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

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

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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.

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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

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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).

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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 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?

Follow: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Twitter

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.

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 Ashlyn Chase 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 open to USA and Canada

10. Giveaway runs from April 7-11, 2016

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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?

Follow: Goodreads/Website/Twitter/Facebook

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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Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe-Review and Interview

EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID (Everything I Left Unsaid #1) by M. O’Keefe-Review and Interview

Everything I Left Unsaid

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 13, 2015

I didn’t think answering someone else’s cellphone would change my life. But the stranger with the low, deep voice on the other end of the line tempted me, awakened my body, set me on fire. He was looking for someone else. Instead he found me.

And I found a hot, secret world where I felt alive for the first time.

His name was Dylan, and, strangely, he made me feel safe. Desired. Compelled. Every dark thing he asked me to do, I did. Without question. I longed to meet him, but we were both keeping secrets. And mine were dangerous. If I took the first step, if I got closer to Dylan—emotionally, physically—then I wouldn’t be hiding anymore. I would be exposed, with nothing left to surrender but the truth. And my truth could hurt us both.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID is the first installment in Molly O’Keefe’s contemporary adult Everything I Left Unsaid erotic, romantic suspense duology focusing on Annie McKay and Dylan Daniels.

Told from first person point of view (Annie) and third person perspective (Dylan) EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID follows Annie aka Layla on the run from her abusive husband, arriving in Carolina from the Flatlands of Oklahoma. Layla is hiding and working in a run down, trailer park to escape her life and the man who has all but destroyed everything she has ever loved. Enter the mysterious Dylan Daniels, a former NASCAR driver, and the man who will be the focus in all of Annie’s fantasies and dreams. When Annie answers a lost cell phone, she will inadvertently becomes part of Dylan’s life, but Dylan wants to remain anonymous, and Annie becomes a distraction that he isn’t willing to give up.

A good portion and the foundation of the storyline follows Annie and Dylan’s phone Sex and text messages. Not having yet met face to face with Annie, Dylan and Annie’s relationship is sexually aggressive and suggestive with Dylan instructing Annie in the ways of pleasuring herself and talking dirty on the phone. Annie is an innocent; inexperienced; and naïve. Dylan is an enigma with a dark past, and an even darker present. What little we know, leaves us wanting more. Most of the $ex scenes are limited to phone $ex; their physical intimacy has an expiry date when Annie decides she doesn’t want or need Dylan’s help.

EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID has a large ensemble cast of characters from the Flowered Manor Trailer Park and Camp Ground: Joan the stripper who hides her true identity from those around; elderly Ben whose past is mired in dark and dangerous secrets; Kevin the trailer park manager who hires Annie for maintenance and clean up; and Tiffany, a young mother in an abusive relationship.

The world building focuses on the lives of the people at the Flowered Manor Trailer Park and Camp Ground; Annie’s need to keep ahead of her past; and Dylan’s hermit existence upon the mountain he works and owns.

EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID ends on a cliffhanger that leaves many unanswered questions about the how and why. Dylan’s life is revealed a little at a time, but our leading hero has secrets that he doesn’t want anyone to know. EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID is a story of mystery and suspense; flawed, impassioned characters with heartbreaking stories and tragic lives but saying that the storyline barely scratches the surface of the truth. EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID leaves you wanting more-right now !

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Everything I Left Unsaid teaser

Interview

TRC: Hi Molly and welcome to The Reading Café.

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

Molly O'KeefeMolly: Well, I’m a romance novelist by day and an ass-kicking vigilante at night? Actually, I’m a mom and romance novelist by day and exhausted at night. No time for ass-kicking vigilantism. I’ve written 30 books for Harlequin and Bantam over the last fifteen years.

I have two great kids and a lovely husband. We live in Toronto, Canada.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Molly: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. And a romance novelist since I was about fifteen years old. I’ve been incredibly lucky over the years to meet mentors, teachers and friends exactly when I needed them. And all along I’ve had hundreds of amazing books to inspire me.

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

Molly: Well, this business is both a challenge and a difficulty and an opportunity – often all at the same time. I find the largest challenge I have is in my own head. Staying motivated, not comparing my career to other author’s careers. Keeping my head down and getting the work done and constantly and consistently finding joy in the process and work.

Everything I Left UnsaidTRC: Would you please tell us something about premise of EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID-the first book in the series of the same name?

Molly: Well, it’s a dulogy – the first book ENDS ON A WICKED CLIFFHANGER – so be warned!

It’s about a woman on the run from her abusive ex-husband. She ends up in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere and finds a ringing cell phone that had been left behind by the previous tenant. She answers the phone and begins a dangerous and sexual relationship with the man on the other end.

The characters don’t actually meet for a huge portion of the book – so it’s all done through phone calls and texts.

TRC: Are any of the characters based in reality or a mixture of real and fiction?

Molly: Well, the hero is HEAVILY inspired by the delicious actor Tom Hardy!

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

Molly: Well there’s Everything I Left Unsaid, The Truth About Him and then at least two more. Possibly more.

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

Molly: It’s a matter of very carefully leaving hints so that when a big twist happens the reader is totally surprised and can still believe it.

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?

Molly: That’s such a great question! When I started writing Everything I Left Unsaid I thought it was going to be just like my other books but with this really sexy premise. But then as I started to write it – everything was just…sharper. More dramatic. The language – the POV’s….so that’s one difference.

As for the erotica – I think the more crucial the sexual relationship is to the storyline and the characters development and arc – the more erotic the romance. And then it’s a matter of making those scenes as charged and unpredictable as possible.

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?

Molly: Absolutely. Lots of readers – myself included – pick up books on the amazing covers alone. I’ve found so many great books because of it. I’ve been burned too, but it’s a gamble I love taking!!

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?

Molly: I think it’s a combination of a lot of things – for me it’s a matter of making the characters as human as I can – which means real and relatable flaws. Slick, perfect characters are a total turn-off for me.

After I come up with my characters and make them as three dimensional as possible – then it’s a matter of showing the characters to the reader.

I think as writers write faster and faster – we’re getting told so much about the story and the characters. We need to get back to that immersive showing rather than the slick telling.

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

Molly: I’ve had a crucial group of writer friends since the very beginning of my career. I would be LOST without them.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Website: http://www.molly-okeefe.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mokeefeauthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MollyOKeefeBooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1657059327869189/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MollyOKwrites

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food –The steak and a beautiful salad

Favorite Dessert chocolate cake

Favorite TV Showoh, so hard. Currently obsessed with Scandal and The Walking Dead but all time favorite is West Wing.

Last Movie You Saw in the theater- Yikes it’s been ages. But we just watched the 3rd Harry Potter movie. Huge hit at my house.

Dark or Milk Chocolate –Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush Not- so secret – Tom Hardy

Last Vacation Destination –ha – we JUST got back from three weeks in a campervan in the UK. Though – it was so intense I’m not sure it counts as a “vacation”

Do you have any pets?- A dog named Daisy and a lizard named Pip.

Last book you read- oh I am LOVING A Madness So Discreet. Dark and scary and mysterious. LOVE IT!

Pet Peeve- hmmm… I can’t think of one specific thing which probably means I have seven million. But I really hate it when people don’t help. No matter how big or small I think we can all help out.

TRC: Thank you Molly for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release. We wish you all the best.

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Wicked for You (Wicked Lovers #10 ) by Shayla Black-Review, Interview and Giveaway

WICKED FOR YOU (Wicked Lovers #10) by Shayla Black-Review, Interview  and Giveaway

Pure Wicked (Wicked Lovers 9.5) by Shayla Black
Wicked-for-You-Banner

Wicked for You
Wicked Lovers 10
by Shayla Black
Genre: adult, contemporary, BDSM, erotic, romantic suspense
Release Date: October 6, 2015

Wicked for You

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 6, 2015

Ever since he rescued her from a dangerous kidnapper, Mystery Mullins has wanted Axel Dillon. When he returned her to her Hollywood father and tabloid life, she was grateful…and a little in love. Mystery wasn’t ready to let Axel go, even after the soldier gently turned her away because, at nineteen, she was too young.

Now, six years later, Mystery is grown, with a flourishing career and a full life—but she’s still stuck on Axel. Disguised, she propositions him in a bar, and the night they spend together is beyond her wildest dreams. Mystery steels herself to walk away—except the sheets are barely cold when her past comes back to haunt her.

Once he realizes Mystery isn’t the stranger he thought, Axel is incensed and intrigued. But when it’s clear she’s in danger, he doesn’t hesitate to become her protector—and her lover—again. And as the two uncover a secret someone is willing to kill for, Axel is determined to claim Mystery’s heart before a murderer silences her for good.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: WICKED FOR YOU is the tenth full length installment in Shayla Black’s contemporary, adult WICKED LOVERS erotic romantic suspense series. Wicked Lovers focuses on a group of former marines, special ops, former police and military men, the women they love and their connection to Dominion BDSM club. This is former army medic and retrieval specialist Axel Dillon, and writer Mystery Mullins‘s storyline. WICKED FOR YOU can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous storylines is imparted where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives WICKED FOR YOU is a two-part story that flashes between the present and the past. Six years earlier Mystery Mullins was kidnapped and held prisoner in a deserted warehouse in the Mojave Desert. Mystery’s father and world famous director Marshal Mullins hired Axel Dillon as part of a search and rescue team whose primary focus is on retrieving precious cargo.

On the run for days in the desert with Axel, Mystery finds herself strangely attracted to her gorgeous rescuer who will feature prominently in Mystery’s future fantasies. Axel wants nothing to do with a then nineteen year old Mystery and walks out of her life without a backward glance once she has been handed over to her father. Fast forward six years and Mystery is determined to seduce Axel into a one-night stand- an affair where she is determined to keep her identity a secret fearing another rejection from the man who yet calls to her heart.

Mystery has been living in the UK for six years but a return to America finds our heroine searching for the truth about her mother’s death, and the man who walked away breaking her heart. Mystery’s return to the USA finds our heroine targeted once again, and Axel and Heath Powell (Mystery’s personal bodyguard) become her number one and number two protectors while Mystery continues to search for the truth.

The relationship between Mystery and Axel is a story of second chances-so to speak-as both Axel and Mystery have never forgotten about the few days they spent together following the search and rescue. Axel is a Dominant both in and out of the bedroom, and is an active member at the BDSM Club Dominion. Mystery is aware of Axel’s need to dominate, and with it comes her natural submission to the man with whom she has fallen in love. The $ex scenes are erotic, intimate and a little bit kinky. Axel, like many of the men in the series has issues with disobedience and spanking is his preferred method of discipline.

The Wicked Lovers series of novels are ensemble storylines wherein a number of the previous storybook characters play secondary and supporting roles; most of WICKED FOR YOU focuses on Axel, Mystery, Heath and Mystery’s Aunt Gail Leedy. Sean, Thorpe (Dominion Club owner and head Dom) and Callie (Theirs to Cherish #8) have cameo appearances for cohesion and history as well as Javier and Xander (Ours to Love #7) and Joaquin Munoz (His To Take #9).

WICKED FOR YOU is a suspense filled story focusing on uncovering the truth behind Mystery’s mother’s death, and the possible connection to Mystery’s abduction and her mother’s past. WICKED FOR YOU is a fast paced and animated storyline. The characterization is presented through description narratives and indirectly through the thoughts and action of the leading couple. A several chapter-long flashback reveals Mystery and Axel’s introduction to one another and what precipitated Mystery’s heartbreak and sorrow creating the building blocks upon which the present day storyline will focus. The conflict revolves around lies, secrets and deep-seated family dysfunction; the requisite evil is a two-fold twist to the storyline.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

__________

Pure WickedPURE WICKED: 1001 Dark Nights
(Wicked Lovers 9.5)
by Shayla Black

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 8, 2015

During his decade as an international pop star, Jesse McCall has lived every day in the fast lane. A committed hedonist reveling in amazing highs, globetrotting, and nameless encounters, he refuses to think about his loneliness or empty future. Then tragedy strikes.

Shocked and grieving, he sheds his identity and walks away, searching for peace. Instead, he finds Bristol Reese, a no-nonsense beauty scraping to keep her family’s business afloat while struggling with her own demons. He’s intent on seducing her, but other than a pleasure-filled night, she’s not interested in a player, especially after her boyfriend recently proposed to her sister. In order to claim Bristol, Jesse has to prove he’s not the kind of man he’s always been. But when she learns his identity and his past comes back to haunt him, how will he convince her that he’s a changed man who wants nothing more than to make her his forever?

•••••••••••••

REVIEW:   PURE WICKED is installment 9.5 in Shayla Black’s contemporary adult WICKED LOVERS erotic romance series. This is rock star Jesse McCall, and bakery/café owner Bristol Reese’s storyline. PURE WICKED is also the latest entry into the multi-authored 1001 Dark Nights novella series and can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from third person point of view PURE WICKED follows Jesse McCall in hiding. With the recent overdose of a fan, and the suicide of his backup singer Ryan, Jesse has gone into hiding to keep the paparazzi at bay. Jesse’s character as a bad boy rock star has garnered our storyline hero a less than golden reputation with the media, and with the death of his friend and a female fan, Jesse is the number one target of rumor and innuendo surrounding the circumstances of their deaths. Following the advice of his publicist Candia, Jesse (with a toned down appearance) takes off for places unknown landing in Texarkana Texas, where he will meet and fall in love with bakery owner Bristol Reese.

The relationship between Jesse and Bristol is very quick to build; an insta love romance that finds our hero wanting to play house within a few hours of arriving in Texarkana. Jesse will meet Bristol at her sister’s engagement party where Jesse will come to Bristol’s aid pretending to be her new beau. The $ex scenes are seductive and steamy; Jesse and Bristol are in bed together within an hour of meeting one another.

PURE WICKED is a story about a boy and a girl who fall in love. Jesse believes he has found the other half of his soul; the woman who will save him from the demons within. The premise is enjoyable but not too realistic; the characters are colorful although slightly one dimensional-we know very little about their background except for the immediate past; the romance and sex are energetic and immediate. If you are looking for some fluff without all of the heavy romantic angst and foreplay, than PURE WICKED is the perfect read.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

TRC: Hi Shayla and welcome to The Reading Café.

Shayla BlackShayla: Hi! Thanks so much for having me here.

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

Follow Shayla: Website / Goodreads / Facebook/ Twitter

Shayla: Let’s make this easy. Here is my bio!

Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than forty novels. For over fifteen years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold well over a million copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past seven years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and a very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

TRC: Who or what has most influenced your career in writing?

Shayla: I wouldn’t credit any one person or source. I’m influenced by so many things from my own experiences to the music I hear. I’ll also give my husband a bunch of credit for opening my eyes in so many ways. I also have to say that Lexi Blake and my countless conversations with her about books, storytelling, other genres, and life in general have actually changed the way I approach some things. I’m absolutely happy where my stories are coming from and where they’re heading at this point.

Wicked for YouTRC: Would you please tell us a little bit about WICKED FOR YOU, the newest installment in your Wicked Lovers series?

Shayla: Ever since he rescued her from a dangerous kidnapper, Mystery Mullins has wanted Axel Dillon. When he returned her to her Hollywood father and tabloid life, she was grateful…and a little in love. Mystery wasn’t ready to let Axel go, even after the soldier gently turned her away because, at nineteen, she was too young.

Now, six years later, Mystery is grown, with a flourishing career and a full life—but she’s still stuck on Axel. Disguised, she propositions him in a bar, and the night they spend together is beyond her wildest dreams. Mystery steels herself to walk away—except the sheets are barely cold when her past comes back to haunt her.

Once he realizes Mystery isn’t the stranger he thought, Axel is incensed and intrigued. But when it’s clear she’s in danger, he doesn’t hesitate to become her protector—and her lover—again. And as the two uncover a secret someone is willing to kill for, Axel is determined to claim Mystery’s heart before a murderer silences her for good.

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

Shayla: I’m currently contracted through book 12. We’ll see where I go after that… I’ve got ideas.

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

Shayla: I simply write things I’d like to read and tell the story from my heart. That may sound trite, but something about every one of these books interests and moves me deeply or I wouldn’t write them. Other than that, I constantly strive to do my best and give readers a satisfying experience.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic romance, 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?

Shayla: To me, erotica is about one person’s journey to self-actualization through a sexual journey. It may or may not end in a happily ever after. It may or may not also be monogamous. A romance will always be about commitment and end in a happily ever after. So will an erotic romance; it simply contains additional and more explicit sexual content. I think we have these various approaches because we have so many different readers. Some see themselves as wanting to figure out their life, psyche, and future. Some just want the experience of falling in love, which doesn’t always require sex. Others need that sweet slide into forever with one (or more) mate but they like extra spice in the bedroom.

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?

Shayla: For some, I’m sure it does. I know for others, not so much. I’m not a visual person so while a pretty cover will snag my attention, if the blurb doesn’t grab me or the writing isn’t craftworthy, I’ll probably pass. That could also be because I know authors don’t always have control over how their books are packaged. They have far more control over content, so that’s where I focus.

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

Shayla: Both, in a weird way. During the writing process, I feel as if I become my point-of-view character. They might be driving the bus, but we’re sharing the steering wheel, so I definitely have a hand in navigating.

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

Shayla: Absolutely. I’m HUGE into music. I’m always looking for something that moves me—to tears, to anger, to happiness. Whatever I want to portray in a scene, I’m always in search of corresponding music. I’m currently listening to Fall Out Boy and Ocean Lab, two VERY different bands.

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

Shayla: I’m extroverted, so I don’t really think well in the silence of my own head when it comes to ideas. I’ll sometimes run things past my husband, Lexi Blake, Jenna Jacob, my lovely assistant Rachel, or my good friend Liz Berry. My circle is pretty small but mighty.

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

Shayla: That we are all creative dreamers who spend the majority of our time lost in storyland, led by our muse who takes our hands and shows us the way. We hold down many other roles in life—wife, mother, employee, friend, daughter, sister—and if I waited for my muse to help me out, I’d still be trying to finish my first book. Sometimes, you have to dig deep and find your way to The End through pure grit.

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

Shayla: Oddly, many people are against plots in which they say “insta-love” happens between the hero and heroine. But I adore those plots because I knew in the first thirty seconds of meeting my husband that I was going to marry him. I was seventeen. He was dating someone else. None of that mattered. I just knew. Granted, I didn’t know him as an individual in those thirty seconds but I had a sixth sense. We started dating shortly after that. We just celebrated 24 years of marriage.

TRC:  Congratulations

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Shayla: Wicked Lovers 11, which will be out next July. I have a title…but it’s not ready to share. I also just finished up edits on book three of my new with series with Lexi Blake, The Perfect Gentlemen. So after book 2 (Seduction in Session) in January, look for Big Easy Temptation in May.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Shayla: After nearly twenty years as an author, I love what I do everyday and am so grateful to readers who find a whole new world in the written word and will take journeys with me.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Depends on my mood

Favorite Dessert
Depends on my mood

Favorite TV Show
Depends on my mood

Last Movie You Saw
In theaters, Man from UNCLE (loved it!). At home, Austenland (also loved it!)

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Depends on my mood. LOL! Are you sensing a theme?

Secret Celebrity Crush
Gerard Butler, John Cena, Armie Hammer

Last Vacation Destination
I’m answering this interview on my way to visit some other writer friends (shout out to Lorelei James, Larissa Ione, and Julie Kenner) in Palm Coast, Florida.

Do you have any pets?
One very spoiled orange tabby cat, Missy Meow.

Last book you read
Jay Crownover’s BETTER WHEN HE’S BAD.

Pet Peeve
I have two. Passive-aggressive people and too many rules.

TRC: Thank you Shayla for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release. We wish you all the best.

Shayla: Thanks so much for having me here!

Giveaway-Black and Deep Blue

The Reading Cafe and Shayla’s publisher are offering a paper copy of WICKED FOR YOU to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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

3. Please LIKE and Follow Shayla Black on Facebook

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

5. FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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

7. Giveaway is open to USA only.

8. Giveaway runs from October 6-10, 2015

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