Friday, May 31, 2013

#BookReview ~ Fly Away ~ Teen Fantasy

Title:     Fly Away
Author: Jennifer Donohoe
Genre: Fantasy/Teen Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars







Robin Sullivan is given a magical book where she can experience a better life in a new world called Tearmann. She can finally escape the terrible reality of life with an abusive, alcoholic father, her mother's schizophrenia, and her best friend's Leukemia. Robin must choose between deserting her real life or living in a world promising a better one. Events come into play forcing Robin to make a decision. Will she be able to save those she loves and still save herself?



Amazon Kindle Link



My Review:


Robin's life hasn't been the easiest, raised by an alcoholic father after her mother disappeared from her life. Robin's in for some surprises as she finds out who she really is and where her family comes from.

Only problem is, Robin puts others in danger while trying to help someone she loves very much, and now she must risk her life to make things right. Along with a group of men who are given guardianship over her and help her, she goes on an incredible journey that is one of self-discovery as much as setting right the things she put in jeopardy.

The story has a lot of neat places to explore and was quite the interesting read. More for teen readers or those who enjoy teen books, it was a little younger in tone than my normal picks. However, I really did enjoy the fantasy elements. I also thought it had a good moral or message as far as following rules and the consequences of disobeying laws/rules. 

If this sounds like the genre of book you'd like, pick it up for some nice weekend reading. Have a great one!
~~ Chantel ~~

Thursday, May 23, 2013

#NewRelease ~ Kilingiri by Janna Gray





Book Title:  Kilingiri
Author:  Janna Gray
Release Date:  May 21st 2013
Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction, Romantic Saga, Saga
Publisher:  GMTA Publishing, LLC
Presented by:  As You Wish Tours

ONE LINER

With exotic locations richly painted, Kilingiri, a saga of love and loss with its many painful twists and turns, proceeds like beads threaded on silk until the circle is completed.


BLURB
1968, Srinagar, Kashmir and Nina is devastated by the death of her new-born baby girl. Sister Angela and Father Michael at the mission hospital step in to nurse Nina back to health but when the friendship between Nina and Father Michael turns to love, Michael makes a decision which will resonate through the years.

It is 1981 and in Kinsale, Ireland, Nina, devoted to her son Joshua, lives a loveless existence, but a chance encounter changes everything. Michael is back in her life, he leaves the priesthood and happiness is within their grasp.

But when past and present collide, their whole world is turned upside down.

Only by facing the consequences of what has gone before, can Nina and Michael embrace the future.

Janna Gray guides us masterfully through this poignant story of love, loss, betrayal and hope.





EXCERPTS

The clinic, set in a fenced compound, was comprised of four white-washed mud and stone buildings and the most basic of medical equipment. Day after day the ill and the maimed queued with infinite patience to see Father Michael, firm in the belief he would cure their ailments. Nina marvelled at his ability to communicate with his patients in their own language, smiling when cantankerous old men berated him with shaking fists, soothing fractious, snotty-nosed babies and advising anxious mothers. She helped him dispense his meagre supply of pills and potions, cleaned suppurating sores and bandaged wicked wounds. Initially all the blood and pus made her want to throw up and she had to force herself not to gag when faced with open wounds crawling with maggots which he assured her were a cheaper, albeit revolting alternative, to antibiotics. But, after a couple of days she became a pro at removing embedded stones from puffy, angry-red flesh and even managed to sew up several gashes with stitches the nuns at the convent school in Ascot would have been proud of.

‘How do these people cope when you aren't here?’ she asked one evening, over a simple meal of rice and dhal.

‘Jaishree and Sushila – the two women who were helping out today – do the honours. They've learned a lot from Sister Angela over the last couple of years and are pretty competent unless there's an emergency.’

‘What happens then? What if they’re faced with a situation that’s beyond their capabilities?’

Michael pushed aside his tin plate and lit a cigarette. ‘They do what they can, Nina. If they can't cope, the patients die. It's as simple as that. Out here in the boonies the sick rely on Jaishree and Sushila and God ... when he can tear Himself away from the Vatican.’

Author Bio
Janna Gray grew up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and was educated at boarding schools in Kodaikanal, South India and Derbyshire, England. She trained to be a teacher in London where she met and married her husband Simon. His job took them to Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand where she raised two sons, worked at British and International schools and wrote articles for newspapers and magazines.

Currently living in the UAE, Janna was the Senior Mistress (a title which caused much merriment among her colleagues!) and Head of Pastoral Care at Repton School before trading her marking pens and report cards for the world of writing novels. She enjoys travelling and sailing and had a love-hate relationship with exercise until she discovered the joy of Zumba where the trainers turn a blind eye to her inability to remember dance sequences. She sings in the shower and with choirs, has an allergy to golf and recently discovered the allure of oils and acrylics – a delightfully messy way to express her inner artist.

AUTHOR LINKS
Facebook Profile
Goodreads
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Friday, May 17, 2013

#BookReview ~ Played by You ~ Romantic Suspense novella

Title:      Played by You
Author:  H.C. Elliston
Genre:   Romantic Suspense
Rating:  4.5 stars


Since I had a new release this Monday, I decided to share my latest book review today, especially if you are needing something new to read this weekend. Here are the product details from Amazon:

From a kindle bestselling author in romantic suspense & thrillers...

“It was near impossible to wrap my mind around Taylor having done this after the chemistry we’d shared last night. But then chemistry, as I’d learned back home, is merely a glitzy emotion that ebbs and flows and is not a guarantee of loyalty.”

FLY INTO THE WORLD OF spirited twenty-two year old Misty as she goes all out to protect her sister, gets irresistibly drawn into the passionate fire of a mysterious colleague, and entangled in a deception she is yet to unravel during a spellbinding short business trip to glitzy Singapore.

WHILE MISTY is played from all sides, experience some delights of the sunny, cultural fusion-pot before discovering that LUCK, HOPE and that thing we chase... LOVE... is only ever around the corner - sometimes we just need help to not miss the turn.

~~
A NOVELLA
WARNING: contains some strong language & sexual scenes.
Romantic thriller - 28,000 words, 14 chapters
~~
Also by H Elliston: Tick Tock Run, Think Fast Die Last, Shiver Sweet.

My impressions:
This author's story-telling ability gets stronger with each book. Already a fan of hers, I really liked this story! Short enough to read in an evening, but full of tension and passion. The author kept me guessing as to what was really going on, though I had plenty of suspicions throughout. Also, I found the scenes between Misty and Taylor intense and sizzling. Definitely a little spice and heat for your weekend enjoyment!

As far as negatives, the only thing I found unrealistic is I've never been able to sleep through a plane taking off or landing, and that sort of made me raise my eyebrows (though I suppose some people may be able to...). Also, if you are American, do be aware that the author uses British English, so there are a few spellings/word choices different. It doesn't detract for the story being great, but just something to be aware of. There aren't any indentations at the beginning of each paragraph as well, which took me a little bit to get into the reading of it, as it takes a few pages to "train" your eye. It's not too distracting, but worth knowing beforehand. After a little bit, I no longer noticed it. Plus, the book is so great, soon you won't care about the spelling or the paragraph breaks.

As far as the story itself and all the positives (of which there are many) the author did a great job  keeping me guessing as to who could really be trusted. I think I imagined every scenario possible trying to catch the bad guys, but I found the ending and how everything tied together satisfying and realistic.

All in all, another great read from this author! Really fun and I recommend picking it up!


Happy reading, my friends! Have a fantastic weekend!
~~ Chantel ~~

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

#NewRelease ~ Forever Alexa ~ Romantic suspense by Cate Beauman


Cate Beauman’s newest release is available now through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Visit www.catebeauman.com for more information and to read excerpts from her best selling series The Bodyguards of L.A. County.



Death threats and a broken heart…

First grade teacher and single mother Alexa Harris is no stranger to struggle, but for once, things are looking up. The school year is over and the lazy days of summer are here. Mini-vacations and relaxing twilight barbeques are on the horizon until Alexa’s free-spirited younger sister vanishes.

Ransom calls and death threats force Alexa and her young daughter to flee their quiet home in Maryland. With nowhere else to turn, Alexa seeks the help of Jackson Matthews, Ethan Cooke Security’s Risk Assessment Specialist and the man who broke her heart.

With few leads to follow and Abby’s case going cold, Alexa must confess a shocking secret if she and Jackson have any hope of saving her sister from a hell neither could have imagined.



The Unofficial Forever Alexa Soundtrack

Music is a huge part of my writing process. I typically listen to Pandora or YouTube and compile a collection of songs that I feel represent my characters or the situations they face as the novel unfolds. It’s a rare occasion that my creativity demands quiet (And that’s a good thing. I’m a mother of two boys. Quiet doesn’t happen in my house.). Here are a few of the songs that ‘spoke’ to me while I created Jackson and Alexa’s story! 

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Forever Alexa:

·         All I Ever Wanted by Brian Melo
·         Beautiful Words by The Afters
·         By Your Side by Lifehouse
·         Chances Are by Five For Fighting
·         I Still by Backstreet Boys
·         Let Me Love You by Ne-Yo
·         Inconsolable by Backstreet Boys
·         Breathe Me by Sia
·         The Mess I Made by Parachute
·         All This Time by One Republic


Read an excerpt from Forever Alexa:

     Alexa stared out the living room window, watching the sun hover closer to the mountains in the distance. The deep country dark would soon surround her house. The dread of another long, sleepless night tightened the muscles of her shoulders and jaw until they ached. She eyed the Louisville Slugger, now leaning against the side table, as she listened to Olivia’s happy chatter filling the small space. Livy and her dolls were enjoying the tiny glass teapot Alexa had filled with milk, the apple she had quartered, and the graham crackers she set out for an impromptu after-dinner tea party.
     “Mommy, come play with us. You can sit by Lucy.”
     Alexa turned and gave Livy what smile she could. “Maybe in a little while, sweetie.”
     “The graham cracker is very yummy.” Livy held up the golden half of cookie, dangling it like a token bribe, before she took a big bite.
      “It looks wonderful, but I have more work to do on the computer.”
     Livy turned back to her life-sized baby doll and bit Lucy’s cracker too as the party began again.
      Alexa desperately wanted to join in on the fun but couldn’t. There wasn’t time. She had just over twenty-four hours to collect an unattainable amount of money. Sighing, she twisted the blind closed and turned away from the window, wishing the media vans were still parked along the dirt road out front. At least someone would’ve been close by while she waited for daylight again. The fifteen-car pile up on I-81 North sent the reporters and their news crews scattering several hours before. The knocks at the door had ceased. Abby’s disappearance had already been forgotten, and she had no choice but to keep it that way.   
     Alexa glanced at Livy before she sat down to the laptop she’d left on the coffee table. She’d spent the last two hours researching ransom and hostage situations while dodging non-stop phone calls from concerned friends, co-workers, and of course the press. She’d let the answering machine pick them up until the message box was full. She couldn’t deal with the questions.
     She stared at the article she’d read before she had to put the computer down and walk away. The information had been so troubling, so depressing, she’d had to stop. The odds of Abby coming home were dwindling with every minute passing. Mr. Macabee had been correct; if she could get the money and pay the ransom, the kidnappers were likely to demand more and kill her sister anyway. 
      Alexa closed her eyes and rubbed her fingers against the throb in the center of her forehead. What was she going to do? The media wasn’t an option. The police weren’t either. So where did that leave her? She glanced at Livy again, wiggled her mouse, and typed Evan Cooke Security, LA into her search engine.
     Hits for Ethan Cooke Security popped up instead. She followed the link to the website and studied the company’s bold red and black insignia. World renowned security firm, offering the best in close protection. Alexa clicked the mouse again and her heart stuttered.
     Jack.
     There he was among several other well-muscled men in the professional group photo. She moved her finger to his handsome face and traced it as she clutched the charm dangling from her necklace.

     “Excuse me. Can you help me?”
     Alexa glanced up from the books she was checking back in to the college library computer system and lost her breath as she stared into fantastic blue eyes. “What can I do for you?”
     “I have a ten-page paper due for one of my criminal justice classes in—” he glanced at his watch, “less than twelve hours.”
     She measured his charming smile and ball t-shirt stretched over broad shoulders and mounds of biceps. Her smile dimmed—another dumb jock. Why were the cute ones always a disappointment? She knew her eyes chilled as she answered. “Sounds like a personal problem. The Criminal Justice section is along that wall.” She pointed across the room.
     At ease and clearly unaffected by her scolding tone, he edged himself along the enormous desk. “So, do you practice that disapproving librarian look in the mirror?”
      She refused to give in to her smile. “I might.”
     “You’re too young to have that mastered. What are you, a freshman? I’ve never seen you before.”
     “I’m a sophomore, and I imagine you haven’t. I spend a lot of time in the library.” But she’d seen him—Jackson Matthews, junior, football star, frat boy, Mr. Popular with the ladies. Definitely not her type. Not that she actually had a type, because she’d never been on a date. Her grades were too important. Her scholarships were vital.
     He grinned. “I believe I was just insulted.”
     She smiled this time and shrugged. “Maybe.”
    “You’ve gone and hurt my feelings, and I don’t even know your name.”
     “Alexa.”
     “Alex,” he held out his hand. “Jackson Matthews.”
     Her brow shot up as she stared at him. “I know who you are. And it’s Alexa.”
     He stood and glanced at his watch again. “I guess I should get to work. Maybe I’ll see you around some time, Alex.” He flashed her another heart-stopping grin and walked toward the stacks she’d pointed out.
      She let out a long, shuddering sigh and looked down quickly when he glimpsed over his shoulder and smiled.

      The flip-top phone rang, startling Alexa out of her memories. She jumped and caught the laptop just before it crashed to the floor. Licking her lips, she set the computer on the coffee table and picked up the phone. “Hello? Abby?”
     “Wrong again, Sister Alexa,” the familiar mechanical voice said.
     Her stomach clenched with dread. “What—”
     “I said no press.”
     “I didn’t talk to them. I swear I didn’t. They followed me. Please don’t hurt her. Please don’t hurt Abby.”
     “I saw you on the news, Sister Alexa. Grocery shopping. You look just like her. I had no idea we could’ve gotten two for the price of one.”
     She rushed to her feet, grabbed the heavy wooden baseball bat with a trembling hand, and hurried to the entryway to check the lock as her heart rate soared.
     “You broke our deal. I’m docking you six hours. You’re down to twenty. Tick tock.”
     “No, I didn’t—”
     “Twenty hours or we take Olivia next.” The line went dead.
     Alexa gasped for breath as a terror like she’d never known constricted her chest. Not Livy. Not her Livy. She collapsed on the bottom stair in the landing, listening to her daughter’s sweet voice as she continued to play in the next room, oblivious to the danger and turmoil destroying their lives.
     Alexa struggled to her feet as her body racked with uncontrollable shudders and tears rushed down her cheeks. They had to go; they had to get out of here. She shoved the heavy bench in front of the door as she had last night and dashed up the steps, yanking a suitcase from the small walk-in storage space. She rushed into Livy’s room and pulled clothes from drawers and the closet at random, then hurried into her own room and did the same. She headed for the bathroom next, scooping toothbrushes and toothpaste into the travel bag she had yet to fully unpack from their trip to Virginia Beach.
     Alexa started back downstairs but stopped when Gordon, the mournful-looking stuffed frog Livy had slept with every day since her birth, caught her eye. She snatched the melancholy creature off the bed and bolted down the stairs with the cumbersome luggage, setting it by the door. “Livy, we have to go somewhere, sweetie,” she struggled to say, still fighting for each breath as adrenaline coursed through her veins.
     Livy looked up from her spot at her small pink table. She was dressed in the princess costume Abby had made her for Christmas. “I’m having a party, Mommy.”
     “I know, honey. I’m sorry, but we really have to go right now.” She flipped her laptop closed, dropped it into its case, and grabbed her purse. Next she took several of Livy’s books and shoved them into a small canvas bag. “Come on. Let’s go.”
     Livy’s bottom lip turned down and her eyes filled with tears. “Lucy wants to eat her apples. I want to play tea party.”
     “Later, honey.” Alexa glanced out at the darkening sky through the edge of the blind. She wanted them long gone from their isolated home. “You can bring your princess dress with you.”
     Livy’s eyes brightened. “Okay.”
     She held out her hand. “Let’s go.”
     Two hours later, Alexa clutched Olivia’s hand as they walked through Baltimore-Washington International, rolling the suitcase and booster seat behind them. She glanced around as they made their way to the ticket counter, fearful Abby’s kidnappers were somewhere close, watching for the perfect opportunity to snatch her daughter away.
     “Can I help you, ma’am?” The pretty blonde smiled from behind her computer.
     Alexa peered behind her, spotting the two men dressed in black pants and short-sleeved tops standing by the enormous panes of glass, staring in her direction. She picked up Olivia and clutched her tight. Were they here for Livy? “Yes. I need to buy two tickets.”
     “And your destination, ma’am?”
     What was her destination? She hadn’t thought that far. Her only instinct had been to flee. There was nowhere to go and no one to pick her up on the other end. She and Abby had always had each other, but now she was on her own. She moved her free hand to her necklace and rested her palm against the triangular charm. “LA,” she said in a rush. “Two tickets to Los Angeles, please.”
     “We have a couple of open seats on a redeye leaving in an hour.”
    She glanced over her shoulder. The men were gone, but that didn’t mean Livy was safe. “Okay, we’ll take them.”
    The agent told her her total, and she tried not to wince. This was going to eat into her already strained budget, but what choice did she have? Money meant nothing with Livy’s life in danger. She pulled her credit card free and her heart ripped in two. To save her daughter, she was leaving Maryland and her sister behind.

Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first three chapters on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or youcan finish the whole book here!

About the author:

Cate currently lives in Tennessee with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernard, Bear. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years. 

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, two years later, I’m working on my fifth novel and I’m an Amazon best selling author. I’m very grateful for the support and success I have had. - Cate “



Contact Cate

Amazon Author Page

Social links:

Monday, May 13, 2013

#NewRelease ~ Time Changes Everything - Romance plus giveaway

Time Changes Everything
by Melinda Dozier

Time Changes Everything will be available May 13 through Entranced Publishing.




Amanda Larson is dedicated to her job and doesn't want to make time for anything else. Until she runs into Jake Edwards. He used to be the cute boy next door; now he's a sexy, big shot lawyer.

Jake Edwards isn't interested in commitment. He's successful, sexy, and single--and that's how he likes it. When he reconnects with Amanda, Jake realizes he might have to rethink his philosophy on the carefree, bachelor lifestyle.

But, is it too late for them? Or can he convince her that he's ready to give her his heart?






Excerpt: 

In high school, Amanda was someone special. Hell, even before then. Their parents were best friends, which had forced Jake and Amanda together. At first, he’d thought it was a hindrance. Later, when she developed longer legs and a bigger bust, he found himself around her more. After discovering her quirkiness, her love of art and her sense of humor, he actually enjoyed being around her. But he never touched her. 
He contemplated running his fingers through her hair like he did his first year of college –– the last time they were alone –– the night he left town and never saw her again.

Did she remember the night he left? Of course she did. Seven years ago, he’d ruined their friendship. He knew Amanda almost as well as he knew himself. Well, he’d known her. Now she was a different woman.

Jake leaned in closer, running his hand down her arm. “Know what I’m thinking?”

Amanda fiddled with her coaster and smiled at him. “I’m not sure I want to know.”

“I’m thinking we should spend a lot more time together.” He reached over and held her chin. “It’s been way too long.”

Amanda licked her lips, and damn it, it actually turned him on. Sweet little Mandy Larson wasn’t so sweet anymore. She was driving him crazy.

She moved closer bridging distance. “Why wait? There’s no time like the present.”

“Exactly.” He drank the last of his beer as the waiter returned with her martini sans olive.

Jake leaned on the table with his elbows, folded his hands together and studied her. “Look at you, drinking a martini, living the life in New York City.” He examined her from head to toe. “A sexy skirt. Tall boots.” He ran a finger down her cheek. “A beautiful face.”

Amanda hiccupped and put down her glass. “Now, wait a minute. I know it’s been a while, but some things never change, including you.” She wagged her finger at him. “No smooth talking with me. Don’t forget I used to know you better than anybody.”

Because his fingers actually ached with the need to touch her again, he reached over and held her hand. “Yeah, but things have changed, Mandy. We’re two different people now, and I can’t wait to get to know who you are now.”

Author Bio
Reading romance has always been at the top of Melinda’s favorite past times. After hectic days of teaching English to middle school students, Melinda finds time to write and read in the evenings. She lives in Guatemala, Central America with her husband, three boys and German Sheppard. She enjoys being the queen of her household and dreams of being pampered fully by her boys once they are grown. Melinda loves reality TV, traveling, blogging and playing Words With Friends.



Blog Tour Giveaway

Melinda will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate and an ecopy of Time Changes Everything. Winner will be announced on Melinda’s blog May 26. Good luck! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Boy Next Door, a free novella by Melinda Dozier is available now at Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/310848


I've been waiting for this book. I read it as Melinda's critique partner, and I know a lot of changes were made by her publisher. So excited to read the final version! A review will be coming soon. Also, The Boy Next Door tells the story of Amanda and Jake's first date seven years before the events of Time Changes Everything, so make sure you download it and find out where it all started! Happy reading, my friends! 

~~ Chantel ~~

Friday, May 10, 2013

#Interview ~ Author Stephanie Keyes ~ YA Paranormal Romance

I'm here today with author Stephanie Keyes and she's going to tell us a bit about herself and her new young adult paranormal romance, The Fallen Stars. Check it out:


BOOK BLURB:
When all is lost, he will have to make the ultimate decision.

Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to the Celtic Goddess, Calienta. But then everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when he and Cali end up on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why they’re being hunted.

Suddenly, Kellen is stuck in the middle of another prophecy that foresees him turning away from Calienta and embracing the dark. He’ll be forced to take sides in a struggle to claim his birthright, while discovering secrets about his father’s past. Meanwhile, his passion for Cali grows stronger, even as the prophecy threatens to tear them apart.

In the end, will Kellen and Cali survive the fates? When the ultimate power is within reach, which side will he choose? 


Welcome, Stephanie! Now that we've read the blurb, tell us a bit more about your new release? The Fallen Stars continues the story of Kellen and Calienta from The Star Child. We meet up with them at their wedding. However, they are immediately attacked by a group of faeries and forced to flee the scene with Kellen’s best friend, Gabe. The Fallen Stars sees them on the run and not knowing who to trust. Their love and loyalties are tested.

Sounds like a lot of excitement going on! 

Writing can be a very lonely occupation, and support is very important. Who are your cheerleaders? My SCBWI (Society For Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) critique group. They are actually mentioned individually in the acknowledgement section of this book because they are so wonderful. They encouraged me to “rip of the scab” when I wrote this. I love ‘em.

I couldn't make it without my critique group as well. I'm glad you have a good group. Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing? Yes. My husband and kids have been PHENOMENAL. My husband reads everything I write. He knows all of the characters inside out. He tells me when I’m not being romantic enough. ;)

It's great when the family is involved and good your husband keeps you on track! Do you write at a laptop/desktop or do you write freehand? I have an awesome desk that I write at. It’s in the middle of everything, but I love it and it’s my special place.

What’s your favorite part of writing a book? World building. I love creating a completely different mood and atmosphere for every book and making the characters come alive within it. It becomes my own personal escape and, eventually, an escape for readers.

Which scenes were the hardest to write? The intensely emotional scenes! I was raised to never really show emotion or to talk about it. I’ve tried to approach my life differently, but it doesn’t come easily to me. Writing those types of scenes are often brutal for me. However, emotions are natural and it makes sense that realistic characters would have them.

Definitely need those emotions, but I agree it can be difficult to write. How long did it take you to write your current book? Twelve weeks.

Did you do any research before start or during of the writing of the books? Yes. With The Fallen Stars I took a trip to Maine and did research. With The Star Child I read books on Celtic Mythology. I’d been to Ireland as well.

What is the one book that you think everyone should read? The Book Of Dreams by OR Melling.

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews? Extremely important! I read every review, I respond to every comment on every blog post (unless I miss it unintentionally), I respond on Twitter and Facebook..Readers matter – without them where would writers be?

I completely agree. If you could visit any place in the world or a place created by a book, where would you visit? Hogwarts Castle. :-)

Awesome! I want to come along! So, are you working on any other projects except writing, right now? Yes, I am editing the third and final book in The Star Child series. It’s called The Star Catcher.

Sounds like you are plenty busy and moving right along with this trilogy. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here! I wish you the best success.

About the Author:

Stephanie Keyes has been addicted to Fantasy since she discovered T.H. White as a child and started drumming up incredible journeys in her head. When she's not writing, Stephanie is also a graphic designer, international speaker, teacher, musician, avid reader, and Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she's best friend to her incredible husband of eleven years.

Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child (September 2012) and The Fallen Stars (April 2013), both released by Inkspell Publishing. She is currently hard at work on the third book in the trilogy, The Star Catcher.


Want to connect with Stephanie Keyes? Stalk her here:


Ready to buy the book? Find it here:
BookDepository 

Thanks everyone for checking this interview out. Great new books to look at for your weekend reading entertainment! Happy reading!!

~~ Chantel ~~

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Romance Scenes - How Hot is Hot?

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most authors probably start out knowing how spicy they want their love scenes to be. Hotter scenes seem to be the most popular currently with books like Fifty Shades of Gray hitting the top of the charts.

When I first decided to write romance, I figured I would write scenes where I closed the door on the bedroom, or sweet romance. A few kisses and we're done. After all, I knew my mom was going to read my books. 

However, I found that my characters insisted on having things a little spicier. I ended up writing the sort of love scenes that I like to read. I've not read a lot of erotica and don't really like the language involved in a lot of that. I guess my goal is to keep my love scenes sexy and sensual without going over the line into having something too graphic. 

What's interesting to me is the different reactions of my readers. On a scale from one to five, I rate myself as a three on the heat index. I don't use the more derogatory terms in my descriptions and only have a few scenes per book. One reader told me I was writing porn, to which I was a little concerned because I didn't think it was quite that hot. I kept things in Crime & Passion about how hot they were in Always & Forever, and reactions to readers who told me specifically what they thought of the love scenes was favorable. However, the reader accusing me of writing porn went on to add that it was "really, really good porn," so I decided it was probably fine. 

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/
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My first book review has come in on a blog, and I'm so grateful to Susan B. Anna for reading Crime & Passion and giving it a review (she had previously read Always & Forever). You can read her review here - http://satinsheetsromance.blogspot.com

What surprised me is she rated me at a two in how hot my scenes were on a scale of one to five. According to them, that is a sensual rating and three would be steamy. Four is sizzling (which I actually think my scenes are sizzling, but they aren't frequent enough that I would consider my book at a four on the heat level).

So, it's a little confusing to me. Am I writing porn or just a sensual trip with Madeline and Donovan? I don't really want to be seen as writing smut (although, hey, smut sells!) and like the title of sensual. But this all makes it a little hard to know how to market myself, since people have varying opinions. 

I read a message board the other day, and some people were complaining about the sexual content in books these days. It seems a few still like the door closed on those scenes, but I've also read surveys that seem to suggest readers are more and more looking for those books with either a 3 or 4 rating on the heat index. 

I suppose as a writer all I can do is write love scenes with the heat level I'm comfortable with and the kind I like to read. Hopefully my readers will be satisfied to either skim read if they feel the scenes are inappropriate or be happy enough with my level of heat, even if it's not quite as hot as they'd like. Of course, when my characters do make love, it's always to advance the plot and I try to avoid crude language. I'm writing for myself too, after all, and that's what makes my heart go pitter pat. 

What do you look for in the more physical side of a romance book? How hot is hot enough?

Happy reading, my friends. Have a great rest of your week!
~~ Chantel~~