Friday, September 28, 2012

#Character Interview ~ Jennifer Cruz Jones from Broken Build by @AyalaRachelle

I'm here with Jennifer Cruz Jones, star of the exciting new romantic suspense, Broken Build, by Rachelle Ayala. Thanks for coming here today, Jen!

First off, I have to say that you look fantastic! How did you lose all that weight?
Jen Cruz Jones

Jen: It was hard, but I wanted to shed my past, and a lot of it had to do with unhealthy habits. I joined a gym and watched what I ate. But hanging around Dave is a hazard. He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to cut his Burger King allowance soon.

Oops, he’s not going to like it. I thought one of the reasons he was attracted to you was because you asked him to buy you a Whopper.

Jen: Whopper Jr. Ha, no worries. I’m not a control freak like Jocelyn, at least not until he says, “I do.”

Hmmm…. I hope he doesn’t read this interview.  I understand you work as an engineer for David Jewell's new software company.  He is one hunky man.  Want to tell us a little bit about him?

Jen: This is under nondisclosure, right? Actually, I don’t really want to talk about him other than he’s an awesome guy and he’s the boss.

I heard a rumor you and Dave have a connected past. Anything you want to say about that?

Jen: Definitely no comment. It was not one of the better moments in my life and I’m sure it’s all been rehashed in the gossip blogs already.

Darn the gossip blogs! Is there anything you want to set straight?

Jen: Yes, that I’d give my life if I could have a do-over.

Sounds pretty serious... 

Well, moving right along - what is it you like about Dave so much?  What about him drives you nuts?

Jen: Still trying to get my opinions on Dave? You’re pretty persistent. But Dave is a better man than most people think. He’s got a soft heart and cares about the underdog. That’s why he spends time in the Big Brother program. He also finds it hard to say “no” and deny people requests, which sometimes gets him into trouble, especially since he is the CEO and has to make the hard calls. For example, the alarm company we contracted was not doing their job maintaining the equipment. Dave kept paying them and letting it slide because the owner was a disabled Vietnam veteran, a friend of his father. And of course, he felt guilty that his former roommate was not hired as lab manager. I mean, the guy showed up half-stoned at the interview. So Dave lends him his car to go job-hunting. But all this was not any of my business since I’m just the lowly build engineer.

Sounds like he's a pretty giving man and has a big heart. I can see how that would attract many women.  However, no matter how caring and giving a person is, sometimes it's hard to look past the really bad stuff. Do you think people can be forgiven for making a mistake that ends up destroying another person's life? Can you?

Jen: I’d like to be able to say “yes.” But it’s a tough one. If someone destroyed my life, particularly if it involves a family member, I’d want to hate them for the rest of their life. But part of healing and letting go is to forgive. I do hope my heart is big enough to forgive someone who ruined my life. But even if I forgive them, I might not want anything to do with them, you know what I mean?

Yes, I do. We should all strive to move past the bitterness of any times we've been wronged.

Tell us a bit more about you, Jen. What is it you really want? What's your fondest wish?

Jen: I’ve always wanted a big happy family, mother, father, kids, pets, a backyard, and family traditions that are handed down. I grew up with a single mother and a sister and felt like I was always on the outside looking in. I wanted to be surrounded by people who I love and who love me. My fondest wish is to someday be the great-grandmother and sit in a rocking chair in front of a fire smiling at a full house of adults, children, and pets while they enjoy each others’ company.

Sounds nice. I hope you get that wish. You’ve had to deal with a murder investigation, blackmail, kidnapping, extortion and still keep Dave’s company from folding. How did you keep your head together?

Jen: *laughs* I didn’t. But I had a goal to redeem myself and as long as I focused on what was really important, the rest seemed to blur by.

Sure was horrible and exciting at the same time. So, I know you are really good friends with Rachelle Ayala. Can you give us a hint about what she is doing now that she's not hanging around you and Dave anymore?

Jen: She’s onto a story possibly more emotionally wrenching than mine and Dave’s, although what went on with Dave was beyond what most people could have tolerated. I’m secretly cheering for her two lovers, Maryanne and Lucas, but they have a tough road ahead of them.

I look forward to hearing more about Maryanne and Lucas in the future.

To read more about Jen and Dave Buy Broken Build on Amazon!

Thanks again for agreeing to be here today, Jen. It was nice chatting with you. 

While you are reading Broken Build, don't forget about Rachelle Ayala's first book, Michal's Window.  Enter for a chance to win it as a free ebook. Or, if you don't want to wait for the giveaway, buy it from Amazon here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chantel's Sensational Secondary Characters ~ The Girly Book Blog Hop

This blog hop organized by Libby Mercer (thanks, Libby) has prizes associated with each hop, so don't forget to check out my giveaway below and then hop to all the other blogs to read about their characters and enter their individual giveaways!

Ah, secondary characters. What can I say about them? They are fabulous. I have so many secondary characters that love to steal scenes and the hearts of my readers. I'm going to highlight the most popular ladies.

Zach and Lilly are the heroes of my recently released romantic suspense, Always & Forever, but I span generations with my scene-stealing secondary characters (now, say that sentence five times fast - LOL).

First, we'll start of with Margaret Woodbridge.  Margaret is Zach's grandmother. She is the matriarch of this wealthy family, but she and her husband didn't come from money; rather, they built their company from the ground up. Because of this, Margaret has a unique perspective on life different from the rest of her family. She doesn't tolerate nonsense, ignores gossip, and she's quite the matchmaker. I've had several people tell me she's their favorite character in the entire book. I must confess, I absolutely love her!

Next up, Sarah Smith, Zach's sister.  Sarah is tough and tell things like they are, but she also has a soft side and tries to be polite. She's always there for Zach when he needs some timely advice - or a kick in the rear end to get him moving the right direction.  I think she may be tied so far with votes for favorite secondary character from my readers who have expressed a preference.

Finally, I'd like to highlight little Savannah Smith, Zach's niece.  Savannah is six years old and very opinionated. She's not afraid to tell someone they are being rude, especially if they've hurt someone she cares about. Savannah stole every scene she appeared in, and a couple people asked if I couldn't just squeeze her into a few more!

The secondary woman I'm loving in my new work in progress, Crime & Passion, is a bit different in nature from my prior supporting ladies.

Suzie Stone thinks she is in love with my hero, Donovan. Unfortunately for Donovan, Suzie is more than a little unstable. So far, she is playing a much larger role than I expected her to when I first thought her up, but her brand of crazy has been all sorts of fun to write!

Who is your favorite secondary character? Who stayed with you long after you finished the book they appeared in?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to hop to the other blogs and read about their amazing secondaries! Happy reading everyone!

Also, my blog tour is very busy today! I have two things - a great interview with J.A. Beard and a guest post about my writing journey at Dariel Raye's Place 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Self-publishing and pricing your ebook

Always & Forever has been published for a little while now, and it's been quite the learning experience.  One thing I've learned for certain, it is a lot of work to self publish! And, there is no guarantee that anything you do is actually gathering in sales for you. 

The thing that helped me the best? When I first put my book up, I put it at 99 cents for friends and family, and didn't advertise it at all. If you remember, I had a post a while ago about Self-publishing and Money in which I said I thought free and 99 cents was way too low to sell your work at, and asked what everyone thought was a fair price (because I also thought, and still think, that anything above $5 is too much for an e-book, no matter who wrote it).  I was adamantly against selling for 99 cents, but here's what I discovered:

In the first week that my book was 99 cents, I sold forty copies (although I only had about 10 people I knew buy it). I wasn't telling anyone, people just found my book at 99 cents and decided to take a chance on it. My ranking rose fast, and everything was kind of cool.  Then, I raised my price to $3.49 in preparation for announcing that it was available. Really, this is a more than fair price, I think.  I sold exactly 3 copies the next week (and two of those were sold before Amazon raised the price). 

Hmmm... that wasn't good! So, I joined and their tweet teams the next week, hearing this is a good way to get exposure for your book. At the same time, a book blogger put up a 5-star review for Always & Forever on their website. I sold one book that week. I have no clue if it was the tweets or the review. Over the next week, I sold a couple, but nothing to write home to Mom about. 

So, I'm eating crow now with my previous opinion. I've decided maybe for your first book, you have to sell at 99 cents, at least for a while, to get your name out there and start getting great reviews. I've lowered the price on mine back to 99 cents for the time of my blog tour, and might keep it there for a while longer afterward to see what that does to sales. 

After all, the whole point is to build a readership, right? If no one takes a chance on my books, I'll never sell any. However, no matter how much I love writing, I need to be able to at least break even on the price I'm paying for cover art and editing if I'm going to continue to publish them. Eventually, I'd like to make much more than that and make writing my full time job--isn't that every writer's dream?

One step at a time. If, in a few years, I can pay my power bill every month with what my books are earning, that would be success!  I read yet another blog article this week endorsing the idea that the way to sell books is to write more of them, and that marketing doesn't matter as much as having a large shelf of books available.  I agree with that, and my energy needs to go toward finishing my work in progress, Crime & Passion, not marketing. When I'm looking for a new author to try, unless a book is recommended to me by a friend, I always look for one with a lot of titles out because, if I like them, I'll have things to read for a while without taking a chance on yet another new author. I wonder if other people do this as well...I'm sure some must.

After writing this article, a friend of mine brought to view this very informative blog post on pricing.  Seems no one knows exactly what the answer is, but this is a good read

Don't miss my interview today with Melinda Dozier on my book tour for Always & Forever. Check out her blog while you're there. She just received a publishing contract and her book will be out next summer! Yay, Melinda!

Happy writing everyone! 


Monday, September 24, 2012

#BookReview ~ Shiver Sweet by H.C. Elliston

Romantic Suspense Thriller Shiver Sweet.

Author:  H.C. Elliston
My rating:  4 stars

Shiver Sweet is the newest in H.C. Elliston's line of suspense novels. It is definitely worth reading.

Christa and Nicola live in a remote location far from other houses and a huge snowstorm comes through town, complicating matters further. They are separated when Christa goes to look for her missing daughter, and Nicola gets the surprise of her life. Things aren't what they appear. You never know who's watching.

Honestly, this started off a little slow for me because I had a hard time connecting with Christa at the very beginning. However, I absolutely loved Nicola, and her chapters kept me eagerly reading along. I think it might have been the way things switched from first-person point of view to third-person point of view. I'm much more partial to third person. However, about 30% through, Christa and I started clicking as well and then I could not put it down.

The author kept upping the tension throughout this story, and things just got better and better as I went along.  A true romantic at heart, I liked to see the little love story played out in this book as well.  Everything blended together to lead up to the perfect ending.

I thought the plot was well-constructed and the bad guys creepy. Overall, a good read that I recommend.

Amazon product page

Also, don't forget about my blog tour. Today, there is an All About the Heroes interview with Denise Moncrief, and really, who doesn't want to talk about those sexy men?

Happy reading everyone! Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Sweet romance ~ #Spotlight on Melinda Dozier

Here's another great author in my ongoing quest to introduce my fabulous critique partners!  Melinda Dozier writes contemporary romance, and she has the sweetest characters. You'll love them!

I 'met' Melinda through last winter.  We quickly realized we had a lot of the same likes and dislikes and similar habits; we definitely share a brainwave. Despite our personal similarities, she writes in a vastly different style than me and it's a lot of fun to swap critiques and reach each others' material, and she always has terrific advice for me.

Time Changes EverythingRight now, I'm super excited to announce that Melinda received a contract with Entranced Publishing, and her novel (which I've already been lucky enough to read) Time Changes Everything, will be released June 3, 2013! Wait to go, Melinda! I'm so excited for you!

Time Changes Everything is a great book about Amanda Larson, a girl who always had a crush on the 'boy next door.' She meets up with Jake Edwards seven years after their first and only date, and even though Amanda believes Jake will always think of her as the little "squirt" from next door, things are pretty explosive between them from the get go! However, there are problems on the horizon. Jake and Amanda will have to overcome a lot of obstacles if they are ever going to reach their 'happily ever after.'  Check out her cover! Beautiful!

To follow along with Melinda in her journey to publication, and also for the latest information on when you can catch a sneak peak of her work and other things, follow her blog and for a glimpse of her book blurb and links to snippets from her book, follow this link - Time Changes Everything. Romance lovers, you are going to want to watch out for this name. I've also read the first couple chapters of Melinda's current work in progress - all I can say is, I'm loving it! So much fun!

UPDATE: Time Changes Everything was bumped up! It will be available May 13, 2013! Yay!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend!


P.S. Don't forget to check out today's stop on my blog tour for Always & Forever.  Christina McKnight has me over there for an interview, talking about my book and also a bit about my writing process

Monday, September 17, 2012

#BookReview ~ Broken Build by @AyalaRachelle

New Romantic Suspense Technothriller

Rachelle Ayala's Broken Build. 
Broken Build
My rating: 4 stars

I read Broken Build as Rachelle worked it through the critique groups at I then acted as one of her beta readers for the final product. Below is my Amazon and Goodreads review.

Fast paced and thrilling! This will keep you up long past your bedtime, chasing bad guys and falling in love.

Jen Jones has a terrible secret and when her past collides with her future, things heat up. Sexy Dave Jewell may just be the man to help her out, but he’s also the person who can destroy her.

Ayala has done it again in a book that, though much different from her last title (Michal’s Window), is every bit as entertaining. This book is a balance of tender romance and well-plotted action. The mystery is twisty and full of surprises, perfect for the person who likes a good challenge.

The writing is spot on and entertaining. There is technical talk dealing with Dave’s company, which can be a little confusing at times, but didn’t really detract from the story once I realized I wasn’t going to miss anything vital if I skimmed over the technical parts.

All in all, a great novel.

Link for Amazon product page

Happy reading, everyone! Don't forget about my blog tour while your roaming the bloggersphere. Today, Melinda Dozier is putting a book spotlight of Always & Forever on her blog. You should stop by and check it out, and also her other articles. She often posts jokes and video clips, says what books she's reading, participates in blog hops. Her blog is a lot of fun. Check it out!

Have a great week!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Wonderful Descriptions ~ #Spotlight on Author Kimberly Sullivan

My next critique partner from to introduce is the fabulous, Kimberly Sullivan. Kimberly writes both novels and short stories (I always admire the ability to write short stories - I'm too long winded J).

Kimberly writes women's fiction, both first and third person, and her descriptions of the places her characters live is nothing short of amazing. You feel like you are in the remote town settled in the mountains of Italy. You see the way the people are dressed - even enjoy their food with them. She's fantastic!

Here is a link to her short-story, Caves: She won the SnoValley Writes 2012 Writing Contest for the category of writer age 18 and older with this story. Talk about impressive! I'm in awe of her skill.

I'm not sure how long the following link will be good, but Kimberly also had a different short story, Holiday Bliss, accepted for publication in the WriteFrance Anthology. They are offering a free peak for a limited time. Kimberly's story appears on page 47. 

I've learned a lot from Kimberly about singular/singular agreement, awkward phrasing, and just overall everything. She is a great help and a wonderful inspiration to me as I work through my projects, and she spots my problems and offers up encouragement. I just finished critiquing a novel for her, In the shadow of the Apennines, and I'm excited that she is starting a new book. Soon, I hope she is able to publish a novel in the near future, and  I can share that happy news with all of you.

In the meantime, visit Kimberly's blog and follow her journey: She does both a travel blog type post on Tuesdays (putting up beautiful pictures of places she's been and letting us armchair explore wonderful vacation spots) and also writing posts on Fridays. 

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!


P.S. Don't forget about my blog tour starting today - hop on over to Christina McKnight's blog and see her New Release post for Always & Forever

Thursday, September 13, 2012

#Sizzling Romance - My Blog Tour Starts Tomorrow!

Blog tour starts tomorrow for Always & Forever! Yay!

A suspected murderess flees her former life in search of tranquility, but ghosts she left behind refuse to die, threatening to destroy her happiness.
Lilly Price is desperate to escape public scrutiny once released from her incarceration. She moves to a lakeside community in hopes of remaining anonymous while rebuilding her tattered life.

Widowed Zach Woodbridge is in no hurry to find a new bride. He longs for a peaceful summer, writing at his lakeside cottage. Things change after an introduction to his grandmother’s new assistant, Lilly.

When Lilly’s secrets are revealed, can their fragile relationship weather the storm?  And when a man from the past returns to reclaim Lilly, using any force necessary, can she and Zach protect the people they love?

CONTENT WARNING: Violence, mild language, sizzling love scenes.

Tomorrow officially kicks things off for the release of Always & Forever.

You can buy Always & Forever on:
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
Barnes & Noble Nook
Or add it to your Goodreads TBR pile here:

Check out the first two chapters of Always & Forever by clicking either here or the above tab that says Always & Forever. Don't forget to check out my blog tour schedule and visit the websites of all the great folks hosting me and see what they are up to.

My first stop will be tomorrow with Christina McKnight as she does a release post. Check her blog out at Also, check out the character interview between author Rachelle Ayala and Lilly Price on Saturday at

For a bit of silly fun today, check out many authors' answers (mine included) to Rachelle Ayala's question:  Do you have to have great sex to write great love scenes?

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

#Spotlight on Author Jennifer Donohoe

Available at Amazon

Today, Jennifer Donohoe agreed to stop by for a visit and tell us about her book. I just started reading, The Legend of the Travelers: Willow's Journey. So far, I really like it. Here's the blurb to tell you a little bit about it.

Left without a memory after a brutal attack, Willow struggles to remember what happened to her and who did it. Her mother is missing and Willow is the last traveler who can find the Four Jewels of legend. In a life filled with Celtic gods, Japanese legends, Native American folklore, and a guardian fairy that does more harm than good, Willow learns everyone she meets has a stake in the choice she will have to make. Surrounded by those who are torn between aiding her and killing her, she works to put the pieces together and figure out who she can trust. As the mystery unfolds into the ultimate betrayal, Willow has to decide if she can fulfill her destiny regardless of the consequences.

I’ve really enjoyed the first few chapters. Do you want to tell us a little bit about the book? Specifically, what is a Traveler?
A Traveler is someone who can travel to the past. They cannot change anything, but only observe it. The original Traveler hid the Tuatha de Danaan’s Four Jewels from impending invasion. Since that time, all Travelers who came after him have searched for them with no avail. An old witch placed a curse on the original Traveler adding to the treachery of finding the Four Jewels. They usually end up going insane and killing those they love. Willow, as far as she knows, is the last Traveler and the only one able to recover these talismans to give back to their rightful owners.

Wow! Sounds like a rough sort of life. I'm sure it must be hard on Willow to know this is her likely fate.

Who is your favorite character from the story and why?
I like Willow, but Saille is my favorite. She’s quite the character and has many secrets of her own. She doesn’t get along with many people and tries to help Willow, but often gets her into more trouble.

One of those situations where with friends like that, Willow doesn't need enemies.

What inspired you to write this story? Have you always loved the fantasy genre?
I’ve always enjoyed the fantasy genre, but I wanted something a little different out there. I read about the Celtic Legends and decided to add other myths like the Japanese legends of dragons and the Native American folklore of shape shifters. I tried to intertwine these legends into a story that is unique and different, but still teaches something to the reader. 

What do you love about writing? What do you hate?
I love writing in general. It allows me to create new and exciting places, people, and events. The process of creation has always inspired me. I grew up with a long line of writers and story-tellers. I guess it’s in my bones.

The one thing I dislike about writing is the grammar. I’m poor at it and have a hard time getting it right at times.

I think grammar's hard for all of us. That's what an editor is for, right? ;-)

What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Always keep your hopes alive and be open to suggestions and honest feedback. It can only help make your story even better.

What’s next for you?
There are four more books to The Legend of the Travelers. The Dragon King should be out by late fall or early winter 2013. However, I do have an interim book I’ve written entitled, Fly Away. It’s an Urban Fantasy. Basically, it’s a combination of Dante’s Inferno and The Neverending Story. Some critters have called it the grown up version of The Neverending Story.

Awe - I loved The Neverending Story.  Sounds like your new book is interesting. Plus, I love that there are more books to the Travelers planned. I'm the kind of reader who finds an author I like and sticks to them.

Anything else you’d like to talk about?
Join a critique group. There are some great ones out there. The Internet Writing Workshop and Critique Circle have helped me tremendously.

Definitely! I suggest that to everyone I know too. Critique Circle has helped me learn a lot over the last year!

Thank you so much for being here today, Jennifer, and chatting with me! I wish you lots of success!

To connect with Jennifer, here are her links. 

Twitter: @DonohoeJennifer
Author of: The Legend of the Travelers: Willow's Journey
Now available at:

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a terrific week. Happy reading!


Monday, September 10, 2012

#BookReview - After Ten by Michele Shriver

Michele Shriver's After Ten: 5/5 stars

After TenAfter Ten is an interesting story about the trials of growing up and how things aren't always what you think they'll be.  Michele Shriver does a great job in this book of showing us the lives of four friends from law school, ten years after they graduate.

I love seeing how things in their lives did (or didn't) go according to plan in the years since the women parted ways.  It all builds until we see their reunion with each other, none of them knowing whether friendship can be repaired after feelings that were hurt in the past.

I read this book in just three days once I started it. The beginning started out a little different, and it took me time to get used to going between present day and flashbacks, but overall it worked once I became accustomed to it.

I admire the way this author doesn't shy away from writing about tough issues. Terrific novel and I can't wait for Michele Shriver's next one.

After Ten Amazon Product Page

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Happy reading!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

#Romantic Suspense, Always & Forever, Available Now

A suspected murderess flees her former life in search of tranquility, but ghosts she left behind refuse to die, threatening to destroy her happiness.

Lilly Price is desperate to escape public scrutiny once released from her incarceration. She moves to a lakeside community in hopes of remaining anonymous while rebuilding her tattered life.

Widowed Zach Woodbridge is in no hurry to find a new bride. He longs for a peaceful summer, writing at his lakeside cottage. Things change after an introduction to his grandmother’s new assistant, Lilly.

When Lilly’s secrets are revealed, can their fragile relationship weather the storm?  And when a man from the past returns to reclaim Lilly, using any force necessary, can she and Zach protect the people they love?

CONTENT WARNING: Violence, mild language, sizzling love scenes.

I chose September 14th as the official day to kick things off for the release of Always & Forever. However, since I finished it early and have had time to figure out how things work, I decided to do an announcement now before the blog tour kicks off.

You can buy Always & Forever on Amazon Kindle:
Amazon Paperback:
Barnes & Noble Nook:
Or add it to your Goodreads TBR pile here:

I'm very excited to have this book available. I hope you all enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed writing it.  You can check out the first two chapters by clicking either here or the above tab that says Always & Forever. Don't forget to check out my blog tour that starts on September 14th and visit the websites of all the great folks hosting me and see what they are up to.

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend! I'll be very busy with the blog tour, but I'm excited about it. I'm also typing away on my current work in progress. Once the hubbub settles down about the release, I'll tell you more about Madeline and Donovan and give you a short snippet. They are having major problems in their little community. Murders, frame jobs, all sorts of issues going on there.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Paints a Beautiful Picture ~ #Spotlight on Author Monterey Sirak

Onward in my goal of introducing you to all my great critique partners at This week, I want to talk about my good friend, Monterey Sirak.  Monterey and I met shortly after I started on critique circle a year ago. Her writing is so beautiful, so wonderful, I knew I had to get to know more about this person and learn from her.

Monterey is as beautiful a person on the inside as her wonderful writing suggests. She has become a true friend to me, and I am so grateful to know her. She writes poetry, and if ever a picture was painted with words, Monterey knows how to do this. Mostly, I've been reading her short stories, and she recently had one, Past Treasures, published in an on-line magazine.  You will be amazed at her skill.  Here's the link

Monterey is currently working on her memoir, which I have had the privilege of reading. I won't say her life has all been sunshine and bunnies, but she has an incredible strength that comes through in her writing, making it all the more wonderful to read.

Monterey has also had three books of poetry published, available through Amazon. Check out the covers and links to each Amazon page below. If you love poetry, you definitely don't want to miss out on her work.

The River of Liquid Dreams
The River of Liquid Dreams on Amazon
Her last name was different on this one, but it's still Monterey

In the Presence of Shadows
In the Presence of Shadows Amazon link

Faith Like a Dandelion
Faith Like a Dandelion Amazon link

Happy reading and writing, everyone! Have a terrific weekend!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

#Spotlight on Author Stefanie J. Pristavu

Rachel and Daniel broke every rule in the Hunter book.

Don’t turn humans into Hunters. Daniel did that when he saved Rachel from becoming a vampire bride.

Don’t travel beyond your assigned area. Assigned area? They’ve traveled half-way around the world in search for Vlad, the vampire boss.

Report all hunting activity to the Hunters’ High Council. There’s a Hunters’ High Council?

Don’t tell humans about the existence of paranormal beings. Ooopsy, they kinda let that one slip.

Don’t resist arrest and escape from your death sentence. Well, about that… If they’re to go down, they’re taking Vlad with them, especially since he screwed up both their lives.

The Council has a valid reason to want their heads, but Rachel and Daniel have more pressing matters to worry about. Like the screechy voices inside Rachel’s head which sing of death and destruction and the creepy Banshee who predicts the coming of a Hunter – vampire war. A war which Daniel and Rachel must trigger to save their race from extinction.

And Rachel seriously doubts that a head-on battle between the vampires and the Hunters will be their ticket out of the death sentence.

Where to buy:
Publisher’s website, where you can find PDF, html and print:

Thanks for visiting us today, Stefanie!

Lovely to be here, Chantel! Nice place you’ve got J

Haha - thanks, I cleaned up for you and everything!

First off, tell us a little about your book, Hunters. I’ve caught the vampire craze along with the rest of the world. However, I’m gathering the hunters aren’t quite human, but also aren’t vampires?

I wrote Hunters to be a fun, fast read. Before starting it, I worked on an YA series I’m still struggling with, so I poured all the nonsense I had in me inside this baby. There is silliness all throughout, but the plot itself is pretty serious stuff. Well, most of the time.

What I wanted was a book in which vampires would go back to being the bad guys. When’s the last time you’ve read and of that? So I’ve made up Hunters. They’re mostly still human – with the pumping blood, ability to reproduce and the fact that they die if you shoot them in the head… or any other deadly place. Fortunately, vampires don’t use modern weapons – but have some vampire venom in there as well (from mucked up vampire transformation) and it’s this venom that makes them strong and fast like the vampires, give them some other super powers vampires don’t have (like a psychic link). Unfortunately, it also gives them a sensitivity to sunlight and a thirst for blood once a month.

I am totally in love with the whole vampire romance type stuff going around (think True Blood with sexy Eric Northman, not Twilight).  I understand your characters are a bit different. Have you ever been in love with or had the hots for one of your characters? Who and why?

In my world, vampires don’t love – so there’s no vampire romance. There is however hunter romance. Even if they have no trouble having relationships with humans, Hunters are weary of it. That could be because they’re potentially immortal. Who would want to see a loved one die?

My characters are a mess! Well, at least they were in the first draft. Ms. Whiny Pants and Mr. Aloof Jerk. Now, they’re a bit better (at least I hope so). What I did try was to make them equal. Rachel (the heroine) is kick-ass on her own. Daniel (the hero) is more kick-ass than her (stronger too), but he doesn’t do the whole overprotective thing with her. Probably because he knows she’d scream her lungs out at him. So they’re partners in the true sense of the word. And I love that about them.

Hmm… I can’t say I’ve ever had the hots for one of my characters, and that’s because, with my paranormal leads, I kinda know they’re not real. In my YA series, though there are hotties there (and 5 of them), I always kinda feel they’re out of my league, lol. Yeah, sad I know.

Do I get moments when I swoon over the word document? Well, yes, because they have moments of utter brilliance. I did kinda get a small crush on the hero of my latest project, and UF. He’s so self-sacrificing and fair, it just broke my heart. He was so much fun to write.

Ms. Whiny Pants and Mr. Aloof Jerk, huh? Well, that’s what the revision floor is for.  They do sound interesting though! And, yeah, moments of writing brilliance get us all going. I have a feeling humor is a very important aspect of what you do. Your blog posts crack me up and even your book blurb made me laugh. Is this something you work hard at or are you one of those lucky people who are naturally funny?

Wow, that’s a huge compliment. Thanks. I love to make people laugh! Yes, humor is very important to me, because I can’t stand things that take themselves too seriously.

I’m a pretty cynical person and love sarcasm. It sorta comes with the territory, since you can’t really survive in my country without a sense of humor. You’d go nuts. So I’ve perfected the art of poking fun at everything, including myself. Well, especially myself.

I won’t lie, I do work at it (there can be a very thin line between funny and offensive – and I’m one of the awful people who finds racism and discrimination funny – because I don’t take it seriously. I think it’s silly that people don’t realize that everyone’s the same), but most of it is me J

I understand what you mean about everyone being the same so racism and discrimination shouldn’t happen. Unfortunately, some people don’t see the world that way. I’ve seen a lot of hatred first hand, and some people take that kind of thing too far. At heart, I'm a softy - I wish for world peace! And I'm probably a little too serious J

Ah, world peace. Who wouldn’t want that? I guess it would be easier if people took themselves a little less seriously. ;)

Well, and humor is so subjective. I’m always surprised when I try to write something funny and a critique partner tells me it actually is - :D I’m not so great at the whole humor bit.

Everyone’s sense of humor is different. So I always think you’ll find people there who believe that what you write is funny. Just like I’m sure there are tons of people out there my humor is lost on. But that’s life for you.

When did you start writing?

When I was nine or ten. Which is pretty funny. English is not my first language, so you can only imagine what my spelling was like. It was so much fun. I had these little notebooks, and I drew pictures to go along with the story. Of course, I couldn’t draw to save my life. Still can’t. Wish I could, though.
That’s when I started writing the YA series I’m still working on.

I think  you do better with your English skills than many American’s I talk to J myself included. I’m always amazed by people who speak more than one language. I took French for two years… I can count to ten, but that’s about it.

I took French for seven years - not sure I could count to ten, but I can say, I’m hungry, I need the bathroom and ask where stuff is J Fortunately, I actually understand the language if spoken to. Even if I can’t say almost anything back. I speak Spanish and German waaaay better ;)

Wow! Talk about multi-talented. Three fluent languages? Plus, being able to say "I need the bathroom" is probably a lot more useful than counting - LOL. You're amazing. 

So, tell us where the inspiration for your books comes from.

I have no idea. It can be a book, a dream or a song. I usually imagine a certain situation and wonder if it would be worth to turn it into a novel. If the answer is yes, and the idea sticks with me, I go for it. If not, I try to insert it into something I’m already writing. Sometimes a simple conversation with unaware people could give me an awesome idea.

What do you love about writing? What do you hate?

I love writing – the characters especially. I’m not very big on setting and description, but I love plot resolution, character evolution and dialogue.

I can’t say I really hate something, but I’m not very fond of editing and querying. Though the editing is imperative since it actually transforms your story, I wish someone else could do the querying for me so I could just write.

Ah - Revision Hell! LOL That’s my least favorite part too. I skipped the querying, going self-pub, but I can imagine what a headache that process must be.  

What’s next for you? More books in the works?

I’m currently working on editing a huge 100k word Urban Fantasy, and get it ready to query in a month or so (I hope). It’s called Saving Grace and it has Angels and Demons is it. But, as usual, not what you’d expect – no human main characters in there. I like my MCs equal ;) This is my main focus now.

I’m also brainstorming about another series involving a Dream realm with many creatures in it.

Anything else you’d like to talk about?

If you get me started, I won’t shut up J

LOL - then I’ll just ask another question. Can you give us your favorite one-liner from Hunters?

Well, that depends. I haven’t read the thing in a while (I’ve proofed it so many times, I couldn’t stand reading it again for a long, long time). There might be some better lines in there, but I’ve always enjoyed this piece of brilliance.

I told you this one’s not right in the head. I just show her my killer weapons and all she wants to do is jump my bones. (Daniel on his fiancĂ©e)

J Yep, that one’s great! Thanks so much for visiting with us, Stefanie. I wish you great success in your writing. And I’m really looking forward to reading Hunters.

Thanks for having me. And I’m very looking forward to you reading Hunters as well. Okay, I’ll shut up now. :p

Stefanie J. Pristavu
To get in touch with Stefanie, find out what she is doing, or read her hilarious blog, follow her at:

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and visited with Stefanie and I today. Have a great week! 


Monday, September 3, 2012

#BookReview ~ Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux

Jennifer Comeaux's Life on the Edge: 5/5 stars

I loved this book. Honestly, I mostly read romantic suspense, horror and fantasy (crazy combination, I know), so hadn't really read any contemporary romance books in a very long time. This book drew me in and I read it in just two nights. I didn't want to put it down! Here are the details:

My debut novel!Nineteen-year-old Emily is new to pairs skating, but she and her partner Chris have a big dream-to be the first American team to win Olympic gold. Their young coach Sergei, who left Russia after a mysterious end to his skating career, believes they can break through and make history.

Emily and Chris are on track to be top contenders at the 2002 Winter Games. But when forbidden feelings spark between Emily and Sergei, broken trust and an unexpected enemy threaten to derail Emily's dreams of gold.

Product page on Amazon


I'll admit I wondered about the MC only being nineteen and whether or not I'd relate to her. However, the premise intrigued me, so I bought the book. I shouldn't have worried. Emily's story draws you in and it doesn't matter that she is younger.

While the main plot of the story is Emily and her pairs skating partner, Chris, fighting their way to the 2002 Olympics, the love story is a perfect blend of fiery chemistry, tender love, and incredible heartbreak. Emily and Sergei (Emily and Chris's skating coach) struggle against the attraction between them, knowing their relationship is forbidden and could ruin everything they've worked for.

This is a sweet romance that draw's the reader into Emily's world. I also really enjoyed the ice skating routines and performances, even though I don't know much about the sport. It was exciting to live the dream through Emily's eyes.

This one is headed to my re-read pile. I know I will enjoy it again in the future. This debut novel from this author gets top marks from me. I'll be on the lookout for more books from Jennifer Comeaux.

Happy reading, everyone! I hope you have a terrific week!

~ Chantel