The Bottom Line (The Ladies Who Lunch #1) by Sandy James-Review,Interview and Giveaway

THE BOTTOM LINE (The Ladies Who Lunch #1) by Sandy James-review, interview and giveaway

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The Bottom Line
The Ladies Who Lunch #1
by Sandy James
Genre: contemporary, romance,
Release Date: May 6, 2014

The Bottom Line

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 6, 2014

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . .

After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change—with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single, which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.

Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife’s help. His new client’s projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory’s beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won’t let him in? Ben can fix just about anything—but can he fix Mallory’s broken heart?

••••••••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE BOTTOM LINE is the first instalment in Sandy James’s contemporary, romance series focusing on a group of female teachers who meet every day at lunch to discuss life, love and growing old. This is Mallory and Ben’s storyline-one the focuses on a second chance at love for both but not before heartbreak and misunderstanding push the couple apart.

Sandy James writes an engaging story where one woman has faced a life altering situation and survived. Hoping for a new direction, she hires local contractor Ben Carpenter to remodel her house and in doing so finds that she begins to remodel her life. Ben and Mallory are immediately attracted to one another but Mallory is hiding a secret-one that even many of her fellow colleagues are unaware-and it is a secret she fears will push Ben away when the truth is revealed.

This is a friends to lovers storyline where second chances are complicated when past issues are left unresolved. Mallory’s private and personal ‘problems’ drive a major portion of the storyline and in this there is a constant struggle about decisions, revelations and between friends. Although her friends mean well and are very over protective, there comes a time when everyone must make their first solo venture into the world of dating and love. The sexual tension between Mallory and Ben is palpable; their love making is sensual, romantic and not over the top.

The secondary characters are colorful and become our heroine’s constant source of support and turmoil. The world building focuses on the friends and colleagues who gather each day for lunch and on weekends at the local church singles dance.

THE BOTTOM LINE is a compelling story about one woman’s struggle and the decisions she must make with regards to her future. It is a story where past betrayals are a constant reminder and sometimes the present may be all you have. It is also a story about two people who have been given a second chance-for love and life-and their hopes that a future together will be loving and long.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

TRC: Hi Sandy and welcome to The Reading Cafe. Congratulations on the release of THE BOTTOM LINE.

Sandy JamesFollow Sandy at :  Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

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

Sandy: I’m a teacher, a job that’s becoming more challenging by the day thanks to “the powers that be.” It wasn’t my intended profession. I always believed I’d be a lawyer. But children came faster than my husband and I expected, so I chose a career that would give me more time with my daughter and son. It was the right decision, something I’m reminded of every time I step in front of a class.

Somewhere in my late twenties, I started having odd physical symptoms ranging from thyroid problems to rashes to swollen joints to horrible fatigue. After years of having no idea what was wrong, to the point everyone—including me—believed I might be a hypochondriac, I was finally diagnosed with lupus. I make a point of mentioning it on my website, during interviews, and whenever I conduct workshops, because I think it’s important to show other lupus sufferers that you can still have a productive life despite this damned illness.

TRC: How do you handle the pressures of being a high school teacher and writing romance on the side?

Sandy: My children are both grown, married, and living their lives, which means my nest is empty. My husband and I moved to a smaller home last summer. It’s been such a great change. The place is so easy to clean, and with just the two of us, there’s not nearly as much to do. That helps considerably. Being a teacher actually helps my writing career since we’re off in June and July. Our school also dismisses at 2:30, which gives me a lot of afternoon time to write.

TRC: You and your husband own a small racing stable of Standard bred Harness horses. How did you venture into the Harness racing business?

Sandy: When Jeff and I were first married (back in the Stone Age), we lived in Chicago. The only person we knew there was my cousin. At the time, she was married to one of the best harness drivers in the country. Since we began to spend a lot of time together, Jeff and I learned to enjoy the sport.

Around his fortieth birthday, he started researching owning a horse. He’s such a great guy, I wanted to help him chase the dream. So after he explained it all to me, I went to the bank to get a loan to help him buy that first horse. It’s become such a great part of our lives. Not only do we both love the animals, the people in the racing world are such a kick to be around.

TRC: Have you ever considered a series focusing on horse racing?

Sandy: I actually wrote Murphy’s Law to share my love of harness racing with my readers. The horses also appear in All the Right Reasons. But I have a new series my agent is pitching to editors right now that goes back to the track! (Shameless plug—Both those books are in The Damaged Heroes Collection, which is only 99 cents for all five books right now.)

The Bottom LineTRC: THE BOTTOM LINE is your May 2014 release in The Ladies Who Lunch series. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Sandy: There’s a lot of my life in this series. I have eaten lunch with my own “Ladies” for several years, so it seemed like a great tribute to them and their friendship to include that kind of relationship in my stories.

The Ladies Who Lunch is a group of four teachers who are tightly bonded. The reader gets to see life through their eyes. I love that the heroines are different ages (in their twenties and thirties) and have such distinct personalities.
The Bottom Line explores the issue of what it’s like to be a breast cancer survivor. Two of my own “Ladies” have weathered that choppy ocean, and I tried to honor their strength and grace in the character of Mallory.

TRC: Are any of the characters or the storyline premise based in reality?

Sandy: In some ways, all my characters have a basis in reality. I never model a character after a distinct person, but when I have a friend, relative, or student who has a distinct personality or trait, I often incorporate that into my characters. The only heroine who I can say is “me” is Jackie Delgado from Turning Thirty-Twelve. I channeled myself quite strongly into her.

Signed Sealed DeliveredTRC: SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED is the next instalment in The Ladies Who Lunch Series. Would you please tell us about the premise and whose storyline it will be?

Sandy: Juliana gets the spotlight in Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Her story heats up very quickly when she starts to explore the possibility of leaving teaching for a more lucrative job, a crossroads many teachers face. At a real estate seminar, she meets Connor, a man who inspires her in many, many ways.

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

Sandy: The series is four books—one for each of my Ladies. Any expansion on it would be about the small town in which they live, Cloverleaf, Illinois. I love writing about small town life! This town is based loosely on my in-laws’ hometown of Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

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

Sandy: I think it’s horrible! One thing I believe readers depend upon is a writer to leave them satisfied at the end of a story. A cliffhanger is almost cruel to readers!

I also like writing “closed” series. Two of mine—The Ladies Who Lunch and The Alliance of the Amazons—are limited to four books. There’s a distinct ending to each of the books, and the last book wraps up all four of the stories as well.

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

Sandy: Sometimes I think the characters are more in charge than I am. I always have a plan in mind, but writing can become such an adventure. For example, Ross in Murphy’s Law and Free Falling is named after a former student who wanted me to give a villain his name. I tried to make Ross a bad guy, a shyster lawyer in Murphy’s Law. I honestly tried. But the fictitious Ross would have none of it. He was such a good character and nice guy he became the hero in Free Falling.

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?

Sandy: The characters have to be “real” to the writer. I think my background in psychology helps me tremendously in creating realistic characters. To achieve this, a writer needs to feel what the characters are feeling. I know when I’m writing happy scenes, I’m in a great mood. Writing black moments almost always makes me look at life in a pessimistic way. I ride the same roller coaster every character rides throughout a story.

Where do writers fail? Whenever a character is so wooden she becomes cliché. I’ve read a few stories where the heroes or heroines were all but cardboard, because nothing they did or felt seemed authentic. As I said, knowledge of psychology is the best tool, which is why I started teaching psychology workshops for authors.

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

Sandy: I need to knock on wood as I say this, but I’ve never had writer’s block. When my agent started selling books on proposal (three chapters and a synopsis) rather than as a completed manuscript, I worried whether I’d be able to write with my “back to the wall.” Turns out that deadlines are highly motivating for me!

There’s always a touch of anxiety in my writing process, but I attribute that to my being such a superlative Type A personality. I like being busy. I love being super busy. But the baggage to that is there’s always an element of anxiety involved.

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

Sandy: The Ladies Who Lunch might be a tightknit group of friends, but their situations are unique. I’ve had to research breast cancer treatments, the process of breast reconstruction, how to sell real estate, home renovation, adoption law… You name a topic, it probably pops up in The Ladies Who Lunch. Of course, variety is the spice of life. Right?

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

Sandy: I’m blessed to have wonderful critique partners, all of whom are published authors. Cheryl Brooks is well-known for her Cat Star Chronicles, Nan Reinhardt writes great stories with mature heroines, and Sandra Owens has some marvelous historical romances close to release. I also have a friend/critique partner/cheerleader in Leanna Kay. The two of us have worked together since the very first book I wrote back in 2006.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sealing The DealSandy: I just wrapped up Sealing the Deal (Ladies Who Lunch book 3) and have shifted back to my historical series, Safe Havens. The fourth book will revolve around Kayla and Drake, characters introduced in Redeemed (book 3). Kayla has a major secret, one that is going to follow her to White Pines. Hopefully, my new horseracing series will find a good home soon! Then it’s “full steam ahead” on those books!

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

Sandy: I want to make the USA Today or NYT bestsellers’ list so badly! I’m trying to do my best to get word out there about my books through reviews and interviews (thanks again for hosting me today!), and hopefully, my momentum will continue.

As much as I enjoy teaching, I would love to be able to transition into being a full-time writer. The lupus makes being a good teacher a little tougher every day. The fatigue is the worst. If I could write full-time, I wouldn’t have to wake up so early, and if I needed a quick nap, I could take one.

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

Sandy: I don’t have an abundance of self-esteem. I was overweight as a child, and I lived in an isolated neighborhood, so I didn’t know most of the kids at school the same way they all knew each other. I often felt like an outsider, and I was teased a lot for being chubby and not “fitting in.” I was also a horrible nerd, which only hurt my chance of being popular in any way, shape, or form. My first true friends came in junior high, and I’ve always been grateful to Angela and Karen for helping me start down the road of learning to like myself.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Sandy: I just want to thank my entire family for their unending support. Getting a writing career off the ground isn’t easy, and without them, I’d never be where I am today.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Snow Crab

Favorite Dessert
Cheesecake

Favorite TV Show
The Walking Dead

Last Movie You Saw
Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Milk! Dark is yuck.

Secret Celebrity Crush
Robert Downey Jr.

Last Vacation Destination
New York City

Pet Peeve
Students acting stupid in the locker bank

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

Giveaway-Blue:Black

Sandy is offering the following giveaway package. There will be three (3) winners.

First Prize: One lucky commenter will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card

Second Prize: Two lucky commenters will receive an ecopy of THE BOTTOM LINE by Sandy James

Sandy James prize

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. LIKE SANDY JAMES on Facebook.

6. The giveaway is open internationally wherever Amazon is available.

7. The giveaway runs from April 24 to April 30, 2014

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Axel Jordan-Interview with the Musician and Model

Axel Jordan-Interview with the Musician and Model

Today, at The Reading Cafe, we would like to introduce musician and model Axel Jordan. Hope everyone enjoys getting to know today’s cover model !!

TRC: Hi Axel and welcome to The Reading Cafe.

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

Follow Axel: Twitter / Facebook / Website/

Axel Jordan 1AXEL: Sure thing! I’m a musician. Born and raised here in NYC. I keep myself pretty busy. Constantly studying music; my craft. And castings around the city.

TRC: What were your goals and aspirations growing up?

AXEL: I was also a performer of some sort. Even as a little kid, I knew I wanted to sing at the top of my lungs. I was either going to be a performer or a veterinarian. I love Animals. Always have.

TRC: Will you please tell us about how you got started in the modeling/cover modeling business?

AXEL: Fortunately, I was blessed and modeled as a kid. It allowed me to meet a lot of people. As I grew up I still maintained contacts with my agents and work pretty consistently. It’s a great way to keep myself busy, make some money and meet a lot of people.

SparkTRC: You recently appeared on the covers of Brigid Kemmerer’s SPARK and BREATHLESS. Many YA and romance novels use the cover model as the
depiction of the storyline hero. What do you say to all of the ‘fans’ who imagine YOU -Axel Jordan- as their storyline hero?

AXEL: To that I say, Thank You. It’s quite flattering when I receive messages about how readers relate the characters to me. I can
personally relate to both characters, Nick & Gabriel, so I take it as a compliment.

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

AXEL: To date, I’ve appeared on the cover of 4 novels.

TRC: What was your first PUBLISHED cover and by which author?

BreathlessAXEL: The first were the covers of Brigid Kemmerer’s novels.

TRC: At times, there has been a stigma surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry. But the popularity of the paranormal romance and YA (Young Adult) storylines has skyrocketed in the last few years. What is your opinion about the recent popularity and the very busy industry of the ‘romance and young adult cover model’?

AXEL: I think in the past, YA stories weren’t as honest as they are today. In today’s society, young adults are actually talking truthfully about their feelings and encounters. They aren’t hiding behind the idea of what is considered to be “Right” or “Wrong”. Whether it’s on TV shows or in novels, you’re really getting a close idea of how the minds of young adults actually work. As an artist, I personally believe in living your truth. All day, everyday. So I give it two thumbs up*!

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

AXEL: Completely wrong, No. But I’ve certainly had shoots where things weren’t going right. But it’s a job and I’m pretty dedicated to work so I pull it together and make it work.

Axel Jordan2TRC: Nudity in modeling or acting can be controversial. Some pictures can cross the line between sexuality and pornography. What would you tell young models just entering the business about nude modeling?

AXEL: Not always and not all models, but often times models are looking for recognition and are looking to be the best they can be. That can sometimes leave you open to be taken advantage of. Truth is, yes, modeling is about knowing your body. It’s about sexuality and sensuality. But it’s also about confidence. Know yourself and know your boundaries. I always say, know the job and know your worth. If Calvin Klein called and wanted me to shoot partially nude or nude, I would consider it. Till then, no thanks.

TRC: What is your most embarrassing moment?

AXEL: I don’t know if I have any. I can roll with the punches and tend to find humor in most things. So, I’m not easily embarrassed

TRC: When you are not modeling what can we find you doing-in other words-what is your ‘day job’? ;)

Axel Jordan 3AXEL: I’m a musician. Currently working on an album. Released my debut single on iTunes a while back. Go check it out. Via my website
AxelJordan.com or on iTunes. Song is titled “Release You”

Click HERE and download a copy of RELEASE YOU for only .99cents from iTunes.

TRC: What three (3) things would you like to accomplish in the next ten (10) years?

 

 

AXEL: In 10 years ….
– Receive many Grammy’s
– Travel the world. Several Times over.
– Start a family. This one will be closer to the 10 year mark though.

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

AXEL: I love to go to Live Stand-up Comedy shows. Oh, and I’m a total Sci-Fi geek.

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

AXEL: I run. I run a few times a week. Either outside (if its nice out) or indoors, I can just zone out for 6-miles. It clears my head andeverything just makes sense afterwards.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

AXEL: ummmm nope. I think you pretty much covered it all.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food

- Pizza

Favorite Dessert

- Cake

Favorite TV Show

- Game Of Thrones

Last Movie You Saw

- Frozen. On a plane yesterday.

Dark or Milk Chocolate

- Milk

Secret Celebrity Crush

- Mila Kunis

Last Vacation Destination

- Puerto Rico

TRC: Thank you Axel for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success and we look forward to many more covers.

AXEL: Thank You! I Look forward to sharing more with ya’ sometime.

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East of Ecstasy (Hearts of the Anemoi #4) by Laura Kaye-Review and Blog tour

East of Ecstasy (Hearts of the Anemoi #4) by Laura Kaye-Review and Blog Tour

EOE RDL banner

East of Ecstasy
Hearts of the Anemoi #4
by Laura Kaye
Genre: paranormal, romance
Release Date: April 22, 2014

East of Ecstasy cover

.99cents for a limited time:  Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 22, 2014

Annalise Fallston made peace with postponing her big-city dreams to care for her ill father, but lately she’s been filled with a restlessness not even her beloved painting dispels. Worse, the colors don’t speak to her as they always have, and all her efforts produce dark, foreboding images of a dangerous man and a terrifying future.

Devlin Eston, black-souled son of the evil Anemoi Eurus, is the only one who can thwart his father’s plan to overthrow the Supreme God of Wind and Storms. But first, Dev must master the unstable powers he’s been given. Distrusted and shunned by his own divine family, he never expected to find kindness and passion in the arms of a mortal.

But Devlin’s love puts Annalise in the path of a catastrophic storm, and in the final Armageddon showdown between the Anemoi and Eurus, sacrifices will be made, hearts broken, and lives changed forever…or lost.

••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW:   EAST OF ECSTASY is the fourth instalment in Laura Kaye’s adult, contemporary, paranormal erotic Heart of the Anemoi romance series. Based loosely on Greek and Roman Mythology, the Anemoi are the gods of the directional winds-North (Boreas), East (Eurus), South (Chrysander) and West (Zephyros) and connected to the seasons. This is Devlin Eston –son of Eurus- and Annalise Fallston-an artist whose paintings divine the future.

The focus of the storyline is the continued hunt for Devlin’s father Eurus-God of the East wind; the man whose anger and rage against his own absent and negligent father has been directed at his brothers and sons. As Eurus takes his vengeance out on his brothers, his son Devlin will bare the scars and the stigma of a man whose pain and hatred knows no boundaries. With the increasing storms battering the East Coast, Devlin will find himself drawn to a woman who ‘paints’ the future and the future looks pretty grim.

Devlin is the son of Eurus and has been caught in the maelstrom of his father’s revenge; a war between family that extends to the heavens and to Earth. With one brother already lost to the afterlife and another held captive, Devlin wars with his honor as it pertains to his extended family and his father. As the son of the most hated God of the Winds, Devlin will reap the pain and sorrow of a family who will continue to suffer losses at the hands of one of their own. It is only with the help of Annalise-a human with powers only a god should posses-that Devlin will earn his place amongst the Gods of the Winds.

The relationship between Annalise and Devlin is one of mutual distrust-strangers who meet under mysterious circumstances-but who are drawn to one another like moths to a flame. With her ability to ‘paint the future’ Annalise’s true powers and heritage will manifest themselves into a purpose known only to the gods. The sexual energy between our couple is fueled by the knowledge that Devlin believes himself unworthy of love-a man whose heritage has marked him for death-but a man who has never felt a kind touch; heard a kind word; or experienced love with another being.

The world building continues with the inclusion of the Wind Gods and their mates from each of the previous storylines. The reader is pulled into an emotional storyline of loss and revenge; betrayal and pain; forgiveness and letting go. It is said that when someone dies there is always someone waiting to be born and in this the Gods of the Winds will experience death and rebirth but not before many tears are shed and hearts are shattered.

EAST OF ECSTASY is a storyline with action, suspense and romance. It is a story about family and betrayal; about a man who is unable to let go of the past and in doing so destroys everything in his wake; and a story about saying goodbye to those that we love. Laura Kaye pulls the reader into an intense and imaginative storyline that will captivate lovers of both romance and mythology. If you have ever wondered why some storms are more intense than others think first about Hearts of the Anemoi and family feuds built from the power of the Gods.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Excerpt beige

EAST OF ECSTASY (Hearts of the Anemoi#4)

By Laura Kaye

You guys! I can’t believe release day for East of Ecstasy is finally here! This is the final book in my Hearts of the Anemoi series, which includes: North of Need, West of Want, and South of Surrender. The Anemoi were wind gods the Greek associated with controlling the wind, weather, and seasons. In East of Ecstasy, hero Devlin Eston is the heir to the East Wind which has long been associated with unluckiness, misfortune, and, thanks to Devlin’s father, even evil. Devlin himself has been the victim of father’s evil, and thereby finds himself an outcast among his own divine family. In this scene, heroine Annalise Fallston—who gets visions that she’s forced to paint in order to quiet them in her mind—sees Devlin for the first time. Here’s what she says:

Forcing the chaos in her mind away, Anna dipped her brush into the gray and stepped to the canvas. Motion captured her attention from the corner of her eye.

The Dark Man, the subject of her recent paintings, stood in the doorway and leaned against the jamb.

Anna jumped and her pulse raced, but this time, anger flooded in instead of fear. “I will deal with you on my own damn terms,” she said, taking a perverse amount of pleasure from putting a figment of her imagination in its place. Because that’s all he was.

He didn’t move or speak. Not that he could, since, you know. Figment.Of.Imagination.

Anna rolled her eyes, done with being scared and so pissed to have to do this again that she was nearly out of her mind. “I’m doing your damn painting already. So just leave me alone.” She cut her gaze back to the expanse of white, but the desire to see if his image would still be there if she looked again drove her to distraction.

Finally, she gave in and…he was still there.

Completely still.Blatantly scowling.Totally unfathomable.

Was this a vision? Another image she’d have to paint?

Her heart tripped into a sprint, and she couldn’t look away from him. Like the compulsion that forced her to paint these images, Anna couldn’t help but return his stare and memorize his masculine features. The sharp angles of his face, the harsh set of his mouth, the dark shadows around his even darker eyes.Black eyes. Blades of black hair hung low over his forehead and just touched the hooded shirt he wore under his short, scuffed leather jacket. He’d crossed his arms over his chest, and the position caused his biceps to bunch up under the worn leather. In fact, everything about him appeared worn—the coat, the threadbare jeans, the scuffed boots. None of it struck her as the kind of shabby chic you could buy in some upscale store for a small fortune, either. The whole effect was rough. Dangerous.Deprived.

Deprived? What a strange way of describing him. But as Anna’s gaze swept over him again, the thought stuck. For his height, he seemed thin, with his lean hips, clad in old black jeans, a trim waist, and pronounced cheekbones. Her fingers twitched around the nearly forgotten paintbrush. What would it feel like to cup that harsh face in her hand?

Anna gasped and tore her gaze away. She had to blink to pull herself out of the haze of thoughts. Frustration surged through her and tensed the muscles of her shoulders and neck. She didn’t want to be working on another of these paintings as it was, so the last thing she needed was to lose a bunch of time daydreaming. Or would it be daynightmaring?

As she stared at the blank canvas, the image of the shackled man behind the prison bars filled her mind’s eye.

Definitely the latter.

Curiosity pulled her eyes to the left again. The doorway was empty.

~~

So, did you have a favorite line from the excerpt? Thanks for reading!

Laura

_______________________

Catch up on the whole series with the Hearts of the Anemoi ebook box set featuring the first three books: North of Need, West of Want, South of Surrender!

*** .99 cents ebook bundle for a limited time ***

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

Hearts of the Anemoi box set

 

About The Author beige

Laura Kaye-21About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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A Strange There After (Savannah Shadows #2) by Missy Fleming-Review & Interview with the Author

A Strange There After (Savannah Shadows #2) by Missy Fleming-Review and Interview with the Author

A Strange There After

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 26, 2014

Ghosts exist. Quinn Roberts knows this because she is one – kind of. The spirit of a dysfunctional ancestor, Catherine, has evicted Quinn from her own body, forcing her to live in a world with the paranormal. No one can see, touch or hear her, except the ghosts she grew up with and the bane of her existence, a self-centered paranormal investigator named Boone.

Forced to watch the growing bond between her boyfriend, Jason, and the body snatcher, Catherine, Quinn delves deeper into the history of her family in search of a way to reverse what’s been done. What she finds is a dangerous entity more terrifying than anything she’s encountered before. He’s willing to grant all her desires…for a price.

As Quinn faces painful decisions and makes unlikely alliances, she learns how far she will go to get her life back. Desperation is a wicked thing and she soon realizes that recovering her body may only be the beginning of her end.

••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: A STRANGE THERE AFTER is the second instalment in Missy Fleming’s contemporary, young adult Savannah Shadows paranormal storyline focusing on a centuries old curse that has followed Quinn Roberts family through the generations. As the sole surviving Roberts family member, Quinn has become the target of ghosts and spirits avenging their death at the hands of Quinn’s ancestors. Now that Quinn’s spirit has been forced from her own body, she must find a way to let everyone know that the spirit inhabiting her body is not Quinn but someone who hopes to make the switch permanent.

Missy Fleming continues the world building from book one where Quinn’s life read like a Cinderella fairy tale including the wicked step-mother and step-sisters but in A STRANGE THERE AFTER the fairy tale takes on a more sinister note. With her extended family out of the picture, Quinn will discover that not everything they did was under their control. With the Savannah, Georgia area notorious for hauntings and magical incantations Quinn, along with the help of her best friend and a young psychic with connections to the other side, Quinn sets out to find a way to reverse the curse set upon her family for hundreds of years.

A STRANGE THERE AFTER is a young adult storyline (written in first person POV) with all the hallmarks of the genre-a love triangle; absent parents; misguided and misunderstood youth; villainous adults; and the requisite mean girl who pushes Quinn from her body and takes over her life as well as her boyfriend. Quinn’s friends try desperately to find a way to reverse the curse but Quinn takes it upon herself to make a deal with an otherworldly spirit only the Devil himself would love.

The storyline is well paced; there is mystery and suspense; perceived betrayal and broken hearts. The secondary characters are colorful but Quinn’s long suffering boyfriend plays only a small role in the second storyline. The reader is pulled into a story where voodoo, magic and revenge have crossed hundreds of years to finally come full circle with the last of the cursed family. Once Quinn is out of the picture, what’s an angry spirit to do for fun?

Reading Order
1. Happily Never After
2. A Strange There After

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview orange:black

TRC: Hi Missy and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of A STRANGE THERE AFTER.

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

Check out Missy’s Website

Missy FlemingMissy: I live in beautiful Bozeman, Montana, not far from Yellowstone National Park. Being outside, especially in summer, is a bit of a necessity, so that often leaves me with less time for writing than I’d like. I love traveling, am an adoring aunt, and spend a lot of time with my family. When I’m writing, I always have to have something on in the background; music or the TV. For some reason, I am not the type who does well with silence.

TRC: What or who influenced your foray into writing?

Missy: As much as I hate to admit it, I’d have to say it started with Stephanie Meyer. If it weren’t for Twilight and the craze causing me to pick the book up, I might not have fallen as hard and fast as I did for the Young Adult genre. Although I grew up reading Nora Roberts, I find it MUCH harder to write adult books. My other biggest influence is my critique/writing partner. She has been amazing at giving me tough love, helping me become a better writer. I will always be thankful to her.

A Strange There AfterTRC: A STRANGE THERE AFTER is the second installment in your young adult, paranormal Savannah Shadows series. Would you please tell us something about the series and book premise?

Missy: Quinn Roberts has grown up in the shadow of her stepsisters, often neglected by her stepmother, and can’t wait to get away from them, even if it means leaving her beloved childhood home. Quinn is a sensitive, meaning she can hear and see ghosts. But there is something evil in her house, affecting her stepmother. The further she delves into the history of her family, the more disturbing things she finds. And as the series progresses, she winds up in a position she never imagined, fighting for her life and to get back all she has lost.

TRC: The first book –HAPPILY NEVER AFTER- followed the ‘Cinderella’ outline. What was the deciding factor to use an established fairy tale formula for the introductory storyline?

Click HERE for our review of Happily Never After

Happily Never AfterMissy: Personally, I love fairy tale retellings and I love ghost stories—much like what Marissa Marr has done with her Cinder series. Putting those beloved stories into a modern setting makes them relevant to new readers, makes them more relatable. I wondered what it would be like if the fairy godmother was a ghost and the prince, an actor. In the second book, I kind of flirted with the whole Rumplestilskin tale, about trading favors and making good on a contract or partnership.

TRC: Why Savannah, Georgia? Do you have a connection to the town and the people?

Missy: Savannah is steeped in history, especially the kind centered around the paranormal. It is said to be the most haunted town in America. It seemed to be the perfect place to set the story. The town has always fascinated me.

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

Missy: Believe it or not, I have never been to Savannah, so I have to always consult maps and visitor guides. In book two, I had a whole new set of obstacles. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the first, but involving Quinn became nearly impossible. I had to get inventive and introduce new characters to make it work. It frustrated me to no end, but I am extremely happy with how it turned out.

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

Missy: Three. I will be starting the third book very soon. Been jotting down notes and ideas so it’s time to make sense of them.

TRC: Why your interest in writing ‘young adult’ storylines? Have you considered writing other genres? Adult storylines?

Missy: I love the younger voice. The stories come easier to me. It’s hard to explain. I have an adult/women’s fiction I’ve been trying to tweak for years, but it never feels just right. While I can pop out a YA book in a few months. I think I may venture into New Adult eventually, but right now, I am happy where I am. I love the genre and I think it still has a lot of places to go.

TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters (Quinn, Catherine, Abby, Jason, Boone) in this storyline, which models or actors best represents your ideal image?

Missy: To me, Quinn has always been either Victoria Justice or Vanessa Hudgens. They both have the same look as Quinn and I’d totally cast either of them.

For Abby, I would choose Taylor Swift. I think she’d be great in that part, feisty and determined.

Jason is a tough one. Maybe Brant Daughtry from Pretty Little Liars or Chase Crawford.

Boone was based off of Zak Bagans from Ghost Adventures, a little embarrassing to admit, but I can’t see him being cast as anyone else. Maybe Zak wants to try out acting!

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

Missy: I like to think of the least predictable road, what would be the least cliché option. I don’t want to ever be just another paranormal. I want to be different. It can take a couple tries, but eventually you find something that fits and it feels good.

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

Missy: The characters direct me. There’s been plenty of times I am surprised by where the story has gone, how a certain character has evolved. I never intended to bring another love interest into the story for Quinn with Boone, but it happened that way. I wasn’t sure how this experience would change her but it does. She surprised me and I love it when that happens.

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?

Missy: Sometimes, I think writers try too hard, they overreach, have the characters react to something and go overboard. To me, emotion comes from the simple things, from a struggle the everyday reader can relate to. And it has to feel real.

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

Missy: I don’t force it. Even if it puts me behind schedule, I don’t force it. It will only make me more frustrated. Often, I will switch to some other project for a bit or lay in bed at night working through it in my head. Walking away is often the best medicine.

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

Missy: My sister is a good one. She’s read most of my works in progress. The best person I have is a fellow writer. We write and edit together and I have learned so much from her. She’ll tell me exactly why she doesn’t like something and often, I have to mull it over to realize she is right. We have our routine down to an art.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Missy: A historical Young Adult set in the 1860’s gold rush in Montana. While that may not sound like something a lot of teens would read, I’ve added the whole Hatfields & McCoys element, or more recognizable, Romeo and Juliet. It’s about a girl who has lost everything and takes a chance to go west, leaping into the unknown, and is caught between two warring families. It does have a love triangle and the gold rush town it is set in actually still exists today. The boom and excitement of instant wealth is just the backdrop to the story. It’s my first historical and I’m really happy with how it’s turning out. Well, I still have to figure out the end, so we shall see.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Missy: Thanks for this opportunity! As an author, I am still learning the ins and outs of marketing myself. Sites like this have helped immensely. I am that writer, and reader, who gets so caught up in their current project, they often forget the real world exists out there. I’d love to hear from any of my readers so feel free to contact me through Goodreads or my (very neglected) website.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Love any kind of seafood. And popcorn. That’s my go-to snack.

Favorite Dessert
A certain chocolate cake of my mom’s. And angel food cake.

Favorite TV Show
Once Upon a Time – go figure – and Scandal. Also ADDICTED to Game of Thrones

Last Movie You Saw
New movie? I’d have to say that would be Frozen. And I am in love with it.

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Dark!

Favorite Song (at the moment)
Happy by Pharell. It’s just a happy song. How can anyone hear it and not want to smile or move?

Secret Celebrity Crush
Ian Somerhalder. Not only is he hot but he is into environmental awareness and an animal lover. Whole package

Last Vacation Destination
Just got back from Orlando two days ago. It was a work thing, but we spent a couple days extra going to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Lots of people but something about that place is amazing. So much to see and do.

Pet Peeve
Oh wow. Not sure. People who think they are entitled to certain things. Like on an airplane. Just because you get on first doesn’t mean we’re leaving any sooner, so stop pushing your way through the crowd!

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

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Releasing Me by Jewel E.Ann -Reviews, Interview and Giveaway

Releasing Me by Jewel. E.Ann-Reviews, Interview and Giveaway

Releasing Me Banner

Releasing Me
Holding You #2
by Jewel E. Ann
Release Date: April 18, 2014
Genre: Adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Releasing Me

NEED LINKS: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

RELEASING ME (Holding You #2) by Jewel E. Ann

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 18, 2014

A tragic accident. A hidden past. An unbreakable love.

Never goodbye …

I thought Addy stole my soul.

Her beauty blinded me.
Her heart called to me.
Her touch healed me.

She gave everything and asked for nothing. Then I broke her. The depths of her pain were veiled by the reflection of my own. I didn’t deserve her, but I wanted her––I needed her. In my darkest hell, I heard her voice. That’s when I knew …

Addy was my soul.

Deep breath … I am peaceful, I am strong.

Quinn was worth the risk.

He took away the numbness and gave me unfathomable pleasure. Every emotion felt magnified, every moment felt like the last.

My heart found purpose.
My body came to life.
My soul returned.

His weakness gave me strength, and his past held my future. He saved me by … releasing me.

•••••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: RELEASING ME is the second and final instalment in Jewel E Ann’s contemporary, adult romance Holding You duology and readers are in for an emotional ride. Releasing Me continues the story of Adler Brecken and Quinn Cohen. At the end of Holding You an accident left our couple fighting for survival. Release Me will reveal that words said in anger; actions meant to hurt; and betrayal of both the heart and the soul will break even the hardest of humans-but when someone is already broken, the cracks will weaken the spirit until there is nothing left on which to hold. Sometimes pushing too hard means losing everything and everyone that means anything in your life.

The storyline focuses on recovery, addiction and fighting for the one you love. Painful words, heartbreaking betrayal and, buried pasts find our couple in a hell of their own making. Hidden secrets will force Addy and Quinn into a battle for both their lives and their love but in the end, pain and sorrow may be all that is left at the end of the day.

Jewel E. Ann has written a story where one woman has suffered so many losses and heartbreaks in her life that one more seems inevitable and revealing. At times RELEASING ME is a difficult storyline with the amount of devastating and emotional pain that our heroine must endure. And when she finally puts her heart on the line she is pushed into the abyss by a man who is floundering in the knowledge that he did not really know the woman with whom he had fallen in love. His actions are unforgiveable; he is weakened by both physical and emotional pain; yet our heroine is willing to stand by and watch the disaster play out to its’ final demise.

RELEASING ME is a storyline with a little mystery, plenty of secrets, and a whole lot of emotional heartache. The secondary characters are pulled into the turbulent life of two people who love beyond the present but continue to hurt one another through their actions, their secrets and their hidden pasts but sometimes the past must remain in the past or the memories wound like daggers of the mind and the heart.

The relationship between Addy and Quinn is sexual, sensual, angry and seductive. There is betrayal of the heart; of the mind; and of the soul for two people so emotionally injured that they can’t see beyond the present-a lack of maturity fueled the pain and the ever present ghost in the room.

Jewel E Ann pulls the readers into a story where love and hatred straddle a infinite line; where betrayal and anger are the fuel for words meant to wound; and where the heart knows that there will never be anyone who can compare to the one who holds your life and your soul –for all time. Releasing Me is a story of love between two people who refused to give up and in the end realized that there was more of a connection to one another then anyone could ever have imagined.

Copy supplied by the author.

_______________

Holding You
Holding You #1
by Jewel E.Ann
Release Date: February 21, 2014
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic,romance

Holding You

Special Price .99cents for a limited time: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

About the book:

Deep breath … I am peaceful, I am strong.

Free-spirited Addy Brecken is Milwaukee’s most talented vegan chef and co-owner of Sage Leaf Café. She has a genius IQ, a padded savings account, an amazing view of Lake Michigan, and a heart that won’t stop beating.

An early April morning finds her drowning in the seductive fragrance of lilacs and the warmth of the morning sun when she’s nearly hit by a car in front of her café. The peaceful existence she’s desperately tried to maintain after the horrific loss of her family is suddenly shaken by the Range Rover driving, arrogant, sex-on-legs Quinn Cohen.

A successful, Latino businessman from New York, Quinn has a taste for the finer things in life. A typical playboy, he has the money, the houses, the cars, and the women. Quinn is everything Addy avoids. Where she lives simply and prefers to help the less fortunate, he has no problem spending an obscene amount of money on a briefcase. Their opposite personalities lend to several heated encounters, and Addy finds herself propositioning Quinn for the one thing she never imagined needing … sex.

Offering only her body, Addy tries to keep Quinn at a safe distance from her heart and a world away from her past. Their passion-filled connection makes Addy feel something unfamiliar, alive. But with passion comes more feelings: anger, jealousy, love. When Addy surrenders to the unimaginable and lets go of her past, she’s faced with the impossible … holding on to her future.

Deep breath … I am peaceful, I am strong.

•••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: HOLDING YOU is the first instalment in Jewel E. Ann’s adult, contemporary, erotic series by the same name. The storyline follows vegan chef Adler (Addy) Brecken and millionaire Quinn Cohen as they navigate the mine field that is their life.

Addy has a secret- a past mired in pain, sorrow and heartbreak and, one that she is reluctant to talk about or revisit. Quinn doesn’t do relationships-at least nothing longer than six weeks so embarking on an almost-friends with benefits kind of relationship suits both Addy and Quinn –for the moment. But, like all sexual relationship between two people both physically and emotionally attracted to one another the heart will fall before the mind has had a chance to catch up. And in this, Quinn will ensure that Addy’s knows he is not the man for her.

The reader is pulled into a heartbreaking storyline about two people afraid to commit to one another; afraid to tell the truth; afraid to allow their emotions to guide them through the fall-out of every revelation. This is a story where the heart is broken when the reality of the situation comes crashing home-after all-they agreed to friends with benefits –ONLY. Quinn never promised fidelity and Addy never promised to lose her heart.

Addy and Quinn’s relationship follows a love-hate path where one man is unable to commit and his actions speak to his betrayal. Addy is afraid to love again and with Quinn’s history, she knows that her choices are probably for the best. But falling in love is often out of our control. The sex scenes are plentiful; there is no holding back and nothing is off limits for Abby and Quinn.

Jewel E. Ann has written a heartbreaking story where two people who love one another are afraid to acknowledge the demons from their past, but the demons from Quinn’s past resurface at every occasion. Addy’s secrets weigh heavily on her mind and in her heart but the man with whom she is falling in love has never pushed for the truth until now. As Addy’s secrets begin to reveal themselves to Quinn, it may be too late when the biggest secret of all, comes crashing down.

HOLDING YOU is a story about an independent, strong and centered woman who knows what she wants and she wants Quinn Cohen-a man who has never wanted for anything in his life. If you like a storyline with betrayal and heartache; pain and sorrow; billionaire lifestyles of the rich and famous than Holding You is the perfect read.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

releasing me teaser 3

 

Interview white:black

Jewel E AnnTRC: Hi Jewel and welcome to The Reading Cafe. Congratulations on the release of HOLDING YOU and RELEASING ME.

Jewel: Thank you for having me!

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

Jewel: Sure! I live in Iowa with my fabulous husband, 3 boys, and a dog.

TRC: HOLDING YOU is your February 2014 release focusing on Addy Brecken and Quinn Cohen. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Jewel: The premise behind Addy and Quinn’s journey is life is fragile, love is unexpected, and forgiveness comes from within.

TRC: You heroine Addy is the owner and chef at a vegan eatery. Are you a vegan? And if so, do you encounter ‘negativity’ as it pertains to the ‘special dietary’ concerns at private and public functions?

Jewel: Yes, I am a vegan or basically I try to eat a whole foods diet. I don’t obsess over the specifics of “veganism” for example, honey, leather goods, etc. I strive for living a life of compassion toward all life which includes not judging other people and their lifestyle choices. I find, like the Golden Rule, this compassion usually comes back. When it doesn’t, it’s not really my problem.

As for “negativity,” it’s pretty rare. I don’t make a point of drawing attention to myself and my “special dietary,” needs. I usually don’t show up hungry so it’s easy to find something to throw on my plate so the focus of the gathering stays social instead of 21 questions about my eating habits. If anything, most people are curious about a vegan diet since the health benefits of a plant-based diet have become more mainstream.

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

Jewel: Fortunately, not too many. Holding You is my first novel so I chose to write what I knew or topics that family and friends could be “experts” on. I wanted to focus on developing a writing style that felt natural and uniquely mine. Too much research might have hindered that process. Don’t get me wrong. There were a few challenges, such as the timeline. The series doesn’t take place over days or even months, it’s years and keeping the timeline accurate was sometimes overwhelming.

TRC: Are any of the characters in your storylines based in reality or a compilation of people and your imagination?

Jewel: Definitely a compilation of people and my imagination. If we look hard enough we can see reflections of ourselves in everyone else. I hope my characters are that way too.

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

Jewel: Ugh! You’re going to wish you asked me a different question. I’d have a terrible time casting Addy and Quinn. While it’s fun to look at Pinterest boards where fans have put faces and oh so hot bodies to my characters, nothing matches the physical descriptions, especially facial, in my head. However, because this is a popular question I will say Sienna Miller could pass for Addy and Marcos Pitombo would be an acceptable Quinn.

TRC: RELEASING ME (May 2014) is the second and final installment in the duology. Do you have any plans to continue the storyline with novellas or short stories to keep your readers up to date on the lives of Quinn and Addy? Or perhaps another duology concentrating on Jake? Mac and Evan?

Holding You Series

Jewel: No, I don’t have plans for Addy & Quinn. I love their story and it’s complete. I hope readers trust me to take them on new journeys and open their minds and their hearts to the unknown again.

As for Jake, my husband thinks Jake deserves “more.” I haven’t shut the door on him, but it would take a huge surge of requests for me to consider a literary resurrection of Jake.

Mac and Evan’s story feels complete too. It would be possible to do a novella on how they met pre-Holding You. I love Mac’s personality and I could write about her all day.

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

Jewel: I try to keep readers in the moment. If I can fill the journey with lots of emotional peaks and valleys then what’s over the horizon doesn’t matter. As for believability, there seems to be a lot of wiggle room. Readers believe what they want to believe. I love the Edmond Wilson’s quote: “No two persons ever read the same book.”

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

Jewel: A little of both. Initially, I direct the characters. Then, much like children, they take over and that in my mind is when the story gets really good!

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?

Jewel: I can only speak for myself. But I have to completely immerse myself into each character. If I’m not 100% emotionally invested in my characters then I certainly can’t expect my readers to be. I haven’t reached my emotional target until I’m laughing out loud, or bawling my eyes out, or so turned on that I have to take a break from writing and proposition my husband for sex. I know I’m on to something when I tell my husband, “I’m so excited to see what happens next.” I know it’s weird, but I actually get excited about the ideas that are cultivating in my head but have not yet sprouted in my conscious mind.

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

Jewel: I let go. Whenever words start to feel forced I stop. Sometimes for a few hours sometimes a few weeks. The solution is not always the same either. Sometimes it’s yoga or walking the dog. Sometimes I binge on books and Netflix, like a mini-vacation. Then other times all it takes is the right song or playlist to ignite the emotions I need to feed my creative rhythm.

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

Jewel: My best friend, my sister, my mom, and my husband. They are great about it too. Most of the time they are more of a sounding board. But sometimes they see things I don’t, and they’re never offended if I don’t take their advice.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Jewel: Undeniably You – It’s a sexy, humorous, and unexpected love story with a tomboy turned sexy twenty-three-year-old art history graduate/housesitter, a talented, college football wide receiver turned doctor, one handsome and socially awkward veterinarian, and one crazy Weimaraner. In thirty days they find love, break hearts, shatter dreams and find their lives changed forever. It is a standalone book … no cliffhangers! The release date will be in August 2014.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
fresh guacamole and corn chips

Favorite Dessert
carrot cake

Favorite TV Show
How I Met Your Mother

Last Movie You Saw
Endless Love

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush
Stephen Amell

Last Vacation Destination
Colorado

Pet Peeve
Overusing plastic bags. Really, a bag for lipstick and candy bar?

TRC: Thank you Jewel for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulation on the release of HOLDING YOU and RELEASING ME.

Jewel: Thanks again for having me and taking a chance on my books!

 

Website: http://www.jeweleann.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjeweleann
Intagram: http://instagram.com/authorjeweleann
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JewelE_Ann
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7505427.Jewel_E_Ann
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jeweleannauthor/

 

Giveaway -black and white

EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY

Jewel E Ann has an exclusive giveaway at The Reading Cafe- a paper copy of HOLDING YOU and a paper copy of RELEASING ME (ebook if international) to ONE (a) lucky commenter.

Holding You Series

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. Giveaway=>  Paper copies available to US/Canada only: ebook open to international 

6. The giveaway runs from April 20  to April 25, 2014

Rafflecopter Giveaway Black and White

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

-Signed paperback of both Holding You & Releasing Me
-$25 Amazon Gift Card
-$25 Gift Certificate to Allison’s Gourmet Desserts.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Rising Assets(Maverick Montana #3) by Rebecca Zanetti-Review and Interview with the Author

Rising Assets (Maverick Montana #3) by Rebecca Zanetti-Review and Interview with the Author

Rising Assets

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

RISING ASSETS (Maverick Montana #3) by Rebecca Zanetti

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 31, 2014

Friends with benefits was never the plan…

Melanie Jacobs is in trouble. With three jobs—including running her ranch—and dwindling funds, she’s exhausted. Not to mention desperately trying to hide a secret. Unfortunately, her best friend Colton Freeze knows all too well that’s something is going on, and he won’t give up until he knows exactly what he needs to fix.

Then Colton learns the truth—that Melanie’s future happiness rests in the fickle hands of fate, and her chances for having a family are shrinking with every passing day. Her only comfort is Colton, but when a heated argument between them turns into an even hotter kiss, the boundaries of their friendship are erased, leaving only a scorching-hot hunger for more.

Every kiss—every touch—is a stolen pleasure. But will their new friends-with-sexy-benefits arrangement bring them closer together, or destroy everything they once shared?

REVIEW: RISING ASSETS is the third storyline in Rebecca Zanetti’s contemporary, adult, romance MAVERICK MONTANA series focusing on the Lodge/Freeze family and the people in their lives. This is Colton Freeze (CEO of Lodge-Freeze Enterprises) and Melanie Jacobs‘s (ranch owner) story. A friend to lovers storyline RISING ASSETS focuses on the push and pull of a friendship that will find our couple in love and none the wiser.

RISING ASSESTS follows down-on-her-luck Melanie Jacob as she struggles with three jobs while holding down the ranch her grandfather left her after he died. But money is tight and Melanie’s health issues have burned through any savings she had stored. Enter childhood friend Colton Freeze-the man with whom she has been in love most of her life and the last person she is willing to bare her secrets and dreams.

The storyline is a friends to lovers trope with our couple unaware of the direction of their relationship. While the entire town has placed a bet on Colton and Melanie’s love life, our couple is oblivious to the whispers of their hearts.

The world building continues from the first two instalments with the inclusion of many of the previous storyline characters for a familiar feel. The characters are likeable; no one has plans to destroy the relationship or the love. This is a story about a close knit town and family who are supportive but meddling; friendly but concerned; loving and willing to give a little push when someone is lost and is having a difficult time finding their way home.

The relationship between Colton and Melanie is sensual and the sexual tension is palpable. These are two people who have been in love with one another for most of their lives but are too stubborn and afraid to admit the truth.

Rebecca Zanetti pulls the reader into a romantic storyline where love definitely does conquer all; where friendship leads to romance; and where a small town knows a little too much about the personal lives of everyone who lives in and around.

Click HERE for our review of AGAINST THE WALL (Maverick Montana #1)

Copy supplied by the publisher.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview-GREEN

TRC: Hi Rebecca, and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the success of your SIN BROTHERS series and the release of Rising Assets-book three in your Maverick Montana series.

Rebecca ZanettiRebecca: Hello! Thank you so much for having me over to play at The Reading Café! I love being here!

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

Rebecca: Sure! I live in the Pacific NW with my hubby, two kids, two dogs, and a crazy cat. We’re in the process of moving houses right now to my dream home, and the move is, ah, a pain. I can’t find my favorite coffee cup, although I have somehow found tons of lost socks. I think the insane cat has been hiding them.

TRC: What or who influenced your foray into writing?

Rebecca: I think I’ve always wanted to write, and in December of 2008, we became nearly snowed in, so I figured it was time. Being a trial attorney actually helped with the structure of telling a story and getting to the point, so my former career kind of assisted with my writing career.

Rising AssetsTRC: RISING ASSETS is the latest release in your contemporary, western Maverick Montana series. Would you please tell us something about the premise and how it connects to the other two storylines in the series?

Rebecca: Absolutely! RISING ASSETS is a best friends to lovers story set in a small Montana town where everybody not only knows everyone else’s business but feels just fine getting involved in private matters. In fact, there are no private matters. So, when Colton Freeze starts to fall for his best friend, Melanie Jacoby, the town creates a bet on when they’ll actually get together. This is the third book in the series. In the first two books, Colton’s older brothers find their own sexy happily ever afters.

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

Rebecca: There are at least four stories, and we’ll see after that. The fun thing about writing a sexy small town series is that there are many people in the town who could have their own book. So, I’m open to writing as many as readers want.

TRC: Are any of the characters in your storylines based in reality or a compilation of people and your imagination?

Rebecca: Hmmm. This is a great question! Can I say both? I mean, a lot comes from my imagination, but that’s fed by people in my life, so I really think it’s both. I have two sisters, and a lot of my heroines have their characteristics because they’re awesome. And my husband is a hottie, so there are definitely parts of him in many of the heroes.

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

Rebecca: To be honest, I live close to Montana and go there often, so I didn’t have to research much. The main thing I wanted to make sure of was that the tribal name, the city name, and the county name weren’t actual names anywhere. Although, I have spent many hours watching cowboys at work and finding just the right pictures to inspire me and post on Facebook. Yes, it has been rough. ☺

TRC: BLIND FAITH is the third instalment in your successful SIN BROTHERS contemporary, slightly paranormal/slightly sci-fi (because of the genetic engineering), romantic suspense series. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Click HERE for our review of FORGOTTEN SINS

Click HERE for our review of SWEET REVENGE

Sin Brothers Series

Rebecca: Sure! The series is about a group of brothers who were created in test tubes by a paramilitary organization and trained as killers, until they finally escaped one day. Unfortunately, they have kill chips adjacent to their spines that will detonate in a short time if they don’t figure out a way to get them out. Each book in the series features a brother who falls in love as they fight to live. BLIND FAITH features Nathan Dean, the brother who kept them all together through childhood, and the guy who feels responsible for all of them. It’ll be released on May 6th.

TRC: If you could virtually cast the GRAY brothers from your SIN BROTHERS series, which actors or models would best represent your ideal image?

Rebecca: Hmmmm. The picture on the cover of FORGOTTEN SINS is exactly the guy I’d pick to play Shane Dean, the hero of that book. He’s just perfect. I used a tough model with cool tats down one arm as inspiration for Matt Dean in SWEET REVENGE, and I don’t know his real name. For Nate Dean in BLIND FAITH, I thought about Jensen Ackles at his darkest in Supernatural. For book four? I’m not telling yet. ☺

TRC: You write storylines in several different genres. Which do you prefer? Which do you find most difficult to write?

Rebecca: I write in the different genres because I enjoy each one. It’s very nice to take a break from the darker stories in the Dark Protectors and even the Sin Brothers series and write about cowboys and falling in love with your best friend in the Maverick series. After that sexy lightness, I’m usually ready to get back to the darkness or the intrigue in the other books. I think writing in three genres is a good way to stay fresh and keep learning and growing. Whichever genre I’m writing at a particular time feels like the most difficult to write. LOL!

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

Rebecca: This is a wonderful question, mainly because I’m not sure how to answer it. I think the characters direct the writing, because sometimes I’m not even aware of the actual words on the page as I write, if that makes sense. I read the same way. No words, just images like in a movie. I don’t think I’ve ever actually admitted that before.

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?

Rebecca: Well, let’s see. I think you have to create empathy for your characters by showing their weaknesses, their hopes, and their struggles. Once you do that, the reader is invested, as is the author, and you both cheer for the characters at that point. You have to make the characters relatable. So say somebody has never met a real cowboy. But most of us know what a sexy guy striding across a bar looks like. Just add the boots…and you’ve got it.

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

Rebecca: You know, I was on a panel a while back with another author who was asked about writer’s block, and she answered that she didn’t have the luxury of writer’s block. Her answer really struck a chord with me because I write for three publishers and have tons of deadlines. There’s no time to be blocked. However, I do get anxiety, and I’ve struggled a bit more with that the last year while being so busy. To be honest, I’m still working on the best way to deal with this. One thing I did was quit my day job as a college professor. I’m also working out, eating right, and have just started yoga and deep breathing. I’m pretty ambitious, and I work hard, so I need to just learn to enjoy the moment and breathe. That’s my current plan, anyway.

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

Rebecca: Honestly? It’s usually just me and the computer and the voices. ☺ Sometimes I will bounce ideas with my agent, and sometimes with my editors. But I usually like to have something on the page before I consult them.

TRC: If you could have drinks (or coffee) with ANY ONE dead or alive, who would it be and what question would be foremost on your mind?

Rebecca: Man, this is a great question. I have so many answers to this one, that it’s difficult to pick just one. But I guess if I have to choose, today I’d choose Einstein, and I’d ask him about the biggest thing he learned during this life. For some reason, I think he’d be a kick in the pants to hang out with, you know?

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Rebecca: I’m about to turn in MARKED, which is the tenth book in the Dark Protectors and features Janie Kayrs and Zane Kyllwood. Finally…the answer as to who/what Zane is will be on the page. MARKED will be released in December, and I’m really excited for that one! Then I’d like to write Dawn and Hawk’s book from the Maverick MT series. I’ve written the first chapter, and I’m ready to dive in.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Angel hair pasta with olive oil, feta cheese, black olives, and tomatoes.

Favorite Dessert
Huckleberry pie

Favorite TV Show
Supernatural

Last Movie You Saw
Ug. Um…huh. Wow. What was the last movie I saw?

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Dark chocolate

Secret Celebrity Crush
Jensen Ackles…and not so secret. LOL!

Last Vacation Destination
Cabo in Mexico in a private home with five couples. Awesome!

Pet Peeve
Somebody crunching their ice cubes or sniffing constantly.

TRC: Thank you Rebecca for taking the time to answer out questions. Congratulations on the release of RISING ASSETS and the upcoming release of BLIND FAITH. We wish you all the best in your writing career.

Rebecca: Thank you so much! I had a ball with these questions and truly appreciate the time you put into creating them.

Follow Rebecca

Website: http://rebeccazanetti.com/
Blog: http://rebeccazanetti.com/blog-2/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaZanetti
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaZanetti.Author.FanPage
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4149342.Rebecca_Zanetti
Newsletter: http://www.writerspace.com/newsletter/rzanetti-signup.html

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J.E. Fishman-Review, Interview and Giveaway

J.E. Fishman-Review, Interview and Giveaway

JE Fishman Banner

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.

FREE to KOBO users: KOBO

.99cents ebook special: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

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.

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

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

Wind Raven Banner

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

Wind Raven

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

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.

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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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