Category Archives: Character Interview

A Character Interview with Ellie from A SIBLING’S DILEMMA plus a conversation with author Molly V. Lovell!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been quite a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Monice DeSimone’s character back on November 8th of 2016 and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Molly V. Lovell, the author of A Sibling’s Dilemma, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Ellie Kent, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Molly in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Ellie!

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Ellie. Please have a seat.

Character Ellie Kent:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Ellie:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Ellie:  Um, right now I work at the Kensington Group as Mr. Kensington’s—the CEO’s—assistant. Keeping this between the two of us, I’m just working here because Cassie, my sister and a private detective, wants me to keep an eye out on Mr. Kensington for one of her clients. Although I don’t feel too good about being here as a spy.

Oh, sorry, you asked me if I liked the job too. I almost forgot. Um, I actually like it here. Mr. Kensington and I got off to a um…rough start at first. He can be really intimidating and, well, I’m shy to begin with. Being around him made it so much worse and it was really stressful. But, we’re good friends now so I actually enjoy my job. Although I wish I were there under better circumstances…

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! That’s a tough situation to be in. 😦

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Ellie:  Cassie’s the best sister I could ever ask for. She saved my life when we were younger and she’s sacrificed so much for me. I would do anything for her. She’s so strong-willed and powerful, and if she sets her mind to something, she just does it. I wish that I were as strong as she…

Marie:  Well, I’m sure you haven’t found the one thing that will test you just yet. I think we can surprise ourselves sometimes.

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Ellie:  Um…s-sorry. That’s not…um…can we move onto something else? I’m sorry.

Marie:  All right. Sure…let’s see.

Do you have any hobbies, Ellie? What do you enjoy doing?

Ellie:  I know this sounds really boring, but I like playing with my dog, Spots, and volunteering at the soup kitchen down the road. I believe in helping others. I actually just graduated with my degree in social work and I was set to work in that field, but Cassie needed me at the Kensington Group, so here I am. Wait, I think I might have already told you that last bit earlier. Sorry if I’m repeating myself. I do that when I’m nervous sometimes…

Marie:  (Chuckles.) No problem! I think we all have a nervous tick or two, right? 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Ellie:  I want to run a non-profit someday and work to eradicate extreme global poverty. I know I won’t be able to end it myself, but with the right capital and money management, I could at least stop a lot of people from dying from malnourishment, unsanitary conditions, and the like.

Marie:  Nice! It definitely sounds like a plan…

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

Ellie:  I wish that I were a stronger person—someone who is confident and voiced her opinions more often. But, it seems like almost every time I go to say something confrontational, I just think ‘who am I to say this? What if I’m wrong?’ and I lose my nerve and I don’t say anything at all. Cassie and Mr. Kensington are always so vocal about what they want in life and I wish I were more like them.

Marie: I think most of us are afraid of speaking out about things, to go against the mold, so to speak. I think that when you find that something worth fighting for, you’ll know it.

Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Ellie:  Love is a pretty strong word. I think to love someone is a beautiful thing—you give up a piece of yourself to the other person. The only person I can say that I love is my sister. Not in a romantic way, of course, but I want her to be happy and I’m willing to make sacrifices to see that happen.

There is someone I really like, though—Mr. Kensington. He’s so handsome, smart, and strong-willed. He’s been a good friend to me too. I would say that Edric, I mean Mr. Kensington, is one of the few people that I can talk to where I don’t clam up. I need to get over this infatuation, though; he’d never date a girl like me. All his girlfriends in the past were beautiful models. Maybe if I were prettier he’d like me, but I’m not. It’s never going to happen and I just need to get over this silly crush.

Marie: Aww…(sighs.) I love romance. ♥

I think you should just go ahead and crush to your heart’s content, Ellie. You only live once, right? 😀

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Ellie:  I was sick a lot as a kid. I’m not sick anymore though, so it’s nothing to worry about. But, um…I-I don’t like to talk about it much. I’m sorry…

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear it. That must’ve been difficult. I’m glad you’re okay now, though.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Ellie nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Ellie:  I didn’t dream of much growing up. I didn’t think I was going to make it to adulthood, to be honest. In a way, being alive, healthy, and able to live a relatively-normal life is a dream come true. On top of all that, I have a Master’s Degree, a decent job, and people that I care about and who care about me. Life is so much better than I expected.

Marie:  Happy to hear it!

I’m so glad you found a light to pull you through that darkness. 🙂

So, who is your role model, Ellie?

Ellie:  My role model? For people I’ve never met, I would say Kristine Pearson. She helped to develop a radio that allowed for educational programs and information to be easily accessible in developing countries, even with no power. I would love to make that big of a difference to so many people someday.

For people I know, I would say Mr. Kensington. He’s the hardest-working person I’ve ever met. He works, at least, twelve hours a day. And when he’s not working, he spends time with his younger brother and older sister, which is very sweet of him. He’s incredibly smart too—he helped make a brand-new type of video game technology. He’s admirable in those regards.

Marie: Wow! I agree. He sounds like a great man!

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Ellie:  I try not to dislike people. Whenever I find myself disliking someone, I put myself in their shoes and see why they act the way they do. Usually, it makes me a bit more sympathetic to them. It’s not always easy, but I try.

Marie:  Well…that is definitely admirable of you! I respect that you can do it.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Ellie:  Um…I…um. Wow, I um, feel really embarrassed admitting this but, um, I want to be with Mr. Kensington romantically. I guess if I’m talking about him in that light, I should refer to him as Edric. But I want to be with Edric. I should desire other things that are more beneficial to society, but, um…that’s my deepest desire. I’m so embarrassed. Please, please, please don’t tell anyone. I would be so mortified if Edric were to find out. I don’t think that I could look him in the eye again if he knew I felt that about him.

Marie:  Hey, it’s just us girls here! No worries. Your secret is safe with me.

Plus, who can blame you? He sounds like a total hottie.

So, tell me something, Ellie. What is your greatest fear?

Ellie:  I would say that my biggest fears are rejection and public speaking. Well, I suppose that I’m afraid of public speaking because I’m afraid of rejection. I always clam up when I talk to new people. Thank you for listening to me, though, and I’m sorry to have just rambled on about myself the whole time. It felt so good to get stuff off my chest, so thank you for that.

Marie: It’s understandable to have those fears. And public speaking? Yikes! Heck, I still get really nervous before my radio interviews. I’m always afraid I’m going to forget an important detail, or sound really dumb, you know? I think we’ve all been there before, hon.

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything. 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Ellie. It was so interesting getting to know you!  🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Molly V. Lovell on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Molly!

Author Molly V. Lovell:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Ellie. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Molly:  She’s one of the few characters in A Sibling’s Dilemma that I can say is actually a good person. Her sister, Cassie, tries to be, but is willing to set aside her beliefs to get ahead in life. Edric, Ellie’s main love interest, is good to those he’s closest to, but is mistrustful and can sometimes be cruel to others.

Ellie wants to do the right thing in this story, but she doesn’t quite know what the right thing is. Cassie, a private investigator, wants Ellie to spy on Edric. Ellie reluctantly agrees, but when she gets to know Edric, she thinks that he’s actually a decent person and doesn’t want to be a part of destroying his company. She’s split between helping her sister and doing what she thinks is right. She’s in a rough predicament.

Marie:  No kidding!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Molly:  Ellie’s greatest strength is her compassion. She treats everyone with kindness, dignity, and respect. Ellie treats a multi-billion dollar CEO the same way that she treats a homeless person. She doesn’t care much about material things and actually does want to help others.

Marie:  Excellent!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Molly:  I would say that Ellie’s greatest weakness is her insecurity; it causes most of her problems. Ellie can’t seem to trust herself and, since she’s been hurt in the past, she doesn’t really trust others either, with the exception of her sister. I think that’s really sad—no one should have to go through life not trusting themselves or others. Now, Ellie would say that she does, in fact, trust others. She thinks that she trusts other people too. But, her actions show otherwise. She’s very, very guarded and won’t confide in others or let them help her. Getting her to talk about potentially painful things is like pulling teeth out of her; it’s not going to happen easily. Her insecurities and guardedness is something that she works hard to overcome.

Marie:  Okay… 😦 I think we all have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate. And who hasn’t found it difficult to trust before?

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Ellie’s favorite foods?

Molly:  Ha ha…Ellie’s perfect meal would consist of half a tuna fish sandwich to eat, peppermint tea to drink, and tapioca pudding for desert. She eats it literally every day for lunch. Edric sometimes brings her in something different, though, since he thinks that it’s a little sad that she eats just a half of a tuna fish sandwich each day.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Interesting!

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Molly:  Ellie’s really smart and hard-working. She’s a lot more competent than she gives herself credit for. She can accomplish work-related tasks that are nearly impossible. Since she’s so insecure, she doesn’t notice this about herself, though, and views herself as a bumbling, incompetent person who’s lucky to have a job.

Marie:  Aww…well, maybe she’ll be enlightened about that soon.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Molly:  For the most part, I think that readers will like Ellie because she’s a good person. But, at the same time, they might find her insecurities annoying at certain parts of the story.

I like to make all my characters multi-dimensional. I hope that my readers will both like and dislike my characters during different parts of the book. In life, people are multi-dimensional. I try to have my characters be as life-like as possible. So, long story short, I think that readers will cheer for Ellie sometimes, but want to shake some common sense into her at other times.

Marie: Oh, yes, I know what you mean!

And I prefer characters to be real, flawed human beings too.

Now that we have a real taste of Ellie, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for A Sibling’s Dilemma?

Molly: Okay, so originally I wanted to write a novel about a sassy, foul-mouthed private detective (Cassie) that falls in love with a jerk CEO (Edric), who she’s supposed to spy on. But then, I started to really develop the characters. When I fully fleshed out the characters and added in more (like Ellie), I had to re-examine the premise of the story. I moved the main couple away from being Cassie and Edric to Ellie and Edric. The story changed a lot over time.

Marie:  Nice! Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Molly:  I would say that I’m a combination of both. I really, really flesh out my characters. Then, I daydream about certain scenes in the book and I connect them all together. Once I have a general map going, I start to write. When I write, unexpected things come up and I either keep these new plot points, or cut them out entirely. I like to work in drafts. My first draft of A Sibling’s Dilemma was much different than the current version (and not just because my first draft was riddled with typos. Ha ha!).

Marie:  (Laughs.) I hear you…sometimes characters have minds of their own. The ones in Upon Your Love wouldn’t shut up for me until I wrote them into the story too. 😉

How about another question?

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing A Sibling’s Dilemma or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Molly:  Okay, so I didn’t have too many problems with writing A Sibling’s Dilemma. However, I have had problems, in the past, with writing other stories.

My main advice for writing is that you need to love your own story. If you don’t love it, it’s not going to flow well and it’s going to come out bad. Or even worse, it won’t come out at all because you won’t want to write it. This novel just seemed to flow right out of me; it wasn’t super hard to write. Editing it and polishing it up was a whole different ball of wax (I’m eternally grateful for my editor), but the book itself was easy and fun to write.

As for getting published, my main advice is to not get discouraged. All you need is one publisher to say yes. Getting rejected will hurt, but you’ll move on. If you never try to put yourself out there, you’re in the same boat as you would be if you just got rejected. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So, just try to put your work out there. And if you do get rejected, ask why. I know that it’s awkward to ask and having a conversation about all the things that you’ve done wrong. It’s not the ideal conversation that you want to have, but it’s a necessary one if you want to improve. Use that criticism to hone your craft and get even better. If you use the criticism constructively and you never give up, a publisher will eventually say yes. You can do it! 🙂

Marie:  Too right! Often if we try to force writing to happen when our hearts aren’t in the story, it doesn’t work out. 

Still, so much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get. And like you said, we have to try first!

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story A Sibling’s Dilemma appears to be. Congratulations on your new release, Molly!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this contemporary romance by Molly V. Lovell, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for A Sibling’s Dilemma:

Edric Kensington promised himself that he would never be close to anyone outside of his family. Ellie Kent promised herself that she would always do what she thought was right no matter what. Cassie Kent promised herself that she would never date a married man. Sometimes promises get broken. Sometimes feelings get hurt. Sometimes friendships collapse. Sometimes standards slip. And yet, sometimes people overcome their flaws and find love.

A Sibling’s Dilemma is a contemporary romance novel that revolves around two sisters: Cassie and Ellie Kent. Cassie is a private detective and Ellie is a recent college graduate. Cassie is hired by Charlie Logan, the CEO of a company specializing in virtual reality games, to spy on Charlie’s greatest professional rival—Edric Kensington. This is no easy task–Edric Kensington is known for being as cold and guarded as he is handsome. To successfully infiltrate Edric’s company, Cassie needs to have an insider work there. Her shy-and-sweet sister, Ellie, is the perfect fit. When Ellie first works for Edric’s company, she is afraid of the cold and aloof CEO, but, over time, she develops romantic feelings for him, just like Cassie develops feelings for Charlie Logan. The two sisters become torn between their friendship with each other and the feelings that they harbor for the handsome CEOs who have stolen their hearts.

Molly is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Ellie Kent sat nervously in the top floor of the Kensington group building. She wrung her hands and then fidgeted with the second copy of her résumé.

Am I qualified for this? I hope I’m good enough. I don’t want to let Cassie down.

She made herself as small as possible as she sat in the waiting room chair. Ellie smiled warmly at the nearby workers, turned bright-red, and then looked back down at her resume, avoiding all eye-contact with them once more.

They probably think I’m weird looking, or too scrawny. Ellie frowned. Her heart was racing a mile a minute.

“Mr. Kensington is ready for your interview.”

“Thank you.” She stood up and then followed the secretary over to the doors. The young woman went to pull the door open, realized that it could only be open by being pushed, blushed, and then pushed it open.

Oh God. I can’t even open a door right.

Ellie walked inside the room and saw Edric Kensington sitting behind his desk. He appeared to be quite bored and unamused. She was surprised by how young he looked, she guessed he was in his early-to-mid thirties. Surprisingly handsome too—he was tall and slightly muscular with strong and symmetrical facial features and unblemished, olive skin. The pictures in the paper didn’t do him justice.

Edric wore a crisp navy-blue suit and had silver cufflinks. His chestnut-brown hair was combed neatly and seemed to frame his face well. Everything about him seemed put together. Ellie immediately felt embarrassed by her own appearance. She wore a light grey skirt suit that she got from the thrift store, which was just slightly too big for her.

The CEO stood up from behind his mahogany desk and walked over to Ellie. She immediately felt intimidated by his height and somewhat muscular stature—it made her feel small and scrawny. And she hated feeling small and scrawny. Suddenly she wished that Cassie were there with her. Someone strong that she could draw strength from.

He reached over and extended his hand to her. “Edric Kensington.”

Ellie reached over to accept the handshake. It was strong and firm. Almost a little too much so; it hurt her small hand.

Oh no, I gave him a weak, limp handshake. I’m not supposed to do that. He probably won’t want to hire me because of it.

“Eleonore Kent.” Ellie’s pale cheeks were flushed red. She averted her eyes to the floor.

“Take a seat.” Edric pointed to the chair opposite his desk. He slowly walked away from the young woman and sat behind his desk—she noticed that he had a confident gait about him.

Ellie knew that she looked flustered. She was never good at faking confidence. Her violet eyes were wide and her cheeks were bright-red. She had a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look about her. When she sat down she made herself as small as possible—hunched over, with her hands curled up underneath her chin. In contrast, Edric sat behind his desk poised confidently.

Ellie took a copy of her résumé —the copy that she didn’t crumple nervously in the waiting room—and quickly handed it to Edric. He held his hand up in a ‘stop’ sign.

“I already have a copy, Eleonore.”

Ellie returned the paper to her lap and begun to wring this extra copy of her résumé, since she already tore the other copy to shreds.

“Your résumé is strong—I see that you’re probably going to graduate in a few weeks at the top of your class at an Ivy League university, with a master’s degree, no less. Excellent references. I see lots and lots of community service.” Ellie’s blush deepened. “I have one question. Why would you want to work here as my assistant?”

“I-I…” The young woman swallowed deeply. “I’m thinking of starting up a non-profit one day.” She blurted out and then looked at the floor.

“I see.”

He probably thinks my reasons are stupid and that I’m not cut out to run a non-profit or to run anything.

“What do you have to offer this office?”

The way that Edric said the word ‘you’ made Ellie feel even worse.

“I…” Her hands started to shake.

Don’t cry, Ellie.

“I’m organized. I work hard. I. Um. I’ll do the job.” Ellie stammered.

Edric scoffed at Ellie and shook his head. She blushed and ran her fingers through her silky white hair. “You’ll start now. If you can make it through the end of the day, you can keep it. You will work nineteen hours a week for the next two weeks until you graduate. Then you will work full-time. Understood?”

Ellie nodded her head. “Yes.”

Edric pointed to a wooden desk in the corner of the room. It was made of mahogany, like Edric’s desk, except it was smaller and less ornate.

“The computer is up to date and you’ll find whatever supplies you need in your desk. The computer has an email installed on it for you to use.” He handed her a large notebook and then began to pace back and forth. “This is my copy of my schedule for the week. You will take over managing it, since my incompetent secretary clearly can’t. Send out an email to my sales department to find out what our sales have been for the past four months then make a spreadsheet detailing these sales to me. Book a room for my four o’clock meeting and write me a report detailing all the people who are attending this meeting.” Edric paused. “Oh, and if you fail, you’re fired.”

Ouch! He comes on really strong, doesn’t he? But I’m really connecting with Ellie here. I can feel her pain.

Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B0746PHKR1

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-siblings-dilemma-molly-v-lovell/1127020533?ean=9781625266231

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7388674

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/a-siblings-dilemma/

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this contemporary romance! ♥

About Molly V. Lovell

Molly V. Lovell is a law student at William and Mary by day, novelist by night. Her hobbies include writing (obviously), painting, looking at cute puppies, and reading books about political theory, a subject that Molly has a Master’s Degree in. Molly was born and raised in Amesbury, Massachusetts, by her two amazing parents and she now lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with her loving husband.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Molly V. Lovell, here are some author links:

Website:  MollyVLovell.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MollyVLovell

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Molly-V.-Lovell/e/B0747WCG9Y/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15587999.Molly_V_Lovell

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/Mollsie18/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Ellie, a female character from A Sibling’s Dilemma, and Molly V. Lovell, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here!

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A Character Interview with Zoey from SECOND HALF plus a conversation with author Monica DeSimone!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Vivienne Vincent’s character on August 16th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Monica DeSimone, the debut author of Second Half, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Monica in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Zoey!

zoey

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Zoey.  Please have a seat.

Character Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Zoey:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Zoey:  Founder of the Coach’s Shadow Foundation. I like to think that I am. I have a tendency to be tenacious at times so that I get what I want.

Do I like it? Absolutely love it!

Marie:  Great to hear! 😀

Tell us…what is your family like?

Zoey: Both of my parents have passed away so I’m pretty much an orphan! LOL.

My family is amazing, I have a loud, involved, often times obtrusive family that I have had from birth as well as those that I have chosen over the years.

Marie:  Oh…😦 Sorry to hear about your parents. I’m glad you have other family, though.

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Zoey:  Considering that Derrick and I live there now, it is an amazing home. Traditional Cape Cod with a lot of extensions added onto it. I think my mother originally fell in love with it because she didn’t want kids. It was often lonely and cold but Claire, my sister, made it a home.

Marie:  All right.

Do you have any hobbies, Zoey?  What do you enjoy doing?

Zoey: I run. A lot. It is as much a passion for me as running the Coach’s Shadow Foundation and football.

In my down time I love watching Sci-Fi movies and reading. Oh and shoes! I love, love, love shoes! I also enjoy throwing a great gathering with my family and friends. But I hate to cook. So I do the planning and shopping, and Derrick makes my menus come true.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Nice! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Zoey:  Derrick.

Marie:  Indeed! (Sighs.) I love romance…♥

Okay, back to the interview.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Zoey: I have pretty much accomplished what I wanted to be. It may not be in the traditional way, and I had to take a very dark journey to get where I am, with several set backs, but I’m here. I’m alive, happy and just keep going every day. The one personality trait that I wish I could be better with is not to be so ready to forgive the wrongs that have been done to me.

What is stopping me? My heart and ability to lose.

Marie: I think we all feel afraid sometimes that we’ll lose everything we hold dear. Faith gets us through it all.

I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Zoey:  Derrick Hendrickson.

secondhalf2-full-cover

Marie: But you got a second chance, right? That’s great!

So…let’s try another question.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Zoey: At twenty-one I fell into a deep depression and attempted suicide.

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Zoey nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Zoey:  No. I floundered with what I wanted to do in the months, years really, after my attempted suicide. I was so tired of people telling me that I would find my way. At the time the darkness was all consuming and I didn’t see the light. I was really good at faking things, though; so I faked my way happy. Forced myself to push through the darkness. I finished my degree in English Literature, got a job in corporate America. I loved doing what did. It allowed me to nourish the part of myself that had always felt left behind. Wanting to be a combination between Betty Crocker and a Mother Hen while allowing me to be creative yet in charge behind the scenes, because I hate the spotlight, was my end result.

I ultimately found my dream. My own happiness, which has brought me true contentment. The Coach’s Shadow Foundation was born out of sorrow and guilt. However, it was through that sorrow and guilt that I proved to myself that I am no longer the broken girl who was left behind by both her mother and lover. It took a lot for me to realize that where I am today is exactly where I am meant to be.

Marie:  Wow! Tough times.

I’m so glad you found a light to pull you through that darkness. ♥

So, who is your role model, Zoey?

Zoey:  My sister Claire. She is everything that I strive to be. Strong, independent, courageous, and kind.

Marie: Great! It sounds like your sister is a very special person.

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Zoey:  I absolutely hate Matt, Derrick’s agent. I always feel as though I need a shower after being around him.

Marie:  Oh, that’s not good…maybe your intuition is trying to tell you something?

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Zoey:  To be loved.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!

What is your greatest fear?

Zoey: Spending my life alone and unloved.

Marie: It’s understandable to have that kind of fear, but I believe there is a stronger force guiding us, that good things come to good people. And I know you’re one of the good ones. 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Zoey. It was so interesting getting to know you!:)

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Monice DeSimone on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Monica!

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Author Monica DeSimone:  Hi, Marie. Thank you so much for having me.

Marie: Oh no, the honor is mine.😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy, or rather, just Zoey. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Monica: Zoey is so tenacious and vibrant. She encompasses everything that I had ever wanted to be. I think that is because she has come so far in her battle with depression. She has fought for what and who she is today. Zoey loves deeply and carries her emotions on her sleeve. The obstacles in which she has overcome, although yes somewhat self-inflicted, are an admirable quality about her. The struggle of depression is overwhelming and all consuming. For Zoey to have pulled herself out of that, yes with help, and still be a kind, loving and generous person is amazing. She gives with all her heart and truly wants the best for everyone. Not everyone has the mental wherewithal to be able to pull themselves from that hole. It is admirable. Although it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have flaws as well as a bit of a mean streak. Which I have to admit that I love.

Marie:  (Laughs.)

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Monica:  Zoey loves with everything in her being which feeds her ability to forgive. This can be considered a strength as well as a weakness, but forgiveness would have to be Zoey’s greatest strength. That and not willing to give up on anything she believes in.

Marie:  Definitely admirable!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Monica:  Because of her capacity to forgive Zoey is often left open to be hurt by those she believes in.

Marie:  Sorry to hear that… 😦

What are some of Zoey’s favorite foods?

Monica:  Gosh, Zoey is “technically” an overall healthy person. A lot of greens and proteins. However, if you put a bowl of Utz Cheese Balls in front of her I would watch out. She is a kind person but sharing those yummy treats aren’t in the cards.

Marie:  (Giggles.) Nice!

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Monica:  Zoey is a lot stronger then she gives herself credit for. She is the heart of her family. Not necessarily the core of it, because that is Claire, but she is a fierce protector with a strength that she often underestimates.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Monica: I think that most readers will appreciate how damaged Zoey is and how far she has come to pull herself out of her depression. However, I also think that it is a toss-up if people will love her or want to hit her. If a reader can understand that forgiveness isn’t a weakness, that it is truly a strength and that love often has no rhyme or reason and that sometimes, not always, “soul mates” do exist, truly exist. If they can understand that, appreciate it, then I think that they will love her.

Marie: Definitely!

And I prefer characters to be real, flawed human beings anyway. Don’t you?

Now that we have a real taste of Zoey, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Second Half?

Monica: I had been writing my entire life, so when my father passed away in April 2015, I promised myself that I would finish one of my books. I have a few sitting on my laptop. One night in December 2015, I had just finished reading A Lover’s Lament by AL Greyson and BT Urruela, and Zoey started talking to me. God, she is a pushy little thing too because it wasn’t until she finally made a deal with me – she would be quiet so that I could work and sleep if I promised to tell her story. That was January 3, 2016. I finished Zoey and Derrick’s story and sent it to my editor on May 17th.

Marie:  Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Sorry to hear about your dad. 😦

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Monica: I’m a character-driven writer. As such I like to be surprised. You have to remember, ultimately I’m a reader. So if I can “Holy Sh**” myself, it’s a good day.

I am totally a pantster. My mother always said that I was a fly-by-the seat-of-her-pants girl. My writing isn’t any different. It makes it difficult for Nadine Winningham, my editor, but I think it makes it more enjoyable for everyone.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Hey, whatever works for you…

I am also a character-driven writer. They often bug me before I go to sleep. 😉

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Second Half or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Monica: I reached out to a first-time writer, thinking that because they were up and coming they would be receptive in offering any advice. That was a mistake. After multiple emails, I finally got a response. It was not at all generous and honestly quite hurtful. Which caused me to become blocked. That was my fault, allowing the words of someone else to affect me. But in my defense, I respected this person and what they had accomplished. I was unable to write for six weeks. It wasn’t until I met, rather apprehensively, other authors at a signing and seeing first-hand the openness and kindness within the community that allowed me to get past the block and finish Second Half within three weeks.

What would I do differently the next time? I self-published and I wouldn’t change one thing about that. I was told by a very wise woman that this is a business and that you better treat yourself and writing as such. That my first product better be as good as my most current one. Because someone will always go back and read that first book. I took those words to heart, finished the book and with the help of some amazing people put a product out there that I will never be ashamed of. Whether someone is reading my first book or being introduced to me on my tenth, God willing, book they will find a superior product that they won’t be disappointed in reading.

Marie:  Wow! Sorry you had such an unfortunate experience with that writer! 😦

But I’m glad it all worked out for you, that you didn’t let a bitter person ruin your journey.

And you’re right. Generally, there is a nice community of authors who are willing to offer advice, or at least direct you to someone who can answer those questions. So much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get.

Thanks for the additional tips!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Second Half appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this modern sports romance by Monica DeSimone, a very talented author! :)

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Here is the blurb for Second Half:

Zoey McEvoy is a strong, sassy, independent woman that has vowed to herself that she will never allow anyone the opportunity to determine her emotional well-being again. After a battle with depression that ended in an attempted suicide, she has clawed her way out of the all encompassing darkness. Founding the Coach’s Shadow Foundation in honor of her father, Zoey finds herself thrown back into the life of the man that emotionally destroyed her eight years earlier.

Derrick Hendrickson chose his career over Zoey and is now back to recapture the love that he so recklessly tossed away. Unaware of the devastation his departure caused, he has to reestablish the trust that he lost when he left her. With the help of their best friends and Zoey’s sister Claire, Derrick has a strong chance of proving that he never stopped loving her. However, Zoey’s trust issues are major hurdles that need to be crossed. Will Zoey ultimately find the strength to forgive and allow Derrick and love back into her life, proving that the Second Half can be so much brighter?

Monica is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

MY ALARM GOES OFF and I don’t even remember setting it. I always use my cell phone as an alarm, never the actual alarm clock. It is purely for decoration and is actually across the room on my dresser. So the fact that it is going off right now is confusing. I roll over to get out of bed and run smack into a solid mass. I know that I had an emotional day yesterday, but not so rough that I would forget having someone in bed with me.

Derrick. I burrow my nose into his back for just a second, and burn his scent into my memory so that I have it there for later. It’s been so long since I’ve felt him next to me. But then I remember where we are, what year it is, and that he isn’t mine any longer. Jumping out of bed faster than I have ever gotten up, I’m slightly dizzy and trying to gather my bearings.

As I’m getting my feet fully under me, Derrick says, “Duchess, shut off the alarm will you? I don’t have to be at the training facility until eight.”

What the fuck? What did I miss last night? No more blue Xanax, Zoey.

Recovering quickly, or as quickly as I can, I walk to the end of the bed and shove Derrick’s foot buried under my comforter.

Rolling over, Derrick looks all sleepy, disheveled, and sexy as hell. His right arm, the one that has the half sleeve of tattoos on it, is draped over his chest. The chest that is perfectly muscled and beautiful, and that I just want to lick. As I devour him with my eyes, I notice that there is a tattoo on his left ribcage. It’s a saying or something, I can’t tell exactly from this distance and I want a closer lick, I mean look of it.

Jesus… pull it together, Zoey!

“What, Zo?” I’m literally just standing at the foot of the bed, the alarm blaring, gawking at this beautiful man. “You gonna turn that off?” he asks, shifting his head toward the noise. “Then you can come back and cuddle with me.” He’s smirking now. Bastard! He knows that I love to cuddle, and Derrick was always the best at it— warm, strong, and soothing.

“What the fuck, Derrick? Why are you in my bed? With me?” I ask, attempting to recover some of my brain cells and come back to reality. “And where are my dogs?” I’m a horrible pet mom; instead of ogling the hot half-naked man in my bed, I should have realized that Reilly and Steeler aren’t where they always are. “What did you do with my dogs, Derrick?”

“Calm down, Duchess, they’re right here.” He shifts, and I see not just Reilly and Steeler on the right side of him, but that Sam is there as well. Oh… my… God… even my dogs prefer him. Traitors.

“Can you please shut that thing off? I have a hell of a headache and that isn’t helping.”

Walking over to the dresser, I turn off the offending alarm. I still don’t know how it got set, but really, I have bigger things to worry about. Like why there is a six-foot-five-inch god in my bed. Is that a V peeking out from under the covers? Zoey! I chastise myself. I’m staring, hell I’m more than likely drooling.

Recovering as quickly as I can, I ask, “Why are you in my bed, Derrick?”

“I needed to be close to you,” he says as he gets out of bed.

The boys jump to the floor, not liking that Derrick was starting to move around, but knowing that with their humans up they will get fed and go outside. They are now sitting on the bench at the foot of my bed.

As Derrick stands to his full height, I have to bite my lip to hold in the moan. The man has a body that only ancient gods had. I notice his tattoos that are covering half of his shoulder. Yum! He is turning around when I gasp in shock. There are a pair of eyes on his left shoulder, adjacent to his heart. But they aren’t just any eyes… they’re mine.

Ooh! Interesting! I love the tension here…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01LWIPOLT

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-half-monica-desimone/1124603461

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Second-Half/Monica-Desimone/9781483580494

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/second-half

iBooks:  http://ibookstore.com/products.php?i=B01LWIPOLT

BookBaby:  https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Second-Half

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this sporty romance, book one of the Coach’s Shadow Trilogy! ♥

About Monica DeSimone

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Monica lives in northern New Jersey with her three dogs, Sam, Reilly, and Steeler. Raised by a football coach in the heart of Texas, football is a passion that is deep rooted. Introduced to Nora Roberts by her mother at the age of thirteen, she spawned a lifetime love affair with books, all things romance and happily-ever-afters. Outside of writing, you will find Monica on her back porch enjoying time with her “boys”, family, friends, and a really good Dirty Martini.

Book:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Monica DeSimone, here are some author links:

Website:  www.monicadesimone.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Monica-DeSimone-Author-859944790794911/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MonicaDe12

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2epiLco

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15808209.Monica_DeSimone

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/monicade12/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Zoey, a female character from Second Half, and Monica DeSimone, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, sports romance

A Character Interview with Izzy from DANDELIONS plus a conversation with author Vivienne Vincent!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Lana K. Dempsey’s character on July 28th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Vivienne Vincent, the debut author of Dandelions, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Elizabeth Goodenough (Izzy for short) from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Vivienne in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Izzy!

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Marie Lavender:  Hello, Izzy.  Please have a seat.

Character Izzy: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Izzy:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Izzy: When I was younger, I wanted to be an Ivy League student. But my family did not have enough money and I failed to get a scholarship. Which is sad because I was a really good student until Saber came along and broke my heart. The worst part is, I was in the final year of high school.

Later I took a few courses that qualified me to work as a typist. I was able to get a menial secretarial job at a newspaper office.

I was not in love with my job because I was overworked and underpaid. Also, my boss was always trying to flirt with me. He would keep staring at me which made me uncomfortable. But life does not always offer enough options to walk away.

Marie:  Oh… 😦 Sorry to hear that. I think we’ve all had those jobs that we’d rather not have…

And you’re right. It’s not always easy to get out. Let’s try another question.

Tell us…what is your family like?

Izzy: My parents died in a car crash soon after I was born. I was raised by my Grandma who was a fabulous woman. She used to work for Saber’s family. She bought me a puppy when I was eight. Saber named my puppy Dandelion.

Dandelion died when I was eighteen. And soon after I finished high school, Grandma also left me. It was just an awful year for me.

So I moved to New York to live with my uncle whose wife was a real shrew. Once I found a job, I left their place and moved into a studio apartment.

There was no real family after Grandma until Saber came back into my life.

Marie:  Really so sorry to hear you’ve had such misfortune…

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Izzy:  Oh, it was a very small house. Grandma and I did not share a room but it was quite cramped. I loved flowers so much but there was no garden. Although, later I learned that as long as you have a roof over your head, you should not be complaining.

Marie:  Very true…

Do you have any hobbies, Izzy?  What do you enjoy doing?

Izzy:  I enjoy reading books. I love Emily Dickinson. When I was little I used to read a lot of fairy tales. When I grew up I fell in love with stories about vampires. I love watching cartoons and dunking muffins in a warm cup of tea. Muffins taste so much better that way.

Oh, and I read the tabloids regularly.

Marie:  Hmm…I’ll have to try that muffin thing. And I can’t blame you about the vampires! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Izzy: As a little girl, the dream was to marry Prince Charming and live happily ever after. After the evil wizard broke my heart, I pretty much lost track of everything.

I spent a lot of time daydreaming, though. I kept telling myself that Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs made it so there was no reason that I couldn’t. Of course they were only pipe dreams.

But now that Saber and I are back together and he’s promised to become a better person, I want to see him live up to his promise. I am sure he will not let me down.

Marie: All right.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Izzy:  Well, if you look at my life, it’s pretty clear what went wrong. But life does not always work the way we think it should. All we can do is choose the best possible option.

Marie: That’s true.

I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Izzy: Saber, and he is the love of my life. I know he has his flaws and perhaps I forgave him too easily. But I don’t like to be a drama queen. Also, when you are in love, you can either play tough and be egotistical, or understand and accept the other person.

Marie: That’s right. And it’s better to realize someone has flaws, loving them for every facet of their character than to love an idealized version of that person.

So…let’s try another question.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Izzy: Life is a series of events. It’s difficult to pinpoint a single moment. I don’t think that one tragic event alters a person altogether. For me, it started when my dog died. Saber picked the worst moment to do what he did. He broke me so bad that I was no longer able to focus on my studies.

Then Grandma passed away and putting up with my aunt was nothing short of torture.

And, of course, the mistake that I made at the newspaper office, which brought me face to face with Saber, was a nightmare.

It’s been a tough journey but I am glad that things worked out.

Marie:  Me too! I’m still sorry about your hardships…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Izzy nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Izzy:  Well, in one sense I did not achieve my dream but in another way I did. I did not get to be an Ivy League graduate. I was not able to have the kind of financial security and independence a stable job would have provided. But I am glad that Saber and I ended up together.

Marie:  Indeed! (Sighs.) I love romance…♥

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So, who is your role model, Izzy?

Izzy:  I admired my Grandma a great deal. She was honest, hard-working, and very wise. After Saber broke my heart, she told me that “There are no Rhett Butlers and Darcys in real life. Only Heathcliffs.”

Grandma was tough but she was also incredibly kind and gentle. Sometimes I wonder if Saber had had her for a mother figure instead of his Grundy grandmother, he would have been very different.

Marie: That’s possible, but we also can’t change the past, no matter how much we wish. All we can do is make the best of what happened, try to better ourselves for the future.

It sounds like your grandmother was a very special person.

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Izzy: Not really. I am not much of a diplomat.

Marie:  Okay.

Can you tell us something else? What is your deepest desire?

Izzy:  At this point in my life, I just want to see Saber live up to his full potential. I think that he has a good heart. But peer pressure combined with other factors can make people do things that are contrary to their nature.

Marie:  That’s true.

How about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Izzy:  I don’t have any fears. Not anymore. I feel safe with Saber. He has given me a great deal of confidence.

Marie: That’s great!

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Izzy. It was so interesting getting to know you!:)

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Vivienne Vincent on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Vivienne!

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Author Vivienne Vincent: Hi, Marie, thank you so much for having me.

Marie: Really, the honor is mine. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Elizabeth Goodenough, or rather, Izzy. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Vivienne: Izzy is an ordinary girl. I think she is pretty easy to relate to. Over the course of the book, we can see her evolve. She is very dreamy and naïve. She has a good heart, which makes her vulnerable. She is not a strong, feminist role model. But the way the book ends, I think that she has the potential to become one.

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Vivienne:  She is a good girl. She’s very kind. Because she has such a good heart, she thinks that the world works the same way. Being too naïve is certainly a flaw but she learns. She is very smart and intelligent. She is witty. She has the ability to become a strong woman who can bring out the very best in others as well.

Marie:  Great!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Vivienne: I think her love for Saber could be considered a weakness. She is too dreamy and gullible. She lives in a world of her own where she forgets that fairy tales might have a Prince Charming but there’s often an evil wizard involved. When reality slaps her in the face, she is unable to deal with it. Our perception of the world depends on how we treat others. So her attitude toward Saber might be a weakness, but I cannot call it a flaw.

Marie:  I think we all have certain people we can’t resist, for one reason or another.

So, what are some of Izzy’s favorite foods?

Vivienne: She is a simple girl. She does not have expensive taste. You might remember how much she hated caviar? She likes pizza, tea, and muffins. She also likes to munch on junk food late at night.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Well, who doesn’t?

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Vivienne: One important thing to remember about Izzy is that we do not see the complete evolution of her character in the book. The book ends with the possibility of what is going to happen next. The way I see it, refusing to sign the prenup and taking a stand so that Saber will apologize means she is ready to become a more resilient woman. She starts becoming aware of what she is capable of.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Vivienne: That is something only the readers can tell. I have received some really, really hateful comments about Saber but the good thing is that most of the people admitted that they were eventually able to forgive him.

Izzy, on the other hand, is a likable character. There might be times when the reader wonders who is that dumb? But if we remember being young and vulnerable, all of us have been there. We learn with experience.

I never meant to create characters that my readers will fall in love with. No one is perfect or absolutely adorable. But I think that Izzy is likable and Saber is memorable.

Marie: Thank you for your honesty.

And you’re right. No one can be perfect. I think that most readers like to see ‘human’ characters who have strengths and flaws just like anyone else.

Now that we have a real taste of Izzy, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Dandelions?

Vivienne: Four years of unemployment. I had so much free time on my hands and I thought why not write a book? The kind of book you read for fun when life starts to get on your nerves. Saber’s character had been there inside my head for quite some time along with a few other male protagonists. Actually, this was Saber’s story, not Izzy’s.

Marie:  Interesting how the muse works, huh? :)

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Vivienne: With Dandelions, I was a total pantser. When I started writing, all I had was Saber’s character in my head. Details of his interaction with Izzy were vague. But I have definitely learned my lesson. I want to be a plotter in the future.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there…I am a little of both. I let the ideas flow as much as I can, and then I start plotting around what I already have.

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Dandelions or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Vivienne: I think that writing is very difficult. It requires focus and women have to juggle so much at the same time. As a writer you don’t get to take a break. Ideas are always there; they pop up at random moments, and if you don’t jot them down right away, they vanish into thin air.

Like any other writer, I had my fair share of writer’s block. But there was something worse. When changes were suggested during edits, first of all, I could not figure out what and how to change. I would make one little change and that would change the entire chapter. Sometimes the whole book was affected.

During the course of edits, I had to do a lot of research which should have been done when the book was written. But I did not always plan to publish it.

I have been a Harlequin reader for a very long time, so I sent it to one of their imprints. I was rejected. I sent it to a lot of other publishers and agents. All of them turned me down. I think I must have sent it to more than a hundred publishers, I cannot even recall how many. Maybe fifty agents. Those who were nice enough, politely turned me down. Most of them didn’t even reply.

But I was determined so I thought about self-publishing. And then out of the blue, one publisher told me that it’s an interesting story but there are certain flaws; rapid shift of POV, head-hopping, and telling the story instead of showing etc. I had no idea what those terms meant but I was glad to receive constructive criticism and I started working on the book again so that I could resubmit the manuscript.

But then, I received an e-mail from Solstice. They accepted the manuscript and assigned an editor, Debbie Rowe, who helped me overcome a lot of problems. Dandelions was written in third person and Debbie told me to rewrite the book in first person so that I could avoid certain issues.

And it has been an amazing experience.

For my next book, I want to have a better outline and work at a consistent pace instead of sleep deprivation and starvation.

Marie:  (Laughs.) If you’re anything like me, sleep deprivation and starvation are pretty much a part of the job description.

It’s fascinating to hear about your journey, and what you learned from it. 😉

So much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get.

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Dandelions appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this sexy, contemporary romance by Vivienne Vincent, a very talented author! :)

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Here is the blurb for Dandelions:

“There are no Rhett Butlers and Darcys in real life. Only Heathcliffs.”

An avant-garde romance that goes beyond sexual chemistry and digs deep into human nature and relationships.

Elizabeth Goodenough met Saber Fergus for the first time when she was eight and he was twelve. He broke her heart when she was eighteen. Ten years later, an unwitting mistake on Izzy’s part once again brings her face to face with the same one-night stand that once brutally crushed her.

But something seems different this time. Has her dark knight really transformed into a knight in shining armor, or is he playing her all over again?

Vivienne is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

At this point, Saber cracked a crooked grin and asked, “What’s his name?”

His flat voice became ebullient. His mischievous smile created subtle wrinkles around his deep-set, ebony eyes. They were shining far more brightly than the stars I spent hours staring at trying to figure out which ones were my parents.

“I haven’t named him yet. I got him only about a week ago. I am still thinking of a name.”

“Got him or stole him? Just like you were trying to steal our flowers.”

He was teasing me and it was working.

“You cannot steal flowers. Flowers belong to Mother Earth and Mother Earth belongs to all of us.”

“This part of Mother Earth belongs to me, so I own everything in here including wicked little girls with their hideous looking sons of bitches.”

The way that stiff-necked boy retaliated right away, it became clear that he was not someone easy to take down.

He continued. “So since both of you belong to me, why don’t I name him for you? Dandelion. How is it?”

“Dandelion?” The name made me smile. “I like it. I will call him Dandelion. Now he has an actual name. Grandma says once you have a name, you become a real person. Dandelion too is a real person now.”

“No, he is still an ugly son of a bitch. Do you like the dandelion collection over there?”

“It’s beautiful. I wish I had some in my house, but our house is too small and we don’t have a garden.”

“You can take one from here. Come with me.”

Saber moved toward the garden and I followed him. He plucked a dandelion and handed it to me. It was my first time holding one. I was staring at the delicate dandelion when Saber came close and blew right into it making it vanish into thin air. I was still trying to figure out what had happened when I heard a giggle.

“You are a meanie,” I told him.

“Am I?”

His eyes shone like a polished apple. He snatched the stem out of my hand and flicked it. It fell on the ground.

“Dandelions are far too delicate. They are just an illusion. They look real but they never last. Here.” He plucked a red rose and gave it to me. “Take this instead. Red roses are far more resilient.”

Ooh! Interesting! 🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01IG97RCU

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dandelions-vivienne-vincent/1124112948

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6423501

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/dandelions/

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this steamy romance! ♥

About Vivienne Vincent

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Vivienne Vincent grew up in a fairly conservative environment which ironically sparked her interest in unconventional subjects and romance novels. As a young girl she became interested in novels from the Victorian era as well as modern day romance. She is pretty much obsessed with British and American sitcoms and crime series. Look her up on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with her. She loves to hear from readers.

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Book:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Vivienne Vincent, here are some author links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Vivienne-Vincent-850442295083956/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VivienneVincen8

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2abR73V

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/57734728-vivienne-vincent

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15486427.Vivienne_Vincent

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/vivienne-vincent/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Izzy, a female character from Dandelions, and Vivienne Vincent, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing

A Character Interview with Astrid Angleton from A COWBOY’S TRUE COLORS plus a conversation with author Lana K. Dempsey!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Isobelle Cate’s character on July 22nd and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Lana K. Dempsey, the author of A Cowboy’s True Colors, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Astrid Angleton, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Lana in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Astrid!

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Marie Lavender:  Hello, Astrid.  Please have a seat.

Character Astrid Angleton: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Astrid: Okay.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Astrid:  I’m about to start college, so my jobs will include eating pizza and hanging out with my hot boyfriend, Victor! Oh, and I suppose some studying would be good too. 😉

Marie:  (Laughs.) Yeah, I remember those college days…

Astrid:  And yes, I think I’m very good at hanging out with Victor. Ha! Ha!

Teasing aside, I do love to learn. I was lucky enough to take some college courses in high school. Long story short I was able to skip my freshman year in college, which will allow me to move through school very quickly. I’m looking into studying psychology, or something in the sciences. I’ve not decided. So yes, I’ll work hard and play hard as the saying goes.

Marie:  Wow! That’s great!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Astrid:  My family is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, and a whole lot mystical. My mom was raised on Buckshaw Ranch and has more cowboy hats than anyone I know. My dad is a city man, and most likely always will be. This year has been rough. Dad abandoned the family. My sister, Cammie, had moved out prior so Dad being gone isn’t in her face every day like it has been for my brother Luke and me. I’m concerned about Luke; he’s not his usually jovial self. Luke is enrolled at the University of Texas and I’m worried what’s going on at home will distract him from his studies.

Let’s talk about something more positive. One of the best parts of my family is we all have some unique talents. I’ll tell you about mine, I can see emotions. It’s not the same as reading someone’s mind, but I can see what they’re feeling in the form of colors and shapes surrounding them. It can be intense and very personal at times, but it has proven to be very useful and has even helped save my life.

Marie:  All right. Hey, that’s a cool power!

Let’s try something else.

If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Astrid:  I spent summers and any time off at Buckshaw Ranch, which is a sprawling property not far from Austin, Texas. During the school year we lived in remodeled historic home in Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood. I loved that house, but with all the changes going on in our family we couldn’t stay there. Anyway, I doubt we’ll stay in Austin much longer. Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

I’m feeling a need to draw the family to Buckshaw Ranch. I think it will bring good things.

Victor and I have yet to decide where we’ll call home, whether it’ll be Buckshaw Ranch or WilLo Ranch, owned by his family. For now, we aren’t really sure.

Marie:  I don’t think you’re supposed to know all the answers at that age…;)

So, do you have any hobbies, Astrid?  What do you enjoy doing?

Astrid:  Did I mention my hot boyfriend? Ha, ha!

We spend weekends either at my family’s ranch or Victor’s family’s ranch. We like being out in the open spaces. I love to read, of course. I’m also taking some cooking lessons from Victor’s brother Reggie. Reggie is Victor’s twin. A while back, there was some crazy stuff happening and Reggie began baking to distract himself. Now, he can whip up a pie like nobody’s business. He’s certainly made that oven his bitch! Ha, ha! Now, we just need to find him a woman.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds like a plan…

And what is your greatest dream?

Astrid: I want to find a way to use my talent for reading emotions to help make the world a better place. I haven’t worked out how to do that yet. Of course, it’s not something I tell most folks, so it has to be on the down-low, which is why I’m thinking psychology for a major. Not sure how that’ll pan out just yet, but I’m working on it.

Marie: Psychology always fascinated me too, how people tick. I guess that’s partly why I found myself writing.

So…what kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Astrid:  College is stopping me, and well… I guess it’s starting me too. I mean, I feel impatient having to take the time to finish school. I’m ready to get on with a career and family. Education is important, even if you end up choosing a different path. I want to be independent and contribute to society. Once college is under my belt, then I’ll feel more like my life is beginning.

Marie: That makes sense to feel that way, but don’t forget to have some fun while you’re there too!

I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Astrid:  Victor Berenger. He’s hard to miss; he’s the giant cowboy waiting for me outside. See that vintage Ford truck outside? That’s him. He’s on the phone with his ranch hand. Victor’s parents are having him manage WilLo Ranch more and more these days, so he’s on the phone a lot.

Marie: (Waves to Victor.)

Okay, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Astrid: Last year I saw a set of colors with no person attached. It took me a second to realize what I was seeing was a ghost. I never ran so fast in my life!  I was terrified that day, but it was nothing compared to the events that would come not long afterwards. Events that almost cost me my life.

Marie:  Scary indeed!

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Astrid nods.]

Who is your role model?

Astrid:  My role model is my mother, Kell. She held us all together when things got rough, still does. My Dad has some addiction issues and for a while there…well, let’s just say my mom rocks! Now she’s following her heart and I’m so impressed. I definitely want to be like Mom.

Marie: Well, I certainly admire the way you feel about your mother…

Sounds like she’s a special person.

All right…now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Astrid:  Myself. I used to anyway. I was very insecure and I faked my confidence level for most of high school. I’m happy to say I’ve matured a great deal in just these last few months. I understand now that love is a complex thing and no one is perfect. I’ve really come to appreciate my uniqueness.

Marie:  Lovely to hear!

Can you tell us something else? What is your deepest desire?

Astrid: I want to contribute to the world in some way, but I also want to have a family. I think Victor’s combination of strength, intelligence, and patience will make him a great father. I also want to pass on some of the traditions of Buckshaw Ranch.

There are some other deep desires Victor helps me fulfill on a regular basis as well. 😉

Marie:  (Clears throat.) Ah, let’s move on to another topic.

I do appreciate that you want a family with Victor, though. I love romance. ♥

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So, how about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Astrid:  My greatest fear is losing those I love. Victor is the man of my dreams and if something happened to him, I know I would never love like this again. Losing my mom or my siblings would devastate me. I have some really good friends as well, so losing any of them would hurt so much. I want to keep them all safe and protected. It’s all about those we love. Nothing is more important in life than our loved ones.

Marie: You’re right about that.

I think we all have that fear sometimes, to lose the people we care about the most. Perhaps it’s what keeps us from taking them for granted.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Astrid. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Lana K. Dempsey on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Lana!

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Author Lana K. Dempsey: Hi there, Marie, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor. (Bows pretending to curtsy.) I love your blog!

Marie: Oh, goodness! (Blushes.) Such a magnanimous entrance there. Thank you so much! 😀

Really, it’s always a total pleasure to have you on my blogs.

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Astrid Angleton. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Lana: Yes, I’d love to. Astrid is part of a group of eighteen-year-olds who are gifted with above average maturity along with some subtle supernatural talents. They’re drawn together to right a very ancient wrong. She’s very strong and quite often unaware of her own strength.

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Lana: Astrid is humble. Too humble. Victor and her friends have to beat her over the head to get her to take on the role that will one day be hers. She just doesn’t fully grasp her own value.

Marie:  Well, I think we all feel that way at times.

And what are some of Astrid’s favorite foods?

Lana: Astrid loves French fries, her mother’s cooking, and Victor’s brisket.

Marie:  (Smiles.)

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Lana: Astrid will be a role model and leader for other women. A few more life lessons and she’ll begin to understand.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Lana: Readers will relate to her as if she’s a friend of theirs. Astrid is a compassionate and loyal ally. You definitely want her in your corner. She’s someone I’d love to know.

Actually, I’d love to BE Astrid! Ha! Victor Berenger would be one hell of a catch!

Marie: (Laughs.) All right.

Now that we have a real taste of Astrid, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for A Cowboy’s True Colors?

Lana: The story is the beginning of a series of books called The Mystical Traditions of Buckshaw Ranch. I had the basic plot, but when I started writing, the story line for book one popped up first and became the foundation. That happened again when I started book two, WHERE A COWBOY HANGS HIS HAT, which was just released on July 15th. This is also why the characters in the first book are so young.

I have a novella coming out as part of Sable Hunter’s Hell Yeah! Kindle World which will be released on August 11, 2016. It’s a stand alone, but it’s officially a Buckshaw series story, as well. So now, book four is getting started and it should be the final stage in the original story. But, as history has shown, the characters sometimes make other plans while I’m foolishly plotting the story.

Marie:  That’s for damn sure! Interesting how the muse works, huh? :)

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Lana:  Mostly a pantster. I love that word, by the way. However, there is a lot to consider in a series, so I’ve been known to plot simply to keep it all straight. I’m a hybrid, I guess. Hopefully that means I’m good for the environment! Especially the Kindle environment. Ha, ha!

Marie:  I am a hybrid as well…I do both.

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing A Cowboy’s True Colors or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Lana: The main thing I would advise is to finish your darn book! I missed opportunities because my book was still in the first draft stage. Also, I think finding a local writers group to help you with beta reading and feedback. Both of those things would have been wonderful to have on the front end. Finally, I would have gotten help earlier with the things I’m not so good at, such as the technical stuff. More than anything, you need support on all levels. You need a community, but I can say that goes for everyone whether or not they are a writer.

Marie:  Very true! And I agree completely. So much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get.

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story A Cowboy’s True Colors appears to be.

Lana: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Marie: It’s my pleasure!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful yet sexy, new adult Western paranormal romance by Lana K. Dempsey, a very talented author! :)

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Here is the blurb for A Cowboy’s True Colors:

Everyone’s last year in high school is always chaotic. This is especially true for Astrid at White Wood School. As if having a bully, an absentee father, and a best friend with a big problem weren’t enough – she also has to deal with having a secret power. Anytime she sees someone, Astrid also sees a kaleidoscope of colors surrounding them. Each individual’s emotions swirl in a changing pattern, allowing her to know what they’re feeling. This sixth sense complicates her life further, especially when she meets the one person who’s colors she can’t read – Victor Berenger, a tall, handsome cowboy with smoldering eyes. Every time Astrid is around him, she thinks her heart will beat out of her chest. When she finds out he is equally drawn to her, she’s thrilled. The man certainly knows his way around the bedroom. Life seems just about perfect…until the day Astrid’s vision takes a new twist. A set of colors appear on the school grounds–only this time they aren’t attached to a human! A mystery unfolds that threatens Astrid and her friends. To her surprise, Victor holds a piece of the puzzle. Join these two as they learn one another’s secrets, as well as the hidden, magical history of White Wood School.

*Content Warning: Contains explicit scenes and language. Intended for 18+ Audience

Lana is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

For the briefest moment he stopped his scan of the room and studied her. Or was she remembering that wrong? She was never sure. Either way, his expression didn’t change and he continued his inventory of his fellow classmates. After that, he hadn’t spoken to her until the last couple of days.

“Ah, yes. I’m sorry about that, I was a bit distracted. It wasn’t for lack of interest, I assure you.” Victor pressed himself a little closer to her under the blanket.

“You don’t seem very distracted now.”

This made him laugh. “Honestly, I’ve been worried about my brother. Right now he seems a bit taken with your friend, so I feel a little less guilty about indulging in my own interests.”

“Is Reggie okay?” she asked.

When Victor didn’t answer right away, her mind raced through various possibilities. Maybe Reggie was sick. He hadn’t been to school; they’d only just met him tonight.

“I’m sorry, I really can’t share that with you right now.”

Astrid instantly regretted having asked. The lighthearted mood was gone. Dang it! She chided herself for having brought it up. Then she had an idea. Before she could talk herself out of it she leaned into him and with her open palm drew a long caress down the length of his thigh. She felt him freeze up. Afraid she might have offended him with her forwardness, she paused and tilted her head up a little bit in an attempt to read his face in the dim light.

How wrong she had been.

Victor met her upturned face with the full force of his lips on hers. His leather jacket whispered as he reached around and grabbed her by the back of the neck to pull her closer to him. Despite her heart beating so hard it seemed about to jump out of her chest, she turned into him draping her knee over his leg. She brushed against the bulge between his legs with her thigh. The warmth there and the image of what lay beneath those Levi’s made her melt entirely.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you for so long.” Victor practically growled the words when he finally pulled away from her long enough to speak.

“I want to do more than kiss you.”

The feel of her voice, hot and sultry against his neck, was enough to drive him wild. How had he held this in for so long?

“That can be arranged,” he told her, thinking ahead of places he could get them some privacy. Maybe next time at her house, before her mom comes home, he plotted.

“Where can we go? I’m not kidding, I want you now.” The urgency inside her would not be ignored. This new, demanding part of herself seemed to be taking over.

“Now?” His heart stuttered a beat as he realized she was completely serious. Again he grabbed her by the neck and kissed her long and hard, this time pushing his warm tongue past those sweet lips. Eagerly she responded, pressing her chest up against him and letting out a tiny moan.

That was it, he was completely undone. I will have her now, he said to himself. “This way.” His voice was thick with the ache of desire. Gathering up the blanket he draped it over his shoulder and grabbed her by the hand.

She followed silently, her body alive, vibrating to an age old rhythm. Watching him walk ahead of her, she suddenly felt a proprietary right to watch the roundness of his behind without restraint. It was beautiful and she couldn’t wait to see it in the flesh.

Ooh! So sexy! ♥♥♥ 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/ACowboysTrueColors

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cowboys-true-colors-lana-k-dempsey/1123825650

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6238772

Lana teaser

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this hot romance! ♥

About Lana K. Dempsey

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I’m Lana, a lifelong Texan, dog lover, and writer of sensual romance. When I say ‘sensual romance’ I mean I include real life in my stories, and real life includes sex.

I divide my time between Austin Texas and a small family ranch not far from Shiner. Shiner is the home of Shiner beer, I’ve been known to stop off at their tasting room before rolling up my sleeves to get to work on the ranch. Like many Texans I’ve got a bit of everything in me, German, Native American, and some Creole influence. Nothing like a little spice to liven things up.

Writing is much like reading; I need to feel the story in the same way a reader would. I adore leading men who are strong, but aren’t afraid to love. My goal is to fall in love as I write, it’s the only way my reader will as well.

Come with me and get to know a hot cowboy or two. It’ll be fun!

Books:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Lana K. Dempsey, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.lanadempsey.com

Blog:  http://www.lanadempsey.com/blog

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lanadempsey1

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Lana-K.-Dempsey/e/B01DWSO7LO/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15166226.Lana_K_Dempsey

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lanakdempsey

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Astrid, a female character from A Cowboy’s True Colors, and Lana K. Dempsey, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, western, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Luke Bryce from BE MINE plus a conversation with author Isobelle Cate!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Sable Hunter’s character on July 14th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Isobelle Cate, the author of Be Mine, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Luke Bryce, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Isobelle in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Luke!

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Marie Lavender:  Hello, Luke.  Please have a seat.

Character Luke Bryce: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Luke: Okay.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Luke:  I’m the CEO of Bryce Engineering and I’m good at it. I built it from the ground up.

Marie:  Wow, that’s impressive!

Luke:  People call me a maverick. They’ve been waiting for me to make a mistake. I don’t make mistakes when it comes to my company. It’s my baby. That is, before Gracie Sinclair, who’s the love of my life.

Marie:  All right.

Tell us…what is your family like?

Luke: I only had my mother, the first woman I ever loved and respected. But she died when I was young. She was my only family. Now my family is Gracie and Flynn and our baby that’s coming.

Marie:  Sorry to hear about your mother. 😦

Let’s try something else.

If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Luke: My grandparents left their house to my mum. It wasn’t much but I was happiest there. The house had gables and there were three bedrooms on the upper floor. Christmases were some of the best times because there was a little more food than my mum and I were used to or could even afford. There was only a pocket garden which Mum cultivated with herbs. But when got sick, the garden became overgrown. I don’t have a green thumb and I didn’t know the first thing about gardening.

Marie:  I am the same way! I love flowers and such, but I really wouldn’t know how to take care of them.

Do you have any hobbies, Luke?  What do you enjoy doing?

Luke:  Hobbies? Women. Enjoy doing? Having a different woman every weekend.

Marie:  (Clears throat.) Okay…

So, what is your greatest dream?

Luke:  To make Bryce Engineering a force to be reckoned with.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 🙂

So, what kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Luke: I’ve already achieved what I want to be. I’m my own man now. I don’t need to live in my father’s shadow.

Marie: (Holds up her hands.) Yikes! All right, I sense a touchy subject there.

I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Luke: My mum, I guess. She taught me to see the good things in people. I lost that when I found out who my father was.

Marie: Well, I certainly admire the way you felt about your mother…

Sounds like she was a special person.

Okay, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Luke: When my father’s wife and his daughters stopped me from seeing my younger sister, Felicity.

Marie:  Wow! Sorry to hear that happened.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Luke nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Luke:  I dreamt of getting to know the half-sister I didn’t know I had. Felicity reached out to me even when I was suspicious of her motives. She was rich and legitimate. I wasn’t any of those. I lost that dream when her mother and sisters successfully plotted to keep us apart. I met Lisse again when Gracie and I bumped into her during the Christmas rush in Manchester. I achieved that dream in the most unusual of circumstances. You just need to read the story to find out how.

Marie:  Intriguing, for sure!

So, who is your role model, Luke?

Luke: Can’t think of anyone at the moment.

Marie:  All right.

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Luke:  Cilla Williams.

Marie:  Okay.

And can you tell us something else? What is your deepest desire?

Luke: To grow old with Gracie.

Marie:  Aww…I love romance. ♥

Be Mine

How about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Luke: To lose Gracie.

I think we all have that fear sometimes, to lose the people we care about the most. Perhaps it’s what keeps us from taking them for granted. But I think you have nothing to worry about. 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Luke. It was so interesting getting to know you!

Logan:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Isobelle Cate on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Isobelle!

Isobelle

Author Isobelle Cate: Hi, Marie! So happy to be here once again.

Always an honor. 😀

We just got to talk to a male character from your story, Luke Bryce. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about him?

Isobelle: Yes, he is interesting. Very driven to achieve all that he wants.

As Luke has said, he’s the CEO of his own company and a perfectionist. Be Mine begins with Luke burned out from working and he can’t wait for his vacation to begin.

Marie:  Well, can’t blame him there! I think we all feel that way at times. You just need to get away… 😉

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Isobelle:  He is driven, ambitious, and will do almost anything to get what he wants. He’s also the typical alpha male who is very possessive of the woman he loves.

Marie:  All right.

What are his greatest weaknesses?

Isobelle:  Gracie Sinclair. If Luke could give Gracie the moon, he would.

Marie:  So sweet! ♥ ♥ ♥

Let’s try something else.

What are some of Luke’s favorite foods?

Isobelle:  He used to like Pad Thai. However, after what happened to his friend Oliver Cray and his sister, he’s changed to steak.

Marie:  Bummer! Pad Thai is good. But, if it was a bad experience, I can see why he’d avoid it. (Winces.)

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Isobelle: That he is capable of being loved for who he is. Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks shouldn’t be seen as a stigma. It doesn’t define a person.

Marie:  Very true.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Isobelle:  I think readers will like this character because of the way he makes Gracie fall in love with him.

Marie: All right.

Now that we have a real taste of Luke, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

Isobelle:  Bring it on. 😉

Marie:  (Laughs.)

What first gave you the idea for Be Mine?

Isobelle: Be Mine was almost two years in the making, not because I agonized about what to write. It was because I concentrated on my paranormal series. Be Mine was supposed to be the intermediate book between the paranormal titles so that readers had something different from me.

Well, it sounds like a decent plan. But don’t feel bad. My latest historical romance, which was just accepted by my publisher, took me much longer than planned to finish. 🙂

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Isobelle:  A pantster, although with both my series growing, I am leaning now towards being a plotter.

Marie:  Yeah, I can see the appeal…

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Be Mine or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Isobelle:  I think the challenge for me was changing the writing style I had for the paranormal and not using it in my contemporary romances. I wanted each series to be unique. I think I’ve done it but only the readers will know for sure.

Marie:  Oh, I completely agree! I think every writing project is different.

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here again on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Be Mine appears to be.

Isobelle: Thank you for having me. I truly appreciate it.

Marie: Really, it’s an honor to have someone like you on here. And seriously, your books always look really hot and romantic. I can’t wait to read them!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful yet sexy contemporary romance by Isobelle Cate, a very talented author! :)

Be Mine

Here is the blurb for Be Mine:

Gracie Sinclair just wants life to return to normal.

Now a widow and picking up the pieces after the death of her husband, she delves into her work, seeking a new normal, until she bumps into a handsome stranger who derails her orderly life completely.

Luke can’t wait for the week to be over. Having built an engineering company into a multi-million pound enterprise in record time, he feels…empty. Nothing satisfies him anymore, not even having weekenders in his bed. But when he bumps into a woman—literally—on his way out of a bar, realizing she is his last meeting before he goes on holiday, his plan of staying away from relationships takes a nose dive. He wants Gracie Sinclair.

Gracie learned a long time ago how insincere love can be, so when Luke decides to become part of her life, she tosses up every obstacle to dissuade him until he breaks down her walls and makes her realize that her life can only be complete with Luke by her side.

However, something sinister from Luke’s past threatens the happiness they have struggled to find. If he concedes, he will become criminally liable and lose everything.

If he refuses, he loses Gracie’s heart…  

Isobelle is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Minutes later sunshine replaced the grey clouds, a precursor for better things to come. Gracie and Noreen had just put the finishing touches to their table when cars started coming inside the manor’s grounds. Children waited inside the cars before parents and grandparents opened their doors to let them out. Colorful jackets, coats, and parkas made for a rainbow that decided to take a break from arcing over the skies. Smells of sausages and grilled hamburgers with a pinch of strong coffee soon wafted through the fare. People queued for food. Others perused the items on sale, from pottery and glass jewelry to different cheeses made in several parts of the country. Tasting trays of small breads and crackers with dollops of jam or cheese made their way on food stall tables for people to sample. Some crowded a few booths while other booths waited for people to gather around them. By noon, the swell of chatting groups and shouts of butchers selling fresh slabs of meat mixed with the shrieks, laughter and whining of children.
“Thank you.” Gracie smiled at a buyer, while Noreen handed over the change for another purchase.
“Oh my God, Gracie, can you believe it?” Noreen’s face had a happy smile. “The fair isn’t closing for a few hours yet and we’re down to just one crate.”
“And I should say well done, you.” Gracie enveloped her friend in a warm hug.
“Girl, they didn’t just buy my stuff. They also bought yours.” The lilt in Noreen’s voice belied her serious face. “Well done, apprentice.”
Gracie laughed. “Thank you. I have a wonderful teacher.”
A dusky blush colored Noreen’s caramel skin. She was the epitome of elegance no matter even if she was in dungarees. Her braided hair was tied with a piece of cloth at the nape of her neck, where several necklaces with tiny ceramic beads clicked against each other whenever she moved. Her softly kohl-rimmed eyes sparkled with excitement and could be liberally laced with mischief, but not this time. Pure joy radiated through her in the way her mouth lifted in the biggest of smiles and the way she engaged potential buyers in conversation. Her enthusiasm, contagious.
Noreen waved her hand dismissively at Gracie’s compliment. “We will start trading compliments very soon.”
Gracie grinned, shaking her head. She bent down to get more ceramic bowls from the crate, gently taking them out from the bed of bubble wrap, unmindful of the quiet behind her. “We’ll need to take out this blue and grey set of salad bowls, Noreen.” She straightened up, turning towards her friend. “Where should I put…” Surprise slammed into her like a freight train. “these…”
“Hello, Gracie.” Whatever chill she felt abated in the banked fire in his blue eyes.
“What are you doing here?”
His eyes gleamed with amusement. “It is the weekend fair. People come to enjoy it.”
Color flooded her cheeks. Dumb, Gracie. Just dumb. “Yes. Right. Well…enjoy the day then.” She turned to Noreen, who watched the exchange with curiosity. “I’m going to get coffee. Do you want anything?”
“I’ll get it,” Luke interjected. Noreen had just opened her mouth to speak and kept it open as she turned to Luke before she pursed her lips.
“It’s not necessary,” Gracie said.
“Gracie, please let me.”
“Why don’t you both go and get me coffee,” Noreen retorted wryly. “Better yet, get me the huge cafetière because seriously I feel like I’m watching a table tennis match.”
Gracie scowled. Luke chuckled.
“Good idea,” he said. “Gracie?”
Not wanting to belabor the point, Gracie turned to get her small purse and slung it diagonally across her chest. She refused to acknowledge the sudden loud thudding of her heart and the turmoil that seemed to be usurping the calm inside her belly. She could also feel Noreen’s gaze on her, but refused to look at her friend, opting to make her way out of their stall to join Luke.
“Luke! Baby!”
The strong cloud of perfume arrived first before a woman flung herself at Luke, capturing his mouth in a kiss that had a few passers-by gawk, glance with surprise, and snicker. Gracie stopped mid-stride, sighing and shaking her head.
She gave Noreen a curt smile. “I’ll be back with the coffee.”
“Gracie!”
She continued walking, her wellies splashing over puddles that hadn’t been dried by the sun. The warmth she felt at the sight of Luke became colder than the fall weather. She ground her teeth at his girlfriend’s shrill laughter.
She was such a fool. She felt used. Degraded.
Betrayed.
She swallowed against the lump lodged in her throat. She wasn’t going back to the stall. Noreen would understand her need for silence. For solace. Knowing Luke’s penchant for following her, Gracie allowed herself to be lost in the crowd, choosing to weave her way through the thickest group of people. Not even the obnoxious dressed for the Ascot races man, sputtering his importance at a group of rowdy teenagers, made her stop. She stole a glance back. Luke was nowhere in sight. Relieved, she made her way to the stall from where the aroma of rich, strong coffee came from. She groaned in frustration. A lot of people seemed to have the same idea as the queue formed a straight line perpendicular to the stall. If she went to the end of the waiting line, Luke would no doubt see her and that was the last thing she wanted. She nearly stomped her foot in annoyance.
“Bloody nuisance,” she gritted before she abandoned her mission and opted to leave the fair for the quieter part of the manor grounds. Fishing out her mobile, she typed a quick text to Noreen.
Just needed to get away. Will be back in half an hour.
A few minutes later, her phone vibrated. Okay, but you owe me an explanation. And who the hell is the woman nearly clinging around your guy like a boa constrictor?
Gracie’s thumbs flew over the QWERTY board. He’s not my guy!
Noreen texted back. Uh huh.
Gracie huffed, not bothering to reply.

Riveting! 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://mybook.to/BeMine_ICate

B&N:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_Cate_Nook

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_Cate_Kobo

Inktera:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_ICate_Inktera

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1084614110

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this one! ♥

About Isobelle Cate

Isobelle

Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks. Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist. Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations: the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins. Her vision and passion are fueled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend.

Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

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Books:

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You and I Cover

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Be Mine

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Isobelle Cate, here are some author links:

Website:  www.isobellecate.weebly.com

Blog:  http://isobellecate.weebly.com/blog

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Isobelle-Cate/e/B00E5OD27K

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191925.Isobelle_Cate

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/+IsobelleCate/posts

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/bMmwT5

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/isobelle-cate

Microcerpt:  http://microcerpt.com/isobellecate/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Luke, a male character from Be Mine, and Isobelle Cate, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing

A Character Interview with Logan Gray from TEXAS C.H.A.O.S. plus a conversation with author Sable Hunter!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed K.C. Sprayberry’s three characters on April 26th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Sable Hunter, the author of TEXAS CHAOS, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Logan Gray, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Sable Hunter in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Logan!

Logan and Jenna

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Logan.  Please have a seat.

Character Logan Gray: Thank you for having me, Marie. I tell you it’s hot out in this Texas sunshine. Talking to you gives me a chance to come in and cool off.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Logan: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Also, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Logan: Well, to answer your question, I’ve been lucky enough to have two missions in life that I feel are worthy callings. I am Fire Chief of the Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department which is located between Austin and Fredericksburg, a small rural community in the Texas Hill Country. We are proud to protect our community and serve them in their hour of need. My other job is owning the Gray Wolf Guest Ranch. My family helps with this endeavor but we provide a place where guests can get a taste of the cowboy life and see a genuine, Texas rodeo. I am also a stock contractor for rodeos. In other words, I keep busy.

Marie:  Wow, that’s impressive!

As for the other questions…

Logan: Am I any good? Hell, yes. I’m good at both of my jobs. I don’t tolerate slack attitudes from any of my men or my employees and I sure don’t tolerate it from myself. What I do can mean the difference between life or death for some folks. I have to approach it with all seriousness.

Do I like what I do? Yes, I am fortunate to be able to do two things I love. Protecting my friends and neighbors with the Fire Department is something that I am honored to do and the ranch gives me a chance to indulge my love of the outdoors and dealing with horses and cattle. I am a cowboy at heart.

That’s great!:)

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Logan:  Well, my parents are still alive and I am glad of that for many reasons. When Dad retired from the military, they moved in with me to help with Gray Wolf Ranch. When Jenna came to live with us, I gave Mom and Dad the big house so Jenna could have some privacy and I moved into what used to be the foreman’s house. My parents are wonderful, overprotective, supportive, bossy – ha! My mom is a wonderful cook and I’m grateful they have accepted Jenna with their whole heart. They saw what was between Jenna and I before I was willing to admit it to myself.

Marie:  Yes, those closest to us can often see things we don’t notice ourselves.

Can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Logan: I was raised in a military family. We moved from base to base, so we never were able to put down roots. I guess that nomadic lifestyle was the reason I bought a piece of land as quickly as I could. I wanted a home; now I’m fortunate enough to have one.

Marie:  I’m so glad you found one! 😉

Do you have any hobbies, Logan?  What do you enjoy doing?

Logan: Well, my work as Fire Chief keeps me busy. Gray Wolf Ranch is more than a hobby, but I guess the horses and the rodeo that we have there would classify as what I enjoy doing the most. Outside of those two things, and loving on my Jenna, I don’t have a lot of time to spare.

Marie:  Okay.

So…what is your greatest dream?

Logan: The day I stood on a ladder and pulled my Jenna from a fire, I held my dream in my arms. I fought it, hell, I thought I was too old for her. But heaven smiled down on me and she loved me right back. Even when I was still trying to keep her at arm’s length, she wouldn’t take no for an answer. So, being with her, married to her is my greatest dream. Now, we have a baby on the way and things are more than perfect. Apart from my family, my next greatest dream is being my brother’s keeper and I do that by fighting fires and helping my neighbors and friends by protecting their lives and their property.

Marie:  That’s very admirable.

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Logan: I intend to be the type of person that my loved ones and friends can rely on. I’m a big guy, but I want my heart and my capacity to care to be just as big. I want to be Jenna’s rock, I never want her to have a moment when she doesn’t feel like the center of my universe. And when the baby comes…I intend to spoil my little girl rotten and make sure she doesn’t get married until she’s 42.

Marie: (Laughs.) Aww…

Logan: What’s stopping me? You know, I almost messed things up with Jenna because I was worrying about what other people might think about our age difference. Being in the public eye, a public servant if you will, I am conscious about being above reproach. I almost let the best thing in my life slip through my fingers because I was worried about people thinking I was robbing the cradle. Jenna and others set me straight. She is perfect for me in every way and those that love me, are happy for us both.

So sweet.

I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Logan: Oh, I had crushes on girls. What guy doesn’t? And I have had casual relationships, I’m not a saint. But Jenna was my first and only love.

Marie: Happy to hear it! (Sighs.) I love romance…

Texas Chaos

Okay, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Logan: As a fireman, we see terrible things. We lose people, even after we do our very best to save them. The most terrible thing that ever happened to me, though, was the moment I arrived at that rodeo arena and saw my Jenna on the back of a bucking bull. And when she was thrown and hit the ground…I flew over that fence to her side. From that moment, I vowed to keep her safe – so I married her.

Marie:  Yikes! Sorry to hear that happened, but I’m glad you guys got married.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Logan nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Logan: My dream growing up was to be a cowboy. I wanted to ride the range and sleep outdoors. The houses we lived at on the base never had a very big yard, so I was hungry for adventure. My dream to be a fireman came later, after I watched a group of brave men battle a fire at a home in our neighborhood. They saved a little boy that day, and I knew that I wanted to do the same thing.

I’m lucky enough to have achieved both my dreams. I even achieved a dream I didn’t know I had until I looked into Jenna’s beautiful eyes.

Being a fireman seems exciting to a little boy, and it is. But when you’re young, you don’t think about people dying, or finding out how it feels to not be able to save someone, no matter how hard you try. As far as the cowboy thing goes – just like any other dream, you learn there are harsh realities. When you raise cattle, you lose some. The work is hard, hot and grueling. Even with my dream about Jenna, there are days when I’m sure she’d like to wring my neck. You take the bad with the good, and at the end of the day, you just know that you’ve done your very best – and that feels pretty damn good.

Marie:  All right.

Who is your role model, Logan?

Logan: My role model is my dad. He served his country, yet always made me feel loved and important. Another role model of mine, my old Fire Chief, I looked up to him. He was a fine role model as far as the work, but I almost let his failures in his marriage cause me to fail with Jenna. I learned never to measure your own chance at happiness against someone else’s. Jenna and I are different people than Jay Hodgins and his Sierra – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Marie:  Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Logan: Well, there was – his name was Damien Wade, he was the Fire Chief over in Wimberley. I worked with him, but there was always something about him that bothered me. Now, I know my instincts were right. My friend Titan Sloan discovered that Damien was abusing his wife. Turns out he was an arsonist too. He even set some fires over here in my district. A firebug who hides behind a fireman’s badge is the worst kind of coward. Titan has his job now, and his wife. I’m glad it all worked out for the best.

Marie:  I can’t blame you for feeling that way.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Logan?

Logan:  My deepest desire is to keep Jenna, my wife, safe and to make her happy. She lost her parents in a fire, and my folks have tried to fill that gap. I want to give her everything she’s ever dreamed of – a home, a family and all the love my heart can hold.

Marie:  Sounds like the perfect plan…

How about another question?

What is your greatest fear?

Logan:  My biggest fear is losing Jenna. She’s had two close calls, and I don’t want her to have another. If I can keep her sweet little butt off the back of a bull, I’ll feel better about it. Until then, I’ll keep my eye on her – after all, she’s mine.

That’s right. I think you have nothing to worry about, though. 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Logan. It was so interesting getting to know you!

Logan:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Sable Hunter on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Sable!

sable

So, we just got to talk to a female character of your story, Logan Gray. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about him?

Author Sable Hunter: Logan Gray is a man’s man. He is big, strong and sexy as they come. Somehow he’s managed to reach his late 30’s without falling into the matrimonial trap – -and it’s time. He’s been waiting for the right woman to come along and when she does, he’s afraid to reach out and grab her with both hands because he thinks she is too young for him. Little does he know…

He’s good with animals, he is a stock contractor for the rodeo, but he always puts the welfare of the animal first. He is a giver – a good son, a brave firefighter, a good friend. I want a Logan Gray of my own.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! 😉 He sounds awesome!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Sable: Logan’s greatest strength is his ability to put everyone else first – be it people he is saving from a fire; a fireman he is going an extra mile to train or the woman of his dreams when he tamps down his own desires to make her dreams come true. For a man like that – a woman would do most anything.

Marie:  For sure!

And what are his greatest weaknesses?

Sable: I never understood it, but Logan doubted that he would be enough for someone. He saw tying Jenna to him for life as limiting her horizons, setting boundaries on what she might be able to accomplish. Logan wanted to give Jenna her freedom so she could accomplish her dreams – he didn’t realize that he was her dream, he would be any woman’s dream. With a man like Logan at your side, a girl could touch the sky.

Marie:  So true…

Let’s try something else.

What are some of his favorite foods?

Sable: Logan is definitely a meat-eater. He loves beef, of course. But he also loves pizza, Cajun food and Mexican food. And chocolate – of course.

Marie:  (Laughs.) A man after my own heart! Chocolate is my weakness. 😀

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Sable: A positive quality that Logan has that he isn’t aware of – – is that he makes everyone feel safe. He’s a natural leader, but he doesn’t lead just by intimidation; he makes you want to follow him because you want to make him proud.

Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Sable:  Readers will love this character – he’s hot as hell, sweet, alpha as they come and really good in bed. I’d take him in a heartbeat.

(Giggles.) I’m sure they will too!:)

Now that we have a real taste of Logan, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for TEXAS CHAOS?

Sable:  I always start with a hook, or a trope, a challenge. I wanted to do an older guy/younger woman story. The Texas Heroes series began with TEXAS WILDFIRE which was in the Cowboy 12-pack, and it did well. So, I created another firemen/cowboy book to go with it, weaving in a few of the other firemen characters so I could continue the series if I wanted. In researching firemen stuff, as I am apt to do, I came upon the jargon “CHAOS” which was something the firemen will say when their boss shows up, probably for the same reason any of us would, to warn one another to look busy – ha! Anyway the CHIEF HAS ARRIVED ON SCENE, just hit me as something to show that the big guy is there, all is well, the situation is in hand. I tried to get that feeling across – both for his men and for Jenna; when Logan arrived, they knew everything would be okay.

Great! I love how the muse works.

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Sable: I write every day, full time, from my recliner with the TV on and two doxies by my side. I occasionally get up to go to the bathroom. – ha!

Marie:  All right.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing TEXAS CHAOS or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Sable: No, it went smoothly. I loved the story line and it flowed well. And since I’m indie and publish my own, I’m in the driver’s seat.

Differently? Well, I took a drive out to Stonewall, which is next to LBJ Ranch and close to Fredericksburg with beautiful Enchanted Rock and Luckenbach, of country music fame on the way. I love to research my novels by walking where they walk and eating where they might eat. So, I guess if I had it to do over again – I’d go twice. Peach season is amazing and there are a few vineyards out there where you can stop and taste – and taste – and taste.

Marie:  Sounds like a blast!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story TEXAS CHAOS appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful yet sexy, Western romance by Sable Hunter, a very talented author! :)

Texas Chaos

Here is the blurb for TEXAS CHAOS:

The letters C. H. A. O. S. don’t just refer to reality out of control, it’s an alert–the Chief Has Arrived On Scene! Logan Gray is that chief. He covers the ground he stands on and people show respect when he walks by. In his late thirties, Logan is a confirmed bachelor. While he may adore the young Jenna from afar, at 18, he considers her to be a lifetime too young for him.
Jenna is of another opinion. Logan Gray is everything to her. He rescued her from a fire at 16. His parents took her in when she had nothing and no one. Raised on his Gray Wolf guest ranch, Jenna learns how to trick-ride and perform in the rodeo. When Logan’s not looking, she even loves to try her hand at bull-riding. And now, she is ready to go after what she wants most–Logan Gray.
Ignoring the fact that his heart and body craves Jenna like a drug, Logan does what he thinks is best and gently turns her down. What happens next turns his world on end. Logan learns that love can’t be defined by a number and life without Jenna is no life at all.
Sable is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

As Jenna sat on the brown leather couch adjacent to the fireplace, Logan flipped on a lamp. When he did, Jenna could see him clearly for the first time since leaving the bar. What she saw made her breath hitch in her throat.
He was aroused.
Big time.
There was no denying what she saw. Logan had a hard on.
For her?
She let him walk off while her mind spun. Was this possible? She jumped up and began to pace. What if he did want her? What if all of this was some grand gesture on his part because of their age? What if she could make this right?
Before she could change her mind, Jenna began to remove her clothes. Oh yea, she was inexperienced, but Jenna had one advantage in the situation.
She had fantasized about him so much and so often, Jenna knew exactly what she was going to do.
Seduce Logan Gray – or die trying.
In the kitchen, Logan put on his old fashioned percolator, then hung over the sink, splashing water in his face while the coffee brewed. Was he crazy? The woman he adored was in the next room. He could count the times on one hand that he’d allowed them to be totally alone with each other. And now – she was here, she was legal and most importantly – she wanted him.
“Logan?”
Logan jerked up right, running both hands through his hair. “Yea?”
“Could you come here for a second?”
“Coffee’s not done, I’ll be there in a minute.” He needed just a bit more time to get his errant dick in line. Now that he had her here – what could he say? What could he do? He’d hoped to get her to go home to Gray Wolf where he’d know where she was, and that she was safe.
“I don’t want any coffee,” she called. “There’s something else I want. Something I need.”
With only a moment’s hesitation, Logan left the kitchen. “What can I do for you, Jenna?” When he stepped around the corner, he froze – he couldn’t move, speak or think.
Jenna, his Jenna was lying on the couch. Her head on a pillow, her eyes on him, that sweet tongue of hers peeking out and licking her top lip. One leg was bent, her back arched – her incredible breasts thrust up. And God help him…
She was gloriously, stupendously nude.
Completely naked.
“Jenna?” His whole body blazed red hot. Electric. If he’d thought his cock was hard before, now it was huge, rock-solid and throbbing.
“Logan?” She held her hand. “Make love to me.” She ran one hand over her breasts, down her middle to tease the top of her mound. “Please?”
“This is…this is not why I brought you here.”
He didn’t take his eyes off of her. She could see his chest moving up and down, taking in deep breaths. But still…he didn’t move.
Well, if the man won’t come to Jenna, she’d have to go to her man. “No? I can’t think of a better reason. I’ve wanted you for years.” Gracefully, she rose and began walking toward him slowly with catlike grace.
Logan’s mouth was dry; his body shook. The woman was fuckin’ perfect. Over the years, he’d envisioned how beautiful she must be under her clothes.
Damn, he wasn’t even close.
“You’re magnificent,” he whispered. The truth couldn’t be contained. Every part of her was utterly delectable.
“No strings attached. No expectations. No promises. Just love me.”
God, he loved her. He’d always loved her. That wasn’t the problem.
Logan was still stuck in his tracks. His mind wasn’t functioning worth a damn. “Jenna, this…”
“Is what I want.” She stepped up to him, her swollen nipples grazing his chest. “You’ll never know how I’ve dreamed of this moment.” Placing her hands on his shoulders, she rose up on tiptoe and fitted her mouth to his. “Kiss me.”
One touch, that’s all it took and Logan was free. Free to touch, free to hold, free to join their lips and inhale her like she was life-giving oxygen. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. She was small, delicate. When she was nestled against him, his body enveloped hers – and he never wanted to let her go.
Jenna began working on his shirt as they kissed, undoing buttons and tugging it from his pants. When he tried to stop her hands, “Baby, baby, we…”
She went with step two.
“We can do anything we want to do.” Turning in his arms without breaking contact, she placed her bottom against his swollen package and rubbed – up – down, looking over her shoulder and up into his eyes.
Up. Down.
He was so big and hard, she felt like she was rubbing against a steel rod.
Logan was hyperventilating. He was about to die. There was no way in hell he could keep his hands off of her. Wrapping an arm around her, he covered one breast with a big palm – and rubbed.
She purred, the woman fuckin’ purred.
Logan didn’t have a chance.

Ooh…so hot! 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/TexasCHAOS

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this riveting tale! ♥

About Sable Hunter

sable

Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 50 books in 7 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales where the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream.

Books:

Love Me I Dare You

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Texas Chaos

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Sable Hunter, here are some author links:

Website:  http://sablehunter.com/

Blog:  http://sablehunter.com/sables-blog.html

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Sable-Hunter/e/B007B3KS4M/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4419823.Sable_Hunter

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sable-hunter

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Logan, a male character from TEXAS CHAOS, and Sable Hunter, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

5 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, western, Writing

A Character Interview with Emmi Vendetta from EMMI’S PRIDE plus a conversation with author Jill Marie Denton!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed K.C. Sprayberry’s character on March 1st and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Jill Marie Denton, the author of Emmi’s Pride, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Emmi Vendetta, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Jill Marie in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Emmi!

Emmi

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Emmi.  Please have a seat.

Character Emmi Vendetta: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Emmi: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Also, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Emmi:  I’m the vocalist, manager and agent for Second, a rock band my friends and I formed eighteen or so years ago. Fortunately for us, we’re well-received by the media and our fans, and have a few awards to back up our skill set, so I can claim to be good at it, yes. It’s been a whirlwind but I can’t imagine a better way to spend two decades.

Marie:  Wow, that’s great! 🙂

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Emmi:  I do my best to shield my family from the mayhem. My childhood was fairly normal, and based on their preferences and my own, I prefer to not answer questions about them.

Marie:  All right. I can respect that.

If it doesn’t bother you too much, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Emmi:  It was suburbia in its purest sense. I’m the all-American middle-class girl you imagined living next door in your cul-de-sac. I just took a more publicized route in my teens, but the house and the people inside were as typical as they come.

Marie:  I see.

Do you have any hobbies, Emmi?  What do you enjoy doing?

Emmi: Hobbies are a hard thing to find time for, but I spend a good majority of my time with music on in the background. It’s essential that I stay on top of trends and what’s prevalent in music, but it keeps my mind on track, too, while I’m pushing paper around. I’ve been writing lyrics most of my life, and I’m constantly writing phrases that might become lyrics on any paper within reach. I don’t enjoy the treadmill but I lean on it pretty fiercely. Being fuller-figured in the media is always a source of antipathy, so I just shoot for ‘healthy’ and let the chips fall where they may. Other than that, I just enjoy every moment of this life and all the beautiful opportunities our hard work has provided.

Marie:  Okay.

So…what is your greatest dream?

Emmi: If you’d asked me this a few years ago, I’d have told you I wanted time off. I’m a little wiser now, and know I’m glutton for punishment in the form of work. Nowadays, I just look forward to having a home base, someplace where I can sort my work and start more memories. Being on the road, touring endlessly since my early twenties has made me crave a bed and home of my own.

Marie:  That’s understandable.

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Emmi: I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve become the person I was meant to be. I knew that I needed more than a calm, steady and domesticated life and I went out and achieved it. While the success is a little overwhelming at times, I know in my heart that I took the right path with both my education and Second. I always have other skills to lean on, but for now, I love being Emmi, with all the pros and cons rolled in.

Marie: Lovely to hear that! 😉

So I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Emmi: Other than music icons, I assume. Those are always the first men that pop into my mind when I think back on love. In truth, love’s always been second in line behind some other duty, but I think the boy that made me realize what love was and how it felt to have my heart sputter was Robert. I wish I remembered his last name. In any case, he sat in front of me in some trivial computer course in middle school. I always wanted to touch his long hair or wear his flannel shirt. Ah, the nineties.

Marie: (Chuckles.)

All right. Let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Emmi: Professionally, I’d invested some hard earnings into a band a few years back, forming them from a group of talented misfits and naming them like a set of quads I’d birthed personally. I spent so many hours of my time coaching, producing, and finessing only to have their tour cancelled due to the lead singer’s inability to commit. I lost quite a bit, both monetarily and in reputation, when that happened, and had to eat crow with quite a few club owners and venue organizers to rebuild relationships I’d meticulously built. Personally, I had to accept that sometimes, no matter how much money you throw at it or how hard you try, some people will never understand and never support your ambition. Sometimes those people are close to you, and you have to let go of the toxicity before it destroys your dreams. Accepting that truth was devastating, and is still something I live with every day.

Marie:  Yikes! Sorry to hear that.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Emmi nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Emmi: Well, I think I achieved the dream of many, not just myself, but it certainly wasn’t the glorious, laid-back road I dreamed of as a child. There’s a reason that bands break up, a reason that so many friends end up hating each other once they’re forced to work, live and eat together for years. I’d anticipated rocky roads, bitch-fests, and attitude because I’m always pushing for better, but I’m fortunate to have partners in crime that understand how hard it is to maintain fame and how fleeting it can be. They, for the most part, are patient with their perfectionist, workaholic boss, but they also know how to deal with me after two decades of friendship. I didn’t expect to have to tour as much as we did, to lose as much sleep as we have, but in retrospect, it’s been worth it.

Marie:  The good dreams always are…;)

Okay, let’s try something else.

Who is your role model, Emmi?

Emmi: It’s likely you won’t know this gent, but the first name that I thought of was Ian MacKaye. I’ve been a fan of his music since childhood when I discovered punk rock and realized it was a great outlet for me. Ian succeeded where others failed, starting a recording label, producing some top-notch talent and continuing to record unique songs by his own set of guidelines. So many in this industry have to do what they’re told, conform to some set of commandments set by their labels or the media. He never accepted their money to do what they wanted. He always set his own rules, let the fans decide, and it ended up serving him well. It was wonderful to have such a talented, headstrong and inventive idol over the years.

Marie:  He definitely sounds amazing!

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Emmi: The media, especially the paparazzi, but that comes with the territory. Without fan interest, there’d be no clandestine photos taken and no gossip in circulation, so it’s par for the course. But I could live without their hounding, assumptions and speculation, as could a few other celebrities, I’m sure.

Marie:  All right. I can’t blame you there.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Emmi?

Emmi:  Secretly, I hope that one day, heaven deigns to send me someone to share my passions with. For the moment, I’m fine being the solitary wolf, the headstrong female with the career, but I hope I realize when he comes along that not every relationship is a burden and not every love is destined for despair. When he comes along, I hope I’m smart enough to realize it and not be skeptical, like I’d normally be.

Marie:  You’re right. It does take courage to let someone get that close to you. I have no doubt you’ll find him. (Sighs.) I love romance. ❤

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How about another question…

What is your greatest fear?

Emmi:  That all we’ve accomplished as a band will fade before we’re ready to say goodbye to it. Success is so fleeting, so elusive, that if we look away or lose focus, it’ll be gone before we can argue. I believe that success is a measure of effort, so we’ll keep pressing forward, going for broke, until we’re ready to hang up the instruments for good.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan, but I think you have nothing to worry about. 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Emmi. It was so interesting getting to know you!

Emmi:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Jill Marie Denton on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Jill Marie!

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Author Jill Marie Denton:  Hi, Marie!  A pleasure to be here.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  :)

So, we just got to talk to a female character of your story, Emmi Vendetta. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Jill Marie: She’s the epitome of career professional, just in an occupation that usually ends quickly and tragically. During the course of her rise in Second, she achieved a doctorate in general medicine and a law degree. She’s intelligent, witty, and undeniably charismatic, though the media browbeats her about her curves and blondness, insinuating she’s an over-eater and loose in morals. Having to rise above, to reshape their opinions, has brought out the prideful, self-reliant side she shows to the world.

Marie:  She sounds awesome!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Jill Marie: Emmi is a go-getter in every sense of the word. She’s built her successes and wealth through years of living on a tour bus, studying the industry, passing the bar exam in various states and not compromising to make life easier. She’s the first in and the last out, the type of worker that makes those around her step up and follow suit. And she’s lovely inside and out, once she accepts you and drops the barbed wire fence around her heart.

Marie:  Nice!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Jill Marie: Her unwillingness to compromise, to accept second best, often puts her at odds with those who won’t step up. Untrusting and unwilling to let a task be done imperfectly, she carries the workload herself. She’s also emotionally distant from those outside her circle, afraid to show vulnerability to the critical and judgmental media. With her band mates, she is a true, loyal and expressive friend, but outside that group, she is guarded, suspicious and overly careful.

Marie:  Well, I think we can all be somewhat protective of ourselves…

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Jill Marie: Emmi is a vegetarian as much as her life permits. She prefers to “save animal meat for the other animals,” to quote her directly. She loves Italian food like her family prepared growing up, heavy on tomato and herb. She also loves ginger, including drinks and treats. Her ideal meal is iced mint tea, vegetable lasagna and bread so garlicky, it scares off the undead.

Marie:  (Laughs.) All right.

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Jill Marie: She’s selfless in ways she doesn’t realize, and she has a maternal streak that makes her insistence easier to handle. She manages the band of friends like a den mother, though she considers herself a despot.

Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Jill Marie:  My hope is that readers will enjoy her, though at times her reasoning and considerations can be illogical. Women are tricky, especially the headstrong and dedicated ones, and Emmi is no different. I love writing strong women, the kind that younger generations can relate to, and in time, I’m sure readers will enjoy the compromises she makes in pursuit of love.

Marie:  I’m sure they will too!:)

Now that we have a real taste of Emmi, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Emmi’s Pride?

Jill Marie: I’ve had these characters, Emmi and her Second mates, in my head for the better part of twenty years. They’re based on bits of me and friends I’ve had. Their stories were begging to be told, and once I realized that a handsome, persuasive and passionate actor she crushed over would be a perfect antagonist for the careful musician, the book practically wrote itself.

Marie:  Great! I love how the muse works.

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Jill Marie:  I’m a little of both, to be honest. I think conversations in books need to be “pantsy” in that they should flow the way a normal chat would. Planning it too carefully makes it sound contrived. I enjoy having a rough path in mind before beginning a story, though. Having an idea of where to start and end is crucial in managing a novel’s length and flow, but adhering too closely to an outline makes it easy to disregard new ideas as they come.

Marie:  Oh, I fully agree. I dance around in both realms as well.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Emmi’s Pride or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Jill Marie:  I’ve had issues with writer’s blocks during the novel writing, and found myself utterly unable to form sentences with any sort of cohesion or develop dialogue anyone would relate to. I had to take a few breaks to read, re-imagine and reinvigorate before writing again. I also felt the constant need for feedback during the writing process, unsure if anything I wrote was worthy of publishing. In doing this, I realized a lot of writers have anxiety over the same issue, and end up giving their books away to willing readers simply to exploit reviews and encouragement. Finding a publishing deal is incredibly difficult, takes thick skin and many hours of labor, potentially resulting in decline after decline. If all else fails, for your first efforts, create an eBook and price it reasonably. Market yourself around that eBook, create a name for yourself and never give up!

Marie:  Thanks for the tips!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Emmi’s Pride appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful book by Jill Marie Denton, a very talented author! :) This contemporary romance debut novel just released on April 8th!

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Here is the blurb for Emmi’s Pride:

Emmi Vendetta is the charismatic lead singer of Second, a rock band on an unstoppable trajectory. Blonde and curvy, she captivates on stage, forming a powerful and sultry image for the five-female group. But as the band manager and agent, she is Second’s professional face, and offstage, she takes that role, and her dedication to it, seriously.

One night, she stumbles into the man of her dreams, dark and handsome British actor Simon Piers. Suddenly, the safe, cold wall she puts between her heart and the speculative media is threatened. Her body craves what her steadfast and cautious mind fears most; media critique, dismissal of her proficient image and Second’s downfall at the hands of outside interests. But their gravitation is inescapable, and her desires cause her resolve to falter.

Will Emmi’s pride stand in the way of the happiness Simon promises, or will she find room in her life for a chance at true love?

Jill Marie is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Her ear came alive with voices not in the room as two of their guards were discussing an incoming paparazzi blitz. The word was out on their attendance. Both were asking them to retreat with as much dignity as possible and to cut their evening short before the reporters burst through the paltry line of security the benefit had hired.

That was her cue. No one hated invasive paparazzi more than Emmi, and Deis was quickly whisked from the circle of thanks by her manager’s fierce grip.

“They’re coming,” Emmi said hurriedly, moving with Deis to the front entrance, where the limo would be waiting.

Not needing to be convinced, Deis hurried out the door and down the grand steps to the guard, poised at the car door. She knew not to argue with her manager about avoiding undue publicity.

Emmi was a few steps behind when she ran fully into a black-garbed wall of man.

The movement into her path was so sudden, so unanticipated, that she couldn’t catch herself. Heeled feet slid on the granite as she toppled into the figure she’d nearly bowled over. She didn’t have the chance to be embarrassed, to say a single word in defense. He was holding her biceps before she could regain her footing, kept up right by his warm hands. Fortunately for them both, his body was poised to catch her forward momentum. She gasped as he held her steady.

He was silent as she lifted her head and met his intense yet concerned gaze.

Holy hell. It was him.

Simon Piers, in all his dark and dangerous glory.

He was dressed in a flawless black suit, classy in a white shirt and matching tie. When he finally released her arms, all she could do was try to recover. No words would come.

For the first time in her life, she was caught utterly and foolishly unprepared. She’d seen him for months, on her tablet screen or when she closed her eyes. Her band mates all teased her about her infatuation. His chestnut hair cut modestly, eyes like molasses, body firm like she’d seen on Netflix, and that smile that crossed from one cheek to the other coyly. She’d imagined smiling charmingly and being he confident rock star she could be when she met him. But now, with his body pressed to hers and in his grasp, she was wholly undone.

She finally caught her breath, which had whooshed out violently at contact, pulled herself together and met his gaze with as much pride as she could muster. How long had she been out of sorts?

It felt like minutes. She feared her look came off as panic, or even amazement, instead of the quiet confidence she willed herself to portray.

Deis raised her voice from the backseat of the limo. “Come on!”

She glanced over his shoulder at her band mate, then back at him. He was smiling now, his eyes narrowed slightly at her torn expression. His breath was soft, slow, compared with her embarrassed panting. He had to recognize her, but didn’t bother to add to her shame by asking for a thing. She managed a polite smile, averted her eyes hastily and continued down the steps without looking back.

As the limo drove away, he stood near the door, eyeing its escape down the narrow street. They were long gone and his mind was pouring over their momentary encounter, a grin on brazen display, when he finally ducked into the white-collar crowd.

Ooh…Interesting!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01E0ZGIVK

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-saga-book-one-jill-marie-denton/1123581095

Books-A-Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Second-Saga-Book-One/Jill-Marie-Denton/9781634912358?id=6582324584278

Book Locker:  http://booklocker.com/books/8508.html

About Jill Marie Denton

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Jill Marie is a long-time fan of women’s fiction and rock music, marrying her two interests in Second Saga. She is also a classically-trained French chef, Human Resources professional and Master’s student in her home state of Delaware. Aside from reading, writing and cooking, she is also a dedicated contributor to women’s websites and online magazines, such as BE, for romantic fiction and culinary development. Above all, she delights in creating strong-willed, relatable characters for her audience in her novels, and continues to write to help women realize their inner strength and the power of their passion.

Jill Marie’s Book:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Jill Marie Denton, here are some author links:

Website/Blog:  http://www.jillmariedenton.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JillMarieDenton

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Jill-Marie-Denton/e/B01D3HTLVA/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15103692.Jill_Marie_Denton

Publisher:  http://booklocker.com/books/8508.html

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Emmi Vendetta, a female character from Emmi’s Pride, and Jill Marie Denton, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

8 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Amy Pearson from THE LIE plus a conversation with author K.C. Sprayberry!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Aurora Zahni’s character on December 29th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting K.C. Sprayberry, the author of The Lie, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Amy Pearson, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to K.C. in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Amy!

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Amy.  Please have a seat.

Character Amy Pearson: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Amy: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Also, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Amy:  Hi, everyone. My name is Amy Pearson. I’m a senior at Landry High School in Georgia, a band geek, and a musician. My brother, Bryce, is always telling me that I have to believe in what I can do, so I have to say I’m a great student with a 4.0 GPA. As a musician, I play the keyboard, flute, clarinet, oboe, and guitar. I also sing. And if my YouTube page can be believed, people actually like what I do.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Great!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Amy:  Well… I have a brother, Bryce. He’s two years younger than me, plays football, always gives me grief about the stupidest stuff, but he’s a good person to talk to. My dad does reno on houses that my uncle sells. Dad’s kind of cool. He’s a volunteer fire fighter in his spare time. And then there’s my mom. Her and me—we don’t get along well. It’s because of my bestie, Jane.

Mom thinks Jane is a horrible influence on me, but she… Jane… doesn’t have any other friends. And she was so nice to me when I had asthma as a kid and couldn’t go outside much.

Marie:  All right. Sorry to hear that.

The mother-daughter relationship can be complicated sometimes.

If it doesn’t bother you too much, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Amy:  Just like everyone else’s around us. A typical middle class southern home. Nothing spectacular. Until we moved into the old home place, a gift from my grandparents after our house sold and we needed a place fast. It was right after that happened. Don’t ask me about that. It was really awful.

Marie:  Okay, sorry. I sense it’s a touchy subject. I know there’s a story there, but I won’t pry.

Do you have any hobbies, Amy?  What do you enjoy doing?

Amy:  My music is my life. I love recording tracks with my instruments. Sometimes just one, or I might do a few tracks with two or three instruments. Then I write songs and my brother sets up videos on our YouTube page.

Marie:  Sounds like fun!

So…what is your greatest dream?

Amy:  Graduate high school, go to Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Be a Marching Southerner. And get a general music degree. I don’t know after that. It’s too far away to think about.

Marie:  That’s understandable. It’s hard to see that far ahead. It was for me too.

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Amy:  I want to be a person my mom can love without getting all mad because of my only close friend. I want to be able to just hug her and not have her ask what Jane did now. And I want to have more friends than Jane. It gets really weird only being able to do things with her all the time, but she says everyone else makes fun of her, so I can’t do stuff with them.

Marie:  Wow, sorry to hear that! 😦

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Amy:  Trey Melton.

He’s a hunk, kind of like that actor, Brant Daughtery from Pretty Little Liars. Was the quarterback for the Landry Wildcats, until he blew out his knee. And he’s pretty sweet. We’ve just started seeing each other seriously, now that I kicked Jane out of my life.

Marie:  Good to hear! (Sighs.) I love romance…

The Lie

All right. So, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Amy:  That. It’s really hard to explain, kind of complicated. See, the school board took away the band’s funding. And we got very upset. That’s when Jane came to me with this plan, but she couldn’t tell the other kids in band about it. I had to do that, or they wouldn’t have gone along. So, I did, but it didn’t feel right. And then it happened. We didn’t mean for it to happen. It was only supposed to be stink and smoke. The school wasn’t supposed to burn down.

Marie:  Yikes! Okay, I can see this is difficult for you.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Amy nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Amy:  To be a musician. To go professional. Maybe. I’m not really sure I can do that, though. The kind of music I do isn’t really popular, but it’s what I like. But the people that like my YouTube page are always telling me I’m good enough to be on The Voice or American Idol. I mean really? Me? That’s so crazy.

Marie:  Well, it sounds like you have the talent! What I’ve learned is it’s easier to try something and then decide it’s not for you rather than regret you never did it. 😉

Okay. Let’s try something else.

So, who is your role model, Amy?

Amy:  To be honest, my younger brother. Bryce is so cool. He’s really smart too. And he never lets anyone put him down. He’s hot too (don’t tell him I said that!). Not only is he great in the classroom, but he’s a gunner on Special Teams for football, and he’s stellar at that. The biggest thing I admire about Bryce? Even though I get irritated with him about the silly stuff, he’s always there for me when something Jane talks me into blows up.

Theo James (Bryce)

Marie:  Good to hear! I’m glad you have a close relationship with your brother.

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Amy:  It took me a long time to figure it out, but I really don’t like Jane. Probably never have. But she’s so needy. And kind of mean. She always puts down my family, but I can’t tell her to go away. I don’t know why, just that I can’t. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t have any other friends.

Marie:  All right. I can see how pity might have led you into a rough situation.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Amy?

Amy:  To have a normal life. Not to have to put up with Jane’s games, her constant innuendos that people hate her for no reason, or are down on her. She’s so harsh. Never gives anyone a chance. She even makes me feel stupid for wanting to do things without her. Jane smothers me, but I don’t know how to make her go away.

Marie:  Okay. How about another question…

What is your greatest fear?

Amy:  Losing the music in my head. I think I’d die if that happened. That music has always been there. I think I’d go crazy and fade away if it stopped.

Marie:  Funny, that’s exactly the way I feel about writing! 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Amy. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

Amy:  Thank you for having me, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author K.C. Sprayberry on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here again! Hello, K.C.!

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Author K.C. Sprayberry:  Hi, Marie!  A pleasure to be here.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  🙂

So, we just got to talk to a female character of your story, Amy Pearson. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

K.C.:  Amy is a typical teen. She works hard for approval from her parents, but is also pulling away as she starts her senior year of high school. Amy has an inner core of strength but she doesn’t realize that because of her bestie, Jane. But Amy is starting to pull free of Jane’s toxic influence, to spread her wings by making new friends, getting involved with her classmates, and getting ready for college.

Marie:  Okay.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

K.C.:  She’s a loyal friend. Amy is willing to do what’s needed to help out when necessary. She also loves to cook and bake. Amy makes a killer pumpkin cheesecake and some really great sweet potato tarts.

Marie:  Nice! But seriously, she sounds like a great person.

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

K.C.:  Amy’s greatest weakness is that she likes to believe the best about people. She won’t give up on a friend, no matter how badly that friend treats her.

Marie:  An admirable trait, but I can see how that could get her into some trouble…

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

K.C.:  She loves pretty much everything. The spicier the better. Her favorite burger is from Fuddruckers, the Southwestern.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

K.C.:  That’s she’s a sweet, loyal person who can do so much better than she thinks she can.

Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

K.C.:  They’ll hate how she won’t stand up against Jane, instead leaning on her brother heavily. But when things get tough and Bryce isn’t around, Amy will discover she’s a really strong person who can take care of herself.

Marie:  Great! 🙂

Now that we have a real taste of Amy, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for The Lie?

K.C.:  My editor and I were kicking around ideas one night on Facebook PM. And somehow the conversation got around to lying. How a lie is like the ripples in a pond and you never know how far those ripples go. Then I told her that I’d be right back, knocked out an opening to the first chapter, and showed it to her. She read it, suggested a couple of things, and told me to run with it. Boy, did I run with it. The Lie finished at a little over 102,000 words, the longest and most difficult book I’ve ever written.

Marie:  Impressive!

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, K.C.? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

K.C.:  I do like to plan, plot out my books, but honestly, after chapter three, all planning flies out the window once the characters take over. They will direct from the background, often screeching out, “I would not do that!” until I fix the problem. Some stories have just been “panster” from beginning to end. I’ve tried being a plotter, but it never works out.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sometimes those characters just don’t listen to us…

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Lie or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

K.C.:  The getting published part wasn’t hard at all, but I have a fabulous publisher in Solstice Publishing. The real challenge lay in writing this book. Originally, it started out as single viewpoint, Amy. Then younger but definitely louder brother Bryce started screaming in my head that he was not going to let his sis go through this alone. So, sigh, I went back to the beginning and began inserting his viewpoint into the chapters. And he’s good. So’s Amy. Anytime I tried to shortcut on the story line, they were after me to get it together and do it right. The end result was not just the most powerful story I’ve done to date, but also the longest one.

Marie:  Awesome!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The Lie appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by K.C. Sprayberry, a very talented author! 🙂 The book comes out on March 4th!

Here is the blurb for The Lie:

For high school siblings, Amy and Bryce, the night began with a football game. Bryce was stuck at home with a cold, brought on by an uncaring coach. Amy was in the stands, playing with the band whose funding had been taken away and given to the football team.

Her best friend, Jane, brought the band together to play a prank on the team in protest.

The prank went wrong. Horribly, tragically wrong.

And the lie that started it all would not stop.

K.C. is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Amy:

The sun is peeping over the mountains all around us. The members of the Landry High School Band fill in the last of the holes where we placed our planned revenge to go off tonight. None of us has had any sleep since we woke up yesterday, yet we’re charged up and ready for the rest of today and well into tonight.

“Where are your friends?” I ask.

Jane Preston, my bestie, the true mastermind of this prank, smirks at me.

Her light brown hair flies around her face in the early morning breeze. She swipes a few strands away from her pinched mouth and grimaces. Jane is always angry, always ready to take revenge for what she sees as a slight against her. Her slender body hunches forward, what she calls a protection method against all of her enemies. A lot of people don’t like her. I’m her only real friend. That’s because I feel sorry for her. Honesty turned on… a trait I value not only in myself but everyone close to me… I sometimes wish that Jane will stop being so weird and mean, and learn to be part of the group.

And she won’t let me alone whenever I try to get away from her. Jane would make more friends if she tried a little harder. It’s like she enjoys scaring people, so they don’t get close to her. But she’s always complaining about how everyone hates her.

Bryce:

I hear Amy coming home. She doesn’t know that I’ve been awake all night, waiting on her. Not that she sneaks out much—she never does stuff like this, unless it’s a Jane plan. I pretty much figured that from what I caught of the muffled phone conversations going on until eight last night. That’s when I heard the window going up, a box being hidden behind the bush, and Amy sneaking away.

She’s lucky that Mom and Dad didn’t catch her. Thanks to me. If I hadn’t gone into the kitchen, faking that cough, Amy would have been in major trouble.

That fake coughing will have earned me another day off school, once Mom sees me this morning. She’s a total overprotective mom when it comes to our health. Big deal that I had asthma as a kid, even had to carry an inhaler that I lost whenever I could. I’m way past that now. The cough is what’s left of the cold I got doing sprints in a driving cold rain last Friday night, after we once again lost a football game.

At least I won’t have to do that tonight. Someone has to deal with Coach Williams. He’s totally out of control lately.

Interesting!

Pre-order Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01BX85XSG

About K.C. Sprayberry

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Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in Northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovated tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines. Three of her books (Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Mama’s Advice) are Amazon bestsellers. Her other books are: Take Chances, Where U @, The Wrong One, Pony Dreams, Evil Eyes, Inits, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates, The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang, The Curse of Grungy Gulley, Paradox Lost: Their Path, Canoples Investigations Versus Spacers Rule and Starlight. Additionally, she has shorts available on Amazon: Grace, Secret From the Flames, Family Curse … Times Two, Right Wrong Nothing In Between, and The Ghost Catcher.

K.C.’s Books:
Coming Soon:

 

The Lie

Available:

 

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FamilyCurse

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing K.C. Sprayberry, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.kcsprayberry.com/

Blog:  http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/KC-Sprayberry/331150236901202

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/KC%20Sprayberry/e/B005DI1YOU/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/

Authorgraph:  http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/kcsowriter

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/kc-sprayberry/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Amy Pearson, a female character from The Lie, and K.C. Sprayberry, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips, Young Adult

A Character Interview with Mary Susan from THE ISLAND AND THE KITE plus a conversation with author Aurora Zahni!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Barbi Barnard’s character on December 22nd and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Aurora Zahni, the author of The Island and The Kite, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Mary Susan Bennett, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Aurora in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Mary Susan!

MaryS

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Mary Susan.  Please have a seat.

Character Mary Susan Bennett: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Mary Susan: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Mary Susan:  My name is Mary Susan Bennett and I am from Heller Park, New Jersey. I come from a place where we don’t spend a lot of time describing what we look like, but I suppose I’m a frumpy redhead whose girlfriend describes as “curvy.” You can read about my adventures in The Island and The Kite by Aurora Zahni.

Marie:  Great! Thank you for that succinct description.

So, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Mary Susan:  I am currently a waitress at a wonderful coffee shop named Cybele’s Reverie. I am a great waitress and can currently not think of a better way to spend my time and get paid for it.

Marie:  Well, it’s awesome that you enjoy your job so much. 🙂

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Mary Susan:  Small. Both my parents passed away recently and I lost touch with a lot of my other relatives after my cousin Coralie was also tragically taken away from us.

Marie:  Oh, no! I’m so sorry to  hear that. 😦

That must have been very hard.

If it doesn’t bother you too much, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Mary Susan:  It was a simple ranch style house. When I was twelve, my parents let me take over the basement.

Marie:  (Smiles.) All right, I can tell there’s a story there, but I won’t pry.

Do you have any hobbies, Mary Susan?  What do you enjoy doing?

Mary Susan:  I like to listen to music and meet new people. When I meet someone, I try to connect with them and learn what they are passionate about. Shared experience is the cure for the human condition.

Marie:  Oh, I fully agree! And what a refreshing take to hear that!

So…what is your greatest dream?

Mary Susan:  I just want to make it through this world leaving a positive mark on the Universe.

Marie:  That’s certainly admirable.

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Mary Susan:  I don’t understand. I am precisely who I am, can’t be anything else really and nothing stops me from doing anything really.

Marie:  Good to hear!

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Mary Susan:  Stefi Angel. Is this a trick question and did Stefi put you up to this?

Marie:  Nope. (Winks.) I swear I didn’t know about you two before today.

In any case, it’s good to hear you say that. I just love romance, if the name of the blog wasn’t an indication. (Chuckles.)

The Island and the Kite

All right. So, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Mary Susan:  I can’t talk about it. My entire existence is based upon moving forward.

Marie:  Okay, I respect that. I won’t push. I can see this is difficult for you.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Mary Susan nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Mary Susan: I had such a carefree childhood that I never thought about it. I’ve always mostly accepted things for their own intrinsic beauty and appreciated what the Universe offered up to me. So I guess, yes, I have achieved my dream.

Marie:  Well, great!  😀

Let’s try something else.

So, who is your role model, Mary Susan?

Mary Susan:  My boss, Hilary Palmer who I think saves the world on a regular basis and would probably be much better for an interview.

Marie:  (Waves a hand.) Nonsense. You’re doing great! But, it’s good to hear that you admire your boss.

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Mary Susan: I’ve never done that. Why would you?

Marie:  Indeed! That’s an excellent point. I wish everyone could be so genuine.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Mary Susan?

Mary Susan:  Desires are never deeply hidden in me. I can get caught up in it on a moment’s notice.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question…

What is your greatest fear?

Mary Susan:  To fake anything in life.

Marie:  And it’s certainly refreshing that you’re not! 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Mary Susan. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

Mary Susan:  Thank you for having me, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Aurora Zahni on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, Aurora!

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Author Aurora Zahni:  Hello, Marie!  A pleasure to meet you.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  🙂

So, we just got to talk to a female character of your story, Mary Susan Bennett. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Aurora:  Mary Susan is the best of me. She doesn’t judge and lives in harmony with the world around her. She has come through tragedy with a strengthened point of view, which she inherited from her parents.

Marie:  And as I was saying before with Mary Susan, I think that’s very admirable.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Aurora: She is often nonplussed by conflict. She is so easy breezy that she can face off with just about anything like a champ.

Marie:  Wow. I wish I had about ten cups of that! (Laughs.)

That’s awesome!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Aurora:  She doesn’t judge anyone, good or bad. She is just as often hurt by this as she is saved by it.

Marie:  All right. So, a sensitive soul…I can relate to that.

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Aurora: She loves eating, and her favorite treat is a Binkie, which is a bacon laced cream filled angel food cake pastry which may or may not remind you of a Twinkie from both heaven and hell.

Marie:  Good Lord! That sounds evil and scrumptious! 😉

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Aurora: Ha, “being unaware.” It’s like they say, birds don’t know they are flying. Mary Susan doesn’t realize that she has any positive or negative properties, just hopes she does good in the Universe.

Marie:  (Sighs.) I wish we were all so innocent.

So, will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Aurora: If you don’t like Mary Susan, I don’t want to know you. Mary Susan, however, would still be nice to you.

Marie:  (Smiles.) Great response.

Now that we have a real taste of Mary Susan, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for The Island and The Kite?

Aurora: Mary Susan had a small part in my first novel. She always stuck out to me as a character, and I wanted to give her a proper showcase. I wanted to send her on an adventure filled with trials and tribulations to see how she fared. And hey, I even gave her a love story, which I never do.

Marie:  Great!

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, Aurora? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Aurora: I pants to plot points. I never plan out an entire book, because I feel that it guides the story too much and allows for “Hand of God” moments, as opposed to the organic development of a the plot. So I just write and revise often so I can always have an idea of what is ahead and keep it all in continuity.

Marie:  I can respect that. Sometimes it’s better to listen to the muse.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Island and The Kite or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?’

Aurora: This is my third published novel and it went fairly smoothly. I tend to write self-indulgent stories, but after two of those I was a lot more open to writing for an audience this time.

That balance is something important all writers need to address. You need to write the story only you can write, but that anyone can read.

Marie:  That’s good advice!  We should cater to different audiences at once.

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The Island and The Kite appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Aurora Zahni, a very talented author! 🙂

The Island and the Kite

Here is the blurb for The Island and The Kite:

Two girls. Two stories. One day.

A murder spree and magic tea help two star crossed lovers see the light.

 Mary Susan and Stefi Angel are two constant exes who can never get it right, always as eager to give up as they are to start up again. But one day in New York City helps change that forever.

The city is in a panic as the T and S Killers rising body count has everyone on edge. Free spirit Mary Susan just wants to see a movie and ends up trapped in Hell’s Kitchen being chased by vigilantes and murderers alike. She spends the night trying to escape the city that never sleeps and deciding if she should give Stefi another chance.

Star basketball player Stefi Angel can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to love…until she drinks magical tea and suddenly has all the questions and the answers. She just hopes she can get Mary Susan to believe they have the kind of love worth fighting for and that it’s not too late.

Aurora is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

“So…” Stefi took a deep breath. “How am I doing, red?”

“Not bad. Maybe you’ll get most of me after all.”

“I want it all this time.”

“We’ll see.” Mary Susan laid her head on Stefi’s shoulder. “Hey.” She poked Stefi’s arm. “I have a gift for you back at my place.”

“I bet you do. Just let me get you cleaned up first.”

“No, silly. A real gift in a box with a bow and everything.”

“I think I have everything I need.”

They devoured their breakfast and Mary Susan napped on the drive back to her place. “Where’s your roommate?” Stefi asked when they got there.

“At work.” Mary Susan removed her outer layer of clothing and announced, “I need to shower.”

Stefi smiled and took off her shoes and socks. “Okay.”

“That wasn’t an invitation. I’m filthy and I really need to shower. Will you wait for me?” Stefi nodded and then watched Mary Susan and the curves she loved walk to the bathroom in her skivvies. Be a better girlfriend. Stefi brought down all the shades and curtains in the room and put on some music at a low volume. When Mary Susan got out of the bathroom, she was already in bed waiting for her.

“Stefi…it’s been a long day. I don’t know what you think is going to happen here.”

“Be quiet and come here and trust me.” Mary Susan listened to her and then cautiously slid under the covers. Stefi put both her long arms around her and gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. “Now I want you to sleep. I’m here. I’m yours. And I’m not going anywhere.”

The Island and The Kite Teaser

 

Ooh…this sounds really good!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00OOAXZYK

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-island-and-the-kite-aurora-zahni/1120965559

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/5189750

About Aurora Zahni

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Aurora Zahni is a former rebel who’s trying to bring a little bit of Judy Blume and Sylvia Plath to the Twilight Generation. Over the years, she has given half-assed / full throttle contributions to numerous zines and blogs, written a web movie and done significantly well in countless competitive eating events. When she was in the 8th grade, she was on the local evening news. A dead body was being lifted out of the water at a marina by the Meadowlands and you could clearly see her standing in the background watching, looking a bit excited for the camera. Looking back it may have been the highlight of her entire childhood.

Aurora’s Books:

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The Island and the Kite

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Aurora Zahni, here are some author links:

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/aurorazahni

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Aurora-Zahni/e/B00I3JC9I6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7092273.Aurora_Zahni

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/shirley5283/aurora-zahni/

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/aurora-zahni/

Radio:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/beaucouppublishingllc/2014/12/09/a-bc-chat

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Mary Susan Bennett, a female character from The Island and The Kite, and Aurora Zahni, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, LGBT, Mystery, New Adult, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Elizabeth from MERCY’S ANGELS plus a conversation with author Barbi Barnard!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed C.J. Anaya’s character on December 18th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Barbi Barnard, the author of Mercy’s Angels, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her  characters, Elizabeth Clayton, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Barbi in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Elizabeth!

Elizabeth

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Elizabeth.  Please have a seat.

Character Elizabeth (Momma) Clayton: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Elizabeth: Okay.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Elizabeth:  I am self-employed. I own a bar/ pool hall.

Am I any good at it? I think so. I make a good profit and have a steady clientele. People enjoy coming here and return again and again.

Do I like it? I like that my bills are paid and I can support my girls the way I want to. I’m happy with being my own boss and doing things the way I want. I like not answering to anyone.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!  😉

So, tell us. What is your family like?

Elizabeth:  Female! I have a step-daughter and an adopted daughter. My daughter Jenni is grown and married, and my adopted daughter Tiffi just graduated college. I have been separated from my husband twice as long as I was with him, so I don’t count him. I love the fact it was just girls. I never had to have the puberty talk with a male child.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Okay.

What did your childhood home look like?

Elizabeth: Typical small wooden two bedroom clapboard home. Nothing fancy. My mother kept it clean and decorated for a family. My father took pride in his yard work.

Marie:  I see.

Do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Elizabeth:  Quilting and reading. I enjoy going to my pond and watching the ducks and swans swimming. It’s restful to me. When the weather is bad, I enjoy reading fiction.

Marie:  (Smiles.) Reading is awesome!

So, tell us…what is your greatest dream, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth:  To see my girls do everything they can dream of. I want them to be happy and successful in whatever they choose.

Marie:  All right.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Elizabeth:  A little more confident and assertive. What’s stopping me? Insecurities from childhood have carried over and sometimes I don’t feel confident. When it comes to my girls, I can find the courage to speak up for them but not always for myself.

Marie:  Yeah, I think sometimes it is hard for us to defend ourselves as women.

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Elizabeth:  A sweet young man who seemed larger than life to me. Sometimes I think he was just a figment of my imagination.

Mercy's Angels

Marie:  Ooh, I would love to press for details, but I  see you’re trying to be mysterious. Still, I just love romance so I can’t help but want to hear it…

All right. So, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Elizabeth:  I was held hostage for close to six years. Abused in every way imaginable.

Marie:  I’m so sorry to hear that. That’s horrible. 😦 

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

I can see this is difficult for you. Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Elizabeth nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Elizabeth: I wanted the fairy tale. Children and a husband. A happy family that spent a weekend with the grandparents. Did I achieve that dream? No. I have my girls, but there are no grandparents to visit and no husband. I didn’t have a happy marriage. And never had any children of my own. Both my parents are deceased. I have tried to do right by my girls and to be everything they need, but I worry they missed out on a “normal” childhood.

Marie:  Well, I think you can only do your best. And you sound like a great mother. 😉

Let’s try something else.

So, can you tell us…who is your role model, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth:  I honestly can’t say I have one. I try to be one, but I brought myself up and never had a mentor. In a way I guess my girls are role models for me as I live vicariously through their success.

Marie:  Okay.

Well, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Elizabeth:  Yes, a few actually. Mostly men I have come across in my life. In business, you have to smile through a lot of negative things.

Marie:  I hear that.

So, what is your deepest desire?

Elizabeth:  To live life happy and content. And to visit a foreign country.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question…

What is your greatest fear, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth:  To relive my past or to have my girls live my past. I donate money to shelters for women. I never want someone to not have help when needed.

Marie:  How admirable!

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Elizabeth. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

Elizabeth:  Thank you for having me, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Barbi Barnard on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, Barbi!

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Author Barbi Barnard:  Hello, Marie!  A pleasure to meet you.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  🙂

So, we just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Elizabeth. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Barbi: Elizabeth is a survivor. She doesn’t see her own strength and how her strength impacts those around her. She has let herself become an introvert and isolated herself.

Marie:  I think we all struggle to see ourselves the way others do…

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Barbi:  She has a strong independent nature. She can do anything without any help. She makes things happen. She can see a problem and find a solution for it.

Marie:  Awesome!  And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Barbi: Her insecurities. She is afraid to let people get close to her. She doesn’t trust people. She is afraid of people she lets into her circle hurting her.

Marie:  That’s sad, but knowing her past, I can understand her hesitance.

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Barbi: Elizabeth loves Mexican food. Chicken enchiladas are her favorite.

Marie:  Those are pretty good!  🙂

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Barbi:  She has an inner strength. She has no idea how others see her. She feels shame from her past and sees it like a cloak when looking in the mirror. No one else sees it. They see a strong, confident woman.

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Barbi:  I believe they will love her. She comes from a background that few have lived. Her survival of that makes her a hero to some and a strength to others.

Marie:  Great!

So, now that we have a real taste of Elizabeth, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Mercy’s Angels?

Barbi:  I was told to write what I know. To put on paper the thoughts that plagued me. There is a lot of truth in the stories. Some are happy, and some are dark and twisted.

Marie:  Okay.

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, Barbi? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Barbi:  Definitely a pantster. I tried the plot outline and having a plotted out story line for each chapter. When I look back on the notes, I see so much that went way off track.

Marie:  I can respect that. Sometimes it’s better to listen to the muse.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Mercy’s Angels or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Barbi:  Getting published these days is just a matter of clicking a mouse, but having something worth reading is harder. You have to take the time to have it edited and proofread. I thought I did an okay job and when I see the original file, I cringe. Nothing beats a professional editing job. Talk to others. There are plenty of Indie writers that are willing to give advice or just be a sounding board for every aspect of your project.  What would I do differently the next time? I would have spent more time with the characters’ development. Let the reader see more of what made them who they are.

Marie:  That’s sound advice! And I have to agree. It’s certainly not good to rush into publishing. And readers will call you out for those mistakes. I’m glad you figured it all out, hon.

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Mercy’s Angels appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Barbi Barnard, a very talented author! 🙂

Mercy's Angels

Here is the blurb for Mercy’s Angels:

First in the Mercy’s Angels Series.

This is also the story of three women who all have one thing in common: Angels Mercy MC.

Elizabeth forced to live the club life by threats and violence.

Jenni watched in disgust and confusion.
Tiffi heard the stories from her family.
Three women. Three tales of courage, determination… and a little humor. Find out how “Momma” became the owner of a Motorcycle Club…

Barbi is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

The sound of the bikes coming in through the back has me rising out of my chair and throwing my e-reader to the floor. I can see four of them through the doorway, coming up from the path by the pond. I miss that sound, of multiple engines rumbling along.

Some would be afraid. Not me. It brings a sense of security to my heart. The memories of riding in a group of hundreds, going on a day trip to a park are fond. The charity rides and relays where we met lots of other charters and clubs were great. Too bad the memories of the people I was forced to live with aren’t.

Greg looks good. He has grown into a good-looking man. He doesn’t look old like some bikers do. His eyes are bright, his skin is smooth, and his clothes are clean and new. The exact opposite of what my mind remembers from my youth.

He sees me and his smile is big. He takes a step to walk to me and stops. Is he unsure of his welcome? I walk out the door toward him and see the smile on his mouth curl up to his eyes. He is now running to me. I am crushed to a broad chest and spun around.

“Oh, baby girl. You are beautiful. I’m so sorry I didn’t stay around for your transformation into a woman. Wayne is one lucky f****er,” he laughingly tells me.

I have to swat him for the remark. “Your mouth hasn’t changed, but the rest has. You look good,” I snort at him between laughs.

“Clean living, little sis. Clean and sober living.” He looks into my eyes, so I know he means it.

I gasp. “Are you telling me the truth? How can you be clean and still wearing an Angel cut? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” I cry.

He laughs. “The club is all clean. Nothing dirty at all. We lost a lot of our members to other charters because of it. I think it was worth it and as it was my turn to hold the chair, I brought it to the table for a vote. Those that wanted to stay, did. And those that wanted to transfer out, left. It is that simple.”

My head is spinning and my knees are weak. I can’t picture a clean club. I was born into the drugs and guns. The sex and mistreatment of women. People naked on the bar. Men ripping clothes from the women and forcing them to take on two or three men at a time. It’s a wonder I didn’t turn into a nun from what I lived through.

“I’m so glad for you,” I tell him. “I worried you would walk the path Richard walked. I never want that for you.”

“Not to worry, baby, I have a legitimate job and I stay on the right side of the law and government. I’m a productive member of society with not even a pimple of a criminal record,” he boasts.

This makes me happy. I jump and crash myself into his chest. My hold on him would strangle a smaller man.

“Come meet the guys. I told them about you on the way here and I don’t think they believed me,” he tells me.

Ooh…I definitely want to know what happens next!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B013OGE96M

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1NzCv9u

CreateSpace:  http://bit.ly/1mfny3b

About Barbi Barnard

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Barbi Barnard is a native of North Louisiana. Married with grown children. And a growing amount of grandchildren (eleven at last count). Barbi went to college after the youngest started school and has a degree in Office Management and Accounting. Barbi loves to spend time with her family. With such a large family, a revolving door would help as there are always people coming and going in the Barnard house. The need to read books was instilled at a young age as it was the preferred pastime of the adults that influenced her life.

Barbi’s Books:

[Coming Soon]

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[Available Now]

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Mercy's Angels

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Barbi Barnard, here are some of her author links:

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/dubsdoll

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/1NIGA99

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13688579.Barbi_Barnard

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/100596288266654182721/posts

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/503629170808547347/

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/barbi-barnard

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Elizabeth Clayton, the female main character from Mercy’s Angels, and Barbi Barnard, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

 

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips