Rock Me, Gently by M.J. Schiller-Review,Interview and Giveaway
Rock Me, Gently
Rocking Romance #4
by MJ Schiller
Genre: adult, contemporary, rock stars
Release Date: April 24, 2014
Like so many others, their romance started in Las Vegas…
He’s a rock star. She’s an ad exec. After almost having a one night affair in Sin City, Josh can’t get Cassie out of his mind. Why had she run out on him?
Like so many others, their romance started with a shot of tequila…
When the Josh Dunningham of Money Back Guaranteed tries to seduce her, Cassie is taken aback. Sure, he’s hot. And he could definitely rock her world. But can she have a fling with a man she doesn’t even know?
Like so many others, their romance turned rocky…
When Cassie returns to Chicago and finds a ten-foot tall Josh Dunningham on a radio station’s banner across from her office, she is tortured by memories of their short time together. When they meet again, things explode—in a bad way—and Josh has to prove himself to Cassie to earn her trust. But will he succeed when outside forces also want to tear them apart? When Cassie receives threatening letters and is attacked in her home, Josh is determined to find out who is behind it. But will the stalker’s encore performance bring an end to their show once and for all?
REVIEW: ROCK ME, GENTLY is the latest release in M.J. Schiller’s contemporary, adult, Rocking Romance series about the bad boys of rock and roll. Every story is a stand alone and not interconnected. This is Josh Dunningham-front man for the rock group Money Back Guaranteed and advertising executive Cassie McCallister’s storyline.
Told from alternating close third person POV the premise follows the building relationship between Josh and Cassie, and the eventual discovery that someone is targeting Cassie for destruction. Josh and Cassie first met in Las Vegas where Cassie and her friend were in town for a little R&R. Josh is a bit of a man-whore and Cassie was his next intended conquest but Cassie ran before anything could happen. Josh could not get Cassie out of his mind and sets into motion a plan to make Cassie his own.
Josh is the epitome of a rock and roll god-alcohol, drugs and women but something about Cassie pulls at Josh and he intends to discover the who and what of Cassie McCallister. As one band mate considers retirement another considers revenge and uses everything and everyone to get what he wants. Money Back Guaranteed, for all of their success, is a band on the verge of falling apart.
Cassie and Josh’s relationship is tumultuous in the beginning. Cassie has a difficult time trusting anyone with her heart and Josh has a past that considers Cassie expendable and that past sees Cassie as standing in the way. When threatening letters turn to physical violence, Cassie’s safety is compromised by the lifestyle of the man who has stolen her heart.
MJ Schiller pulls the reader into a fast paced, emotional and sometimes humorous storyline of one couple’s journey towards a happily ever after. The secondary characters including friends, family and wanna be’s are colorful, dangerous, and drive a portion of the premise. We get a revealing look at both Josh and Cassie’s background: from emotional childhood drama to their adult successes and failures. No one’s past is without a few skeletons in the closet.
Copy supplied by the author
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi MJ and welcome to The Reading Café.
We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
MJ: When not diligently working on honing my craft, I am a lunch lady! No, really! I enjoy it immensely. I get to work with kids and take a nap every day when I get home. What’s not to like? I have been married for over 26 years this June, and have a nineteen-year-old (it pains me to write that number) and three seventeen-year-olds. That’s right, triplets! They will be seniors next year and then off to college at our alma mater, the University of Missouri-Columbia, affectionately known as Mizzou. I’m in a pre-mourning stage for my babies. We will be up frequently for football games. I’m consoling myself with that.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
MJ: Oh, man! So many… I think my dad was a big influence. He was a great storyteller and he always encouraged me no matter what I did in life. I worried that he would be disappointed when I left teaching because he paid for my degree, but he told me that whatever made me happy made him happy. Author Laurie Larsen was also a big influence. She invited me to my first Romance Writers of America meeting and is now my editor!
TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?
MJ: Umm…I like to karaoke. Yes, I’m one of those. So when I’m not writing about rock stars I’m up on stage pretending to be one!
TRC: ROCK ME, GENTLY is your April 2014 release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
MJ: I had fun with this one! Rocker Josh Dunningham is out for the usual evening of drinking and easy sex. What he doesn’t count on is meeting Midwest advertising exec Cassie McCallister. Downing a shot of tequila he watches a second shot of the golden liquor as it travels down the bar to this beautiful blonde. After that, the poor guy doesn’t know what hits him!
TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters of ROCK ME, GENTLY which actors, models or musicians best fit your ideal image?
MJ: I would cast the gorgeous Colin O’Donoghue, that hotty Hook (from Once Upon a Time) as Josh. Though tempted to cast his love interest on the show,Jennifer Morrison, since they have great chemistry, she’s not quite right for Cassie. And I’m sure a dead woman would have great chemistry with Colin O’Donoghue. A young Cameron Diaz would be my choice.
TRC: You have written (to date) four non-interconnected storylines focusing on the life and love of a rock musician/musical star. What was behind the decision to not concentrate on one particular group of musicians but a series of unrelated storylines?
MJ: I’m not sure it was a conscious decision. I wrote TRAPPED UNDER ICE, and then I just couldn’t get the rock star out of my system, and ABANDON ALL HOPE came next. It is a much different book, Chad and Chase are as dissimilar as ketchup and mustard (both condiments, but totally different tastes). All I can say for the next two is I’m a glutton for rock stars. For BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE I mixed things up and made the heroine the rock star. I really like how that story turned out. I don’t even know where ROCK ME, GENTLY came from!
TRAPPED UNDER ICE ebook is currently FREE :
Click HERE for our review of TRAPPED UNDER ICE
TRC: How many books do you have planned focusing on musicians and their loves?
MJ: Interesting question. My next book out, DAMAGE DONE, is about a musician as well, but he’s not a rock star. He’s a small time rocker playing the bar scene, and it is set in Ireland. It has a whole different flavor to it. It is from my REAL ROMANCE COLLECTION which centers on characters with more standard positions, waitresses, construction workers, EMTs… Another book that I’ll have out next year stars a roadie, so I do seem to lean toward the music scene.
TRC: Are any of the characters or the premise based in reality or a combination of reality and fiction?
MJ: Not this particular book. TRAPPED UNDER ICE was inspired a lot by Nickelback and their music, but ROCK ME, GENTLY is entirely fictional. I guess the closest scene to my real life is the one where they karaoke.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story?
MJ: I often have challenges because people tend to look at rock stars with certain stereotypical traits. My rock stars have some of those traits, but they are real people. Josh is no different. He has a family, a childhood, like other people (those might be glossed over in other rock books that concentrate strictly on the rock scene), vulnerabilities… It is also always hard to do the reformed bad boy theme as you risk making them come off so poorly at the beginning that they turn your reader off.
TRC: What are your thoughts on writing a series and ending an installment with a major cliff hanger?
MJ: The only real series I have is coming out later this year. At the close of the first book, there is a definite ending, but just a hint of a problem brewing in the background. The close of the second is similar. It is definitely the end of an era, but still a question of what is to come next. As a reader I guess I’m not very discerning. I like to sit back and let the writer take me where they want to go. I don’t look for flaws and something would have to be blaringly wrong with the book for me not to like it. I might be annoyed with a cliffhanger ending, but not enough for it to leave a bad taste in my mouth. And if the first book was good, I’d look forward to the next for sure.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
MJ: I think it is pretty much the characters steering the car and I’m just along for the ride.
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?
MJ: As a beginning writer, I struggled with point of view switches. I was heavily influenced by Nora Roberts, who is able to pull them off seamlessly. I’ve come to realize that for the reader to really experience the physical feelings, as well as the emotions of your character, you need to strive for a deeper point of view, stay inside one character’s head longer. I hope that answers your question.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon for many authors.. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
MJ: Okay, please don’t tell anybody this, but I haven’t really experienced writer’s block yet. It sounds awful and I dread the day it happens. But I did things a little differently than most. I wrote twelve books, then decided to get serious about my writing and learn more about my craft. As a result, I’ve spent the last several years revising those first twelve and so I haven’t really written anything new in quite some time. To be honest, that worries me a little. Will I be able to get my mojo back when the time comes? It will be interesting…
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
MJ: With my hubby and kids, friends, co-workers, and members of my Romance Writers of America group. I like lots of input.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
MJ: I’d like to become what I consider a legitimate best-selling author. I’ve hit the list, but only for a couple of hours, so I don’t really consider that being a best-selling author, though some would.
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
MJ: I was a synchronized swimmer when growing up. I competed at the Junior Olympic level, which was the highest level at the time. Since that time, it has become an Olympic event. I have a number of medals in a box high on a shelf in my bedroom closet.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
MJ: I’m just beginning my first round of edits on DAMAGE DONE, the Irish story I mentioned earlier. It is a little bit different than most as it opens with one story, and then jumps to seventeen years later. The first part of the book comes back to tie in at the end.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
MJ: Just that it has been a pleasure to be here. I enjoy The Reading Café and was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk about my work here today!
Favorite Food- cannelloni
Favorite Dessert- chocolate cake
Favorite TV Show- currently, Once Upon a Time. All time, Breaking Bad.
Last Movie You Saw- “Heaven is for Real,” but I really want to see that “The Other Woman” movie. It looks cute!
Favorite Musical Group/Song- Too hard! I’m going to go with Seether, “Fine Again.”
Dark or Milk Chocolate- both! In large quantities!
Secret Celebrity Crush- there is nothing secret about them, I love most of the boys from Once Upon a Time, especially the roguish Hook. And Matthew McFadyen, Mr. Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice.” Oh, and Sawyer, from Lost.
Last Vacation Destination- Panama City Beach, FL
Pet Peeve- just one? Captcha codes, motion sensors on sinks and paper towel holders, people that wait until the last second when lanes are merging and then expect to be let in. Man! That burns me!
TRC: Thank you MJ for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of ROCK ME, GENTLY. We wish you continued success and look forward to many more storylines.
MJ Schiller is offering the following 3 ebooks (3 winners)
1 Winner-BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
1 Winner-ABANDON ALL HOPE
1 Winner-ROCK ME, GENTLY
TRAPPED UNDER ICE (book 1) ebook is currently FREE :
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6. Giveaway is open internationally.
7. Giveaway runs from June 26 to June 30 , 2014