To Tame The Wind by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

To Tame The Wind (Agents of the Crown Prequel) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

To Tame The Wind

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N /

About the book: Release Date May 9, 2015

France 1782…AN INNOCENT IS TAKEN

All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell’s schooner, the English privateer decided to take the thing his enemy held most dear…her.

A BATTLE IS JOINED

The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire’s father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.

Review:
To Tame the Wind begins with Claire having sneaked out the convent in order to see for herself the masquerade ball that she’s heard so much about, only to discover that her young and frail friend, Elise, had followed her into the night. Even though Claire tries to convince Elise that she needs to return home, her young friend will not hear of it. Claire relents and allows Elise to tag along. Once the two girls near the grand estate where the ball is being held, the music floats through the air and Claire is immediately drawn in. She tells Elise to stay put as she seeks a spot closer in order to see the party for herself. Claire climbs a tree and the sight before her has her completely enthralled. She sees gloriously dressed men and women dancing and longs to maybe someday be a part of such a scene.

It’s not long before a man with golden hair, and a woman dressed as a hussar walk out into the night, and end up at the tree where Claire is perched. Things turn a bit amorous between the wayward partygoers and Claire can’t believe her eyes, nor the feelings that stir within her. Suddenly, a streak of lightning lights up the sky and things go a little haywire for Claire as she falls out of the tree and is discovered by the handsome Englishman with the golden hair and the amber eyes, who initially mistakes her for a party guest, but soon realizes she’s an innocent young woman and sends her on her way. As she and Elise frantically make their way back home, they are completely drenched by the storm. Little does she know how much her life will change due to her decisions made that night.

The story then fast forwards two years and finds Claire still in the convent. She has made the decision to take a vow to become a member of the Order, only to find out that her papa has arranged her marriage. The Reverend Mother doesn’t think that Claire is wanting to take her vows for the right reasons, and also doesn’t think that her papa will allow it, but she leaves it up to Claire to convince her papa. But, that convincing will never get the chance to come to fruition as Claire is awakened in the middle of the night and kidnapped from the convent. Once she sees her captor, she almost can’t believe her own eyes, because before her is the ever handsome golden haired Englishman that had unknowingly set her heart aflutter so long ago. Unfortunately, he tells her things that she just cannot believe. Her beloved papa was not a pirate, but a “man of business”. But, Captain Simon Powell assures her that there are things in motion that her beloved papa will have to address if she is to be freed. It doesn’t take Simon long to realize that Claire is not as meek as she first seemed, but more like a wild wind blowing through and determined to make her own place in the world. Claire soon realizes that Captain Simon Powell is a man of his word and realizes that he would never harm her. Along with the new found knowledge that privateers, pirates and spies abound, will Claire be able to resist the noble Captain who only wants to get his ship and his men back safely? And, will Simon be able to tame the wind? Well, my friends, you’ll have to read to find out. And, oh, what a read it is!

Regan Walker has once again written a wonderful story that will have you hooked from the first page. Claire Donet is such a wonderfully written character. She is kind and compassionate, as well as fiercely loyal and loving. I love the rebellious streak that we are privy to, as does Simon. The chemistry between these two is palpable. He is just as loyal and compassionate and loving as Claire, but will move heaven and earth to make things right. And, once he decides on all of the things that need to be righted, nothing will stop him. I’d love to say more about what transpires between them, but do not want to spoil what is a great story.

I’ve told you before, but I feel I need to tell you again. No one writes like Regan Walker. She effortlessly weaves historical facts into her fictional stories so well that you will find yourself questioning your own history lessons. You can absolutely feel her passion for her craft as she tells her tales, whether on the high seas of the English Channel, or on the cobble stone streets of London or Paris. And, I don’t just mean her passion for writing a story. I mean her passion for making sure that her stories ring true, whether it’s the sound of the ocean, the smells in the air or the character’s feelings. Her world building is phenomenal. There is political intrigue and a bit of mystery and a beautifully developed romance, but I’ve come to expect nothing less from Regan Walker. The only problem I have with her stories is that I have to wait for the next one! I have it on good authority that the next installment will be Claire’s beloved papa, Jean Donet’s story. If you’re a fan of this genre, you are sorely missing out if you’ve not read any of Ms. Walker’s books. Well done, Regan Walker! Very very very very well done!!

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Vickie M

Guest Post

Making Characters Endearing and Believable by Regan Walker

Vickie asked me to share how I develop my characters. And I will. But first, I thought to share what some reviewers have said about them:

For Racing with the Wind:

26 reviewers “I loved the characters and story.”
23 reviewers: “This author has researched and presented an historically accurate world for the actions of her characters.”

And from my first medieval, The Red Wolf’s Prize:

25 reviewers: “The plot was interesting, and the characters well written.”
And “very endearing characters.”

Vickie’s own review:

“Serena is absolutely my favorite heroine dreamed up by Regan Walker to date! Her loyalty, her fierceness and her heart will endear her to everyone who reads this story. Her understanding of what her people want and need is so touching. She is truly a force to be reckoned with. Renaud is a perfect match for her. He is as loyal and fierce as she is, and their chemistry is palpable. The cast of supporting characters is terrific in their own right.”

To me this just proves how important characters are to readers. They want to fall in love with the heroine as well as the hero. If you have endearing secondary characters, so much the better. I know that’s what I look for in a romance. Since I was a reader before an author, that is also how I think about my characters.

How do I do make my characters believable and endearing? For me, it’s all about the story. First I research the historical setting. Then I come up with the idea of the hero or heroine, sometimes both at once. I look for traits that would make them endearing in that time in history. All of my heroines are strong and the heroes who win them are stronger still. I let the history lead me to who they are. Would he be a British lord masquerading as a gallant spy on Napoleon like Lord Ormond in Racing with the Wind? Or, might he be a jaded sea captain sailing off to investigate a pirate for the Prince Regent as Captain Nick Powell in Wind Raven? Or, perhaps the hero might be a privateer spy for the Crown wrestling with a French pirate, and resisting the charms of the innocent heroine as in my latest work, To Tame the Wind?

Once I have my history and the lead characters I begin to write the opening scenes. Then, other characters come to me, companions and acquaintances of the hero and heroine. I move into their environment in my imagination, whether it’s a mansion, a schooner or a medieval castle. I get a feel for it visually, the daily life and who’s doing what. Since The Red Wolf’s Prize, I now use Pinterest for my image research for my characters and setting. Once I light on an image, I write to it.

When I found this image, I knew I’d found Elijah, the wizened old bosun on the Fairwinds in To Tame the Wind:
Elijah from To Tame the WindWhen I first conceived of Elijah he didn’t wear a knit cap or smoke a pipe. But once this image was in my head, ever thereafter he did. I could see him using his pipe to gesture and his hair blowing around his face when the wind captured a few strands. Being able to visually conceive of your characters adds details you might have overlooked otherwise. And it helps you make characters distinctive and endearing. Of course, I have always done this, even before I began using Pinterest.

Lord Ormond, the hero in Racing with the Wind looked like a young Clark Gable to me:

Clark Gable as Lord OrmondAnd he acted just like him, arrogant and sure of himself and what he wanted, including Lady Mary Campbell. So it was no surprise to me when he began ordering her around or when she informed him she would not do as he asked.

Once I have my main characters, it’s like watching a movie in my head. I put them int he setting and watch them interact. I learn about them as people. That’s how I knew that Claire Donet, the heroine in To Tame the Wind, would be a constant trial to the nuns in her convent school in France. It was no surprise to me when she snuck out to watch a masquerade ball. And I knew, notwithstanding her rebellious nature, she’d have a soft heart that would break more than once during the story.

I force my characters to act consistently. If my heroine would rebel but never whine, then she never whines. If my hero would not apologize, then he never does, at least not until something happens that changes him.

To me, my characters are real. Oh I don’t mean they are real people—though some are real historic figures—but my image of them is so real I see them as people I could have known if I’d lived in that time in history. I imagine some of them as friends, and some as evil miscreants. When I finish writing a book, I experience a sense of loss. It feels like a friend has moved away. I miss the world I’ve created and the characters in it. I can’t wait to dive into the next book and meet a whole slew of new characters. See if you don’t agree when you read my books!

about the author

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)
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How to Catch A (Rock) Star by Gabrielle Aquilina-Review and Interview with the Author

HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR by Gabrielle Aquilina-Review and Interview with the Author

How To Catch A Rock Star

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 15, 2015

A story of sex, love and rock ‘n’ roll

Aspiring singer Lillie and American rock star Jed seem like the perfect fit from the moment they meet. The pair are inseparable, but Jed’s jet-set schedule of shows and after-parties limits the amount they can see each other. So when Jed invites Lillie to sing with his band on their tour, she says yes. Yes with some hesitation, that is. After finding out that her ex-boyfriend was hiding away a wife and child when they were dating, Lillie’s trust in men is fragile and she also suffers from severe stage fright. As the tour progresses, Jed and Lillie are fast becoming rock’s hottest couple but with obsessive fan girls, a claustrophobic tour bus and a resentful guitarist, things start taking a turn for the worse. Lillie’s dream of singing may have finally become a reality, but can it last? The odds are stacking up against them and then the unthinkable happens…

••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR is an adult, contemporary, rock star romance storyline from author Gabrielle Aquilina focusing on Jed-the lead singer and front man for the hit American rock group The Dead Hour, and aspiring British singer Lillie whose stage fright has held her back-disabling her own dance and musical career. When she discovers her boyfriend of two years is married with a child, Lillie hopes to move forward with her life but never expected to find her future with a man whose own past is secreted away.

The storyline follows Jed and Lillie’s building relationship as Lillie is pulled not only into the maelstrom that is rock and roll, but finds herself on stage as a duet performer with Jed and the band. As the weeks pass, Lillie’s popularity with the fans begins to bloom but her stage fright amplifies her self doubt as both a singer and member of the band.

The relationship between our couple is one of immediate attraction and insta-love where heart-felt confessions happen within a matter of days. Jed and Lillie are inseparable from their first night together. Lillie will quit her dead end job to follow Jed and the band on their trip throughout Europe. What ensues is a sexually erotic and sensual love match that is tempered by the small secrets Jed continues to keep to himself.

The Dead Hour is a rock and roll success but with it comes the excesses of fame, fortune and notoriety. Drugs, sex and hard drinking are an every day part of the band’s lifestyle and there are times when the morning after is not always pretty. We watch as heartbreak, lies and betrayal follow the boys but none more so than for Jed and Lillie.

The amazing, and of times humorous and colorful supporting characters include Jed’s fellow band mates-Johnny, Chris and Eddie; their manager Steve; as well as Lillie’s best friend Kate, whose attraction to Chris sets up another storyline and love match. We will be introduced to Jed’s parents Sandra and Martin, as well as Lillie’s younger sister Tess who has caught the eye of Jed’s best friend and band mate Johnny. Johnny’s personality and antics softens the copious amount of tension that follows the band from backstage to home. There are also an assortment of groupies, fans and ex lovers who pose a bit of a problem for Jed and his fellow musicians.

HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR is an imaginative and revealing storyline that takes us behind the scenes of rock and roll. The characters are flawed, imperfect and human; the storyline is seductive, compelling and dramatic. From one night stands, viral you-tube videos and paparazzi stalker style images, the boys of THE DEAD HOUR find themselves front and center in a drama of their very own. Gabrielle Aquilina pulls the reader into a storyline that will break your heart and make you swoon. We all want to be able to say that we caught our own rock star.

Copy supplied by the publisher.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

TRC:  Hi Gabrielle and welcome to The Reading Café.

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

FOLLOW: Website/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Goodreads

Gabrielle AquilinaGabrielle:   I’m from Portsmouth but have lived in America, Hong Kong and Australia as well as Exeter and Oxford. I’ve had a lot of different office jobs and am a qualified personal trainer, but I really hope to make a living from writing! Now, I live near the sea with my four-year-old daughter and try to resist baking Nigella’s cakes every day!

TRC: Many authors develop their love of writing at an early age. What or who was the catalyst that started you on the road to publication?

Gabrielle: I’ve written on and off my whole life, but I never seriously thought about being published until I went to an event about writing groups at my (then) local indie bookstore. The Oxford Writing Group encouraged people in the audience to set up their own writing groups and a girl behind me, Liah Thorley (now published, too), asked me if I wanted to set one up with her. And so Abingdon Writers was formed! With the help of the bookstore, Mostly Books, we grew to 18 members with a waiting list and encouraged and motivated each other to chase the dream of being published authors. Several of us are now published in one way or another.

TRC: If you had a choice, which career, other than writing, would you like to attempt?

Gabrielle: Ooh, that’s a tough one! When I was a kid, I wanted to be a vet and then a marine biologist… Now, I think I would like to be a furniture restorer or own my own bookstore.

TRC: Your bio states that you teach Combat. What is Combat and what does it entail?

Gabrielle: Combat is a high energy-mixed martial arts exercise class which is great fun and a brilliant stress reliever. If you’ve ever had a bad day, hit a Combat class and get all that aggression and tension out!

How To Catch A Rock StarTRC: HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR is your first novel. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Gabrielle: HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR tells the story of Lillie, a bored office temp and Jed, lead singer in an American rock band. Jed invites Lillie to tour with the band after hearing her sing and they rapidly fall in love. But Lillie’s past won’t let her be happy and Jed has a secret which eventually comes out, causing Lillie to do something that Jed just can’t forgive.

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

Gabrielle: There will be at least two more books in the series. I’m working on the second one, which picks up from where HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR finishes and is about Johnny, Jed’s best friend and the band’s bassist.

TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading roles in HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR, which models or actors would match your ideal image?

Gabrielle: I love this question! I’ve always seen Lillie as a young Liv Tyler – she’s incredibly beautiful but not in a really obvious, in your face way. For Jed, hmmm. That’s a bit harder. A cross between Ian Sommerhalder and old school Jared Leto maybe, but a bit rougher round the edges…

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

Gabrielle: One of the biggest challenges was keeping the timeline straight. The book changed massively from the first to the second draft and kept changing until the final draft.

I also have no idea what it’s like to be in a touring, up-and-coming rock band so that took a lot of research on the Internet and reading through band blogs to try and get an accurate representation of being on the road.

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

Gabrielle: It’s all entirely fictional – I suppose there are parts of me and people I know in some of the characters, but I don’t think anyone can write a novel and not include elements of their own personalities and those of their friends in the characters they write. After all, these people come out of our heads – they have to contain a small part of us!

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

Gabrielle: You need to build tension, keep the plot relatively realistic, throw in a couple of red herrings and try not to give too much away!

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

Gabrielle: The characters definitely direct me! The loudest character in HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR was Johnny. He just wouldn’t let himself fade into the background and that’s why I’m writing a second book based on him. He’s got a lot more to say!

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

Gabrielle: I can’t write in silence. I always have music on in the background and, unsurprisingly, the soundtrack for this book was Rock. I’m not sure it influenced the plotlines, but I suspect it had some impact on the characters!

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?

Gabrielle: I think you need to make your characters real to the reader and to do that, you have to give them flaws but not make them annoying. It’s a fine line! You really need to get into your characters’ heads, describe their emotions, show their reactions and the reactions of other characters to them. The reader has to care about the characters, otherwise there’s no gement. I think it’s all too easy to make your characters too likeable and that just isn’t realistic.

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

Gabrielle: The key is not to wait for the ‘muse’ to hit you. Sometimes you have to make yourself sit down and write. The story isn’t always flowing and, if that’s the case, ask yourself ‘what if?’. What if my main character has a complete breakdown in the supermarket? What if my protagonist’s best friend betrays her in some way? This type of question often helps to jump start my writing and introduces a dilemma or conflict to the storyline, which is always good.

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

Gabrielle: Ooh, good but difficult question! I like to eat cheddar and chocolate. Together. I suppose it’s not for everyone…

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

Gabrielle: That it’s an easy job! Realistically, for most authors, it’s not much money for a lot of hours and even more angst and stress. BUT, it’s an amazing feeling to be published and writing is its own reward.

TRC: Who is the first person you think about when you need someone to talk with and why?

Gabrielle: I have a really great group of friends who I can talk to about anything and everything and do! There’s not much we don’t know about each other and most of them have been in my life for more than fifteen years so that’s a lot of shared history. I love them because they’re non-judgemental, smart and funny as hell.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Gabrielle: I’m working on Johnny’s story, which is a spin off from ‘How To Catch A (Rock) Star’, so readers will get to find out a bit more about what happens to Jed and Lillie and also discover a lot more about Johnny.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Gabrielle: A big thank you to the Reading Cafe for interviewing me and, if you read the book, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food

• Cheese!

Favorite Dessert

• Something involving chocolate. Nigella’s molten chocolate babycakes are always welcome in my house…

Favorite TV Show

• Friends and The Good Wife

Last Movie You Saw

• Bad Grandpa

Dark or Milk Chocolate

• Definitely dark!

Secret Celebrity Crush

• It’s been Johnny Depp since 21 Jump Street first aired!

Last Vacation Destination

• France

Do you have any pets?

• Sadly not but I would love a dog one day.

Last book you read

• ‘The Three’ by Sarah Lotz, although I listened to it rather than read it.

Pet Peeve

• people who walk really slowly.

TRC: Thank you Gabrielle for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of your first novel.

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Interview with B.T. Urruela-Model, Athlete & Personal Trainer

Interview with B.T. Urruela-Model, Athlete and Personal Trainer

BT Urruela 8 TRC: Hi BT and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the recent cover of Lexi Buchanan’s SINFUL.

BT:  THANK YOU!

Follow BT Urruela: Facebook /Twitter/ Instagram/

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

Click HERE for B.T’s complete story.

B.T: I am of Sicilian and Cuban descent. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri before joining the Army at 18 and shipping off to infantry basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. From there, I went to my next duty station in Baumholder, Germany, then to Kuwait, and eventually to Iraq. October 22nd, 2006, just two and half weeks before my 21st birthday, my vehicle was hit by two improvised explosive devices and would eventually be sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to rehabilitate from my injuries.

TRC: Aside from the obvious, how has your life changed upon reentry into civilian life?

BU Urruela 2B.T: I had a really tough two years transitioning due to lack of support and dealing with the side effects of PTSD. Team sports and helping others is the only thing the pulled me out.

TRC: What do you do when the stress becomes overwhelming?

B.T: My dogs relieve a lot of stress and the gym is my go to!

TRC: Do you believe enough is being done to help returning and injured soldiers reintegrate back into society or get the help that they need?

B.T: I believe we have a tremendous amount of work to do. The VA is inundated with patients and many health care providers in the system could care less about the patients they are treating. The VA needs a major overhaul. Much of the burden is put unto the shoulders of non-profits. Without Veteran Service Organizations around to help, it would be so much worse.

TRC: Would you please tell us about VETSports. How many VETS have benefited from your work?

Click HERE for the VETSports website

B.T: I co-founded VETSports in 2012 with two other combat wounded vets. It was our goal to assist in the transition of veterans back into civilian life through team sports and community involvement. We have served over 2,000 veterans in six states and that number continues to rise.

TRC: What were your dreams and aspirations growing up?

B.T: I always wanted to be an “army man”, musician, professional athlete, or cop/firefighter.

Photo:Michael Stokes Photography

BT Urruela 10TRC: You were first brought to our attention through the amazing photography of Michael Stokes. How has the exposure through these images affected your personal and private life?

B.T: Michael is a wonderful man doing amazing things for veterans. He has allowed me to share my story on a much larger scale, and the love and respect I’ve felt from the public has changed my life drastically in the most positive of ways.

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

Photo:Michael Stokes Photography

B.T: Seeing Michael’s photos of Alex Minsky first sparked my interest. I was impressed by his ability to bear his scars with class and bravery. He made me want to do the same. It took a year to do it, but I owe him a lot for instilling in me the desire to reach for the stars despite my disabilities.

BT Urruela coverTRC: When not modeling or doing person training, what are your other interests?

B.T: I love team sports. I play flag football once a week and softball twice a week. I’ve also gotten into acting and really enjoy it. I like to read too and writing is truly a part of who I am.

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

B.T: Never! All three of my shoots have been absolutely amazing experiences!

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

B.T: I think you’re exactly right. There is a very fine line between art and just being blatant for the sake of exposure. I personally think things should be left a bit to the imagination. I’ve seen some recently with exposed pubic hair and the obvious, and intentional, outline of the penis. I don’t hold anything against those that model or shoot those kinds of shots, I just believe it’s crossing that fine line. It’s not something I would ever do.

BT Urruela 1TRC: In the past, there has been a ‘stigma’ surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry but the popularity of the romance storyline has skyrocketed in the last few years especially with the erotic and sensual cover images. What is your opinion about the recent popularity and the very busy industry of the ‘romance cover model’?

B.T: I think EL James did SO much for the industry, and more specifically, for the independent authors within it. Pornography is rampant in our society and consumed by the masses, yet there is a stigma surrounding the romance/erotic novel industry. Sex is a part of our everyday lives. I like novels that are real and true to life. Why cut sex out of the equation? I respect the authors and models in this industry and I wish for nothing but the best for everyone moving forward. It’s refreshing that it is finally getting the respect and notice that it deserves.

TRC: Did you ever, in your wildest dreams, expect to be on the cover of an erotic romance storyline?

B.T: NEVER! But it is thrilling, humbling, mind blowing, amazing, and absolutely awesome all rolled into one! I never saw myself here, and having gone through what I have, it makes this very long road so worth the travel!

Photo:Michael Stokes Photography

BT Urruela 9TRC: Do you know the number of novel covers that your image has appeared?

B.T: Right now it sits at three. I am booked for three more including my own novel that I’m co-writing coming out this fall and I truly hope to continue this work moving forward!

TRC: Do you have a favorite cover-romance image or otherwise? (e.g. magazines, ads, Michael Stokes, etc)

B.T: Aw, you know I can’t do that :) I love all of my photographers and they have all taken photos that are near and dear to my heart! Michael Stokes was my first, so obviously those shots hold a special significance, but I feel as if I fall in love with each new image that comes out. I have been so blessed to have worked with each of my photographers!

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

B.T: I love to put a good comedy on Netflix and relax in bed with my pups.

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

B.T: I would like to see my name with KL Grayson’s on the cover of our novel, A Lover’s Lament, I would like to act in a movie or television series, and I would like to have 30+ clients who I get to help reach their fitness goals every single day.

BT Urruela 6TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

B.T: I don’t speak to my mother and I haven’t in three years. My brother and I had a very trying and traumatic childhood due to her and my stepfather’s actions and lack of love and, though it has made me a stronger person today, it will never be forgotten.

TRC: On what on your currently working?

B.T: A Lover’s Lament with KL Grayson, future covers with Harper Sloan and Kristen Proby, motivational speaking, and building my client base as a personal trainer with Tampa Sports Academy.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

B.T: A big fat THANK YOU to everyone for their unconditional love, respect and support. I am overwhelmed by you all each and everyday, and it means the absolute world to me! I am so insanely blessed!

Men's Health cover

 

 

 

** VOTE BT Urruela for the MEN’S HEALTH Guy Search cover HERE

 

 

 

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Italian, Pizza and Sushi

Favorite Dessert
Ice Cream Cookie or Brownie Sundae

Favorite Movie
Independence Day, Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, The Way, Way Back, and
Silver Linings Playlist…but there are soooo many more!

Favorite TV Show
The Office, It’s Always Sunny, King of Queens, Seinfeld, Friends, and Parks and
Recreation

Last Movie that you saw
The Interview and St Vincent

Secret Celebrity Crush
Jennifer Aniston

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Milk or White Chocolate

Last Vacation Destination
St Louis… I don’t do many real vacations unfortunately. Once things settle though!

TRC: Thank you Brian for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success and THANK YOU for your service to your country!

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The Millionaire’s Forever by Sonya Weiss – Review and Interview with the Author

The Millionaire’s Forever by Sonya Weiss – Review and Interview with the Author

 

The Millionaire's ForeverAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM

Description:
There are two sides to every Gemini guy…and one of them is red-hot.

Olivia Carter has a handsome, millionaire boyfriend. She’s madly in love with him. The hitch? He doesn’t actually exist. She told the lie to save Forever, her wedding design shop. And it worked—almost too well. As the media attention increases, so do the demands for Olivia to produce her “boyfriend.” With both her reputation and career in jeopardy, Olivia is desperate enough to do almost anything…

Which is exactly what millionaire Mason Parker wants. Thanks to Olivia and her father, Mason went through hell during his teen years, and now it’s time for a little payback—starting with the announcement that he’s her one and only. Now the sexy Olivia has no choice but to do what Mason wants. But none of his plans for vengeance included falling in love with the woman he planned to ruin…

 

Review:

The Millionaire’s Forever by Sonya Weiss is the third installment in the Men of the Zodiac series.  As with the other two books, its cover is another eye-catching “wowzer.” That’s almost enough to keep me coming back for more. Each book in this series is a complete standalone with no relation to the others.

Since I’m not one who favors the retelling of a story by the reviewer, I will refrain from giving many storyline details. The synopsis for this book is sufficiently generous and intriguing enough that readers will get the gist and be hooked. I truly believe that a book is best enjoyed when a reader is allowed to experience all its surprises, twists and turns on their own.

My thoughts were running towards a light and fluffy read when I first approached this book. However, a very pleasant surprise awaited me. Although the story follows often used plots, this one took on a more serious tone with complicated issues to address. Add in a nicely balanced mix of sexy and smart, sassy quick-witted humor, along with captivating characters, and I quickly became emotionally invested not only in these characters, but found myself immersed in a story that was much more than I expected.

Nothing ever comes without a price and, like the old adage says, “you’ve gotta take the good with the bad.” So when Mr. “Bad,” who’s looking for revenge, walks through her door gorgeously dressed in a suit and tie, it could be a disaster in the making, or a fairytale dream come true, for the girl who told the little white lie!

Cash Mason Parker was her high school heartthrob; Olivia Carter was his forbidden fruit. He was the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks with a reputation for being a troublemaker. Her father was the Chief of Police, who made it known in no uncertain terms that his “perfect” daughter was completely off limits to a guy like Mason Parker. No matter, there was still an ever-present attraction between them. And then one fateful night stole any chance they may have had for even a friendship between them – much less a serious relationship.

In the intervening years, both Olivia and Mason have faced adversity head-on to overcome major difficulties in their lives. Each has worked hard to become successful. These are two very proud, strong and determined characters. They are very likable both as individuals and as a couple, and I had no trouble cheering them on. Even years later, secrets and tangles from their past are yet to be unraveled. They are both struggling with loyalties to family and friends pulling each of them in different directions. But there still remains an intense connection between them that sparks an uncontrollable passion.   And those feelings might be the stronger force that wins in the end.

That magical formula for all those “feels” that romance lovers insist upon for a successful romance — heat, humor, and heart — was certainly present and packed with pure pleasure and indulgence. A well-crafted revenge trope, where one of our characters is determined to get revenge for being wronged in the past by the other, gave this story added intensity for a more notable read – and it just happens to be one of my favorites. Running alongside was also a forced “relationship of convenience” between Olivia and Mason that hoisted the level of tension, antagonism, friction, and passion another notch.

Readers will find some delightfully fun scenes between our main characters. One of my favorites is a baking escapade between Olivia and Mason when they set about to whip up a batch of chocolate-chip cookies. It takes baking to a whole ‘nother level as they join forces. The sassy and snarky banter leads to some rather sexy and sweet drool-worthy sizzle and burn, along with a burst of laughter.

Honestly, I wanted to love this book. At times I even felt it would be a 5-star read. It hooked me from page one setting my hopes high that I had struck gold, but as I read further the shine dimmed a shade. After starting with a slow strong build, the story slipped into a fast-paced rush to the finish line leaving some dangling ends behind. Suddenly, I’m looking at one of those situations where it could have/should have/would have been – if only.

The hero’s favored endearment for his lady love, “Sweet Olivia,” played repetitively and the cloyingly sweet overdose finally took its toll. Without a doubt, I love tender and loving nicknames but too much of a good thing ruins the overall effect and just becomes rote.

Another issue and probably the biggest where I’m concerned, is that the first time Mason and Olivia fall into bed together there’s no condom readily available. But that didn’t stop the fireworks from going off. Ignoring the fact that they haven’t seen or spoken to each other in years, they proceed with just verbal claims to one another that each is clean as a whistle and she, of course, gives a nod to the use of birth control pills. Sorry – this type of risky behavior just doesn’t play well with me.

There were several other places where I had a hard time stretching my imagination far enough to sink my teeth into falling hook, line and sinker for everything as the author presents it. There were some plot holes that dropped the story out of sync with reality. Mason’s strong need for revenge against Olivia’s father lost steam altogether and fell away without a clear resolution. A little more depth in the main characters’ earlier history screamed for more page time in my opinion. Some of the secondary cast, namely Olivia’s best friend Beth, as well as Mason’s three buddies, who shared in his quest for justice, deserved a little more fleshing-out to add some depth to that part of the story. I might have nudged myself once or twice as a reminder that this is, after all, fiction. Still yet, I found a lot to like.

For the most part, The Millionaire’s Forever is a well-edited and entertaining read that leads to a fairly predictable outcome. Readers will be happy to find that they are treated to a nicely wrapped happily-ever-after seven years down the road in an Epilogue that brings this standalone delightfully to an end.

Reviewed by Anne

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Interview

TRC: Hi Sonya and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulation on the release of THE MILLIONAIRE’S FOREVER.

Sonya WeissSonya: Thank you for having me, Sandy. It’s a pleasure to be here, and thank you!

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

Sonya: I am constantly writing. I write to entertain myself and I always have a story circulating in my imagination. I can draw and always wanted to take art classes to help develop that, but never did. Maybe one day.

TRC: Many authors develop their love of writing at an early age. What or who was the catalyst that started you on the road to publication?

Sonya: I did develop a love of writing at an early age, but I kept it to myself. I wrote novels, short stories, fan fiction. I wrote constantly, even making up book blurbs for books I hadn’t even written yet, LOL. Then, I joined a group of writers online. This group had an e-zine. Someone suggested I submit a children’s short story I’d written to the e-zine. I did, never thinking it would sell, but to my surprise, it did. Then I won a Harlequin writing contest so I would say it was actually those two events.

TRC: If you had a choice, which career, other than writing, would you like to attempt?

Sonya: I’d either be a veterinarian or a doctor. Or an artist.

TRC: Your bio states that you are a ‘ghost writer’. Will you please explain to us what a ghost writer does and why?

Sonya: A ghost writer is a writer who writes something and doesn’t get the byline for that work. It can be any type of writing work. The why is because it can be fun, interesting, and most of it pays well. There are a lot of people who want to write but don’t think they have the time or the experience, so they’d rather pay someone else to do it.

The Millionaire's ForeverTRC: THE MILLIONAIRE’S FOREVER is your March 31, 2015 release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Sonya: Mason Parker is a millionaire determined to get vengeance for what he suffered through as a teenager. Falling in love with the woman he believes is partly responsible for his suffering wasn’t part of his plan.

TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading roles in THE MILLIONAIRE’S FOREVER, which models or actors would match your ideal image?

Sonya: For Mason, it would be Chris Hemsworth with dark hair. For Olivia, it would be Reese Witherspoon.

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

Sonya: I did a lot of research on juvenile detention facilities as well as research into speech affected by a stroke. I didn’t really have a lot of difficulties. Just things I had to keep checking to make sure they could actually happen.

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

Sonya: All the characters are a product of my imagination.

TRC: Cole and Jake are Mason’s best friends. What plans do you have for their continuing storylines? Will we read more about Mason and Olivia?

Sonya: I do plan a continuing storyline, even if it’s just for me and never sells. I already know Jake’s story. I don’t know yet if I’ll have more about Mason and Olivia.

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

Sonya: I try to keep everything grounded in something that could actually happen.

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

Sonya: It depends on the character. Some characters will let me shape them while other characters will act in ways and speak in ways that I would never do. They’ll make decisions that are part of who they are and when I try to force these characters into a certain direction, they just won’t go.

Those are my favorite characters to write.

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

Sonya: Yes. It doesn’t influences the story direction or the characters, but rather helps the characters internal thoughts and feelings to be expressed easier. One of my favorite quotes about music is “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” ~Victor Hugo.

I have a playlist for The Millionaire’s Forever HERE

Song 1 is Mason’s, the second one is Olivia’s. Number 7 is when Mason realizes what he’s feeling and goes after Olivia.

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?

Sonya: I think the writer has to go deep into the character and show the emotions and the imperfections just like people have. I think that experiencing emotions with a character go hand in hand with having felt those same emotions. We all know love, hate, fear, excitement, and so forth.

I don’t know about other writers, but I know where I’ve failed in that endeavor are the times I pull back because the emotion can sometimes be difficult to feel. For example, in the story, Olivia references her late mother and the the mother-daughter things they would never get to do together. I wept as soon as I reread what I’d written because my mother passed away. The realization hit me that the mother-daughter experiences were forever over for me.

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

Sonya: I hate writer’s block. For me, it’s usually linked to a story problem. Once I work through the problem, then I can move on. Or, I put it aside and go work on another story. What also helps when I feel blocked is brainstorming with other writers.

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

Sonya: I’m a big fan of movies, but don’t really like animated movies that well.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sonya: I usually have more than one project going on. Right now, I’m working on a contemporary romance for The Stealing the Heart series. I’m also working on another young adult novel.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Sonya: If there’s anyone interested in writing either nonfiction or fiction and has some questions, they can feel free to contact me.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Sweet and sour chicken

Favorite Dessert: cheesecake

Favorite TV Show: One Tree Hill

Last Movie You Saw: If I Stay

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk

Secret Celebrity Crush: Chris Pine and Matthew Fox

Last Vacation Destination: the beach!

Do you have any pets? Always. I’m in the process of getting another dog.

Last book you read: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Pet Peeve: Mean people.

TRC: Thank you Sonya for taking the times to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release and best of luck with your future storylines and release.

Sonya: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure!

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Echoes (Harp Security #1) by Laura K. Curtis-Review and Interview with the Author

ECHOES (Harp Security) by Laura K. Curtis-Review and Interview with the Author

Echoes

Amazon.com / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 17, 2015

Who is she?

A single photo of herself as an infant on a beach, taken before the date on her birth certificate, throws everything Calliope Pearson knows about herself into question. Hoping to find answers, she takes advantage of her job as a travel writer to make a reservation at the Caribbean island resort in the picture.

Resort security chief Mac Brody distrusts Callie on sight. After all, she looks exactly like his deceitful missing wife, Nikki, who owns half the resort. But when Nikki’s found dead, Mac’s facing murder charges, and he’s sure that Callie must hold the key to proving his innocence.

The deeper Callie and Mac dive into the mystery of her past, the more bodies surface. And they’ll have to learn to trust each other, or become victims of a dark danger neither could’ve imagined…

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: ECHOES is the first installment in Laura K. Curtis’s new, contemporary, adult Harp Security romantic suspense series. This is resort security chief and former police officer Mac Brody, and journalist/travel writer Calliope ‘Callie’ Pearson’s storyline.

Told from several third person perspectives, the storyline follows travel writer Callie Pearson to the Paradis Hotel in St. Martin, French West Indies, as she sets out to uncover the truth behind a picture she discovered following the death of her father. The image of Callie and her parents, taken in front of the Paradis Hotel, is dated prior to Callie’s birth and she has no memory of ever having vacationed on or visited the Caribbean Islands. What ensues is a case of false accusations, betrayal, heartbreak and murder.

Mac Brody’s wife, Nikki Lewis, is missing. A former soldier and police officer with the Atlanta Police Department, Mac is the current head of security at Paradis Hotel, and his wife (co owner of Paradis Hotel) has been missing for nine days. When Callie Pearson, a woman with a strikingly close resemblance to his wife, shows up at the same hotel where Mac is employed, suspicion begins to cloud everyone’s mind. A series of break-ins, thefts and attempts on Callie’s life will find Mac protecting the woman he knows nothing about. Enter Nikki’s brother John Lewis, local law enforcement, a family tree that continues to grow, and rumored connections to drugs and murder, and the storyline takes on a new direction.

The relationship between Callie and Mac begins acrimoniously. Mac does not trust Callie; her timing in regards to Nikki’s disappearance is suspect; and the numerous attacks directed at Callie all point to questionable probabilities. When Callie’s friends back home are targeted, Mac knows that Callie is as much a victim as everyone else. When the threats against Callie increase, Mac becomes Callie’s guardian and protector, leaving our couple together both day and night. The romance scenes are intimate and seductive; there is no erotic sexual imagery.

The secondary and supporting characters include a number of island employees as well as Nikki’s brother John. We are also introduced to Mac’s former army buddy Nash Harper, owner and head of Harp Security, as well as several members of the Harp Security family. There is some definite history between Mac and Nash, one that does not go unnoticed by Callie.

The world building follows a path of clues that lead to a series of connected murders and a psychotic killer. The Harp Security personnel are slowly revealed as well as Nash’s connections, available fire power, and the vehicles needed to transport his charges-all over the world. From exotic island locations to New York, and yachts on the sea, our couple will travel in style while the world around them slowly implodes. Mac will be offered a position within the firm-a position that places Mac closer to the woman with whom he has fallen in love.

ECHOES is a captivating and wonderful storyline of family secrets and dangerous pasts; a suspense-filled tale of one man’s obsession with perfection, and another man’s history of lies and deceit. There are moments of betrayal and pain; heartbreak and loss; revelations and a final resolve. Laura K Curtis will pull you into a family mystery where the sins of the father will be revealed one missing person and dead body-at a time.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview red:black

Laura K CurtisTRC: Hi Laura and welcome to The Reading Café

Follow: Website/Goodreads/Twitter/Blog

A little bit about Laura K Curtis: Laura K. Curtis does everything backwards. As a child, she was extremely serious, so now that she’s chronologically an adult, she feels perfectly justified in acting the fool. She started teaching at age fifteen, then decided to go back to school herself at thirty.

Laura has taught middle school social studies, high school literature, and college-level rhetoric, all with relative success. She’s also a full-on Mac geek who spent years as a consultant and running an academic computing lab. The only thing she completely failed at in the field of education was attempting to teach obedience to her pack of Irish Terriers. Currently, she lives in Westchester, NY, with her husband and two insane Irish Terriers who have taught her how easily love can coincide with the desire to kill.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Laura: Oh, so many people and things! Probably first and foremost the work of Mary Stewart. There was no romance section in the bookstore in the town where I grew up, so I didn’t realize there were books that focused on relationships. I found Stewart’s Gothics in the literature section after reading her Arthurian books, and I was hooked!

TRC: If you had a choice, which career, other than writing, would you like to attempt?

Laura: I’ve had a lot of careers over the years. I particularly enjoyed making and selling glass beads. I like things that make people happy.

EchoesTRC: ECHOES is the first installment in your new HARP SECURITY romantic suspense series. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the story line? The series?

Laura: In Echoes, you meet Callie Pearson. After her father’s death, she finds a picture of herself taken at an exotic resort as a baby. That wouldn’t be a big deal except that the date on the picture is *before* the date on her birth certificate and because her father, who documented everything in journals and pictures, never mentioned a trip to the island where the picture is taken. So she goes to the island of St. Martin in the French West Indies to investigate. When she gets there, she meets Mac Brody, whose wife, Nikki, is missing. Nikki bears and alarming resemblance to Callie so they team up to find out what the two mysteries they’re investigating may have to do with each other.

When Callie and Mac get in too much trouble for two people to handle, Mac gets in contact with a man he knows who runs a large paramilitary organization: Harp Security Enterprise. Mac doesn’t trust Nash Harper, but Harper has the resources they need.

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

Laura: Right now? Four. This one, Mind Games which comes out in November, then a story about one of the operatives, then a story about Nash Harper. And possibly a book about Travis, who you meet in this book as well.

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

Laura: That’s a tough one. I guess I imagine Mac as a Viggo Mortensen type in his dark-haired roles, like Lord of the Rings. Callie is an average girl looks-wise. Maybe Brittany Murphy?

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

Laura: Oh, so many.

Luckily, research is my favorite thing, so finding out about everything was a lot of fun. I did change the geography of the island slightly to make it work for the story I wanted to tell, so there’s a disclaimer in the back.

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

Laura: A combination of fact and fiction. Mostly fiction

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

Laura: Oh, that’s the fun part! This book definitely veers toward the unbelievable, but I hope it’s moving too fast for readers to care.

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

Laura: I do, and I must admit that I wish this one reflected the contents a little better. But it hints at the contents, and that has to be enough. You don’t get a whole lot of input with a traditional publisher.

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

Laura: I create the characters, then set them loose to direct the plot.

TRC: Cliff hangers. Yes? No? Depends on the storyline?

Laura: No. Not a fan.

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?

Laura: I think there are a number of ways to do this. The most obvious is to write in the first person. But a lot of it has to do with creating situations that will evoke the character’s emotions so that that we as readers can feel them. If the characters are too shallow, or we don’t relate to them, or we can’t see exactly what they feel, we won’t feel it either.

TRC: Is there a question that you would like to be asked in an interview, but nobody has asked? If so, ask away!

Laura: I can’t think of one!

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

Laura: Settle the conflict in the Middle East? No? OK. Then make enough off my writing to pay my bills.

Toying With His AffectionsTRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Laura: I am pretty open, so most people know a great deal about me. Ask me anything!

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Laura: The next Harp Security book, Mind Games, that comes out in November. And also a contemporary romance, Gaming the System, which comes out this summer. (It’s a follow-up to Toying With His Affections.)

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Laura: I’d love to ask readers something–¦what they look for when they are considering whether to pick up a book buy an author unknown to them?

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food -cheese

Favorite Dessert- chocolate mousse

Favorite TV Show -Justified

Last Movie You Saw- Kingsman

Dark or Milk Chocolate -DARK!

Secret Celebrity Crush- Chris Evans

Last Vacation Destination -St. Martin

Do you have any pets? -2 Irish Terriers

Last book you read -Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Pet Peeve -I’m a grammar snob. Misuse of language is my pet peeve

Thank you Laura for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your success and the release of ECHOES. We wish you all the best.

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Flirting with Fire (Hot in Chicago #1) by Kate Meader-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Flirting With Fire (Hot in Chicago #1) by Kate Meader-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Flirting With Fire Banner

Flirting With Fire
Hot in Chicago #1
by Kate Meader
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance
Release Date: March 24, 2015

Flirting with Fire

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

FLIRTING WITH FIRE ( Hot in Chicago #1) by Kate Meader

About the book: Release Date March 24, 2015

Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancé who thought she wasn’t taking her “job” of supporting him in his high-powered career seriously enough—and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and “feminine” nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago’s dynamic mayor, she’s determined to keep her eye on the prize: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no time for men.

But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick-tempered. He’s also the second oldest of the Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service—if Luke’s antics don’t get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke’s firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law. And he’s not about to let Kinsey make the rules.

•••••••••

REVIEW: FLIRTING WITH FIRE is the first installment in Kate Meader’s adult, contemporary Hot in Chicago romance series focusing on the Dempsey family-a family of firefighting foster siblings who have seen their fare share of heartbreak and pain. This is eldest sibling and firefighter Luke Almeida, and PR representative Kinsey Taylor’s storyline.

Told from several third person perspectives, the storyline focuses on saving Luke’s public persona. His most recent antics have landed him on YouTube and in hot water with the Mayor’s office. Enter Kinsey Taylor-the woman hired to change the Chicago Fire Department’s image and in doing so, tame Luke Almeida. What ensues is a building relationship between two people whose recent histories in the love department has resulted in heartbreak and betrayal. As Kinsey works her magic with both Luke and the CFD, the truth about Luke’s volatile blow up goes beyond a simple bar room brawl.

Kinsey is a smart, independent woman who followed the wrong man to Chicago and now finds herself alone without family and friends. Luke, is an alpha male, who puts family first and in this finds himself in the position to defend and protect the people that he loves. As Luke begins to fall for Kinsey, our heroine will pull away when her time in Chicago comes to an end.

We are introduced to all of the Dempsey foster siblings: Beck and his new wife Darcy, the quiet and secretive Wyatt, model-gorgeous Gage and the only female Alexandra. There are a number of future storylines developing and Kate Meader seamlessly blends the introductions throughout the main premise. Several secondary and colorful supporting players include the misogynistic Mayor Eli Cooper, who may or may not be interested in the lovely Alex; Chef Brady Smith whose military PTSD has left him scarred both inside and out; as well as several fellow firefighters, city hall employees, and the patrons and regulars at the family owned bar. The Dempsey family has a rocky history with the political elite of Chicago –both in the Mayor’s office and the police department-and the stories are revealing a little bit at a time.

FLIRTING WITH FIRE is a brilliant and captivating introductory storyline. The Dempsey family dynamics prove that one does not need to be related by blood to feel the love and support. There are moments of intimacy between Luke and Kinsey; as well as shared family secrets, history and memories between Luck, Beck, Gage, Wyatt and Alex. FLIRTING WITH FIRE is an amazing start to a new series.

Copy supplied by the publisher.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

TRC: Hi Kate and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of FLIRTING WITH FIRE, the first book in your new HOT IN CHICAGO series.

KATE: Thanks so much for having me!

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

FOLLOW: Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook

Kate MeaderKATE: Well, I’m originally from Ireland and I’ve lived in Chicago for over twenty years. I have degrees in law, history, and library science, and I write about hot alpha men and the women who can match them quip for quip.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

KATE: When I was younger, I was a big fan of women’s fiction and chick lit, especially authors like Maeve Binchy, Catherine Cookson, and Jilly Cooper. They wrote big, sprawling epics with multiple characters that dug deep into friendships and love. Later, I snapped up Marian Keyes, Jenny Crusie, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips – funny, smart ladies who wrote funny, smart romance.

TRC: If you had a choice, which career, other than writing, would you like to attempt?

KATE: I’d be an historian and put my masters degree in medieval history to use. The problem with that is you have to have something amazingly original to say about twelfth century nuns that hasn’t already been said or you have to like eating ramen for dinner all the time. Neither applies to me, so I’m trying my hand at writing!

TRC: You are originally from Ireland-born and raised. When was the last time you visited the Irish countryside? Have your memories of Ireland inspired any of your storylines or characters?

KATE: I’m a Dublin city girl, through and through, so the countryside doesn’t usually figure much on my trips. As for whether my Irish memories inspire my storylines or characters…I do have an Irish pastry chef in one of Hot in the Kitchen books. Shane has a brogue that drives the ladies wild and a melancholy smile that only the heroine sees. He was such fun to write, though after twenty years in the US, I had to look up Irish slang to get his voice right. I’ve assimilated so much in my time here that I’ve forgotten my Irishness to an extent.

TRC: Your bio states that you were married in a tenth century castle in Italy. Have you considered writing an historical series focusing in and around the castle and all of the romantic tales it would inspire?

KATE: Though I have that medieval history degree, I think my voice is too modern to work for historical. What might be more fun would be an Italian-set romance series where maybe people are renovating the castle and seeing ghosts and falling in love. *Jots down brilliant idea*

Flirting with FireTRC: FLIRTING WITH FIRE is the first book in your new HOT IN CHICAGO erotic, romance series. Would you please tell us something about the series and the premise of the book?

KATE: The series focuses on the firefighters at Engine 6, the oldest firehouse in Chicago, and more specifically on the Firefightin’ Dempseys who rule the roost. There are five of them—four guys and a gal—and they are the foster children of a legendary firefighter named Sean Dempsey, who has already died in the line of duty before FLIRTING WITH FIRE starts. They live by the lessons Sean taught them: fire is stronger than blood and defend the people you love until the dying embers.

Book 1, FLIRTING WITH FIRE, is about Luke Almeida, leader of the Dempseys and all-round hothead, and Kinsey Taylor, ice-cool PR guru sent in by the mayor to clean up Luke’s act after a video of a bar brawl he instigated goes viral. So it’s workplace-opposites attract-sexy firefighters-family dynamics – all the things I love to read in a romance.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series and will each of the ‘foster siblings’ get their own story?

KATE: So far, I have planned a novella and three full-length books, all standalone. Each book will have a primary couple and there will be a hot m/m secondary romance between sexy firefighter Gage and a gruff former-Marine-turned-gourmet-chef that will arc over the three longer books.

TRC: What or who was the inspiration for the HOT IN CHICAGO series?

KATE: I imagined what the cover of my future firefighter book might look like and the inspiration flowed like honey… I’m just kidding, but have you seen the hot-as-the-hinges-of-hell cover for FLIRTING WITH FIRE? Who wouldn’t want to write (and read) about every day heroes with dirt-streaked muscles and blue eyes and shamrock tats and suspenders? Okay, for real now—you could say I found inspiration in a few different sources. I know a few Chicago firefighters personally. I’m originally from Ireland, so I appreciate the bonds of family that are inherently Irish. And I love the show, Chicago Fire! I was born to write this book series ☺

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

KATE: There’s so much that can be found with internet searching, so getting the bones right wasn’t a problem. But it was most helpful when I got to spend a day at a Chicago firehouse with a friend of mine, Captain Jerry Hughes. He was able to fill in a lot of gaps that I couldn’t by just watching firefighter videos or TV shows or reading online.

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

KATE: Completely fictional.

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

KATE: That’s a tough one. Readers of romance know how it’s all going to end, which makes romance a comfort read, but at the same time you want to ensure the journey offers the surprises and twists that will keep it from being predictable. I’m not a big fan of drama for drama’s sake. The characters have to drive the plot and make choices in keeping with their characterizations as I’ve laid them out. For example, Kinsey, my heroine in FLIRTING WITH FIRE moved from San Fran to Chicago to be with her cardiac surgeon fiancé because he felt her support of him and his career was lacking. She tried to save the relationship by compromising her own career and goals. I think we’ve all made compromises or settled because it’s easier or we’re in love or we think we are. At the same time, she’s stubborn, so when her fiancé dumps her for a more “supportive” nurse, she stays put in Chicago. No more compromise for her, she’ll make the best of the situation rather than return to the West coast with her tail between her legs. So when there comes a point in the story where she might have to compromise again for Luke, what will she do? How will her past experience inform her future decisions? There’s a fine line to balance here sometimes – people want our couple to be happy but they don’t want the heroine’s personality to be subsumed in the hero’s.

TRC: Do you have any plans to return to your HOT IN THE KITCHEN series? novellas? Updates on the couples?

Hot in the Kitchen series

KATE: No plans right now. I may go back one day with a novella catching everyone up on the lives and loves of the DeLucas.

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

KATE: Characters all the way.

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?

KATE: It all comes down to writing characters that people can identify with, whether it’s a tough-as-nails career woman or a single mom down on her luck. As long as that character is acting in situations that make sense to that character—and us—the reader will want to get on board that train.

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

KATE: Up until the age of 18, I could speak Irish (Gaelic) fluently. I’ve lost it now, unfortunately, and hardly anyone needs to speak it anymore, but I was quite proud of that.

Playing with Fire

TRC: On what are you currently working?

KATE: I’ve just turned in Book 2 of the Hot in Chicago series, PLAYING WITH FIRE, and I’m getting ready to start Book 3. I’m also working on a series for Entangled Brazen about Texan tycoons who are unlucky in love.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

KATE: Just a thank you for all your support and for letting me chat today!

 

 

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food - pasta

Favorite Dessert – anything with chocolate in it

Favorite TV Show – Chicago Fire

Last Movie You Saw - Boyhood

Dark or Milk Chocolate - dark

Secret Celebrity Crush Chris Hemsworth (one of my characters, Gage is modeled after him)

Last Vacation Destination – Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand

Do you have any pets? – only a husband

Last book you read – The Master by Kresley Cole

Pet Peeve – people who say “supposably” or “irregardless”

TRC: Thank you Kate for taking the time to answer our questions and congratulations on all of your success.

KATE: And thank you!

giveaway

Kate’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of FLIRTING WITH FIRE to TWO (2) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

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

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

3. Please Follow Kate Meader on Facebook.

4. Please LIKE us on FACEBOOK and click GET NOTIFICATIONS

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

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

7. Giveaway is open to US & Canada only

8. Giveaway runs from March 27-April 1, 2015

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Playing Knotty by Elia Winters-Review, Guest Post & Giveway

Playing Knotty by Elia Winters-Review, Guest post & Giveaway

Playing Knotty Banner

Playing Knotty
by Elia Winters
Release Date: March 16, 2015
Genre: adult, contemporary, bondage, knot play, erotic romantic

Playing Knotty

 Amazon.com / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 16, 2015

Bondage meets bookworm in this sizzling erotic romance about a shy bookshop owner who discovers an exciting new side to herself when an old friend opens a bondage workshop in the back of her store!

Emma Green has never been very confident. When Ian Cooper, an old friend, asks to rent out the back room of her bookstore for a bondage workshop, she agrees because she needs the money. She isn’t expecting to participate, and she definitely isn’t expecting to enjoy it. But all of Emma’s expectations fly out the window when she tentatively agrees to be Ian’s bondage model for workshops and exhibitions—and her success in the role upends all previous notions she had about her body and her desirability.

Now, Emma must learn to reconcile these conflicting images of herself while dealing with another conflict: Is Ian just another playboy, or everything she’s been looking for?

••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: PLAYING KNOTTY is an adult, contemporary erotic romance storyline that focuses on rope and knot play-the ‘bondage’ part of BDSM. This is bookstore owner Emma Green, and accountant/bondage instructor Ian Cooper’s storyline. Most of the storyline takes place in and around Boston and Emma’s book store-PROLOGUE.

Told from alternating third person perspectives, the premise follows Ian Cooper as he endeavors to find a suitable location and model for his next bondage instruction class. Enter former high school acquaintance Emma Green, who has some available space at the back of her store. It just so happens that Emma is in need of a quick influx of cash and Ian offers room rental and modeling fees if Emma is willing to be his ‘bondage model’. What ensues is Emma’s introduction into rope and knot play, something she takes to like a duck to water.

Emma has some issues of self esteem; raised by a mother who was always concerned about physical beauty and image, Emma has always believed she is not quite good enough, pretty enough, slim enough or smart enough to make it on her own. Ian happens to be the man who sees a beautiful woman who has no problems with the kinky side of Ian’s life

Nine years earlier, Ian had a small crush on his high school friend and lab partner Emma Green. Fast forward to present day and all of Ian’s fantasies are about to come true. The sexual relationship is enhanced by their mutual arousal through rope and knot play, and in this their friendship and working relationship takes the next step forward.

The secondary and supporting characters include Emma’s employee and wanna be poet Bethany; Emma’s friends Alina and Margot whose expensive tastes are not conducive to Emma’s current financial situation : Ian’s best friend Brent who owns a small ‘gamers’ shop ; several members of Ian’s workshops and weekend bondage role players; and Emma’s slightly dysfunctional family including her younger sister Julia whose own life is now affected by their mother’s need for perfection and control.

Saying that, I did have some issues with the couple’s lack of communication outside of the ‘bondage scenes’. Most of the anxiety and uneasy situations in their relationship were caused by confusion and misinterpretation of body language and communication with one another in their daily lives. In this, my enjoyment level of the storyline was affected by the misunderstandings and heartbreaking beliefs that neither one was interested in a permanent relationship yet no one was willing to make the first move. I know this is where the storyline conflict arises, but it made for some awkward and frustrating moments.

There is also an enormous amount of detailed description and information about bondage play that shows the author’s research and personal experience with ropes and knots. At times, I found myself lost in the intricate explanation and information trying to imagine in my mind the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of the narration. I found myself struggling during the ‘how to’ and ‘play by play’ scenarios-I think my eyes glazed over a time or two.

Ella Winters puts her own spin on the BDSM writing genre-one where bondage and knot play are at the center of our couple’s sexual awakenings and arousal. If you are looking for something a little different; a little out of the ‘ordinary’ give Playing Knotty a try.

PLAYING KNOTTY is an interesting read; a detour from the usual BDSM storylines where the hero has a need to discipline the female. The rope/knot/and bondage play shows a different side to a lifestyle that many people are not wholly aware.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Guest Post

Learning the Ropes: Research for Playing Knotty

The whole process of writing Playing Knotty has been an adventure. The first draft was much more about general BDSM, with rope play involved but not featured. As I planned my rewrites, the final draft of the book started to take shape, and I realized that I was basically going to be writing a book full of bondage. At that point, I knew I was in over my head.

Sure, I’m a kinkster. Once I started writing books like Playing Knotty and Purely Professional, there was no hiding my own status as a bit more “rocky road” than “vanilla.” But despite my own proclivities, I didn’t know enough about rope bondage to write this book from personal experience alone. I decided to delve into the often-fun and sometimes-overwhelming world of rope bondage instruction.

I’ve been accustomed to most of my book research being pretty neutral: maps of the public transportation system, Google street view of neighborhoods where my characters live, research on job descriptions, that sort of thing. Rope bondage research was much more fun.

Two books were instrumental in my research. The first one I read was Bondage for Sex by Chanta Rose. This book is gorgeous – diverse models, full-color photographs, clear instructions. This book taught me quite a bit, but it wasn’t quite enough on its own. The next book I read was Two Knotty Boys Showing You the Ropes. This book was a delight. Funny, informative, and thorough, by the time I’d finished, I felt much more prepared to write this book. (You should have seen my accountant’s face when I gave him the book receipts, but that’s another story.)

I don’t trust books alone, though: I’m the adventurous sort, so I did some “hands on” research as well. I’d have loved to take a class with a real rigger, but there were no rope classes in my area, so at-home amateur research sufficed. By prioritizing safety and being willing to laugh when our ropework went (disastrously) wrong, I gathered enough knowledge to complete my final draft.

Playing Knotty is finished, but my research won’t end just because the book is out. Rope bondage is beautiful, sexy, and fascinating, and I’ve only scratched the surface. A club near me is (finally) offering rope classes, so I’m going to continue learning. After all, I have a lot more books in my future, and at least a few of them will be as “knotty” as this one.

~~Elia Winters~~

about the author

Follow: Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Elia Winters has always been a New England girl. Although she spent much of her childhood in Florida, she returned to her home state of Massachusetts as a teenager and has remained in New England ever since. She was blessed with an artsy, creative, somewhat quirky family that nurtured her eccentricities and helped shape her into the sassy woman she is today.

Elia holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school where she runs too many extracurricular activities. She balances her love of the outdoors with a bottomless well of geekiness; in her spare time, she is equally likely to be found skiing, camping, playing tabletop games, or watching Doctor Who.

A writer all her life, Elia likes to dabble in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother’s romance novels. In high school, she kept her friends entertained with a steady stream of naughty stories and somehow never got caught passing them around. Her erotic fiction and poetry have been published online at Clean Sheets and Scarlet Letters under a different name. She loves BDSM erotica and men who can use semicolons.

Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband and their odd assortment of pets.

giveaway

Elia’s publicist is graciously offering an ecopy of PLAYING KNOTTY to TWO (2) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe

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

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

3. Please LIKE and Follow Elia Winters Facebook

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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

7. Please FOLLOW us on TSU for an additional entry.

8. Giveaway open Internationally

9. Giveaway runs from March 24-28, 2015

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Manwhore (Manwhore 1) by Katy Evans-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Manwhore (Manwhore #1) by Katy Evans-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Manwhore Banner

Manwhore
Manwhore #1
by Katy Evans
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic romance
Release Date: March 24, 2015

Manwhore

Amazon.com / Barnes and Noble / Indiebound / Simon and Shuster

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 24, 2015

Is it possible to expose Chicago’s hottest player—without getting played?

This is the story I’ve been waiting for all my life, and its name is Malcolm Kyle Preston Logan Saint. Don’t be fooled by that last name though. There’s nothing holy about the man except the hell his parties raise. The hottest entrepreneur Chicago has ever known, he’s a man’s man with too much money to spend and too many women vying for his attention.

Mysterious. Privileged. Legendary. His entire life he’s been surrounded by the press as they dig for tidbits to see if his fairytale life is for real or all mirrors and social media lies. Since he hit the scene, his secrets have been his and his alone to keep. And that’s where I come in.

Assigned to investigate Saint and reveal his elusive personality, I’m determined to make him the story that will change my career.

But I never imagined he would change my life. Bit by bit, I start to wonder if I’m the one discovering him…or if he’s uncovering me.

What happens when the man they call Saint, makes you want to sin?

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: MANWHORE is the first installment in Katy Evans’s contemporary, adult Manwhore erotic romance series focusing philanthropic billionaire Malcolm Saint and journalist Rachel Livingston. Set against the Chicago skyline, MANWHORE finds Rachel caught between her job and her heart.

Told from first person point of view (Rachel) the storyline follows Rachel as she is ‘tasked’ with investigating billionaire ‘manwhore’ Malcolm Saint. Rachel’s employer the ‘EDGE’ magazine is quickly succumbing to the recession and a tell-all expose about Malcolm Saint may give the magazine a stay of execution. When Rachel’s boss assigns the story to Rachel, she begins to research everything she can about Malcolm Saint and she doesn’t like what she hears and reads. A few well placed calls and Rachel begins her descent down the rabbit hole where she will loose her heart and her soul to a man who is very different than the public persona.

The relationship between Malcolm and Rachel is one of immediate attraction but Rachel has a job to do. She tries desperately to remind herself that Malcolm is an assignment-one that has fallen completely out of control. There is a definite spark between our couple, one that does not go unnoticed by both Rachel and Malcolm’s friends, and in this there is the usual push and pull between the heart and mind. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense.

Rachel is a woman determined to keep things professional but as the storyline builds so too does the sexual attraction between our couple; there is no mistaking the heat, the need and the desire but in the end, nothing good will come when the truth is revealed. Malcolm is a man who doesn’t do relationships; and his reputation with the ladies precedes his introduction to Rachel. Heartbreak and pain will follow when someone looking for revenge, exposes the truth about Rachel’s assignment.

The secondary and supporting characters include Malcolm’s best friends Callan and Tahoe ; Rachel’s besties Gina and Wynn- both of whom play the devil’s advocate; and Rachel’s mother Helen. The requisite evil comes in the form of Rachel’s coworkers who demand and undermine Rachel’s attempts to stop the investigation; and an assortment of Malcolm’s employees, drivers and professional assistants whose duty it is to protect Malcolm from investigating eyes. There are a couple of potential storylines developing –perhaps between Rachel and Malcolm’s friends !

MANWHORE is an intense, captivating and deliciously romantic read. Katy Evans pulls the reader into a story that is moving and seductive; where ethical and moral dilemmas are only a heartbeat away; where falling in love is as beautiful as it is destructive. The tension and anxiety build while the reader watches the inevitable fall out.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview 2

TRC: Hi Katy and welcome to The Reading Cafe. Congratulations on the release of MANWHORE.

Katy: Thanks so much for having me over, Sandy!

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

Website / Facebook / Twitter

Katy Evans Katy: I’m Katy Evans, author of the Real series and the upcoming Manwhore series. Real debuted in 2013 as the first in the Real series and from that moment on, I’ve been truly blessed to be able to share my characters and stories with readers. The first book in my new series, Manwhore, releases this month and I’m super excited for readers to meet Rachel and Malcolm Saint.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Katy: It all began when I became addicted to the Sweet Valley High books. As I closed the pages of my very first one, it struck me that all I wanted was to be a writer and share my own characters and stories with others. I wanted to make others feel the things I felt reading, and I also wanted to share the stories that – even then – seemed to pop in my head at night as I imagined alternate endings or plot points.

TRC: If you had a choice, which career, other than writing, would you like to attempt?

Katy: I’d love a career where I get to work with animals all day, especially wild animals. Animals genuinely like me and I’m also insanely attracted to them. They give me such joy.

Manwhore TRC: MANWHORE is your March 2015 release-an adult, contemporary, erotic romance storyline. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Katy: Manwhore begins with my heroine, Rachel, getting an assignment to approach and investigate Chicago’s most notorious womanizer, the toe-curlingly gorgeous Malcolm Saint. What’s great about Saint is that we get a glimpse of him through the social media first – basically, gossip. Before our heroine meets him in person, she judges him based on the exterior persona that he projects to the world. Daredevil. Ruthless. Relentless. A playboy. All true. But when Rachel is assigned to get the “real” deets on him, we get to see another side of him that you’d never expect. And that’s what truly made me fall for him – I hope readers will fall for him as hard as I did too. There is SO much more to this man than meets the eye. He is so much more than a “manwhore.”

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series? Will all of the books feature Malcolm Saint as the leading hero or does each installment feature a different leading couple?

Katy: The first 2 or 3 books will be about Malcolm and Rachel and I’m hoping to continue with stories for some of their friends. ;)

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

Katy: It was initially a challenge to take the book where I wanted to go. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted the book to be like, but I wasn’t sure exactly at what point of the story to begin. I played around endlessly until I found some direction from my wonderful beta readers and agent, and from that moment on, the book exploded.

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

Katy: My stories are a blend of fiction and reality. As they say, fiction imitates real life, and vice versa! ;)

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

Katy: I’m a very organic writer, so although I know “what” I’m writing about and have an essential idea of how the book should be, I don’t know anything else. I just sit down and start pulling out scenes the characters start to shoot my way, and sometimes I discard them when I don’t feel they’re good enough to match my vision, and sometimes I keep them but work on them endlessly until they get to a place they want. Sometimes I put them in the wrong place and realize maybe it needed to come sooner, or later, or not at all. So it’s a bit of a discovery process, and then a shaping process to be sure that one thing leads to the other and then to the other…

TRC: Let’s talk about your REAL series. The sixth book is set to release later in 2015. Do you have a title or leading character? If so, are you able to give us a hint ?

Real Series

Katy: The Real book #6 is still in brainstorming stages so I don’t want to jinx it yet. I’m allowing all my characters free reign so it could be a return to characters readers have already met, or a new story for one of the supporting characters in the first several books. I definitely promise to keep you updated.

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

Katy: Oh definitely the characters. I always start with an idea that seems to come with the character – what does he/she want? That’s usually what starts all my stories. When I know that one of the MC’s wants something pretty badly. And from then on, they direct the story.

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

Katy: I think that a great book has many elements, but the most important is definitely to make us care about what happens to the character. It’s not the same to watch a car blow up than to watch a car blow up with someone your character loves inside that car. To make that connection, I think we need to dive deep into the psyches of our characters, sometimes to uncomfortable places, to find the truth of who they are and why they are the way they are. Maybe it hurts and sometimes we shy away from digging that deep, but when we do that, it’s definitely when the magic happens!

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

Katy: When I feel blocked, I usually step back and leave the book for a few days, and when that doesn’t work, I reread it or ask an author friend to give it a read, and help me pinpoint whatever is not working in the story. Usually Writer’s Block happens when you hit a wall and somehow the writer needs to scale that wall or go around it, or simply change something before that wall so that you don’t write yourself into a corner.

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

Katy: I’m shamelessly obsessive about certain things and I want them exactly my way or….the highway. Thankfully my husband knows my looks and knows when to let me get my way, and when to set his foot down. Haha

Manwhore Plus 1TRC: On what are you currently working?

Katy: I’m currently finishing MANWHORE +1, the continuation of Malcolm and Rachel’s story, out July 7th.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Katy: Thanks so much for having me over. I’m truly blessed to be able to share my stories and can’t tell you how much the support I’ve received means to me!

 

 

LIGHTNING ROUND

TRC: Favorite Food

Katy: dark chocolate

TRC: Favorite Dessert

Katy: Hail Merry gluten free pies

TRC: Favorite TV Show

Katy: Vikings

TRC: Last Movie You Saw

Katy: Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

TRC: Dark or Milk Chocolate

Katy: DARK! For sure :d

TRC: Secret Celebrity Crush

Katy: Oh. I have many. Chris Hemsworth definitely tops the list.

TRC: Last Vacation Destination

Katy: St. Petersburg, Florida

TRC: Do you have any pets?

Katy: One mastiff and two pugs – Godzilla, Romo and Tommy :D

TRC: Last book you read

Katy: OVERRULED by Emma Chase, awesome as always!

TRC: Pet Peeve

Katy: Waiting. Waiting for anything makes me insane. Haha

TRC: Thank you Katy for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success.

Katy: Thanks so much for having me over, Sandy, wishing you much success and many books to read! :)

giveaway

TRC: Katy and her publisher are offering a paper copy of MANWHORE to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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

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

3. Please LIKE and Follow Katy Evans on Facebook

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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

7. Please FOLLOW us on TSU for an additional entry.

8. Giveaway open to USA and CANADA only

9. Giveaway runs from March 24-28, 2015

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