Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog Tour Stop - The Love Game by Emma Hart

Blog Tour Stop! Woot! The Love Game by Emma Hart!

His challenge? Make her fall in love with him.
Her challenge? Play the player.
Until life changes the rules of the game.

Maddie Stevens hated Braden Carter on sight. Arrogant, egotistical, and the playboy of the University of California, Berkeley, he's everything her brother Pearce has taught her to despise. So why, when the girls challenge her to play the player, doesn't she say no? She doesn't know either.
Braden wanted fiery little Maddie the second he laid eyes on her - and he'd do anything to have her, hence why he's agreed to make her fall in love with him. After all, it's the only way he'll get what he wants. Sex.
But, as Braden discovers, there's more to the girl from Brooklyn than he ever imagined - and he can't help but care about the broken girl behind those pretty green eyes.
Maddie finds Braden isn't just a walking erection - he actually has feelings. He can be sweet, funny and his good looks don't exactly hurt. That means trouble - but when her brother Pearce turns up in Berkeley begging for her help, she realizes Braden and Pearce aren't so alike anymore.
And maybe, just maybe, they're exactly what each other needs.

My Review 
*no spoilers!*

The Love Game by Emma Hart

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this novel for my review. I LOVED The Love Game. I felt as a reader the main and supporting characters were all flushed out and engaging. The premise of this novel is "Playing the Player." You know, 'that guy' who burns through girls without a second glance. Set in California, Maddie is a long way from Brooklyn. She has her college girlfriends to keep her busy. 

She meets Braden, their school's 'walking erection' and is instantly turned off. Braden wants Maddie to be another notch on his bedpost. Unfortunately for him she is immune to his charms, doesn't stop him from trying to get her to fall in love with him.

It is refreshing to see a female lead who has no problem putting a player in his place. She may be projecting some personal issues on him though. I'm not a fan a spoilers so you'll have to buy the book and find out exactly how this love game does not go according to plan. I recommend having a blueberry muffin while you read, they're Maddie's favorite.

By day, Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to a terrible two year old and cooking baby, due September 2013. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of wine – well, tropical juice now – and writes books. She likes to write about magic, kisses and whatever else she can fit into the story. Sarcastic, witty characters are a must. As are hot guys. She's working on the companion novel to her latest release and NA debut, Never Forget (Memories #1), and The Love Game (The Game, #1) will release on March 29th. She likes to be busy - unless busy involves doing the dishes. Ironically, that's where most of her ideas come from. Her debut YA series, The Mauve Legacy, is an Apple iBooks Bestseller - and this makes Emma excited.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Author Interview - Gareth Young

My Blog has been invaded by Spartans today! I welcome the opportunity to sit down and chat (virtually of course) with my favorite Spartan, Gareth Young. I consider it a great honor to introduce you all to him because I consider him a dear friend of mine. We've been fake married on Twitter for months now with no talk of a faux divorce. He does not (oops doesn't) shy away from his pro contraction stance and He is quite possibly the funniest person I know. Lastly, he found my obsession with Swedish Fish not only endearing but reason enough to join my cult :)

What idea inspired you to write Monsters?
Primarily it was the idea of don't judge a book by its cover. I love the idea of an afflicted hero in the style of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, feared and misunderstood by all except those who take a minute to get to know him. We are quick to judge people based on their looks or be prejudiced based on appearance...(its not our fault entirely, there is science behind it)...and we should fight that urge more than we do. 

Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
I sold a book to someone who wasn't a blood relative!! lol. Also, someone coming up to me and asking for an autograph, that was bizarre.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
This is difficult because I'm not sure many people know much about me and if I DID tell them more, I'm not sure any of it is particularly surprising. Hmmm...I like disco music? That's surprising not so much because its me but because, you know, DISCO! lol. I played bass guitar for a while and there's nothing better than a wee bit of funk or disco to practice with. 

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I think I celebrated by smiling a lot. I'm not a normally very effusive personality. I keep it all on the inside. I am sometimes mistaken for an android.

Do you recall where your interest in writing originated from?
Back in the heady days of PRIMARY school (the UK equivalent of grade school) we would often be challenged to write a poem or tell a wee story. When I lived in the Shetland Islands, two teachers gave loads of encouragement to the little 8 year old Gus. Sadly, in SECONDARY school I met the Voldemort of encouragement and a lot of my storytelling interest got kicked in its pants. Then, when I was about sixteen, I rediscovered writing and fueled by a love of comic books and movies, I started writing again. 

Who is the character that you like most from this book? Why?
Doyle Godwin is my favorite because he's layered and interesting and conflicted. He's not a superman. In fact, he might be considered the opposite due to his disability but he doesn't dwell. He has more reason than most to shake his fist at God and demand answers and yet, he's accepted things and moved on. Well, for the most part he's moved on. There's still something from his past that he holds onto and he gets to relive that in Monsters.

What scene did you struggle with the most?
There were a couple of scenes where the tone was important and took a couple of attempts. The opening chapter was a nightmare and I'd still be rewriting it now if I wasn't busy with other stuff. I was also worried about handling the flashbacks but I seem to have managed that. Really, the hardest scene I had to write was a scene between Doyle and a prostitute. It's early in the book and the tone had to be perfect. Too much one way and I could lose the readers right at the start, not enough and I'm not being honest. I wrote it and was fortunate my good friend Andrew "tsk tsk'd" me and told me it wasn't good enough and that I had to be honest to the situation. I couldn't shy away from the truth of the scene...and that included any language I might have to use. So, I rewrote it and it works much better. Thanks Andrew!

Do you have a favorite place where you write?
Down in my Dungeon. The Dungeon Gnomes don't keep it very tidy but I still prefer it. Solitude and all that.

Do you have a favorite writing snack? If so, please dish :)
Not one particular snack no...although a wee bit of chocolate is always nice to have around. Swedish Fish are a good snack food but you should NEVER keep the giant bag right beside you. That's more for myself than anyone else.

Advice for aspiring authors?
It's the most obvious piece of advice but most important: KEEP WRITING. There are going to be great days when you sell a book, or write a paragraph exactly as you wanted but, there will also be bad days, days where you can't write your own name without questioning if its right or you find out someone doesn't like your writing as much as your parents do. KEEP WRITING. You'll only get better if you write. You'll only finish if you write. You'll only get your stories out if you write. If you DON'T write then you are just someone with some interesting ideas. Someone who puts their ideas down on paper?...that's a WRITER.

I know you have a current work in progress, can you tell us about it?
It's called PERSEPHONE and is a follow up to Monsters.
Private Investigator Doyle Godwin is now exactly where he didn't want to be - in the limelight. His best friend incarcerated, the only woman he ever loved gone forever from his life and his body continuing to battle him, Doyle pushes away from those closest to him in attempt to return his life to the closest thing to normal he understands.Turning down job after job, he thinks he's getting his life back until Persephone walks through his door. 
Persephone Bright was kidnapped as a young girl and rescued from the clutches of a notorious serial killer dubbed "The Dollmaker". For years she's tried to put the past behind her but now a familiar face in a crowd triggers long buried fears. Has The Dollmaker returned to finish what he started years ago or is Persephone finally losing her mind? She hires Doyle in the hope that he can help her with the answers.

My Review
*no spoilers* 

This is such a great book. I don't read much suspense but I could not put this book down. The story is way different but the delivery and pace reminded me of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. If you liked that book buy this one. The novel follows the mystery of a little girl dressed as Little Red Riding Hood taken from her mother while they are out trick or treating. I felt parallels to the classic fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood with the question of who really is the Wolf? I became invested in the who done it and it kept me guessing until the very end. The character who I felt the most for was Doyle, I wanted to fix him, because he felt so real.

Gareth can also be found on Twitter @SpartaGus

and Facebook

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cover Reveal - Bound to Me by Jeannette Medina

Hey People!

I am so so so excited to share this cover with you all. I am drooling over the back blurb of this book. I CANNOT wait to read it!

Here is the link to add it to your Want to read lists!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Author Interview - Ross McCoubrey

Ross and I have become friends through Twitter and Facebook. We bonded over candy, if I remember correctly our Twitter chat lead him to purchase some very stale vending machine Twizzlers. Also, somehow in this strange virtual world I, a Redskins fan, came to adore Ross, a Cowboys fan. So, please don't hold that against him, LOL! :)

What inspired you to write One Boy's Shadow?

The initial idea came from a very vivid dream. I awoke and scribbled down the basic idea in very hurried sentences at 4 in the morning, always keeping paper and pen by my bed – or at least having the underside of a box of tissues to use.
I left the idea to lie dormant in its initial state for quite some time. I toyed with the idea of writing it into a story but, always tending to have a self-defeating attitude about such things, put aside any notion of it. It wasn’t until I happened to catch an episode of Oprah where she was interviewing Toni Morrison. Ms. Morrison said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” And that really resonated with me.
I had always searched to find a story with a young protagonist along the lines of the Hardy Boys with a lead character who happened to be gayI didn't want the book to be centred on the coming-out process, so I included this as just one component of the total story, much as it is in real life. I wanted to read, therefore create, characters that, although they have struggles, ultimately are strong, united, and empowering.
I grew up, and still live, in a very rural area. When I was growing up there were no resources, at least none that I knew of, for Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered or Questioning ( heretofore to be named LGBTQ ) persons and I often felt an internal disconnect, desperately hoping to find something in a book or movie that I could relate to. While things are certainly getting better, it is still comforting to have those special, if only fictional, worlds where we can go and feel a common humanity. My ultimate goal was to create such a place for even just one person within the pages of One Boy’s Shadow.
Which scene did you struggle the most with?
I wouldn't say there was any one scene that caused me more struggles than the others. That being said, ensuring the continuity and factual accuracy kept me on my toes. My house was littered with notes and papers for months as I scrutinized every detail.
There were many scenes that were quite emotional to write and that created a different kind of struggle. When I’m writing it’s basically like I’m watching a movie inside my head and I’m trying to capture how each scene sounds and feels and relay that onto the page. There are times when I’m writing behind eyes glassed over with tears and others that actually make me get up and walk away from the computer for some time to give myself a reprieve. Even as I am writing I am not always sure what is going to happen next and  I am so emotionally invested in the characters it becomes a very real experience.

This novel broaches the very timely discussion of bullying. What would you say to someone who might be feeling alone or hurting today?

I was bullied mercilessly in school, especially between the grades of 7 and 9. I was a very heavy kid and I was ridiculed and harassed on a daily basis because somehow my personal weight was an acceptable attack point for a large number of kids who were deflecting their own internal issues by aggressively pointing out my external one, so I understand bullying very well.
My bullying experience took me to a very dark, very lonely place…to the point that I almost gave up. Then, one night, I had this epiphany: I won’t let them win. I’m stronger inside than anyone has any idea about. I’m smarter than all of them put togetherSo I changed the way I saw the people making fun of me. They weren’t just bullies, they were sad, pathetic, hopeless people who were so scared of themselves they had to attack me. Instead of being angry or hurt I just shook my head and smiled. Talk about confusing for them!
What would I say to someone today, feeling alone or hurt? First off—you’re not alone. There are a number of amazing resources to get in touch with to help you know you have allies. The Trevor Project, for example, is a wonderful organization which offers advice and counselling as well as a toll-free help-line.
I wasn’t strong enough to be out in school. That was more than twenty years ago (which is still hard for me to believe in many ways!) and at the time there weren’t any kids in my small town that were openly LGBTQ. I also had for myself a secret weapon. I figured that if I were overweight it would never be questioned why I wasn’t dating or going to the dances etc. I literally hid within my own skin.
After finishing my education I dropped the weight, slowly began my coming-out process, and found the inner peace that had eluded me. I forgave myself my past, and I’m looking forward to my future.
The first copy of One Boy’s Shadow that I gave away was to a young man who was experiencing some difficulties in high school. In it I inscribed this one simple truth to remember: Having the courage to be yourself is a gift you give the world.

I know you support specific charities and organizations. Could you tell us a little bit about them and where a reader would go if they wanted to learn more?

There are a number of very worthwhile causes and organizations out there today, such as the Human Rights Campaign, It Gets Better, You Can Play Project; as well as a number of smaller community based groups like the Pride Centre of Edmonton, the Dream Bridge Exchange in Toronto, or a school’s Gay/Straight Alliance. All the sales of One Boy’s Shadow go to support The Youth Project, an LGBTQ youth resource and drop-in centre located in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Twitter: @YouthProject_NS

I'm in love with your dog, seriously he is absurdly cute. What made you select his breed and how did you pick his name? 

:) Thanks! Duncan (aka Sir DunksalotDunkaroos, or Dunkie) is a Valley Bulldog (a breed native to the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where I grew up). Our beloved family Beagle, Toby, passed away last June. Always having a dog in the family (my parents, my sister’s family, or me) I decided to begin looking to adopt a dog last autumn. It was really a matter of excellent timing as friends of my parents had an unexpected litter on the way. Duncan was born late in November and I was able to get to meet him when he was nine days old. When I picked him up he made a squeaking sound in my hands that he didn’t make for anyone else. As always, the dog chooses the companion, not the other way around.
His name, like most things I do, was researched, shortlisted, and discussed. I was reading aloud my finalized short list of five names to my mother and sister and when I said “Duncan” they both made me stop. When we learned the name’s meaning “Brown Fighter, Nobel Warrior” and that it was of Scottish origin, it was settled.
And, if it’s not too nauseating, since his name is Duncan we refer to his meal times as his “Doughnuts” Now, when anyone mentions the word doughnut, Duncan wiggles excitedly and runs to his dish.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before setting out to be an indie author?

The biggest surprise to me is the amount of personal time I have had to devote to marketing the book. The entire process of getting published is overwhelming, expensive, and can be extremely frustrating but that doesn’t mean I regret any of it. If I had not had to take charge of my own marketing I would never have learned so many new computer skills or made the amazing networking connections with other independent authors, such as yourself, Allen Renfro, Sue Brown, Brandon Shire, Pol McShane, Drake Braxton, Lichen Craig, Gregory Allen and numerous others whom I have come to greatly respect and admire. 

How do you find time to write?

I guard my time-off from work very carefully. My friends understand my writer’s requirements for space and time (especially now that they know I write. I didn’t tell anyone other than my immediate family and my very closest friends that I was even writing, let alone getting the book published, prior to its release). 

Do you have a favorite place where you write?

I do almost all of my writing sitting at the table in my living room, looking out the window facing the beautiful Bay of Fundy. I do all of my editing in my favorite old chair by the window at the other end of the room (at least I did. Duncan has claimed this chair so we shall see what happens)

Do you use Beta readers? If so, what type of feedback do you feel is the most helpful?

I didn’t even know what a Beta reader was until I looked it up (learning it wasn’t a device to play defunct video cassettes was a starting point). I read and edited my novel more than 60 times before ever letting anyone else see it.

Caleb is really into cars in your novel. I've seen pictures of your Mustang, did your love of cars inspire Caleb's? And, what would your 'if money was no object' dream ride be?

Yes indeed. I am a car enthusiast for sure! From the earliest age I would collect car brochures and study them, setting up a “dealership” in my childhood best friend’s playhouse where she and I would “sell” cars via telephones that we disconnected and pretended to call customers on.
As for my dream vehicles, I am really looking forward to getting the restoration of my Bronco II completed. I purchased it from the As-Is section of my local Ford dealer for research for One Boy’s Shadow and getting “Spud” (he was named by one of my closest friends) all prettied up will be very gratifying. Being happy with what you already have and improving it/maintaining it is much more satisfying than wanting more.

But I wouldn’t refuse a perfectly restored blue on white Edsel :)

Do you have a favorite writing snack? If so, please dish :)

I can’t eat when I’m writing. I tend to lose all track of time and have been known to write through consecutive meals. I must have coffee…copious amounts…and it must be hot.

I know you are a big reader, what are your three all-time favorite books?

Argh!!! Narrowing it down to three is sooooo difficult! This answer could change day-to-day but all-time favourites are (in no order): The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub, Famous Last Words by Timothy Findley, and At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill (and The King Must Die by Mary Renault) sorry…I just couldn’t omit any one of these books.

Lastly, do you have a current work in progress? If so, what's it about? And when do you hope to release it?

Yes, I am currently working on a new book. I’ve had a number of people tell me they hope that I’ll write a sequel (which is the best kind of compliment) but that’s not going to happen. What I will say about the current work-in-progress is that it contains a thread that links it to One Boy’s Shadow.
I won’t even hazard a guess as to a release date as I haven’t a clue at this time how long it will take me to even complete a first draft. It took me over three years for the first book to see printing so I hope you’ll be patient with me, and if you are, I hope it will be worth your wait.

My review:

I purchased his novel One Boy's Shadow and read it recently. This novel was the first LGBTQ genre novel I have read. I wondered if I would relate to a romance between two young men. I did, attraction is universal, those first feelings of nervous butterflies no matter the object spoke to me. I also, as I read the novel found myself mentally imagining myself as one of Caleb's parents. I have a son, how would I handle the conversations Caleb had with his parents if he was my son? The romance told in this novel has an added twist of a mystery as well. The home Caleb and his family move to is haunted. I'm personally a wuss and there were some scenes early on that made my heart rate jump a bit. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves young love, mysteries, and family dynamics.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ebook Giveaway! 3-8-13

My youngest turned three today. If that isn't a good enough reason for an ebook giveaway I'm not sure what is! The contest will run from today until tomorrow (3-9-2013) 5pm est. There will be 3 ebooks given away, one each to three winners (either of my books, winners can pick which). To enter please comment below.


Good luck!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday Teaser -Stages of Grace

I ease out of bed and quietly walk into the kitchen to make myself a piece of toast and grab a cup of yogurt. I am cleaning my plate when Jon walks out of our room. He comes behind me, pushing himself up against me, his hands on my hips. I freeze, my hands still in the sink. He leans down to kiss my neck. I am too nervous to react, I don’t want him to stop. Jon turns me to face him, I stand with my arms out in front of me, dripping water onto the floor. Jon's hands are on my neck as he kisses me. I kiss him back, happy to be in his arms once again.
He makes love to me that morning, playfully pulling me back to our bedroom. It has been at least a month since he has shown any interest. The last time I initiated it Jon seemed almost distracted the whole time, avoiding my kisses and leaving the bedroom once he was finished. This time is like old times, Jon kissing me and murmuring silly, sexy things to me. I feel as though my prayers are being answered, as though it is a sign that whatever is broken with us can be fixed. I spend most of Sunday in his arms, blissfully happy. He isn’t cold or distant, he is charming and loving. Jon makes dinner that night, flirting with me as he cuts up carrots to steam.
He puts on some music and when the food does not need tending pulls me off the sofa and dances me around the room. After dinner he makes love to me again. I fall asleep in his embrace as he absentmindedly plays with my hair, my body tucked into the crook of his arm. It was the best day.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stages of Grace

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance...

When facing death a mourning period is to be expected. But what if it's
not a person but a relationship that dies? Grace and her boyfriend Jon have
been together for three years. They live together and have shared many
beautiful memories. Those memories are what keep Grace from admitting Jon
has changed and is no longer the man she fell in love with.

Afraid of being alone and holding on to something that no longer exists
Grace is a shadow of her former self. Her daily objective is to hide her
pain from the world. Then, an unexpected letter sets off a whirlwind of
potential life changes. In life sometimes the hardest thing to do is let go.

Stages of Grace is currently in the very capable hands of my editor. I anticipate releasing Stages of Grace towards the end of April 2013.

I will makes updates as more detail becomes available :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Reviews - Sins & Needles and Forty Days

First book-

Sins & Needles by Karina Halle

Okay...this book, this friggin book. Alright, just trying to get my thoughts together. First off I do not want to give away any spoilers soooooo be prepared for some gibberish in certain parts of this review. I'll start my review with what made me buy this book. Answer, the author. I'm new to the Karina Halle fan club. A friend recommended the Experiment in Terror series to me and I'm a giant wuss and the idea of reading anything with the word terror in the title put me off. That was dumb, I was dumb. You have a friend recommend a book, read the friggin book. So, I did read the book and since I tend to read on the fast side I read all of the books in a short period of time. This is where what we call a book withdrawal came in place. So, even though her other books weren't EIT I was so impressed by the author's ability to pull me in that I started reading her other books. The quality of her writing is why I bought Sins & Needles.

I was not disappointed, this book was a roller coaster ride of emotions. There were times I felt such varying degrees of my feelings towards each of the main characters. In this book you follow Ellie and Camden through multiple personality defining decision points. The characters in her books are so friggin human, no one is prefect, they just are who they are flaws and all and I love that about them. This book has multiple scenes that made me feel like I was watching a scary movie when a character starts walking upstairs instead of out the front door and you feel yourself screaming at the screen "don't do it! Just turn around you idiot!" For me it was more like "noooooooo!" or "oh damn." Also, I would be remiss if I did not devote a portion of this review to the utter smexyness that is Camden, holy crap, I will say no more on this in the hopes of avoiding embarrassment over my personal attraction to a fictional character. Overall, I was so emotionally wound up at certain points of this book that I worried about my own heart rate. This book is part of a series, there is an amazingly gut wrenching final scene. I'm anti spoilers so I'm not going to say anything other than buy this book and find out for yourself.

Second book-

Forty Days - Neima's Ark book one by Stephanie Parent

This book intrigued me because I like the idea of a romance set around a story we are all familiar with, Noah's Ark. This story isn't Noah's though, it's his granddaughter Neima's. I am going to admit some ignorance and tell you right now that I have no idea of there was a granddaughter Neima in the bible version. The Noah's Ark version I remember is basically the children's one from a picture book. You know, God told Noah to build an Ark and get two of all of the animals on board. The next picture has a cute cartoon Noah on the boat with all the animals smiling as they look out their port windows, well except for the giraffes who have their heads sticking out of a hole at the top of the boat.

This is not that, this book made me think. It took a story I'm familiar with and made it real. People thought Noah was crazy, of course they would but I never thought of it that way before. And, Noah's family dealing with their friends and neighbors thinking he was crazy. The detail in this novel was so clear, the setting, the day to day activities, the smells. I'm anti spoilers so I do not plan on giving any. I will say there is a big cliff hanger ending and I look forward to finding out what happens for Neima.