sutton, which was very impressive, as it is her debut novel. I will be reading her next book in this fun series.

The focus of this series centers on Riley O’Brien & Co denim empire. Quinn O’Brien is our hero and immediately caught our attention, as he waits for the elevator to bring him to his office. While he waits, he stares at the backside of a young redhead; after all that is his favorite part of the human body. :)  His company does sell jeans, and the perfect fitting makes Riley O’Brien at the top of their field. But Quinn is not too happy to see that this nice butt does not have the Riley O’Brien label.

Amelia Winger is our heroine, and I thought she was great. Amelia is working on becoming a successful designer, and has been offered a position to design accessories for Riley O’Brien to help increase sales for the women’s division. Quinn’s sister, Teagan has been after him to allow her to change the face of jeans for woman, which has become a disaster. The men’s jeans are perfect, but they are not good for women. Amelia agrees with Teagan, and she not only will design new accessories, she will secretly design new woman’s jeans, which Teagan will push at the right time.

But Amelia doesn’t plan on falling for the sexy Quinn, and does everything she can to avoid him at all costs. Quinn can’t resist Amelia, and in a short time, they secretly have an affair that is sizzling all the way through. There was a bit of erotic in their romance, which was so well done, and I loved Quinn and Amelia together.

Amelia rightfully worries that once Quinn finds out about her working with his sister, she will lose him. What happens when Quinn discovers the deception?

This was such a wonderful delightful, steamy, and fun romantic story. All the secondary characters were great, and added nicely to the story. The background of the denim business was very well done, and the family oriented storyline was great. I found myself totally immersed into this fun story, enjoying it all, which I read it in one day.   Jenna Sutton has done such a great job in writing this wonderful romance, and if this is her debut novel, she certainly has a wonderful career ahead of her, and I’ll be there reading her books as they are released. I wholly recommend you to read All the Right Places, as it was a fun, and sexy romance.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Interview

Jenna Sutton
Hi Jenna. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions today.

We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.

 

Jenna:  Thank you for having me, and thank you for your interest in ALL THE RIGHT PLACES. I’m so excited to be here!

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Jenna:  I’m an avid reader, and I’m a huge fan of the romance genre. I started reading romances at a young age. My mom had no problem with my reading preferences, but my dad wasn’t quite so accepting.

When I was in high school (and without a boyfriend, I must point out), my dad warned me that reading romance novels would prevent me from ever finding a mate. “Those books are giving you unrealistic expectations of men,” he insisted. “No real man could ever live up to a fictionalized version of romance.”

My dad was wrong; romances didn’t give me unrealistic expectations of men, but they did give me a strong sense of self-value. And when I met my husband, he was way better than any hero I had ever read!

Before I decided to write a romance, I worked as a journalist. So in a way, I’ve always been a writer, but I wrote fact rather than fiction. My life as a journalist gave me a great foundation for fiction writing because I’ve been outlining, researching, and meeting deadlines for more than a decade.

TRC:  Have you always been interested in writing?

Jenna:  I’ve always been interested in storytelling. When I was a little girl, I spent hours with my best friend making up stories. It was our favorite thing to do. As we got older, the stories always included a strong romantic element, usually featuring our respective crushes. Thankfully, we never put those stories down on paper. I shudder to think what would have happened if anyone had actually read them!

TRC: All The Right Places is your debut novel. Can you tell us your reaction when you found out your book was going to be published?

Jenna:  Let me tell you a story—when my husband proposed, I was elated… ecstatic… euphoric… and a whole bunch of other e-words. I loved him to distraction and wanted nothing more than to be his wife. But instead of screaming “Yes! A thousand times yes!” I asked him, “Are you sure about this? You’re going to be stuck with me for life, you know.”

So that’s me… when I really, really want something, and I actually get it—either through hard work or sheer luck or a combination of both—I have a hard time believing my good fortune. And when I saw the email from my agent that Berkley wanted to acquire ALL THE RIGHT PLACES and do a three-book deal, I thought I was hallucinating or maybe having a bad reaction from the ham sandwich I ate for lunch.

Once I realized the book deal was actually the real thing, I was so relieved because my hard work had paid off. And I was also relieved because my agent’s faith in me had been rewarded. And to be honest, I also felt a lot of pressure because I knew that getting a book deal was really just the beginning. There’s so much work that goes into publishing a book, and of course, you still have to connect with readers and sell novels.

TRC:  Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for your Riley O’Brien & Co. romance series? Also, how many books do you have planned?

Jenna:  The idea for ALL THE RIGHT PLACES came from a bumper sticker. My husband and I were running errands, and as we sat at a stop light, I noticed the bumper sticker on the car in front of us. It advocated breast cancer awareness, and it said: Save the Tatas.

I pointed out the bumper sticker to my husband, and he pointed out that there are a lot of words for breasts. And then he oh-so-helpfully proceeded to name them all: boobs, hooters, jugs, melons, rack, tits… oh, the list just goes on and on.

I started thinking that there were a lot of words for butt, too: ass, backporch, badonkadonk, booty, caboose, derrière… again, so many words, so little time.

That thought led me to another – listing the synonyms for butt would be a fun beginning for a romance novel. But who would be thinking about butts all the time? And then it came to me – someone who was involved in the clothing business.

And the most popular clothing for butts? Jeans.

Right now, there are three full-length Riley O’Brien & Co. novels. The second one, COMING APART AT THE SEAMS, is scheduled for publication on Dec. 1, 2015. The third in the series, HANGING BY A THREAD, will come out in spring 2016. I’ve also written two Riley O’Brien & Co. novellas, but I don’t have any specifics on when they’ll be published.

TRC:  Can you please tell us the premise of this series?

Jenna:  Around the world, people wear Riley O’Brien & Co.’s iconic jeans, known as Rileys. Unfortunately, competition from designer denim is eroding the company’s market share, and the women’s division is in really bad shape. The company has alienated its female consumers, and as a result, it is struggling to stay competitive and relevant.

That business challenge is the basis for the series and sets up the external conflict for the entire series, and especially ALL THE RIGHT PLACES. This generation of O’Briens—risk-averse Quinn, quick-witted Cal, and strong-willed Teagan—have differing opinions on how to solve the problem.

All the Right PlacesTRC:  Last week, All the Right Places was released. Would you please give us a brief description of the first book in your series?

Jenna:  Quinn O’Brien, the great-great grandson of Riley O’Brien & Co.’s founder, is currently running the family business. He reluctantly partners with up-and-coming designer Amelia Winger for a new line of accessories. Quinn views the partnership as a last ditch attempt to salvage the women’s division. Amelia, however, views the partnership as one piece of a larger plan—one that Quinn knows nothing about. She fights her attraction to Quinn, not only because of their professional relationship, but also because she’s working behind his back. But Quinn, with his broad shoulders, smoky blue eyes, and sexy smile, is hard to resist.  

TRC:  You write sexy contemporary romance. Do you have any desire to write other genres?

Jenna:  I like to read just about every type of romance including historical, erotica, new adult, and romantic suspense. I briefly considered the idea of writing a new adult novel because I had an idea for one, but unfortunately, I don’t think my voice is suited for new adult. I also have an idea for a romantic suspense series, but I don’t know if or when I’ll get around to working on it. I have a desire to write something a little darker, similar to Anne Stuart. I have an author crush on that woman.

TRC:  What are you currently working on?

Jenna:  I am working on a new series, and I am really excited about it! I don’t want to share too much about the first book, but I can tell you that my hero and heroine meet in a hotel bar and have a one-night stand (something that is out of character for both of them). They think they’ll never see each other again. They also think it will be easy to forget what happened in that hotel room. They’re wrong, on both counts.

TRC:  What is your writing process? Do you like to write at specific times, in a special place?

Jenna:  My writing process is fairly structured, and I think that’s because I worked as a journalist for so many years. In that line of work, I had to deal with hard deadlines and topics that I often found uninteresting, and the best way to manage my workload was to create outlines and follow them.

Before I start a book, I outline it from beginning to end and really flesh out each chapter. I already know how the story is going to end before I even open up a Word document to type the first word. On average, my outlines are about 100 pages.

When I write, my goal is to complete a chapter in one sitting. I don’t like to start a chapter and leave it unfinished because it’s hard for me to get back into the scene. I don’t really prefer to write at any specific time, though I usually prefer to write in my home office. It’s comfy, spacious, and filled with a lot of natural sunlight.

I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my writing process, but I’m still trying to figure out how to balance the writing part of being a published author (producing books) with the business part (marketing my work and connecting with readers).

TRC:  Many authors have friends or family, that they bounce ideas and information back and forth. Do you have anyone you like to discuss your stories with?

Jenna:  My sister, Steffanie, and my critique partner, Jamie, are my go-to gals when it comes to brainstorming and plotting my stories. My sister is a very hard-to-please reader, and by hard-to-please I mean that she will skip to the final pages of a book if she’s bored. I know that if I can satisfy my sister, then I have a good shot at satisfying other readers, too. Jamie really helps me figure out character motivation and untangle plot snags. She is an idea generator extraordinaire. I am blessed to have both of them on my team.

TRC:  When you are not writing, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

Jenna:  My favorite thing to do is spend time with my husband. He’s the funniest and most interesting person I know, although it’s true that his sense of humor is more 13-year-old boy than adult male. I also love to read, and I am trying to broaden my reading horizons beyond romance. The problem is, I am kind of hung up on the whole happily ever after thing, and a happy ending isn’t the same thing, not at all. I recently started practicing yoga, and I really enjoy it, but wow, I am not very graceful. Every class is a lesson in humility. And, after years of disliking sports, I suddenly love football, both college and pro.

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Jenna:  ALL THE RIGHT PLACES features likable characters, witty dialogue, authentic emotion, and sizzling sex scenes. As my heroine, Amelia, would say, it’s “orgasmically delicious”.

 

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: chicken poblano enchiladas

Favorite Dessert: orange buttermilk cake with mocha fudge frosting

Favorite Movie: Sixteen Candles

Favorite TV Show: I’m a little grumpy because a lot of my new favorite shows were just cancelled. It makes me not want to watch any new shows. I loved Forever, but ABC pulled the plug on it. I also like Younger, which is produced by Darren Star, the guy behind Sex and the City, and I’m a long-time fan of Law & Order: SVU.

TRC:  I feel bad too. I really enjoyed Forever, and Ioan Grufudd.

Favorite Movie or TV Celebrity: Hugh Jackman. He can act, sing, dance, and OMG, that smile and those abs. Plus, he seems like a genuinely nice guy who loves his wife and children. That’s the kind of guy I’d like to know.

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Depends on my mood.

Favorite literary character (not your own):   Hardy Cates, the hero of Lisa Kleypas’ BLUE-EYED DEVIL. That man is finger-lickin’ good.

Dog or Cat: Both! I have an apricot toy poodle who is smart and destructive and a gray kitty who steals my ponytail holders.

TRC:  Thank you Jenna, for answering our questions. The Reading Café wishes you the best of luck with All the Right Places.

Jenna:  Thank you. I hope I can visit again soon!

 

 

 

 

giveaway

Jenna’s publisher is offering a paper copy of ALL THE RIGHT PLACES 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 FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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

6. Please LIKE us on TSU for an additional entry.

7. Follow Jenna Sutton   on Facebook.

8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from June 8 – 12, 2015

 

 

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Shadows (Black Raven #1) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Shadows (Black Raven #1) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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SHADOWS
Black Raven Series #1
by Stella Barcelona
Genre: adult, contemporary, romantic suspense
Release Date: April 7, 2015

Shadows

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Cataclysm. Now. Run.

A cryptic, urgent text message turns the peaceful life Skye Barrows has created for herself and her sister into chaos. She must follow her father’s instructions to the letter, but Sebastian Connelly is blocking her way. Telling Sebastian what she must do is not an option.

What He Doesn’t Know Will Get Them All Killed

When a prison break in the midst of a security system upgrade threatens to destroy the reputation of Sebastian’s company, Black Raven Private Security Contractors, he goes on the hunt for escaped prisoner Richard Barrows – a delusional and paranoid computer software genius. Sebastian’s mission: find Richard Barrows and return him to prison, but stonewalled by Skye, who refuses to give him answers, and with the added complication of her special needs sister, Sebastian finds himself always a step or two behind vicious killers.

Nothing About This Case is Normal

For Sebastian, it should be simple, but this case will test him in ways he never imagined. As probing interrogation becomes urgent protection, the search for Barrows forces Sebastian and Skye into a murky world of shadows and illusions.

Review:

Shadows begins with Skye Barrows receiving a text message that she’d hoped down to her very soul that she would never receive. Once her father had gone to prison, she had created a new life for herself and her special needs sister, Spring. One where they had assumed names and had ceased to exist as the world knew them: daughters of the famous, or infamous depending on your take, Richard Barrows. When Skye receives the text, she knows she has 24 hours to get to their safe house to await further instructions from her father. But, as she and her sister stop by the coffee house that they owned to allow Spring to stick to the schedule that she thrived on, she had no idea the turn their lives would take that fateful day. Spring’s dog, Candy, ran into the street and was almost hit. And, when a stranger scooped Candy into his arms to deliver her back to her owners, Skye somehow knew that things may not be as they appeared.

Spring insists that the nice stranger come into their coffee shop for some coffee and samples of some new treats they were working on, so he obliges. Sebastian soon approaches Skye and reveals that he knows who she is and that he needs information in order to locate her father. She refuses to cooperate, of course, and Sebastian issues an ultimatum and leaves. However, when Sebastian and one of his agents drive by the girls’ home, he very soon realizes that they are not the only ones after Skye and her sister. As they arrive back at the coffee shop, things have gone to hell……and quick. Strangers are in the process of abducting the girls, and it takes some quick thinking on Sebastian’s part to take the bad guys down. Once he has gotten the girls out of danger, he immediately gets on the phone with Black Ravens headquarters and things start happening. Fast. He knows that he has his work cut out for him with Skye, as she is NOT forthcoming with any helpful information, and Spring is so fragile that she can’t offer any information either.

When a safe house is arranged by the U.S. Marshals, Sebastian is ready to hand the girls over, only to head straight into an ambush. As he flees with Skye and her sister, Skye has no idea who she can trust and Sebastian is bound and determined that she will trust him. As mayhem ensues, Skye will have to make the ultimate decision: trust no one as her father has always told her, or trust in the one man who seems to truly have their best interest at heart. Oh, what a hard decision it is.

Shadows is an awesome story with so many twists and turns, so much mystery and intrigue, that I found myself questioning everyone at one point or another. Skye is an endearing heroine, although a little naïve about the amount of danger she and her sister are in. Spring is number one on her list and she will risk everything to keep her safe. Sebastian, whom we met in Barcelona’s first novel, Deceived, is your typical alpha male who at first is just doing a job, that ultimately turns into a wonderful game of cat and mouse with not only the bad buys, but with his feelings about Skye. I really enjoyed their chemistry, but I have to tell you, that I can NOT wait to read more about the secondary characters. The interaction between Sebastian and his team was awesome and Barcelona did a great job building the world in which they operate. However, if I’m being honest, it was a little overwhelming at times with all of the technical jargon that we are privy to as the information is gone over numerous times and I found myself glazing over at certain points. But, I digress. If you are looking for a series full of mystery, intrigue, crooked politicians and hot special agents, this is definitely a series you’ll want to read. I am so so so looking forward to the next installment. Very well done, Stella Barcelona!!!

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Vickie M.

Series Spotlight

Deceived
by Stella Barcelona
Release Date: May 1, 2014
Genre: adult, suspense,

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

 

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 1, 2014

Their destinies have been set in motion by their ancestors.

Taylor Marlowe Bartholomew carries three of the most notable names in New Orleans society. She hoped to forge her own path in the world as an Assistant District Attorney, but that dream is dying as obligations pull her into the family shipbuilding business. In Taylor’s final days in the DA’s office, she receives a murder assignment that could unravel her perception of reality.

Ghosts of the past shadow every step they take.

Brandon Morrissey is haunted by demons that force him to keep his life simple and detached. He pours all of his energy into his thriving legal practice, until, overnight, he becomes the single father of an infant. For the sake of his son’s future, Brandon searches for a killer and faces the truth about his family’s unfortunate past.

Together they have to find the truth…before it’s too late.

Someone is willing to kill to use the past for their own ends. Thrust together, Brandon and Taylor have different views of their families’ intersecting histories. As they confront a sea of uncertainty, one thing is sure…no one is safe until they discover where the truth lies.

••••••••••••••••••••••

Guest Post

“Keeping the Storyline Real – When Writing Escapism”

I truly love all the different aspects of writing my romantic thrillers – Deceived (2014), Shadows (2015), and my work in progress, Jigsaw. When writing, I try to keep the storyline real, while still writing escapism-a story that will take readers on a colorful and fast-paced journey where they are able to forget real life. I try to accomplish this goal by incorporating just enough research to make the premise—which becomes the backdrop for the romance—unique, but also readily identifiable.

I spend countless hours doing research for my writing, yet very little of my research material makes it to the page. Why? Because details slow the pace and take away from the real stars of the show–characters and plot. I put in only enough research so that the story has verisimilitude, or the quality of seeming real. An example from television is “Person of Interest.” The premise of the show is that an advanced surveillance machine exists that identifies people at risk for violent crimes. In real life, we know techno-surveillance is pervasive, so the premise is readily identifiable. The show doesn’t focus on how the machine works, and I don’t care about those details. The show works, for me, because of the unique premise, the well-developed characters, and the high-stakes action.

My books also have readily identifiable themes. Deceived is a present-day mystery that is loosely based upon World War II history in New Orleans. Shadows has a technology driven mystery. Deceived required historic research, while Shadows involved analyzing current headlines and issues involving cyber data collection and assimilation. For both stories, research helped to formulate plot and breathe real life into the story structure. However, Deceived isn’t about World War II and Shadows isn’t about the intricacies of data assimilation technology. Deceived is about Taylor Bartholomew and Brandon Morrissey–and how they’re caught in a web of lies told by their ancestors. Shadows is about Sebastian Connelly and Skye Barrows–and how they’re at odds with each other as Sebastian hunts for Skye’s father, a cyber genius who has escaped from prison.

My stories offer escapism, with a touch of reality. I hope you enjoy them!

About The author

stella barcelonaFollow Stella:  Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Stella Barcelona, author of romantic suspense novels, has always had an active imagination, a tendency to daydream, and a passion for reading romance, mysteries, and thrillers. From her early days of reading, when she first escaped reality through the pages of a well-written novel, she knew that her daydreams needed an outlet, and she knew that her outlet would be writing.

In day to day life, Stella is a lawyer and works for a court in New Orleans, Louisiana. Currently, Stella lives minutes from the French Quarter, with her husband of sixteen years and two adorable papillons who believe that they are princesses. Stella loves to hear from readers on her Facebook page and can also be contacted through her website, www.stellabarcelona.com, where there’s information on appearances, her next release, and exciting contests that you won’t want to miss! While she doesn’t have a lot of free time with her legal and writing careers battling for her every minute, she does enjoy any chance she and her husband get to go out on their boat. In addition, she attends conferences, workshops, and retreats for writers. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America.

giveaway

Stella is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of SHADOWS and a $25 Amazon Gift Card to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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9. Giveaway runs from May 29 to June 2, 2015

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