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Book Feature: King in Chains by author Grey Francis

I am pleased to announce a great book by Grey Francis, an author I met during my journey! She’s stopping by to tell us about her awesome paranormal erotic romance, King in Chains, which released back in September!

Woo hoo! It’s always fun to discover new authors and books. 😀

Grey is allowing us a look at her sexy paranormal romance, King in Chains, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for King in Chains:

Two hundred years. For two hundred years, vampires Alastair and Cassie lived without their Master, Killian. Killian’s return is cause for rejoicing—and nights of unquenchable, burning passion—but Alastair still harbors the fear that his True Mate will abandon them once again.

Complicating matters, Killian still refuses to take his place as the rightful Vampire King, leaving it to Alastair to rule in his stead rather than serving as the Arm of Power.

As Alastair struggles with his doubts, a new threat appears in London. A new Master Vampire stalks the streets, launching brutal attacks on Alastair’s warrior patrols. When this dark new presence makes a brutal attempt on the life of Alastair’s son, war becomes a certainty.

With Cassie and Killian away on important business, Alastair must lead this war alone. He faces a dangerous foe: a necromantic Master Vampire of intense power and uncertain motivations—and intimate ties to Alastair’s past.

The second installment of Grey Francis’s erotic Into the Dark Woods series, King in Chains continues the sensual tale of Alastair and his lovers—and threatens to rip their eternal passion to shreds.

Ooh..interesting!

Let’s hear from the author! Hello, Grey! 🙂

Hi, readers!

Lovely to have you here, Grey! Tell us a little about this book.

A psychologically compelling and literary erotic novel, King in Chains reveals hidden secrets as a new enemy threatens all of Vampire Kind, one who offers the tormented Vampire King, Alastair, something his lovers, Cassie and Killian, never could. With the second novel, I was able to delve deeper into the psychology of the compelling but complex Alastair. As he struggles to resolve the scars of the past that still haunt him, he is confronted by a powerful and sadistic enemy, who threatens to destroy all those he loves and the realm he has built. I wanted to make King in Chains the story of a warrior’s reawakening, as Alastair discovers how to truly love and trust again. He must confront his darkest memories and greatest truths and learn to accept his fate as King, while fighting for those he loves.

Fascinating! King in Chains is the second erotic paranormal romance novel in the Into the Dark Woods series featuring the vampire trio Cassandra Monteclaire, Killian Monteclaire, and Alastair St. Germaine. What’s new for the trio in this sequel to Bound to a Vampire?

In the same way that Bound to a Vampire was told primarily from Cassandra’s perspective, focusing on her history and her journey, King in Chains is Alastair’s story. From his near death on a battlefield at age 10, to his early years as Killian’s Protector and Mate, this book sheds new light on the two men’s tumultuous and passionate relationship. In current day, the story picks up where Bound to a Vampire left off. Only now, it is Alastair who seeks answers. He questions Killian’s devotion to the sacred threesome when he refuses to take his place as King. Unlike the first book, there is a formidable single enemy, a female vampire from Alastair’s past threatening destroy all those Alastair loves and the realm he rules. It is his turn to fight, to visit the past and face his demons, seeking the answers he needs to save himself and his Mates.

Much of King in Chains focuses on Alastair’s mental state. What are some of the psychological issues he deals with in this novel?

When the book begins, Alastair is in therapy, trying to reconcile the trust issues he has with his Master and Mate, Killian. Two hundred years apart after being abandoned has left scars. However, Alastair carries with him a much deeper wound. Inside him lives a very real death wish. He will always feel guilty for being the only survivor of a battle during the 1600’s. As a Protector, warrior and later as a King, he has always believed his fate would eventually catch up with him. Twice now, his death has been predicted by Seers. The first time, he was resigned to it, but against all odds, Cassandra beat fate and brought him back. Now, centuries later, his death has been seen in a vision experienced by his son Haven. Haven is a precognitive and his visions of death are never wrong. Only this time, Alastair is up against an extremely dangerous enemy. But instead of telling his Mates, whose presence in battle would greatly better his chance of survival, Alastair tells no one of the vision, once again accepting his fate as a warrior and validating his own sense of sacrifice.

A necromantic Master Vampire of intense power stalks the streets of London in this novel. What can you tell us about this new villain, and how does it threaten Alastair and the rest of the vampire world?

Ever since Ashen was a little girl, she could speak to the dead. Her ability has always been exploited, but none worse than by her Vampire Masters, Violet and Ambrose. Ashen was also unfortunate enough to fall in love with Alastair after being sent to seduce him. Ultimately, she fails to break up Alastair and Cassandra, a plan orchestrated by her jealous Masters in exchange for eternal life. The last anyone saw Ashen, three centuries earlier, she had been sold to the vampire King of Russia, a collector of curiosities. In time, he would ultimately turn her into a vampire. But when Ashen becomes immortal, her dark gift transforms into something much more powerful and dangerous. Ashen, in her new form, can command the dead to do her bidding. And Ashen wants power. Even the strongest vampires cannot fend off her unearthly electrical attacks. But more than power, Ashen wants Alastair, the only man she’s ever loved, the vampire who rejected her, and the vampire who shares her she wolf spirit. She has waited a long time and now that the Russian King has been murdered, she has nothing holding her back.

What themes are explored in this novel and how do they affect Alastair, Killian, and Cassandra?

There are a few dominant themes in this book. The first is trust. Much of Alastair’s destructive actions throughout the book are driven by a lack of trust, primarily in Killian’s commitment to him when he refuses to take the throne that Alastair has held safe for centuries. Another important theme is the gift of life. Alastair has always struggled with his own long life when he believes he should have been dead centuries earlier. Alastair, deluded by the idea of sacrificing himself for the survival of his family, is forced to come to terms with the true value of his life and all those who depend on him. In a dream-like afterlife, wandering through death’s landscape, Alastair must revisit key moments in his long life to truly appreciate what a precious gift his life has been. And what it could be again – as a King, as a father, and a Mate. And what it means to lose it all.

King in Chains is your second erotic paranormal romance. What do you find challenging and/or interesting about this particular genre, and what have you learned after having written two books in this type of series?

The biggest challenge for me when writing this series is deciding which character’s story I want to tell next! I feel completely committed to Alastair, Cassandra and Killian’s world and all the fascinating vampires who inhabit their past and present. If I could change anything, it would be the ability to write faster! Writing erotica is very interesting because it needs to stay fresh and interesting. You don’t want to write the same bondage scene over and over. It needs to personify the characters and what they are personally going through at that moment. There is also a psychological component playing out in most of the erotic scenes. A Master must understand what each submissive needs in order to feel loved, safe and fulfilled. For Alastair, this might mean pain. For Cassandra it means to be completely overtaken. Balancing the psychological and erotic is always interesting for me. It became especially interesting with a character like Ashen, who simply doesn’t understand love and only wants control. That led to some pretty rough scenes. Going to the edge without going over it is a delicate balance and stretches me as a writer.

Are you working on another book and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes! It’s called The Shapeshifter’s Heart, and it focuses on Tristan, Forrest, and Eloise. Tristan is such an interesting character to me. The ability to transform into any human or vampire opens the door for all sorts of exciting storylines. Aside from being completely devastatingly attractive and irresistible to both males and females, Tristan is very old, a political mastermind, and a renowned Sexual Dominant. Even though he has been mated for centuries to Eloise, his heart stopped beating the minute his Natural Mate, Bella, was murdered by Torians in the 1500’s. In a way, Tristan takes care of everyone in his realm, including his King, but he is unable to truly feel anything for himself.  When Tristan takes over for Killian on a diplomatic mission across Europe while mentoring Forrest, Tristan discovers that Forrest’s former boss, and guardian, Cyril Winterman, who betrayed the entire Sentient organization, is hiding out in Scotland. In Scotland, Tristan finds himself in tremendous danger as he confronts the very vampire who killed his human clan and made him a vampire. Facing danger and exploring their growing bond to one another, Tristan and Forrest set out on a journey that will reveal great truths and change them both forever.

Sounds intriguing! Let’s read an excerpt from King in Chains

England, 1648

With Alastair tucked inside his cloak, the Scotsman moves fast, giving him the sense they are soaring through the night sky. When they stop, he hears the Scotsman talking to someone. Alastair opens one blurry eye and sees a young warrior standing at the doorway of a fancy carriage. The next time he wakes, the ground is moving beneath them, the carriage rumbling along the muddy road. Alastair is given something warm and strange to drink but he never opens his eyes to see what it is. He only knows it takes the pain away and makes him feel stronger. Alastair continues to sleep against the Scotsman’s chest for several hours, inhaling his wondrous scent, too exhausted to lift his head. Dreamlike, he hears the Scotsman talking to the warrior.

“He’s a wee lad. How could anyone put him out there?” the younger voice says disdainfully.

The Scotsman chuckles. “He’s a little warrior. I doubt he gave them much choice.”

“How’s the wound?” the younger voice asks.

“No longer bleeding . . . ” the Scotsman responds in a low, concerned voice.

After a long pause, the younger man asks, “What is it? Is something wrong with him?”

“No. Quite the opposite,” the Scot says, something unsteady in his commanding voice. “He doesn’t smell or taste like anyone I’ve ever met.”

“Killian, would it be best if I held him for a while?” the younger man responds with concern in his voice.

Killian.

“No,” Killian answers sharply. “It was just a moment. I can control myself.” There’s a long pause and Alastair senses Killian’s hand on his forehead, stroking him. “We must take care of him, Finn. He is someone to me.”

That is all Alastair hears before falling back to sleep. He wakes to find himself alone in the carriage, sleeping on a cushioned bench, a blanket tucked around him. They are stopped along a roadway, some sort of commotion taking place outside. Alastair moves tentatively at first because of his wound, but quickly realizes with astonishment there is no more pain. He pulls up his torn, bloodstained shirt and sees that his wound is wrapped in clean dressing and is no longer bleeding. Even the bite on his leg and the deep slice on his arm have miraculously begun to heal. His mind spins, trying to remember what the Scotsman did to him, what he drank. It had been something warm and strangely quenching, and not from a cup. The shouts outside quickly distract him and he moves to the window.

He sees that soldiers have stopped Killian, Finn, and their driver. Alastair’s heart pounds with fear, wondering if this has something to do with him. Listening closer, Alastair realizes the soldiers are asking for papers and hassling his rescuers. What fascinates him is how indifferent Killian and Finn seem to this inconvenience. They have no fear of these soldiers. On the contrary, Alastair gets the sense the Scotsman is goading them.

The next thing he knows, weapons are being raised and in a blur, Killian is no longer standing next to the carriage but in front of two soldiers, splitting them open and slashing their throats with what appears to be very long, sharp claws, leaving both men dead before they hit the ground. Finn takes the other two soldiers down in fast, lethal strokes of a blade. The last soldier, stunned and having no time to react, is clutched in the Scotsman’s arms, his head bent back as Killian sinks huge fangs into the man’s neck and drinks, blood pouring down his face. Killian’s two young warriors merely watch impassively, Finn whistling as he wipes off his sword and returns it to its sheath.

Observing this, Alastair breaks out in a cold sweat, coils of fear gathering inside him. Killian is no human. He’s seen the creature’s sharp fangs and claws, and the power and speed with which he killed the soldiers, as if they were made of straw. It also explains how he drove off the scavengers in seconds, killing most of them. Killian is some sort of monster that drinks blood—an undeniable and frightening fact. But watching Killian slaughter soldiers from the same army that annihilated his regiment is a spectacular sight to behold. Never had he seen faster or more ruthless kills, all done without a single weapon.

Darker thoughts dawn on Alastair. Impressed as he is, maybe he is being naive. It’s possible Killian only saved Alastair to feast on his fresh young blood later. Breathing hard and ready to flee, Alastair finds himself conflicted. It would be easy to slip out of the carriage with Killian busy feeding and Finn occupied with collecting the bodies into a heap. But something stops him. Perhaps it is the feeling of safety he experiences being close to Killian that still lingers seductively inside him. Never has Alastair known such a feeling. If Killian wished him harm, he had had plenty of opportunity. And why go to so much effort to heal his wounds if the Scotsman only means to kill him later? If anything, he seems highly protective of him.

He touches his wound, something coming back to him. A taste left in his mouth. It had been blood, Killian’s blood. That was what Alastair drank, not from a cup, but from the flesh. Thoughts begin to fit together, stories told around the fire, folklore. He should be afraid, very afraid, but instead he cannot pull his eyes away from Killian, fascinated by a creature of such power and speed, beauty and brutality. A vampire. A real, sodding vampire.

What people are saying about this book:

It is exciting, perplexing, heart-breaking, sexy and superbly entertaining!” – C.J. Populus, Amazon

It was a book that was never dull, and putting all of the sex and torture aside, it is a story of a deep never ending love between the three main characters. I recommend reading the books in order and I can’t wait till the next book in the series.” – Linda, Amazon

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B075V5LRQR

 

Wow! Great excerpt. ♥♥♥

Thank you for telling us about your book, Grey! 🙂

You can check out book one of the series too…

 

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! Or you can add it to Goodreads! 😉

Author Bio

Grey Francis, a native of Los Angeles, graduated with BA in Journalism before setting off for the New York publishing world. She later relocated back to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. She eventually put her fascination with the paranormal to work as a screenwriter, but it wasn’t until the birth of her series, Into the Dark Woods, that she found her voice as an erotic writer and novelist. Her first book, Bound to a Vampire, was published in January 2015 and the sequel, King in Chains, was released in September 2017.  Francis is currently hard at work on her third book in the series, The Shapeshifter’s Heart. When she isn’t writing, Francis is a busy full-time mother of two wonderful kids.

Author Links

Website:  http://greyfrancis.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/grey_francis

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

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13504371.Grey_Francis

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

 

Thanks again, Grey! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Dark Fantasy, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing

A Character Interview with Leona from UNFATHOMABLE LOVE plus a conversation with author Linda Diane Wattley!

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 Molly V. Lovell’s character back on August 29th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Diane Wattley, the author of Unfathomable Love, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Leona Tillard, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Linda in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Leona!

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

Character Leona Tillard:  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?

Leona:  Sure.

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

Leona:  I am a soldier in the U.S. Army.

Am I any good at it?  Yes, in less than two years my rank went from Private to Specialist Four as a Finance Specialist.

Do I like it? Yes, the main responsibility I had was making sure everyone got paid and the workload was very fair and purposeful.

Marie:  Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Leona:  In the beginning, my family consisted of two brothers and myself. Mark was the oldest, then me, and Dennis was the baby, along with both my mother and father. One day we became a merger family. My parents divorced, and my dad remarried, which put us in a position of now having a stepmother, two stepsisters and a stepbrother.

Marie:  Sounds complicated.

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?

Leona:  It was a beautiful white two-story house with a beautiful backyard with lots of flowers and trees.

Marie:  Great!

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

Leona: I enjoy reading books and going for long walks, especially at the park.

I like reading and writing, listening to music and dancing. I like being alone also.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Well, who doesn’t have those moments, right? 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Leona:  My greatest dream is finding out who I am and understanding what is normal.

Marie:  (Nods.) I think we all should understand ourselves better…

Let’s try another question.

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

Leona:  I wish I could be a person who is happy and fearless.

What’s stopping me?  My past is stopping me because I do not understand why I shy away from people who care about me, and I do not trust myself.

Marie: It’s tough when we have personal demons to work through.

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

Who was your first love?

Leona:  Andrew. We met in Kindergarten and were the best of friends. He was my secret crush until one day he told me we will eventually be more than friends.

Marie: Aww…so sweet. I remember those young crushes. ♥

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?

Leona:  Learning that my father took my virginity. That was a devastating reality because I wanted to be nun when I grew up. That made it impossible.

Marie:  Oh no! 😦 I’m so sorry. That must’ve been difficult. I have some personal experience with sexual abuse. I recently published a book dedicated to survivors of it. I can only imagine how hard that experience was for you, especially when you were so young and it happened with someone you should’ve been able to trust. I hope you’ve managed to find some peace over the years…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Leona 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?

Leona:  At first it was to be a nun and belong to God. Once I realized I couldn’t be a nun, I didn’t know what else I wanted to be.

I am still looking for a dream. I am still looking for me.

Never will I know if it was what I expected.

I never achieved the dream because I felt you had to be a virgin to be a nun. A nun is all I ever wanted to be when I was a kid.

Marie:  All right.

Again, I’m so sorry. 😦

(Clears throat.)

So, who is your role model, Leona?

Leona:  My grandmother is my role model. She always protected me and talked to me about God. And, she always told me I was special and one day I will understand why.

Marie: That’s wonderful, and she’s so right. She sounds like a wise woman!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Leona:  Myself. I don’t like myself because I feel so unworthy to be anything good or loved because I feel so dirty.

Marie:  It’s really hard to deal with shame. I’m still working through it.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Leona:  To begin again and put my past behind me.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think we’ve all felt that at one time or another…

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

Leona:  Dying is my greatest fear because I don’t know where I will be. I just know it won’t be with my family and friends.

Marie: A lot of people fear death. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. The unknown is often scary. My take? I don’t think we’re supposed to look that far ahead. Maybe it’s better to just live your life the best way you can, because you never know when your time will be up. 😉

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

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Leona. 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 Linda Diane Wattley on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Linda!

Author Linda Diane Wattley:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

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

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

Linda:  She is a troubled soul who is trying to find out who she is. In many ways she is an angel. Leona has a big heart to share with others along with a strong need to be loved.

Marie:  Well, I think we all need love in our lives.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Linda:  She is gentle, a good listener, and she has many gifts to share with the world. And, Leona is very smart and spiritual.

Marie:  Nice!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Linda:  Low self-esteem, a strong need to be loved and understood, and some self-anger.

Marie:  All right. Many of us have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Leona’s favorite foods?

Linda:  Barbecue, french fries, chicken, mashed potatoes and she loves homemade cookies.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds yummy!

How about another question?

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

Linda:  She has a pure heart and the gift of healing.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Linda:  They will love Leona Tillard because she is damaged merchandise, but she lives life to the fullest and is as real as they come. The reader will understand her choices, even though they are not always the best choices, especially when it comes to love.

Marie: Okay.

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

What first gave you the idea for Unfathomable Love?

Linda:  The love experiences that come into Leona’s life are overwhelming to comprehend. The love is so deep and intimate, and it happens more than one time for her. Who would you choose for her and why? You too could be making a huge mistake.

Marie:  Intriguing!

Let’s try something else.

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

Linda:  It is so surreal for me to write. I feel like a vessel receiving data to write as the words are revealed to me. There is not a book I have written that does not amaze me. There are underlined messages throughout all my books that I believe God wants people to know in a unique way.

Marie:  (Smiles.) I hear you…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 Unfathomable Love or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Linda:  No, not really because Charge of Angel was the first book of the series, which made a way for Unfathomable Love to flow through the process very easily.

I might self-publish because it would have been something worth learning, though I am thankful to have a publisher at this time.

Marie:  Right! In some ways, writing a sequel is easier because you already know a lot about the characters. 

And sure, it doesn’t hurt to have a publisher, though indie publishing is also an option.

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

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

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this inspirational romance by Linda Diane Wattley, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Unfathomable Love:

Charge of an Angel, the first of the “Love and Redemption Series”, continues as Leona Tillard, the survivor of an uncensored childhood love, begins her journey into the heart of Unfathomable Love.

When Leona graduated from high school, she joined the United States Army. It was then she learned there was plenty of love to go around; after all, the Army is one place where men outnumbered the women. Her only dilemma was figuring out which love was the best love for her to embrace.

Hearing the words ‘I love you’ heals our souls. The ironic thing about it, very seldom do two people share the same meaning for love. This is usually fine until someone else’s meaning of love changes our lives forever.

In Charge of an Angel, Leona Tillard asked for your help as she survived her daily childhood nightmare. Today, she is asking you to help her to choose the right man to love forever. Do I love the soldiers or do I love my big brother’s best friend?

Sounds like an easy task, doesn’t it? Trust me, you too just might choose the wrong one. Let’s see if we can save Leona once again.

 Lord God, so much love, help me choose!

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

Doug sat down, breathing hard and sweating. He had danced himself out. He put on a slow song, grabbed me by my arm and walked me down to the dance floor. Apparently, another girl had planned to dance with him and met us along the way. He kissed her on the cheek and kept walking while she gave me the evil eye. I smiled and kept on stepping.

He embraced me and our bodies melted together as we swayed to “Breathless” by Corrine Bailey Rae. He put my arms around his waist and I wrapped mine around his neck. Though I was a little taller than Doug, it didn’t take away from his ability to get his bump and grind going. I had never experienced this before. Between the high, his scent, and his perfect body, I was in another world. Each motion of his body felt like a request for a deeper caress. As the music played, our bodies became a new and emerging instrument that played a song so deep with emotions to stop would be a great loss.

My body wanted out of my clothes. I wanted the party to turn into a huge waterbed and everybody to disappear. But, the music began to fade. Abruptly, he released his hold and ran back to the platform to play the next song. Looking at me from a distance, his eyes looking through me, he motioned for me to come to him. I finally exhaled. I didn’t rush to him.  I just stood there and looked at him. The longer I stared at him, the longer and deeper he stared at me. By now the dance floor was filled with people, again.

The crowd danced around me as if I wasn’t there. I began to realize the feelings I felt with Doug were the same feelings I had experienced with Tony a long time ago. He and I met at my brother’s day camp when I was about sixteen years old. Our closeness had been leading to sex, but he cared enough about me to make sure we didn’t do it.

I didn’t know about Doug. He gave my body a lot in a room filled with people. I could only imagine what would happen if we were alone. Just the thought of it made me feel like a lit candle. If he blew on me, I would probably melt completely and disappear without a trace. I decided I’d better get out of there.

I slipped gracefully through the crowd and found my way outside the room. As I went to the lobby of the hotel, I saw a line of cabs waiting to take soldiers back on post. I floated out the front doors to a cab and sat down in the back seat. As the cab began to pull off, I felt wrong for leaving without telling Doug. Then, I realized it felt great knowing he would miss me. After all, he was too sure I was coming to the party.

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

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/1975939549

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7522050

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

About Linda Diane Wattley

Linda Diane Wattley is a proud veteran of the United States Army. Born in Akron, Ohio, she attended the University of Akron majoring in Psychology.

Over twelve years, a religious/philosophical columnist for the Frost Illustrated Newspaper in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 2016, she addressed PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, by writing Soldier with a Backpack, Living and Dying Simultaneously which made her a nominee for the ‘Best in Nonfiction’ during the African American Literary Awards Show.

Currently, she shares her “Love and Redemption Series”, which is a dramatically written story revealing intimate truths about molestation and the impact it has on a child’s soul. Leona is the child growing up and sharing her soul.  Keep her close to your heart.

Available today is the first of the series, Charge of an Angel.  Here you witness the early beginnings of the secrets of sexual abuse. And, the second book, Unfathomable Love. Never will you witness a love as unique and beautiful as the love waiting for Leona. God only knows what can become of it. You don’t want to miss it.

Currently she joined TLBTV and the Beacon Project as host of “The Truth Will Set You Free Show”, where you don’t have to be a celebrity to share your truth with the world.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Linda Diane Wattley, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.lindadianewattley.com/

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/universalove

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Diane-Wattley/e/B00JNTEYK6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14441999.Linda_Diane_Wattley

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

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

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Leona, a female character from Unfathomable Love, and Linda Diane Wattley, 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, Faith, Fiction, Guest Writer, inspirational romance, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

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

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

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

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

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Ellie:  Sure.

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

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

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

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

So, tell us…what is your family like?

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

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

Let’s try something else, okay?

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

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

Marie:  All right. Sure…let’s see.

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

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

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

So, what is your greatest dream?

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

Marie:  Nice! It definitely sounds like a plan…

Let’s try another question.

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

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

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

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

Who was your first love?

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

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

Marie: Aww…(sighs.) I love romance. ♥

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

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

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

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

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

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Ellie nods.]

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

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

Marie:  Happy to hear it!

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

So, who is your role model, Ellie?

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

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

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

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

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

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

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  No kidding!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

Marie:  Excellent!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

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

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

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Ellie’s favorite foods?

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

Marie:  (Laughs.) Interesting!

How about another question?

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

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

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

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

How about another question?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the blurb for A Sibling’s Dilemma:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mr. Kensington is ready for your interview.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I already have a copy, Eleonore.”

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

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

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

“I see.”

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

“What do you have to offer this office?”

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

“I…” Her hands started to shake.

Don’t cry, Ellie.

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

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

Ellie nodded her head. “Yes.”

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

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

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

Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

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

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

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

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

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

About Molly V. Lovell

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

Books:

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

Website:  MollyVLovell.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MollyVLovell

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Monday- Marie Lavender Interview and Spotlight.

Meet Marie Lavender! A little about the author- At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a…

Source: Meet Monday- Marie Lavender Interview and Spotlight.

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Filed under Authors, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Historical, Interview, Marie Lavender, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Science Fiction, Writing

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

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

zoey

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

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

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Zoey:  Sure.

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

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

Do I like it? Absolutely love it!

Marie:  Great to hear! 😀

Tell us…what is your family like?

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

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

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

Let’s try something else, okay?

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

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

Marie:  All right.

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

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

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

Marie:  (Laughs.) Nice! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Zoey:  Derrick.

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

Okay, back to the interview.

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

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

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

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

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

Who was your first love?

Zoey:  Derrick Hendrickson.

secondhalf2-full-cover

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

So…let’s try another question.

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

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

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Zoey nods.]

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

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

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

Marie:  Wow! Tough times.

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

So, who is your role model, Zoey?

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

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

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

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

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

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Zoey:  To be loved.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!

What is your greatest fear?

Zoey: Spending my life alone and unloved.

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

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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

Marie: Oh no, the honor is mine.😀

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

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

Marie:  (Laughs.)

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

Marie:  Definitely admirable!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

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

Marie:  Sorry to hear that… 😦

What are some of Zoey’s favorite foods?

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

Marie:  (Giggles.) Nice!

How about another question?

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

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

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

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

Marie: Definitely!

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

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

What first gave you the idea for Second Half?

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

Marie:  Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Sorry to hear about your dad. 😦

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for the additional tips!

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

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

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Here is the blurb for Second Half:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus… pull it together, Zoey!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ooh! Interesting! I love the tension here…🙂

Purchase Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Monica DeSimone

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

Book:

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

Website:  www.monicadesimone.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MonicaDe12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Character Izzy: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Izzy:  Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us…what is your family like?

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s try something else, okay?

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

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

Marie:  Very true…

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

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

Oh, and I read the tabloids regularly.

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

So, what is your greatest dream?

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

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

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

Marie: All right.

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

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

Marie: That’s true.

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

Who was your first love?

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

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

So…let’s try another question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Izzy nods.]

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

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

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

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So, who is your role model, Izzy?

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

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

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

It sounds like your grandmother was a very special person.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

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

Marie:  Okay.

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

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

Marie:  That’s true.

How about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

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

Marie: That’s great!

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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

Marie: Really, the honor is mine. 😀

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

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

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

Marie:  Great!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

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

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

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

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

Marie:  (Laughs.) Well, who doesn’t?

How about another question?

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

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

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

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

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

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

Marie: Thank you for your honesty.

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

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

What first gave you the idea for Dandelions?

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

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

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it has been an amazing experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Here is the blurb for Dandelions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was teasing me and it was working.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You are a meanie,” I told him.

“Am I?”

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

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

Ooh! Interesting! 🙂

Purchase Links:

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

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

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

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

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

About Vivienne Vincent

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

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Book:

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VivienneVincen8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Astrid: Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  Wow! That’s great!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

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

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

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

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds like a plan…

And what is your greatest dream?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who was your first love?

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

Marie: (Waves to Victor.)

Okay, let’s try something else.

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

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

Marie:  Scary indeed!

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Astrid nods.]

Who is your role model?

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

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

Sounds like she’s a special person.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

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

Marie:  Lovely to hear!

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

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

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

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

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

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So, how about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

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

Marie: You’re right about that.

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

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

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

And what are some of Astrid’s favorite foods?

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

Marie:  (Smiles.)

How about another question?

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

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

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

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

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

Marie: (Laughs.) All right.

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie: It’s my pleasure!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You don’t seem very distracted now.”

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

“Is Reggie okay?” she asked.

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

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

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

How wrong she had been.

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

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

“I want to do more than kiss you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ooh! So sexy! ♥♥♥ 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/ACowboysTrueColors

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

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

Lana teaser

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

About Lana K. Dempsey

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

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

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

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

Books:

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

Website:  http://www.lanadempsey.com

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lanadempsey1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Luke: Okay.

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

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

Marie:  Wow, that’s impressive!

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

Marie:  All right.

Tell us…what is your family like?

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

Marie:  Sorry to hear about your mother. 😦

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  (Clears throat.) Okay…

So, what is your greatest dream?

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

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 🙂

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

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

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

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

Who was your first love?

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

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

Sounds like she was a special person.

Okay, let’s try something else.

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

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

Marie:  Wow! Sorry to hear that happened.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Luke nods.]

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

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

Marie:  Intriguing, for sure!

So, who is your role model, Luke?

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

Marie:  All right.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Luke:  Cilla Williams.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Luke: To grow old with Gracie.

Marie:  Aww…I love romance. ♥

Be Mine

How about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Luke: To lose Gracie.

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

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

Logan:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

Isobelle

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

Always an honor. 😀

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

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

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

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

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

Marie:  All right.

What are his greatest weaknesses?

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

Marie:  So sweet! ♥ ♥ ♥

Let’s try something else.

What are some of Luke’s favorite foods?

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

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

How about another question?

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

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

Marie:  Very true.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

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

Marie: All right.

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

Isobelle:  Bring it on. 😉

Marie:  (Laughs.)

What first gave you the idea for Be Mine?

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

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

Let’s try something else.

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

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

Marie:  Yeah, I can see the appeal…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Mine

Here is the blurb for Be Mine:

Gracie Sinclair just wants life to return to normal.

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

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

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

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

If he refuses, he loses Gracie’s heart…  

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

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

Riveting! 

Purchase Links:

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

B&N:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_Cate_Nook

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_Cate_Kobo

Inktera:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_ICate_Inktera

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

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

About Isobelle Cate

Isobelle

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

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

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Books:

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You and I Cover

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Be Mine

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

Website:  www.isobellecate.weebly.com

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

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

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

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

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/bMmwT5

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

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

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

3 Comments

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

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

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

Logan and Jenna

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

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

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Logan: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

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

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

Marie:  Wow, that’s impressive!

As for the other questions…

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

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

That’s great!:)

So, tell us…what is your family like?

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

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

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

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

Marie:  I’m so glad you found one! 😉

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

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

Marie:  Okay.

So…what is your greatest dream?

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

Marie:  That’s very admirable.

Let’s try another question.

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

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

Marie: (Laughs.) Aww…

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

So sweet.

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

Who was your first love?

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

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

Texas Chaos

Okay, let’s try something else.

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

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

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

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Logan nods.]

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

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

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

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

Marie:  All right.

Who is your role model, Logan?

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

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

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

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

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

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

Marie:  Sounds like the perfect plan…

How about another question?

What is your greatest fear?

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

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

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

Logan:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

sable

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

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

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

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

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

Marie:  For sure!

And what are his greatest weaknesses?

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

Marie:  So true…

Let’s try something else.

What are some of his favorite foods?

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

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

How about another question?

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

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

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

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

(Giggles.) I’m sure they will too!:)

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

What first gave you the idea for TEXAS CHAOS?

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

Great! I love how the muse works.

Let’s try something else.

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

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

Marie:  All right.

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

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

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

Marie:  Sounds like a blast!

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

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

Texas Chaos

Here is the blurb for TEXAS CHAOS:

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

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

Ooh…so hot! 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/TexasCHAOS

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

About Sable Hunter

sable

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

Books:

Love Me I Dare You

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Texas Chaos

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51B5MeKUgEL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_

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

Website:  http://sablehunter.com/

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable

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

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

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn

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

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

5 Comments

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

New Release Feature: Starlight’s Curse by author K.C. Sprayberry

I am pleased to announce a cool book release by K.C. Sprayberry, an author I met during my journey! Her romantic suspense, Starlight’s Curse, officially released today, April 26th! Yay! That’s awesome, K.C.! :)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

K.C. is giving us a fun look at her new contemporary suspense novel, Starlight’s Cursre, today.

Starlight's Curse-001

Nice cover! As the author, can you tell us a little about your book?

KC

Author K.C. Sprayberry:  The South is full of mansions of the former glory, some restored to how they were back then, and others left to rot over time. Those homes are the ones that fascinate me, drive me to wonder what stories their walls could tell. Starlight’s Curse was born of a local home that was once beautiful but even more than a million dollars in renovations couldn’t restore it to its former glory. Seeing that place, one can’t help but get a creepy feeling… and that was the beginning of Starlight.

Marie: Ooh! Love a story centered around a creepy house. 😉

My assistant is telling me your characters just arrived. How exciting! It was lovely talking to you, K.C. Pardon us for a moment while we learn a bit more about your awesome new release…

We have Jayme Barclay on the stage. Hello, Jayme! It’s such a pleasure to meet you!

scene 21_poppy montgomery as jayme 2

Character Jayme Barclay: Hello! It’s nice to be here.

Marie:  Introduce yourself to our readers. Where do you fit into the story? And what should we know about you?

Jayme: My name is Jayme Barclay. I grew up in Landry. Went away to college but came back after only a semester. My baby, Tawni, was all I cared about once she was born. Not that some of the old women around here thought the same. They were always giving me trouble about being an “unwed mother.” Everyone wanted to know who Tawni’s daddy was, but I couldn’t let those women destroy his life, like they tried to do to me. No one was going to make me hide away in shame… until that night.

Marie:  Okay. What are your feelings about this story, Starlight’s Curse?

Jayme: We have to tell this story. Everyone has to know, so they realize it’s never all right to accept what you know is wrong as the truth. And to fight for what you believe in. At first, after I lost my baby, I just wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and join her. But then I found a reason to live, a reason to tell her daddy what I took from him, and a reason to fight back.

Marie: I can respect that. How do you feel about being a character in this book?

Jayme:  People won’t see me at my best, but the time frame of this story was possibly the worst moment of my life. So, I like being a character in this book. Everyone will think I’m a fool at the beginning, for running away and hiding, but I come back and I’m ready to fight to do what’s right. That’s all that counts.

Marie: What do you see in your future? No spoilers please!

Jayme:  I love my future. And if you want to know why, you’re going to have to read the whole book.

Marie: Great!

Is there a sequel to Starlight’s Curse in the future? Will you be part of it?

Jayme:  Oh, I can’t spoil the ending, but honestly… I’m not sure.

Marie: Say a movie producer comes knocking. What actress would you want to play you and why?

Jayme:  Poppy Montgomery. She not only looks exactly like me, but her role in Unforgettable is the same kind of person I am.

Marie: All right. Thank you for stopping by, Jayme! (Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now we have Brad Patterson on the stage. Hello, Brad! 😀

scene 23_eddie cibrian as brad 1

Character Brad Patterson:  Hi. Thanks for having me here.

Marie: My pleasure. So, if you can, take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?

Brad:  Brad Patterson here. Jock in high school, graduated Purdue with a Criminology degree, and came back home. Boy, was I knocked over with a feather when I saw the girl I’ve always loved had a kid. And there was no daddy around. That didn’t matter to me. Tawni and me? We got along great. She was always like my kid. You should have seen her fishing when she wasn’t but six. Sat for hours until a catfish grabbed her bait. And her mama, what can I say? I’ve loved Jayme since we were both in high school. One day, I’m gonna marry Jayme.

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

So, what are your feelings about this story, Brad?

Brad: I got knocked in the gut by a bunch of stuff that happened in this story. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, should ever go through what Jayme endured. That evil, wicked stepmother of hers deserves whatever happens to her. Nobody hurts my Jayme and gets away with it.

Marie: Okay. How do you feel about being a character in this book?

Brad: Wouldn’t be a book without me. (Laughs.) Well, I guess it could, but I certainly wouldn’t want to let Jayme handle a situation like she faced alone. Although, (cough, cough) I still want pictures of that one move she made. Lots of pictures.

Marie: (Chuckles.) What do you see in your future? No spoilers please!

Brad:  Oh, my future is definitely looking up. Jayme and I… ah, that’ll spoil the ending. Guess you’ll have to figure out where Jayme and I go by reading the book.

Marie: Definitely! 🙂

Is there a sequel to Starlight’s Curse in the future? Will you be part of it?

Brad:  I’d like to say I hope not, but I’m a cop. There’ll always be jerks in this world trying to make people hurt just because they can. Sure hope there really isn’t another one like what we went through. That just plain hurt.

Marie: Say a movie producer comes knocking. What actor would you want to play you and why?

Brad:  A movie? You mean someone would actually want to make a movie about our story? Well… I think Eddie Cibrian would do a fine job portraying me. Kind of looks like me too.

Marie: (Giggles.) Uh, yeah, you are so right there. Sounds like a plan! 😉

Well, Brad, it was a pleasure meeting you! I think one of your co-stars is coming up shortly.

Brad:  Thanks for letting me visit! (Waves and heads off the stage.)

Marie: (Returns the wave.) Of course. (Clears her throat.) So, readers, we also have Jake Haskins, pardon me, I mean…Sheriff ‘Big Jake’ Haskins on the stage!

Wow! I don’t think we’ve had a sheriff before! A pleasure to meet you! (Shakes his hand.)

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Character Sheriff Big Jake Haskins:  Hello. The pleasure is mine, ma’am.

Marie: Please introduce yourself to our readers. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?

Big Jake:  You want to know about me? I’m just a country sheriff, who grew up on the mountain. Like a lot of mountain folk, I didn’t have an easy life. Big Jake Haskins is my name. And I treat everyone fair, until they break the law. You see, I’m not at all like the typical Southern sheriff. That’s because I made a vow when I was just thirteen, and I aim to keep it the rest of my life.

Marie: All right. What are your feelings about this story?

Big Jake:  Sorry story, if you ask me. If the sheriffs who’d been in charge when I was a kid had been honest, it wouldn’t have happened. But they were as corrupt as they come, so it was up to me to fix things. Took me forty years to figure everything out, but I’m not someone who gives up easy.

Marie: So, how do you feel about being a character in this book?

Big Jake: Pretty good tale, if you ask me. Kind of glad I got to be in it. As I said, I grew up hard, didn’t ever have much. Thanks to a pretty good bunch of people who believed in me, I’m going places. Might not be too happy about that now, but things will change. They sure will…

Marie: What do you see in your future? No spoilers please!

Big Jake: Oh, a lot of things. Definitely changes. Can’t say much about that, though. It would give away too much.

Marie: I respect that.

Is there a sequel to Starlight’s Curse in the future? Will you be part of it?

Big Jake: (Leans back in comfortable studio chair, shakes head slowly.) Now, I’m a realist. Had to be, after what I saw and experienced as a kid. I’d sure like to say there’s no chance of all that happening again. But I know people, and some are pure evil.

Marie: All right.

Say a movie producer comes knocking. What actor would you want to play you and why?

Big Jake: A movie. (Snorts.) Who’d want to make a movie. (Nods head.) Yeah, I can see there being a movie. It’s got all the elements of a good story. Who would I want to play me? Why, that David Boreanaz fellow. You know, that guy who’s in Bones.

Marie: (Grins.) I Love Bones

Well, it was a pleasure to meet you, Sheriff. (Shakes his hand once more.)

Big Jake: Thanks for the invite. You have a nice day, ma’am. (Heads off the stage.)

Marie: (Looks a little starstruck.) It’s uncanny, right? He really does look like David Boreanaz. I hope my palms weren’t sweaty. Good Lord, his hands were huge! (Laughs a little.)

Well, there you have it, readers. After meeting the author and the characters, let’s learn more about this fascinating book.

Here is the blurb for Starlight’s Curse.

The discovery of three teenage girls found hanging from an ancient elm tree, alleged suicides, on the grounds of abandoned Starlight Mansion by a teenage boy sets him on a mission to find the truth. Nearly forty years later, now the sheriff, Big Jake finds himself drawn into the investigation of a mysterious “suicide” and the disappearance of another teenager.

Jayme Barclay sees her fifteen-year-old daughter swinging on a rope from a tree at the mansion the county commissioner is turning into a resort. Brad Patterson loses a piece of himself when he answers the 911 call to get to Starlight on a snowy December night.

A year later, the mystery surrounding Tawni’s alleged suicide still haunts both Jayme and Brad. Big Jake has been shackled in this investigation, much like another sheriff so many years ago.

Reluctant teens hold back information, until Jayme returns to the hometown she abandoned, to find the truth. Brad hates that he had to intrude on her grief, but also believes this is his chance to redeem himself for not protecting the daughter of the woman he loves. Big Jake suspects who the killer is and that the person isn’t done yet, but must stand back and allow a younger man to stand up against a powerful and corrupt group of politicians.

Here is an excerpt.

Sleet and snow whipped around Starlight Mansion. A young teen, a mere thirteen-years-old, scampered in and around the tree stumps, scooted around boulders filling a former field where corn had once grown tall, and laughed as the winter storm pelted his face and bare hands. Jake Haskins had no problem with the bitter cold. Not one bit. Even the legends surrounding the long abandoned, decrepit mansion didn’t bother him.

Being the normally curious boy that he was, Jake crept up on the rear of the fabled house and tiptoed onto the back porch. Planks creaked under his boots, held together with duct tape around the toes. There’d been hints he’d get a new pair tomorrow, if he was good. He figured being good meant staying away from Mama until she cooled off after their earlier confrontation. Of course, she might not cool off much, since their words had been those of an exasperated woman putting up with half a dozen young children and a surly teen stuck in a house that was too small at best. Getting angry with his life had never been something Jake did, but he was fed up with being called a poor pig farmer whose daddy couldn’t rub two nickels together.

His dreams were big. Huge, some might say. No one up here on the mountain, with the exception of the Gleasons, had anything but a hard life. They worked from sunup to sundown, Monday through Saturday only to have to start again in the new week. Children went without more often than not, and parents bewailed their lot in life, all the while teaching the next generation to continue the same problematic lifestyle, dropping out of school and taking low paying jobs at the local factories and mills.

But not Jake. He’d decided long ago that he’d one day be the county sheriff. He’d be a most excellent lawman, never once lying, or falsely accusing a family of doing wrong because they were dirt poor. Heck, he figured he’d seen enough up here to put the current sheriff, Jameson Emerson Waldon II in prison, if anyone outside Wallis County would believe Jake when he reported the mystifying comings and goings at Starlight Mansion. It was purely wrong for all those men to creep about inside that falling down building for hours on end. And the screams from what sounded like women hurt his ears and his heart. Jake had tried more than once to get the goods on the people Sheriff Waldon brought up here, but had been caught and threatened with the Mountain Home for Unrepentant Boys on more than a few occasions.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01ERRNFWQ

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6232743

Ooh! ♥♥♥

This looks like an interesting romantic suspense!

Thank you for telling us about your book, K.C.! It sounds like a riveting tale! 😀

Starlight's Curse-001

Author Bio

KC

 

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

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines.

Author Links

Website:  www.kcsprayberry.com

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005DI1YOU

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KcSprayberry/posts

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

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/boards/

Manic Readers:  http://www.manicreaders.com/KCSprayberry/

AUTHORSdb:  http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5230-k-c-sprayberry

 

K.C.’s Books:

Starlight's Curse-001

The Lie

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FamilyCurse

 WhoAmI

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Thanks again, K.C., for showing us your new release and letting your characters come to the studio!  ♥

Happy reading, everyone! And we hope to see you back on ILRB sometime, K.C. 😉

6 Comments

Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thriller/Suspense