Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Spotlight - Never Say Forever

I don't know if you remember that I had Karen King talking about her young adult novel a while back. Well, she's back and this time, she's writing under Kay Harborne and she's writing romance - although, unknown to me, she's pretty old hat at that too! I adore the tagline of her book and it hooks me straight away - Do you follow your dream or do you follow your heart?

Kay Harborne has written several romance stories for women's magazines. Her romance novel The Millionaire Plan was nominated for the RONE Award earlier this year. Never Say Forever was originally published by as a People’s Friend Pocket Novel, then in large print by Linford Romance. She is delighted that Astraea Press have republished it.  Kay has also written many children's books under the name of Karen King. She loves reading, writing and eating chocolate.

Never Say Forever is about to be released so the buy links below may not lead you directly to the book yet but keep your eyes open for this fascinating book.


Blurb:

Do you follow your dream or follow your heart?

That’s the decision Kendall McKenzie has to make when she meets hunky businessman Jake Newman. It’s obvious that he’s as attracted to her as she is to him. But Kendall has vowed to never get married – and it seems that Jake, too, is determined to never commit. When the two are together however sparks fly and it’s obvious to everyone except themselves that they’re meant to be together. Can Kendall trust Jake enough to give him her heart? And if she does will she have to say goodbye to her dream?

Excerpt:

He turned and saw an open door leading into the kitchen where Kendall, her back towards him, was unplugging the kettle. She was wearing a neat, grey, pinstriped suit, the jacket tapering in at the waist and the skirt finishing just above the knee, with enough of a slit to reveal her very shapely legs.

She turned around and smiled at him, and his heart missed a beat. She was incredibly pretty and fresh, even at this early hour. Her glowing hair was loosely tied back from her face, which was bare of make-up apart from a touch of lipstick, and her eyes were bright and sparkling, as if she’d had a restful night’s sleep.

“OK, I’m ready now. I’ve just got to get my suitcase out of the bedroom.”

Here was where he was supposed to tell her that she was staying at the Birmingham office, that he didn’t need her in Spain, after all. But the words wouldn’t come. He might not need her in Spain with him, but he definitely wanted her there.

“Ouch!” Kendall’s cry of pain interrupted his thoughts. He dashed down the hall and saw her bending down, rubbing the back of her leg, the suitcase on the floor behind her.

“Are you all right?” he asked, worried. His eyes rested on the hole in her tights and the bruise already forming. “That looks nasty,” he said sympathetically.

She flushed. “The case was heavier than I thought. I stumbled and caught the back of my leg with it. I’ll be fine. I just need to change my tights.”

“I’ll wait in the car for you.” He effortlessly picked up the heavy suitcase. “And we’re all right for a few minutes if you want to put some ice on that bruise.” Without waiting for an answer, he carried the suitcase out the front door.

Maybe he was the one who needed the ice, he thought, as he took the case down to the car. The sight of Kendall’s bare skin peeping through the hole in her tights and hint of cleavage as she’d bent down to rub her leg had certainly made his temperature rise.

Don’t even think about it, he warned himself as he pressed the remote to open the car boot. This was a business trip, and he had to keep it that way. He never mixed business with pleasure and he wasn’t about to start now. Not even with Kendall McKenzie.

Especially not with Kendall McKenzie.

****

It was only as she walked into the car park at the back of the flats that Kendall realised she didn’t know what sort of car Jake drove, but the sleek midnight-blue sedan just had to be his. She was a bit taken aback when he got out, walked around, and opened the passenger door for her. Not many guys did that nowadays.

“Thank you,” she said as she slid onto the leather seat.

“My pleasure.” There was a hint of teasing in his reply, as if he knew he’d surprised her.

“Love the car,” she said as he got in beside her.

He flashed her a smile. “I quite like it too.”

“It might have been better if you’d got someone to drop us off at the airport so they could take the car back,” she suggested. “I wouldn’t risk leaving a car like this parked at the airport.”

ʺI’m not. I’ve left a spare set of keys with my chauffeur. He’ll pick it up later this morning then drive it home for me. It didn’t seem fair to drag him out of bed this early.”

He’s a nice guy, Kendall thought, kind and considerate yet rich and successful. In her experience, the qualities didnʹt always mix.

As they drove along, she was acutely aware of his presence beside her, of his strong hands holding the wheel casually but firmly, of his left hand reaching down to change gears effortlessly and smoothly, just a few centimetres from her knee.

“How long did you teach in Thailand?” he asked her. “I spent a bit of time over there myself a couple of years ago. It’s a beautiful country.”

“I was there for a year.” She was glad of the diversion. “I taught in a school in Chiang Mai.”

For the rest of the journey they spoke about Thailand and some of the other countries they had both visited, and she realised that he was actually very easy to talk to with a good sense of humour. She was almost sorry when they arrived at the airport; she’d enjoyed his company so much.


Careful, she told herself. I bet he’s as charming as this with all the women he meets. She knew he had a reputation for collecting beautiful girlfriends — Tanya had hinted as much at the engagement party. He was the eternal bachelor. Well, she was the eternal bachelor girl, wasn’t she? She could handle Jake Newman, even if he did make her go all goose-bumpy.

Buy Links:

Kay's Links:

Twitter: @karen_king


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Author Interview with Elizabeth Morgan


I have fellow Decadent Publishing author, Elizabeth Morgan, who's written her first sweet romance. (She actually writes in a rainbow of genres.) Today, she's talking about her latest sweet, contemporary romance called Stepping Stones. As soon as I read the excerpt of this book, I was hooked. She's running a blog tour and there are prizes to be won so click on the rafflecopter link below to enter the competition. I think you only have today and tomorrow left to enter.


Blurb:

There's nothing like a wedding to bring the family together....

If not for her baby sister’s impending marriage, Margaret West would never return home. But after six long years, she finds herself a maid of honor who must answer to the people she left behind.

If her parents’ interrogation doesn’t drive her to drink, facing her foster brother, Adrian, just might. To make matters worse, her ex-fiancé is the vicar who will conduct her sister’s ceremony.


Everyone demands to know why she ran off. But the more time she spends at home, the more Margaret realizes even she doesn’t know the real reason.

Length: Novella (32,000/91 pages)| Content: Sweet Romance/Contemporary| Publisher: Bono Books


Excerpt:

“When is Aidy getting here?” Jessica grabbed the large bowl of scrambled eggs and brought it closer to her plate.
“I think his flight is due in at three.” My mother placed a dish of bacon on the table and took a seat beside me. “He will be in time for the wedding rehearsal; don’t worry.”
 My stomach clenched. “Wedding rehearsal?” I coughed, trying to clear the chunk of toast lodged in my throat. “What wedding rehearsal?”
“Today at four. We’re running through the service.” Jess scooped egg onto her plate. “I told you.”
Nervous laughter bubbled in my throat and try as I may, I couldn’t stop shaking my head. “No.” I patted my chest. “No, you never mentioned a rehearsal.”
“Oh.” She placed the bowl back in the middle of the table. “I could have sworn I did.”
“Nope, you didn’t. Believe me, I would have remembered otherwise.” I grabbed my mug and knocked the coffee back before finishing my piece of toast.
“Well, it’s no big deal.” Edward took the bowl of eggs and helped himself. “Just a quick run-through.”
“Will everyone be there?” Forcing a smile on my face, I looked up at them both, hoping like hell my question would pass as innocent and genuine curiosity.
“Anyone who is involved in the wedding itself will be.”
Great. So that meant Jessica, Edward, the parents, and the bridesmaids, plus me. That left Adrian and…. “Will Vicar Taylor, be there?”
Oh God, did my voice just go higher?
“Yes, Margaret, William will be there. He is the one who is marrying Jessie and Edward, so he needs to be there.” My father skewered some bacon and tomatoes onto his fork.
Grimacing, I reached out and grabbed another piece of toast. “Just a question, Pa.” A stupid one, but a question nevertheless….
“It is normal for people to have wedding rehearsals, Margaret. Just because you—”
Jess picked up the coffeepot. “Does anyone want more coffee?”
I straightened, my focus fixed on Pa. “I’m aware of that.”
“Maggie?”
My father’s shoulders went rigid. He lifted his head and our gazes locked. I didn’t miss the way the muscle in the side of his neck ticked. Arguing with my father in front of Jessica and Edward was not an option, so I looked away.
“Please.” I held out my mug and Jess poured the dark liquid.
I could kick myself. A wedding rehearsal hadn’t even crossed my mind. Having to stand at the altar before William on the actual wedding day would be hard enough, but having to do it twice…my stomach churned.
“So, will Adrian come straight to the church?” Edward cut the awkward silence.
“Yes. He will get a taxi to the church, and then we will bring him and his luggage back here.” My mother held her mug out to Jess.
“Adrian is staying here? Tonight?” I added sugar to my coffee. “Won’t it be crowded? I thought—”
“No more crowded than it was in your childhood.” My father took a bite out of his toast.
More and more good news. Of course he would be staying here; it was his family home after all. I guess, it was stupid of me to hope that he would go to a B&B, but my parents wouldn’t have allowed it even if he did suggest it. I hadn’t seen him in six years, hadn’t spoken to him. And yet, in a couple of hours I would be locked in the same house as him.

Buy Links:


Author Interview:

What is the best thing for you about being a writer?

The best thing about being a writer is that I get to create worlds and then share them with other people. I have always had a vivid imagination and it has always been my belief that I have this imagination and these strange dreams that I have for a reason. And that reason is to write stories and share them with the world.

What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?

Wanting to write, having these scenes play in my head, having these dreams, but not having the time to write, which is sometimes the case. And then, when I have the time, sometimes I haven't got the energy because I've had a tough day, or something is going on in my personal life etc. And it is very frustrating, because I do just want to sit and write.

What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?

I'm a multi-published author of urban fantasy, paranormal, erotic horror, f/f and contemporary; all my stories have a degree of romance, a dose of action and usually a hit of sarcasm, sizzle or blood, but no matter what I give a unique and often humorous spin to my stories.

I like variety so if I have a story idea and it is outside my "usual" genre, well, I will still write it. I like trying different things, and I've had the idea for a reason and that reason is to write that story.

My latest release is a sweet contemporary romance. It is the first, and currently the only sweet romance I have written, and it is very family orientated.


What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?

That each author is different and that we all have our own time limits and routines, and everyone works at their own pace.

I often find myself freaking out that I am only writing/publishing X amount of books a year, and yet everyone else is doing double the amount, but life affects and it isn't a competition.

Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?

Heather Ryan from my Blood Series is my fave heroine so far simply because she was the first heroine I ever wrote. She has changed a lot from the original draft, but life has really dealt her all the rubbish cards. Her life, her purpose is so crazy, but she handles it with a lot of sarcasm and humour and just gets on with her life's mission, because she has no other choice. It's admirable.

What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.

I like all types of heroes. I love Dracula; dark tortured soul. I love Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre; he is wounded, alone, angry. I love Rick O'connell from The Mummy. I love Gambit from X-Men. I could go on, but I won't. We will be here all day otherwise. ;-P

Tell us about your journey in writing this book.

The idea started with a dream, which I let stew for a while. A year later I sat down and started writing I got two chapters written and then one of my Werewolves from the Blood Series barged into my brain and started growling over the fact that I hadn't written his and his mates story.

It's very hard to ignore a Werewolf, especially Owen MacLaren, so I stopped writing Stepping Stones and wrote She-Wolf. After I had finished that book, and Owen was happy, I continued with Stepping Stones until I had it finished.

The book was originally published in November 2012, but the publisher closed a year later and the rights were reverted back to me. So, I cleaned it up and submitted it to Bono Books (Decadent Publishing) and it was contracted.

I feel that this new edition is tons better than the original, and I absolutely love the book cover and can't wait to share this new and improved version with you all.

Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.

I'm very open-minded and I am a huge believer in fate, reincarnation, soul-mates, and well, I believe that everything in life happens for a reason.

I collect Venetian masks.

I have one tonsil. lol

What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack.

I usually always have a playlist for each of my projects, or at the very least one song that can sum the whole feel of the story up. No matter what I have to have my headphones on and music playing, that way it blocks all other sounds out and I find I can concentrate on the project better. And a cup of tea always helps. ;-P

Mention something unique about your books and your writing style.

They usually have a lot of humour, sometimes it is a little dark or possibly twisted, but I think you will always giggle at something in my stories.

What book would you like to work on next?

I'm currently in the middle of editing the first book in my urban fantasy series, Cranberry Blood (Blood Series: Book One.)

The novel - along with its prequel She-Wolf - was originally published in 2011 and 2012, but after the publisher closed down and I received my rights back, I decided to self-publish the books and all that will follow.

So, She-Wolf & Cranberry Blood will be re-released on August 25th. I will be starting book two in the series in the summer, after I finish my present current WIP, which is a brand new fantasy romance.

Thanks so much, Elizabeth, you are very interesting. And yes, sometimes finding time to write is challenging! I'm also in the middle of two books at the moment with about two or three other ideas floating around in my head.

Where you can find Elizabeth online:



From Elizabeth: Thank you for having me over today and thank you to all of you for stopping by. If you would be interested in winning a copy of my new release, Stepping Stones or maybe a swag pack, then please do leave an entry on the rafflecopter. J

Check out the beautiful prizes:





Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Spotlight with Heather Gray

I'm happy to have Heather Gray with me today talking about her new release, Jackal. It's book 2 of her Regency Refuge inspirational historical romances. I love Regencies but could never write them. I take my hat off to Heather for writing in this fascinating genre. She's conquered other genres too. The cover is beautiful!


JACKAL
(Regency Refuge #2)
Media Kit

Back Cover Blurb:
Hiding in the shadows just got harder.

When tragedy strikes, Juliana and her family must flee their home. Can they persuade a virtual stranger to help them? Juliana isn't so sure, especially after their chaperone threatens to cane him. Even as Juliana struggles to trust him, she finds herself drawn to this mysterious man. Surely all she wants from him is refuge…

Rupert is a man whose life depends on his ability to remain unnoticed. What, then, is he supposed to do with this family he's inherited?  His life is overrun with an ancient chaperone who would terrify a lesser man, two spirited girls, and the secretive Juliana – someone he comes to think of as his own precious jewel.

With this new responsibility thrust upon him, Rupert will have to make sacrifices – but will God ask him to sacrifice everything?


Excerpt:
1810
A duke had been cut down in the prime of his life. According to the War Department, The Hunter was to blame.
Jackal had been put onto The Hunter's scent and told to ferret him out at all cost. It was his job, his duty to the crown, and he treated it with the seriousness it demanded. Evil could not be allowed to go unpunished, and people who took pleasure in destroying the lives of others would not walk away with impunity, not on his watch.
Jackal met with his contacts in the Austrian government and found no gratification in revealing they had a traitor in their midst. It had been a necessary move, and now the problem would be dealt with. The Austrians would put The Hunter down, and England's hands would remain clean of the mess, exactly as the minister wanted.
Grim foreboding furrowed his brow as he left the meeting with the Austrians. His lack of evidence mocked him. He'd done as ordered, and they'd believed him, but had it been his choice, he'd have gathered more proof first.
Jackal climbed into his carriage and slapped his hand against the roof, signaling the driver with his readiness to depart. A lengthy ride awaited him. He would leave the carriage and his current identity behind in Munich once he arrived there. New papers and fresh horses were waiting for him. The same would happen again when he crossed over into Stuttgart, and then again in Brussels. His task was clear: remain alive long enough to claim each of the new identities and return safely to his homeland.
Sitting back on the roughly cushioned seat, he accepted what he'd begun to suspect. This would be his last assignment for the crown. He was getting too old for the job. The time to retire was upon him. The younger bucks were willing – if not entirely ready – to take their place among the ranks of the unseen, unknown, and unnamed heroes of war. Jackal shook his head. Not too long ago, he'd been one of those young bucks. Ready for retirement at age thirty-two? The thought would be laughable in any other career. In his line of work, though, only those who retired young lived to be old and grey.
Lost in melancholy, Jackal barely noted the change from the raucous noise of a bustling merchant district to the quiet pastoral sounds that would accompany him on most of this journey. Europe was a large land with rich cities interspersed with vast emptiness dotted with small hamlets. Traveling by carriage would take weeks, but as long as he could report back that he'd done as ordered, it would be worth the time.
He settled into his seat. They were still days from their first sanctioned stop. As always, the best defense was to keep moving.

****

A change in the carriage's soothing methodical movement woke Jackal from his doze and alerted him that something was amiss. Awareness coursed through his veins, pushing away the remnant of sleep. A quick glance at the curtained window told him it was late morning. They'd ridden through the night to put as much distance as possible between them and Vienna – the current hub of Austrian government.
The carriage was moving with a wildness he'd felt only one other time in his life. Dread snaked through his middle as he accepted the truth. There was no longer a driver in control of his conveyance. Jackal crouched low on the floor for balance as he prepared to throw open the door and jump. Perhaps he should have sought retirement one assignment sooner.
Before his hand could touch the door, a jarring force threw Jackal against the seat to his left, shooting pain up his arm. They'd been boarded, then, and his driver – an agent he'd worked with for years – had likely not been alive to sound the alarm. Emotion would come later. For now, Jackal needed to focus on one thing: Survival.
The carriage gained speed under the skillful hand of whoever now sat in the driver's seat. I should have jumped when I had the chance. Jackal shook his head as he calculated the odds of survival.
Palming his gun, he pounded on the roof of the carriage, commanding the driver to stop. Surprise flared to life as his conveyance did indeed come to a standstill. Rather than slow to a gentle stop, the carriage halted its forward momentum in a skidding bone-shaking fashion. It was the kind of stop that guaranteed no beast would be able to walk away from it afterward.
Jackal jumped before the dust could settle. His best chance would be to go on the offence and catch the driver off-guard. Though he'd assumed the driver had a partner, nothing could have prepared him for the vicious attack awaiting him on the other side of the door.
Jackal no sooner touched the ground than he was trampled under the anxious feet of a high-stepping horse. He'd not even had a chance to gain his footing. As he lay on the ground, Jackal both heard and felt the breaking of bone in his left leg. A couple of his ribs surrendered to the heavy hooves as well. Rolling onto his side, he took aim at the perpetrator. The sun blinded him, and he could distinguish no features on the man whose gun dared him to move. In the split second it took for him to reassure himself he was not aiming at an innocent bystander – for they were indeed in one of the numerous modest hamlets that dotted the continent's countryside – the rider pulled the trigger, and pain seared through Jackal's already throbbing leg. It felt as if the lead had burrowed its way into his very bone.
He pulled the trigger of his flintlock pistol, and the man on the horse recoiled. Even as Jackal reached for the gun concealed at the ankle of his wounded leg, he knew it was futile. The rider had a second gun in-hand before his own fingers even brushed against the grip of his hidden weapon. Pain tore through his shoulder, immobilizing his shooting arm. Another ball of lead ripped into his middle. He felt his blood seeping out onto the street.
Accepting his fate, he asked only one thing. "At whose hand am I to die this day?"
Laughter vile enough to sour port met his question. "Today the Jackal shall meet his end at the hands of The Hunter."
The Hunter? The Austrians were supposed to have him by now.
"Your plan failed, and I am free. Prepare to die."
Blackness closing in around him, Jackal released the last thought held captive in his mind.
Why God?
Cold claimed his body as he slipped into darkness. He neither heard nor felt the next shot.

Author Bio:
Heather Gray is the author of the Ladies of Larkspur inspirational western romance series, including Mail Order man, Just Dessert, and Redemption.  She also writes the Regency Refuge series with titles His Saving Grace, Jackal, and the soon-to-be-released Queen.  But that's not all!  Interested in contemporary Christian romance?  Take a look at Ten Million Reasons and Nowhere for Christmas.

Heather loves coffee, God, her family, and laughter – not necessarily in that order!  She writes approachable and flawed characters who, through the highs and lows of life, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.  And, yeah, her books almost always have someone who's a coffee addict.  Some things just can't be helped.


Buy Links:

Where to Find Me:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Spotlight - Krysten Lindsay Hager

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a fellow Astraea Press author. She's written her debut novel and it looks like a great read for teenage girls.


Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. Her debut novel, TRUE COLORS, will be out June 17th from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.

I so agree, Krysten, bookstores are great!!



Blurb:


Every day I walked down the sidewalk to school and wished I were one of the interesting popular girls who ran up with exciting news. Just once I’d like to be one of those girls instead of the being the one who didn’t get invited to things because people “forgot” about me.

Landry gets pushed into trying out for the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition with her two best friends.  She doesn’t think she stands a chance, but she advances to the next level in the competition and her friends ignore her when they get cut.

Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut and includes Landry in her clique. Devon becomes the perfect best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition?

Landry hopes her big break could come at any moment, but soon sees there’s much more to modeling. She begins missing out on being with friends and has the chance to have a boyfriend when she meets a boy named Vladi from another school.


Part of Landry wants to be famous (and have her hair look good for once), but part of her just wants to be accepted. She learns about friendships, being true to yourself, and that a good hair conditioner doesn’t hurt.

Excerpt:

The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.

“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.

I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.

“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.

Tori was next.

“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.


Ooh, that excerpt makes me so curious!!


You can find Krysten here:


Buy Links:




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Release Spotlight and Book Review

The last of the series is now out - Winds of Change of the Island Girl's Trilogy. I just finished reading the book today so find my review below. Don't you just adore this cover?


Blurb:

To be with him feels like playing Russian roulette blindfolded all while knowing she bet from borrowed lease. Can something this wrong be....right?

Neha Hemant has always been called the neutral one – like sensible Switzerland. She’s never rocked the boat, and has always done everything expected from her, an Indo-Mauritian woman.

So where’s the fulfillment, the sense of completion...

And worse, why does she find this feeling of coming home with a man totally not right for her? She’s a widow with three teenage children, and Logan Warrington is a reformed bad boy, and her boss.... He shouldn’t have the power to make her burn, make her yearn, and wish for nothing more than damning the consequences, not when she has lived her whole life trying to do the right thing society expected of her.


As the winds of change blow on Neha’s life, could the time have come for her to step out of her bubble, and live for the moment, and herself?

You can catch all of the first two chapters of the book here, and if you want to delve into the whole deal, then here are the links where you can find WINDS OF CHANGE (Island Girls #3)




My Review

Zee is a master story teller. She's woven a tale of complex, real characters who go through the storms of change in this heart-wrenching and touching novel. Neha doesn't like change. She likes her world in a perfect flux but when her husband disappears in a flood and they can't find his body, she and her kids presume him dead. She's coped so long with a distant and uncaring husband anyway, so her life changes little until she obtains a new job at a TV broadcasting company and she meets Logan. Logan brings a storm into her passive, resigned existence and stirs up Neha's true heart. Logan is a fascinating character. He's a New Zealander - reminds me of one of the All-Black bulky rugby players - although he's an ex-boxer. He's got his own baggage and at first he seems harsh and unreachable. Neha's attracted to him but also intimidated by him. He reminds me a bit of a bull in a China shop with a very soft heart hidden inside. Neha is the opposite - she's soft, pliable, peace-loving and one of those woman who does the right thing even if it hurts. I love the way they work out to be perfect for one another but it takes Neha a long time to come round. At times, I was annoyed with Logan, especially around the middle of the book. I wished he would just make a move and follow his heart, but I know deep inside that if he had, he would have scared her off. She reminds me of a doe in the bush - you dare not make a sudden, harsh movement, because then she'll make a dash for it. As much as Logan can be brash and bulldoggish at work, he's really gentle with Neha and he takes his time with her. This story has many facets and will keep you going for some time - it's like a real family saga. It was lovely to learn about the last sister in the trilogy and discover her story and her heart.

To be honest, Neha and Logan remind me eerily like my husband and I before we married - very similar personalities and conflicts that we went through so I could identify with a lot of the book. Logan is a lot like my husband who eventually couldn't take my nonsense anymore but it was a good thing, lol. I loved the way Logan broke through her shell of "right" and warmed her heart to his passion. The love scenes were touching and beautiful and real. A romance with a very realistic feel to it.


If you haven't already, you can find Zee here:

Blog and Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Pinterest



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Author Interview and Spotlight - Mary Cope


Today, I have fellow Astraea Press author talking about her brand new release and debut novel - Beautiful One. Talk about beautiful, the cover is amazing.

Mary Cope is a freelance writer of romance. Her book, Beautiful One, is the first in a planned trilogy. She enjoys spending time with her family, baking gourmet cookies, listening to music and taking long walks with her yellow Labrador, Maggie.


Blurb:

Elizabeth Ryan is a beautiful, shy, naïve high school senior. Having never dated, she meets the boy of her dreams, Aidan Mitchell. Despite his history of womanizing Liz is drawn to him.Soon Liz becomes the envy of all the girls on campus, when they become a couple and her dream boyfriend sweeps her off her feet and into the dating world that is all too new and strange for her. When other guys start to take notice of Liz, Aidan's fits of jealousy quickly turn into physical abuse.

Elizabeth meets the ruggedly handsome, Spencer Hayes and they quickly bond over their passion for music. Liz begins to struggle with the feelings that spark between them.

In the end Elizabeth finds herself torn between helping Aidan overcome his jealousy and anger and giving into what her heart truly wants.

Author Interview:

What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
The best thing about being a writer is the creativity in the writing process. I love to develop the characters, dream up a story and see where my imagination takes me.

What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
The doubt you feel, second-guessing yourself, wondering if the story is good enough.

What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
I write New Adult Romance. Beautiful One is my first novel.

What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
I have learned so many things but the most valuable is to keep writing. The more you write, the better you will become, learning new things along the way.

Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
Elizabeth is the heroine from Beautiful One. I love her transformation from uncertainty and doubt to gaining confidence and staying true to who she is. She always sees the good in others.

What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.
I like my heroes to be super alpha with a tender side to them.

Tell us about your journey in writing this book.
My journey in writing this book came to me while walking my dog. I was in the process of trying to shed a few pounds, my daughter was about to graduate High School and that spiraled me into thinking about what it would be like to be an intelligent, overweight teen who finally comes to terms with wanting to change her outward appearance to match the person she was on the inside.

Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.
I am a bit of a klutz, and usually have at least one bruise on my body.
I listen to music everyday.
And I love Red Vines licorice.

What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack.
Definitely listening to music. I have been inspired to write a whole chapter just from hearing the lyrics to a song.

Mention something unique about your books and your writing style.
I refer to myself as an organic writer. I don't outline my story. I start with a beginning and have an idea for an ending. That way I am writing towards something. Jotting ideas down as the story unfolds in my head.

What book would you like to work on next?

I am currently writing, Beautiful Mess, the second book in a planned trilogy. Beautiful Life will follow.

Excerpt from Chapter One

The faint sounds of a guitar drifted through the walls of my bathroom as I savored the last of the hot water before it became lukewarm. Stepping away from the spray, I turned the shower knob and watched the droplets trickle down the drain. Inhaling a deep breath my mind focused on one thing. Aidan Mitchell.

Hearing Mason’s band practicing meant he would be here. I was ninety-nine percent sure Aidan wouldn’t blow off their practice. He knew how serious my brother was about the band, but he also had been avoiding me for days.

The past week had been awful. I was determined to talk to him. All I wanted was a few answers. My emotions had run the gamut from confusion, frustration, regret, and sadness… sadness consumed me most of all, at night usually, and I was exhausted from it. But at this moment all I felt was anger. Anger was good. It was certainly better than pain.

As I rushed down the hallway, the floorboards creaked beneath my feet and the walls began to vibrate with the beat of Derek pounding on the drums. When I entered my room the music was deafening, but today I didn’t mind. I untwisted the blue-and-white-polka-dot towel from my head and tossed it to the floor.

The deep conditioner I used helped my fingers glide through my long damp curls. If I was going to confront Aidan, I wanted to look my best. No Frizzy Lizzie for me. That nickname, coupled with my big butt, had tormented me, growing up in a beach town surrounded by beautiful people. I had longed to look like a typical California girl: tall, blond, perfect. But, with dark hair and bordering on five feet three inches, that was never going to be me.

After I blow-dried and flat-ironed my hair, I took off my purple robe and draped it over my desk chair. I slipped on a pair of jeans… yes, slipped them on. I didn’t have to tug, pull, or jiggle my butt to get in my pants anymore. When I easily pushed the button through the top of my jeans, it still made me smile. I couldn’t even count how many times I had to lie on my bed and suck in my stomach so I could zip up a pair of pants. Every time I slipped them on, I never took it for granted. I had worked my butt off… literally. I put on my bra and a green sweater before I pulled on my boots.

I rushed downstairs to the door that led to the garage. Thinking about confronting Aidan and having to stare into those piercing blue eyes started to intimidate me. But this was my chance. I knew he was a few feet behind the door, and I needed to deal with him. Before I completely lost my nerve, I inhaled a deep breath and exhaled then pushed open the door.

The stream of sunlight coming in through the open garage door blinded me for a moment. With squinted eyes, I made a beeline to the old brown sofa in the corner. My heart was beating so fast it almost seemed in tempo with Derek pounding the drums. I scooted over our yellow Labrador, Maggie, and wedged myself between her and the arm of the couch. Finally, I looked up to focus my attention on Aidan.

He didn’t show.

I sunk my head back into the cushions, exhaling a deep, long sigh, trying to rid the tension from my body. The guys were practicing their newest song. Indie-Alternative was their style, and they called themselves Random Plan. I glanced at Mason and could tell he was angry. I mouthed the word “Aidan?”

Mason just shook his head.

“Derek!” The tone in my brother’s voice made me sit up straight. “Derek!” Mason snapped again.

Finally Derek stopped and silenced his cymbals.

“What?” He lifted the front of his black t-shirt to wipe the sweat from his forehead, exposing his six-pack. His brown eyes bored into Mason’s. “Hey! Just ‘cuz you’re ticked off at the pretty boy, don’t take it out on me.”

Derek reached back and grabbed a water from an old bookcase that held a few water bottles, electrical cords, an old CD player, and a collection of CDs. “Hey, Kyle, ya want one?”

Kyle nodded and Derek tossed one across the garage to where he stood behind the keyboard.

“Mason?”

“Yeah, I’ll take one… Sorry, Derek.”

Derek gave Mason a head nod and tossed him a bottle. He took a sip while Derek chugged his down.

“Okay, start again.” Mason commanded.

Derek picked up his sticks and began tapping.

I leaned my head back, closed my eyes and listened to the music. Funny, I’d come into the garage so fearless it almost made me laugh. Who would have thought the once-overweight Elizabeth Ryan would stand up to the likes of Aidan Mitchell? I smiled to myself, allowing my mind to drift back to the time when I’d found it hard to even look at him…

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Looking for Reviews

Today, I'm looking for reviews on two of my books. I'm having a special giveaway to anyone who comments on this blog post or on my share on Facebook of this post. I'll give you an ebook copy of my book in exchange for a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Take your pick.

I would love some more reviews on:

Wedding Gown Girl

Kienna loves dressing up her clients in beautiful gowns at the bridal shop where she works but she doesn't believe in fairytale weddings or happily ever afters. After all, her prince turned out to be a frog, and her divorce broke her heart. So when she realizes one of her brides doesn't love her groom, she tries to warn him. If only he would listen, she could help him avoid her same fate. 

Blake is sure Rachelle loves him but she leaves him at the altar. He should have listened to the wedding gown girl's warning. He should have been hurt, but instead he's only relieved--and in pursuit of the woman who tried to save him from a broken heart. If only she'd trust him not to be like her ex. Doesn't she know that when he says he loves her, it means forever?

If you want to review Wedding Gown Girl, please answer this question in the comments:

What is a favourite memory from your wedding, or if you haven't been married, from a wedding you've attended?

Three Tiers for Win

Three Tiers for Win is a story of adventure, romance, and family passion that unfolds with the backdrop of the 2012 London Olympics. Elaine said she would never date an athlete as they’re too driven. That’s until she meets kind, yet intensely focused and ambitious South African Olympic swimmer, Winston Harper. He stands for everything she’d chosen not to go for. Win also has a bad family history which keeps him from opening his heart to her. When intense attraction and affection breaks through some of their barriers, family secrets and conflicts pull them apart again. Only Elaine’s support and Win’s brokenness can draw them back together, but will that be strong enough to wipe away the past?

If you want to review Three Tiers for Win, please answer this question in the comments:

If you had a family secret, would you share it with the person you were dating even if it meant they may turn away?