An Interview & Giveaway with author Robin Bielman

An Interview and Giveaway with author Robin Bielman

Talk British to Me Giveaway Robin Bielman

TRC: Congratulations on the June 2017 release of TALK BRITISH TO ME

Robin Bielman

Robin: Hi! Thank you so much! And thanks for having me here today.

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

 

Website /Facebook /Twitter /Goodreads/

Robin: I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We have two boys and a mini labradoodle named Harry, and since it’s baseball season, that’s what’s on TV all. the. time. 🙂 Right now I’m on a taco kick, and since it’s been quite warm in So Cal, an ice blended vanilla latte kick, too. 🙂

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Robin: I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it took a long time for me to figure out it was romance novels I wanted to write. The first romances I read were by Carly Phillips and Vicki Lewis Thompson, so I’d say they had a big influence on me as I learned the craft.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Robin: Time is probably my biggest hurdle! I also have a part-time day job, so between that and wanting to be with my family, too, I often struggle with managing it all.

Talk British to MeTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of TALK BRITISH TO ME and the WHEREVER YOU GO series? Will Harper and Levi’s story be next?

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon. uk / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo / ibooks /

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of TALK BRITISH TO ME

Robin: The book takes place in Los Angeles and centers around Mateo and Teague. Mateo is The Dating Guy on a popular morning radio show and he uses a British accent and fake name (Bennett) to stay anonymous. Teague works for the biggest wedding planner in Beverly Hills and has a huge crush on “Bennett.” When she meets the all-American Mateo IRL, friendship and sexy shenanigans ensue as the two navigate their feelings for each other. 🙂 And yes! Harper and Levi’s story is next.

TRC: Do you have any plans to participate in another multi-authored series similar to the Bachelor Auction?

Robin: That was so much fun to write and I loved working with other authors, but no. Right now I have no plans for another series like that. I am, however, co-writing a book with the awesome Samanthe Beck, and I’m super excited about it. It’s scheduled to release early next year.

TRC: What kind of research/plotting do you do, and how long do you spend researching /plotting before beginning a book?

Robin: I am a huge pantser! Which means I write by the seat of my pants, and don’t spend a ton of time plotting before I start writing. I do flesh out my characters and have a brief outline so I have some idea of the story, but basically I love to just jump in and go where my characters take me. Sometimes this backfires on me, and I stare at my computer screen for hours before typing a word, and on those days I wish I was a plotter! LOL

TRC: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

Robin: I don’t think it changed my process. However, having deadlines now means I have to get the words on the page no matter what.

TRC: What was your hardest scene –ever-to write?

Robin: Ever? Hmm…I think it’s one in my next book, actually. I can’t give it away, but it involves Harper and her past.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. Many authors are re-issuing their previously erotic story lines with ‘cleaner’ versions without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. What do you believe has precipitated this move or change in direction?

Robin: I think it’s probably to reach a broader audience. I love reading all kinds of romance, but I think universally, what we all love is the “will they?” or “won’t they?” and that’s written in the sexual tension between characters, not the actual act.

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?

Robin: Definitely.

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

Robin: My characters totally lead me!

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line 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?

Robin: Have a good editor. For me, I’m lucky in that my amazing editor always knows where to help me dig deeper so that readers will hopefully feel what my characters are feeling. It’s hard to always get what’s in my head on the page and that might be where we all falter without some assistance from someone who is reading the story with fresh eyes.

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

Robin: I don’t listen to music while writing, but I often listen before I write. Usually when I’m on my treadmill. That’s where I do my best thinking!

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

Robin: That writing a book is easy. It’s hard!

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

Robin: Growing up, I played competitive tennis and had dreams of being a professional.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Robin: I’m currently working on the third book in my Wherever You Go series. It’s Elliot’s turn!

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Robin: Thanks again!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Tacos, sushi, strawberries, cinnamon toast

Favorite Dessert: Anything chocolate

Favorite TV Show: I have many, but currently it’s Younger (love that show!)

Last Movie You Saw: The Mummy

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Both

Secret Celebrity Crush: Chris Hemsworth (although it’s not so secret)

Last Vacation Destination: Big vacation: Australia (it was amazing) Small vacation: San Diego (it was wonderful)

Do you have any pets? The best dog ever!

Last book you read: The Last Guy (loved it!)

TRC: Thank you Robin for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release.

Robin: Thank you so much!! xoxo

Giveaway-redandblack_zps8ff4dc4b

Robin Bielman’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of TALK BRITISH TO ME to ONE (1) 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

3. Follow Robin Bielman 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 The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from August 5-10, 2017

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Shattered King (Lawless Kings #1) by Sherilee Gray-Review, Excerpt & Interview

SHATTERED KING (Lawless Kings #1) by Sherilee Gray-Review, Excerpt & Interview

Shattered King

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /KOBO / B&N /Chapters Indigo / BAM/

About the book: Release Date June 27, 2017

What if the man you love hated you more with every breath he took?

SHATTERED KING is an intense, ultra-sexy standalone novel set in the world of the Lawless Kings. Sherilee Gray’s raw, hard, beautiful, deeply-emotional voice will leave readers breathless.

He’s out to get revenge for a crime he didn’t commit…

Hunter King just got out of prison. Incarcerated for three years though an innocent man, his rage against the people who put him there knows no bounds. First up on his list for vengeance: the woman who betrayed him years ago. The woman he loved fiercely, the one bright light in his otherwise hard, ruthless life. She has information he needs. And he’s going to kidnap her, hold her hostage, in order to get it. But one look into Lulu’s eyes unleashes the true beast within. Hunter’s never hated anyone this deeply, or wanted any woman this badly.

Lulu had no choice: Either help send Hunter to prison, or see him destroyed. She couldn’t do that to the man she loved. Couldn’t do it to the father of her child. But Hunter was locked away before he had a chance to learn about his son—and a hard layer of despair has formed around his heart that she’s desperate to crack. And if Hunter is to give himself and Lulu a second chance at love, he needs to find a way past his darkest demons.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: SHATTERED KING is the first installment in Sherilee Gray’s contemporary, adult LAWLESS KINGS erotic, romantic suspense series focusing on the men and women who work for the King Agency doing personal protection and security, private investigation (corporate and domestic) and high-risk fugitive recovery and missing persons and kidnapping investigations. This is Hunter King, and Lucinda (Lulu) Frost’s story line.

NOTE: SHATTERED KING contains graphic scenarios that may be triggers for some readers including attempted rape, abuse and questionable consent.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Lulu and Hunter) SHATTERED KING is a story of second chances. Three years and four months earlier Hunter King found himself charged for a crime he did not commit. The one person who would have been able to clear his name refused to testify for the man that she loved. Enter Lulu Frost, the woman who destroyed Hunter King’s heart. What ensues is the rekindling relationship between Hunter and Lucinda, and the struggle to stay one step ahead of the man hoping to destroy them all.

Lulu Frost has been on the run since the day she walked out of Hunter King’s life. With her past hunting her whereabouts, Lulu must return to the town where everything went wrong but finds herself imprisoned by the very man she betrayed-at a cost. But Lulu keeps secret the truth from all those years ago and once revealed will place her on a path towards a future-with or without the man that she has always loved.

Hunter King is a changed man since the day he was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Angry, determined and in desperate need of revenge, Hunter will make Lulu’ s life a living h*ll but for all intents and purposes, Hunter is a man still in love with the woman who betrayed his heart and soul. It is only when Lulu reveals the truth will Hunter’s change his path towards a happily ever after with the woman he loves

The relationship between Lulu and Hunter is one of second chances. There is a palpable sexual energy that is both heightened and damaged by Hunter’s behavior and actions towards our story line heroine. In the early stages of the book Hunter’s actions are reprehensible; his behavior and treatment of Lulu Frost is abusive, damaging and not without some questionable consent. The $ex scenes are angry, intense, seductive and promising.

We are introduced to Hunter’s older brother Van King, their guardian Raul Esposito, King Agency employees: former police officer Jude Wayland, PA Ruby Styles, ex-navy SEAL sniper Zeke Stanton, and tracker Neco Malik; Lulu’s ailing mother Elizabeth, and step-father Pierce, as well as Lulu’s Aunt Sara. Neco and Ruby’s story line is next in BROKEN REBEL.

The world building focuses on the rekindling romance between Lulu and Hunter, and the lengths Hunter will go to to protect the woman he has always loved. At times, Lulu Frost, is determined to push all of Hunter’s buttons, including placing herself in direct conflict to everything meant to protect her life.

SHATTERED KING is a dark, sexy, heartbreaking and emotional story of revenge, betrayal, and second chances. The premise is dramatic and intense; the characters are passionate, colorful and energetic; the romance is edgy and powerful. SHATTERED KING is an excellent start to a new series.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

excerpt

Excerpt provider by St. Martin’s Press

I blinked several times, working the heaviness from my eyes. Somehow I’d fallen asleep, locked in this room, surrounded by people that thought I was lower than dirt. God knows how I managed that, especially after what happened in that bathroom. I shivered. Every time I thought about it, my body heated. I was more screwed up than I thought.
The light in the room was diluted, gray. I guessed sometime late in the afternoon.
I froze. I wasn’t alone.
Hunter. His volatile energy filled the room, saturated it. My skin prickled and I sucked in a sharp breath. I didn’t move, stayed right where I was. I had no desire to find out what came next. I was still here for a reason. I didn’t know what that reason was, but considering the way he felt about me, things were not looking great.
“I know you’re awake.”
His voice was rough, low, but not angry for once. Something else, something I couldn’t name, set off little zaps of electricity in my lower belly. I’d decided before I fell asleep that I was done talking. Every time I opened my mouth, I pissed him off. And since he didn’t believe a word that came out of it, I was going to save my energy. With that in mind, I sat up, shoved my hair back from my face, and waited.
He was standing at the foot of the bed, arms crossed over his wide chest, chin dipped, head tilted, eyes locked on me. I couldn’t read his expression. But he was studying me in a way that made me want to squirm.
His jaw tightened, not much, but enough that I saw it. That gaze got more intense, so intense I couldn’t hold it any longer. I picked at the hem of my T-shirt, fidgeting.
“Why?” he said into the quiet room.
That’s it. That one word. I knew what he was asking. I’d heard that one word, Hunter’s voice, echoing in my head, for three years. The pain and anger distorting it as he was dragged away by prison guards.
I had nothing.
Nothing I was prepared to give, anyway. I made myself meet his gaze. It wasn’t easy. God, how I wanted to tell him everything, but I couldn’t and clamped my mouth shut instead. I refused to put Josh at risk just to appease my guilt. No good would come from telling him what happened, not now. Nothing would change. Nothing would make any of this all right. If I knew without doubt that Josh was Hunter’s, maybe I’d open my mouth. But I didn’t know that. Telling Hunter would only turn a spotlight on my little boy. It would make him a target, if he weren’t already. I’d die before I did that.
Hunter’s expression hardened. “You fucking owe me an explanation.”
I didn’t move, didn’t blink, just kept my eyes locked on his and my mouth shut.
He shook his head. “What did I ever do to you, Lulu? To make you hate me so damn much?”
I jolted, a full body spasm. Oh God. It was him. There he was. My Hunter. Just a glimpse of the man I loved beyond reason. It hurt to see him again. I wasn’t prepared for it. I looked down at my hands, tears stinging my nose, the back of my eyes. I swallowed down the lump threatening to choke me. My tattered heart couldn’t take much more of this.
I felt his gaze hot on me, waiting. Hoping I’d give him what he needed, give him the answers he wanted. I couldn’t do it.
Finally, after what felt like forever, he hissed through his teeth.
I looked up, couldn’t help it. His eyes were back to that cold, dead stare. He was gone again.
He tilted his head toward the door. “Time to go.”
I wanted to ask where, but since I’d just made a point of not talking, I had no choice but to keep my mouth shut. I stood as he opened the door and followed him back upstairs.

 

 

Interview seafoam:black

TRC: Hi Sherilee and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of SHATTERED KING

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

Sherilee GrayFollow: Website / Goodreads / Twitter /

Sherilee:  Thanks so much for having me here! Well, I live in a small town in rural New Zealand with my husband and two kids. I’ve had quite a few jobs over the years, office manager, bank teller, sales assistant, and after I had my children, I painted and sold my artwork. I even fancied myself a chief for a while and did some training before working in a restaurant. But nothing was ever the right fit, not until I started writing about eight years ago. I haven’t looked back since!

TRC:Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Sherilee: So many romance authors. So many amazing books! After years of devouring romance novels, I knew I wanted to try writing myself. I had all these ideas, all these stories in my head. One night I just sat down and started.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Sherilee: I struggled a lot in school, and when I started writing I had to go right back to basics. It was hard going, but writing and being published was what I wanted so I persevered. And of course, there are the rejections. Most of us them, and no matter what stage you are at in your writing journey, they never get any easier.

TRC: You write novels in several different genres. Which do you prefer? Which do you find more difficult?

Sherilee: I don’t really find one more difficult than the other, just different. I don’t think I can pick one I prefer! I love them all 🙂

Shattered KingTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of SHATTERED KING and the LAWLESS KINGS series?

Sherilee: I love an alpha hero. I also love anti-heroes, and both describe the men in this series. These guys may be P.I’s, but let’s just say they’re not exactly law-abiding citizens. They’re hard, and rough around the edges, products of the crap they’ve been through in their lives. They’re also loyal to a fault, and extremely protective. And the women that crash into their lives shove these big, bad, emotionally stunted alpha guys right out of their comfort zones. With Shattered King, I used two of my favorite tropes, second chances, and enemies to lovers, the result was some serious fireworks. I loved every moment of writing it.

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

Sherilee: Honestly? My plots can be a little wacky, and I tend to just go with it. As far as believability goes? I can believe almost anything if it’s executed well, and that’s what I try very hard to do. It’s the characters that make each story unique or unpredictable no matter what trope/setting etc you use in your story.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. What do you believe accounts for the differences between the sub-genres in today’s romantic stories?

Sherilee: Romance and erotic romance are all about the Happily Ever After, or at least a Happy For Now. In erotic romance, the developing sexual relationship between the H\h is hugely important for character growth and getting to that all important HEA/HFN. In erotica, Happily Ever Afters aren’t necessary.

TRC: Where should authors draw the line when writing romance vs erotic vs erotica story lines?

Sherilee: I think it’s up to the author.

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?

Sherilee: I think a great cover definitely helps!

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

Sherilee: I direct my characters…though, I do often end up where I hadn’t anticipated going. I’d love to be one of those authors that wake up to a story fully formed in their minds and characters yanking it up. Alas, that has never happened.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line 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?

Sherilee: I don’t know about other writers, but there are several things I do. If I can, I draw from my own experiences, research if I can’t, and I also work really hard at putting myself in my character’s shoes while I’m writing. I want their reactions to be as believable as possible. Which is why writing those emotional scenes can be extremely draining.

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

Sherilee: I listen to music while I draft a book. The music doesn’t really influence the direction of a story, but it can inspire me. I always try and choose songs that fit the mood of the book I’m writing.

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

Sherilee: My author friends. I have a small group of amazing ladies that are not only talented and knowledgeable, but extremely supportive as well. I couldn’t be without them. Also, my sister! I talk her ear off and she makes all the right noises when I’m freaking out about something.

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

Sherilee: That writing is easy because we’re doing what we love.

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

Sherilee: If I could, I’d live somewhere remote, like an island with a tiny population. I’m a total introvert (Then again, maybe that’s not so secret!)

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sherilee: A proposal for a new series 🙂

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Cheese

Favorite Dessert
Apple crumble

Favorite TV Show
Too hard to pick!

Last Movie You Saw
Can’t remember!

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Milk

Secret Celebrity Crush
Tom Hardy (also not so secret!)

Last Vacation Destination
The beach

Do you have any pets?
Two cats

Last book you read

Blood Vow by JR Ward

TRC:Thank you Sherilee for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release.

Sherilee:  Thank you!

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Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) by Sarina Bowen-Review, Interview & Giveaway

PIPE DREAMS (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) by Sarina Bowen-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Pipe Dreams Banner

PIPE DREAMS
Brooklyn Bruisers #3
by Sarina Bowen
Release Date : May 2, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, hockey, romance

Pipe Dreams

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

About the book: Release Date May 2, 2017

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

••••••••

REVIEW: PIPE DREAMS is the third installment in Sarina Bowen’s contemporary, adult BROOKLYN BRUISERS erotic, romance series focusing on the men and women of the Brooklyn Bruisers professional hockey team. This is Bruisers’ goalie Mike Beacon, and the team’s temporary office manager Lauren Williams second chance story line. PIPE DREAMS can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Lauren and Mike) PIPE DREAMS focuses on the rekindling romance between Brooklyn Bruisers’ goalie and single father Mike Beacon, and office manager Lauren Williams, and the Bruisers run for the Stanley Cup. With the office manager Rebecca Rowley on sick leave, team owner Nate Kattenberger brought his former office manager, and current corporate employee Lauren Williams to fill in for the remainder of the season knowing Lauren’s history with team goalie Mike Beacon was icy and cool. Two years earlier Lauren and Mike were lovers; making plans for something more permanent when demons from the past forced Mike to walk away from the woman he loved. Fast forward to present day and Mike Beacon wants a second chance with Lauren Williams-a woman struggling with her attraction to the man that broke her heart. What ensues is the rekindling love between two people whose relationship was destroyed by secrets, miscommunication and Mike’s overwhelming need to care for someone from his past.

The relationship between Mike and Lauren is one of second chances. Lauren’s need to run from the man that she loves finds our hero begging for another chance to prove he is worthy of Lauren’s love. Lauren’s struggles with a broken heart that has to be mended; her trust in Mike Beacon is tempered when the truth is revealed. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive.

Most of the previous story line couples and characters play secondary and supporting roles including team owner Nate Kattenberger, and the woman he secretly loves Rebecca Rowley. I am hoping for Nate and Becca’s story line next. We are also introduced to Mike’s teenage daughter Elsa who struggles with the loss of her mother, and her father’s relationship with a woman she blames for her parent’s marriage demise.

The world building follows the Brooklyn Bruisers’ as they make a run for the Stanley Cup; a championship season that takes the team to the final round.

PIPE DREAMS is a story of second chances, forgiveness, falling in love and moving on from the past. There are moments of heartbreak, betrayal, romance and love. The conflict between our leading couple is easily resolved with little to no drama or anxious moments. The premise is engaging and realistic; the romance is sexy, seductive and spicy; the characters are spirited and passionate. PIPE DREAMS is a heartwarming and moving story about family, love, and second chances.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Rookie Move
Hard Hitter
Pipe Dreams

Copy supplied the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview beige

TRC:  Hi Sarina and welcome to The Reading Café.

Congratulations on the release of PIPE DREAMS, the third book in your Brooklyn Bruisers series.

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

Sarina BowenSarina: Sure! I live in northern New England and I love hockey. And coffee. And wine with bubbles.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Sarina:Every new book is a challenge. With the Brooklyn Bruisers I wanted to make my new hockey series have a terrific sense of place, using Brooklyn as a rich setting. Penguin loved the idea so the Brooklyn Bruisers was born!

Pipe DreamsTRC: Would you please tell us something about PIPE DREAMS and the Brooklyn Bruisers series?

Sarina:Pipe Dreams is a unique second chance love story. Lauren isn’t very nice in the first two novels in this series, but she has a terrific reason. It was really fun to unspool her back story and turn her into an empathetic character. And Mike Beacon is a swoony single dad. I’ve always wanted to write one of those.

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

Sarina:I’m really not sure, but each book stands alone on its own. No cliffhangers in sight.

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

Sarina:I don’t find that a problem because hockey is unpredictable! And the men and women who live the pro hockey lifestyle experience some pretty wild circumstances. There is a fun plot twist in this book provided by the hero’s teenage daughter.

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?

Sarina:Probably! We take many cues from book covers. But that doesn’t mean a reader rejects a book just because she doesn’t love the image. She might, however, reject a book if its cover design doesn’t accurately depict the book’s contents.

TRC: Do you have any say in the cover selection?

Sarina:Sure. My editor at Penguin and I discussed the covers right away, before the first book was even finished. At that point my publisher went into a photo studio and shot unique images for all the books, so that they wouldn’t overlap imagery on other books in the market.

TRC: You have co-written several books with author Elle Kennedy. How do you determine the break down of the writing/ story line process?

Sarina:We brainstorm the story together ahead of time. And then we take shifts, trading off every half chapter or so. It’s a really fun way to write a book!

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?

Sarina:The trick is to never cheat your story’s emotional touch point moments. When something big is happening emotionally, the scene should linger and take it all in. If a big moment feels rushed, that’s when the reader feels cheated.

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

Sarina: Nope. I write in silence. Music sounds fun but I can never make it work for me.

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

Sarina:You mentioned co-writing before. The bouncing of ideas is what makes that so great. When I’m working alone I don’t really have anyone to help me. Actually, sometimes I call up Elle Kennedy and make her listen to my plot woes. She usually points out something incredibly obvious and then I slap myself on the head.

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

Sarina:I’m not sure there are any misconceptions left. Facebook has made all of us terribly accessible.

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

Sarina:For twelve years I traded derivatives on Wall Street. It was stressful but fun.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: tacos

Favorite Dessert: cherry pie

Favorite TV Show: I don’t have a TV!

Last Movie You Saw: Hidden Figures

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark, with nuts

Secret Celebrity Crush: Anna Kendrick

Last Vacation Destination: What is a vacation?

Do you have any pets? We have 11 chickens. I’m not sure that counts.

Last book you read: Outlander

TRC:  Thank you Sarina for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your PIPE DREAMS.

Giveaway beige

The Reading Cafe and SArina Bowen’s publisher are offering a finished copy of PIPE DREAMS 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

3. Follow Sarina Bowen on Facebook.

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

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

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8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from May 5-10, 2017

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Sabotage (Under Covers #2) by Jessica Linden-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Sabotage (Under Covers #2) James Patterson’s Bookshots Flames by Jessica Linden-Review, Interview & Giveaway

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SABOTAGE
Under Covers #2
by Jessica Linden / James Patterson
Release Date: April 20 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romantic, suspense

Sabotage

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 20, 2017

The Most Dangerous Kind of Love

Secret Agent Abbie Whitmore is used to putting her life on the line, but she’s never endangered someone she loves. And now, Congressman Jonathan Lassiter is embroiled in a political scandal–and it could be all her fault.

BookShots Flames
Original romances presented by JAMES PATTERSON Novels you can devour in a few hours Impossible to stop reading

•••••••••••••

REVIEW:  If I have to describe this book in one word it would be the word: Like. There was just a lot to like about the book, the big things and little things about the book. I mean where do I begin on what I liked about this book?

One thing I really appreciated about Sabotage was how both Abbie and Jonathan are able to keep their professional identities but still maintain their relationship. Being a secret agent and congressman can no doubt be time consuming careers but it endears me to the couple that they can make time for each other. Let’s just be honest here but in this time and age often times it feels we are unable to have both a romantic relationship along with the winning career. Often times we feel we can have one but not both. So in all honesty I feel when couples split due to one or both are concentrating on their careers is utter BS. Their downtime together whether they are having lunch at a restaurant or lounging around watching a Star Wars marathon at home was all the more endearing.

Another element I really enjoyed about the book was how the story just kept you on your toes about who the bad guy or girl is and why they are bent on revenge on Abbie. You also get glimpses of what’s going on in the head of the villain as they are implementing their actions in their ultimate plan. Sometimes it’s interesting to get in the minds on the villain to see them mentally justify the evil actions they are doing. It really was a fun journey following the mind of the villain but also Abbie following close on the villains heels to put a stop to the evil plan to screw over her love, Jonathan.

The thing is considering that the book was not very long, the character development and growth was satisfactory as well. Abbie is able to hand over the reins and control to others trusting them. While I can understand Jonathan’s feelings about being the man wanting to protect his woman even though she is very capable, he respects her fighting abilities.

A story that keeps you engaged and on your toes, positive career and relationship aspects, great character development, soft romantic scenes and the very best good triumphing over evil; for such a shorter book this book packs an awesome punch. Highly recommend and highly enjoyed.

Copy supplied by the publisher for review

Reviewed by Xtina

Interview-Black and Deep Rose

TRC: Hi Jessica and welcome to The Reading Café.

Congratulations on the release of SABOTAGE

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

Follow: Website / Facebook Twitter / Goodreads

JESSICA LINDENJESSICA: I live in Virginia with my husband, two sons, two rescue dogs, and various other pets. I was a high school and college English teacher for thirteen years, but I gave that up nearly two years ago to focus on my writing. I don’t necessarily miss the teaching, but I definitely miss the students. Spending my days with teenagers was a lot of fun.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

JESSICA: I’ve had a lifelong love of books, so I can’t point to one specific influence. Mostly, I think it’s the pure joy I feel when I’m lost in a great book. I want to create that joy for my readers.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

JESSICA: The publishing business is full of rejection, which sometimes makes it difficult to keep a positive outlook. Also, it’s tough when a reader leaves a negative review. Sometimes the bad stuff is easier to believe, you know?

SabotageTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of SABOTAGE and the UNDER COVERS series?

JESSICA: I got the idea for Abbie’s character when I was driving to pick up my sons from TaeKwonDo. I thought it would be cool to have an agency similar to Angelina Jolie’s character’s agency in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Women tend to be underrepresented in law enforcement type jobs, but sometimes you need a woman to get the job done. Thus, the Cartwright Agency was born.

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

JESSICA: This is a tough one and something that all authors face. I play the “what if” game when I’m writing to try to put my characters in unusual situations. Often I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen until the words land on the page.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. What do you believe accounts for the differences between the sub-genres in today’s romantic stories?

JESSICA: I don’t write erotic romance or erotica, but this is how I understand it. The focus of romance is the developing romantic relationship between a couple. Sex may or may not be part of that. In erotic romance, sex is an integral part of the relationship development and if it were taken out, there would be a huge hole in the story. However, there is still a developing romantic relationship. Erotica is more about the sex than the relationship.

TRC: Where should authors draw the line when writing romance vs erotic vs erotica story lines?

JESSICA: I don’t think there necessarily needs to be any line drawn, as long as it is communicated to the readers what they’re getting with a particular book.

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?

JESSICA: Yes. The adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” is totally bogus. No matter how excellent a book is, readers won’t pick it up if it has a horrible cover.

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

JESSICA: The characters direct the writing for me. I usually have a general idea where I want the story to go, but I don’t always know exactly how the story is going to get there until I get to know the characters in the first few chapters.

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?

JESSICA: I think this comes from making the characters relatable. Often in fiction, things happen that 99% of us will never experience in real life, but emotions are universal. So if the character is relatable and believable, then his/her emotions should translate. I think writers sometimes fail in this endeavor by not fully developing characters.

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

JESSICA: I actually don’t listen to music while writing because I find myself singing along instead of writing. It’s quite the show. LOL.

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

JESSICA: It depends on the situation. My husband is helpful, especially when it comes to technical or “manly” things, like the different kinds of guns and ammo. My author friend Marnee Blake is usually my go to for overarching plot and character issues. I’ll also turn to my agent and editor. I’m lucky to have a plethora of people I can call on.

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

JESSICA: Most authors can’t support themselves on their writing alone. I think a lot of people assume that if someone has a book published, they are rolling in money. That’s simply not the case.

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

JESSICA: I actually have a section like this on my website, so it’s hard to come up with another random obscure fact. I’ve recently become obsessed with my Happy Planner, and I even make my own stickers for it.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

JESSICA: I’m currently in the final stretch of writing the third book in my Fight for Me series.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

JESSICA: Nope! This interview was pretty thorough.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Calzones

Favorite Dessert
Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate

Favorite TV Show
I don’t watch TV. I seriously can’t remember the last time I turned it on.

Last Movie You Saw
The Lego Batman Movie

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Milk

Secret Celebrity Crush
Theo James

Last Vacation Destination
Bahamas

Do you have any pets?
Two dogs. My sons have guppies and a hamster.

Last book you read
It’s top secret—it was a book I judged for the RWA RITA contest.

TRC: Thank You Jessica for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulation on the release of Sabotage. We wish you all the best

giveaway

Jessica’s publisher is graciously offering an ebook copy of
SABOTAGE 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

3. Please like and follow Jessica Ruddick/Jessica Linden on Facebook.

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

5. LIKE The Reading Cafe on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW the Reading Cafe on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open internationally

9. Giveaway runs from April 8-12, 2017

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Bedding the Highlander by Sabrina York-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Bedding the Highlander by Sabrina York (presented by James Patterson)-Review, Interview, and Giveaway

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BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER
by Sabrina York
BookShots Flames presented by James Patterson
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance

Bedding the Highlander

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 7, 2017

Only a Scot can steal her heart.
There’s nothing ladylike about Katherine Killin. She’s a spitfire who cannot be tamed. To rid himself of her, and to honor a truce set by the Duke of Glencoe, her father agrees to wed her to his clan’s mortal enemy, Ben Rannoch. But when Katherine meets the enticingly masculine Kirk Rannoch, brother of her betrothed, she suddenly craves domination.
BookShots Flames

Original romances presented by JAMES PATTERSON
Novels you can devour in a few hours
Impossible to stop reading

•••••••••••

REVIEW: Bedding the Highlander is a Book Shots Flames brand. This is a selection of stories that are well written with a sizzling romantic theme to their genre; today’s review is BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER by Sabrina York, presented by James Patterson. The books are priced at under $5.00 US and have approximately only 150 pages. Designed to be read in an evening or at work on lunch hours, etc. Interesting idea, but I, personally, love a good long well written story. But then, I’m retired and have lots of time to read.

Now to this captivating story.

The story is about rival clans in Glencoe, Scotland in 1603. The Duke of Glencoe, in order to try to make an alliance for peace, has ordered the marriage of Katherine Killin to the rival clan laird Ben Rannoch.

Kirk Rannoch, brother of Ben, and his friend Brodie have been assigned to bring Katherine from the Killin stronghold to the Rannoch keep to be wed to Ben. They are, understandably, reluctant to enter the Killin keep, as many don’t return. Unfortunately, when they do, they find the wrong Catherine…no misspelling, it seems many of the Killian Laird’s daughters, mostly illegitimate, are named a form of Catherine. However, they notice the one presented does not have the signature red hair of the real Katherine Killin. They are told the real Katherine has run off rather than be wed to their enemy and they don’t know where she is. Reluctantly, they leave.
During the trip back, while camping at night, two thieves try to take the men’s horses. They capture them only to find that they are females and both have a form of red hair. A romance between “Ann” (aka Katherine) and Kirk is immediate and sizzling.

Okay, that’s the set up and the rest must be read to be enjoyed. It’s only 150 pages and doesn’t take long. I found it to be incredibly entertaining and very well written. I loved her solution for not having to marry the laird…possibly brave, possibly foolish but very interesting! Sabrina York is a fine author and writes a very inventive period novel.

Give it a shot!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna

Interview

TRC: Hi Sabrina. Welcome to The Reading Cafe.

Sabrina YorkSabrina: Thank you so much for having me! I am excited to be here!

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

Sabrina: Absolutely! My name is Sabrina York and I LOVE writing steamy, snarky romances…but I have ADD and enjoy writing in all sub genres (historical, contemporary, SEALs, Dukes, Highlanders and so on!).

Though I am predominantly published in romance, I also love writing in other genres like women’s fiction, fantasy, sci fi and more.

I think trying new things is important for working the writing muscles and keeps my writing fresh and fun.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Sabrina: My greatest influence was my mother, who refused to let me use my dyslexia as an excuse for not being an overachiever. She convinced me at an early age that this difficulty was actually a gift, because it allowed me to see things in ways other people might miss.

Indeed, it has been a gift, and so was having a mother so determined to help me succeed.

Although, I must say, I am also thankful for spellcheck and editors!

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Sabrina: Dyslexia aside, I worked for years writing and polishing my work. I submitted to hundreds of editors and agents and received an encyclopedia full of rejections. Though my work won many awards, I just couldn’t seem to sell.

And then, just when I was about to give up (for a career of sitting on the sofa, eating bon bons and watching Toddlers in Tiaras) I miraculously sold my first book.

My advice to writers who are struggling is: Don’t give up. Keep trying.

Now that I am published (in traditional and indie worlds) my challenges are balancing projects with the business side of things. There are so many things I have to do that I never imagined.

It would be wonderful if being an author meant sitting back and writing books, but there is so much more to it, including accounting (ick), marketing, social media, events, conferences and more (especially for Indie writers!)

Bedding the HighlanderTRC: Would you please tell us something about BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER?

Sabrina: I am so excited about this story! It has been a glorious experience working with James Patterson, Laura Fazio and the team at Hachette!

The core story is that with the death of the queen and the ascension of James VI—and the union of the crowns between Scotland and England—the world has turned on its ear. The new king is determined to make the transition a peaceful one. He is adamant that Scotland not be seen as a land of savages, but loyal, peaceful subjects of the crown. He has commanded his dukes to maintain peace and squash unrest at all costs.

In light of the rising turmoil and increased hostilities amongst his highland clans, Nicholas Lennox, the Duke of Glencoe—acting on explicit orders from the newly ascended King James VI—has issued an ultimatum to his unmarried lairds, demanding they unite with their rival clans…through marriage.

As logical as this plan is, nothing seems to go right.

His first declaration is that Ben Rannoch, Laird of Rannoch should marry Katherine Killin, daughter of Cuithbeart Killin (The Rannoch’s mortal enemy).

In Bedding the Highlander, Kirk Rannoch is sent to collect his brother’s intended. He has no idea that Katherine is far from a biddable wench. The plucky redhead has decided to seduce Kirk in hopes of scuttling a wedding to his brother, the Beast of Rannoch.

Imagine Kirk’s chagrin when he realizes the woman he had bedded is not the maid he thought her to be, but his brother’s bride!

I came up with this idea when my husband and I were visiting Scotland last September. I’d never been there before and it was a wonderful time. One of the villages we visited was Kinloch Rannoch, the town my mother’s people came from. I decided that my next Highland romp had to take place there!

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

Sabrina: I live by a maxim that an author can do whatever she wants, as long as she does it well. So no matter the twists and turns I fold into the plot, they have to be masterfully executed.

You get a feeling in your gut, a little niggle, when things aren’t right. I’ve learned you cannot ignore that, no matter how much work it is to rewrite. I’ve also learned I am always so much happier when I get it right!

One of my favorite things to do is lead the reader down the garden path, make her expect that something typical will happen, and then flip the script! The secret here is having fully-formed characters who behave in genuine and authentic ways. Needless to say, I lean toward strong, determined and sometimes stubborn heroines.

TRC: Have you ever had the opportunity to visit the Highlands of Scotland, and if so, how much of an influence or impact did the visit have on your stories?

Sabrina: I most certainly did, but sadly, only one time. I would love to go back.

Laird of her HeartIt was fascinating visiting historical sites like Urquhart Castle (which featured in my Highland Time Travel, Laird of her Heart) and the battlefield at Culloden, thinking of all the lives that had been lived and lost in these places. We took a tour of the north coast where my Untamed Highlander Series took place.

Standing on the cliffs at Duncansby Head Lighthouse and staring out over the cold grey waters of the North Sea gave me a new appreciation for the strength and stamina of the Scottish people.

I took hundreds of pictures so I would remember the feelings, the sights and the faces. Some things change with the times, but others don’t. I often felt I had stepped back in time.

Mostly, I was suffused with this amazing feeling of coming home, which makes sense, because my mother’s people are Stewarts.

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

Sabrina: I love writing them all, because when I switch, it’s almost like taking a break. It makes work feel less like work. J

The genre I find most difficult is the one I am working on at any given time.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. But it ain’t easy!

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?

Sabrina: I believe the cover is the most important element these days because a good 90% of readers are buying books online. The cover is the first thing they notice, there in a sea of covers.

It has to be stellar, and it has to reflect the story accurately.

In polls I’ve done with my lovely street team, the cover is always the top ranking decision factor, with “An Author I Know and Love” as number two. That’s why it is also critical to write consistently excellent books and give the reader what they want.

From a personal perspective, I also believe that relationships are super important in this business, whether it is with publishers, other authors, industry professionals and, of course, readers. I offer lots of ways to connect with my readers from my VIP Facebook room, to my Street Team and a newsletter that offers exclusive contests and content.

Yes, it takes time away from writing to foster and maintain these relationships, but it think it is important to know for whom I am writing. Plus, they are damn wonderful people!

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

Sabrina: I have a trick. I start out with a fairly well developed outline, but then, when I get going, yes, the characters start talking to me. I have to listen. It is their story after all!

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?

Sabrina: Absolutely. My job is to let the reader FEEL the story. To evoke and exploit emotion. My tactic is to write in what is called deep POV (Point of View). I only write one character per scene and everything from the language to the tone to the simmering emotions MUST be genuine and true to that character.

Another trick I learned is to keep the story moving. Focusing on the action and evolution of the story, I fold tidbits of information into dialog, reactions and internalizations rather than providing it in huge choking chunks. This is essential to KEEP THE READER IN THE STORY. I do not want you to put the book down! Long dull chunks of exposition are the perfect excuse to close the book and go have a root canal or something.

No! This cannot be allowed!!!!

As for writers who fail in invoking emotion, I’d like to say (and to be honest) we all have failed at one point or another. If we are lucky and/or smart, we have learned from it.

In my opinion, this failure (for wont of a better word) occurs when writers try to rush through scenes and assume the words they are putting on paper are having the effect they desire. I call this lazy writing and I am an expert at it. But the trick is in the editing. It is in the second, third or fourth pass when we flesh out the scene, maximize opportunities to stir emotions and cut out anything that gums up the works.

This last bit is where many writers struggle, because they are not inclined to murder their darlings. You know, that perfectly wicked turn of phrase, or the description of the train station we are in love with but goes on waaaaay too long for the reader to tolerate… That stuff needs to go, but writers in love with their own words don’t want to cut it.

Ask yourself is the story truly better or worse with this and then become a slasher.

In my humble opinion, writers only truly fail when they let their ego get in the way.

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

Sabrina: I love listening to music, but words distract me (muddles up the flow in my head) so the only music I listen to is classical. Fortunately, I love classical. It is supremely evocative.

Beethoven is a personal favorite (Appassionata and other such concertos), as well as Mozart and anything with the cello and oboe.

When I am in the “flow” the music does indeed influence me.

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

Sabrina: Believe it or not, no one in my family reads. Most of my friends are authors, but when we chat it is usually about other things (because we are all involved in our local chapter and conference). So no one, I suppose! Though I do occasionally talk to my agent about story ideas she would like to see.

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

Sabrina: I think they believe we live glamorous lives, which makes me giggle because I work from home, rarely leave the house and might have a conversation with one person other than my husband (or the dog). On a good day, I might actually get out of my PJs!

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

Sabrina: I’m an Army Brat, so I grew up traveling the world (though I don’t travel much anymore unless it is for work because I am so busy). Because we lived overseas when I was in college, I took a course in Ancient Egyptian History…in Egypt. I’ve actually been inside the Great Pyramid. Which was awesome…until I remembered I’m claustrophobic.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sabrina: I am thrilled that St. Martin’s asked me to continue my Untamed Highlander Series. I am now plotting out Hamish’s story!

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Sabrina: I love to connect with readers. Here are my links! I also have a tiara fetish, so be sure to enter my giveaways!

Giveaways: http://sabrinayork.com/current-giveaways/

Get two free books when you sign up for my Newsletter: http://sabrinayork.com/gift/

Join my Street Team: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/12s46UGgNUze1c3o3L8jIlXiLuhR5cFZjR83SCMElfw8/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

Facebook VIP chat room: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SabrinaYorkChatAndContests/

CONNECT

Follow my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork

Friend my Facebook Profile Page https://www.facebook.com/sabrina.york.14

Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks

Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york https://twitter.com/sabrina_york

Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5817917.Sabrina_York

Check out my Pinterest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/

Sign up for Amazon alerts: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork

Sign up for alerts on new releases with other vendors: https://books2read.com/author/sabrina-york/subscribe/1/28367/

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Bacon

Favorite Dessert: Cheesecake

Favorite TV Show: Below Deck

Last Movie You Saw: Shawshank Redemption

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush: George Clooney (and it’s not so secret)

Last Vacation Destination: Los Angeles

Do you have any pets? A rottie mix named Lola

Last book you read: Tina Fey’s Bossypants

TRC: Thank you Sabrina for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of Bedding the Highlander

Sabrina: Thanks for letting me play!

 

Giveaway

Sabrina’s publisher is graciously offering an ebook copy of
BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

3. Please like and follow Sabrina York’s Author Page on Facebook.

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

5. LIKE The Reading Cafe on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW the Reading Cafe on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open internationally

9. Giveaway runs from March 17-21, 2017

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HIghland Yearning (The Mackay Saga #2) by Dawn Ireland-Review, Interview & Giveaway

HIGHLAND YEARNING (The Mackay Saga #2) by Dawn Ireland-Review, Interview and Giveaway

 

Highland Yearning Banner

HIGHLAND YEARNING
The Mackay Saga
by Dawn Ireland
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Genre: adult, time-travel, Highlander romance

Highland Yearning

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 20, 2016

Caden Mackay would never bed a Sutherland, let alone marry one. Bloody hell, what had possessed his twin brother to propose to one of the she-devils? And what is Caden to do with the Sutherland beauty who appears, as if by magic, in his library? The defiant intruder is the enemy, but she is unlike any woman he’s ever known, and her tantalizing curves and wide green eyes could tempt a monk. He must devise a way to stop the wedding. But can he stop the desire that makes him long to make Ariel Sutherland his own?

Ariel’s life had never gone the way she’d hoped, but ending up in eighteenth century Scotland was a stretch, even for her. If not for her dog, Scruffy, she might have thought she’d walked into a romantic daydream. Especially since the object of her desire appears to be entirely too virile. But can she find her way back to her time, before her too-handsome Highlander makes her believe that love can conquer in any century?

•••••••••••

REVIEW: HIGHLAND YEARNING is the second installment in Dawn Ireland’s historical, Highlander The Mackay Saga paranormal, romance, time travel series. This is Laird Caden Mackay, and Ariel Sutherland’s story line. HIGHLAND YEARNING can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Caden and Ariel) HIGHLAND YEARNING follows Ariel Sutherland as she is hurled back in time, into the eighteenth century, and into a clan war between the Sutherland’s and the Mackay’s. In present day a stranger in a kilt offers Ariel a gift of the missing Mackay Ring of Belief, a ring she has been contracted to find by one of the current day Sutherland’s. Thought to have been lost for over two hundred years, one touch finds our heroine traveling through time into an age and people with whom she is very familiar. What ensues is the desperate search for the ring so Ariel is able to return to her time, and the building relationship between Ariel Sutherland and Caden Mackay- a relationship not approved by Caden himself.

Caden is a man determined to stop his brother Gavin’s upcoming marriage to Lady Kathleen Sutherland. The Sutherland and Mackay clans are at war, and Gavin’s marriage is not what it seems. While our couple search for the missing ring, Ariel begins to investigate the people of the Sutherland clan only to discover that someone has set out to destroy our story line heroine who is a woman use to her independence and ability to get things done.

The relationship between Ariel and Caden begins slowly. Caden is a man determined to find out why a ‘Mackay’ from the ‘colonies’ has been found on his estate, and Ariel is hoping to discover a way back home. As the relationship begins to build Caden realizes that he too has fallen for their presumed enemy, and Ariel knows that to keep the families from going to war, she is going to have to move on without the man that she loves. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense without the over the top graphic sexual content.

There is a large ensemble cast of characters from both the Mackay and Sutherland clans whose various roles are as vast as the Highland countryside. We are introduced to Caden’s father Donel Mackay who doesn’t seem surprised by Ariel’s appearance; and Caden’s brother Gavin who is so in love with Lady Kathleen Sutherland he is unable to see the bigger picture.

The world building looks at the struggle to survive in a world without ‘modern amenities’ including medicine and competent doctors. The similarities with the Outlander series cannot be denied but HIGHLAND YEARNING is an entertaining and colorful story of time travel, Scottish brogue and Highland romance. The premise is a fast paced with a little bit of mystery and suspense; the characters are energetic and animated; the romance is fated by time and magic. The epilogue fast forwards the story line several years where we catch a glimpse into the future and the possibility of another Highlander finding love. HIGHLAND YEARNING is a wondrous and enchanting story about family, love and acceptance.

Copy gifted for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview beige

TRC: Hi Dawn. Welcome to The Reading Café.

Congratulations on the release of HIGHLAND YEARNING.

Dawn: Thank you. I’m thrilled to be here!

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

Dawn: I never know what to say to this. Okay, here goes: I’m a lover of whimsy and Disney, I have way too many interests, I get tickled over wonderful romantic movies like Ever After, While You Were Sleeping and Pretty Woman, I live in Upstate New York in a Victorian home that is decorated with-you guessed it-antiques☺. Come on, I write historical romance. What did you expect?

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Dawn: Pat Ryan was my mentor. She won a RITA for her book, Silken Threads, and she was a wonderful teacher and guide. If you’re a new author out there, I can’t stress enough the importance of taking classes, talking to other authors, joining writing organizations and honing your craft.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Dawn: My biggest stumbling block is time. I’ll come up with a story idea and life intrudes. I’ve had to become more organized. Now, I even write down blog, interview and publishing dates on a calendar. (shudder) Of course, my German husband is thrilled. He’s been hoping, for years, that I’d catch the organization bug.

Highland YearningTRC: Would you please tell us something about HIGHLAND YEARNING?

Dawn: There were moments when I smiled as I wrote Highland Yearning. Time travel stories are great because you have plenty of opportunity for amusement and confusion. There’s always conflict when your hero and heroine don’t really understand one another.

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

Dawn: It will depend on what characters inspire me. Gavin, Ian, and Gordon all have aspects of their personality that make me want to write about them. Sterling Mackay has tangled with the Ring of Belief’s witch, Elspeth. I don’t believe he came away unscathed, so I’d like to explore that path and delve deeper into his ‘second sight.’ And some of the Mackay woman have stories to tell. It’s really going to depend on the books my readers want me to write. So, if you have a favorite secondary character, make sure to let me know.

TRC: Will Gavin’s story line be told next? And if so, do you have a possible date of release?

Dawn: Yes. Gavin’s story is next in my Mackay Series. Poor Gavin. He’d been blinded by love, but the future holds even more challenges for him. He’s decided a woman will never again influence his choices. Especially not a Sutherland. I’m hoping to have his story out in the first half of 2017.

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

Dawn: The twists and turns come from the characters. Some of my biggest surprises have come from my villain’s motivations. I’ll be writing and all of a sudden I’ll understand ‘why’ my bad guy is making my hero squirm. If realizations surprise me, they will usually surprise the reader.

TRC: Have you ever had the opportunity to visit the Highlands of Scotland, and if so, how much of an influence or impact did the visit have on your
stories?

Dawn: I never made it as far as the Highlands. I flew out of the airport in Glasgow and only managed to see Robert Burns’ cottage. There’s a story behind that trip, but I think I’ll save that for another day. (Gordon Maclean, where ever you are, it’s a wonderful memory☺ ) I would really like to visit Dunrobin, as my stories are based in that part of Scotland, but I don’t know if that’s going to be possible in the near future.

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?

Dawn: Without a doubt. The cover is the first thing that makes you stop as you’re looking over a sea of images on Amazon. Then, you need a blurb about the story that hints at the conflict. But all your effort is wasted if you don’t write a book that keeps readers turning pages.

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

Dawn: The characters always direct me. I start out knowing my main characters and the major turning points, including the end. But along the way, I meet characters who interact with my hero and heroine and show me who my lovers really are and what they want.

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?

Dawn: Most writers would say you have to use all the senses. I agree, but I don’t think that goes far enough. As a writer, you must be totally in the scene. If you try to write because you know what is supposed to happen, instead of experiencing it, you will fail. You need to write what your characters are feeling. (Okay, can you tell that I’ve done some acting?) If you don’t feel the emotions when you read your work, neither will your readers.

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

Dawn: If I listen to music, its groups like Celtic Women or Michael Feinstein. Although, Yanni has a song I really love, One Man’s Dream. When that comes on I simply sit and listen. I wonder if he’d ever let me use a little of that as a background for a book trailer?

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

Dawn: Most of the time I run story lines by my editor. She tries to keep me from being too far out there. For instance, in Highland Yearning I wrote the epilogue from Scruffy’s point of view. My editor suggested that, as I hadn’t done the dogs POV anywhere else in the book, I should keep the story in my hero or heroine’s head. She was right. The ending was much stronger when I re-wrote it. That said, I still did an interview with Scruffy and put it on my blog.

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

Dawn: That it’s easy to write a book. I thought, that as an avid reader, I wouldn’t have any trouble writing a novel, but you need a different skill set when you actually create a story.

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

Dawn: I love to sing karaoke.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Dawn: I’ve promised the readers of my Georgian historicals I’d write Morgan’s story next. I’m half-way through ‘Morgan’s Folly’ and I’m hoping to have it done by the end of this year, or the start of 2017. Then I’m turning my attention to Gavin’s story.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Dawn: I really do enjoy hearing from readers! I’m always inspired when a reader asks a question about one of my books, or looks at one of my characters in a new way. So, don’t be shy☺

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food – stuffed peppers

Favorite Dessert – Bacardi Rum Cake, no, wait, Monkey Bread (May I have several choices?)

Favorite TV Show – Firefly, which was canceled☹ Now I watch ‘Once Upon a Time’ (of course)

Last Movie You Saw – Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’

Dark or Milk Chocolate – dark

Secret Celebrity Crush – Hugh Jackman (sigh)

Last Vacation Destination – Port Jefferson, Long Island

Do you have any pets? – Two cats (Greystoke and Carmella) Highland Yearning is dedicated to Sir Smudge, the tuxedo kitty we lost last year, and to all the pets that bring us such joy.

Last book you read – Kim Harrison / The Good, the Bad and the Undead (I’m listening to the whole series on audio.)

TRC: Thank you Dawn for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of Highland Yearning.

About The Author beige

Follow: Goodreads / website / Facebook/ Twitter

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“Once Upon a Time” are four of Dawn’s favorite words. Her love of story became a love of romance when she read Georgette Heyer’s, Devil’s Cub. It inspired her to write stories with strong characters that discover love is never easy, but always worthwhile.

Dawn’s written several award-winning novels set in Georgian England – an era filled with rules and intrigue. Her characters often defy “Society” as they pursue love, run away, pursue, run away – well, you get the idea.

Then again, she might write romance in order to do the research. What other profession encourages you to sit in the audience at Harlequin’s Male Model search, and take notes, or just sigh?

Dawn lives in a Victorian home in Upstate New York with her husband and very independent cats. When she’s not writing, she’s singing, gardening, learning to play the harp or wood carving. If you’d like to learn more about Dawn and her novels, go to her website at www.dawn-ireland.com

Giveaway beige

Dawn Ireland is offering an ecopy of any ONE (1) book written by Dawn 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.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

3. Please follow Dawn Ireland on FACEBOOK.

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

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8. Giveaway open internationally

10. Giveaway runs from August 14-18, 2016

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I Dream of Dragons (Boston Dragons #1) by Ashlyn Chase-Interview and Giveaway

I DREAM OF DRAGONS (Boston Dragons #1) by Ashlyn Chase-Interview and Giveaway

I Dream of Dragons Banner

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 5, 2016

THE HEAT IS ON
When Rory Arish and his two fiery dragon siblings are run out of their ancestral Irish home, it seems their luck has run out-until they arrive in Boston and find a paranormal-friendly apartment building. Finally, Rory has a place to call home. There’s only one problem: Rory’s new lair has simultaneously been rented to an infuriating woman who is as stubborn as she is beautiful and will not leave ‘her’ apartment matter how steamed he may be…

AND SPARKS FLY
Amber McNally is a down-on-her-luck flight attendant. She needs this apartment, and not even a fire-breathing dragon with his Irish charm and scorching good looks is going to scare her away. Holing up in their respective corners, a battle of wills ensues. Who will be the first to blink…or give in to their off-the-charts chemistry and decide to make this unorthodox living arrangement a little more permanent?

I Dream of Dragons

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / ibooks/ Google / BAM

Interview

TRC: Hi Ashlyn. Welcome to The Reading Cafe.

Congratulations on the release of I DREAM OF DRAGONS.

A. C. Thank you! I’m really excited about this series.

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

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Ashlyn ChaseA. C. I was a nurse for twenty years, and I needed a creative outlet. I began by taking a course in screenplay writing at U Mass. I learned a lot about storytelling, but breaking into Hollywood, especially from the East Coast, is ridiculously hard — so I thought I would try the big city closer to home, New York… The seat of book publishing.

I monitored my reading tastes and found I liked reading hot romance. I joined RWA, plus a critique group, and learned much from them. I was even able to adapt some of my romantic comedy screenplays to novels. I love what I do, and I don’t think I’ll ever run out of ideas for new stories.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

A. C. I would have to say that my first critique with Jess Andersen, and my second critique with Sylvie Kurtz helped tremendously. Both of these fine ladies shared their knowledge and experience with me and did it honestly yet tactfully.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

A. C. Well, first of all, just finding a publisher when I started my writing career was very difficult. And getting an agent was even harder. I was advised to try epublishing. Back then the Kindle didn’t exist and almost no one knew what an ebook was. But I forged on, honing my craft with the help of my epublishers. It took a few years to find my voice and my niche. But once I did, the ball really got rolling.

I was thrilled to bits to get “the call”. A major publisher wanted my series, Strange Neighbors. After that I was able to get an agent who helped me understand my contract. That in itself can be difficult if you don’t speak legalese. I now have a different agent, and I really appreciate her guidance.

I Dream of DragonsTRC: Would you please tell us something about I DREAM OF DRAGONS?

A. C. This is a spin-off of the book How to Date a Dragon. Actually all of my mass market books can be considered spinoffs of the original Strange Neighbors series. However, they can be read individually or out of order. If you are like me, however, you want the series in order. I Dream of Dragons is book 1 in the new series Boston Dragons. I love this world I’ve created… Or perhaps I should say that my characters created it, because they often tell me what to do.

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

A. C. This is a trilogy, but it leads right into the next series, which was just contracted recently. That series will be four books long, and called the Phoenix brothers. So if you start with book 1 in the first series, Strange Neighbors, then go on to the spin-off series, Flirting with Fangs, we have two trilogies completed. The Boston Dragons series is also a trilogy, coming out now. That’s six books, with I Dream of Dragons coming in at Lucky number seven. Next will be My Wild Irish Dragon, coming out in Sept.

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

A. C. My characters actually do that. They are all different. Who they are, what they do, and their various backgrounds, determine how they’ll react. I try to get them into unique situations and then sit back and see what happens.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. What do you believe accounts for the differences between the sub-genres in today’s romantic stories?

A. C. I’m so glad you asked that. I use to write erotic romance. There is a difference between erotica and erotic romance. Erotica does not have to be romantic and it does not have to have a happy ending. All it needs to do is titillate the reader. Erotic romance follows the edicts of any other romance. I love love, and I can’t imagine writing a story without it.

My Wild Irish Dragon

TRC:  Which genre do you find most difficult to write and why?

A. C. Comedy can be difficult if you’re not in a funny mood. When real life intrudes, I might have to go back and put the humor in later. That happened just recently. A death in the family, plus a painful injury have really taken a toll on my comedic voice. ‘Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.’ I’ll feel like a nut again, believe me.

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?

A. C. Yes! Usually, the very first thing a reader sees is the cover. If the title and artwork don’t make them pick up the book, it’s game over. I’m fortunate to have Sourcebooks creating absolutely gorgeous covers for me.

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

A.C. I start out with the plot, but my characters often decide to veer off in another direction. They are usually right, so I follow along wherever they take me. That’s why I plot in pencil.

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?

A.C. The characters must be likable and relatable. They can start off a little bitchy, if they’re going through something problematic. Chances are, the readers will identify with that person’s emotions if they’d react similarly in the same situation. But the protagonists usually let the reader in on some of their back story, which explains why they act like they do. We then sympathize with them, and root for them to succeed.

If you didn’t pick up on my talking about my characters as if they’re real, I’d be surprised. I think that’s one of the tools that comes with being a writer.

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

A. C. No. I could probably listen to an instrumental piece, but anything with words will take me out of my characters heads, and I need to be able to listen to them.

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

A. C. My critique partner, Lexie Eddings a.k.a. Mia Marlowe, often makes excellent suggestions. Also I can run things by my agent Nicole Resciniti, if I get stuck or feel unsure of my direction.

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

A. C. That we’re all rolling in money. LOL. If only that were true.

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

A. C. I never learned to type. I have to look at the keys. And by looking down all the time, I put stress on my neck. I have degenerative joint disorder, which is a fancy way of saying arthritis. If the pain gets bad enough, I lie down and dictate what I’m writing into a microphone connected to a talk to text software program. In fact, I’m doing that right now!

TRC: On what are you currently working?

A. C. I’m writing book 3 in the Boston Dragons series. It doesn’t have an official title yet, but in my head I’m calling it stop Dragon My Heart Around. It’s the bridge book between the Boston Dragons series and the Phoenix Brothers series.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

A. C. Yes. I’m also a trained hypnotherapist (please buy my books,) and an interior designer (please buy my books,) as well as being an RN (please buy my books.) That’s probably why I write about characters who reinvent themselves.

TRC: 😉

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food — brownies.

Favorite Dessert — anything chocolate.

Favorite TV Show — right now it’s probably Castle. Of all time, it would be Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Last Movie You Saw — Deadpool.

Dark or Milk Chocolate — I know dark is good for me, but if I’m eating chocolate I’m not that concerned with being healthy.

Secret Celebrity Crush — Josh Hartnett

Last Vacation Destination — a Caribbean cruise

Do you have any pets? — Yes. A great cat, named Lightning. He’s twenty years old and we’ve had him since he was estimated to be between one and two by the animal shelter veterinarian.

Last book you read — I have 3 books going at once on my various devices, but I think the last one I finished was The Vampire’ s Mail Order Bride by Sally painter.

 

TRC: Thank you Ashlyn for taking the time to answer our questions, Congratulations on the release of I DREAM OF DRAGONS.

A. C. Of course. Thank you for the opportunity to reach more readers.

giveaway

Ashlyn’s publisher is offering a paper copy of I DREAM OF DRAGONS 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.

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The Gaiad (The LOGOS Series 1) by William Burcher-Review and Interview

THE GAIAD (The LOGOS Series #1) by William Burcher-Review and Interview

The Gaiad

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 19, 2016

In a society increasingly buried under the weight of its own insularity, an ancient and shadowy group selfishly guards a secret with the power to change everything. Tonight, on a stage in front of thousands, one of their members commits a horrible, shocking act. In the audience is Detective Fleur Romano. Bitter and world-weary, she vows to uncover the reasons behind the horror she just witnessed. In the process, she’ll discover that she’s led her lonely life ignorant a fundamental truth, a truth first discovered by a man who walked the earth millennia ago, a man mysteriously familiar

In this powerful debut, William Burcher is willing to explore unique and fantastic themes with realism and grit. The GAIAD boldly poses big questions. What do we lose, as we separate ourselves from the earth and each other? What would the future hold, if suddenly something changed with that most fundamental of relationships—the one we have with our own planet?

••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE GAIAD is the first installment in William Burcher’s science fiction series THE LOGOS.

Told from several third person points of view, flashing (in three parts) between the past, the present and the future, THE GAIAD is a story line based in Greek mythology founding on the belief in Gaia-the personification of Earth-and the separation of Earth and sky.

The story line follows our heroine Detective Fleur Romano as she is ‘blessed’ with the ability to hear Gaia’s song-a song that few have ever been able to hear, and fewer that have known of its existence. From a ‘society’ that acknowledges Earth’s past, and its connections to space, time, and thousands of years of history, Fleur finds herself at the center of an organization that is at war with itself when one of its own wants to reveal their existence to the world.

From the past, we are witness to the anthropological development of mankind as he desecrates the planet -the mother-upon which we live and survive; from the present we watch as mankind continues to search for the truth; and the future, where one small child may be the answer to life’s question.

The perception that humankind has potentially caused Gaia too much pain and suffering-wherein the ’mother’ must separate herself from the children that wrought heartache and misery- reaches beneath the story line content into something more philosophical and spiritual.

THE GAIAD looks at society; at the sociological implications of mankind’s struggle to survive; of man’s dark and dangerous predilection to seize power and control; of a belief system that wants a return to the ‘mother’ who continues to sing a song no one can hear.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview red:black

TRC: Hi William and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of THE GAIAD.

William: Thank you!

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

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WilliamBurcherWilliam: My background’s kind of unique, I think. And it influences my writing. A year and a half ago I was working outside of Denver as a police officer. Believe it or not, I got into law enforcement with writing in mind. I wanted to see things that most people don’t normally see—life and humanity in its most raw. I saw it as an education, really. I subscribe to the belief that a writer needs a certain level of unique experience in order to write well and truly. Being a cop served me well here.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

William: Many things, many people. Eastern philosophy. Seeing people at their worst (and also, frequently, at their best) everyday “on the job.” Being exposed intimately to death. And also growing up in Colorado—where natural beauty is so abundant, and all you have to do (if you feel that you need a little adjustment to your perspective) is step outside on a clear night and LOOK UP. The natural world is my ultimate influence. My ultimate muse.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your story?

William: The GAIAD is my first full length novel. Though I’ve always been a writer, sitting down and working on the same project for nearly a year is a different experience. I got to some places within that were uncomfortable, at times, to deal with and also to write from. There were times when I didn’t want to go any further, or continue down a certain path with the story because it was difficult, emotionally. But I knew that if I was encountering that kind of internal resistance, it was probably the path that I should, in fact, be on.

The GaiadTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of THE GAIAD?

William: The Earth is not what we think it is. Millennia ago this was discovered by an earlier race of people, a people more in-touch with the “stuff of life” than we are today. A group was formed out of that first discovery, and that group has protected it as a secret ever since. The main character, Fleur Romano, discovers both the secret and its history and knows that it has the power to change so much. The message and premise of the story is ultimately a positive one.

TRC: From where did you develop the concept of THE GAIAD?

William: This is kind of a good story, actually. So, after I left police work, I felt that I needed some time to decompress, to think, to emote, to digest. I sold my house and bought an RV and outfitted it with this wicked solar power system. I was able to spend weeks in beautiful, pristine places, mostly in the Western US. There’s a special place in my heart for Southern Utah, the country around Moab. There’s literally no other place like it in the rest of the World; though images of Mars provided by Curiosity and the other rover missions remind me of it. I was staying in this area called the San Rafael Swell, west of Moab a bit. One afternoon I climbed this pretty substantial slope leading up to the base of a cliff—part of a system of canyons known as the “Little Grand Canyon.” The sun was low in the sky, the light was gorgeous and golden, and in the middle of nowhere, literally, away from all trails or landmarks or anything, I came upon a stack of rocks. A “cairn” had been placed there some time ago. It could have been there for a year, or a few thousand. It got me thinking. What did it mean? What was it really communicating? These thoughts kind of came like a cascade and at the end of it I had the basic storyline of The GAIAD.

TRC: Are any of the characters or scenarios based in reality e.g. through your work in law enforcement?

William: Yeah, definitely. Many of my characters are comprised of elements of real people that I’ve known. My main character, Fleur, is based on a good friend of mine who’s still working as a Crimes Against Children detective. She’s this kind of super-human figure in real life. She trains and coaches CrossFit in her off-time, raises two kids, changes the oil in her car, makes a mean butterscotch cupcake and is, incidentally, a really good cop.

Although the book isn’t dominated by violence, and is certainly not about violence for the sake of itself only; there are some graphic scenes there. These, unfortunately, were flavored by real experiences of mine. I probably don’t need to go into that any further.

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

William: Three. Unless there’s more there to be explored. I promise, though, that I will NOT take my cues here from George R.R. Martin, or Dan Simmons, or other writers of endless, incessant, frustratingly-long series!

TRC: What message would you like your readers to come away with after reading THE GAIAD?

William: That life is a gift. And inherently good. And that we’re connected to so much more than we normally think. I mention this frequently, but the thought is a powerful one, and the sentiment it expresses is ultimately what The GAIAD is about: Our bodies are literally formed from the dust of stars, heavier elements born in the cores of collapsing, dying stars. We’re connected on a fundamental level to everything in creation. That fact puts things into perspective for me.

TRC: Do you believe your story line follows a philosophical, sociological or spiritual line of thinking, or a combination of all three –or something else?

William: Absolutely. I feel that in many ways we (especially my generation, in the United States) have lost our sense of wonder about the world around us. In The GAIAD I try and speak of this, and provide, maybe, a solution to that.

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

William: I think that life is inherently unpredictable. Events occur, which at the time, seem completely without foreshadowing, without meaning or cause. I think that if a writer is being true to his or her life experience, to their objective perceptions about “the way things are,” this isn’t really a problem. If I were writing a story about a dinosaur named “Bill” who stalked apatosauruses 65 million years ago, there would be no foreshadowing, no warning before the comet fell from the sky at 50,000 miles an hour, hitting the coast off the Yucatan and changing Bill’s life and the entire world forever.

TRC: Who or what influenced your interest in science fiction? Do you have a favorite Sci-Fi author?

William: SciFi is the genre of big ideas, though it can forget this itself, sometimes. It’s the genre of the BIGGEST ideas, ideas that can touch on the sublime. This has always been extraordinarily attractive to me. Many of my favorites are the greats of times past, Arthur C Clarke being chief among them. His mind was amazing. It pleases me that folks today can still appreciate the broadness, the expansiveness of his ideas. I need to start watching “Childhood’s End.” The book is a favorite.

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?

William: Yes, of course. I find myself doing it all the time, browsing book titles. Though a solid review or a recommendation from someone I respect can immediately trump all other factors, positive or negative.

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

William: Science fiction, by its nature, is driven more by the premise, or the world, or the problem being solved. But, good SciFi obviously honors its characters too. One cannot tell a good story without the perceptions, the emotions of the people experiencing the story “firsthand.” I think that there’s a balance to be struck here. In The GAIAD, the Earth itself becomes a character with angst and longing, both explored further in the subsequent books.

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

William: I have a core group of good friends that I discuss my ideas with. Some of these people you wouldn’t expect, really, to be capable of valuable insight. I have a friend, a cop I used to work with, a SWAT guy actually, who’s always up for a serious, literary discussion.

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?

William: This question is certainly related to the previous, and is, of course, very applicable to science fiction. I recently finished reading a very popular, classic SciFi book in which the premise of the story dominated, but the actions of many of the characters seemed not quite right to me, not quite realistic. Their emotional experiences, also, seemed contrived and unimportant. Even in a genre where the story might be about a greater reality than that of the characters’, this reality is seen and experienced by them. It’s like the old aphorism, “if a tree falls in the woods and no is there to see it…” The characters have to be present, there, living it, to see the tree fall.

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

William: No. I specifically don’t for this reason—that it does influence my writing. For this same reason, I avoid other books and film when I’m really focusing on a story, especially in the early, formative stages.

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

William: That we’re somewhat strange, incompetent dreamers without practical abilities. Or that we drink heavily. Or here in Colorado, liberally partake in other recently legalized substances.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

William: The sequel to The GAIAD. Stay tuned!

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

William: Writers, I think, have a pretty important responsibility—to lead the minds of their readers to better places, “fields both green and golden.” I take this responsibility seriously, and my greatest hope is that I’ve succeeded, if in a small way. Thank your for allowing me the opportunity to speak a little about The GAIAD. It was great fun.

TRC: Thank you William for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of THE GAIAD.

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