Tag Archives: characters

A Character Interview with Mason from ARRESTING MASON plus a conversation with author Amber Daulton!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Remy Marie’s character back on February 8th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Amber Daulton, the author of Arresting Mason, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Mason Harding, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Amber in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Mason!

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

Character Mason Harding:  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?

Mason:  Sure.

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

Mason:  I’m a mechanic, and yeah, I’m pretty damn good at the job. I like it too. My dad taught me everything I know about cars, and even though we don’t talk anymore, I’m still grateful to him for showing me the ropes. In all honesty, I didn’t plan to be a grease monkey growing up—in fact, I never really thought about the future when I was a stupid teen—but then I landed in prison and everything changed. A few years before my parole, I participated in an automotive work/study program to brush up on my rusty skills.

Marie:  All right.

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Mason:  My big brother, Alan, is supportive but overprotective. After all the crap I’ve put him through, though, I understand why he watches over me like I’m still a kid. Alan’s son, Danny, is adorable. I love my nephew to death, and I’m determined to not set a bad example for him. My parents and I are estranged. Alan is pressuring me into making amends with Mom, but I don’t think it’ll happen any time soon.

Marie:  Oh, no! How unfortunate! 😦

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?

Mason:  It was just a typical two-story, cookie-cutter house in suburbia. You know the type: a big yard to play in, flowerbeds lining the foundation, and nosy neighborhoods. The best thing about my home was that it was only a few blocks from the city’s downtown area, but I guess that wasn’t a good thing after all. I got into way too much trouble back then, and most everything was within walking distance.

Marie:  Do you have any hobbies, Mason? What do you enjoy doing?

Mason:  Besides work, which I really enjoy, I like to exercise and read. I picked up both hobbies while locked up, and they seemed to have stuck now that I’m on the outside. I like to keep my body in good shape because I never know if some creep from my past will find me and make trouble. I read when I need to wind down after a stressful day. Disappearing into another world helps take my mind off my problems, you know.

Marie:  I know what you mean! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Mason:  I’d like to stay out of trouble, permanently, and just live my life with Mia at my side. She’s a wonderful woman and doesn’t deserve any of the bad stuff that’s happened to her. If I could forever keep her safe, I’d be happy.

Marie:  (Nods.) That makes sense…

Let’s try another question.

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

Mason:  I want to be a good husband, and I want to give Mia a few babies, but I’m not looking forward to telling my kids about my prison sentence. I’m not necessarily ashamed of my past, but I don’t want my son or daughter to look at me differently after they would know the whole story.

Marie: Well, when they’re grown enough to understand, I think they’ll respect you for making your life better after what you went through.

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

Who was your first love?

Mason:  I’ve had a lot of girlfriends before I met Mia, but never loved them. I cared about them, sure, but after being cheated on a few times, I’d learned to step out first before the girl I cared about stabbed me in the back. I regret doing so, and I’ve vowed to Mia to never hurt her like that. She’s my first love, and I know better than to throw away her trust.

Marie: Aww. I understand that. ♥

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?

Mason:  Most people in my situation would probably say going to prison, but not me. The most terrible thing I ever did was when I robbed a liquor store with some friends. I knew it was wrong, but did it anyway. That mistake affected the outcome of my life, and there’s a part of me that wishes I could take it back.

Then again, I don’t think I would change anything I’ve ever done or had done happen to me because I’m happy right now. I have Mia and a great job, and I probably wouldn’t have either without doing the mistakes I’ve made.

Marie:  That’s true!

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

[Mason 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?

Mason:  Like I said earlier, I didn’t think about the future growing up. I just wanted to have fun and that backfired on me.

Marie:  I see.

So, who is your role model, Mason?

Mason:  Don’t have one.

Marie: Gotcha!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Mason:  No, I’m a pretty honest guy. If I don’t like you, I’ll tell you. No pretending for me.

Marie:  That’s refreshing!

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Mason:  Just to live a good life under the radar from cops and criminals alike.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

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

Mason:  That I’ll mess up and land back in prison. Alan and Mia would never forgive me for it, so I try my best to stay out of trouble.

Marie: All right.

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, Mason. 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 Amber Daulton on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Amber!

Author Amber Daulton:  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 male character from your story, Mason Harding. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Amber:  Mason is a very frustrating character. He’s so stubborn with a temper a mile wide, but then he can be so sweet and caring. He definitely swept his lady love, Mia, off her feet.

Marie:  Nice!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Amber:  When he puts his mind to something, he never gives up, no matter the obstacles in his way.

Marie:  How admirable!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Amber:  His temper. He gets upset way too easily and says things he regrets.

Marie:  Ah. Well, I’m sure some of our readers can relate. It’s not always easy to avoid confrontation.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Mason’s favorite foods?

Amber:  Anything, really. After being in prison, he’s not picky.

Marie:  Okay.

How about another question?

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

Amber:  His ability to love. Though Mason wants to be a good person, he doesn’t think he deserves to have a woman show him unconditional love and acceptance. But when he loves someone, he doesn’t let anything stop him from showing and proving it.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Amber:  Mason has made a ton of mistakes—everyone has to one degree or another—but he’s ready to change and move on with his life. I think a lot of readers could relate to that, and they’ll like him because he’s a good person beneath all the scars and tattoos.

Marie: Very true!

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

What first gave you the idea for Arresting Mason?

Amber:  A few years ago, I found a submission call for a bad boy anthology, and the stories were supposed to be pretty short. By the time I finished the first draft of my manuscript, I had exceeded the word count and still wanted to add more scenes. So I forgot all about the submission call and kept revising the manuscript until it clocked in at 80 thousand words and sparked ideas for more books, which is now a 5-book series.

For how I came up with the plot, I must thank my subconscious since I dreamed about it. For days after, I kept thinking about the hero, the heroine, and her brother, and the characters wouldn’t leave me in peace until I wrote out a rough plot line. Though it changed quite a bit as I put the dream down on paper (or rather computer), the main premise remained the same.

Marie:  Awesome! Isn’t is fascinating how the muse works? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Amber:  Both actually. I plot as much as I can, but I get new ideas once I start writing and I usually follow them.

Marie:  (Smiles.) Yeah…sometimes I think the characters are directing the story more than I am.

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 Arresting Mason or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Amber:  The biggest challenge for me was the word count. As I already said, I needed to write a short story (around 15k word count), but ended up with a manuscript that was around 40k. Then I kept building on it to make it a full length novel. Weaving in all those new scenes was difficult and required lots of re-writing to scenes already done. The only thing I would probably do differently next time would be to plot better.

Marie:  I hear you. I’ve written myself into a corner with plots a time or two.

I was in your situation before as well. Once I had an anthology challenge too, and it was so hard to keep within those guidelines. I think as a writer, I don’t like to be boxed in. (Laughs.)

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 Arresting Mason appears to be. Sounds like it’s right my alley!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this romantic suspense by Amber Daulton, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Arresting Mason:

Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life. That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.

When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

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

“Which one is your car?” She glanced around the crowded parking lot. A few streetlights pushed back the darkness and shadows. The restaurant served customers until midnight on the weekends, but no one loitered in the lot, at least from what Mia could see.

“Don’t have one at the moment.” Mason hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans. “I took the bus. It stopped a few blocks from here.”

“Would you like a ride?” She pulled the car keys from her purse. “I feel a little ridiculous we met here tonight. I just wasn’t sure if you were some kind of freak.”

His eyebrow lifted, and he closed the distance between them as a tiger would zero in on its mate. A sexy, masculine smile curled his lips. “Have you made up your mind yet?”

“I’ll let you know in the morning.” Desire trickled down her spine. Mia nodded toward the passenger side of the car for him to hop in.

He confiscated her keys instead to unlock and open the driver’s side door for her like a gentleman. Then he leaned closer and nuzzled her temple with his nose.

Not sure if he planned to seduce her in the parking lot or if he merely wanted to tease her, Mia pressed her hand to his chest and tried to think straight. “You’re the first guy I’ve gone on a date with since my divorce. I haven’t slept with anyone since Evan.”

He tunneled his fingers through her wavy, chestnut-brown hair. “I haven’t dated anyone in a long time either. We’ll take it slow or fast, whatever you want, but I promise you one thing. After I’m done with you, you won’t even remember that bastard’s name.”

Oh, God. She almost melted right then and there. “Fast. I want you, Mason.”

“Take me to your place and you can have me.”

And some teasers!

Wow! Love the sexy tension. ♥♥♥ Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07BHGMQRK

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/3nOgre

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5779-arresting-mason.html

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39005064-arresting-mason

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

About Amber Daulton

Writing is the fruit of happiness.

Amber Daulton lives her life by that one belief even though she normally isn’t so Zen.

As a fan of contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter, and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. She probably wouldn’t be too sane without her computer and notebooks. After all, what’s a girl to do when people are jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

Books:

https://books2read.com/u/3nOgre
https://www.amazon.com/Callas-Summer-Fantasy-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B01G99PUB4/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932161&sr=1-14&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Timeless-Beginnings-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B01IYI0AJK/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932135&sr=1-12&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Valentine-Adventure-Contemporary-Romance-Daulton-ebook/dp/B01BMSI3ZC/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932135&sr=1-8&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Cinderella-Treasure-Trove-Lynette-Sofras-ebook/dp/B019E764YA/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-2&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Mirrors-Time-Samna-Ghani-ebook/dp/B01709VVQA/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-7&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Timeless-Honor-Mirrors-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B014G2IFJ0/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-9&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Cinderella-Body-Club-Collection-ebook/dp/B00YG0K1HW/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-3&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Cinderellas-Enchanted-Night-Cinderella-Body-ebook/dp/B00Y1DAIKE/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-11&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Christmas-Collection-Jennifer-Conner-ebook/dp/B00PUM5MQ0/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932464&sr=1-10&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Mistletoe-City-Handmade-Christmas-Book-ebook/dp/B00PE54JEE/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932725&sr=1-13&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Montana-Ranch-Willow-Lightning-Bennett-ebook/dp/B00OJ9LLJM/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932464&sr=1-1&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Lightning-Over-Bennett-Ranch-Collection-ebook/dp/B00KWEFP9K/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932464&sr=1-4&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Sexy-Romances-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00H2WPFVI/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932938&sr=1-15&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Heros-Heart-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B00GFCZI40/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932744&sr=1-6&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Winter-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B00C2DWLWI/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932744&sr=1-5&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Marry-Merry-Christmas-Terry-Long/dp/1938076265/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_20?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932938&sr=1-20&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY

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

Website/Blog:  http://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AmberDaulton

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Mason, a male character from Arresting Mason, and Amber Daulton, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Mason Harding from ARRESTING MASON by Amber Daulton

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Amber Daulton, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Amber! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

Their chance encounter resulted in a steamy affair, but will his former gang and a parole officer tear them apart?

Mason Harding appeals to me as both a reader and a writer because I love redemption and second chance stories. Just because someone makes a mistake (depending on the mistake, really), I don’t think they should be ostracized from society, especially if they’re trying to make amends and trying to live a better life.

The idea for this character and the book came to me in a dream. In my dreams, however, I’m always the leading lady, and I fell in love with a secretive ex-con with a dangerous past. I couldn’t stop thinking about Mason for days after that, and his seductive voice kept urging me to write about him as I tossed and turned in bed at night, so I finally wrote out a tentative plot.

For Mason, he was 18 years old when he and a few friends robbed a liquor store. Two innocent men were shot as a result, but Mason did what he could to save the men’s lives. He went to prison for it and has regretted that night ever since, but he’s thankful he was arrested since he cleaned up and got his life together in the slammer.

Despite his past mistakes, Mason loves his family and friends, and he’s holding down a respectable job. He’s doing his best to be a responsible adult, but his past always seems closer than he likes. Though most people either think him a criminal when they see his scars and tattoos, he’s self-assured and doesn’t let other people’s judgment bother him.

Mason is a good example of someone turning their lives around for the better. Otherwise, his lady love, Mia Eddison, wouldn’t be with him. According to Mia, and I quote: “Mistakes are a fact of life. It’s how you respond to those mistakes, or how you cope, that defines you as a person.” I think that pretty much sums this up. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who can move on and make a good life for themselves and those they love, in spite of any and all adversity, deserves a pat on the back.

So very true!
This romantic suspense sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Arresting Mason.

Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life.

That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.

When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

And Amber is giving us a peek at her novel!

They reached her store and he stared at her car parked by the curb. “Harper doesn’t know where you live or anything about you. That means you’re safe for now, but he’ll probably search this area to find us. Stay cautious, okay? Drive your car from now on. Don’t walk anywhere.”

“Why are you avoiding my questions? You can tell me anything.”

“Not this. If you trust me, don’t ask those kinds of questions.” He tightened his fingers around her forearm as she tried to jerk free from his grip. “Listen to me, damn it. You mean a lot to me, but I can’t tell you this. At least not right now. That’s nothing against you. It’s all on me. I just need time to take care of this problem. Okay? I’m fucking stressed, in a shitload of pain, and I don’t need you to hound my ass.” He dropped his hand from her arm and scowled as though he just noticed the dirt and blood on his knuckles. “I’d like to go upstairs to clean up before you take me home. I don’t want Alan to know what happened.”

Mia dug through her purse with shaky hands, so angry she didn’t trust herself to speak.

He took the keys from her before the little pieces of metal slipped between her fingers, and he hugged her despite the grime on his skin and clothes.

Tears clogged her throat. Her mind screamed at her to push away from him, but the strength in his arms enveloped her and stole her will. His heartbeat soothed hers, and she no longer cared about his lies or if filth caked him.

At least not at the moment.

“I never meant for this to happen, Mia. I will fix this.”

“I know, but at what cost?” She pried her face from his chest to stare up at him. “You’re nothing if not determined, but I’m scared and confused. You have answers to my questions, but I won’t hound you for them as you so eloquently stated. I just thought we got past this. I thought you knew I would never insult or condemn you for whatever it is you did.”

“And I thought you knew not to push me too fucking hard.” His deep voice sent shivers of unease down her spine. “I have to keep certain parts of my past to myself.”

“Whatever.” Mia finally pushed against his chest for freedom and stomped to the stairwell door.

Amber is such a tease…here is another promo as well to entice you with!

 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07BHGMQRK

B&N:  https://bit.ly/2uOj90J

iTunes:  https://apple.co/2FVAQMP

Publisher:  http://bit.ly/2FSVvBa

Riveting! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your romantic suspense, Amber! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pre-order your copy of Arresting Mason today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Amber! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Writing is the fruit of happiness.

Amber Daulton lives her life by that one belief even though she normally isn’t so Zen.

As a fan of contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter, and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. She probably wouldn’t be too sane without her computer and notebooks. After all, what’s a girl to do when people are jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Goodreads:  www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AmberDaulton

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368 

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

 

Thanks again, Amber, for giving us a peek into the world of your character. Awesome! 😀

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, characters, coming soon, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writers, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Suzanne Jefferies, plus a look at erotic romance, WATCHED, and giveaway!

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our second official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with the talented author of erotic romance, Watched. Please join me in welcoming Suzanne Jefferies to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Suzanne Jefferies:  Hi, Marie! Lovely to meet you.

Marie:  It’s such a pleasure to see you here! I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have any other occupations? Do you believe you’re any good at them? Do you like what you do?

Suzanne:  I’m a copywriter, specializing in corporate marketing collateral, government case studies (South Africa), and personal profiles. I’d like to think I’m very good at it! I love it. I get to work on some really exciting client projects from the comfort of my home. Win/win all round.

Marie:  Nice! 

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Suzanne:  Driven. Chaotic. Next question, please.

Marie:  Oh, I hear you there! 😉

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?

Suzanne:  We moved a lot, including from the UK to South Africa. My earliest home was my favorite; surrounded by a cobblestone wall, overlooking the cold, grey Atlantic, and four houses from my best friend. We used to go down to the beach in our Wellington boots, dodging stinging nettles and sheep droppings. Every day was an adventure.

Marie:  Great!

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

Suzanne:  Rolling on the mat at jui jitsu. Running half-marathons with my youngest sister. Drawing stories about the young me adventuring on that cold coast in South Wales.

Marie:  Wow! Such an eclectic blend of pastimes! 😀

So…what is your greatest dream?

Suzanne:  I’m still single. So, I’m wishing and a hoping for true love/the fairytale/someone who I can partner with. Maybe a family.

Marie:  There’s certainly nothing wrong with those dreams…

As I’ve learned, true love has a way of surprising you just when you need it the most. ♥♥♥

Let’s try another question.

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

Suzanne:  I could do with being more extroverted. What’s stopping me is my introvert tendencies. I can do extrovert best when I’m a little drunk – that doesn’t roll so well on a Monday morning!

Marie:  (Laughs.) Very true…

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

Who was your first love?

Suzanne:  A boy named Gareth, with a lazy green eye who worked at the Pro Shop and smoked Camel filters. Did he break my heart? With a sledgehammer.

Marie: Aww…okay. I sense a big story there. ♥

Let’s try something else now.

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

Suzanne:  Lots of terrible things happen all the time, and I’ve certainly had more than my fair share. The funny thing, though, about terrible things is that, sometimes, they can lead me on to better, wonderful things. Other times, they’ve led me to the therapist’s door.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!

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

[Suzanne 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?

Suzanne:  I wanted to write books. And, yay, that’s what I’m doing.

In a million years, I never dreamt that publishing would be so hard. In my career as a writer I’ve been plagiarized (legal fees nailed that one), had an agent run out on me, had a publisher go bust and close its door weeks before my release, and another publisher used my book as a vehicle to legitimize her self-publishing business. Epic.

For every step forward, another twenty or so back. People think of E.L. James or J.K. Rowling when they think of writers, but they’re outliers. Most writers I know are doing well, but aren’t finding their photo in People magazine.

Marie:  True enough! I don’t think most people realize how difficult it is to make a name for yourself in the publishing world.

So, who is your role model, Suzanne?

Suzanne:  Jane Porter. She moved me to tears with her story, because it was my story too. The difference was, she had the guts to stand up there and share. She’s a writer who never gave up, a successful publisher and a dedicated mom. I think she’s awesome.

Marie:  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?

Suzanne:  Yes. I will not be revealing said person’s name to protect the innocent (me).

Marie:  No problem. I respect your privacy!

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Suzanne:  To have a child of my own (looking super unlikely at this point).

Marie:  I know what you mean. The closest I’ve come so far is adopting kitties. 😉

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

Suzanne:  That it will be too late – that all the things I still want to do and experience in my life, will somehow slip away from me into time’s black hole, and it will all be too late.

Marie: Well, I certainly understand your fears that time is a losing battle. But I don’t think it’s ever too late to accomplish what you set out to do.

I want to try something different next, Suzanne… 

Readers, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective on some of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Professor Eve Brown. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Suzanne:  Professor Brown, Evie, is newly divorced and questioning everything about her life. All of the roles and titles that seemed to apply, no longer do. She used to love her job, but she feels her passion slipping away. She’s no longer a wife. She’s no longer young. Everything’s changing.

Marie:  I see.

So, what are your characters’ greatest strengths?

Suzanne:  Resilience. She gets up, gets out there and gets on with what needs to be done.

Marie:  Admirable for sure!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Suzanne:  Young men named Cameron! The tendency to look backwards towards the past. That’s not where she’ll find her answers.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of her favorite foods?

Suzanne:  Sushi, vegetarian lasagna, and steak, mid-to-rare, with fries. And Chardonnay.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Nice!

How about another question?

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

Suzanne:  She’s open to change, open to experience, and open to difference. It’s not something she thinks of consciously; it’s part of who she is.

Marie:  Works for me!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Suzanne:  It could be easy to dislike her, considering that she does ‘break the rules’ with Cameron. But it’s part of her breaking her shackles to the past, and the person she was.

Marie: All right.

Well, now that we have a real taste of Evie Brown, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Watched?

Suzanne:  Trawling through YouTube videos I came across the Christopher Atkins turkey ‘One Night in Heaven’. Something about the teacher/student angle, had me thinking. And then I watched Laura Branigan’s video for ‘Self-Control’ and somehow the two non-related ideas kind of mushed and melded together (Still not sure how this inspiration thing works!).

Marie:  Gotcha! And I hear you. My story ideas come from all over the place.

Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Suzanne:  Pantster all the way! I let the story take me where it wants to go and hang on.  

Marie:  Sounds like quite a ride!

How about another question?

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

Suzanne:  Yes, there was a minor challenge. The relationship with Sophie is fluid, a friends with benefits, casual affair. So, it had to be clear that Evie wasn’t cheating on her. However, Sophie is polyamorous, so it’s not that Sophie would mind particularly. I had wanted to explore this more, but publishers were not so keen. Luckily, I reworked parts of the story and Wild Rose Press was happy to publish.

Marie:  Okay.

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 Watched appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this scorching romance by Suzanne Jefferies, a talented author! :)

Now, let’s learn more about Suzannne’s blog tour going on right now.

Here is the blurb for Watched:

Newly divorced Professor Evie Brown notices her student Cameron Slade and how attentive he seems, so totally unlike her ex-husband. Cameron is also delicious to look at, all taut body, broad shoulders, and hot eyes. He’s forbidden territory, but one late afternoon as she pleasures herself in an empty lecture hall, she looks up to find she’s not alone. He’s there…watching her.

And then there’s Sophie Walker. Ever since Evie met the sensual woman, she’s allowed her inhibitions to unreel, one by one. It’s Sophie who’s been sharing Evie’s erotic awakening, Sophie who she yearns for. Or is it?

Suzanne is also offering us a peek of the book!

I wipe clean the whiteboard, enjoying the push of the felt, swinging from side to side as I move, the squeaking sound it makes as it erases the past three hours’ worth of hard work. An image replays over and over—that unexpected reveal of Cameron’s torso—a handspan of bareness, the grooved shadow of muscle. It was a shock to the sterility of that lecture hall. My mouth waters. Bare, taut skin—that male skin, so much rougher, harsher than a woman’s.

Male.

I replace the lids on the markers and switch off the projector. Alone. Facing late afternoon emptiness.

If Cameron were to give me something I’d like… I’d like him, close to me, all sweet-sandy raw male youth, at my knees. Male.

I swallow back the desire that is starting to slither through me, stroking the space between my neck and collarbone. Cameron. I picture the way he ran his hands through his lightly gelled hair, the bulge in his arms as his hands extended behind his head. The soft curve of his lower lip. That vulnerable stretch of torso that was making my mouth salivate like a beast before its slaughter.

Nice! I’m curious to find out what happens in this book… 🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07B2BR84Z

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/watched-suzanne-jefferies/1128033307?ean=2940159047809

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/watched-19

Plus, Suzanne is giving away some wonderful prizes, two ebooks of Watched, during this tour. Two lucky winners will receive a copy. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

.•°☆ RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY °•.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b33/

Let’s offer some kudos to Suzanne’s sponsor as well…

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this erotic romance! ♥ Readers, don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

About Suzanne Jefferies

Suzanne Jefferies loves to write romance. As a member of ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa), she knows that she’s not the only believer in romantic tension and emotional power smacks to keep the romance reader hooked. A movie fanatic, she spends most of her time as a writer-for-hire. Working in communication, she has done more than her fair share of corporate and investor PR, and now freelances in between editorial jobs for big, glossy company magazines. The Joy of Comfort Eating, her first contemporary romance novel, won the 2016 Imbali Award for excellence in romance writing.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the intriguing Suzanne Jefferies, here are some author links:

Website:  www.suzannejefferies.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/suzannjefferies

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Jefferies/e/B0076INQUU/

https://amzn.to/2GrvJrQ

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8193878.Suzanne_Jefferies

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/115131914653334849624

Once again, I want to thank Suzanne Jefferies, the brilliant author of this hot novella, for stopping by!  It was a pleasure to have you here! Fans, enter the cool giveaway while you still can!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, characters, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, steamy, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Nermin Bezmen, plus a look at historical romance, KURT SEYT & SHURA!

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our first official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with the talented author of bestselling novel (also optioned into a television series), Kurt Seyt & Shura. Please join me in welcoming Nermin Bezmen to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Nermin Bezmen:  Hi, Marie! Lovely to meet you.

Marie:  It’s such a pleasure to see you here! I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have any other occupations? Do you believe you’re any good at them? Do you like what you do?

Nermin:  I am an author. I believe I am good at what I am doing, and I do not only like but love writing.

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😉

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Nermin:  My family is very loving, kind, considerate and close-knit but everybody with a space of his/her own. We are all very artistic and all have free minds and free souls.

Both my daughter and son left their highly paid businesses to pursue their artistic dreams, and I am so proud of them for they have chosen to do what they love most and not what they earn more from. Earning your money from what you love to do as a hobby is a great happiness, even if it does not pay like the corporate life. I have three sweet grandchildren who are all into art one way or another. My husband is an actor and his son is also another dreamy artist. I think I should convince my son-in-law to spare some time for his drawing abilities in which he is great, but has no time from his corporate life.

Marie:  I love that your family is so creative! As for your son-in-law, I’m guessing he does what he can.

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?

Nermin:  Due to my father’s business (he was a civil engineer), we had to move quite often, and I remember vividly every one of the places we lived in. I loved them all because they were all home for me… home where my mom and dad, then my sister were, and where there was unconditional love — always. Our home was always tidy, neat. Mom made sure everything was in order, no matter what. And she spared time to read to me every morning and night till I learned to read on my own. There were always books. Both my parents read. My grandparents read. I can still smell the delicious cakes mom freshly baked for me every afternoon when I came back from school. I can still picture her singing to my dad at our dinner table and I can hear the tango playing on the radio, and I see my dad and mom getting up from the table to dance. I can see that they are in love. They were always in love…

This is what my childhood home looked like… it looked like LOVE.

Marie:  What a perfect picture for our readers, as we’re all about romance here! ♥♥♥

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

Nermin:  I love reading, listening to music – mostly classical, painting, growing orchids, classic cars, boating, yoga.

Marie:  Wow! Such an eclectic blend of pastimes! 😀

So…what is your greatest dream?

Nermin:  My dreams never end and so there is no such thing like “the greatest dream” for me. One dream that seemed “the greatest” only a few years ago now is realized, so I have new ones on the horizon.

Now that my first novel is published here in America, I am dreaming of Kurt Seyt & Shura climbing to the top of the bestsellers list and then maybe made into a cinema movie and then maybe winning the Oscar. But as much as I work for this dream, I pray to God that I keep my mental and physical health to go on writing and seeing my family grow with love and happiness.

Marie:  Nice! There’s certainly nothing wrong with those dreams…

Kurt Seyt & Shura has such a great cover too!

 

Let’s try another question.

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

Nermin:  I am not a rigid person who goes by others’ rules. Never have been. So unless it hurts somebody or my ethics, I always choose the life I want to live and I can be the person that I want to be. Nothing stopped me, nothing stops me.  I am happy with myself. I like the person in me. This person is in great harmony with this body, this heart, this mind and soul. Although there are people I admire very much, I never envied anybody or wanted to be in someone’s place, no matter how successful or beautiful they are.

Marie:  That’s rather admirable, and refreshing to hear!

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

Who was your first love?

Nermin:  LOVE itself. Since I was a little girl I remember myself wanting to be in love and be loved. I imagined myself deeply, blindly, unconditionally falling in love… so much in love that it even hurt and made me cry. There was no figure, no physical reflection of any body. It was just LOVE itself that I was after. God must have heard me well. When my first husband kissed me for the first time, all of a sudden love gained a physical appearance. After he was gone, I thought I had my share of love and never again could love or be loved. But my prayers must still be echoing that God introduced me with a new love, my second husband.

Marie: Aww…(sighs.) I love romance. ♥

Wow! I’m so glad you were blessed with not just one perfect match, but two.

Let’s try something else now.

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

Nermin:  Quite a few terrible things happened to me, but nothing to call “the most terrible” because I always managed to make something positive out of them.

Marie:  How inspiring!

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

[Nermin 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?

Nermin:  I have always been a dreamer. There is always a dream in the niches of my grey cells. Most of the time more than one.

My first great dream was to enter and win the examination of AFS (American Field Service) scholarship. I was only seven years old then and to be eligible for AFS, you needed to be seventeen. So for ten years I went to school and studied with that dream. For ten years every night when the lights were out, I dreamed of myself giving a “farewell” speech to my family and friends on my imaginary way to America. When I reached seventeen, my dream was realized and my “farewell” speech was written already. There are so many other dreams that I had and worked hard to make each one come true. For me, dreams are like a lovely sail boat on the horizon while I am sitting on the shore. I don’t just watch it go by, I swim towards it.

Marie:  Such a nice thought! You’re truly a go-getter!  🙂

So, who is your role model, Nermin?

Nermin:  My role models are the women of my family. They are kind, elegant, passionate, loving, hard working, strong, no-nonsense women with great dignity.

My ancestors, both from my father’s and mother’s side have been refugees from different lands. They all had to leave behind once a very good life, great lands, houses and loved ones too, and had to run away on horseback or in a fisherman’s boat. And those women, without nagging, once stood beside their husbands and shared the struggle to start a whole new life from scratch, and raised their family. When some of them lost their husbands, they never bowed down to anybody to make life easier, but proudly took responsibility for their families.

When I was doing research for my novels, I could clearly see how steady they all were and how much pride they had in themselves even during the most vulnerable times.

Marie:  I agree. They all sound quite heroic!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Nermin:  I believe life is too short to pretend. I never pretend for anything. I simply exclude the people I would not like from my life, and keep and pamper those I like.

Marie:  I respect that!

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Nermin:  To see the whole world in great harmony of peace and love.

Marie:  I’m with you. There’s far too much hate in the world right now… 😦

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

Nermin:  That evil people will not let this happen.

Marie: True enough. 

Readers, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective on some of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the hero and heroine of your story. Quite interesting characters. Can you tell us a little about them?

Nermin:  Kurt Seyt Eminof is the first son of a wealthy Crimean nobleman, a dashing first lieutenant in the Imperial Life Guard of the last Russian Czar Nicholas II. Injured on the Carpathian front and later sought by the Bolsheviks, he makes a daring escape across the Black Sea. Too proud to accept payment for the boatful of arms he hands over to the Nationalists, he faces years of struggle to make a new life in the Turkish Republic, rising from the embers of the dying Ottoman Empire. All he has is his dignity and love.

Shura  (Alexandra Julianovna Verjenskaya) is an innocent sixteen year old beauty enchanted by Tchaikovsky’s music and Moscow’s glittering lights, who falls in love with Seyt. A potential victim of the Bolsheviks due to her family’s wealth and social standing, she is determined to follow her heart and accompanies Seyt on his perilious flight over the Black Sea.

Their love is the only solace to their crushing homesickness for a land and family they will never see again, two lovers among hundreds of thousands of White Russian émigrés trying to eke out a living in occupied İstanbul.

Marie:  Fascinating!

So, what are your characters’ greatest strengths?

Nermin:

Before revolution: Seyit’s strength, besides his brave character, comes from his family, his title, wealth, education, and his military position. Shura, on the other hand, is protected by her wealthy, aristocrat family, being pampered as the youngest of her five siblings.

After revolution, they both lose all the physical and emotional touch they had with their families, motherland, wealth, titles and what strength remains is only their love and the desire to survive in a foreign country.

Marie:  All right.

And what are their greatest weaknesses?

Nermin:  His pride… Her naiveté.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of their favorite foods?

Nermin:  Karski, kievski, caviar, çibörek.

Marie:  (Laughs.) I’m not familiar with some of those! I guess I’ll have to try them sometime.

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your characters are unaware that he or she has?

Nermin:  Both Kurt Seyit and Shura went through so much tragedy and had to endure so many hard times, that there was not a quality left hidden in them. They had to bring out and use them all to survive.

Marie:  I see.

Will readers like or dislike these characters, and why?

Nermin:  It depends on how deeply they will read the psychology behind every action, every decision. While we are sitting in our cozy, warm rooms, cuddled up on a soft sofa it is very easy to judge the characters in the book. One should just dive into the pages and start following the characters on their pathways and feel not only love but also pain, heartache, bloodshed, atrocity, yearning, struggling that they went through and had to endure.

Marie: That’s a fine point!

Well, now that we have a real taste of Kurt Seyt and Shura, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Kurt Seyt & Shura?

Nermin:  Kurt Seyit is no stranger to me. He is my grandfather. I grew up listening to his adventures and for me, he was the Prince Charming that nobody wrote his story. My grandma kept telling me about him and his life each year with more details while I was growing up. And Shura was the most important character of that narration.

Years later, when I decided to write about my grandpa and grandma, starting with the second chapter, Shura was in my life and then I grew such a great admiration and love for this special woman that I decided this first novel would be of Kurt Seyt & Shura and then the second one of Kurt Seyt & Murka (my grandmother). I believed these two very different but great women each deserved a book with their own name on it.

Marie:  That’s awesome! I wish I had all the finer details about my grandparents lives; I might do the same.

Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Nermin:  I don’t draw lines for my writing. If I am writing a true story, a true character, it has its own demands and if I am writing a fiction novel, then it’s different.

I generally start writing in my mind with a feeling of “love at first sight” for either a character, or a place, or even a dream. I immediately have the name and the first sentence of the novel that very moment. If it is going to be based on a true story, then comes the deep research, which is very challenging, not just because you keep deciphering a great puzzle but you also have to know when to stop the research and start writing. A thorough research can lead the writer to other stories, too.

Psychology of the characters is very important for me. I work on the psyche of each character like I am sewing a tailored dress made to order, one of a kind dress for them.  It is the psyche of the person, what makes him/her converse, decide, feel, love, hate the way he/she does. It is the core of the novel. After I am happy with the details, I have to start writing… If it is fiction, after the few chapters my characters, mostly my hero/heroine tells me what kind of life they want, who they want to choose as a friend or a lover, where they want to travel, et cetera. So even fiction becomes real for me.

Marie:  Nice! And I think that’s pretty normal for a writer. I know I haven’t touched the deep heart of one of my characters until I laugh or cry along with them while I’m writing a scene.

They definitely have minds of their own, for sure! 😉

So, how about another question?

I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Kurt Seyt & Shura or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Nermin:  It was twenty-five years ago that Kurt Seyt & Shura was published in my motherland, Turkey. After taking the book to many publishers and being put in line to be reviewed for a year, if not rejected, I was so frustrated. I had already spent four years with very painstaking research, and one more to write it. It was not only years that I put into this novel, it was my heart, soul and many tears. Seeing my disappointment, my dear late husband decided to self-publish it. And on the first week in the book stores, it was a best-seller. After that, the rest of the Kurt Seyit saga followed and many more which made it to the top of the charts.

Now, after twenty-five years, here we are. This time in the United States, and again meeting with our readers with a self-published Kurt Seyt & Shura. Funny? Yes, now it sounds funny, but again I had such heartbreaking times. Kurt Seyt & Shura, having been translated to eleven other languages and adapted into a TV series and touched the hearts of millions all over the world, still got rejection from literary agents. And, you know, in America you cannot reach a publisher if you do not have an agent. So, I decided to go ahead with self-publishing. But my wish would not have come true in such a short time with this accuracy if my darling daughter Pamira did not take the burden of preparing, coordinating, launching the book. She has done wonders and I can’t thank her enough for what she has achieved. She practically left her own business, which is photography, aside and has been dealing with publishing matters for me. And my darling son Pamir Cazım, who has done the cover designs for most of my novels with great perfectionism, now contributed his masterful skill again. The cover has to give the feeling of the interior. He made it happen so beautifully. Dear Feyza Howell’s translation was another exciting process. She is a great translator working on every detail as if she is going to write the book herself.

Create Space editors also did a great job. They worked very meticulously.

Since this was the first self-publishing for us here in the United States, we learned a lot during the process. I am sure next time it will be much easier.

I hope that I will be able to touch the hearts of American readers with Kurt Seyt & Shura like I have done in so many other countries.

Marie:  Well, I’m sure you will!

I’m a bit of hybrid, having been published by a publisher, as well as self-published several titles. It’s a juggling act either way, so I certainly feel your pain.

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 Kurt Seyt & Shura appears to be. Congratulations on your release to the U.S., Nermin!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this sweeping historical romance by Nermin Bezmen, a compelling author! :)

Here is the blurb for Kurt Seyt & Shura:

An instant bestseller since its début in 1992, Nermin Bezmen’s Kurt Seyt & Shura is a classic of contemporary Turkish literature, a sweeping romantic drama set as the splendour of imperial Russia is obliterated in the wake of the Great War.

Bezmen tells the story of two star-crossed lovers fleeing the wave of devastation wreaked by the Bolshevik Revolution, and does so with great sensitivity: one half of this couple who sought refuge in the capital of the dying Ottoman Empire was her grandfather.

​Translated into twelve languages, Bezmen’s Kurt Seyt & Shura inspired a sumptuous TV series that continues to enchant millions of viewers across the world. With the publication of this novel in English, fans can finally read the true story of this great love affair that triumphed over so much adversity, yet failed to overcome human fallibility.

​In 2012, the prestigious Turkish production company Ay Yapim offered to turn the novel into a television series. The producers pulled together an A Team of cast, crew, and director, who in turn created the acclaimed T.V. series “Kurt Seyit ve Sura”, with Nermin Bezmen’s guidance as a consultant and Ece Yorenc as script writer. The leading roles were played by the talented (and ahem, may we add also gorgeous) duo Kivanc Tatlitug and Farah Zeynep Abdullah. After its initial viewing in Turkey, the series was distributed in many countries, including the United States, where it is currently shown on Netflix. The production reached millions of viewers across the world and stole the hearts of many, creating new excitement and awe around the life story of the two lovers, about 100 years after their first kiss.

​The books in the saga include:

  • Kurt Seyt & Shura
  • Kurt Seyt & Murka
  • Mengene Gocmenleri
  • Shura Paris Years 1924-1927

Main heroes:

Kurt Seyt:

The son of a wealthy Crimean nobleman is a dashing First Lieutenant in the Imperial Life Guard. Injured on the Carpathian Front and later sought by the Bolsheviks, he makes a daring escape across the Black Sea.

​Too proud to accept payment for the boatful of arms he hands over to the Nationalists, he faces years of struggle to make a new life in the Turkish Republic rising from the embers of the dying Ottoman Empire. All he has is his dignity and love.

Shura:

The innocent beauty enchanted by Tchaikovsky’s music and Moscow’s glittering lights falls in love with Seyit at the age of sixteen. A potential victim in the sights of the Bolsheviks due to her family’s wealth and social standing, and determined to follow her heart, she accompanies her Seyt on the perilous flight over the Black Sea.

​Their love is the only solace to the crushing homesickness for a land and family they will never see again, two lovers amongst hundreds of thousands of White Russian émigrés trying to eke out a living in occupied Istanbul.

Nermin is also offering us a peek of the book!

A Night in Petrograd, 1916

Snow fell in fat, lazy flakes, an immaculate white blanket settling over the sleeping city. The carriage turning left at Alexander Nevsky Square laboriously carved a wide arc through the snow that had piled up all night, rounded a corner, and drew up to the pavement outside a three-story house.

A few snowflakes fluttered at the windowsills, stuck to the panes and frozen solid. The coachman gazed upward as instructed; a net curtain parted, and a shaft of light beamed out. A male figure wiped the glass, waved, and withdrew.

 

* * *

The young man consulted the pocket watch he’d left by the lamp on the bedside table: it was coming up to four; he still had plenty of time. Carefully, so as to avoid rousing the sleeping woman, he lifted the duvet and got back into bed. He reclined against the pillow, still holding his watch. Then, a little more determined, he flung aside the covers and got up. He drew the curtain back a little more and looked out. The moon illuminated the whiteness starting directly outside the windowpanes, sweeping unbroken over the garden, the railing, and the broad expanse of road. A world in white. Everything sparkled when the moon shone between the scudding clouds, and the world looked more splendid under this white coat.

Heavy curtains kept the world outside the windows, where it belonged. In the semidarkness, the room spoke in scents: perfume revealed a woman’s presence, and vodka testified to earlier indulgences, both mingling with the lavender emanating from the bed linens.

He turned toward the bed for a look. Amplified by the snow, the moonlight cast a bright-white light on the sleeping woman’s bare back. He recalled what the darkness sought to conceal: the deep auburn of her hair, now cascading over the pillow in waves; the groove of her spine dipping delightfully from the nape all the way to her waist and vanishing under the covers; and the right shoulder glowing in the playful light, a flawless expanse of alabaster.

Seemingly oblivious to the cold, he leaned his bare back against the window; then, grinning at the memory, he moved to the round table by the fireplace. The fruit platter, carafe, and glasses still stood where they had been left: half eaten and half drunk from. She was an impatient one, that Katya. Or was it Lydia? Whatever. The auburn beauty had excelled at entertaining him that night.

He picked up one of the half-full crystal glasses, downed it in one go, and shook his head as the alcohol stung his throat. He lit the pink opaline lamp in front of the mirror, and the soft light of gas spread into the room. Digging into the jumble of garments on the sofa, he gathered his own clothing and collected his underwear. He was moving toward the bathroom when the woman spoke sleepily.

“Why so early, darling?”

He strode toward her, still carrying his clothes. She stirred, rounded shoulders and full breasts braving the cold, her face now more distinct. Sweeping her hair up with one arm, she reached out with the other. He stared with barely disguised lust; the charming armpit thus exposed looked as arousing as the ample breasts bathed in the pink light. The sleepy gaze was not necessarily reserved for this time of night: she had proven her expertise in seduction with those large dark eyes framed by long eyelashes, eyes that spoke of the bedroom, of the pleasures of the flesh. Full lips pouting in anticipation, she waited, eyes shut, arm still outstretched. Smiling at her unrestrained behavior and ravenous appetite, he sat down on the edge of the bed. Her provocative scent mingled with the bedclothes, fragrant from passionate hours.

He yielded to the invitation of the arms wrapped around his neck. Languid eyes smoldered into his as she tugged away the bedclothes separating them to free her warm, buxom figure and snuggle up to him. She stroked his back and the muscles in his arms, pressed his head against her breasts, and presented her nipples to his lips. Effectively captured by her skillful limbs—surprising on such a petite woman—he enjoyed a lingering kiss before drawing back.

“It’s time I got ready. You might like to get up too; I’ll have you dropped off.”

She pouted with a half shrug. “Couldn’t we stay just a little longer?”

“I need to set off.”

“Where to?”

“Moscow.”

“When will you be back? Will you call upon me again?” She stirred as if to get up during this barrage, hoping to tempt him to change his mind.

All she got in response, however, was a jaunty smile and a pinch on the cheek before he walked toward the bathroom. He mused as he washed; he couldn’t remember her name—just another one-night stand. Someone he had met at a wild party where the drink had flowed like water…and they had left together. She was no petty commoner, if the splendor of her dress and jewelry was anything to go by. In all likelihood, she’d arrived on someone else’s arm—probably the man who’d paid for that splendor.

As he shaved, his thoughts strayed to the journey ahead. Best to get a move on, given he had arranged to meet the others at the station in an hour.

By the time he’d returned to the bedroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, she was already dressed. He patted his cheeks and neck with lotion from a bottle on the console. “Wouldn’t you like to take a bath?”

“I never take a bath on my own,” came the flirtatious reply.

An irrepressible grin lit up his face as he combed his hair, thinking, Her husband—or lover, whoever it was—certainly has his work cut out. He dressed, ignoring his audience, who sat on the edge of the bed to admire the view.

Muscular and fit, the young man in his early twenties carried himself with an aristocratic posture and demeanor. His moustache and floppy fringe were chestnut. A cleft chin seemed to complete his striking looks: flashing dark-blue eyes, a straight nose, and a perpetually sardonic mouth.

The redhead patted her curls back into place and sighed. Her questions were destined to remain unasked as the young man, now in full uniform and boots, strode between wardrobe and dresser, clearly lost in his own thoughts. He picked up several items from drawers, and some books went into a suitcase. She watched, astonished that he appeared to have forgotten the many wonderful hours they had shared in bed. Her wiles had failed to hook him. She leaned back with another sigh.

Taking a ring from a box by the mirror, he placed it on his finger and then put a watch in his pocket. She remembered openly admiring them last night—she adored jewelry after all, and he’d said the sapphire-and-diamond ring was a family heirloom. The enameled gold watch adorned with rubies was a gift from Tsar Nicholas II, he’d told her.

Soon they were ready to leave. A muffled clatter rose from the street. The second carriage had arrived. He picked up his coat and hat. “All right, let’s go,” he said. “I’ll have you taken home.”

He extinguished the lamp and walked to the door. She followed, surprised and not a little disconcerted at the absence of one last kiss or a plea for another meeting, as if there had been nothing between them.

The coachmen leaped down and ran over the snow. The young man turned to his guest, took her hand, and said, “Aktem will drop you off. Fare thee well, my lovely.” Her name wasn’t even on the tip of his tongue.

“Will we meet again?” she tried one last time.

“Why not?”

Happier now, she presented her cheek for a kiss, unbothered by the coachmen’s presence. Finally, gathering her courage, and with a bashful smile, she asked the one question that had plagued her all this time. “Tell me your name again?”

His merry laughter rang in the snowy street’s early morning silence. So the night had not been that memorable for either of them! Except for the ending, that is. He bowed, as if they had just met, and enunciated deliberately: “First Lieutenant Seyit Memedovich Eminof.”

 

* * *

As the two carriages drove away in opposite directions, the auburn beauty who had sweetened his night was already slipping from his mind.

Intriguing! I’m curious to find out what happens next… 🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B078T3WPNY

Kindle:  https://www.kurtseytandshura.com/product-page/kurt-seyt-shura-kindle-e-book-english

Website (international shipping for non-U.S. readers) :  https://www.kurtseytandshura.com/buy-kurt-seyt-shura-english-book

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

About Molly V. Lovell

Nermin Bezmen is an accomplished artist, art teacher, yoga instructor and broadcaster whose meticulous research into family history led to the publication of Kurt Seyt & Shura in 1992.

This fictionalized account of her grandfather’s life became an instant bestseller, and is now considered to be a masterpiece of contemporary Turkish literature to the extent that it has reached textbook status in several secondary schools and universities.

Exquisite detail distinguishes her writing as she proves that truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and that our ancestors call out to us all from the pages of history.

Her powerful character analysis and storytelling skills invite the readers to explore their own dreams, sorrows, anxieties and even fleeting fancies.

Bezmen has to date published fifteen novels, two of which are biographical, and one is a fantasy; a children’s novel, a collection of forty short stories and a book of poems. She has two children and three grandchildren and lives with her husband, actor Tolga Savacı in New Jersey and Istanbul.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the intriguing Nermin Bezmen, here are some author links:

Website:  www.kurtseytandshura.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/nbezmen1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2Ao8jjr

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1259947.Nermin_Bezmen

Newsletter:  https://www.kurtseytandshura.com/sign-up

Once again, I want to thank Nermin Bezmen, the brilliant author of this fascinating novel, for stopping by!  It was a pleasure to have you here!

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Filed under Authors, Books, characters, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Historical Romance, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Josh from FAT GIRL BEGONE! by D.E. Haggerty

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author D.E. Haggerty, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, D.E! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

 

How Josh – the big ‘ol jerk – Came Into Being


Josh is a Big. Fat. Jerk.

Seriously, I can’t emphasize that enough. The first time we meet the man he’s dumping our home girl, Everly, because she diets too much. That’s right. He dumps her because he’s tired of her dieting. Everly is not actually fat. Sure, at five-feet-four-inches and 160 pounds, she’s a little on the chubby side, but she’s not Fat. What she is, is a yo-yo dieter. Something I know more than I little about.

I’ve spent most of my life yo-yo dieting with the best of them. You could call me an expert – I certainly do! Most yo-yo dieters consider yo-yo dieting a way of life, but is it possible to break the habit? And what would it take for a person to end their yo-yo dieting ways? Would a break-up be enough? Hmm… sounds like a book idea.

So, I knew when I invented Josh’s character that our first glimpse of the man would be him dumping the heroine. I didn’t want Josh to leave Everly because she was fat, though. Not only is that a bit cliché (and yes, I realize making a slight tweak doesn’t completely take away the cliché), but it also didn’t seem like enough motivation to force a yo-yo dieter out of her yo-yo dieting ways. Oh, sure, I could have her lose a ton of weight and then she rides off into the sunset with some guy, but what happens after that? Does she go back to her yo-yo dieting ways? Losing weight because a guy dumps you doesn’t end the cycle of yo-yo dieting. Nope. It’s just another reason to hit a low on your scale before the yo-yo rotates and starts climbing again.

I needed more of a reason for Everly to give up her yo-yo dieting ways. But what?

That’s when I realized I had a perfectly good example to follow – my hubby. My husband is one of those annoying people who doesn’t seem to gain weight and stays in good shape. Sure, he puts effort into it, but it seems effortless – if that makes any sense. But what does this type of man – the type for which slim fit clothes were invented – think of having a wife who yo-yo diets? He isn’t bothered. Naturally, he’s proud of me when I lose weight, but when I gain some of those kilograms back, he’s not disappointed with me. If I’m upset, he’s upset on my behalf, but he doesn’t really care about how much I weigh. He loves me just as I am.

There is one thing that does bother my husband, though. He doesn’t like how I let my weight affect my life. When I was younger, I could be quite emotional about the ups and downs my scale experienced. That bothered him. He’d often tell me to just accept the higher number and let all the emotional baggage go. I didn’t take that advice – who listens to advice from a man about weight? – but I did learn to be less emotionally invested in the number on the scale.

Thinking about the hubby and how he deals with his wife’s yo-yo dieting, I came up with the idea of Josh leaving Everly because of her dieting instead of her actual weight. I thought this could be a good impetus for Everly to learn to deal with her dieting and weight instead of just losing a bunch of weight. It also opened the door for a possible return of Josh when Everly loses some weight, but that’s a different story.

It sounds a bit strange to say that the ‘bad’ guy in my novel was inspired by my husband of twenty-one years, but it’s the truth.

 

Fascinating, D.E.! Isn’t it bizarre how the muse works? 😉
Anyway, this romantic comedy sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀


Here is the blurb for Fat Girl Begone!.

I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it. Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business. Just call me Ms. Drama.

Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.

Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.

And D.E. is giving us a peek at her novel!

After twenty minutes on the bike, I’m ready to go home. I know I’m supposed to do that circuit thingy with the machines, but I can skip it for this once. No one needs to know. I slowly sneak my way to the women’s locker room.

“Hey, Everly.”

Crap. Gabe’s standing right in front of the door to my freedom. I wave. Yep, I’m a total dork.  “Hi.”

“I saw you out there on the bike. Looking good.” He winks. Damn, he looks absolutely scrumptious standing there with his arms crossed over his chest. Trust me, it’s an impressive show of muscles. Not huge like a body builder but big enough to grab onto. “Looking for your clipboard?”

And there goes any chance I have of sneaking out of the gym. “Just refilling my water bottle before moving onto the weights.” I hold up my obviously full water bottle and try not to cringe.

“Sure, babe, but make sure you get your weight training done as well. A woman with muscles is hot.” With another wink, he takes off.

Did he seriously wink at me? Is this part of the personal trainer service? Flirt with the customers to ensure they want to do your bidding? Even in my head that sounded crazy. That hot man of muscles would never want me and my jiggly bits. I shake my head and force my legs to the personal trainers’ section to grab my clipboard.

If I thought the bike was boring, I was wrong. Doing a circuit of weight machines is what’s boring. I should download some podcasts or something. Or maybe some books on tape? Do they hire men with scorching hot voices to read the male parts in romance novels? Definitely need to do some research.

I quickly towel off the last machine and grab my water bottle. I stand from picking up my clipboard and nearly run straight into someone. “Shit! I didn’t realize anyone was standing there. Did you want this machine?”

“Nah.” He shakes his head. “How are you doing, Everly?”

It’s the guy I ran into on Wednesday. Shoot – what was his name again? “Um, hi.” If that’s not embarrassing enough, I do a little wave but the clipboard is still in my hand and I end up smacking him in the stomach. Thank goodness, I missed any important bits. “Shit. Sorry.”

He laughs and grabs the clipboard from my hand, presumably before I can do any more damage. “It’s Carter. Do you want to grab a smoothie?” My face scrunches up at the thought of a smoothie. He chuckles. “Or a coffee or something?”

“Um. I was going to head home like this.” With my now free hand, I indicate my ratty gym clothes.

Carter shrugs. “That’s okay. We can get a quick drink at the bar here.”

I can’t exactly say no after I ran into the guy and then hit him. “Okay, let me grab my stuff.”

He smiles and nods. I rush off with my thoughts whirling. Is he just being nice? Friendly? Or is this like a date thing? I’m not ready to date. Do I tell him that? Crap. It’s only a coffee. It doesn’t have to mean anything. But what if it does mean something? Can I give myself a concussion from thinking in circles?

D.E. is such a tease…here are some promos as well to entice you with!

Purchase Links:

How exciting to learn about your romantic comedy, D.E.! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Fat Girl Begone! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, D.E.! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear.

After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before deciding to follow the husband to Istanbul, where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go.

But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague, where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Fat girl Begone! is my eleventh book.

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, Readers, Romance, romantic comedy, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Aaron Betts from FULL COUNT by Lynn Stevens

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Lynn Stevens, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Lynn! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

 

Nice Guys Don’t Always Finish Last

Everyone knows the cliché ‘Nice guys finish last’.

It’s ingrained in our brains. It’s an excuse for all the nice guys who lose out on the job or on the girl. And it’s an excuse for nice guys to do bad things.

Aaron Betts is a nice guy. He’s a good ole country boy with a heart of gold, dedication to his family, and respect for others. In a literary world full of alpha males and bad boys, he breaks free of that mold.

FULL COUNT began as a NaNoWriMo project. I started it because there weren’t enough guys like Aaron Betts out there. Don’t get me wrong, he’s far from perfect. He makes mistakes, some of which are catastrophic. To quote Aaron, “I’m bound to do something stupid. I’m a guy.”

I failed miserably, stopping around 34,000 words after three weeks. About eight months after I gave up, Aaron Betts was still in my head, still whispering at me to tell his story. To finish what I’d started. I picked up where I left off and completed the first draft. As I was adding words, I realized how important his story was. Aaron’s got more to offer than just nailing every girl he sees. He’s got more integrity than thinking life is just sex, sex, sex. Not all guys are like that. Not all guys want to be like that. Aaron’s a one-woman man from the get go. I found that refreshing and honest. He didn’t want to sleep around. He wanted someone to love long term. He wanted to be loved long term. Definitely not the typical alpha male who changes his ways for the right woman.

Another one of my favorite things about this character is his loyalty to his sister. Chelsea and Aaron have a special bond that warmed my heart. They would do anything for each other, and they clearly love each other. His parents are loving too, even when they are at odds with their son. It’s a family not devoid of drama, but one that doesn’t thrive on it either. A true All-American family.

And Aaron’s pure of heart, even pure of intention. He’s deep and shallow, hard and soft. He’s the polar opposite of himself at times. Much like we all are. He has to work to get what he wants. He has to pay the price for his mistakes.

He has to live.

There is no cheating, no insta-anything with Aaron. He puts himself through the ringer and he has to pull himself out the other side.

We all make our choices. We have to live with consequences. That’s the way life is. And that’s why Aaron’s story was so important for me to write. His choices, his consequences, they needed to be shared. Nice guys don’t always finish last. Some of them don’t even finish. And a lot of them just don’t finish where they think they will.

 

Fascinating, Lynn! And seriously, gentlemen are my weakness. For all that people appear to like bad boys, the bad ones in my life only made me miserable.
Anyway, this book sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we? 😉
Here is the blurb for Full Count.
Anyone who says they’re having the worst day hasn’t met me. My girlfriend cheated, I blew out my knee, and probably trashed my chance of going pro. All in one day. Then my jerk professor tells I’m almost on academic probation.
Awesome. Now I get to find a tutor.
Enter Mallory Fine, quiet, a little intense, and my kind of gorgeous. Who also happens to hate baseball and any guy who plays it.
Hello, curiosity.
I tell myself this will be nothing more than a tutoring relationship. I’m a liar. I want this girl. How hard can her secrets be to unravel? It might be a challenge, but so is getting back on the ball field and I’m determined to make that happen—no matter the cost.
And Lynn is giving us a peek at her novel!

We’d only been playing about five minutes when I went down. The rookies kicked the soccer ball right at Chuck, who caught it against his chest. I broke down the field as he flung the ball toward me. The throw was perfect, hitting the grass in front of my feet. I deked left to fake out Rosenthal, a freshman pitcher who could clock ninety-nine on the gun. He was also tall and a bit of a klutz. He raced my buddy Seth, who blocked for me. Seth was fast, but the lanky freshman’s stride was too much. Rosie’s long pipe cleaner of a leg caught my calf as I fell. My knee bent in a way God never intended, and I hit the dying grass with a thud.

I think I screamed. I think I cried. I know I passed out, because I woke up in the hospital.

Fluorescent lights flashed over my head as the EMT rolled me down the hallway. My eyes burned at the glare. We weren’t in any hurry. The guy grunted and turned the gurney right. The room was small—no window, just a bunch of machines, a bed, and a small TV high on the wall without any sound.

“All right, Mr. Betts, let’s get you on this bed,” the EMT said, blowing his coffee-scented breath over my face.

I held him off, using my own strength to get from the gurney and onto the bed. It felt like someone stuck my knee into a blazing fire and decided to stoke it with a sharp poker. My teeth ground together as I tried not to let the EMT see how much it hurt.

My father always told me, “Never let them see you flinch.” It was a lot harder than it sounded.

“You okay, Mr. Betts?” he asked.

Was I okay? Fuck if I knew. Why did I play that pickup game? If Chuck hadn’t insisted it was my responsibility as co-captain to haze the rookies, I wouldn’t have bothered. I hated soccer.

Baseball was my game. And I was damn good at it.

The EMT glanced around the too-bright room for a moment before grinning down at me. “Saw you play last year against Stilton. Took my boy over to the game and watched you hit for the cycle.” He chuckled at the memory. “When you smashed that 3-0 count over the right field wall, Malcolm about lost his voice from screaming. Had to buy him a Hawks shirt. He wears it almost every day now. Wants to play for Westland, too.”

Despite my pain, I smiled at his excitement. That had been one of the best games I’d ever been a part of.

“Can I ask you something?” He paused and waited for my consent. Most people usually just asked away. “Heard you got drafted out of high school. Why’d you turn it down?”

I snorted. It wasn’t the first time someone asked me. The minute I stepped into our team meeting at Westland my freshman year, five guys asked me in five minutes. “I can do better than the thirtieth round.”

“Then why didn’t you go to a Division 1 school? I heard Texas and Iowa wanted you.”

Texas and Iowa did want me, but they offered partials. Westland offered a full ride. Besides, I’d dreamed of playing baseball at the same college my father played. My parents only had to shell out the cash for food and a room. Everybody understood the money, but nobody understood the sentiment.

Trish had her heart set on Westland, too.

I shrugged with a grin. “Why do men always screw up their lives? For a girl.”

That sent him into a belly laugh. “Ain’t that the truth.” He clasped my shoulder and squeezed. “You take care, Mr. Betts. Hopefully we’ll see you on the field this spring.”

The little drip of happiness our conversation gave me dried up. That had been my first thought as soon as my knee turned into scrambled eggs. The way it bent before separating and snapping back together, the fact that my kneecap wasn’t in the right place anymore…I doubted I’d be out in centerfield this spring. But maybe I was wrong. I had to be. The draft was in June, and I was eligible again. Not playing would drop me out of the first round, probably even the second, if not completely. Every day I wasn’t on the field lessened my chances.

Sighing, I glanced at the bandage holding the ice pack to the bowling ball that was now my knee. There wasn’t anything I could do to change what had happened. Any of it.

That’s the shitty thing about “the past.” It’s unchangeable.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071J7CGTT

B&N:  https://goo.gl/79zZej

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Full-Count/Lynn-Stevens/Q472301342?id=6842447479054

Kobo:  https://goo.gl/Ddf8rc

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7209956

Publisher:  https://entangledpublishing.com/full-count.html

Ouch! But intriguing! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your new adult sports romance, Lynn! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Full Count!

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Lynn! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Lynn Stevens flunked out of college writing her first novel. Yes, she still has it and no, you can’t read it. Surprisingly, she graduated with honors at her third school. A former farm girl turned city slicker, Lynn lives in the Midwest where she drinks coffee she can’t pronounce and sips tea when she’s out of coffee. When she’s out of both, just stay away.

Sign up for Lynn’s newsletter for news on upcoming releases and monthly giveaways.

Author Links

Website:  www.lstevensbooks.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LStevensAuthor

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Stevens/e/B072C947B9/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16771319.Lynn_Stevens

Newsletter:  http://lstevensbooks.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9a853c02e8bcbb7b82724c274&id=690e626c95

Tumblr:  http://lynnstevensauthor.tumblr.com

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

Publisher:  https://entangledpublishing.com/author/lynn-stevens

 

Thanks again, Lynn, for giving us a peek into the world of your character. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author D.E. Haggerty visits us on October 17th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, New Adult, Readers, Romance, sports romance, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Lily Bastien from LILY’S MIRAGE, a HELL YEAH! book by Sable Hunter

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Sable Hunter, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Sable! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

 

Meet Lily

Writers are totally at the mercy of inspiration. Without it, there would be no stories, or if there were, they’d be flat and formulistic, cookie-cutter pieces of cardboard, empty of soul and life. My hope is to never be guilty of such a tragedy.

As a writer, I’m prone to flights of fancy. I fantasize. I dream. My greatest joy is taking a single image from a movie or ten words from a song and transforming that small whisper into an eighty-thousand word confession of the soul. Sometimes that whisper of an idea will haunt me, coloring my dreams and fueling my thoughts.

As a chronic insomniac, I have many hours of solitude. The time between dusk and dawn can seem like an eternity. When I’m lucky, I can use that endless night to give birth to a character, a conflict, a climax – a seed, that if I’m lucky, will grow and bloom into a portrait of love.

This is what happened with Lily. The idea of her story glimmered to life on one of my dark nights. I could see her face. I could hear her voice. At the time we were first introduced, in LOVE FOUND A WAY – another of my vision children – I didn’t know much about her. All I did know was that she fascinated me. In the scene where she was introduced, as Glory Bee Hudson’s childhood friend, we find out that Lily is dying.

Okay, maybe I’m more than a little preoccupied with death. Even though I write romance novels, ALL with an HEA (happily-ever-after), I still manage to work in my own phobias and concerns in a somewhat cathartic fashion. I’ve often congratulated myself that I have the privilege of making a living with the same tool that I use to battle my demons. For example, in HEAD OVER SPURS, I addressed the problem that has reoccurred in my life now, an inability to shut my eyes and surrender to sleep.

I digress.

We learn that Lily is dying, she has a glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. She’s already endured treatment and been granted the godly version of three wishes in the form of three remissions. Lily has been told there will be no more.

I complicated the situation by making Lily the owner of Charlotte’s Art Gallery in New Orleans. Charlotte was a beloved character in one of my historical novels and it excited me for her story to continue into the present day. This plot twist presented a wealth of opportunity, for Charlotte was a marvel, a woman ahead of her time, a brave soul who stood up for what was right and risked her life to protect a talented artist, a freed slave, during a time when doing so broke laws and infuriated those who did not believe in the equality of the races. Even though Lily possesses Charlotte’s diary and many of the paintings that made up her original collection, there is so much about her that Lily doesn’t know. To spice things up even further, the gallery is located next to a mysterious shop, owned by a hoodoo practicing descendant of Charlotte’s, by the name of Bliss. As Lily lives and works where Charlotte once lived, she begins to feel a kinship with the long-dead woman, even seeing her ghost at times.

At least Lily thinks she’s seeing Charlotte’s ghost. Flora, Lily’s sister, is convinced Lily is having hallucinations as a result of her brain tumor.

Lily is extremely frustrated because her sister doesn’t believe her.

At the time I created the character of Lily, I had no plans to save her. Hell, it would take a miracle. I can write miracles, but I insist a grain of truth be present to substantiate the surprising occurrence. Yes, I see you out there – those of you who have read HER MAGIC TOUCH, but I will defend that work by saying that I have met a traiteur (Cajun faith healer) and that my Mama and two decades of attending a Southern Baptist church assures me that I have a guardian angel. I’m sure my personal GA is beyond frustrated, but I hope he keeps up the good work.

ANYWAY, Lily’s predicament, who she was and what would happen to her began to gnaw at me. The pivotal scene was born: a woman, about to undergo risky surgery for a brain tumor, is convinced by her family that the man she’s been telling them about, the man she’s in love with, is a mirage. There’s no use waiting for him to come as he promised to be by her bedside, because he isn’t real. He’s just a product of the cancer destroying her brain cells. Wow.

I tried to imagine her heartbreak when he doesn’t show, although she can remember every kiss – every touch – every word of love.

Now, as an author, this was my dilemma. Here, I have this super interesting character that I’ve created with an obvious expiration date.

I didn’t like it, but who could I blame? I did it to myself.

Still, I couldn’t let Lily’s story go.

In the midnight hours, when I rocked on my porch and watched the stars twinkle in the sky, unable to shut my eyes for fear I’d get sucked down into a well of forgetfulness, I dwelt on Lily. I began to see a story, a glimpse at a possibility, a mirage of what if’s.

What if Lily decided she needed to get away, to come to terms with her dwindling days?

What if she escaped to a remote barrier island, haunted by lost love?

What if she met someone? What if she fell in love?

What if she hid her fate from him, because there was no future for her – only the here and now?

Whoa! I would throw up my hands – because I refused to write a book where the main character dies. I hate those books! And I would not contribute to a trope that celebrates a nasty reality – no one gets out of this effing life alive, dammit. When I read, I want to be entertained, not reminded of my mortality – – that’s what keeps me awake nights anyway!

So…Lily languished in my TBW (to be written) notes…until I saw a 60 Minute episode on television that seemed to be the answer to my problem. To my amazement, a miracle was occurring; Duke University was conducting clinical tests to cure people with incurable glioblastomas by injecting their cancers with polio virus. Can you imagine? Well, it’s true. And it’s working in some cases – – and if I had my way, it would work in Lily’s.

Of all my books, this one is a bit unusual because the dominant role is the woman. Usually, I’m more focused on the male character. I’ve used the heroines more as mirrors to reflect the reader, so they can more easily fantasize themselves into the role as the story unfolds. But not this time. Lily is a force to be reckoned with.

Her strength does not discount the hero of the book, however. Blade Jensen is every woman’s dream – a handsome actor who grew up on a ranch in Texas, named Sexiest Man Alive, a man with the ability to love completely and forever. A true hero. He also has his own cross to bear, having lost a child to an obsessed fan. When he learns of Lily’s fate, he is determined to be there for her – no matter what.

Hey, for a romance writer, I’m ambitious. I tackle the meaning of life, the hope of an afterlife – exploring everything from spirits to reincarnations. Most importantly, I work hard to construct stories that will make people believe in the power of love. I want you to know that I stayed up nights – ha! – working this out.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

So…there I was with all these pieces, these problems, two strong three-dimensional characters who deserved a lifetime of happiness. Throw in a hint of the supernatural, a mysterious painting that seems to link the past with the present. Pepper the pages with secondary characters and settings plucked straight from unique New Orleans and a romantic remote island – and there you have it. A story I wanted to tell. A story that has stuck with me and hopefully one my readers will enjoy.

So far, so good.

 

Wow! Fascinating, Sable! Isn’t great how the muse works?
This sounds like quite a read!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we? 😉
Here is the blurb for Lily’s Mirage.

Lily Bastien comes to mysterious St. Phillips Island for a last fling with life. She knows her future is uncertain and love is not in her stars. Here, in a cottage haunted by lost love, she will discover a secret that will rock her world. A ghost from the past is not the only unexpected visitor to her private sanctuary. Imagine her surprise when she finds Sexiest Man Alive, Blade Jensen, naked in her bedroom. They clash, at first, but soon they can’t fight the attraction they feel for one another. Sparks begin to fly and the passion they share changes everything. Lily can only dream of forever, but Blade is determined to make her dreams come true. To protect the man she loves, she tries to hide the painful truth from him. But fate finds a way and Blade and Lily learn that sometimes a love is so great, one lifetime together could never be enough.

And Sable is giving us a peek at her novel!

“You’ll love it here. The island is self-sufficient with its own water and power supply. There’s a natural maritime forest and a long white sandy beach. All in all, St. Philip’s has about 5000 acres, including the marshland and the creeks.”

“Sounds great.” Lily was excited. “Is there a downside?”

“It’s haunted,” the boy said flatly, looking off into the distance.

“Oh, really?” She wanted to ask more questions, but the dock loomed ahead and her eyes widened at the natural beauty. “Oh, wow,” was her awed exclamation as they tied off and began unloading her things from the boat to the bed of the four-wheeler. “This place looks amazing.”

“If you go swimming, stay on the beach side, there’s alligators in the marsh to the north.”

“Thanks for the information and the help.” Lily tipped Seba and he continued on his way. She hadn’t driven a four-wheeler before, but she figured it couldn’t be much different than a golf cart.

The trail from the dock to the house was bordered by mammoth oaks with branches that spread wide, some hanging low enough to the ground to sit on. Spanish moss hung liberally from the trees, giving the whole place an eerie, Southern Gothic feel. As she topped the slight incline, Lily could see a beautiful two-story house nestled among a grove of large magnolias. A wide verandah wrapped around the house, deep enough to provide cool shade in the summer heat. A portion of the porch was screened and Lily hoped a bed awaited her there. Painted white with blue shutters, the house looked like a jewel, nestled on a bed of velvet jade. While the back faced the narrow bay and marshes, the front boasted a fabulous view of the Atlantic Ocean. Once she parked, Lily couldn’t resist running the last few feet of the way, more than excited to see what else the magnificent home had to offer.

The staircase leading up to the porch was wide and she was surprised to find the door and ceiling painted a light, smoky blue with large mirrors flanking either side of the entrance. There was even a bottle tree in the front yard, each limb decorated with a cobalt blue or sea green glass bottle. Remembering what Seba had told her, she shivered at what she’d discovered. “Oh, someone is superstitious as heck around here.”

Taking the key from her pocket, she let herself in and set out to explore the interior of the beautiful home before unloading her supplies. The layout and décor were straight out of Costal Living and the kitchen was a cook’s dream, with white cabinets, hardwood floors, and stainless-steel appliances. There were three bedrooms and three baths, one of the bedrooms was an impressive master with an en suite bath boasting a huge marble shower and all the amenities one would expect in a luxurious spa. As she continued to explore, Lily located the bedroom she wanted to use. At first, she thought it was just a sunroom, but after she entered, she saw it opened to the screened porch she’d seen from outside, featuring a breathtaking view and a magical canopy bed wrapped in filmy swaths of sheer material. The closest bath was a couple doors away, but Lily didn’t mind; a few extra steps wouldn’t matter to her.

Making herself at home, she unpacked her clothing, then adjourned to the kitchen. As soon as the groceries were put away, Lily prepared a quick salad for supper, choosing to eat on the verandah. Through the trees, she could see the waves pounding the white sand. Unable to resist, she placed her empty plate on a small wrought iron table and went for a stroll on the beach. The sun was just beginning to sink into the ocean, painting the sky with a blaze of red and orange.

With a contented sigh, she held her hands above her head, relishing the feel of the wind in her hair. She felt as if she could capture the breeze in the fingertips, claim glimpses of the faraway places the zephyr had traveled, places she’d never see.

Wanting the full experience, Lily removed her shoes and waded in the surf. Yet try as she might, she found it difficult to rid her mind of problems. She didn’t have to wonder where the future would take her; she knew. The doctor had been straightforward, telling Lily how it would end for her. The deterioration, the loss of faculties, and finally a coma. This revelation was nothing new. She’d lived with the knowledge of the unwelcome invader in her body for most of her life.

Oh, she’d long since gone through the seven stages of grief. Lily had lived far longer than most with a glioblastoma, she’d even gone through remission a couple of times. There would be no third time, however. No charm. Her Wish Book would never come true. She was nearing the end of a hard-fought battle.

What really angered Lily was that she didn’t look sick, she didn’t feel sick. To look at her, one wouldn’t think she had so little time left on this earth. Yet, she had a ticking time bomb in her head.

But she wasn’t planning to go peacefully into that good night. No, she wanted to fight this whole ugly thing tooth and nail.

She just didn’t know how…

What she needed was a distraction, a sexy distraction.

Her mind went to the handsome hunk she’d seen at the gas station. He’d said he was someone famous and Lily couldn’t argue; she didn’t keep up with such things. Yet even if he weren’t, she understood that women like her didn’t attract men who looked like him. Oh, she wasn’t ugly, she just wasn’t anything special.

No, she took that back.

She was special in her own way and if things were different, she’d have plenty to offer the right guy. Their encounter wasn’t a total loss, she could use her memory of him the next time she played with her toys.

After she’d strolled on the beach for a half hour, Lily turned around and began to make her way back to the house. The rhythm of the waves and the beauty of her surroundings went a long way to giving her a sense of peace. Hopefully, she’d be able to sleep.

As Lily prepared for bed, she wondered what the next day held in store. Before lying down, she cracked a window open. Sure enough, she could hear the ocean. With a contented sigh, she crawled beneath the covers and pulled them up under her chin.

Sleep wasn’t long in coming.

Bang! Crash!

Lily sprung straight up in the bed. She froze, scared to breathe. Was someone in the house with her? Did she have an intruder? After hearing more muffled noises, she grabbed her phone, only to find there was no cell service. Dammit! She hadn’t noticed where the landlines were. Rising, she glanced around. What she needed was a weapon. By the light of the moon, she could see the two-foot statue of the sandpiper sitting on the bedside table. Very carefully, Lily picked up the piece, weighing it her hands. Yes, she could wield it like a baseball bat, if the need arose.

Moving slowly, she tiptoed from the sunroom. Noises were still emanating from deeper in the house. After turning a corner, Lily could see that there was a light on in the master suite. There was an intruder in the house! She assumed there was plenty in the home to steal, everything from artwork to electronics. Dang it; she just hated a thief.

Rounding a corner, Lily almost dropped her makeshift club. Her eyes bugged wide and her jaw dropped. Standing in front of the open French doors was a naked man. His back was to her, but she could see wide-wide shoulders, a wedge-shaped torso, and wait…she recognized that curly hair. “You?” she growled her under her breath. Taking the few last steps, Lily used the bill of the bird to poke in his ribs, doing her best to ignore his delectable ass. “Put your hands up. You’re trespassing, cowboy.”

The man did as she asked, but in the next second, he stepped smoothly back, took the weapon from her with one hand and scooped her up with the other, tossing Lily gently to the mattress. After taking a good look at the pretty brunette sprawled on his bed, he grinned. “Well, if it isn’t Miss Pink Panties. This is my lucky day!”

Fighting to catch her breath, she huffed, “When did you see my panties?”

“When you kicked the football to that kid. For my benefit, right?” Blade tried to keep his focus, tried to ignore the way she chewed on her lower lip as she processed the most recent development, tried to ignore the two mounds of sweet tits quivering beneath the thinnest of sleep shirts, and two sweet thighs open just enough…but it was impossible. A fog of arousal enveloped his brain.

It had been way too long since he’d gotten laid.

Lily rolled off the bed on the far side. “No! There’s that monstrous size ego again! For your information, I would never do such a thing for your benefit! What are you doing in my house? And why are you grinning at me?” She pulled on the hem of her too short sleep shirt. Noticing the phone on the bedside table, she made a grab for it. “You need to leave! I’m calling 9-1-1!” As she pressed the numbers, she glanced at him; it was hard not to notice that his front was even nicer than his back. Washboard abs, full pecs, and…God, the man was hung!

“Good, tell them I have a sexy stalker.” Blade was enjoying their banter. Usually by this time, most women would be plastered all over him, not standing up to him like a spitting kitten.

“I’m not a stalker, I was here first!” she yelled, unable to ignore that he’d called her sexy.

“I figured you for an overzealous fan when you ran up to me in the parking lot.”

Lily tossed a pillow at him. “I was returning your phone, you big…dickhead. Hold that pillow over yourself.”

Cowboy snorted, catching the pillow, and holding it waist high. He was still trying to ignore her jiggling breasts. “Nice of you to notice. Why are you frowning?”

“There’s no dang dial tone,” she muttered, throwing down the cordless phone. “Don’t come any closer!” Lily held up her hand when she noticed the big man moving nearer.

“Settle down, kitten. I’m reaching for my jeans.”

He turned his back on Lily to slip on his pants and she hid her eyes, peeking through her fingers. “Look, whoever you are, if you’ll leave quietly, I won’t press charges for breaking and entering.”

“I didn’t have to break in.” He reached in his pocket and pulled out a fob to dangle in front of her, wincing as his cock chafed inside the denim of his jeans. He should’ve brought underwear. “I have a key.”

“Well, so do I!” She pointed toward the sunroom. “In my purse, in my room. I am a guest! Bliss Renaud is my friend. She invited me to stay here.”

“So, you’re not the caretaker? I was about to ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement.” He paused to think. “Perhaps I should get you to sign one anyway. I don’t want anyone to know I’m here.”

“So, don’t be here! Leave! Who invited you anyway?” Lily was trying not to notice his abs…or the happy trail of fur leading from his abdomen all the way to what she’d had her eyes glued on earlier. The man was a sheer wonderland of tactile, erotic delights.

“My agent arranged this whole thing. The owner used to be my stunt double, I’m not going anywhere,” Cowboy said slowly, as if speaking to someone with a learning disability. “Look, if I give you an autographed picture, would you settle down?”

Lily stomped from his room, taking her crane with her. “For the last time, I don’t know who you are! Why would I want an autographed picture?”

Cowboy followed her. “Don’t give me that, everybody knows who I am. Women throw themselves at me all the time.”

“Yea, I’m sure the bodies just pile up around you.” Lily stopped and faced him with one hand on her hip, looking him up and down. “You could be a vacuum cleaner salesman for all I know.”

“Are you serious?” he said, staring at her as if she’d grown two heads. “Where do you live, under a rock?”

“Are you a singer? A football player? A serial killer?” she said, then backtracked. “Oh, don’t be a serial killer, forget I said that.”

God, she was cute. “I’m an actor. I played Jake Dominic in the Draco series.”

“Sorry, I don’t own a television.”

When he saw the blank expression on her face, he began to believe she didn’t know who he was…or she deserved an Oscar for her performance. “Who doesn’t own a television?” He stalked through the house, flipping on lights. “I came here for some privacy and a long overdue rest. I don’t intend to share my space with a desperate fan.”

Lily was fast losing her patience. “For the last time, I’m not a fan! I don’t know you and I don’t want to know you. And for your information, I’m not desperate!” She followed him through the house, ending up in the kitchen. “If I were desperate, you’d be the last man on earth I’d want, you’re too full of yourself!”

He opened the refrigerator and pulled out a bottled water. “There’s plenty of resorts up and down the Carolina coast. You can find somewhere else to stay.”

“Why don’t you? If you’re a famous actor like you say you are, you’ll be welcome anywhere.” She leaned on the counter, hiding most of her body from his eyes, suddenly conscious of her state of undress.

Cowboy chugged the water, walked to the bar, and took a satchel from a chair. Slamming it on top of the counter, he took something out and pitched it on the granite surface in front of her.

Lily didn’t have to look too closely. His handsome face covered the front of the magazine. “Blade Jensen, Sexiest Man Alive,” she mumbled. “Seems like I might’ve heard that name before.” Lily exhaled a long breath, tired of their argument. “Fine.” She threw up her hands. “You’re famous. I’ll go pack and you can take me back to the island. I’ll find someplace else to stay. My life’s too short to spend time arguing with you and I’ll sign whatever document you want me to, although I certainly won’t be doing any bragging about our time together.” With that dry observation, she gathered up the sand piper and headed back to her bedroom.

Blade watched her go, entranced as much by the length of her long, shapely legs as he was by the fact that she didn’t know who he was – and didn’t seem to care. Her long dark hair hung down to a delectable ass and if she swayed a certain way, he could see a little sliver of black satin peeping out from beneath the T-shirt she wore. “Hey, what’s your name, kitten?”

Lily stopped, but she didn’t turn around. She was tired and frustrated. Finding a place to stay at this time of night was going to be a pain. Maybe she’d just sleep in her rental car. “Lily Bastien from New Orleans.”

“All right, Lily Bastien from New Orleans, why don’t we just make the best of a bad situation…for now?” He took a few steps toward her.

Slowly turning to face him, she hated that he made her heart skip a beat. She wasn’t afraid of him, not really. Where Blade Jensen was concerned, she was more afraid of herself. “What do you mean?”

The big man shrugged and his muscles rippled. “Stay the night. Leaving at this hour could be dangerous.”

Lily felt her nipples bead; she couldn’t remember ever reacting this way to a man before. His fame was not a factor, she was just drawn to him. “I don’t know, staying might be even more dangerous.”

“A little danger makes everything more exciting.” Giving her a wicked grin, Blade saluted her with the bottle. “Besides, I don’t have a boat. Looks like we’re marooned. Together.”

“Great.” With a huff, Lily started for her room. “You just make sure you stay on your side of the house.”

Blade chuckled. “In case you get any ideas, kitten, my bedroom door will be locked.”

She never looked back, the only reaction his announcement got from her was a hand in the air with a raised middle finger.

Blade’s chuckle rose into a full laugh. The first good one he’d had in years. This woman wasn’t impressed with his fame. She had no idea how attractive that made her to him. Couple her spunky attitude with her drop-dead gorgeous body and his heart was stuttering in his chest.

Well, he guessed he wasn’t dead inside after all.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B074L4YG4F

Nice! I love the tension between them! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your sexy, contemporary romance with a touch of the paranormal, Sable! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Lily’s Mirage!

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Sable! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio
Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 60 books in 9 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. 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. 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.

Author Links

Website:  http://sablehunter.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2wVn9N

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

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn

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

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

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

 

Thanks again, Sable, for giving us a peek into the world of your character. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Lynn Stevens visits us on October 11th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Herod D’Argyl, Anti-hero from THE CYNN CRUORS BLOODLINE SERIES by Isobelle Cate

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the first post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Isobelle Cate, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Isobelle! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

Who is Herod?

 

When I started writing my paranormal series, The Cynn Cruors Bloodline, Herod was just one of the secondary characters in my stories about vampire/werewolf hybrids. I really had no intention of truly developing him into someone that made my heart squeeze. It just came as a ‘eureka’ moment and since then, Herod became someone who had a deeper connection to the main characters of the series.

Just like my heroes, Herod was also infused with the same DNA as the Cynn Cruors. The difference was that he was batting for the other side. He was a Scatha Cruor. But the complexity of how he came to be the epitome of the evil the Cynn Cruors were battling against is deeper than what the first five books in the series have shown. In the 6th book, Midnight’s Paradox, Herod’s identity is revealed. Naturally, I made sure there was a foreshadowing of things to come from the very start.

Herod’s evolution did not come overnight. I spent several nights in the course of writing the series that I’d just be in bed, stare at the ceiling and see Herod’s life unfold before me. There were flashes of inspiration that I had to write down immediately lest the impact of the words disappeared from memory. And with every unfolding of Herod’s story, I couldn’t stop the sorrow I felt for him. I remember the time I wrote his dialogue and the scene with another character and I couldn’t stop crying. Using words to describe him, to give him form, he became a living, breathing character.

He became real.

Characters take time to develop. Sometimes, an author may have already given a character his/her attributes, then suddenly adds further traits to make the character multi-faceted or multi-dimensional. Herod was one such character. His actions affected everyone in the series. Directly or indirectly, he became part of their collective memories.

Collective memories…maybe I might just write a book about Herod and why he made the choices he did that led him down a slippery slope.

If you want to read about immortal highlanders with vampire/werewolf DNA, why not read the Cynn Cruors Bloodline series?

Yes, why not? 
Let’s find out more about the novel, shall we? 😉

This is the blurb for Midnight’s Paradox, book six of The Cynn Cruors Bloodline Series:

IT BEGINS IN AN ANCIENT CASTLE, WITH IMPULSIVE HOT STRANGER SEX –AND IT LEADS TO WORLDS SHE’S NEVER DREAMED OF…

In Isobelle Cate’s SIXTH erotic paranormal romance, it’s been hundreds of years since immortal Cynn Cruor warrior Blake Strachen buried what little was left of his family. And it’s been three years since his last unsuccessful raid on his nemesis Dac Valerian. Enemies are still at large. Too much is left unfinished.

Restless, Blake is wandering through the deserted streets of Edinburgh in the early morning hours when he encounters the ghost of a woman, a witch hung centuries ago, who speaks cryptically of “the sins of the father”. But before he can ask her what she means, she disappears with the first light of dawn. Dawn means that Blake–a vampire-werewolf-human hybrid–must find shelter, and he stumbles into the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle before visitor hours. But he’s not alone…

Phoebe Ruth has come into work early at the old castle when she notices the dark shadow of a man handling a relic sword with surprising ease. A powerful and disturbingly attractive man. Sparks ignite immediately, the two strangers wordlessly embracing with an uncontrollable passion neither of them understands… But just like that, Blake disappears.

All day, like a stereo needle skipping over a vinyl scratch, Phoebe replays the steamy sexual encounter of the early morning–the hunger that threatened to devour her. Was it just an arousing dream? But when Blake rescues Phoebe from an assault by thugs in the cemetery, each becomes enraptured by the other. Forever.

Phoebe has read of the Cynn Cruors in her father’s journal and believes they’re only the ravings of a grief-stricken man after losing his wife. But after several chance encounters, she begins to realize that the Cynn Cruors’ world is as real as the dark stranger’s bonfire of burning kisses. Both Phoebe and Blake have sordid pasts to sort through. And these chance encounters inexplicably link the two lovers together in more ways than one…

This haunting love story will appeal to romance readers who love a hot steamy erotica series with a paranormal element– supernatural shifters, werewolf romance, and vampire romance (it’s got all of that!) –and plenty of explicit sex.

***CONTENT WARNING: This story contains adult language and sexual situations and is intended for audiences 18+ ONLY. ***

And here is an excerpt.

Herod looked at himself in the mirror, his reflection blurry at best. It was as though the mirror had fogged after someone had taken a long hot shower. But there was no shower to blame since the mirror was in the corner of his room, in his own manor. The room was stone cold, with its vaulted ceiling and tall windows that overlooked the expanse of a dark loch intermittently covered with black ice. His bed had hardly been slept on, not for lack of want. He’d been at Dac’s beck and call nearly twenty-four seven. He hadn’t raped a woman in several days nor killed someone to feed the debauched, altered Kinaré gene inside him. It didn’t matter that Herod didn’t feel the cold or he hadn’t had a good fuck. What annoyed him was that he couldn’t bloody see clearly. Dac came in the night before and smashed the special mirror he had, and with everything that was going on, vanity wasn’t on Herod’s list of priorities for the time being.

He squinted, trying to catch a sharper glimpse of his wound but not even the Cruor’s razor sight could pierce the ordinary looking glass. The only thing Herod could do was to feel the flesh around his wound. A three inch slit where The Hamilton’s silver laced claymore gored him. Any other blade without silver wouldn’t have left a scar. Herod remembered the pain of the silver cutting through his bloodstream and the white hot influx of the adriserum The Hamilton jammed into him to alleviate the damage the metal inflicted on him.

Herod closed his eyes. For as long as he could remember, he thrived on pain. He loved receiving, giving it. Even in battle, he had a perverse pleasure of feeling the metal singe his skin though only to a point. He was still too obsessed with living for the pain to be the harbinger of his last breath. He loved to hear the tortured cries of Scatha victims and the mournful wails of the sex slaves as they were auctioned to the highest debauched bidder. He watched and joined in the hedonism when the winning bidder sampled the merchandise in front of a lascivious crowd. Sometimes he participated, sampling the quality paid for. The pain was different when it came to silver, not only since it was the bane of all Cruors – Cynn and Scatha. It was because the pain reminded him of what it was like to be human.

Weak and fallible.

Herod twisted his torso so he could try and see the exit wound. His brow furrowed in concentration as he felt his skin stretch taut against his back, the sensation around the healing wound similar to the tiny feet of ants crawling over and around it. He whipped around, his eyes narrowing when the door to his room opened and Dac sauntered in.

“Nasty wound,” he remarked.

Herod grunted, reaching out for his muscle shirt draped over the nearby wingback chair.

“It’s healing.” The shirt covered his body. A warning tingle skittered around in a circle on Herod’s nape. Dac was on to something and Herod wasn’t sure what it was. Instinctively, he brought his mind barrier up. He hardly had any need for it except when Dac had his over suspicious moods. He tracked his liege lord across the room as Dac perused his wide collection of music CDs that surrounded his state of the art audio system, an Infinite Grand. Herod loved listening to Chopin, the only composer who made him feel any semblance of peace. This was what was left of his immense collection when most of it had been razed to the ground in the Isle of Man’s siege. Centuries ago, he’d had the immense pleasure of listening to the virtuoso play several of his compositions when Chopin performed in one of the many grand salons of Europe.

Dac’s fingers ran across the roughly hewn stone wall blunted by time, his gaze taking in the huge four poster bed sans the overhead damask curtains which Herod abhorred because it made him claustrophobic. Instead, above the bed, framed on the wall was the D’Argyl tartan of forest green, black, and brown. It resembled a bedraggled and tattered piece of cloth that Herod had returned for after his confrontation with Deanna.

It was the only thing left to tie him to who he was, the only symbolic piece of humanity to tie himself to.

Herod sucked in a harsh breath.

Fucking conscience.

Why did he have to return to get it? He should have left it in the fortress to be a sacrifice to feed the fires. But no, he had to drag his sorry arse to rush like the wind to the fortress before the sun burned him alive. He hid in the tunnels and picked his way along the corridors that swarmed with Cynn Cruors, entered his room to take his birthright from the wall and leave through the forest. He knew all along Deanna would eventually find the hidden trapdoor in the forest that led to his room.

He kept this knowledge a secret.

Herod watched Dac peruse his clan’s colours and braced himself. As he suspected, Dac started to invade his mind and when the Scatha Cruor leader made a gesture to touch it, a small growl rose from his throat.

“Touchy,” Dac laughed, amused.

“You know I don’t like you or anyone touching what is mine.”

“We share women,” Dac feigned confusion. “You take her hole, I take her ass or mouth. We rape them together, kill, and share the spoils. And you don’t want me to touch a measly rag?”

Herod’s eyes heated and he knew his eyes were about to change. His hands fisted, and his jaw clenched to tamp down his fury.

“You don’t share my family history or my clan, Valerian. That alone is mine. You were Roman, I was Gaelic. I will not warn you again.”

“You forget yourself, D’Argyl.” Dac’s grin waned.

Herod expelled a breath and sat down on the chair, to put on his steel toed boots.

“So do you, my liege.” Herod’s muscles flexed and slid under his skin as he tied the laces. “You wouldn’t be the Scatha Cruor leader if I didn’t save your life.” He stood, a small smile shadowing his mouth at Dac’s annoyance.

“That’s about to change.” Dac glared.

Unprepared, Herod fell to his knees, grunting at the pain that exploded inside his head. It snaked through every nerve ending of his brain and to his horror, the Scatha Cruor leader suddenly flipped the lock of his memories. Racing against the onslaught, Herod allowed the pain to blind him, darkness clouding his vision while his mind galvanized every barrier and protection from the attack.

In a second, Dac withdrew, the agony that ripped through Herod disappearing like it never happened. Herod fell on all fours, his heart beating so loud in his chest it might as well have been the waves coming from a nuclear blast. Dac’s boots appeared in front of Herod before he crouched.

“What are you hiding, D’Argyl?” he asked, his voice soft hardly threatening. “I often sensed you hiding something from me soon after we escaped the Ancients.”

In retaliation, Herod slammed into Dac’s mind. Dac howled, staggering and falling on his ass. Herod pushed, straining against the powerful walls of Valerian’s brain. Hell, Dac had been there when Hadrian’s Wall had been built. He probably had a convo with Shih Wang Ti to build the Great Wall to hide his own memories.

There!

He found something but his concentration broke when Dac roared once more before swiping his claw against Herod’s face. Herod reeled from the force of the attack when he felt the claws swipe through his skin and jaw bone. He catapulted into the air landing in a defensive growl, his lips pulling away from his teeth in a snarl. His vision turned green waiting for Dac to attack once more. Herod’s fangs elongated, his jaw breaking to accommodate the teeth that began to crowd inside his mouth.

Dac didn’t attack. He stood looking down at Herod whose green blood still trickled from his jaw on to the stone floor. His eyes, completely black, gradually turned to its normal color. Without a word, he stormed out of Herod’s room. The door crashed against the stone wall and when it did, a fissure ran through the wood causing slivers to fall softly to the floor. Herod leaned back, his chest heaving from the exertion of shielding his mind but it was enough for him to catch a glimpse of an image before Dac broke his concentration.

The key that could bring Dac Valerian’s downfall.

A sarcastic chuckle broke out from his still bleeding mouth.

After all this millennia, he could finally go home. A groundswell of emotion nearly drowned him.

“No,” he roared. He shut his eyes, forcing the emotions back. Sentiments had no room in his world anymore. Memories, no longer a part of his life.

It was already too late.

Herod stood, a bit unsteady on his feet after Dac’s attack and the needling of his persistent and awakening conscience. He left his room and made his way to his castle’s great hall when he stopped and sniffed. A rumble fizzed up his throat. What the fuck was a Cynn Cruor doing in his manor? Did they find out where he lived? Fuck! Frustration and fury formed a thunderous vee on his forehead. The Keep was the only thing he had left he could call his own and Dac had to bring complications to his doorstep.

Whizzing up to the gallery so he could determine his mode of attack, Herod eased himself above the great hall. He could feel his eyes transforming at the sight of the Cynn Cruor taking liberties with his extensive collection of cognac. His gut soured and his claws fisted until he drew blood that dripped to the floor. Shit, by the time Dac was through and he moved on to another abode, Herod would probably have baptised most of his castle in his own blood. He listened carefully, his sharp teeth starting to fill his jaw, eager to sink his claws into the Cynn Cruor. He didn’t know the immortal, wasn’t one of those he paid for betraying the Ancients’ trust.

Dac roared, his pupils dilating to a dark greenish black that held dark flecks so deep that any human would not be able to turn away. The last time Herod saw Dac transform was shortly after Dac’s attempt on the life of the Ancient Eald. Herod had also gone through the same transformation, the corruption of the Kinaré solidifying the more evil they perpetrated.

“Give me something I can use against the Cynn Cruors, traitor, or not only will you not get your money, I will have also have your head.”

The need to transform disappeared as Herod listened to what the traitor had to say.

“Here we go again,” he muttered before leaving the gallery and joining Dac in the Great Hall.

Intriguing! I hope you all get a chance to read this steamy paranormal romance! 🙂

Or discover the full series at the links below…

Rapture at Midnight             https://books2read.com/u/mYgg7d

Forever at Midnight              https://books2read.com/u/mZ5NeR

Midnight’s Atonement           https://books2read.com/u/bMrRXX

Midnight’s Fate                       https://books2read.com/u/3k0ve8

My Haven, My Midnight      https://books2read.com/u/3k00WR

Midnight’s Paradox               https://books2read.com/u/bMrrPk

Midnight’s Yule                       https://books2read.com/u/ml5rAW

How exciting to learn about your erotic paranormal romance, Isobelle! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Midnight’s Paradox!

Readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series! It looks fantastic!

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Isobelle! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

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.

Author Links

Website:  www.isobellecate.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

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

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

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

 

Thanks again, Isobelle, for giving us a peek into the world of your characters. Exciting! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Sable Hunter visits us on September 28th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Dark Fantasy, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Characters Cassie versus Edric from A SIBLING’S DILEMMA by Molly V. Lovell

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Molly V. Lovell, who has some things to say about her characters.

Hi, Molly! Describe at least one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

 

Cassie vs. Edric

In romance novels, we focus on the hero’s relationship with the heroine. This is important, obviously, because it’s a romance novel. If this relationship didn’t exist, we would have no romance. But, I’m going to say something a little controversial: I don’t think that’s the most important part of the book.

In my opinion, if you just focus on the relationship only and not anything else, you’re going to have a boring book. Love is sweet and all, but without showing why the characters are awesome through their interactions with others, we don’t care if the characters get together because we don’t care about them as people. How many romantic heroines have we read where we want to just shake them and say, “Get a life! Stop obsessing over this guy!”? How many heroes have we not cared about because they don’t do anything except fawn over the heroine?

In contrast, look at all the fictional heroes we fawned over: Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, Mr. Rochester, Han Solo, Jay Gatsby, Don Juan, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Don Draper, Jax Teller, and the list goes on and on. We love these characters because they’re fleshed out and they do awesome stuff, whether solving mysteries like Sherlock or throwing wild parties like Gatsby. If a hero doesn’t do anything, why should we even like him or care about who he ends up with? Same goes for the heroine—why should we care about her if she only obsesses over a guy?

I tried very hard with A Sibling’s Dilemma to develop well-rounded characters with their own interests and personalities. I don’t know how successful I’ve been; that’s up to the reader to decide. And I’m certainly not comparing Edric Kensington to the great literary heroes that I’ve listed; that would be very arrogant of me to do. But, I hope that readers will pick up my book and care about the characters a little and want them to get together because they’re interesting people.

In my novel, there are three main characters: Ellie Kent, Cassie Kent, and Edric Kensington. Ellie and Cassie are sisters (hence the same last name). Cassie works as a private investigator and, through a strange series of circumstances, she finds herself investigating Edric Kensington. She sends her sister, Ellie, to be a mole in his company.

I tried to make Ellie and Cassie as realistic as possible. While they’re not inspired by any specific people, they face issues that many real women struggle with—insecurities, balancing family and boyfriends, doing what you think is right, et cetera. Their relationship as sisters is just as important as the romantic relationships in the story. Since I went into Ellie’s character in depth with an earlier character interview with this blog, I will discuss Cassie and Edric here.

Cassie considers herself to be a very moral person, but she’s willing to set aside her beliefs—specifically about not dating a married man—when she meets her dream boyfriend. Since she grew up poor and had to work to support herself and her younger sister, she places a high value on material comforts and is attracted to rich, older men. Throughout the novel, she is torn between doing what she thinks is right and doing what her boyfriend wants her to do.

Edric is a pretty complex character. Like Cassie, he had to support his siblings, but, unlike her, he grew up rich. As a handsome and wealthy person, he’s used to getting his own way most of the time. He’s very skeptical of others, since most people just want to befriend him for money or for their fifteen minutes of fame. This has made him skeptical of those he deems to be “outsiders” or “coattail riders.” Even though his employees often describe him as a bit mercurial and tyrannical, he has a softer side to him. This comes out particularly when he interacts with his rambunctious younger brother, Owen. Those who know him best would describe him as a very emotional person, but very, very few people get to see this side of him. As a CEO, Edric works pretty much all the time—about eighty hours a week. He takes his work very seriously and isn’t prone much to flights of fancy.

When Edric meets the Kent sisters, their personalities clash. Cassie and Edric, both being outspoken people, butt heads a lot. Ellie is pretty intimidated by Edric’s strong personality and gets bulldozed over, and needs to learn to stand up for herself. I hope you will chose to learn more about my heroes and heroines and how they interact with each other by reading A Sibling’s Dilemma.

Wow! Fascinating, Molly! This sounds like quite a read!

Congrats on your new release. When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!

Let’s learn more about the novel with some teasers, shall we? 😉

And here is a peek into 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.”

Riveting! ♥♥♥ I hope you all get a chance to read this contemporary romance! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Molly! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

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.

Author Links

Thanks again, Molly, for giving us a peek into the world of your characters. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Isobelle Cate visits us on September 26th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have lots of other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, new release, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Tommy from WITHIN SIX MONTHS by Cleo Scornavacca

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Cleo Scornavacca, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Cleo! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

 

Tommy: The Unforeseen Hero

When I started to write my debut novel Miss Taken, book one in a three book series, I wanted it to be slightly different. I wanted my female lead to have a best friend, but not the typical girlfriend. I wanted her friend to be a guy. One, that as the story developed was not her childhood sweetheart, but instead her childhood hero.

Secondly, I wanted the lead alpha pursuing the female lead to have issues with her best friend, versus the female in the book having jealousy issues over  another woman.

Tommy’s character was all of that and more. The thing is ‘the more’ was very much of a surprise to me. Although he was a secondary character, he was quite strong and almost a third lead.

            That being said, when the books came out I received letters and emails from readers saying how much they loved Tommy. At first I put the comments in the back of my mind…yeah, he is great but he isn’t the alpha.

Tommy to me was the boy next door with the bad boy looks. Yet, because he was written as a secondary character in book one and was not being concentrated on heavily until the end of the book, I hadn’t realized at first what the readers were feeling. My focus was the two main characters and how they grew and interacted with each and with everyone around them.

As Rain’s character had to deal with an incredible amount of turmoil with Dominick in Miss Taken and in the following two books, Tommy become somewhat of the glue or the anchor that held her together, when Dominick wasn’t part of the scenario.

            He was her sounding board, her friend, her devil’s advocate. He was her light at times when there was darkness and he was the person that knew when to step up and to also step away and let her fly on her own.

He knew every part of her…the good, the bad and the ugly, but he was never her lover.

He was the unforeseen hero…especially for me as a writer. He was the character that took me by surprise, the one I didn’t see coming, yet now that I’m writing a new series with him as the alpha, he’s the character whose story I never want to end. The story that I want to do right by…to do Tommy’s character the justice he deserves.

His book, Within Six Months, is due out at the end of summer this year.

It’s the story of a man that always put everyone before himself and now the part of him that he neglected, the selfish part, wants to find true love. You would think with Tommy’s charm and sexy looks it would be easy, right?

Wrong.

You see, Tommy has set his sights on a girl who’s done with men and doesn’t want commitment, and even if Tommy could persuade her, in this story he has something far more difficult to deal with…a memory.

Jade, the female lead, lost a very important man in her life and much of her decision-making comes from the tragedy that took that man’s life. Tommy has learned to accept that he may never find love with her.

There’s only one problem…

She’s the only woman he wants.

The new book takes Tommy on an internal journey of how to cope with his past to move forward towards his future. He’s renovating a beach house, while almost renovating himself.  To top everything off, Tommy has given himself a time frame to get the girl, finish the house and start a family…

…all Within Six Months.

 

Wow! Fascinating, Cleo! This sounds like quite a read!

Congrats on your upcoming release. When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!

Let’s learn more about the novel with some teasers, shall we? 😉
Nice! ♥♥♥ I hope you all get a chance to read this contemporary romance when it comes out! 🙂

Cleo is giving away book one of the Miss Taken Identity Series, MISS TAKEN, in the cool offer below. 

.•° GIVEAWAY °•.

Instafreebie giveaway

Thank you for telling us about your contemporary romance, Cleo! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of Miss Taken, everyone!

Readers, please check out the whole series! It looks fantastic! And we’re all looking forward to the new series, Wild Roses! ♥

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Cleo! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

In 2012, Cleo began writing Miss Taken, her debut novel and book one in the Miss Taken Identity Series. Identity, book two, was published in 2014 and The Ties That Bind followed in 2016, which completed the series. In addition, Cleo is currently working on several other titles. Two of which are Within Six Months, one of four standalones in her new Wild Roses Series, which will feature the secondary characters from Miss Taken Identity, and The House On Leighton Avenue, which is an adult romance with a haunting twist; an unusual departure from her other books.

Cleo was honored to be a part of two anthologies. This Beautiful Escape: Volume One, contains her personal short story called “Small Gestures”. All of the proceeds to This Beautiful Escape go to the fund for Ataxia Awareness. Cleo is the senior columnist for Lust Bites Magazine and a proud member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the New Jersey Romance Writers (NJRW) organizations.

When she isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her family, friends and her Dobie, Brayden. Cleo enjoys reading all types romance, books on Italy, listening to 80’s metal bands, watching movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age, indulging in pink Prosecco and of course, squishing her feet in the sand down at the Jersey Shore every chances she gets.

Author Links

Website:  https://www.cleoscornavacca.com/

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/cleoscornavaccabooks

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/cleoscornavacca

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Cleo-Scornavacca/e/B00FW92ILS

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7242174.Cleo_Scornavacca

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/115250823507233903870

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

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

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cleo-scornavacca?list=author_books

Booksprout:  https://booksprout.co/author/482/cleo-scornavacca

 

Thanks again, Cleo, for giving us a peek into the world of your character. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Molly Lovell visits us on September 5th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have many other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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