J.E. Fishman-Review, Interview and Giveaway

J.E. Fishman-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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The Long Black Hand
Bomb Squad NYC: Incident #3
by JE Fishman
Release Date: April 2, 2014
Genre: suspense, mystery, fiction, law enforcement

The Long Black Hand

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THE LONG BLACK HAND (Bomb Squad NYC: Incident 3) by J.E. Fishman

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 2, 2014

Bomb Squad Commander Lieutenant Joseph Capobianco fields an unusual request from a friend of the mayor’s: Do a bomb sweep at the famed Julius School of Music and at the luxurious apartment of their visiting star tenor, Claudio Spotto. At first the team that Joe sends finds nothing in the way of bombs, but other signs of trouble mount rapidly. Someone doesn’t want Spotto to remain in New York — and that someone is threatening violence via bomb.

The commander soon realizes that this case has echoes of the Bomb Squad’s origins in extortion from the Black Hand, evoking threats made nearly a hundred years before against the great tenor Enrico Caruso. What does this new Black Hander know about these parallels? Is this a personal challenge to Joe’s early tenure as Bomb Squad commander? And, as the Black Hand grows bolder, can Joe’s team stop the extortionist before someone dies in the escalating violence?

REVIEW: THE LONG BLACK HAND is the third instalment in J.E. Fishman’s contemporary crime thriller series Bomb Squad NYC. With the focus on the members of the NYC bomb Squad this is Commander Joseph Capobianco’s story. When a favor is called into Capobianco’s office, he has no idea that the situation at the prestigious Julius School of Music may be connected to a century old threat against the original Bomb Squad members. Mysterious notes, crude pipe bombs, illegal fireworks and jealous lovers all roll together to make the Bomb Squad’s job a little tougher. Add a famous Italian tenor and you have the makings of an international disaster.

The focus of the storyline are the threats against guest tenor Claudio Spotto and the connections to the famed Julius School of Music. The reader is pulled into an investigation that will uncover an affair that is not so secret; a singer whose star has never quite reached the top; and a connection to the past that very few outside of law enforcement-are aware.

J.E.Fishman writes an intelligent, compelling and well paced story of mystery and suspense; where secrets are revealed and jealousy ignites a powder keg of betrayal; where family connections and political favors blur the lines of right and wrong. Commander Capobianco is a loving family man whose personal and public life find middle ground-a hard concept for many public figures these days.

The secondary characters are colorful, realistic and spirited. Told from third person point of view and two to three different perspectives THE LONG DARK HAND reveals the trials and tribulations of law enforcement and the unknown threats to our everyday lives. The world building continues with the familiarity of the NYC Bomb Squad members from previous storylines.

Like his previous instalment in the series J.E. Fishman ends the story rather abruptly. There is no epilogue or resolution, which is a little disconcerting. It doesn’t change up the storyline but it does feel like there is something missing-closure.

Copy supplied by the publisher.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview yellow:black

TRC: Hi Joel and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of your new Bomb Squad NYC series.

JE FishmanJoel: Thanks. I’m delighted to have you asking me tough questions. By the way, what do I win if I answer correctly?

TRC: Um…nothing? *snort*

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

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Joel: I’m one of the luckiest people alive, but I still get overcome by neuroses on a regular basis. Is that normal?

If you meant professionally, I’ve worked in and around publishing for most of my adult life, which may explain the neuroses. Deep down, all I ever really wanted to do was to tell stories. Life circumstances finally conspired to allow me to do that about six years ago, when my wife and I sold a house and a business and moved from Westchester County, New York, to the Brandywine Valley outside Wilmington, Delaware. Since then I’ve published seven books.

TRC: Your bio says you are a former editor, literary agent and a ghostwriter. What do each of these titles entail?

Joel: I was an acquiring editor at Doubleday, where I covered business, sports, popular science, and narrative nonfiction, mostly. I’d field queries and manuscripts from agents, pitch what I liked to the editorial meeting, negotiate purchase of those books if I got the go-ahead, edit them, position them with the marketing and publicity teams, and finally see them into distribution. In that role I worked with many journalists and experts in their field, as well as a few well-known sports figures, such as Jim Kelly, quarterback for the Buffalo Bills at the time, and Ronnie Lott, who was a free safety for the San Francisco Forty-Niners. I tried to buy a book by Wilt Chamberlain once. Although it didn’t work out, I had the distinct privilege of walking down Fifth Avenue with him on the way to lunch. A guy steps in front of us on the sidewalk, points, and says, “You’re still the best there ever was, Wilt.”

Cool, right? But it was all very corporate and getting more so. It occurred to me that I spent more and more time pitching books within the publishing house, so it was a small step to pitching book projects to other houses. I decided to leave and establish my own agency, which mostly represented journalists – New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Jose Mercury-News, etc. Eventually I sold the agency to Jane Dystel. Years later, she became my agent.

The ghostwriting thing was more of an interlude. Ironically, I took it on to get myself writing, as I was distracted by another business at the time. But it didn’t really get me into the fiction-writing flow just then, because the distractions of business and life remained, and the ghost writing was time-consuming.

TRC: What is the purpose behind the business of ghost writing?

Joel: The purpose is to make money by providing expert authors the writing skills they often lack.

TRC: BOMB SQUAD NYC is your latest series focusing on the people who work in the bomb squad unit headquartered at a fictionalized police precinct in New York City. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the series?

Bomb Squad NYC 1-3

Joel: I wanted to do a series with all the urban grit of old-line police procedurals like those of Ed McBain, but modernized and with more of a thriller element introduced. The NYPD Bomb Squad is the oldest, busiest, and most technologically sophisticated bomb squad in the world—plus, they’re operating out of a headquarters in one of Manhattan’s hottest neighborhoods, the West Village. I’m telling this elite squad’s story in a fictionalized way, of course, but they’re true heroes. What interests me is portraying them as real people, flawed and vulnerable, who set aside their personal challenges and their troubles to keep eight million citizens safe from bombings. And, this being New York, there’s always the threat of another bomb going off.

The series shares three things with the real-life NYPD Bomb Squad: their history, their equipment, and most of their procedures. The rest is fictionalized.

TRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of each of the following:

Joel:

A DANGER TO HIMSELF AND OTHERS-Click HERE for our review.

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The central character is Manny Diaz, one of the newest guys on the squad, but with an extensive army EOD (explosives and ordnance division) background. Veterans with prostheses are blowing themselves up in front of army recruiting stations, and Manny doesn’t believe these are suicides. He has to buck his sergeant and his own demons to find the truth before someone else gets killed.

DEATH MARCH- Click HERE for our review.

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In Death March, there’s a credible terrorist threat against the Thanksgiving Day parade. Somehow three dozen detectives have to defend the two-and-a-half-mile parade route. Manny’s sergeant from the first book, Sandy Kahn, ends up having to outthink the terrorists. Two other characters, Kenny Ridley and Cam Fowler, also end up laying their lives on the line.

THE LONG BLACK HAND
In this one, Bomb Squad Commander Lieutenant Joe Capobianco is tormented by extortion threats against a famous tenor visiting the Julius School of Music near Lincoln Center. The case harks back to the earliest history of the Bomb Squad, when an organized crime group known as the Black Hand planted hundreds of bombs a year and extorted money from the great tenor Enrico Caruso.

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

Joel: Who knows? My attitude is: Read all you want. I’ll write more.

TRC: Will the characters overlap with each successive storyline?

Joel: Yes, as you can see from my descriptions, there are overlaps, but it’s not a single-detective kind of series. More of an ensemble cast, with different characters stepping forward for different cases. That’s how it is in real life, and in totality it will give readers a portrait of an entire squad.

TRC: Will we see a resolution to Manny’s personal problem in a future storyline?

Joel: You mean, you didn’t think his problems resolved at the end of the first book? Ha! I don’t think most people’s problems resolve in real life—more like they e-volve. I think you’ll definitely see Manny change over time. But I caution you that he’s not a major character in another book for a while.

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

Joel: Well, I got the idea for this series because NYPD Bomb Squad headquarters is a couple of blocks up the street from my apartment in New York, but I didn’t personally know a single cop—big challenge there—and most information on bomb squads is pretty closely held. I started out researching on the internet and through books, but I knew I had to drill deeper. Fortunately, a friend eventually introduced me to the FBI’s leading bomb tech, who in turn introduced me to the squad’s commander, Lieutenant Mark Torre. He became my technical consultant and opened up a whole world to me.

TRC: Are the storyline characters based in reality or a combination of fact and fiction?

Joel: There’s no character based on a particular real-life person, but I’ve gotten to know how these guys really think and the challenges they face, so I hope that comes across.

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

Joel: I’m terrible at questions like that! It needs actors who can do real, down-to-earth, and gritty with New York accents. People—at least, in my opinion—like Edward Norton, Matthew McConaughey, Mark Wahlberg, maybe Sean Penn. There will eventually be a female character—no women in the Bomb Squad at the moment, in real life or fiction—and I’d like to see Ellen DeGeneres playing that character straight. I don’t mean sexually straight, mind you, but unfunny.

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

Joel: Well, the million-dollar question for all novelists isn’t so much how you keep it unpredictable but how you keep it unpredictable while having it make sense in the end. It’s easy to have something be unpredictable and conclude with complete nonsense, but having the reader sit up and say, “Of course! How did I not see that coming?!”—that’s the trick, isn’t it? A lot of it is about introducing key elements while distracting the reader from their significance at first. The most important thing is to respect readers’ intelligence. If you let them get a step ahead of you, their experience of the story may be doomed.

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

Joel: I like to start with premise, so in the beginning that’s me directing. What if I dropped a guy like this in a situation like that? But characters are built one decision at a time, and once you’ve had them make a few decisions, a lot of doors close. At some point, then, the characters have to act “within character,” and you can’t fully direct that. You have to let it happen or their actions will ring false.

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 writers fail in this endeavor?

Joel: Great question. There isn’t any one thing. Some comes from point of view. Even though this series is written in the third person, it’s a close third, so the reader is over a given character’s shoulder and in his head—not only thinking, but feeling with him. But there are lots of smaller things, too. Using all five senses, for example. And withholding information. We live life blind. For the most part we have no idea what’s going on inside another person’s head. When someone does something slightly unexpected, it hits us in the gut as much as the brain.

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

Joel: There’s only one way. You sit down and write. You accept that you might not do your best work that day, but imperfect is better than nothing. And you remind yourself constantly that you can always go back and fix your mistakes later. (Presuming, of course, that you actually will.) Expectation of perfection is the main enemy of productivity.

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

Joel: I like to tell people a premise or a scene and see whether their eyes light up. I’m also fortunate to have an experienced editor on my team, Patrick LoBrutto. He has no stake in lying to me, because if he does so, it only makes more work for him later!

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

Joel:
1. See my daughter graduate from high school a complete and happy person.
2. Continue to love and appreciate my wife more every day.
3. Yeah, write a mega-bestseller.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Joel: Incident 4 in the Bomb Squad NYC series. It’s called Blast from the Past. Kieran Lehane, a dog handler who’s the oldest member of the squad, never believed the official explanation for the destruction of Flight 699, which blew up five minutes out of JFK. The story begins when he goes to a hearing on the subject, and since he’s late from work he has to bring his dog. As the hearing is breaking up, the dog alerts: there’s a guy in the hearing room with explosive residue on his person! Lehane gives chase but the guy gets away. But Kieran’s a stubborn guy. You can bet that won’t be the end of it.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Joel: Um. If you buy all my books I’ll be your best friend?

TRC: ;)

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Anything the great sushi chef Masatoshi “Gari” Sugio puts in front of me.

Favorite Dessert
Chocolate chip cookies from Jacques Torres

Favorite TV Show
Breaking Bad

Last Movie You Saw
The Wolf of Wall Street

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Dark—and the higher cacao content, the better

Secret Celebrity Crush
Go ahead. Get me in trouble. Gwyneth Paltrow.

Last Vacation Destination
Virgin Gorda, BVI

Do you have any pets?
Yep. Two French bulldogs, a Labrador-ish rescue dog, an evil calico cat, and several horses.

Last book you read
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Pet Peeve
People writing about New York who don’t know New York.

TRC: Thank you Joel for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of the BOMB SQUAD NYC series. We wish you all the best.

Joel: Thank you very much.

Giveaway-Black and Yellow

Shelton Interactive and Joel are offering a paper copy of A DANGER TO HIMSELF to two (2) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

1. Please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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

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

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. The giveaway is open to USA and CANADA only.

6. The giveaway runs from April 17 to April 21, 2014

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Wind Raven (Agents of the Crown 3) by Regan Walker-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Wind Raven (Agents of the Crown 3) by Regan Walker-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Wind Raven
Agents of the Crown #3
by Regan Walker
Release Date: March 2014

Wind Raven

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release March 2014

Ordered by the Prince Regent into the Caribbean, English sea captain and former privateer Jean Nicholas Powell has no time for women onboard the Wind Raven, especially not Tara McConnell. The impudent American forced herself aboard, and so she’ll get more than she bargained for: Instead of a direct sail to Baltimore, she’ll join their quest to investigate a rampaging pirate, the infamous Roberto Cofresi. But the hoyden thinks she can crew with his men, and though he bans her from the rigging, Nick is captivated watching her lithe, luscious movements on deck. Facing high seas, storms, cutthroats and the endless unknown, he must protect his ship, his passenger, his crew. But on this voyage, with this woman, there is a greater danger: to his heart.

•••••••••••••••••

Wind Raven begins in the West Indies, where Captain Powell has gone into a tavern to meet up with an associate and to have a drink. He overhears a conversation by some rambunctious Americans about a woman serving as a crewmember aboard their ship! “What kind of woman would crew with men?”. Be careful of your thoughts Captain………….be very careful.

Tara McConnell has spent the last year in London with her aunt, who is a member of the ton. Tara’s father had sent her to live with her aunt and to become a lady. And, even though her Season was a success, Tara longed for home. She also longed to see her father and her brothers again. Even though she was grateful for her aunt’s guidance through her first Season, she just could not see herself marrying an Englishman. She’d lost one of her brothers in the war with Britain and she was convinced that they were all a selfish lot and she almost felt traitorous even attempting to enjoy their company. But, when word reaches them that her father has fallen ill, it becomes a race against time to get Tara home to Baltimore.

Her aunt insists that there is only one ship that she would feel safe sending Tara home on: The Wind Raven, captained by Nick Powell. Seems Tara’s aunt was a friend of Nick’s mother and she knew that Tara would be well taken care of. Unfortunately, neither Tara nor her aunt knew that Nick had an assignment to take care of for the Prince Regent. Not only were they not sailing directly to Baltimore, they were to see if they could ferret any information on a pirate, one Roberto Confresi, via the Caribbean. When Tara makes it to the ship and requests passage and presents her aunt’s missive, Nick knows that there is no way that he can say no, just as he knows that he can’t tell Tara of their mission for the Prince Regent. But, really, how much trouble can one woman with a full crew be? Well, if that one woman is Tara McConnell, be careful what you ask for…………………

Regan Walker has once again written a story that grabbed me from the beginning and did not let go. You will absolutely fall in love with Tara McConnell. She is fearless, loyal and, oh yeah, an awesome crew member! And, once she and Nick are drawn to each other, the chemistry is off the charts. He is my absolute favorite hero that Regan has written to date. And, that is saying A LOT. I’ve said of her stories before that she beautifully entwines fiction with history, but I don’t think until now that I’ve given her enough credit for her world building. You can absolutely hear the roar of the ocean waves and smell the sea as you read this book. Her descriptions are spot on without being over the top. That, in my humble opinion, is another characteristic of a great author. This book will have you on the edge of your seat at times, and tearing up at others. Wind Raven is ultimately a story about letting go of one’s past to see just how bright your future can be. And letting go of the preconceived constraints might not be so bad either……………..

Wind Raven is a wonderfully written story with a lot of action, a smidge of mystery and a whole lot of romance. This is, without a doubt, my favorite in this series. And, I have to confess that I’ve been a bit of a schooner fanatic for most of my life. I’ve actually sailed on one several times and words can’t express what an adventure it is. So, for Wind Raven to be set on a beautiful schooner? I was so on board……………….(pun intended!). Once again, if you’re a fan of Regency Romance, Regan Walker is the one for you. Well done, Regan Walker, very very well done!!

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Vickie M

Guest Post beige

History as a Character:
Research & Writing Historical Romance
By Regan Walker

For me, research and writing historical romance must include real history, as it’s a character in each of my books. What do I mean by that? Well, the historical setting is not just “background.” Rather, I am constantly weaving in historical events, attitudes and real historical figures into my romances. I don’t just refer to the food and dress either, though those can certainly require much research at times, but also what was actually going on in the time period that was of great import and who was involved.

Typically, I begin with an idea, a scene or a character. For my novel, Wind Raven, it was the sea captain, Jean Nicholas Powell, an arrogant Englishman who gave up on love (and virgins in particular) some years ago. Now he loves only his ship, his crew and his life at sea. For this man, I needed a worthy heroine, a woman he would come to respect who would defy convention and give him a major run for his money.

Enter the American patriot, Tara McConnell from the shipbuilding family of privateers who made the Boston Clipper ships that helped America run the British blockades in the War of 1812. Tara, who grew up on her father’s ships, disdains the English even though the war has been over for a few years. Yet she was forced by her father to spend a year in London with her aunt, a dowager baroness, and to have a Season. I had a real, historic model for Tara in Anne Chamberlyne, a scholar’s daughter and member of the gentry who, declining offers of marriage in 1690, at the age of twenty-three, donned a man’s clothing and joined her brother’s ship to fight the French off Beachy Head. Tara was just such a woman.

Once Tara becomes a passenger on Nick’s ship, the sparks start to fly. She wants to act a member of his crew and he wants her far from the action. It was important to me that I get all the ship scenes correct and use all the right terminology, particularly since both Tara and Nick well understood the workings of a schooner. I read my 4-inch thick Sailor’s Word Book and studied drawings of schooners of the period until I was seeing them in my dreams. I also took a ride on a schooner of the period to get a feel for the movement of the ship—and in doing so, found a friend and my consultant in the person of the ship’s gunner. We became fast friends and exchanged dozens of emails on technical subjects.

Schooner

The research that went into this book took over a year and included not just schooners and the War of 1812, but what was happening on Bermuda (where Nick makes a stop), how a schooner would weather a major storm at sea, and, most importantly, the life of the real pirate Roberto Cofresi. A tall, blond giant of a man from Puerto Rico, Cofresi preyed on all merchant ships not flying the flag of Royal Spain. And he had reason to do so, as you’ll see in my story.

About The Author beige

Regan WalkerI didn’t start out as a writer of romance, oh no. Although I loved to write stories as a child, by the time I got to college, more serious pursuits were encouraged. So, naturally, I became a lawyer. Who needs adverbs as a lawyer? But after years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government, I decided it was time for a change. My work had given me a love of international travel (I’ve been to over 40 countries…) and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, my first novels are all about a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.

I promise my novels will always sweep you away to another time and another place. I want you to experience adventure as well as love.

I live in San Diego with my wonderful Golden Retriever “Link.” I have one son who is a young entrepreneur and, though he looks like a Highlander of old, he would never read a romance novel. So like a man, no?

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)

Giveaway beige

Regan is offering an ebook copy of RACING WITH THE WIND (Agents of the Crown #1) or an ebook copy of THE TWELFTH NIGHT WAGER -winner’s choice.

1. Please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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

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

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. The giveaway is open where ever Amazon is available.

6. The giveaway runs from April 16  to April 20, 2014

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Girls Night Out Anthology Vol 2: Blog Tour and Review

Girls Night Out Anthology Vol 2 Blog tour and Review

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GIRLS NIGHT OUT (Volume 2 anthology) by Patricia A. Wolf, CJ Ellisson, Calinda Be, Lila Dubois

RELEASE DATE: March 2014

Girls Night Out, Volume Two

Girls Night Out

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One touch, one kiss, one night…can change everything. Join New York Times Bestseller C.J. Ellisson, Calinda B, Patricia A. Wolf and Lila Dubois for four stories of red-hot erotic romance and sexy paranormal magic. From encounters with a vampire, a birthday party gone wild, a super-hot male stripper who’s more than human, and a sexy new game at a BDSM club, this collection of stories has everything you need to spice up your spring.

_____________________

Kissed by a Vampire
By Patricia A. Wolf

Lost in passions Sarah never dreamed possible, she wonders if a seductive encounter could lead to something more. But when Michael stands her up, she realizes it was all a fantasy.

Can a second chance meeting bring back the passions they once felt? Or will his vampire secret destroy everything?

REVIEW: A quick, passionate storyline that focuses on one night of ecstasy on a Caribbean Island between Sarah and Michael but when Michael is called home on an emergency, Sarah is left wondering if another one night stand has left her after getting what he wants.

Patricia Wolf writes a storyline that leaves you wanting more-more of Michael and Sarah; more about their future; more about Michael’s history of one day waking up vampire with no knowledge of how or why.

KISSED BY A VAMPIRE is a quick romantic and sexy read with a little bit of everything-drama, betrayal, jealousy, heartbreak, romance, sex and falling in love. You are pulled into a story about two people looking for a night of passion and finding their happily ever after.

•••••••••••••••••••••

The Beckoning of Beguiling Things
By Calinda B.

Can 24 hours really change your life? Marissa Engles is about to find out. When she heads to Las Vegas with her sisters and her best friend, she meets sexy, Thunder from Down Under dancer Chris King and hits the jackpot, in more ways than one.

A secret magical society, an evil sorcerer, and a powerful male watching her from the sidelines add to the intrigue. And King himself has a dark secret that may prove Marissa’s undoing. Everything hinges on whether Marissa’s willing to leap without looking and face the consequences.

REVIEW: THE BECKONING of BEGUILING THINGS is a short story in Calinda B’s contemporary, paranormal Beckoning series. I am not sure where it belongs in the series order but from what I could tell is appears to be a prequel of sorts.

We are introduced to Marissa Engles, a woman whose magic has yet to be unleashed. During a twenty four hour period, our heroine will be approached by a number of men all willing to make Marissa their own-but Marissa only has eyes for one man and that man may be the one to open Marissa up to her future and a dark world of witches, warlocks, demons and magic.

The storyline is written from alternating first person and third person points of view. There is plenty of information but not enough to let the reader know the truth about Marissa’s future and her awakening powers. The sex scenes are intimate and steamy but the relationship is doomed from the start. We can only hope that whatever happens in the future Marissa will find the man who calls to her heart.

As a short story, The Beckoning of Beguiling Things is an interesting and compelling read but without any prior knowledge of the series I was slightly lost as to the premise and what it may have foretold.

••••••••••••••••••••••

Loving Ms. Wrong
By C.J. Ellisson

Katrina attends a birthday party for her friend Carla. Little does the health food storeowner know that the fateful girls night out will change her life forever.

Marcus, the polished metrosexual who hates to get his hands dirty, stumbles upon the ladies at a local bar. Sparks fly when the two meet, courtesy of a 12-sided sex dice and a night neither one will ever forget.

REVIEW: LOVING MS.WRONG is a short, erotic story from CJ Ellisson’s Walk on the Wild Side series that focuses on a girl’s night out and one night of passion. A quick read where Carla’s friend Katrina finds herself in her darkened apartment with the sexy Marcus and a whole night to explore what it is she has been missing.

Our heroine is a woman whose sexual desires are low to non existent and Marcus is the man to prove that beneath her hardened exterior, there exists a passion and sexuality that is waiting to be released. The story focuses on trust, a back story of family pain, and the beginning of a relationship where intimacy and imagination are about to be explored.

Written from alternating first person points of view (Marcus and Katrina) the provocative storyline can be read as a stand alone and the reader does not need to read the previous instalments in CJ’s Walk on the Wild Side series to understand the premise.

••••••••••••••••••

A is for…
By Lila Dubois
When the overseers of LA’s most exclusive BDSM club declare the start of a sexy new game that all members must play, Anna has no choice but to participate. Master Jensen knows who, and what, he wants—Anna—but before he can have her he’ll have to prove to the lovely submissive that he can master every letter of the alphabet.

REVIEW: A IS FOR is the first storyline in Lila Dubois’s adult, contemporary, erotic, BDSM Checklist BDSM Erotic Romance series. This is Master Jensen and Anna’s storyline revolving around the letter A. From anal to animal play nothing is off limits unless your Dom is also your lover.

The majority of the storyline is graphic BDSM play. This is a lifestyle conducive to only a particular segment of society and the graphic imagery may not be for everyone. Nothing is off limits; pain and humiliation are part of the bargain; and in the end, declarations of love wipe the slate clean until another day.

•••••••••••••••••••••

GIRLS NIGHT OUT is an anthology with a mix of paranormal, romance, sex, erotica and love. Each author has a different take on what it is that pleases their heroine-from bondage and pain to hot, romantic sex. If you are interested in an eclectic mix of romance and sex, than GIRLS NIGHT OUT may be of interest to you.

Copy supplied by the tour promoter.

Reviewed by Sandy

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To Catch A Ripple by K. Rosemont-A Review and Interview with the Author

TO CATCH A RIPPLE by K. Rosemont-a review

To Catch A Ripple

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 1, 2013

Helen Knight, 32, has fallen in love for the first time, but under the Seagrave curse love is forbidden. Robert Seagrave, a charming, elusive novelist, is bound to the spell which chains him to Lord Gabriel, the head of the family who dictates what the Seagraves can do, where they can live, who they can love. No one can leave the community and no outsider can enter.

To free the man she loves, Helen tries to break the spell and as she unearths secrets darker than the curse, she becomes the focus of Lord Gabriel’s wrath.

••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: TO CATCH A RIPPLE is a contemporary storyline that borders the genres of mystery, suspense, romance and thriller. When a family curse binds the Seagrave family to the patriarch and the surrounding Toronto area, accidents, illnesses, death and disappearances befall each member who refuses to acknowledge and follow Lord Gabriel’s demands.

TO CATCH A RIPPLE focuses on outsider Helen Knight and her attempts to break the Seagrave family curse. When Helen is pulled into the family web of deceit, destruction and betrayal her own haunted past drives her forward until the man in charge faces his own immortality.

To Catch a Ripple is a story about dysfunctional family dynamics where fear and intimidation keeps the family together in the face of threats and murderous rampages. This is not a story for everyone. Although there is a building romance, the premise focuses on breaking a curse that has brought sorrow and pain to every family member.

TO CATCH A RIPPLE is a storyline that crosses many genres including suspense, romance and thriller. The writing style is simple yet there is plenty of information and background to absorb. There is a building relationship between Rob Seagrave and Helen Knight-one forbidden by the family curse; Lord Gabriel is the archetype of pure evil, a monster who breeds fear into a family for his pleasure and control; he is an exaggeration of darkness and malevolence. The numerous secondary characters meander throughout the storyline hiding secrets, cowering in shadows and betraying family to one another-herein lies the conflict-those that are loyal to Lord Gabriel out of spite and those that are loyal out of fear and reprisal. K. Rosemont uses authorial instrusion using Helen Knight as her vehicle to question much of the story and the plot.

TO CATCH A RIPPLE is an interesting story where one family is controlled by a despicable family ruler. Fear of punishment holds the family together until one woman is willing to step outside of her comfort zone and confront their demons as well as her own-head on.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview beige

TRC: Hi K and welcome to The Reading Café. We would like to start with some background information. Please tell us something about yourself.

K. RosemontK:  I’m based in Toronto, and have lived here my whole life. As my day job, I work as a high school supply teacher in a district north of the city. Travelling and cooking are my passions. I also like to read a variety of books from classics, to sci-fi, to history. I have a degree in history, and have also studied publishing and journalism. I’ve always been interested in stories and writing. I write a variety of styles, but fantasy is my favorite genre. It allows my imagination to go anywhere.

TRC: What or who influenced your foray into writing?

K: As a child I wrote fan fiction based on my favorite TV shows like “Little House on the Prairie.” It started as a wish to change stories I didn’t like. Soon, I was writing my own original fiction.

TRC: TO CATCH A RIPPLE (November 2013) is your debut urban fantasy novel. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

To Catch A RippleK: The story is about Helen Knight, who has never fallen in love in her thirty-two years. As a child she was abused by her stepfather, so she has a hard time trusting people. Then, she meets her roommate’s cousin, Robert Seagrave, who is an author. Helen is an aspiring writer, so they share a connection. However, as Helen and Rob’s friendship grows, she learns he’s harboring a dark secret. Rob, Vincent and their kin are part of an extended family, the Seagrave community, and they are under a curse which chains them to the patriarch, Lord Gabriel. Gabriel dictates everything the Seagraves can do, and if they disobey, he punishes them. Helen sets out to break the curse and in doing so she stands up to Gabriel, a man who is as abusive as her stepfather but many times more dangerous.

TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters of Robert, Helen and Lord Gabriel, which actors or models would best represent your ideal image?

K: I would cast Nicole Kidman as Helen, Ashton Kutcher as Robert and Greg Vaughan would be Lord Gabriel.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series or is this a stand alone novel?

K: To Catch a Ripple is a stand alone novel.

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

K: The best way to make a plot unpredictable is not to copy the books that have already been written. Follow your own voice. Tell your own story. The result will be authentic and believable.

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

K: I’d like to think I direct the characters, but often as I’m writing they take a life of their own and direct the plot. My final stories are half of what I had planned and half of what the characters decided to do.

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?

K: The key to pulling a reader into a story is to make characters that are relatable. In other words, the characters have to be human, flawed, but still likeable. No matter how compelling the plot, if readers don’t care about the characters, they won’t care about the story.

Where a lot of writers go wrong is they identify too much with a character, creating an idealized version of themselves, gorgeous, brilliant, perfect. This kind of character is called a Mary Sue/Harry Stew. Readers can’t identify with perfect characters; they want to see characters grow throughout the story, and there is no growth if the character starts out perfect.

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

K: When I’m stuck on a story, I go on to other projects. Sometimes that works, but usually when I have writer’s block I can’t write anything. Developing outlines helps, but forcing my stories only leads to frustration. Writer’s block is caused by stress, and making myself write just stresses me out more. I hate to admit it, but I just have to let writer’s block pass, like a cold. I have to believe that my writing ability hasn’t gone away; it’s just taking a breather. It always comes back in full force.

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

K: This is a hard question to answer without giving away the plot, but let’s just say the curse was a particular challenge. I had to do something original and also make it believable to the characters.

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

K: I bounce my ideas off of my sister. She’s a writer, too. We’ve been doing this since we were kids and have developed our own vocabulary. We call the middle of the plot which usually lags “the middle chunk,” and an ending that’s not quite happily ever after is a “bittersweet ending.”

TRC: On what are you currently working?

K: I’m working on a YA fantasy series called Infinity Blue. It’s about Astra Starlighter, a seventeen-year-old who discovers she’s a goddess, but where she lives magic is illegal. When she’s caught using her powers, she’s enrolled in a magic martial arts school where many students die in training. For her initiation, she has to kill Kronos, the most feared warrior in the universe. In order to stay alive, she has to ask the help of Sankaro, the leader of an international crime syndicate, the most dangerous man in the world. Astra finds herself in the center of a deadly plot and she has to use all her abilities just to stay alive.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

I love to connect with readers. My facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/K.Rosemont

Twitter: @wernstberger

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4962838.K_Rosemont

Blog: http://krosemont.wordpress.com/

Website: http://krosemontauthor.weebly.com/

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Gyoza bibimbap

Favorite Dessert: Oreo Cheesecake

Favorite TV Show: Storage Wars

Last Movie You Saw: Catching Fire

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk

Secret Celebrity Crush: Bai Yong Jun (a Korean actor)

Last Vacation Destination: Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong

Pet Peeve: People who don’t flush (like, eww!)

TRC: Thank you K for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of To Catch A Ripple.

K: Thanks so much to you, Sandy, and The Reading Café.

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How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy – Review, Interview and Giveaway

How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy – Review, Interview and Giveaway

How to Handle A Cowboy Banner

How To Handle A Cowboy
Cowboys of Decker Ranch #1
by Joanne Kennedy
Release Date: April 1, 2014

How To Handle a CowboyLinks to order How to Handle a Cowboy:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository

Description:
Sidelined by a career-ending injury, rodeo cowboy Ridge Cooper is desperate to find an outlet for the energy he devoted to his sport. He decides to teach rodeo skills to the kids at the Phoenix House, a local group home for foster children. Here he falls for a big-city girl who just might make him the perfect wife.

Inner-city social worker Sierra Dunn has been exiled to a last-chance home for foster kids in a remote Wyoming town for blowing the whistle on her boss. Her only goal is to prove herself and move back to the city, but the town’s rodeo hero is going after her heart.


Review:

There’s just something about a cowboy that gets my blood pumping, so when asked to read and review How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy, I wasn’t passing up the chance.  I’m very happy that I read this one and hope there will be more stories to come regarding the cowboys of Decker Ranch.  We get to meet the Decker cowboys in this one, but the story focuses solely on Ridge Cooper, a recently retired rodeo cowboy due to a career ending injury, and Sierra Dunn, social worker from the city of Denver.  These two are pretty much opposites, but as they say opposites attract, and boy do these two ever have that combustible kind of attraction for one another.  From their first scene together their mutual attraction for one another is palpable and the story just flows from there.  Ridge and Sierra run away with this story and take us on am emotional journey of finding what it really means to find that special someone that you can call home with.

As I said I was very happy to have read this one.  Ms. Kennedy has a way with words and sets up the story just so. I was hooked from the first chapter and knew I needed to learn more about our battered cowboy and social worker from the city.  Ms. Kennedy sets a nice easy going pace to her story and never rushes anything.  We get to learn who Ridge and Sierria were before they met, who they are now, and who they’ve become because of meeting one another. I really enjoyed getting to meet both Ridge and Sierra and see them as two separate entities but missing that one key ingredient, that special someone who brings out the best in you and makes you feel like you’ve finally come home.  Even though they are opposites, for some reason they bring out the best in the other, and it feels right, like it was meant to be.  However, they are both very stubborn and proud personalities and due to their pasts, have a hard time just letting go, and letting someone else in.  If it wasn’t for Sierra’s foster kids, and Ridge teaching them the ins and outs of ranch life, who knew if these two lonely souls would ever have met. Thanks to her foster kids, Sierra and Ridge both discover a different side to themselves and start to think that maybe, just maybe they can have everything they ever dreamed of.  The romance between Ridge and Sierra is sweet and unrushed. I enjoyed watching these two come together and realize they are better together then apart.  

As I said I’m a sucker for a good cowboy read and this really hit the spot for me.  For some reason I’ve always loved a book with a hero who feels he’s broken and doesn’t deserve the life he’s always wanted.  I got this and more with Ridge Cooper. My heart broke for him and his brothers and what they went through as kids, and now dealing with a career ending rodeo injury.  At first he thinks rodeo is all he ever had to live for, but once Sierra and her band of misfits enter the picture, he sees a side of himself that can relate to those kids and knows he can make a difference in their lives, just like the Deckers did for him and his brothers.  I really enjoyed watching Ridge transform from a sullen and bitter cowboy, to one who feels with all his heart and wants to make a difference in the lives of a group of foster kids and win his lady’s heart. For anyone who is a fan of cowboys, then this one is a must, and I only hope Ms. Kennedy will have stories to tell for Ridges’ brother’s Shane and Brady.  Having met them in this story and learning a little about them, I’m rather captivated by these other cowboys and want to learn more about them.  Here’s to hoping for more wonderful cowboy reads from Ms. Kennedy. 

Until next time, Happy Reading pardners, Yee Haw!!

Reviewed by Marcie

Copy provided by Publisher

Interview beige

Joanne KennedyTRC: Hi Joanne and welcome to The Reading Café.

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

Joanne: I’m actually an Easterner who fell in love with the West on a vacation to Yellowstone National Park when I was eight years old. I loved the fact that the chipmunks ate out of your hands and I thought jackalopes were real, so vowed I would move West someday. Twenty years ago, I did just that, running away from home to Montana, then Colorado, and finally Wyoming. I was a little disillusioned about the jackalopes, but otherwise the West has exceeded all my expectations.

I’ve worked in the book trade all my life, as the owner of a used and rare bookstore, the manager of an independent, and the manager of a Barnes & Noble. I’d always wanted to write a book, and finally, at 45, I decided it was time. My first published book was “Cowboy Trouble,” and I’ve written about cowboys and the West ever since.

TRC: HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY is the first installment in your new Cowboys of Decker Ranch series. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

How To Handle a CowboyJoanne: My new series centers on three cowboys who were all foster kids until they were taken in as teenagers by rancher Bill Decker, who taught them to ride and rope and schooled them in the Code of the West.

In the nearby town of Wynott, the elderly residents are struggling to keep their community alive. When an old Victorian mansion is turned into a foster home for boys, the cowboys see a chance to pay it forward and give the kids there a chance to learn the cowboy way.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the Cowboys of Decker Ranch series?

Joanne: I’m planning on three books, so I can tell the story of all three Decker Ranch cowboys: Ridge Cooper, Brady Caine, and Shane Lockhart. But there are a lot of stories in Wynott, Wyoming that want to be told, so there may be a spin-off in the future.

TRC: Will each storyline have a different male and female lead? And will the previous storyline characters play any significant role in future storylines?

Joanne: Yes. Each book will feature one of the brothers and the woman who is his destiny. I just finished book two, which is Brady’s story, and although the book stands on its own (that’s very important to me!), there are lots of fun connections to the previous story. For example, Tornado, the bucking bronc who ended Ridge’s rodeo career, continues to pose a challenge to the cowboys. And Isaiah, one of the kids from the foster home, brightens up the heroine’s lonely life after Brady accidentally injures her in a roping accident.

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

Joanne: Sourcebooks really got it right this time. Ridge looks like Wade Russell, whoever he is. He’s listed on the copyright page as the model for the cover, and he looks very much like I pictured Ridge. Just picture him saying, “Howdy, Ma’am” in a Sam Elliott growl and then not saying another word, and you’ve got Ridge.

But I hesitate to define characters in that much detail. I try to tell just enough about a character so they can create their own image, and I hope it’s as strong as the image in my head. It doesn’t have to match; it just has to be real to the reader. I think books are a collaboration between the reader and the writer, where the writer brings a story to life and the reader creates the pictures in her head that make it real. I hope that makes sense to people!

TRC: Most, if not all, of your books focus on cowboys and western romances. What or who was the driving factor behind your foray into this particular genre?

Joanne: I’m not sure when my fascination with cowboys started. Partly it was from watching The History Channel years ago. I got interested in Western history, and of course cowboys are a huge part of that. Then, when I moved West, I was fascinated by how different Western culture is. It was like going to another country. And once I met a few cowboys, I discovered that no matter what their age, they had certain traits in common: old-fashioned values, a deep connection to the land, and a reverence for home and family as well as tradition. That makes them perfect romantic heroes for me.

TRC: Have you ever ridden a horse?;)

Joanne: Yes! But have I ever ridden a horse well? No! I’m not any kind of athlete, and that extends to horseback riding. I love horses and had one of my own years ago. At the time, I could afford the horse, the feed, and the vet bills, but that didn’t leave anything left over for a saddle. So I rode bareback most of the time, and fell off a lot. My horse was a wise old Arabian mare who would respond to the slightest movement from her rider. It felt like she could read my mind; I’d just think about where I wanted to go, and she’d go there. She was wonderful and taught me so much.

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

Joanne: It’s hard, because all romances are predictable to some degree. You know the hero and heroine are going to end up together; the trick is to make the reader forget that fact. I believe that if you set a story in a believable enough world, the reader will forget she’s reading a romance. Hopefully, she’ll forget she’s reading at all, and be swept away by the story as if it’s real life. So the content itself is the key to believability. You need characters that seem real, events that mirror real life, and a setting that draws you in and makes you feel the story with all your senses.

TRC: Are you a plotter or a panster (write by the ‘seat of your pants’)?

Joanne: I try very hard to be a plotter, but my inner pantser refuses to let that happen. I once tried to slavishly follow an outline for a story, and a third of the way through the story up and died. Nothing seemed real, nothing was believable, and my characters felt like cardboard cutouts. I had to start over and loosen up a little, and then it became one of my favorite books (Cowboy Fever).

Now I write a very general outline that will keep the story on course, and then let my inner pantser loose. I rein her in once in a while, going back to the outline to make sure I haven’t lost the thread of the story, but I love to write intuitively.

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

Joanne: I create the characters and the situations they’ll have to deal with. Their reactions to those situations are what drives the story.

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 writers fail in this endeavor?

Joanne: I think it’s essential for a writer to feel the characters’ emotions deeply and completely. You have to be able to put yourself into a character’s head and heart and live their life. Empathy is the most important skill a writer can possess, because it lets you feel the joy and pain others experience.

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

Joanne: Every writer has to discover what their block means. For me, it’s usually a sign that there’s something wrong with the story. The flaw, which can be subtle and hard to see, keeps me from enjoying the work and I suddenly don’t want to write. I have to step back and look at the story objectively to find the problem. Sometimes the issue is at the core of the story, and I have to do a lot of soul-searching and rewriting to straighten things out. Naturally, my mind resists this—and that’s writer’s block.

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

Joanne: My husband. I call him the “Plot Monkey.” (Although he bears no resemblance whatever to a monkey. Honest. Well, sometimes his personality…but not his looks! He looks like Sam Shepard. Lucky me!) Whenever I can’t figure out how to get a character out of a jam, he can figure out a way. This might have something to do with the fact that he was a fighter pilot. Those guys get in a lot of trouble, and always manage to find a way out of it. Trust me – it’s still happening!

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Joanne: I just finished the second book in the Cowboys of Decker Ranch series, How to Wrangle a Cowboy. It’s the story of Brady, the youngest of the Decker Ranch cowboys, and what happens when he causes an accident that puts a barrel racer out of commission for the rodeo season. Brady might seem like a guy who’s just out for a good time, but he’s determined to take care of Suze Carlyle until she’s back in the saddle again. The fact that she doesn’t want him around since their disastrous one-night stand a few months earlier doesn’t faze him at all.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Joanne: Just a huge thank you to you in particular and bloggers like you in general. You are the connection between authors and their readers, and add a wonderful new dimension to the reading and writing experience by bringing us together and letting us get to know each other. Thank you for all your hard work.

And, of course, thank you to my readers for caring about my characters and their stories.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Roast chicken.

Favorite Dessert
Bread pudding.

Favorite TV Show
NCIS, on the rare occasions when I watch TV. I also love Storage Wars, because I used to go to a lot of auctions and buy box lots, which is a similar experience.

Last Movie You Saw
Twelve Years a Slave. I loved it. Lupita Nyong’o was incredible.

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Dark. Especially Dark Chocolate Kit Kats!

Secret Celebrity Crush
Sam Shepard. Handsome and smart. And the young Clint Eastwood. I love a tough guy:)

Last Vacation Destination
Polebridge, Montana for my son’s wedding. This tiny town consists of a Mercantile and a saloon. My daughter-in-law’s family has a homestead there, and it’s as close to heaven as you’ll get – partly because of the Mercantile’s incredible Huckleberry Bear Claws.

Wait. Can I change my answer on favorite dessert? Is it too late? Because it’s Huckleberry Bear Claws! They’re also my favorite food. Rewrite!

Pet Peeve
When my husband blames me for stuff I didn’t do! Every time he loses something, he is convinced that I took it, moved it, or hid it for some nefarious reason of my own. Why would I take his dirty old chainsaw-sharpening thing-a-majig? I don’t even know what it’s called! I didn’t take it!

TRC: Thank you Joanne for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release and new series.

Joanne: Thank you. I loved this interview – it really made me think! Thanks also to all my readers for bringing my stories to life. I hope everyone will feel free to join this conversation and ask their own questions in the comments.

Giveaway beige

Sourcebooks and Joanne are offering a paper copy of HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY and a ‘cowboy themed’ gift 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. Giveaway open to USA and Canada only.

6. Giveaway runs from April 10 to April 14, 2014

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Coincidence by J.W. Ironmonger-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Coincidence by J.W. Ironmonger-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Coincidence Banner

Coincidence
by J.W. Ironmonger
Release Date: Re-release February 18, 2014
Genre: Fiction

Coincidence

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

Thirty years ago, on the date in June known as Midsummer’s Day, a young girl is mysteriously orphaned. Now, after a life of bizarre and troubling circumstances, she becomes obsessed with the idea that she too will die on Midsummer’s Day . . . until she meets the one man who may be able to save her

Azalea Lewis’s life has been dominated by coincidences-a bizarre, and increasingly troubling, series of chance events so perfectly coordinated that any sane person would conclude that only the hidden hand of providence could explain them.

•••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: COINCIDENCE is a fictional storyline intertwined with a little bit of historical reality that focuses on the mathematical probability of events, chances and coincidences shaping the life of Azalea Yves Folley Lewis. The novel is told through flashbacks, memories, recounting of and current day events from just prior to Azalea’s birth to the end of the story.

COINCIDENCE is a story about the probability that the life altering events in one woman’s life all occur on the same date every ten years-Midsummer’s Day June 21. Thirty years ago, on June 21, a young child of approximately three to four years old is found wandering the empty fairgrounds and her mother’s whereabouts is never known-until a badly decomposed body washes up on shore more than one year later-but the two events are never connected-until now.

J.W. Ironmonger pulls the reader into the search for the truth. We follow as Azalea Yves’s young life is thrown into turmoil –from the death of her mother; to a life in Uganda with her adopted parents; and a struggle to survive in a country at war with itself. At thirty years of age, Azalea will ‘accidently’ meet a man who studies the probability of coincidences and they begin a relationship based on chances and the what-ifs and whys of life. We are witness to Azalea’s struggles to uncover the past-a past she knows nothing about-but a past that is interconnected to everything and everyone in her life.

COINCIDENCE is a philosophical look at chances and probabilities. The storyline is slow to develop as J.W. Ironmonger builds on the early events that are the catalyst of Azalea’s life. Once the scenario has been established, the reader is pulled into a story where the reality of the day is played out in the life of a young teenage girl hoping to survive against the odds. Fast forward twenty years when Azalea begins the journey back as she approaches the Midsummer’s Day-June 21 and whatever it has to offer.

J.W. Ironmonger has written a story of probabilities and mystery; what-ifs and whys; and never giving up. COINCIDENCE is a story that takes a philosophical look at fate and predestination-has your life been planned out by a higher power? Or is everything that happens just a matter of coincidence and accidental meetings?

Copy supplied by the publisher HarperCollins

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview beige

TRC: Hi JW and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the February 2014 release of COINCIDENCE.

JW: Well thank you so much for having me. I feel greatly privileged to be talking to The Reading Café …

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

FOLLOW: Goodreads / Blog / Twitter

JW: I’m an Englishman, and I live in the beautiful rural county of Shropshire in England, along with my lovely wife Sue and our assortment of animals. I’ve always been a writer, but I’ve hidden it well. Writing success came, for me, in my fifties, so I’m making the very most of it now.

TRC: Your bio reads like a travel itinerary with stops throughout much of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. What are/were some of your favorite places to visit? To live?

JW: My father worked at Nairobi University, so I was born in Kenya. It was absolutely the most exciting place to grow up. When I was seventeen my family moved back to England. For me it was like a bereavement. I still miss East Africa – the noises, the colors, the smells …and of course the people. It has to be my favorite place to live.

I’ve been lucky to travel so widely. A few years ago I drove, with a friend, in a ‘banger rally,’ from London to the Gambia, through eight countries, and across the Sahara desert. That was my greatest adventure – until just a year or so ago, Sue and I travelled to Indonesia and became possibly the only travelers ever to have seen a Javan rhino and her calf. That was magical. But East Africa is still where my heart belongs.

TRC: How, if any, did your travels influence the premise of COINCIDENCE?

JW: When I was just sixteen I worked a vacation as a spanner-boy on building sites in the very north of Uganda. I’ve never forgotten the stunning beauty of this remote part of the world. I remember one night, sitting out on a veranda at a small mission school, drinking the local beer, discovering what an agreeable life the missionaries had made for themselves, and learning just how hard they were working with refugee children from Sudan. Not long after I left Uganda, the region became embroiled in a long civil war. I would watch with horror the rare news reports that made it to the West – stories of child soldiers, and brutal massacres. I would often wonder about that little mission school. How had it fared? This was very much in my mind when I sat down to write Coincidence. I used the mission school from my memory, and for me it became the heart of the novel; the place where the story would all end, for better or for worse.

CoincidenceTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of COINCIDENCE?

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

JW: I’ve always been fascinated by coincidences. They happen to us all from time to time. When they do it’s tempting to imagine they’re part of some master-plan of the universe – proof perhaps that everything that happens, happens for a reason. That’s what Azalea Lewis believes. Her life has been affected by a series of unhappy coincidences, and she has discovered within them, a pattern, that she now thinks will lead to her inevitable death.

So Azalea consults an expert on Coincidences. He’s Thomas Post, a man who can explain every coincidence through simple mathematics. But what happens when two such different views of the universe meet? Can Thomas and Azalea get along? Could they fall in love? As the climax of Azalea’s coincidences draws closer, can she convince Thomas to believe her fears? This is a story about love, chance, death, and free will. Can we take control of our own destiny? And if we do, where might it lead us? That’s the story at the heart of ‘Coincidence’.

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

JW: I wanted to make the coincidences in the story a surprise, even for readers who think they know what is coming. And I wanted the narrative to unravel in a non-linear way – so we learn about key events first, and then go back in time to see how they unfolded. Logistically this was a nightmare. I ended up with an enormous chart of events covering more than fifty years, but it did help me ensure that everything worked, in the way and on the days they were supposed to work.

I also wanted, in the story, to shine a light on the forgotten conflicts in Uganda, and on the character of Joseph Kony, whose murderous ‘Lords Resistance Army’ still operates in this part of Africa. I let Azalea grow up there, in the mission school of my memory, so her life could be touched by the troubles. I remember the region well from my own childhood, but in Coincidence the story would develop up to the present day. How much would this hidden corner of Africa have changed? In 2011, while writing the book, I went back to see, on a road trip with my son Jon. We searched for the mission school (unsuccessfully, alas) but we learned a lot, and the experience would inform the final chapter of the book

TRC: Are the storyline characters based in reality or a culmination of fact and fiction?

JW: Apart from the notorious Joseph Kony, who makes a brief appearance, all the characters are invented. They draw characteristics from people I know, but I couldn’t point to any one person and say he was the inspiration for Thomas, or she for Azalea. I made them up.

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

JW: I love this question. Benedict Cumberbach would have to be Thomas. He has the right lugubrious English manner. Azalea needs to be striking, intelligent, and a natural redhead. I would insist on Jessica Chastain. Unless Rachel McAdams was available, of course.

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

JW: In a novel about coincidence a writer can get away with some un-believability – but not too much. In the end, it was equally important for Thomas to be able to explain Azalea’s coincidences as it was for her to see them as pre-ordained. I hope that the characters and the situations are sufficiently grounded to keep the plot believable, and the situations unusual enough to keep the surprises coming, but in the end that has to be the reader’s call.

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

JW: I go along with Laurence Sterne who said, “I begin with writing the first sentence — and trusting to Almighty God for the second.” I’ve found that as soon as my characters are on the page, they start asserting themselves – sometimes in the most unpredictable ways. It can play havoc with the plot, but what can you do? I’m little more than a witness and a reporter on my characters, and I rarely (if ever) tell them what to do.

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 writers fail in this endeavor?

JW: I am in awe of writers who successfully carry this off. As a reader I want to care about the characters in the story, and that means living comfortably in each character’s skin as the story develops, seeing the world through their eyes, and feeling their hurts and emotions as they happen. It doesn’t have to be someone you identify with – I cried reading Black Beauty – and he was a horse. I don’t think there is a clever trick or a technique to help writers do this. I suspect it owes more to detailed craftwork, to creating honest consistent characters, and richly illustrated situations. When it happens, it is amazing. If I can ever achieve it as a writer, I would consider myself blessed.

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

JW: I think if you’re suffering from writer’s bock, then you’re trying to write the wrong thing. Not every novel you start will develop into your masterpiece. Some will fail on the first page; others might run for several chapters before you swallow that difficult pill and accept that it isn’t working. That’s writing. I’ve learned that letting go of a project and starting a new one is sometimes the best thing you can do if you love writing. Once you find a voice and a story that works, it will write itself, and your writer’s block will vanish. My hard-drive is full of abandoned projects. Some of them are almost novel-length. That’s okay. I understand that if I’m not enjoying the writing, then readers won’t enjoy the reading.

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

JW: I love my family dearly but I don’t share anything with them when it comes to writing, except, perhaps, for the vaguest outline, ‘ it’s a novel about coincidences,’ that’s about it. The idea of bouncing ideas off friends or fellow writers terrifies me. My wife, Sue, is the first to read anything I’ve written – but only the finished manuscript – never a sample chapter. I plan the story while I‘m walking my dog. So only me, my characters, and my dog, Poppy, are in on the secret.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

JW: I’ve just submitted the manuscript for my third novel, ‘Not Forgetting the Whale,’ the story of a village that seals itself off from a financial apocalypse, and the tale of the whale that lives in the bay. I’ll be starting edits on that book over the next few months. In the meantime I’m about quarter of the way through a fourth book. It’s called ‘Super-Recognizer.’ But more than that … ah well, you’ll have to wait and see.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Nuts. Probably a selection – unsalted

Favorite Dessert
Sticky toffee pudding

Favorite TV Show
Frasier. The X Factor. Or Downton Abbey. Too many to choose from.

Last Movie You Saw
American Hustle

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Milk – always. With nuts.

Secret Celebrity Crush
Julia Roberts (of course)

Last Vacation Destination
Portugal

Do you have any pets?
A golden retriever (Poppy), a fat cat (Bumble), and sixteen hens.

Last book you read
The Goldfinch

Pet Peeve
Those hotel toasters that only deliver warm bread

TRC: Thank you JW for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of COINCIDENCE and all the best.

JW: Thank you – I’ve enjoyed it.

Giveaway beige

J.W. and Harper Collins are offering a paper copy of COINCIDENCE to one lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. Please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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

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

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. The giveaway is open to USA only.

6. The giveaway runs from April 8 to April 11, 2014

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I’ll See You In My Dreams by Michael Edwin Q-A Review and Interview with the Author

I’ll See You In My Dreams by Michael Edwin Q-A Review and Interview with the Author

I'll See You In My Dreams Banner

I’ll See You In My Dreams
by Michael Edwin Q
Release Date: November 2013
Genre: romance, mystery, fantasy, adventure

 

I'll See You in My Dreams

ebook only $1.99:   Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 3, 2013

85 year old Christopher Goodman and 84 year old Irene Kelly live thousands of miles from each other. But ever night they meet in a shared dream where they are young lovers. It’s time they meet in the real world. Christopher runs away from home, and with the help of his grandson, Walter Jr., they journey on a quest to Irene – his intentions – marriage! A cast of characters you will never forget. There’s Romance, Mystery, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, but most of all LOVE! You have a date tonight! Don’t forget I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS.

•••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW:  I’ll See You In My Dreams is one of the most unique and entertaining books I’ve read in quite awhile. The premise begins semi-unique but the twists and slant on the story line bring it fully on its own. Michael Edwin is a new author to me, but has made me a fan! Can’t wait for more by this enchantingly witty author.

There are chapter heading of songs, with a dream theme. I had no idea there were so many and certainly not so many that fit with this tale, just a little added inspiration.

It starts with an old man hitching a ride near a Texas cornfield, on his way to San Diego. A pretty ambitious undertaking when you learn he’s eighty-five! And get this, my friends, he’s going to see his girlfriend and get married; she’s eighty-four… got you interest yet?

While romance among the elderly is not a new thing, this is certainly a much more exciting one. I don’t do spoilers, but this was just so hard to put down. The story is told in different POV’s such as “Before the Journey”, “The Journey”, “After the Journey” and last but certainly not least, “A New Journey”.

What makes this such a wonderful read? Oh, so many things. Learning of his life before his wife died; living with his daughter and her family; his relationship with his second grandson; the lives he touches on his journey. The list could go on and on and on!
Here’s the really intriguing thing. He begins dreaming of an island and on this island he’s a young strong man again. Then he meets a woman, not just any woman (although he loved his wife with all his heart while she lived – she’s not the woman on the island, this perplexes him) his old sweetheart from high school. They begin a nightly, and sometimes more often, trip to their island and fall back in love.

They both know it’s a dream, but they love it! This is just the beginning!

That’s all the spoilers I’ll give out. Please, please read this marvelous tale for yourselves. This is one that must be enjoyed to be believed. This is thought provoking, entertaining and so incredibly surprising! I promise you won’t regret a minute of it.

Grab a bottle of your favorite beverage, some snacks (you won’t want to stop reading), and don’t forget a few tissues!

Enjoy, I certainly did! I’ll be looking for more from this author…

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Georgianna

Interview seafoam:black

TRC: Hi Michael and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS.

Michael: Thank you, I’m excited. I’ve been following The Reading Café for a while now – very impressive.

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

FOLLOW: Facebook / Twitter

Michael: I sold my first piece when I was twelve, and I’ve been at it since. I’ve always written short stories, articles, and poems for magazines with some success, especially in the past ten years. I’ve written many books, but I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS is my first to publish. I just felt like the time was right.

TRC: What or who influenced your foray into writing?

Michael: The list of books and authors is huge. My love of reading is kin to my love of writing. Sometimes I can’t tell where one begins and the other ends.

TRC: I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS is your November 2013 release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Michael: Eighty-five year old, Christopher Goodman and eighty-four year old, Irene Kelly live thousand of miles from each other. Every night they met in a shared dream as young lovers. Chris decides they need to meet in the real world. He runs away from home. With the help of his traveling companion, his grandson Walter Jr., he journeys to Irene. His intentions – Marriage!

I'll See You in My DreamsTRC: Are any of the characters, including Christopher Goodman based in reality or a compilation of people and your imagination?

Michael: All my characters are a combination of real people, the same with all the incidents that happen. The more real you put in a story, the more real it feels.

TRC: What was your inspiration for the dream island and the whole ‘Death’ after them, the temple and underwater city etc?

Michael: I needed them to be alone, to relate and rely on each other – what better place than a desert island. As for Death, when Death comes, he doesn’t come to rob you of something or take someone you love away. He comes for everything and everyone. He’s the ultimate villain. Yet I didn’t portray him as evil; because I don’t think he is. He’s just doing his job. The temple denotes that there is something scared about True Love. It’s underwater because the sacred is not easily obtainable. It’s in an ancient city because True Love is sadly becoming rare and forgotten.

TRC: Did Gabriel have a special significance?

Michael: When you say the name Gabriel, most people think of an angel. He’s always in the background ready to step forward and help; he guards and guides. I like his aloofness and dry sense of humor.

TRC: Will Walter Jr. get his own story line?

Michael: At the end of the book it’s clear Walter Jr. is better for going on the journey. There’s a sweet hopeful magic about the ending. As any magician will tell you, when the audience looks too long and too hard the magic disappears.

TRC: How long did it take to complete this wonderful story?

Michael: I toss around an idea for one to two years. I write all the time in my head, even in my sleep. Once I sit down at the computer, it takes about a year to get it down. Then I let it sit for another year, and then I can look at it critically. That’s when I take another few months to rewrite. It’s a long process, but it works for me.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series or is this a stand alone story line?

Michael: I enjoy writing about the human condition, relationships, life. I’ll always write in that genre. So, in a way, though this will not be part of a series, I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS will not stand alone.

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

Michael: Richard Farnsworth would have been perfect for the elderly Chris, but he’s not longer with us. There are plenty of good actors and actresses nowadays, but being an old geezer, I don’t know their names.

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

Michael: It’s a group effort, we all pull together. But I must admit they do get pushy at times.

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?

Michael: Write in a way people can relate. Touch what’s in us all. We only connect with what is familiar to all of us. Don’t make it so personal. Drop the I, me, mine, and think more us.

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

Michael: I always have four to five projects going at the same time. If I go dry for awhile on one topic, I just switch to another, got to keep writing.

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

Michael: In my twenties I hitchhiked across the country for a few years. All the little road stories that happen in the book are variations of things I experienced in real life. I did plenty of research on Texas and American Indian history, and all the cities mentioned in the book.

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

Michael: My wife is a great help. She reads a lot, so if she doesn’t get it, it’s time to rewrite. As for stories, I won the 2013 Art Affair Literary Award for a story my wife felt was only so-so, and second place in the 2009 People’s Choice Awards with a story that didn’t even impress me. Just write for the joy of writing. No one truly knows.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Michael: I’m writing two new books, I’m rewriting two others; I’m working on a short story, and a couple of poems. (Honest, this is what I do)

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Michael: I’d like to thank my readers, encourage all the young writers out there, and I wish you peace and joy. But most of all I wish you love

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Anything someone else prepares.

Favorite Dessert
Moscato (with bubbles)

Favorite TV Show
We don’t own a TV

Last Movie You Saw
If I Were You – a great Canadian film with Marcia Gay Harden

Dark or Milk Chocolate
If I’m going off my diet, it won’t be for candy.

Secret Celebrity Crush
Crushes? I can only think of my wife, but that’s no secret. (She saw the cover of my book in a dream, before the artist sent it)

Last Vacation Destination
Santorini, Greece

Pet Peeve
Life’s too short for such things.

TRC: Thank you Michael for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of I’ll See You In My Dreams.  We wish you all the best !

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The Colors of Blue by Lance McCulloch-Review, Interview and Giveaway

The Colors of Blue by Lance McCulloch-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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The Colors of Blue
by Lance McCulloch
Release Date: November 11, 2013
Genre: romance, contemporary

The Colors of Blue

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

THE COLORS OF BLUE by Lance McCulloch

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 11, 2013

The Colors of Blue is an intelligent and compelling mainstream romance whose characters peel away complex layers of deceit, grief, loss and discovery during a riveting journey that at last binds hearts together and renews the promise of true love.

From the novel’s first page, Sara Field emerges as a woman of unique gifts whose soul resonates to a kaleidoscope of colors—a sixth sense that infuses her world with an understanding beyond the apparent. Yet somehow the colors fade in the glare of urban life and heartbreaking betrayal, and her struggle to retrieve those vibrant hues borders on the unbearable. Can she ever regain the innocence and wonder of that magical young womanhood? Perhaps—when she finds the spectacular beauty of the San Juan Mountains and the Tres Piedras River.
.
Half a country away, Rick Wheeler mourns the death of his extraordinary wife and feels himself crumbling under the burden of despair even as he builds a financial dynasty. Will nothing lift the gloom, relieve the cruel devastation of his loss and renew his heart? Ah, yes, there is one thing—fly-fishing on the Tres Piedras River. Time here is satisfying and soul-renewing. But he is still alone.

The rest, woven into a tapestry of adventure, intrigue, revelation, and even serendipity, invites each reader to participate in a life-affirming search for the colors and connections of love and the depth of meaning they give to the human spirit.

•••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE COLORS OF BLUE by Lance McCulloch is a contemporary storyline of romance and love. The focus of the story is on ranch hand Rick Wheeler and primary school teacher Sara Field-the woman who will open Rick’s heart and mind to second chances and finding love.

The premise of the storyline is the building relationship between Rick and Sara but, also the rebuilding of trust. Rick and Sara have both suffered heartbreaking and painful losses but none more so than Rick. At a weeklong getaway prior to Sara’s sister’s wedding, Rick and Sara will meet for the first time opening their eyes and their hearts to the possibility of a future but not before betrayal and misunderstandings will pull them apart.

THE COLORS OF BLUE is a storyline with a slight paranormal edge. The writing is as calming as it is beautiful with descriptive narration and scenery. Lance McCulloch weaves a wonderful tale that is romantic in its presentation; graceful in its approach; passionate in its maturity and imagination.

The storyline is told through present day, memory flashbacks and dreams. The reader is introduced to a cast of secondary characters that will make you fall in love with their perceptive understanding about two people meant for one another. Sara and Rick are drawn to one another such that the reader will be drawn into the storyline that is emotionally seductive. There is no foul language and no sexual situations but the sexual tension between Sara and Rick is palpable.

Lance McCulloch has written a captivating and breathtaking storyline where two people will find love. The Colors of Blue is a story of pure romance; of developing friendships; and learning to let go. If you are looking for a story with romance, seduction and a happily ever after THE COLORS OF BLUE is an incredible journey that you don’t want to miss.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview-Blue

TRC: Hi Lance and welcome to The Reading Café.

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

Follow Lance: Goodreads / Website / Facebook /

Lance McCullochLance: I’m a 49 years old and only recently become a full-time author. Me, my wife Jennifer and three daughters all call Boulder, Colorado home. I have a degree from the University of Colorado in Chemical Engineering and spent the last ten years of my life starting and running a gear and technology company. I love the outdoors and fly-fishing has been my go-to Zen for many years.

TRC: What or who influenced your foray into writing?

Lance: Around 2003 I started a technology company in Boulder, Colorado. Several years later the company had arrived at a unique GPS technology with military applications. In 2007, a large public company approached my six-person company exploring a relationship to distribute our products. I was excited and believed that we had hit the jackpot. Unbeknownst to me, this company had an agenda that was outside of the terms of the distribution contract we signed. The terms of that agreement made them the exclusive distributor of our product and when they missed a major US Army contract, they simply stepped away.

Their actions set forth a sequence of events including the loss of my company and a lawsuit against the large company. I loved my employees and losing them and my company were some very darkest times in my life. I needed something positive. One day I closed the door of my office and simply began to write. My book, The Colors of Blue, was the best and most positive thing to come out of those hard times, although, when a Dallas, Texas jury convicted the company of fraud in 2013, it was not bad either.

The Colors of BlueTRC: THE COLORS OF BLUE is your first published novel (November 2013). Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Lance: The Colors of Blue is a contemporary story of love, loss, and recovery. It is a story of the human spirit told through the eyes and experiences of the two main Characters, Sarah Field and Rick Wheeler.

Sarah was born with a special gift, a sixth sense that allows her to see colors that have great meaning. During a week in the Colorado Rockies with her sister and a group of friends, Sarah meets Rick Wheeler, at first glance a river guide with a tragic past. Here, as she sorts through the deceit by her fiancé, her colors begin to appear again. Then arrives the odd colors of blue, ones she has never encountered before. But Sarah struggles with these new colors, continually overshadowed by the presence of her cheating fiancé, like herself a guest at the Colorado ranch.

TRC: What do you tell the critics/potential new readers as it pertains to the male perspective when writing romance novels?

Lance: Romance is nothing more than a delightful process to arrive at the most basic necessity of any human. That necessity is love. I set out to write a story of loss and discovery of this most basic need. If my readers feel or see it as a romance, so be it; my writing comes from the perspective of a man who felt the loss of a mother early in life, who felt the sudden and tragic loss of a father in a plane crash, and the vulnerability of a man with unmatched love for a beautiful wife and three daughters.

TRC: Did you learn anything about yourself when writing the book?

Lance: I’ve spent half of my life being an engineer and business owner as a practical means of supporting my family. What I’ve discovered is that writing provides an internal joy beyond what I ever found in the ‘practical’ days of my life. I think I will keep writing because life is too short. ☺ I’d also like to go looking for sunken treasure in the Caribbean, but I’m pretty sure that pictures of my sun-drenched body in speedo would sink that adventure.

TRC: Is THE COLORS OF BLUE a stand alone novel or do you have plans for a series?

Lance: Sarah and Rick’s story begins at the end of The Colors of Blue. It must continue and I know their next journey. However, I am compelled by another problem in the Colorado Rockies that is begging to be sorted-out first!

TRC: Are any of the characters based in reality or a culmination of many different variables?

Lance: When I was in my 20’s I lost my mother to cancer. My parents always had a great relationship and I watched as my father contended with this loss. Although I did not set out with the intention of writing my father’s story, I’ve realized that I have spent many hours fly-fishing and sorting through how he dealt with losing his wife. That event was certainly a core influence on my story.

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

Lance: I believe there are a hundred ways to tell the same story. However, there is a real art to keeping an audience involved and turning pages. My background is Chemical Engineering, about as close to Creative Writing as oil is to water. I worked the hardest on structuring the story with strategic and creative ways to keep the audience involved.

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

Lance: Sarah would be Keira Knightley with dark, curly hair. I will not comment on Rick for fear of damaging a late night image built by the female reader. I mean, would you pick up the book if I told you Rick looked like Will Ferrell? Don’t worry, he does not!

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

Lance: As an author, I find myself creating primary events and experiences for my characters while knowing how they will react and respond to each. The readers get to know my characters through these primary events but also the small scenes I create that may seem unimportant but work to round out the character. In an interesting way, I create the primary events and the characters responses and then the characters tell me how they will respond in the smaller scenes. This is a good question. It’s allowed me to arrive at the conclusion that my characters are smarter than I am. ☺

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?

Lance: I believe it goes a long way to build a story that any reader can see, feel, smell, and touch. When each of us walk through an airport we each take-in the scene and all that fills it. If characters in a book see, feel, hear, and smell things that the reader would experience in the same way, they become real; they become believable. I would guess the most common mistake is to create characters that are too perfect, that sense things the average reader would miss.

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

Lance: Studying engineering in college, I found that if I worked hard on a problem yet could not solve it, it was best to simply leave it alone for some period of time. That did not mean that I was not working on it, only that it was my subconscious rather than the conscious part of my brain that was doing the work. Commonly, this is called ‘sleeping on it.’ However, often it takes more than a single night. Thus, I try to identify the problem I face in the story, whether it is a sequence of events, the reality of a scene, dialog, or something else and then consider all of the options to solve the problem. I will then work on another section of the book and wait until the problem solves itself. If you see my iPhone, it’s full of message to myself when I’m out shopping, having coffee, or a glass of wine and suddenly the solution arrives. Now that I think about it, it often occurs when I’m drinking wine; maybe we are on to something here? ☺

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

Lance: I do not find myself bouncing specific ideas but I will give my wife ‘raw’ chapters. She is the one for me. I’ll watch out of the corner of my eye as she reads to see if I’ve created the right reaction in her. By now, I know most of her facial expressions.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Lance: My next story is set in the small town of Silverton, Colorado. The title is ‘The Funny Little Corners of Love.’ Dan receives a letter from his estranged, alcoholic brother. In it, his brother tells him that he has found their missing father and that he should return to Colorado as quickly as possible. From here, we are off and running to reunite brothers in a mystery with recognizable, human themes.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Lance: I would just like to thank The Reading Café for this interview and everyone who has taken time read. Thanks ☺

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Sushi

Favorite Dessert
Cheese cake, add some strawberry to the top.

Favorite TV Show
Modern Family

Last Movie You Saw
Anchorman 2

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Milk Chocolate by a mile! Add almonds and I’ll follow you over a cliff!

Secret Celebrity Crush
Sandra Bullock

Last Vacation Destination
Hawaii, The Big Island.

Pet Peeve
TV or Radio News with an agenda.

TRC: Thank you Lance for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of THE COLORS OF BLUE. We wish you all the
best.

giveaway

Lance is giving away a copy of THE COLORS OF BLUE to 20 (twenty) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

1. Please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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

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

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. The giveaway is open Internationally.

6. The giveaway runs from April 3 to April 8, 2014

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