Complication Cards: a must-read guest by Ines Johnson, author of The Loyal Steed

Ines Johnson has become a regular on this blog. Whenever she has a new release (and this girl is prolific!) she sends such tantalizing guest posts, I’d make space for them even if my schedule was full–which is not (mental note to blog more 🙂 ).

This time Ines’ guest post is about digging deep into your characters to define their inner needs as opposed to their wants, and how to structure your story based on that. Really worth your time. But before you get there, here are the details on Ines’ latest release The Loyal Steed: A Pleasure Hound, a serialized erotic dystopian story. The first part was released on May 12.

The Loyal Steed: A Pleasure Hound novel

by Ines Johnson
Release date: May 12
Genres: Erotic romance, dystopian
Purchase Link: Part 1 | Part 2 (Pre-order) | Part 3 (Pre-order)

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Synopsis

Jaspir has been in love with Lady Merlyn since they were children, but she has always been out of his reach. Trained as a Pleasure Hound and now surviving by selling his body to rich women, his heart has always remained loyal to his true love.

Liam was promised to Merlyn in their youth, but he’s always known that he’s not the man in her heart. With their betrothal approaching, Liam seeks out Jaspir for help. Eager to ensure the happiness of the woman they both love, Jaspir agrees to train Liam in the pleasure arts.

What starts as rivals in an uneasy truce, soon turns carnal when Merlyn learns of their secret lessons. In a society where men are second class citizens, Merlyn is torn between the attentions of two men who would do anything to rule her heart.

GUEST POST

Complication Cards

THE HOLE CHARACTER

All characters have holes (notice it rhymes with goals). You open the first chapter and find a human being who believes they are lacking something crucial in their lives. Perhaps it’s the dream job, or the right social circle, or their mother’s approval, or maybe it’s love.

Rarely do you enter the world of a character who finds themselves whole. A part is usually missing. For the next tens of thousands of words you will embark upon a journey with that character to fill that void.

Characters fill these holes in one of two ways; with either a want or need.

Remember when you were young and you wanted the fancy pair of jeans? Think Brenda in 90210. Fresh from the Midwest, thrown into the dangerous waters of the Beverly Hills elite, and her working class parents couldn’t afford the patchwork, ripped jeans that cost the same as a car payment. But Brenda wanted those holey jeans so that she could fit in with Kelly and Donna. In Carol’s, her mother’s eyes, there was a need for a new pair of pants for Brenda to wear to school and that’s what Brenda got. Now if we watched that 20-year old episode we know what Brenda did to those new pair of jeans; she made holes in her jeans to fill her social void.

You might want a pair of Louis Vuitton, but in the end you need a pair of functioning heels to go with that cute dress.

A want is a false goal, a red herring that throws both the reader and the character off the true course that will fill the character’s hole. It takes some time and some bumps in the road before the character realizes their want is not likely what they need. The need perfectly fills the void the character has been experiencing.

Exercise

Take a look at your main character(s). What is it that they need in order to be whole again? Now consider if it would serve your story for your character to have a false goal that keeps them from seeing their true need for a good portion of the story?

THE OBSTACLE COURSE

Before a character can see their need, they have to yearn after a want, which takes them on a bumpy ride to nowhere.

This obstacle course consists of four physical and/or internal complications that force the hero or heroine to make decisions that produce dramatic action.

The four kinds of obstacles are:

The Antagonist (Bad Guy)

A specific antagonist lends clarity and power to the dramatic structure because his primary function is to oppose the protagonist. He doesn’t necessarily have to be evil, but he should personify the protagonist’s obstacles.

Example: Cinderella’s Wicked Step Mother

Physical Obstructions

Physical obstructions are just what they seem –material barriers standing in the way of the protagonist. These can be rivers, deserts, mountains, a dead-end street, or a car causing a crash –anything that presents a substantial obstacle for the protagonist.

Example: Arielle’s fin

Inner/Psychological Problems

Inner obstacles are intellectual, emotional, or psychological problems the protagonist must overcome before being able to achieve his goal. For example, dealing with fear, pride, jealousy, or the need to mature fall into this category.

Example: Fiona’s (from Shrek) appearance

Mystic Forces

Mystic forces enter most stories as accidents or chance but they can be expressed as moral choices or ethical codes, which present obstacles. They can also be personified as gods or supernatural forces, which the characters have to content with.

Example: Tiana’s (from The Frog Prince) magical transformation into a frog

Exercise

Which of these obstacles will your character face? Will they face more than one type of obstacle during the course of the story?

THE SCENE

You’ve discovered your character’s need, and potentially their want, which is a false goal. You’ve learned about the four types of obstacles that can obstruct your character on the way to achieving their goals and filling their need. Now, to build a heart-pounding story where you send your character through the toughest obstacle course you can imagine, you should map out a blueprint for the course.

Four Elements of a Story

  1. HERO/HEROINE

Primary character looking to fill the void in their life.

  1. WANT

A false goal that the hero/heroine initially believes is their path to wholeness.

  1. OBSTACLE

One of the four obstacles opposing the hero/heroine.

  1. NEED

The true goal of the hero/heroine which will satisfy their void.

OBSTACLE COURSE CARD

EXAMPLES

Antagonist example

In the Cinderella adaptation Ever After, Danielle (heroine) works tirelessly to gain acceptance (want) from her stepmother (antagonist) until she realizes her family of friends, including the Prince, love her unconditionally (need).

Physical example

In The Little Mermaid adaptation Splash, yes I went there!, Madison (heroine) leaves the sea to be with Allen (want) but when her legs get wet and her fins come back (obstacle) she’s forced to tell Allen the truth of her existence in the hopes that he’ll come and spend forever with her under the sea (need).

Inner/Psychological example

In the unconventional fairy tale Shrek, Princess Fiona (heroine) hopes to be rescued by a knight in shining armor (want) who will break her curse (obstacle) until she realizes that true love is “color” blind (need).

Mystic Forces example

In The Frog Prince, Tiana (heroine) dreams of opening a restaurant (want) but her dream takes a slight detour when she’s turned into a frog (obstacle) along with Prince Naveen and learns to seek and take help from others (need).

Exercise

Now its your turn. Fill out your own obstacle card for you story. If you want to take it a step farther, fill out a card for each scene!

About the Author

Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

Connect with the Author

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Publisher

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Great post, Ines! Thank you so much for sharing, and best of luck with The Loyal Steed!

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The 6 Steps to Successful DIY Blog Tours

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This is a must-read guest post by romance author Ines Johnson whose Pumkin: a Cinderama Story was released on March 10. If you want to save money and prepare successful blog tours on your own, a how-to guide follows.

For a full presentation of Pumkin: a Cinderama Story including an excerpt, I prepared a post on my promo blog.

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DIY Blog Tour

If You Publish It, They Will Come

That may have been true ten, five years ago in indie publishing. It is no longer the case today. Readers have a lot of authors and books to choose from. They don’t know you, so you have to do something to get their attention.

Okay, but what something? After visiting Google, I decided to do my own blog tour. I went to listservs and chat rooms for authors and asked questions. Established authors said a blog tour was a waste of time. But new and indie authors said to go for it. I had nothing to lose, and no money to spend, so I did it myself. Here’s how I did it.

1. Build a MEDIA KIT

Honestly, this wasn’t the first thing I did. I realized I needed it as responses started rolling in with bloggers requesting the same materials over and again. But I recommend it be the first thing you do.

A media kit is everything a blogger could possibly want or need in order to host you on their webpage. Include in your Media Kit the following:

  • Your book blurb. I included different lengths of my blurb, including the full blurb that’s up on Amazon. A shorter three sentence blurb. And a one sentence blurb. My debut book was erotic romance, so I also had to be sure and include a PG version of my blurb for bloggers who also showcased YA books.

  • Book excerpts. Choose one to two scenes that you feel would get readers engaged in your story. I recommend the excerpt should start somewhere in the middle of the scene and end before the scene is over at a high point of tension. If you choose well, this tactic would naturally lead a reader to push the ‘buy now’ link so they can find out what happens next. Again, make sure you have a PG excerpt for bloggers who showcase YA books.

  • Guest Posts. I wrote three guests posts for my tour. I found that bloggers liked craft pieces, writing tips, and social commentary. So, I wrote one of each. I also found that some bloggers wanted you to answer their list of questions instead of using your posts. I complied, and then saved each question and answer. I included these Q&A’s in my media kit and made them available to all subsequent bloggers.

  • Author biography. Be sure to include the bio you’ve written for yourself and posted on your website. I found that some bloggers preferred a one sentence bio, called a tagline. So, I paired my long bio down and included two options in my kit.

  • Links. Be sure to include your store purchase links, your website url, and all social media links and handles. In my ebook, I have fancy graphic links. I assumed the bloggers would do something graphical with my link, but few did. Instead they just left the entire URL up under my name. I didn’t like that, but I had to realize that many of these bloggers weren’t graphic artists or any more tech savvy than your average person. Moving forward, I’ll need to think of a better way to list these links.

  • Images. Attach images separately, as well as in the body of the kit. If you have a lot of images, make them available upon request.

That was a lot of information, but I suggest you get started on that before contacting bloggers. Many get back to you straight away and begin making requests.

2. Find BLOGGERS

Once your media kit is assembled, you need to start finding blogs to host your amazing information.

I began my search at the Book Blogger Directory: https://bookbloggerdirectory.wordpress.com/

I made certain to check for bloggers who were in my genre.

I also checked their sites to see when their last activity happened. You don’t want to spend time querying a blogger whose last post was in 2013.

3. Make CONTACT

Once I had my list of vetted bloggers in my genre, I began to contact them. Be aware that some of these bloggers have handy Google Docs. They’d prefer you use these instead of emailing them directly.

For those I emailed directly, I made a form email, but I sent each blogger an individual email with their name in the salutation. I also tailored the form email to each blogger where possible. For example, if I saw that a blogger was only interested in author interviews, I didn’t mention that I had blog posts and excerpts because I knew they wouldn’t be interested in those items.

Here’s an example of the basic form email that I sent out:

Dear [Book Blogger],

I write erotic romance, paranormal romance, and fairytale retellings under the pen name, Ines Johnson. My newest release,Pumpkin: a Cindermama story, which is a fairytale retelling of the Cinderella story will hit the print and virtual shelves on March 17th.

I’ve planned a book tour throughout the month of March to create some buzz and garner a bigger audience for my book. I’d love to make a stop at your site. I’m happy to do a Q&A, a blog posting, submit my book for your review, or any combination of the three. I’ve prepared three posts for the occasion. If you feel that one of the topics might interest your readers, I would be happy to make it available to you any day during the month of March and April. Attached you’ll find my Media Kit for your convenience.

4. Keep RECORDS

It looks bad to contact the same person over and again. Or to forget that you agreed to give this blogger that post on this day. I kept a spreadsheet in Google Docs so that I had access to it at all times.

On the list I listed the blog title, the blog URL, the contact person’s name and email address. In other columns, I placed what each blog looked for from guest bloggers, when I contacted them, if they responded, if they said yes and what they wanted, when the post would be live, and when they needed the information by. You should also note if they want exclusive content, and if they want you to provide them a giveaway.

* a note about giveaways: try where possible to offer your book as a giveaway. I got my highest sales on the days I offered my book as a free giveaway. I didn’t want to offer a gift card, remember I was broke by this time.

5. Be SOCIAL

As the blog tour began, I made a fancy banner announcing the tour for my webpage. I linked to each blog that hosted me.

On the day of each tour stop, I tweeted and posted each blog. And I visited each site to try and interact with any commenters and responded where appropriate.

6. Send THANK YOU NOTES

But the most important thing I did, was mind my manners. After each post I wrote a personalized thank you note to each blogger. I told them how they affected my sales rank that day. Each one invited me back!

7. The VERDICT

I had phenomenal success with my tour! I was on thirty blogs over the course of my launch week. As soon as those posts went live, my debut novel was launched into the Top 100 where its stayed for a week after my launch. I could see the effects in real time. When a tour stop went live, an hour or so later, I’d see sales. I didn’t see much of a blip on social media (ie, my newsletter or Facebook Likes). My twitter followers did see some of an uptick, but mostly from the bloggers themselves as they tweeted about the post.

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Here’s more on Ines Johnson’s latest, super-cute fairy tale romance.

Pumpkin-3DBlurb

Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne has been searching for his soulmate all his life, whom he’ll recognize at first sight by a golden aura, that only he can see, surrounding her person. Manny doesn’t see gold when he meets Pumpkin, but the more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

Purchase Links

Amazon Purchase Link

Goodreads

Author Bio

Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

Connect with the author

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/ineswrites

Twitter

https://twitter.com/ineswrites

Website

https://inesjohnson.wordpress.com/

Publisher

http://heartspell.com/

Repossession by Rachael Wade (Review)

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One of the most exciting books I’ve read this year, Repossession by Rachael Wade, the first book in The Keepers trilogy, will keep you on your toes and create as many questions as the answers that gradually emerge. Before you read my full review, make sure to enter the international giveaway to win a signed swag and an eBook copy of this amazing title. This review tour is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

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My Review

Skylla’s dad made sure she could handle a gun. When the Invaders crash into her home, that skill saves her life but not her parents’. She manages to slip away from the aliens that have taken over earth only to be captured by a human who appears to have sided with them. But Jet Phoenix has his own agenda. Soon, they flee together fighting every step of the way, not least their attraction to each other. But finding answers is more important. What is the aliens’ ultimate goal? Why are they drawn to earth’s water resources? And more specifically, why when they touch Skylla, they instantly release her in awe?

Kale, a young man they stumble upon, leads them to the rebels who have answers but also a plan he wants no part of. Forcing Skylla and Jet to follow him, he reaches the core of the Invaders’ headquarters where they finally come face to face with the truth.

But is that the truth or, apart from their emotional memory, the Invaders can also tamper with their mind?

I was blown away. Sci-fi is not my genre of choice and can rarely keep me deeply involved, but I was drawn by the blurb and the beautiful cover, so I decided to give this book a try. Not only did I not regret it, but I found myself skimming instead of reading to get on with the story. And that wasn’t fair to the author as her writing is stellar! This book is a page-turner in every sense of the word. Action-packed, fast-paced but also thought-provoking, it can equally appeal to women who enjoy sci-fi romances and men who opt for a thrilling read. The plot is thick, complex but not confusing. The main character, Skylla, puts Katniss to shame, and Jet is everything you’d expect of a true hero with a noble quest. Of course, there is the indispensable love triangle as Kyle would like nothing more than keep Skylla for himself.

There was nothing amiss in this book. It does end with a cliffhanger though. But in such a glorious way, my jaw dropped!

I seriously recommend Repossession. Even if you don’t enjoy reading about little green men, which in this case are lithe incandescent creatures with jet black pools instead of eye sockets, this ride will be one you won’t forget any time soon.

Official Synopsis

Skylla only knows that she has been kidnapped and held prisoner by the foreign invaders and their human allies. And that the world is ending. Or so the humans think. The invaders have made it clear that their arrival is one of hostile intent, and as their takeover spreads, so does the panic across the globe. No one knows how to defeat them, or if it’s even sane to try.

Jet, Skylla’s human captor, is up for the challenge, though. A traitor in Skylla’s eyes, he is working with them. But Jet has his own agenda; one that doesn’t include babysitting Skylla or helping the enemies. And as the human race struggles to keep the invaders from achieving their goal, Jet and Skylla’s paths collide to reveal the truth behind Skylla’s abduction.

The invaders are headed for the water. Jet is headed for the water. But that’s the last place Skylla wants to be. That’s where the future of humanity lies, and where the bridge to their yesterdays was burned. On a mission to take back what is rightfully theirs, Earth’s population is determined to make sure this isn’t the end. But some endings were never theirs to begin with.

Author Bio

RachaelRachael Wade is the Amazon bestselling author of The Preservation Series, The Resistance Trilogy, and the upcoming sci-fi series, The Keepers Trilogy. When she’s not writing, she’s busy learning French, watching too many movies, and learning how to protect animals and the environment. Visit her at www.RachaelWade.com and www.LightsOnOutreach.com, or come chat with her on Twitter via @RachaelWade.
Author links:
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The Viscount Who Lived Down The Lane by Elizabeth Boyle (Review)

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A charming take on The Beauty and The Beast, this historical romance, the fourth in New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle’s “Rhymes with Love” series, will leave fans of the genre truly satisfied. Make sure you enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win one of ten print copies of the book, courtesy of the author. Also, scroll down for a sample of Ms Boyle’s excellent writing.

The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane

Rhymes with Love # 4
By: Elizabeth Doyle
Releasing October 28th, 2014
Avon Romance

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Cover (1)

My Review

Laura Tempest is a disaster magnet. And Lavinia, her identical twin, is even worse! But when they are offered a sponsored Season in London full of social life among the best of the ton, Lavinia drags Louisa with her. While Lavinia is set on finding a respectable husband, Louisa’s practical mind knows that their family’s tarnish won’t be covered with pretty frocks and intricate hairdos. She’s not the marriage sort, anyway. So she brings Hannibal, her devilish one-eyed tomcat with her. With him at hand, no one will bother her.

All Viscount Wakefield wants is his thick drapes shut and his bottle of Madeira full. After the retreat to Corunna, amidst the Peninsular War, that shattered his leg and his heart, he resents still being among the living. But when a cat from hell wreaks havoc in his household and his tempestuous mistress (Miss Tempest, indeed!) decided she wants to put everything to rights, including his life, he bans both cat and lady from his house. So she starts working on his garden. And suddenly that demmed drape insists on letting sunshine creep in even when he’s sure he left it hermetically shut. Just like his heart.

This historical romance was a delight! The language was as authentic as it gets, the plot, although not highly original, delicious, but what made the difference for me were the characters. True to themselves down to the bone, they never falter, and that’s including pets! From the elderly butler and the impertinent new cook to the two kids that are hired as extra help, and Hannibal the cat (unforgettable Hannibal) they all get memorable, fast-paced scenes that often made me think that I’m watching a farse on stage.

The dialogues are witty, the settings well-rendered (although maybe a bit underdescribed) and the main characters set so many obstacles along the way, I really wondered how the HEA would come about. If I must complain about something that would be that the final reconciliation scene was too easy, and there are loose ends concerning other characters, but Ms Boyle has promised that everything will be sorted out in the next installment where we’ll learn what Lavinia is up to. I’m surely picking that one up!

All in all, I truly enjoyed this delightful historical romance. In terms of character development, I would say that Ms Boyle is among the best. This new version of The Beauty and The Beast put a smile on my face–not an easy task with a swollen cheek after a wisdom tooth extraction. 🙂

Excerpt

London, Hanover Square

November 1810

“What is it, Haley?” Lord Charleton asked, sparing a glance at the door of the breakfast room where his secretary stood, hovering about like a nervous sparrow. “Is it Rowland? Tell me he hasn’t landed in the suds yet again.”

“No, my lord.”

The man’s brow furrowed a bit. “Couldn’t be Wakefield.”

“Certainly not, my lord.”

The baron glanced up. “Wouldn’t mind if it was. Demmed waste having him mope about, locked up in that house of his.”

“Indeed,” the secretary replied, and if Charleton wasn’t mistaken, there was a note of irony to the man’s declaration—one he chose to ignore, instead pinning a glance on the impudent fellow.

Under the scrutiny, Haley’s jaw worked back and forth as if the words were stuck there in his craw.

“Well?” Lord Charleton prodded. “Out with it. Before my kippers grow cold.” As it was, the baron shoved his plate forward and set down the paper he’d been reading.

Mr. Haley cleared his throat and held out a letter. “I’ve come across a small debt your wife owed—”

There it was. That cold stillness that came every time someone had the nerve to mention Isobel’s name.  How  Lord  Charleton  wished  he  could forget her passing so this wrenching pain would fade from his heart. Yet, still, even a year after her loss, it was a sharp ache he woke up with, one that haunted him even after he closed his eyes at night.

Now here was his secretary bringing her up when he’d quite forbidden the matter.

“Pay it,” he ordered in a tone that said he wanted nothing further to do with any reminders of her.

“But, my lord—” Haley shuffled about.

Lord Charleton removed his glasses and slowly cleaned them. Then once they were perched back up on his nose he stared coldly at the fellow. He was a good man, Haley. An excellent secretary, but why the man continued to bring up Lady Charleton, the baron could not understand. Speaking slowly and deliberately, so there was no mistaking the matter, he said, “You know what to do. Take care of the matter and leave me be.”

“If you insist, my lord . . .” Haley’s voice trailed off tentatively. It wasn’t so much a reply as one last prod.

Truly? He was going to ask yet again? If he wasn’t the most thorough and honest fellow the baron had ever hired—well, actually Lady Charleton had found him and insisted he be hired, but that wasn’t the point. Haley had become rather cheeky of late and Charleton wanted nothing more than to fire him on the spot.

But Isobel wouldn’t have approved, and so Charlton inclined his head, reined back his ire and said with a final note, “Just see to it as Her Lady- ship would have wanted.” Then he went back to his paper and ignored Haley, who stood for a few more moments in the doorway.

And if the baron had looked up, he might have seen the wry, wily smile that had led Lady Char- leton to hire Mr. Haley in the first place.

CHAPTER 1

London

Six months later

Areowwwwww!  The unholy complaint filled the

carriage.

“You should have left that foul creature back in Kempton,  Miss  Tempest,”  Mrs.  Bagley-Butterton complained for about the hundredth time.

Which equaled the number of times Hannibal had let out that ear-piercing yowl from the basket in which he was trapped.

“He  doesn’t  like  being  penned  up  so,”  Miss Louisa Tempest said in defense of her cat. “And I couldn’t leave him behind.”

There  was  a  sigh  of  resignation  from  beside Louisa. Miss Lavinia Tempest, Louisa’s twin, made a very deliberate show of looking out the window. She wasn’t about to rise to Hannibal’s defense.

Never would.

Louisa suspected her sister shared Mrs. Bagley- Butterton’s exasperation and wished poor Hannibal back in Kempton as well.

“I only hope your godmother is an understanding sort,” the matron continued, shifting in her seat in the carriage and eyeing the large basket on Louisa’s lap with an air of disdain and suspicion. She had protested vehemently against the cat being brought along, but she could hardly prevent the matter when the carriage conveying them to London belonged to the girls’ father, Sir Ambrose Tempest. “I know I wouldn’t have that cat in my house.” She sniffed loudly.

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Elizabeth BoyleAuthor Info

Elizabeth Boyle was an antipiracy paralegal for Microsoft before settling down to write full-time. Her first novel, Brazen Angel, which won Dell’s Diamond Debut Award in 1996, also won the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best First Book, and was a finalist for Best Long Historical Romance. She lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. She is also the author of Brazen Heiress.

Author Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Believing in Bigfoot by JC Miller (Review)

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A never-too-late romance was this week’s read ‘n’ review. Believing in Bigfoot by JC Miller is a heartwarming story of a man and a woman who could have given up/fallen back to old ways and patterns, but they give love a chance. The tour is brought to you by Book Enthusiast Promotions.

My review

An art professor, Ruth has lost the drive both for her art and teaching. Just like her 28-year-old son who drifts in and out of her life, fun and thirst for new things also seem out of reach. Playing along her best friend’s whim to go trekking on the mountains, she has an acutely embarrassing encounter with “Bigfoot” turned rescuer. Shockingly, his fleeting presence becomes creative inspiration.

Isaac has fled his high profile life and his demons. Living like a hermit on the mountain, brings lucidity he never experienced while living on the fast track. But the woman whose friend he is forced to help out, affects him in ways he cannot explain, and she unwillingly forces him to re-enter the world. The catch is that his disappearance didn’t erase his problems and they instantly flood him to the point of choking him. How can he be what Ruth needs when he himself doesn’t know who he is?

Believing in Bigfoot is a lesson in believing in life and love regardless of the stage of life you’re in. Written with surprising attention to detail both in settings and emotions, this novel flows with naturalness as much as it flirts with nature. The author’s loving attention to the minutiae of every day life is charming, and her flexibility and ease in handling complex emotions of characters with huge emotional baggage (remember: this is the opposite of a YA romance) is amazing.

The story is well-paced, and the characters full-fleshed and totally relatable. I was drawn in the story from page one, and that was because the settings were rendered so vividly, I could picture them in amazing clarity! If I have to comment on one thing that would be the lack of a distinct point of reference. A center of gravity, if you may. It wasn’t the romance so much, as Ruth and Isaac share but a few scenes, or the challenges of friendship and motherhood, as the need to re-invent oneself, re-calibrate one’s life at an older age, or maybe the need to let go of excess baggage even when it’s become second skin. I’m having some trouble defining the true essence of the story.

Other than that, this was a book I enjoyed reading and finished in one (and a half) sitting. If you enjoy sweet romances about second chances, Believing in Bigfoot should be your next read.

Scroll down for more details on the book, purchase links and a chance to win two $5 Gift Cards.

Synopsis

Reeling from his failed comeback and ruined marriage, washed-out actor Ian James (née Isaac Janowitz) flees Los Angeles for a two-week respite in Northern California’s remote Marble Mountains—Bigfoot country. His time alone in the wilderness begins to peel away the layers of his Hollywood persona. After a fateful meeting with a beguiling woman, Ian begins to question his heart. In a moment of clarity, Isaac ditches his publicist and finds himself in Redding, living with invisibility at the Vagabond Motel.

Professor Ruth Hill is burnt out teaching photography at Redding’s Shasta College, eager for her upcoming retirement. But for unexplained reasons, despite weekly therapy sessions, her panic attacks have escalated. Her artistic slump persists. Looking back, she regrets a life without risk; looking forward, she dreads a meaningless future. Going over her proof sheets one morning, she stumbles upon a series of striking thumbnails, reigniting her passion and creativity.

Readers will root for Isaac and Ruth as they grapple with their chance encounter on the mountain and search for meaning in their repellent, yet intense attraction. Their paths do cross again, but when confronted with the possibility of enduring love, Ruth’s cynicism creeps in; Isaac’s self-defeating beliefs take hold. For these two damaged souls, it just may be too late.

Meet the Author

JC (Jeanne) Miller, M.A., is an educator and founding member of JAM, an editorial-consultation team. An avid reader, aspiring traveler and table tennis enthusiast, she resides in Northern California.

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Various States of Undress by Laura Simcox (Tasty Virtual Book Tour plus Guest Post)

Talking about complicated! A CEO needs a savvy girl for his family’s legacy department store, but the perfect candidate has a tiny little flaw: she’s the president’s daughter. Add romance to that equation, and the only result you get is … Various States of Undress.
Scroll down for an A-MAZING guest post by Laura Simcox on the right attitude to rejection and also chance to win a Digital Copy of VARIOUS STATES OF UNDRESS: VIRGINIA and get to meet Laura Simcox. This virtual book tour is brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.
VARIOUS STATES OF UNDRESS: VIRGINIA

 

 

When the president’s daughter risks everything with her sexy new boss, they’re bound to find themselves in Various States of Undress! 

If she had it her way, Virginia Fulton—daughter of the President of the United States—would spend more time dancing in Manhattan’s nightclubs than working in its skyscrapers. Tired of dodging paparazzi, she needs a change. And a real chance. So when she finds herself in the arms of sexy, persuasive Dexter Cameron, who presents her with the opportunity of a lifetime, Virginia sees it as a sign … but can she take it without losing her heart?

CEO-to-be Dexter Cameron knows he’s taking a risk by hiring a stylish party girl to jumpstart his family’s legacy department store. But the president’s gorgeous daughter has her thumb on the pulse of Manhattan, and the partnership seems like a win-win … until Dex discovers that his goals now include more than securing the corner office—they include Virginia herself. Dex must decide: does he make a move up the ladder? Or on the girl of his dreams?


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About the Author

After spending years in professional theater as a costume designer, Laura Simcox eased out of the hectic whirlwind of opening nights and settled in a comfy desk chair to write romance. She believes that life is too short not to appreciate heartwarming, quirky humor and her novels are lighthearted journeys into the happily-ever-after. She lives in North Carolina with her true love and adorable little son.

 

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How to Avoid the Rejection Blues: Taking Aim (And Not at Your Own Foot)

By Laura Simcox

When I was in Junior High, I wanted three things: my braces off, my zits to magically disappear, and for the boy of my dreams to notice I was alive.

Because I was thirteen, I naturally assumed that I was the only girl to ever experience this triple threat of anguish—the zittiest, braciest, most incredible freak of nature to ever walk Planet Earth—but I had a Kamikaze-like desire to succeed lurking within me. (Still do.)

I wrote the boy a note, complete with check boxes, asking if he liked me (I know…ouch) and I slipped it into his notebook when he wasn’t looking. He sat to my right, and two desks up in English, so I could always see when he opened that notebook. You know what? He kept my note, right where I’d stashed it in the clear pocket in front, which gave me boundless hope. You know what else? He never answered me.

So, I was rejected, but it was by default. There were times when I wished with all my heart that he’d looked me in the eye and said no. There were plenty of other times I was so glad that he hadn’t had the heart to do that. Rejection is slippery that way—especially when you’re never quite sure why it has happened. And because I was at such a volatile age, I obsessed about the note, and him for an entire year.

This little painful story is meant to illustrate what it’s like to have your work rejected, because if you’re an author, chances are you’ve experienced both the flat ‘No’ and the mystifying lack of response. It’s hard to move on from either type of rejection, but to succeed, moving on has to happen one way or the other. I was able to move on from Silent Boy, and I’ve moved on from writer’s rejection, too.

I firmly believe in one simple thing: If, despite my best efforts, something doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be. The boy didn’t reject me because of my zits, he rejected me because I wasn’t his type. And when my work gets rejected, it’s not because my writing sucks, it’s because I wasn’t the publisher’s type, either.

I’ll make one thing clear—you have to know upfront that you don’t, in fact, suck. If you’re getting interest in your work, you don’t. If you’re rejected over and over again, there is a small chance that you do. There’s also a very good chance that you’re actually awesome, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Prepare. Take careful aim. Then shoot yourself at the likeliest target. Survive like Katniss, right? Even though your work can seem like your life—it’s not your life at stake. You’re going to get rejected, but you’re not going to die.

That being said, I’ve learned the hard way not set myself up for rejection in the first place. That sounds arrogant, counterproductive, and a bit paranoid, I know, but hear me out. I’m not a genius, but I’ve only been rejected a handful of times (so far). This is why: Before I ever submitted a single word, I spent months online—stalking editors, agents, trends, authors, and most importantly, publishers. I read all kinds of theories about getting your foot in the door, and in the meantime, I worked on writing craft. Like—really hard.

In the end, I decided that logic was my best friend. I’d read that if an author doesn’t know who she is, and exactly what she writes, how will anyone else know, either? Editors and agents can work magic, but they don’t have magic balls. It was up to me to say “Hi, I’m Laura. I write lighthearted, sexy contemporary romance.”

I never submitted to publishers and editors who didn’t publish my particular genre, even if I desperately admired them. When I did submit, I made sure I followed their guidelines to a T. (After all, they didn’t write those guidelines just for giggles.) I never submitted to agents who didn’t already represent authors and genres similar to myself.

When I thought I was ready, I sent my book pitch to several friends who read romance, not telling them that I’d written it. I just said, “Would you read this book?” Three answered “Sounds cute, so maybe” and three said “Um…I’m not quite sure what it’s about, exactly.” Okay—that’s not good enough. I didn’t want “Meh…” or “Huh?” when I sent my work to an editor or agent—or worse—sat in front of them, wincing at the words coming out of my own mouth!

So I rewrote the pitch, envisioning a reader picking my book up at a book store, flipping it over, scanning the back copy and grinning. I asked myself if I would want to buy the book based on the description. After all, if I didn’t like my pitch, wouldn’t it seem as if I didn’t like my own book? Once I felt as ready as possible, I started to send it out.

Was I nervous? Yeah. Did I pray and then cringe every time I hit the send button? Oh yeah. And did I get rejected? Three times. And then one day, I was in the right place at the right time and was the right fit. That’s lucky—I know, but at the same time, I went to a conference completely prepared.

The agent I had an appointment with (waves at amazing agent) didn’t know that I’d already read every scrap of info I could find on her. I almost whipped out some of that knowledge to prove that I’d done my homework, but I realized that wasn’t why I was there. I was there to tell her about my book as clearly as I could. I sat in front of her and read my super-short, carefully worded pitch, and when she asked me questions, I had an idea of my target audience, and how my book would work in a series. I was successful, due to a combination of my careful, hard work, the stars aligning, and her forgiving my breathless voice and (probably) crazy smile.

In the years ahead, I expect more successes, but I also expect more rejections—because I won’t be at the right place at the right time, despite all of my wonder nerd efforts. It happens.

Yeah, I’ll be bummed, but I can go down in a blaze of glory knowing for sure that my aim was true. The target (and I) just weren’t in the right place at the right time. J


 





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A rough road to love: His Road Home by Anna Richland (Review)

His-Road-Home-Anna-Richland (1)

His Road Home is an original love story, both heart-warming and heart-rending, that brings together an unlikely couple. Read on for my review and an excerpt from the book.  If you’re US-based, make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, as the author will make a $50 DONATION to The Fisher House Foundation in honor of a veteran of the winner’s choice. The virtual tour is organized by Tasty Book Tours.

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His Road Home
By: Anna Richland
Released October 13th, 2014
Carina Press

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My Review

A marine biologist, Grace Kim, is more into her whale expeditions than into complex people relationships. Yet she finds herself engaged—with all the unwanted family hoopla over her finally settling down—when she doesn’t even know the guy! The fact that he’s just returned from Afghanistan seriously injured after a heroic effort complicates the situation even more. Demanding answers from a speech challenged double amputee, when everyone expected her to play the part of the fiancee, took Kim on a guilt trip on top of her frustration when all she wanted was to go back to her single, quiet life.

But after sweet texting each other while Ray was on a tough rehabilitation program, and she’s deployed to Alaska, Kim starts feeling a lot more toward him than guilt. And when she accompanies him on his cross-country drive back home, their faltering friendship turns sizzling hot. But can Kim be strong enough to support Ray, or is she again stereotyping?

His Road Home is a jolting read. So much for the heroine to deal with here until she settles for unconditional love: prejudices, guilt, objective practical difficulties, social demands … that’s one hell of a tough road to take. And Kim is by nature untrained to be that kind of tough. But Ray is such a sweetheart—on top of being dark and handsome—he makes everything fall into place without exerting any emotional pressure.

There are amazing heart-warming moments in this book as there are painful, heart-wrenching images. From Afghan war-zones and the Gulf of Alaska to a cross-country road trip, this one is quite a ride. The writing is no-nonsense, fitting the bill perfectly. The character development is expertly done, and the HEA while bumpy is right there; uplifting and empowering. What I felt, though, was that this was a story that needed more space to naturally evolve. It seemed that it was squeezed into a small book, giving some scenes a rushed, choppy feel. There were aspects that I’d like to see more of. Like get to know Kim’s traditional Korean parents and their ways more. Or have a better feel of Grace’s role on the Alaska expedition.

That aside, I enjoyed this original and thought-provoking story. It blows many cliches into smithereens, but what’s left standing—proud and tall—is true love. ‘Cause love is all you need, right?

EXCERPT: Grace Arrives at the Hospital

Chapter 2

The rose-tinted stone buildings and immaculate landscaping of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, reminded Grace of a university campus more than a military hospital. On the parking shuttle route, signs pointed to the Warrior Center and celebrated Warrior Pride, and she half expected men in blue paint and kilts to swarm the bus.

The massed display of flags inside the main lobby pressed home the weight of her false pretenses. The closer she drew to reception, the harder the fictions she hadn’t created but had been too obedient or timid to unravel squeezed her stomach. Five feet from the front desk, her charade bit more uncomfortably than the airplane seatbelt she’d worn all night.

“May I help you, ma’am?”

No one else was behind her. She was the ma’am.

The man on the other side of the desk smiled at her. “Are you here to see someone?”

Although she’d read his name in dozens of news articles, she hadn’t said it aloud. Her first attempt was a whisper. “Reynaldo Cruz.”

The keyboard clicked as he asked, “Are you Sergeant Cruz’s next of kin?”

“No.” Her stomach somersaulted as another lie rose to the surface to join so many others.

“Whoa, ma’am.” He reached across the desk as if to catch her. “Sergeant Cruz arrived yesterday from Landstuhl, but we have to ask because sometimes people pretend to know soldiers who’ve been in the news.”

That was her, a pretender. She clutched her jacket over her chest, chilled even inside the building, and hoped the airplane bagel didn’t revisit the scene.

“Name and photo identification, please.”

“Grace Kim.” Her driver’s license shook until she dropped it on the counter.

More clicking and peering before he said, “I don’t have you listed.”

If she couldn’t find out why Reynaldo Cruz had turned her life upside down, she’d never put it back together. Her chest expanded with bottled frustration.

“Hold on, I’ll call the ward to get permission.”

While the receptionist muttered into the phone, she willed the hot ball in her throat to dissolve. If she had to leave, this farce would end without an explanation to share with her family, her boss, her co-workers. The reporters calling her parents would change their tone, and people in Pateros would stop eating at the restaurant.

“Duty nurse confirmed you’re Sergeant Cruz’s fiancée.”

Relief snapped through her, even as the label made her squirm.

“Petty Officer Boichek will escort you. Visiting hours until twenty-hundred.” He clarified, “That’s eight tonight. I’ll add you as a permitted visitor. Here’s your temporary badge.”

Her escort was a woman, younger than her. “Morning, ma’am. This way to the elevators.”

As they left the lobby, Grace’s clogs clomped on the gleaming bare floor. At least her escort wouldn’t hear her thudding heart.

“No matter what, when you see your warrior, smile.”

Anna RichlandAuthor Info

Anna lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. Like the heroine of her debut paranormal romantic suspense novel, First to Burn, Anna joined the army to pay tuition, a decision that led to a career on four continents.

She donates a portion of her book proceeds to two charities: the Fisher House Foundation, which provides free accommodations near military hospitals for families of wounded soldiers in the US and Great Britain, and Doctors Without Borders, which delivers emergency medical care in more than sixty crisis zones world-wide.

To sign up for Anna’s newsletter and find out about her next release, The Second Lie (The Immortal Vikings, Book Two), visit her website at www.annarichland.com

Author Links

Website: http://www.annarichland.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnnaRichlandAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7440825.Anna_Richland

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Classically beautiful: Beneath the Scars by Melanie Moreland (Review)

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An ocean retreat in Main where the beauty meets the beast and makes him love her. But where love comes easily, trust seems as elusive as a handful of sand…

This review tour is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the following goodies (ends Oct 27):

  • 4 ebooks of Beneath the Scars (INTL)
  • 2 signed Paperbacks of Beneath the Scars (US/Canada only) with book marks
  • 1 package of Into the Storm/Beneath the Scars Paperbacks with bookmarks – both signed (US/Canada only)

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Beneath the Scars
by Melanie Moreland
Publication date: October 14th 2014

Beneath

My Review

Megan’s life has turned into a nightmare. Having her boyfriend humiliate her in such a destructively public way—the person she trusted implicitly—makes her flee Boston. Her friend’s ocean house on Cliff’s Edge in Main is just the place for her to regroup and maybe even start writing again. She is certain she will be left in peace what with her only neighbor being a renowned recluse. Soon, she discovers he’s also a misanthrope. So why is she drawn to him so much?

Zachary’s only companion is his art. And his shaggy golden retriever; the only being he touches anymore. Until the stupid girl next door needs his rescuing. So he is forced not only to touch her but to also hold her, feel her against him. And now all these buried needs rush forward.

With the only currency he was used to dealing in—his face—partially destroyed along with his faith in people and their motives, is there a chance for him and Megan to work out? And when her ex’s deceit spins out of control, and the first thing thing that crashes is their fragile trust, will Megan have the strength to give Zachary a second chance?

This novel starts out in a quiet, lulling manner in sync with the soft waves breaking on the shore—the main setting of the story. The soft, sweet, well-rounded writing reminded me of older romances, and having read lots of choppy, vibrant New Adult stories recently, I was worried my interest might wane. But the plot is surprisingly strong. When the main conflict comes about, I was stunned at the ferocity of the situation and left wondering of how this mess will be resolved.

Zachary’s backstory is well presented, making his disposition plausible and his reaction to events more or less predictable. The good kind of predictable. I also appreciated how Melanie Moreland builds up her story gradually; two thirds into the book and the reader still doesn’t have vital info on both the main characters’ past. Another positive aspect was the slow road to the book’s HEA. The way things turned out, a rushed embrace with the ocean’s horizon as a backdrop would have been eye-roll inducing. But this one takes its time, so the beautiful epilogue is worth the wait.

The only thing that slightly got to me was that Megan is too sweet—bordering on naive. She’s an angel-like character; a somewhat old-fashioned romance heroine. Of course, Zachary makes up for any excess sweetness, so things are nicely balanced. Also, while used to crass language in romances, the F-bombs here seemed a bit forced.

If you enjoy classically romantic stories in an idyllic seascape setting with a strong plot Beneath the Scars is just right for you.

Official synopsis

The sound of the ocean, the crash of the waves as they kick up against the sand and rocks—these are the only sounds Megan Greene wants to hear. She wants to leave the rest of the world behind, and find some peace.

The offer of a private house on the beach, set in a small town in Maine, is perfect. Time to think—to be by herself. It’s all she wants. It’s the escape she needs.

Until she stumbles across the painting that seems to echo her own chaotic mindset.

Until she meets the unfriendly artist behind the stormy painting and discovers his secrets.

All Zachary Adams wants is to be left alone. His canvases, and the unending scope of the ocean and sand, are his life. They direct him—fill his hours. Bring him focus.

Until she enters his life.

She dredges up memories of the past—the haunting images he has hidden for years; the fears he has never shared.

A story he keeps buried below the surface.

Can she make him see what he is missing? Can he trust her enough to believe?

Together they embark on a journey where their pasts collide and threaten to tear them apart.

Will their fragile bond hold or wash away with the ebbing tide?

MelanieAuthorPicAUTHOR BIO

Melanie Moreland lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her husband and fur children. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

Known as the quiet one with the big laugh, Melanie works for the sporting teams of a local university. Her (box) office job, while demanding, is rewarding as she cheers on her team to victory.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and somewhat challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties and socialize, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie delights in writing a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines, to her even more inspired tales, for all to enjoy.

Author links:
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Alex by Sawyer Bennett (Review)

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A steamy sports romance, starring a bad-boy NHL star might be just what the doctor ordered for October. This one packs powerful psychological portraits of adults dealing with childhood abuse. Read on for my review and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for an Alex Crossman/Cold Fury team jersey! This review tour is brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.

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Alex

Cold Fury Hockey # 1
By: Sawyer Bennett
Releasing October 14th, 2014
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My Review

Alex is a machine. He plays hockey like a machine, he beds women like a machine (I used the other word in my Goodreads review) he socializes like a machine–as in not at all. Fans of Cold Fury, his team, love to hate him. He’s the MVP, as in the Most Valuable Prick.

But the team’s management want their star player to work on his social profile. Or else. Alex now has to deal with some social worker on a drug prevention outreach program. Life sucks. But the surprisingly young and beautiful social worker doesn’t, so he decides to show her both spaces he owns: the pitch and the bedroom. He even resorts to showing her his gentleman side: he warns her that he’s going to break her heart. Because that’s all he’s capable of, right?

Sutton Price knows very well what she’s getting herself into. But Alex’s abusive background, bits and pieces of which surface especially during their post-coital bliss, hit very close to home: she’d been there herself, only she chose the path of acceptance and forgiveness, and she wants more than anything to help Alex involve more emotions than anger, hatred and apathy. But when he gets there, fear and insecurity also creep in and mire everything. With his father always devastatingly present in his life, and a career with an expiry date he needs to focus on, how can Alex give Sutton what she needs?

This sports-themed NA romance had some surprising elements. First of all, it offered the male point of view as well. In the case of a damaged, withdrawn hero, especially if he’s in the star (rock or sports) category, it is not often that we get to see his mind at work with extra insight into his childhood; the source of all evil. Usually, his behavioral pattern is explained in the final stages of the plot through dialogue or revelations of a third party. In the case of Alex, however, not only he knew exactly what mindset he was in and what caused it, but we get a front-row seat to vivid scenes of his hair-raising childhood in the hands of a father destroyed by alcohol and his own demons.

The other element I appreciated was the presentation of the two different paths an abused child can follow in life: Sutton shared experiences with Alex, but she embraced her past in an empowering, creative way. But Sutton’s way, although acknowledged by Alex, causes further rift between them, as self-doubt and even envy tipping towards jealousy manage to further distance him from her. These subtle psychological insights made the book stand out from the lot.

The sex scenes are frequent and steamy, but they’re not there just to underline the hero’s prowess; they also help to move the plot forward as that’s where Alex’s psyche is gradually revealed.

Ms Bennett’s writing is efficient, adeptly delving into the characters’ true essence. The only thing that got to me was big chunks of narration revealed in the form of thoughts during an on-going scene, inevitably using past perfect. For example, someone would wake up and start getting ready for the day, thinking about what happened the day before. Quite a number of scenes were presented that way. Other than that, this was a smooth read.

If you enjoy reading sports romances with seriously hot, seriously damaged heroes, but want a deeper portrayal than just of their physical attributes, you should consider picking Alex up—pun intended 🙂

Sawyer BennettAbout the Author

USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett is a snarky Southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Author Links
Website: http://www.sawyerbennett.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bennettbooks
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bennettbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6950682.Sawyer_Bennett

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Carina Press Mystery Week Blitz

MysteryWeekBlitzBannerThis fall, cozy up with the four deliciously “mysterious” titles by Carina Press featured in this Blitz organized by Xpresso Book Tours.

If you’re in the US or Canada, make sure you join the Blitz-wide giveaway
  • Digital copy of each book featured in this blitz
  • Murder Mystery Party game
  • Magnifying glass necklace

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Mistress of Lies by Holly West

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Available: September 29, 2014

Format: Ebook

Price: $2.99

Book description:

Book description: London, 1679. Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London’s elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn, and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king’s offer to move into the palace.

Isabel’s plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother’s death, twelve years after it happened.

Isabel’s investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-baiting matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother’s dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried—especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.

*Be sure to check out Mistress of Fortune, book #1 in this series by Holly West

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holly_headshot_0214Holly West

Holly West is a crime fiction writer based in Los Angeles. She’s the author of the Mistress of Fortune series, set in late 17th London and featuring amateur sleuth Isabel Wilde, a mistress to King Charles II who secretly makes her living as a fortuneteller. The first in the series, Mistress of Fortune, was published by Harlequin’s Carina Press in February 2014 and its sequel, Mistress of Lies, is forthcoming in Fall 2014. Find her online at hollywest.com.

Murder in Real Time by Julie Ann Lindsay

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Available: September 29, 2014

Format: Ebook

Price: $2.99

Book description:

With the chaos of summer tourists and fall birders out of town, counselor Patience Price is looking forward to the quiet life she remembers. She longs for some peace. And an apple fritter. But the calm is cut short when a reality show sets up camp to film a special about ghosts on her little island. Now fans, reporters and crew have flocked to sleepy Chincoteague. Who knew ghost hunters had an entourage?

When two cast members are killed in a room at the local B&B—a room usually occupied by Patience’s FBI agent boyfriend, Sebastian—she finds herself on the case. Sebastian doesn’t want Patience ruffling any feathers but, as always, she can’t help herself.

Patience promises to let Sebastian handle the investigation—he is FBI, after all—but after a drive-by shooting, her wicked curiosity gets the best of her. And with the TV show forging ahead with filming, the list of suspects (and the line of food trucks) only grows. But has the shooter already flown the coop? And how do you find a killer when you don’t know who the target is?

*Be sure to also check out the first two books in the Patience Price Mysteries series, Murder by the Seaside & Murder Comes Ashore

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Lindsey_headshotJulie Anne Lindsey

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Mother of three, wife to a sane person and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus, most days you’ll find her online, amped up on caffeine and wielding a book. Julie started writing to make people smile. Someday she plans to change the world.

Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW), Sisters in Crime (SinC) and the Canton Writer’s Guild.
 

Elvis Sightings by Ricardo Sanchez

CARINA_0914_9781426899072_ElvisSightingsAvailable: September 29, 2014

Format: Ebook

Price: $2.99

Book description:

I’m Floyd—no last name needed, thanks—and I’m a P.I. The only other thing you need to know about me is that I’m not an Elvis impersonator. I live my life fast and hard and yes, in sequined jumpsuits, but more importantly I live my life the way Elvis would have wanted me to. Honestly. With integrity.

It was a tip that the King was still alive and living under an assumed name that brought me to Kresge,

Wyoming. But there’s something bigger than Elvis happening out here. I’ve been beaten bloody by an acrobatic bartender, roped into the search for a missing councilman, fallen for a bearded lady, and threatened by men in black who really don’t want me poking my nose into the town’s business. Half of my leads look like dead celebrities. The other half are either refugees from a broken-down circus or spear-holding Viking wannabes.

I’m in Crazytown, USA, but I can’t leave. Not yet. If I don’t find the missing councilman soon, Kresge will be turned into a Danish-themed amusement park. I’ve never been so close to finding Elvis. And I need to know if my new self-appointed sidekick James Morrison is really who he claims to be.…

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Ricardo Sancrsanchez-headshothez

Ricardo is a writer, creator, and T­shirt collector. He’s written for DC Comics, including work on Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Teen Titans Go! and Resident Evil, among others. His short story Death and Life of the Hero appeared in the Gods of Justice superhero anthology and in 2013 was turned into a successfully funded Kickstarter graphic novel, A Hero’s Death, which will be coming out in fall 2014. He was also the Emmy winning creator of the animated series Re\Visioned: Tomb Raider, which was part of Tomb Raider’s 10th anniversary celebration.

When he’s not writing, Ricardo maintains a vintage toy blog, drives 70’s muscle cars, and shops year round for Halloween decorations for his home in California.

Code Runner by Rosie Claverton

CARINA_0914_9781426899089_CodeRunnerAvailable: September 29, 2014

Format: Ebook

Price: $2.99

Book description:

Ex-con Jason Carr has faced down the toughest thugs in Cardiff, but being assistant to a brilliant, eccentric hacker who hasn’t been outdoors in ten years has its own challenges. Still, he and Amy Lane can solve cases even the cops can’t crack. And when a corpse washes up on a beach, Jason can’t resist chasing the clues—or defying Amy by infiltrating the very gangs he once escaped.

Amy is distraught when Jason’s pursuit gets him framed for murder. He’s thrown back in prison where he’s vulnerable to people who want him dead. He needs Amy to prove his innocence. Fast.

But Amy hasn’t been honest with him—her panic attacks aren’t getting better. And now, with everything that makes her feel safe ripped away, she must stand alone, using her technological skills to expose a baffling conspiracy and a new kind of online crime. Can she clear Jason’s name before danger closes in?

*Be sure to also check out Binary Witness, book #1 in the Amy Lane Mysteries.

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Rosie Claverton

Rosie Claverton, December 2013Rosie Claverton grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home.

Her first short film Dragon Chasers aired on BBC Wales in Autumn 2012. She co-wrote the ground-breaking series of short films The Underwater Realm. Her debut novel Binary Witness was published by Carina Press in May 2014.

Between writing and medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series, advocating accurate and sensitive portrayals of people with mental health problems in fiction.

Currently exiled to London to train in psychiatry, she lives with her journalist husband and their pet hedgehog.

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