Friday, 29 November 2013

It's ...Falling For Mr. Wrong

I'm welcoming, Inara Scott today who has brought along her contemporay romance- Falling For Mr. Wrong. 

She's given me some fantastic answers to questions I posed to get to know her so... grab your favourite drink and settle down. 

After her lovely interview you can enjoy the blurb and an excerpt from the novel and you can ENTER her **GIVEAWAY** for two of her other e-books! (Rules of Negotiation and The Boss's Fake Fiancee)

 Hi, Inara. Let's get to know you...

Take yourself back 20 years and tell us if you had any aspirations to become an author at that time. Absolutely! I’m pretty old, so 20 years ago puts me in college, when I was writing terrible poetry and weird bits of stories with characters named things like Hava (“wind” in Hindi) and Jamien (“earth” in Hindi). But honestly, I was too practical then to really contemplate trying to make a living as an author. I always knew I wanted to write, it just took me a while to figure out how to make that a reality.

You're not so old, believe me! What were you mainly doing as a daily occupation at that time?
Well, being in college, I was studying. A lot. I’m kind of a geek. Okay, total geek. I really loved school.

Sometimes students have to work as well as study nowadays, so just being able to attend school was what I consider a luxury. I only worked during vacations which I now realise was very fortunate! And today? How do you mainly spend an average day? I actually teach college now as well as write fiction, so my days really vary. Some days I’m in the classroom, some I’m writing, and I’m also a mom, so I spend a lot of time driving to and from basketball practice and harassing my son to do his homework.

Variation is good! Now jump forward 20 years from today. What do you think you’d like to be doing then? I have no doubt I’ll still be spending a large percentage of my time writing. But it’s impossible to say what. By then I might be writing non-fiction essays on the socio-economic status of women in nineteenth century Oregon. But chances are there will be romance in my writing.

What’s your preferred genre for reading material? Right now, I’m reading a lot of novellas and contemporary romances. The one thing in my life that has been very consistent is my love of romance. I’ve been reading it since I was in middle school and I suspect I always will.

I still read romance and never thought to change that focus very much, but I've also read widely in other areas and I'm pleased that I read across many genres and enjoy them very much. What genre/ sub-genre do you feel comfortable writing in? I’ve written historical romance, young adult paranormal, young adult suspense/horror, contemporary romance, and fantasy. I love to explore new things. The only thing I will probably never write is straight up literary fiction. I don’t like to read it, and I know I wouldn’t be very good at writing it.

I'm with you on some literary fiction. If I don't enjoy what I'm reading it isn't for me. What do you think will be the main reading materials within the next decade? Books, some form of portable tablets? I think printed books will always be with us, but I think it won’t be long before we are all reading on some kind of e-reader, whether tablet or computer. I think we will come to save printed books for photography, or coffee table books—something where the printed medium really matters.

In recent years there’s been a movement towards popular cult-type stories- sometimes driven by what’s been popular on TV and the cinema, like Vampire, shifter, time-shift sub-genres. What do you see as being the ideal focus to capture the imagination in 5 years time? Wow, I have no idea! J

Can you give us an idea of what your writing schedules might be like during the remainder of 2013 and on to 2014? I have a new adult romance series that I’ll be writing in 2014, and then I’m not sure what I’ll do next. I really want to write a Secret Garden retelling, and I’ve plotted out a series that could be YA or NA. Oh, and I’ll be finishing the last book in my Delcroix Academy series. I guess it’s safe to say I’ll be busy!

Fast and furious:

Ice cream or chocolate cake?
Ice cream, no doubt. Cake is never worth the calories.
Home made lemonade or rum cocktails?
Neither, unfortunately! Either would give me a migraine.
Cycling tour of France or a beach holiday in the Caribbean?
BEACH HOLIDAY. Save me from biking when I’m on vacation!
A date with a politician, or a date with Gerard Butler?
I’d like to go out with Michelle Obama. Is that an option? ;-) (Of course!)
Children or pets?

Thanks for a fabulous interview, Inara. Let's find out now what your latest novel is about. 

Looking for Mrs. Right…
Single father of three, Ross Bencher, knows the kind of woman he wants: someone predictable, reliable, and safe, who can give his kids the security they deserve. Someone entirely different from high-altitude mountaineer Kelsey. Kelsey bewitches him with her long legs and wild passion and is about as far from his ideal as a woman can get, but try telling that to his body. Or his heart…
Falling for Mr. Wrong…
When Kelsey agreed to fill in as a temporary nanny for her best friend’s agency before a big climbing expedition, she had no idea she’d be working for drop-dead sexy Ross Bencher, a man she can’t seem to keep her hands off. She knows if she wants to bring herself—and her father—back alive from the Himalayan Mountains, she can’t afford second-guessing, attachments, or distractions. But Ross’s blue eyes and strong hands leave her gasping…and questioning everything she’s ever known about love…

Bestselling author Inara Scott grew up on a steady diet of true love, heaving bosoms, and happily ever after. Romance inspired her first novel, penned at the age of 14, titled A Wild and Stormy Passion. Today, Inara writes anything and everything, including young adult fiction and adult romance. Inara loves to hear from readers, and can often be found avoiding actual work by playing on Twitter (@inarascott) and Facebook.

 Inara’s Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Now for the **GIVEAWAY**

Enter HERE to win the copies of: 
He let her make the rules…
NYC’s most eligible bachelor, Brit Bencher, is also known as The Slayer for his reputation in the boardroom…and the bedroom. And he’ll do anything to take care of his family, even seduce high-powered corporate attorney Tori Anderson in the hopes of getting her to reveal confidential information about one of her clients. But for the first time in his life, he finds he’s falling for a woman.
…and then he started to break them.
After juggling the demands of her career and the stress of caring for her ailing mother, Tori Anderson doesn’t have time for relationships—but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to feel like a woman. When Brit offers a no-strings attached fling, it sounds like exactly what she needs. But what will she do when Brit decides he won’t take “one night stand” for an answer? When Tori uncovers his lies, will he lose his chance with her forever?
Is she his worst nightmare…
No relationships, that’s billionaire Garth Solen’s rule–especially not with a woman like his new employee
Melissa Bencher, who thinks with her heart and not her head. But all bets are off when Melissa’s attempt to make her jerk ex-boyfriend jealous by suggesting that she’s dating Garth. To protect his ailing grandmother, he is forced to play the part of Melissa’s adoring fiancé.
…or a dream come true?
Melissa couldn’t begin to imagine all the trouble one impulsive act could cause. Now she’s trying on rings and posing for the paparazzi with her gorgeous boss. The game is clear: for one month, they play the part of an engaged couple, and then they part ways. No emotions. No entanglements. But when it comes to matters of the heart, Melissa’s never been good at following the rules…
 And now for a little excerpt from Falling For Mr. Wrong:  “So you’re telling me after your divorce you made some kind of inner pledge to only date Donna Reed?”
“Basically, yes.”
“And then you slept with me.”
He grinned, and the mood unexpectedly lightened. “Those were my requirements for dating. Lucky for me, we never went on a date.”
Unwittingly, Kelsey felt some of the tension ease from her body. It was really unfair that Ross’s smile was so warm it acted on her nerves like a damn tranquilizer. “I think I understand. You think if you sleep with me again, we’re dating. And that would mess up the whole personal vow thing.”
He paused for a moment, and then shrugged, somewhat sheepishly. “Something like that.”
“But wait,” she said, holding up one palm. “You’re jumping to a lot of conclusions, aren’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re assuming that I want to date you.” She tapped one finger in the middle of his chest. “Look at this from my perspective. You’ve got three kids and you live out here in the land of suburbia, with three-car garages and trips to the grocery store every other day to buy more juice boxes. Do you really think this is what I want?”
He had the humility to look slightly ashamed. “I hadn’t really thought about it that way.”
Throwing aside all caution and reason, Kelsey wrapped her arms around his neck. She could hardly believe she was touching him, but the simmering attraction between them had taken over, and she could no longer fight it. “Listen, tough guy. I don’t want to date you any more than you want to date me. And I’d appreciate it very much if you’d keep your judgment about my life and my choices to yourself.”
“But?” He lowered his face an inch, bringing their lips just heartbeats apart.
“But I would like to sleep with you again.”

Thank you for visiting me today, Inara. My very best wishes for a great launch tour.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Forewarning - a Horses and Healing Mystery by Kate Wyland

I thoroughly enjoyed this well written mystery by Kate Wyland. There’s a great pace throughout the novel and enough plot twists to keep up the interest. 

The characterisation is strong, good motivations given for some of the ‘baddies’ in the story making them seem slightly less horrible. 

The paranormal aspects are just enough to be believable -‘hands-on’ healing not new knowledge to us, but I enjoyed the universal healing that Kasey is able to do for both horses and people in the novel. The way Ms Wyland manages to weave those less traditional healing practises within the traditional doctor/ hospital situation is very interesting and makes me wonder how common that would be in reality. 

There’s enough sexual tension to make the reader wonder just how Kasey will eventually resolve her attraction to two different men – the reason given by Ms Wyland at the end a very satisfying one.

A mystery to be recommended, and worth my 5* rating.


Monday, 18 November 2013

An Accidental King

Today I welcome fellow Crooked Cat author, Mark Patton with his excellent historical novel - An Accidental King. It's set in my own favourite historical era to write about, and I am admittedly very biased, but I found this a wonderful read.

Mark Patton was born and brought up on the island of Jersey. He studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge and completed his PhD at university College London. He has taught at various universities in the Netherlands, France and the UK, and currently teaches for The Open University. His first novel, Undreamed Shores, was published in 2012, and his second, An Accidental King, in 2013, both of them by Crooked Cat Publishing.

Mark’s Website | Blog |  Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Crooked Cat Publishing

79 AD.
As he approaches the end of his life, Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, the native-born but loyally pro-Roman client king of Britain, looks back on the thirty-six years of his reign.
He recalls how, as a young man, he was seduced by the grandeur of Rome and the beauty of the written word; how he was befriended by the Emperor Claudius, and by the Roman General, Vespasian, later to rule as Emperor himself.
He remembers the difficulties he encountered whilst trying to mediate between the British aristocracy and Roman officials who were often cruel and frequently corrupt.
Most significantly he reflects on the Boudiccan revolt of 60/61 AD, which he tried to prevent, and in the course of which Britain was almost lost to Rome.
Roman Britain. One man. His fate.

Mark is sharing a short extract from An Accidental King with us today:

“Although this tale can never be told in public, I feel that I must share it with you, for it is the story of who you are, though not, perhaps, of the person you thought yourself to be. It is the story, also, of the land in which we live, but it is not the history of the land it believed itself to be in the dazzling sunshine of the springtime of my youth …
I sought to promote peace and prosperity on these islands, and to avoid the bloodshed that others tried to incite. There was just one moment when I failed, and almost failed completely …
It was a year of madness that, in my darkest moments, I feared might extend even to the gods …
The chaos and bloodshed of that year would have spread much further, and lasted far longer, if your father and I had not acted as we did. But such is the glory of kings, like that of butterflies, that we are masters of the moment. The colours on my wings are already fading faster than my eyesight. Those powers that I have exercised, along with all the influence I have flourished, and the wealth I have accrued, were never truly mine, but merely lent to me by the gods. Unlike your other grandfather, it will never fall to me to be numbered amongst them …
Your loving grandfather, Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus.”

Mark- thank you for visiting today, and my very best wishes with sales of An Accidental King.

Monday Moments with 'Tis The Season To Be Tempted with a GIVEAWAY!

Monday Moments again welcomes - By The Book Tours. 
Today, there's a lot to share with you - Read the blurb of 'Tis The Season To Be Tempted a Contemporary Romantic Novella ; Learn a little about author Amy Carson; Read from Chapter 1...and there's a brilliant GIVEAWAY of 3 books on offer!

Read below which books are for you and don't forget to click that LINK to enter the giveaway!

First meet Amy Carson:
The summer she turned eleven Aimee left the children’s section of the library, entered an aisle full of Harlequin Mills and Boon, and pulled out a book.  That story sparked a love affair that has followed her from her life in Florida to Alaska, Seattle, and finally South Dakota.
Armed with a fantastic job working part-time as a physician in the Alaskan Bush (imagine a combo of Northern Exposure and E.R., minus the beautiful mountains and George Clooney), she enjoys being home in the gorgeous Black Hills, riding her dirt bike with her three wonderful kids and beyond-patient husband.  But every morning she gets to play God and flirt vicariously through her characters, who all just happen to reside in one of her favorite vacation destinations . . . South Beach, Miami.
Her motto? Life is too short to do anything less than what you absolutely love.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 'Tis The Season To Be Tempted

After the worst year ever, free-spirited Evie Lee rings in the New Year alone, swearing off men forever. So when her brother’s childhood friend, the perfect man with the perfect life, winds up on the same plane home, she’s determined to ignore him. Wes is determined not to take her seriously. Unfortunately a snowstorm traps them at the airport with no way to finish their commute, and his perfect body is tempting her to break her vow—if only for one hot night!
CEO Wes Campbell is famous for always doing the right thing, and running into Evie again is torture. He’s determined to continue his hands-off attitude. But he wasn’t counting on the little hellion’s infectious smile, her killer body, or the vulnerability in her eyes. For the first time in his life, Wes is tempted to do the wrong thing…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | iTunes

Enter the GIVEAWAY by clicking  
The GIVEAWAY is of these 3 other books in the series!

Fair Play: Writing three plays for a nationally acclaimed theater in Phair, Texas, wasn’t supposed to put my inheritance at risk and force me into constant contact with Noah Blake–the very guy I love to hate. But with one chance to prove to my controlling father that I can succeed as a playwright, I’ve developed a major case of writer’s block.
Cue Noah, my older brother’s best friend and the guy I’ve avoided since my crush-gone-bad days. And now my director thinks he’s the key to unleashing my creativity. He thinks Noah is my muse. Discovering the fate of the theater is also in my hands, I have no choice but to collaborate with my worst enemy. But it’s more than just a great scene Noah inspires. Now everything I thought I wanted is put to the test. And the guy I swore I was over still has a hold on my heart.

The Best Man’s Baby: Florist Claire Holbrook has always played by the rules her entire life, but breaks them to spend one night with sexy lone wolf Jake Manning, a man she’s adored since she was a teenager. Six weeks later, things get complicated when she discovers they created a bond that will last a lifetime.
Jake has never played by the rules. Getting Minister Holbrook’s daughter pregnant wasn’t part of any life plan, but he won’t run from his responsibilities. He’ll step up and be the best man he can, even if he doesn’t have a clue where to begin. The more time he spends with Claire, though, the more he wants her, and the harder it is to get close, because that would mean sharing the one thing he hasn’t with anyone–the truth and his heart.

Italian Affair: Free-spirited sex therapist Brianna Ballantine has four days to find a fiancé so she can inherit her birth mother’s Italian villa. Commitment is not on the agenda. Writing her sex therapy book and signing legal papers are. And once all is said and done, she’ll return home to Scotland.
For finance guru Tomas Richards, relationships have been a bad investment—give him stocks and shares any day. When Tomas offers a marriage of convenience to help Brianna secure her inheritance, the sizzle between the sheets promises an affair to remember, despite family complications at every turn.
But Tom must convince Brianna to stay, and make this Italian affair a lifelong commitment.

And now for a really excellent extra - Your coffee break read from Chapter One of 'Tis The Season To be Tempted:

The urgent ping of the call button broke through the first-class cabin as the airline passengers prepared for takeoff, some bringing their ongoing New Year’s Eve revelry attitudes on board, others clearly nursing hangovers from the night before.
The last to board, Wes Campbell handed his winter coat to the waiting flight attendant. Ringing in the New Year with his newest client hadn’t been his first choice. Neither had the multiple rounds of Dom Perignon.
He sank wearily into his leather seat, grateful that the nasty winter weather had cleared long enough for his flight home. The second call-button ping came just as he closed his eyes. Determined to catch some much-needed z’s, he ignored the male flight attendant as he passed to assess the problem.
Until Wes heard a female voice address the man from a few seats back.
“I hate to complain, dude.” The vaguely familiar tones reached through the sleep-deprived, muddled mess of Wes’s mind as the woman continued. “But I think we have a problem.”
“The name is Bob,” the airline employee said. “And how can I help you?”
“Well, Bob, my seatmate still has his cell phone on,” she said.
Wes cracked a lid open. He definitely recognized the voice.
An outraged male, undoubtedly the rule-breaking neighbor, said, “Hey, look lady—”
“If having all electronics turned off means the difference between living and dying in a fiery crash,” the woman pushed on, “shouldn’t you have been confiscating them as we came on board?”
Full comprehension finally hit, and Wes sat up straighter in his seat. He’d recognize that enticingly husky, frustratingly persistent voice anywhere. Because Evie Lee Burling rarely stopped for anything, including red lights. But beneath the hint of sarcasm in her voice, Wes detected a note of panic.
“Surely that would be the safest plan?” she said, as if the idea made total sense.
And despite the determined tone and the sliver of fear beneath, the sexy voice resurrected never-quite-forgotten memories. The remembered desire shimmied down Wes’s back and settled in, as if determined to stay, competing with the fatigue for his total attention.
Bob sounded less than appreciative of Evie’s help. “Miss, you have to buckle your seat belt.”
Wes sympathized with the man. Evidently Dan’s free-spirited little sister hadn’t changed much since high school, offering her opinions freely.
Whether they were welcome or not.
“How do you know all the electronics have been powered down?” The panic in Evie’s voice grew a bit stronger. “I mean, I don’t think you should be leaving our safety up to the cooperation of the passengers.”
Amused by the soundness of her logic, Wes leaned in to look down the aisle, anticipating catching a glimpse of the woman he hadn’t seen in ten years. But all he could see was an irritated, balding passenger in the aisle seat five rows back—no doubt the cell-phone offender—and the less-than-stimulating view of the backside of Bob. From the airline employee’s posture, it was obvious he was irritated, too.
“I can assure you, Miss,” Bob said, “you are quite safe.”
The scoff that followed sounded unconvinced. “Really?” Evie said, and Wes was disappointed the seat in front of her blocked his view of her face. “We all know how inherently uncooperative most people are.” Her voice took on a reasonableness that communicated she was about to spell out her point. “Just look at Congress—”
“I’m sorry, Miss,” Bob said firmly, and Wes doubted the man’s blatantly annoyed voice was triggered by a need to defend the elected members on Capitol Hill. “You need to buckle your seat belt,” he said. “Now.”
Evie ignored the escalating tension and plowed on, the hint of panic growing thicker. “But I think I saw that lady over there with her iPod on.”
Wes bit back the smile. Evie never could keep her mouth shut. Wouldn’t take direction, either. As a matter of fact, the word contrary came to mind. Deliciously, delectably contrary. Not that Wes had ever done more than secretly appreciate the sassy mouth he had found both frustrating…and fascinating.
But Evie Lee had been off-limits from day one.
She went on. “You should check to make sure—”
“Seat belt,” Bob bit out before signaling his female colleague in the galley. “Marge, can you get this lady a drink?” He turned back to Evie, his smile tight, his voice deceptively smooth. “What would you like?”
The fear in Evie’s voice was briefly replaced with doubt. “I downed two drinks just to screw up the courage to board the plane, and I don’t think another one is a good idea—”
“I’m pretty sure the suit in 5A still has his laptop on, so I’m not really in a celebrating mood—”
“Vodka and tonic?” The attendant spoke in a tone that made it clear he was about two seconds away from grabbing a drink for himself, pulling the emergency slide, and shoving the annoying passenger out the door.
After a brief pause, Evie said, “Fine.”
Wes’s amusement abruptly died, and he suppressed a groan. Ever since he’d woken for this morning’s flight, he’d longed for more sleep. A few minutes of relaxation. After the whirlwind business trip, and being forced to celebrate his latest coup for his company with a champagne-guzzling client, all he wanted was to snooze in peace. Up until now, staying out of the current Evie Predicament—a phrase her family had coined years ago—had been easy to do. But her agreement to the vodka and tonic was sure to end in a disaster.
He knew that from personal experience.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Murder at Cold Creek College - a 5* mystery

I found this an excellent read - definitely worth 5 stars*****

This was a really enjoyable mystery. It took me a good few pages to get into the first person style and the highly descriptive nature of the story, yet once in I was drawn along with Sheridan Hendley as she rationalised her way through the clues after her colleague, Adam Millberg, is murdered on campus. It’s certainly true that she isn’t conducting the official investigative job that the handsome Detective Brett McMann is doing, but it seems that way as she uses her knowledge of psychology and behavioural studies to wonderful effect. The pace of the story is excellent throughout; the writing crisp and clear. The small College life in a small town setting is a very good one for this cosy mystery. If I had a pen and paper at hand all the way through, I’m fairly sure I could have drawn the campus accurately – so excellent is the depiction of it. There is a large cast of characters in the story and all are well defined-good points and less good. Sheridan is a strong and feisty female, yet not overtly so. Her strength is quiet, her nature one that it’s easy to empathise with – she would be the person in real life that you would turn to for a shoulder to cry on, or someone who would lend an ear while you vented some frustration on some topic or other. Her colleagues are nicely rounded and are a good mix of the sensible and more colourful, even volatile, characters one would expect in an educational establishment. Deciding on who the murderer is was a difficult task as the story unfolded!

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The story:
 Sheridan Hendley is a professor and psychologist, not a sleuth. When her colleague at Cold Creek College, Adam Millberg, is murdered, she is charged with helping the Detective assigned to the case. Immediately, her good friend becomes the prime suspect and Sheridan is motivated to help solve the case and prove Kim isn’t guilty. It also becomes apparent that Sheridan is attracted to the handsome Detective. As Sheridan tries to connect all the people in Adam’s life, she finds out that many women have a motive for Adam’s murder. Slashed tires are the first indication that Sheridan’s involvement is obviously making someone nervous.

About Christa Nardi: 
Christa Nardi is a new author of cozy mysteries. Murder at Cold Creek College is the first in what she hopes will be a series set in a small town in Virginia. She has a background in higher education and psychology, similar to the main character in the series, Sheridan Hendley.

I'd thoroughly recommend this cozy mystery to anyone who likes to work their way through clues in character depiction. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

My thoughts on Story Tellers - In Pursuit of Happiness

Story Tellers- In Pursuit of Happiness 
by Thomas Jerome Baker

This was an interesting novel in that it made me curious about which age group the story was targeted to though there is no reference that I could discern. There’s an innocence about it which makes it seem more relevant to a younger readership, yet the story itself does cover material that is for a universal age group – that of the greed of man in particular. As explained in the blurb, the novel is an amalgam of many older stories, garnered from traditional fairy stories and religious texts. Some parts of this traditional mixing I felt worked very well – certainly a very novel way of approaching that over the rainbow concept.  The game of the leprechauns plunged the story out of antiquity and into the modern realm – which I found both endearing and humorous. The very well executed writing has a lyrical quality that would appeal, I think, to many young listeners as well as young readers. As an ex- teacher of 11-12year olds, I think kids of that age group would enjoy using this book as a ‘paired reader’ with younger children in their school. By that age, the older ones should be able to explain the sources pretty well. Very enjoyable reading. 

Stones & bones are part of our oral tradition. We find stones & bones in folktales, mythology, and religion. What people like about the oral tradition is the ability to change the story, each time you tell it.
The result is unique and entertaining. You recognise the story, but it’s different, unlike anything you have ever heard before. It’s like going into the kitchen on the day after Thanksgiving. You get a meal by making some unusual combinations: a pinch of salt here, a bit of sugar there.

I have taken stones and bones, stories and myths, folklore and tradition, a bit of religion, a pinch of love, a bit of travel, mixed it all up with an incredible long distance romance and built it up around a dynamic protagonist who you will either love to hate, or hate to love...

For dessert (yes, you get dessert too), there is also birth, rebirth, a battle for immortality and ultimate power to rule the world. It all comes down to the choices that an unlikely hero will have to make about who to trust, and who not to trust.

Finally, this book is dedicated to you, the reader. I hope you enjoy your story. These stones & bones, I humbly offer for your reading pleasure. Enjoy... Story Tellers have always told the stories of man's pursuit of love, gold, power, and ultimately, happiness. In this book we meet a mythical storyteller, Solomon, his wife Lanisha, and his son David. Through their stories we follow the earliest fortunes and misfortunes of man's attempt to achieve tremendous wealth, power and happiness. It is a story which will leave you wiser about the true meaning of true redemptive love, success, and joy...


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

It's Leaving Las Vegas!

Welcome Wednesday is busy on both blogs today with guest visits. Here on features I've got Aleah Barley in the hot spot. She's got some great answers to questions I put to her, to get to know her a little bit better.  

Read on to find out how you can enter Aleah's *giveaway* for a Leaving Las Vegas Mug and Guidebook!

Hi Aleah! Take yourself back 20 years and tell us if you had any aspirations to become an author at that time. Twenty years ago I had already written my first “book.” It was about a family of balloons, which makes a certain amount of sense… given that I was five.

Where did you spend most of your day back then? Kindergarten. Play dates. If I needed money, I’d stick a tooth under a pillow. It was a simpler time.

And today? How do you mainly spend an average day? I spend my days working hard to protect mankind, using the awesome power of my brain (I’m a researcher) and my nights writing fast paced, rip-roaring, adventure romances like Leaving Las Vegas. It’s the story of Luke Morrison—a billionaire casino magnate—and Glory Allen—a West Virginia wild child on a mission—who meet at a poker game in Las Vegas. When Luke accuses Glory of cheating the sparks between them are explosive. Then the gun-toting bad guys show up and things get really interesting.

Now jump forward 20 years from today. What do you think you’d like to be doing then?
Writing novels, drinking coffee, still living in fear that my cat is trying to take over the world. Only the good die young, so he’s going to live forever.

What’s your preferred genre for reading material? I like a good bodice ripper as much as the next girl (seriously, I’m a sucker for any novel that involves a sexy duke, a spunky debutante, and a marriage of convenience… or inconvenience). Of course, I’m also addicted to a good mystery.

Wow! It sounds like my novels would suit you just fine, then, Aleah! (*winking here* )What genre/ sub-genre do you feel comfortable writing in? Romance. Mystery. Awesomeness. Comedy. I really want to be the next Jennifer Crusie—Robert B. Parker—Carl Hiaasen take over the publishing world hybrid.

What do you think will be the main reading materials within the next decade? Books, some form of portable tablets? I think tablets are going to take over for day to day reading. I love being able to dip into my purse and pull out an entire library. At the same time, there are still certain authors that I have to have in hardback. They’re the books I know I’ll read over and over again, staying up until four in the morning. They’re also the books that I know I’m going to treasure for always.

In recent years there’s been a movement towards popular cult-type stories- sometimes driven by what’s been popular on TV and the cinema, like Vampire, shifter, time-shift sub-genres. What do you see as being the ideal focus to capture the imagination in 5 years time? The circus. No, seriously. I think that vampire novels have kind of saturated the market. I think it’s going to be zombies for a while and then maybe fairies. Dukes are always going to be a thing because they're HOT! In a dictatorial British way. I think we’re going to see a diversification of the market with lots of specialty sub-genres and more break out surprise hits.

That's a very interesting answer. Can you give us an idea of what your writing schedules might be like during the remainder of 2013 and on to 2014? My work in progress is about the circus. Seriously, it’s about a sexy small town police chief and the acrobatic ringmaster who he can’t get out of his mind—or his town.

Fast and furious:

Ice cream or chocolate cake? Ice cream, by a factor of about a billion. I mean, cake’s good but I’m anti-wheat and anti-frosting… which kind of limits my choices.
Home made lemonade or rum cocktails? Lemonade. Sour lemonade made from real lemons and natural sugar (but not too much sugar).

Cycling tour of France or a beach holiday in the Caribbean? Beach holiday in the Caribbean. I’m a beach kind of girl. I like sand, surf, and sexy dudes in barely any clothing. I mean, I bike to work every day on my vintage Shogun, but a girl’s got to have her priorities.
A date with a politician (you can name if you choose this one), or a date with Gerard Butler?
Okay, Gerard Butler is super studly and the star of more than a few fantasies of mine. In my “Leaving Las Vegas goes Hollywood” fantasies he’s definitely one of the actors I’d cast as Luke. Clean cut and in control at the beginning, all sexy-disheveled and totally head-over-heels in love by the end. Damn. But, like I said, a girl’s got to have her priorities and I’m a politics junkie. If I could get ten minutes alone with a certain all-powerful liberal, pick his brain, and give him a few strategic positions of my own then it would be totally worth giving up a night with Mr. Butler.
Children or pets? I’m twenty five. I mean. Yeah. Someday. For now, I’m happy with my cat—the one who’s currently trying to steal my computer—a good book, and a bucket of ice cream.

Aleah Barley is an author of funny (she hopes) contemporary romances. After recently moving to Detroit, she discovered that the rumors are true: it is a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of abandoned buildings, zombies, and hipster coffee shops that don’t open before nine in the morning. It’s also a great place to live.
She spends her days working hard to make the world a better place and her nights writing about kick-ass women who live life to the fullest and the men who love them.
She’ll do anything for a box of chocolates. Or ice cream. Seriously. Try her.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

When West Virginia wild-child Glory Allen gets caught in the middle of a kidnapping attempt, she has to decide if rescuing the sexy Luke Tanner is worth risking her life. Especially after the high and mighty casino magnate just accused her of cheating in his casino.
Her decision to help, causes Luke to step into her hometown to develop a community that doesn’t need improvement—a community Glory’s gambling earnings were meant to save—and Glory can’t help but question her judgment, because the chemistry between them is about to explode, and it has nothing to do with the Vegas thugs hot on their trail.
Now Glory is stuck helping Luke figure out who set him up and what to do about their own burning attraction…before Glory’s hometown, and her life, are lost for good.
Entangled Publishing – ignite imprint 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

To enter Aleah's *giveaway* 
for a  Leaving Las Vegas Mug and Guide Book  click 

Here's a little peek at Leaving Las Vegas...
She flushed and shifted into fourth. She’d never fantasized about a man with green eyes before. Her ex-fiancé’s eyes had been pale blue, the color like well-worn jeans on a clothesline. The only man she could think of with green eyes was sitting right next to her.
But it wasn’t just the eyes. The fantasy man currently in her mind had broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and an expensive jacket.
Luke had strong lips, capable hands, and emerald eyes. He was a damn good-looking man, and his suit had to be custom. It made him look like one of the models printed in the magazines at Daisy’s Clip and Curl. But that was no reason for her body to mistake adrenaline for lust. What did she know about the man, anyway? He was rich, gorgeous, and sharp enough to see through her poker tactics. If he could fix her plumbing, survive her sisters, and make her laugh, then he’d be perfect.
No one was perfect.
Besides, Luke had a great big stick up his butt. He wouldn’t be caught dead in Beaux. Not for a visit. Not forever.
“I think they’re gone,” Luke commented.
He adjusted his position, and his hand brushed against her leg. She tingled in a rush of sexual heat. He might have a stick up his rear, but it was a mighty fine rear.
“Pull over and stop the car,” he said. “It’s time we got you a different ride.”
The tingle fizzed out. Obviously he didn’t feel the same way about her as she did about him.
“It’s my car, remember?” They might be free of the bad guys, but she had miles to drive before she slept. Even if she didn’t have the money—she gulped a deep breath—she still needed to get back to West Virginia. Fast. Maybe she’d think of a way to get more money on the drive. She could mortgage her diner—ten times over—or just go the easy route and sell a kidney. “You gave it to me. You can’t take it back from me after I rescued you.”
“I’m grateful for your assistance.” The words came out through Luke’s clenched teeth.
“I can tell.”
“I’m not telling you to get out of the car because I’m a jerk,” he said. “I’m trying to save your life. Even in Las Vegas, an Aston Martin Vanquish draws attention.”
Glory looked in the rearview mirror. Two black SUVs were rapidly approaching. Her heart pounded. “Hell.” She gestured to the rear window. “No stopping now. We need to get out of here.”
Luke turned his head, taking in the bad guys.
A quick punch of the accelerator. “Hold on.”
Forty-five miles an hour.
Too late.

Thank you so much for coming today, Aleah, and best wishes for great sales of Leaving Las Vegas.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Tuesday is 'Two Can Play'.

Today I'm welcoming Dawn Atkins who is sharing her urban fantasy.
There's a fantastic *Giveaway* of 2 Amazon gift cards of $15 for some lucky winners, so remember to click the link to the Rafflecopter which comes later, but first here's Dawn...

I’m so happy to be a guest here to talk about my new romantic suspense TWO CAN PLAY. I thought it would be fun to give you an exclusive look at the Real Life Lounge, the gamer arcade where the book is set--and where Lounge employees work and live as one big happy gamer family--by taking you along as Rena Novo, the book’s heroine, takes Gage Stone, the hot new hire she’s supposed to mentor, on a tour of the highlights of The Life. Make a comment and you’ll be entered to win one of two $15 Amazon Kindle gift cards to be awarded at the end of the tour. For additional chances to win, follow the tour and comment on each tour stop.

            As the tour has continued, Rena is more and more suspicious of Gage’s intentions. Deciding to keep her doubts to herself until she can learn what he’s up to, she’s bringing him upstairs to her quarters, hoping to fight the sexual attraction that sizzles between them.

            As Rena led Gage across the arena toward the elevators to the Residence Tower, she heard her name called and turned.
            Ji Jin was waving to her. He was moving in single file with the rest of the K Men toward the largest console group. They looked so solemn in their black ghees.
            “Who are those guys?” Gage asked.
            “Our programmers. We call them the K Men because they’re Korean.”
            “And the guy who’s waving at you?”
            “That’s Ji Jin. The Blackstones’ adopted son. He’s a total genius. I’m so lucky to get to train with him.”
            “So the Blackstones have a gaming company and just happen to adopt a programming genius?”
            “What are you saying?” Her hackles were high now. He sounded like that snotty reporter mocking The Life.
            He held her gaze, then seemed to back down. “I’m curious. Is that a problem?”
            “Not necessarily,” she said, but she wasn’t convinced his questions were innocent. “Nigel and Naomi found Ji Jin in an orphanage when he was young and he showed an affinity for computers later on.”
            “They work up here?”
            “No. They have a lab in the basement. Their quarters are there. They’re up here running final tests of EverLife II. We release it to the world in three weeks. Everyone’s working like crazy to be ready.”
            “And you say he’s teaching you to program?”
            “Little by little, when he can. I teach him English in return.”
            “So that’s what you’re here for? To become a game designer?”
            “I like programming, but I do what the NiGo Family wants me to do.”
            “What about what you want?”
            She locked her gaze with his. His words were a challenge. For a brief second, the question registered in her head. What did she want?
            It took a second for the answer to come to her. A home. A place to belong. She’d found that here. Her confidence returned in a rush, along with her irritation at this man who pretended to want in, but seemed to reject the basic principles of the life.  
           Gage was prideful, independent. Not humble, not open, not happy to serve. There was no place for a lone wolf in The Life. So what was he doing here? She had to find out and soon…certainly before she felt more tempted to take him to bed. All that stood between them and that was an elevator up five flights.

Two Can Play

“Woot! Strap yourself in for a fast paced thrill ride with TWO CAN PLAY by Dawn Atkins. I could not put it down! Rena Novo is a refreshingly strong heroine matched perfectly by her handsome counterpart Gage Stone. The heat that ignites between these two while they try to solve their own personal quests positively scorches. This is a do not miss!” —Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling mystery author
Live. Breath. And Believe—to Rena Novo there’s nothing better than being a part of the most popular virtual-reality game—EverLife…until she’s given a Quest to evict her best friend from the society she’s come to love.  If she completes the job—she’ll rise to the top, but a sexy recruit is stirring a different kind of passion within her and making her question everything that makes her life complete.
Hunting for his missing sister, investigative reporter Gage Stone goes undercover in the gaming cult that’s taken over his sister’s life.  But his biggest obstacle is the sizzling attraction between he and Rena, the extremely hot gamer assigned as his trainer.  As their attraction builds, Gage realizes his sister isn’t the only one he can’t leave without.  Now he must convince Rena the rhetoric the company’s pushing is just a plot that will culminate in the deaths of hundreds… before she turns him in and gets them all killed.

Publisher: Entangled Publishing – ignite imprint
Publication Date: October 28, 2013
Buy from:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Dawn:
I always wanted to be a writer–from the moment I put fat pencil to brown-lined paper in second grade to write an elaborate story using all the spelling words on our list.
Though I always wanted to be a professional writer, I wasn’t sure I had the stuff, so I graduated from college with a teaching degree and taught elementary school–second and third grades (the best)–and then began freelance feature writing for newspapers and magazines, local and national.
I left teaching to work in public relations–skills I use today in my job as a writer/editor for the Arizona Education Association.
I met my husband, David Weiss, my very own hero, in 1980, on an airplane. We made the “love thang” permanent in 1985, when we married taking our Hobie sailboat to San Diego for our honeymoon. Then in 1990, we welcomed a son into our lives. He continues to be the light of our life together.
My first romance credits were two stories in True Love magazine. I went on to write a sexy romance in 1983, which was rejected–sniff.
Years later–1996–I got serious about getting published. Though I endured some rejections as I honed my craft, in 1998, I sold the first of two short romantic comedies to Kensington Publishing–Getting Zack Back, published in December. In July 2000, Baby Makes Three was released. After coming in second among published authors in a Harlequin Duets contest, I sold to Harlequin in 2001, quickly selling another comedy. In addition to Duets, I write for Temptation, Blaze and, the new comedy line Flipside.
Most of my hobbies–sailing, scuba-diving, playing the piano (badly)–have gone by the wayside as I devote all my non-family spare time to writing. I live in the Phoenix area with my husband and son, who proudly brings my books to his teachers and swears he doesn’t read them–except for the funny parts.

Dawn’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

To enter the draw to win an Amazon gift card, please click on the link  

Dawn's tour schedule is here if you want to try for more than one chance at winning the gift card:
Monday, October 28, 2013
Authors’ Cafe {Author Interview}
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Paranormal Dimensions {Guest Post}
Deal Sharing Aunt {Guest Post}
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Musings and Ramblings {Author Interview}
Paranormal Realms {Guest Post}
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Margo Hoornstra – Writing Inside & Out {Guest Post}
Friday, November 1, 2013
Loralee Lillibridge – Blogging Across the Back Fence {Guest Post}
Monday, November 4, 2013
For Whom the Books Toll {Guest Post}
Romance Me {Guest Post}
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Nancy Jardine Features {Guest Post}
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Amberkatze’s Book Blog {Guest Post}
Pretty Girls Read Books {Guest Post}
Thursday, November 7, 2013
What Readers Want {Guest Post}
Friday, November 8, 2013
Talk Supe {Guest Post}

Thank  you for visiting, Dawn, and best wishes with your tour. Slainthe!