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No mind-altering for me!

Lavendar Lace Book Cover Lavendar Lace
A Washoe Indian, Northstar, California Mystery
by Lynn A. Dalton
General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 07 Apr 2019

An 23-year old intern designed a mind altering device for the CIA. She goes to college to get her degree so she can become an agent with the CIA. A CIA operative sold Lavendar Lace's name to the Russian War Room and to the Russian Terrorists as the developer of this weapon. When Lavendar Lace goes on winter break to NorthStar skiing resort gunmen with automatic weapons try to kill her. The Russians are determined to capture Lavendar Lace and she is rescued and protected by a Washoe Indian. The CIA joins in on protecting Lavendar Lace as her mind is something the American Government wants.

I really couldn’t finish this book. I found the writing style uncomfortable and stilted.

I was also confused about Lavendar and what she was actually studying. Is design biotech weaponising mind control really a BSc Engineering? Surely this would be studied at Masters or Phd level? And Engineering? Maybe.

I also was not happy that this idea of mind control even existed, let alone that people were trying to design it, so it offended my pacifist nature

I was also confused about Lavendar and what she was actually studying. Is design biotech weaponising mind control really a BSc Engineering? Surely this would be studied at Masters or Phd level? And Engineering? Maybe.

I also was not happy that this idea of mind control even existed, let alone that people were trying to design it, so it offended my pacifist nature.

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And your friend is?

Friends With Benefits Book Cover Friends With Benefits
by Margot Radcliffe
Romance , Women's Fiction
Mills & Boon
Pub Date 3 Oct 2019

‘You made the rules… But you forgot I’m really good at games.’ Casino mogul Alexa Lawson always keeps the lines between her and drop-dead gorgeous bestie Carter Hayes firmly drawn. That is, until Alexa's solution to all her problems is to make Carter her super-hot, fake fiancé! Now Carter's changing the game—into one that's white-hot and deliciously dirty. But what happens on one wild night in Vegas might just cost them their friendship… and their hearts.

This is a very adult novel due to the explicit sex scenes, which felt forced to me. It was as though the author had to insert them but they didn’t really fit the storyline

Overall the storyline and writing style was OK but somehow lacked a real spark or empathy for the characters.

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How to steal: the author lets us know

Heist Book Cover Heist
Melanie Perkiss Witch Hunter
Kezzy Sparks
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Thriller
Square Six
Publication date: October 31st 2019

A thrilling introduction to the dark mystical world of Melanie ‘Breaker’ Perkiss, Buffalo NY’s most capable witch hunter and spell lifter.  In this debut instalment, a dark mage acting on behalf of a vengeful ex has magically removed the genitals of a man and vanished, leaving him wiped clean down there. And unfortunately for the victim, he is set to wed…now imagine saying ‘I do’ while in that deprived state. No wonder when a shell-shocked and heartbroken Casey walks into Melanie’s office to report the incident, the witch hunter immediately goes on a chase, risking her own life as she encounters dark creatures and malevolent spirits in the city’s darkest corners. The pressure is indeed on Mel: the wedding is fast approaching and leads remain few. Will she be able to corner the mage, recover the taken goods and save a doomed marriage, while bringing the conspirators to justice?  

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Answer: I chose this particular plot premise because a theft of body parts off a living person by witches is not something you often encounter in urban fantasy books. And further, what appealed to me regarding the genital heist is that the victim is set to wed, which therefore puts pressure on the main character to solve the mystery and bring it to closure before the day comes.

  1. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

Answer: I must say I do take quite a bit of time, thinking about a plot line and weighing whether it will appeal to readers or not. Although I do not make heavy notes about a book before writing it, I do outline a little bit so that the writing process is guided and can be completed faster.

  1. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

Answer: I don’t do a lot of research really, since most of the stuff that I put down is something I create in my head. The plot material for HEIST was never researched on, except for some minor details about the witchcraft trials of Salem Massachusetts in 1692—3, which I speak about in one chapter.

  1. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

Answer: For HEIST I never used any researched materials, except for the dates of the small historical event I mentioned before.

  1. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police, medics etc when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

Answer: I suppose in situations where one is writing a novel that closely follows reality, the information you’d get from authority figures would be of great value since they are the ones who actually work in the field you have chosen to write about. Fantasy works differently, though, because almost everything is imagined. Myself I have never approached any authority for background information.

  1.  How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

Answer: Yes, I have had some early works of mine rejected, and that didn’t surprise me. It’s only the fewest authors who can boast that they have never been turned down. Rejection is all part and parcel of the creative industries.

  1. Did you need to self-publish any e-books before a publisher took you up?

Answer: Sure, I did self-publish, and still would do so if needed.

  1. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

Answer: Without a doubt, I do believe self-publishing actually offers a viable alternative to the traditional approach. Many authors have succeeded first as indie writers and then gone on to snag traditional contracts. Yes, it’s harder to find audiences when writing as an indie, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The biggest benefit of being an indie is total control. Everything you put out there, you are responsible for it.

  1. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take you before this happened?

Answer: To be honest, current trends show that for the average writer, it’s well nigh impossible to survive solely on royalties. For that reason most authors have a day job with which to support themselves, and they will continue to work until such time royalties have built to a substantial amount. Very few do ever get to that level, though, and I am still a long way away from quitting my day job myself, unless a miracle happens.

  1. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

Answer: This is my first virtual tour and I am not very sure what could happen. If there is to be anything awkward or embarrassing coming however, we will see about it.

  1. What do you read when you are ill in bed?

            Answer: I haven’t been ill enough to stay in bed for a number of years now, and I can count myself lucky in that regard. What I would read, though, were such a thing ever to happen, would be something perhaps light and fun, think Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, but definitely not something with a lot of ghosts and dead people in it like Darynda Jones’s Charlie Davidson series.

  1. What is your favourite genre?

Answer: Currently my favourite genre is the paranormal mystery. I have always been fascinated by magic and its elements and at some point in my life, actually believed it existed. To that end, I have sampled everything from Ilona Andrews to Jeaniene Frost.

  1. If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

Answer: One writer I would never fail to recommend is Dan Brown. He is not perfect by all means, but it’s no fluke either that he has sold hundreds of millions of copies of his books. He is definitely the master of the modern day thriller.

A dead author I’d recommend any day is Charles Dickens—no need for introductions there.

  1. Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

Answer: No question, I would say Dan Brown has been a great influence. He has this ability to get into a story fast and then keep you hooked till the last word. And you’re left with no idea how much time has elapsed when your eyes are glued to the pages. With that said, I have found myself trying to do things like he does. Genre-wise I am not into the same stuff he is into, though, and I enjoy writing the fantasy story more.

  1. In your opinion, who is the funniest author now writing?

Answer: I would say two authors compete for that title currently, the first being Janet Evanovich and the second Jim Butcher. In any instalment of Stephanie Plum’s series, she gets into many laugh-out-loud funny moments and her banter with her associates is out of this world. She is quirky and comedic and does things you might imagine as foolish, but she always gets her way in the end and delivers on whatever she set out to do. Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden is another funny character and is very popular for that reason, less so for his ability to work magic.  

  1. Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

            Answer: I certainly did do a little imitation during my early days. And the author I naturally chose to write like is Dan Brown, because he is phenomenal and a great influencer. I actually have a novel that bears the same structure as the Da Vinci Code, though it’s one I never got as far as publishing.

            Recently though, I have grown up and struck out on my own, and in HEIST you never sense anything Dan Brown-esque at all.

  1. Which of your books are you most proud of?

Answer: Since HEIST is my only published book, I would then say that debut of mine is the one I am most proud of. It possesses all the elements of what I imagine constitutes a good story. Its plot premise is one that hasn’t been overly done, its magic elements are unique and inventive. Also it has got all the suspense, vulnerability and subterfuge that readers look for.

  1. What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?

Answer: I’d say following my dreams and doing those things that I love to do is what I am proud of most. Many people go around with a novel idea in their head but never get around to actually put it down on paper, but I have been able to do it. And for that, I’d say I am blessed.

  1. Do you have an unusual hobby?

Answer: Probably not at the moment, but some years ago, I really tried to get into underwear modelling. That’s, of course, not an easy thing to do and the chances of succeeding are tiny. It’s a fun thing to try though, and when I was at it I was really serious about it, though now when I look back I realize it’s not anything I was made for. It did provide a little entertainment and heartaches, though, while it lasted.

  1. If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?

Answer: There is really many candidates for this, and it’s hard to make a choice. Florida with its warmer weather and many good beaches would not be a bad idea, as would be New York City with its variety and bustle.

  1. What would you take on a desert island to read if you could only take 3 books?

Answer: One Harry Potter maybe, just to have a little magic with me—for in case I need to work some spells. Second, an epic horror from Stephen King, just to make things look as grim as possible, and then a Dan Brown thriller to provide the suspense and quick thrills.

Author Bio

Young man with a mobile phone standing at the wall

Kezzy Sparks is a Toronto based author and writer. HEIST is his debut fiction in the long form. He enjoys reading as well, and lists works by Jim Butcher, Stephen King, Benedict Jacka, Dan Brown and Kevin Hearne as some of his personal favorites.

https://kezzysparks.net/

https://www.facebook.com/authorkezzysparks

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What makes Passion: We hear from the author

Passion Punch Book Cover Passion Punch
Key West Escape, #3
Tricia Leedom
Genres: Adult, Adventure, Romance
Firefly Hill Press, LLC
(October 22, 2019)

When April Linus’ best friends find themselves in trouble with the Miami Mafia, the former heiress turns to an even more dangerous criminal for help… her father.

Not an easy decision for the young, single mother who found herself pregnant at nineteen and forced to choose between her trust fund and having a baby. April’s father agrees to loan her the money, if she moves home for a few months so he can get to know his grandchild. Before she can decide what to do, she comes face to face with the last man she ever expected to see again… her father’s former bodyguard who disappeared five years ago after she slept with him.

Black Ops operative Jonas Ostergaard made a nearly fatal mistake the last time he was in Key West. After working his way into Philip Linus’ circle of trust, Jonas let the Arms Dealer’s beautiful, kindhearted daughter distract him from his mission. He was yanked off the job by his superiors, but now he’s back to stop Linus from selling a dangerous new technology on the black market.

Needing to prove himself to save his job, Jonas is determined to keep his distance from April this time. But when he suspects she knows more about her father’s illegal business dealings than she admits, he’s torn between protecting her and uncovering the truth.

Passion ignites when April and Jonas end up on the run dodging arms dealers in the steamy Amazon rainforest, but April wonders what kind of relationship she could have with a man who has more secrets than she does. A man who could disappear at any moment and leave her heart in tatters.

Trapped between loyalty to her father and a new allegiance with the man she’s falling in love with, April realizes none of it will matter if they don’t escape the jungle alive.

  • Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

I love action/adventure movies and I love romance novels, but as a reader, it was difficult to find books that blended the two. Everything I’ve ever written has had elements of both adventure and romance. Before I was published, I used to write Historical Romance with elements of adventure. When I went to grad school, I decided to challenge myself to write something contemporary, and I’ve always wanted to write a book inspired by one of my favorite movies “Romancing the Stone.” That’s how The Key West Escape Series came about.

Passion Punch, and The Key West Escape Series, is considered to be Romantic Adventure, which falls under the umbrella of Romantic Suspense. It’s a little different though because Romantic Adventure is lighter and funnier than traditional romantic suspense, but it’s still filled with lots of action and suspenseful elements. I’d like to think of my books as action/adventure movies in book form written for women.

  • Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

I have never self-published. I was lucky enough to be signed for a three-book contract when my publisher accepted my first book. Books 2 and 3 weren’t written yet, so I felt a little pressure to deliver something as good as the first book, but I’m really happy with the way the series turned out, and I love my publisher Firefly Hill Press.

  • What is your favourite genre?

I enjoy reading romantic suspense, paranormal, and historical romance.

  • If you could recommend a living author – who would it be?

            I would recommend Diana Gabaldon. I adore her and the Outlander series.

  • Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

JR Ward has had the most influence on my writing style. After a contest judge told me early on in my career that my writing style was ordinary and boring, I realized that maybe she was right. I decided to study some of the authors I admired, and I was draw to Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I loved the rawness of Ward’s style. While I didn’t want to copy her, I realized I could punch up my own voice in similar ways, and that’s how I approached Rum Runner, my first published novel, and the first book in The Key West Escape Series.

  • In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?

My books are quite funny. I hope you’ll check them out. 🙂

  • Do you have any pets? Yes.
    • If so, what are they?  I have a two-year-old tabby cat. I rescued him from an animal shelter a few months ago.
    • And what are they called?  Finnegan
    • Do they help you write?  Finnegan like to walk across my keyboard and add extra letters to my words, so I guess he’s trying to help.
    • What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? He rolled off his cat tower. I was sitting on the couch writing when I caught this out of the corner of my eye. I reached my hand out with ninja-quick reflexes I didn’t know I possessed and caught him just in time to break his fall. He was fine. He’s just really clumsy.
    • Do you want to add a photo of them to this Q&A? [please add a separate file, not embedded into document] I don’t have a good photo of Finnegan yet, because he always looks p*ssed off. I think he hates having his picture taken.
  • If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?

Claire Fraser. Why? Two words: Jamie Fraser. 😉

  • If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?

I’m in love with Scotland. I’ve been there five times, and I would love to move to Glasgow, in particular. The vibrant city has the perfect blend of old and new. Great people. Great pubs and restaurants. Art and culture. And I love the Glaswegian accent.

  • What would you take on a desert island to read if you could only take 3 books?

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Lover Awakened by JR Ward

A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I hope you enjoy Passion Punch, (Book 3 of The Key West Escape Series.)

~ Tricia Leedom

Author Bio

TRICIA LEEDOM enjoys traveling to exotic destinations and having torrid love affairs with hot, dangerous men… even if it’s only in her own mind. When she’s not writing romantic adventure novels, she reads voraciously, tweets compulsively, and fangirls over a TV show based on her favorite book series. Tricia earned her BA in Creative Writing from The University of Tampa and her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her favorite authors include Diana Gabaldon, J.R. Ward, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Robards, and Johanna Lindsey. She lives in Southwest Florida with two very spoiled dogs. Follow Tricia on Twitter and Instagram @tricialeedom

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Sara Tells us How

Woodhouse Hall Book Cover Woodhouse Hall
21st Century Austen Book 3
Sara Marks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Illuminated Myth Publishing
Publication date: October 28th 2019

Woodhouse Hall
Sara Marks
Publication date: October 28th 2019
Genres: AdultContemporaryRomance

Goodreads

Amelia is stuck in the worst dorm on campus for a whole year!  She’ll have to make the best of it in Woodhouse Hall and her roommate Jenna will be her new best friend, Amelia’s sure of that.  Jenna’s sweet personality and openness to new things incite the matchmaking-genius in Amelia to find the perfect boyfriend for her new bestie. She shoots high by attempting to entice Eric, the President of the Student Government, to fall for her roommate. Amelia’s past success makes her confident they will be a couple in no time. When that turns out to be a disaster, she is forced to face the lies she’s told herself about her strengths and her assumptions about the people she loves. Over the year, Amelia learns who she is, what she wants, and how to fight for what’s really important.

This novel, inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, will have you laughing, crying, and finding a little of yourself in one or all of the characters.

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

I work at a university so I see a lot of college students through my days, weeks, months, and years. I get to know some of them and what they’re struggling with. The 21st Century Austen series are modernizations of Jane Austen books and she wrote about people in this same age group. Modernizing it means considering college students and how different they are from other adults and people the same age who don’t go to college.

Emma, the book that inspired Woodhouse Hall, is about a woman of immense privilege. She has the life she wants without having had to compromise like others around her. She sees herself as skilled at something she has merely been lucky to get right. It’s something common for all of us to understand and happens often in our early twenties. I want readers to see that mistakes and failures aren’t the end of the world but lessons that can help us make better decisions. 

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

Woodhouse Hall happened very quickly. I write my first draft during National Novel Writing Month events. There are three a year: the big one in November and then two smaller ones in April and July. I was going to write a different project in July 2018 but this idea suddenly came to me and I was able to write the whole thing in a few months. I did the research as I wrote and edited, talking to college students around me. From start to release day it took less than a year and a half to work on this book.

I do have a lot of journals and notebooks where I collect my notes, outlines, research, and character details. Each book will take at least one notebook.

How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

Research is my bread and butter. I’m a research librarian so I can get lost in the research process because I enjoy it so much. How much time depends on the topic. If I know a lot about it, I don’t spend too much time. The research for Woodhouse Hall required a little research about how buildings are added to the national register of historical buildings and talking to college students about life in dorms. It didn’t take long at all. Another book is going to take place in a candy shop, which I know nothing about. It’s going to take extensive research that will involve eating candy!

What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote

The resources depend on each book. For Woodhouse Hall I was easily able to find a lot of resources online. The government puts up a ton of information about getting a building listed on the historical register. I also looked up blueprints of dorms and costs so I made sure plot points happened accurately. I like going to places and talking to people as part of the research process. It helps me understand context of things that happen and I get great stories to include. I can also see how people interact with each other in a setting.

Do you have any pets? Do they help you write?

I have a cat and a dog. Neither are helpful when writing. Sabine, the cat, wants to be left alone. Cedric, the dog, wants to be the center of my attention. He likes to sit in my lap, making it difficult to work. I have to leave the house everyday if I want to get anything done. It’s probably why I can write and publish books the way I do. When I go out to write, I can focus and just check items off my to-do list.

Do you have an unusual hobby?

It’s not unusual but I’m also a knitter. Before I decided to start self-publishing, I was doing so much knitting that I was creating my own patterns and still sell them online. I still knit, especially when I’m not writing. I try to make sure I knit at least one item for every story I write. I have so much yarn I just shop in my own house when I’m ready to knit something else.

If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?

I love Paris and my plan is to retire there in thirty years. My plan is to continue writing full time while I’m there. I love Paris and have since before my first visit ten years ago. I love the food and history. Anytime I can manage a way to insert Paris into what I’m writing, I do. Phi Alpha Pi has a major scene happen there but not Woodhouse Hall.

Do you people watch to find characters for your books? How do you do this? What is the funniest thing you have seen that you have incorporated into a book? Or do you add some traits from your family and friends into your characters?

I do and it often shocks my friends how much I’m paying attention to everything. I was in Boston with some friends, walking to a chocolate shop for a tour. Behind us was a couple who had clearly been on a few dates but not that comfortable with each other. I walked between our two groups, listening to both my friends and the couple. Later, over lunch, we were talking about the couple and they were shocked at how much I had over heard.

Sometimes these things make it into books but usually I watch to see how people talk and what these things show me about them, even if its assumptions people will make. I often think about what people think about me when they see me in cafe’s working. These things work their way in to everything I write.

The funniest thing that ended up in Latkes of Love, specifically, was when a friend and I had lunch in Salem, MA during the Women’s Soccer championships this past summer. There was a guy at the bar there and he was far more enthusiastic than anyone else in the bar. I wrote the entire thing into a disastrous date for a character. I don’t want to spoil it but it was magnificent.

About the Author

Sara Marks is a librarian with two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated.   She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess. She cries at nearly every movie she sees (ask her about when she cried at a horror movie), but it’s full-on weeping for Disney animated movies. She loves reading nearly every genre but likes to write women’s fiction, romance, and even horror. You have to balance out the reality of the world if you’re going to be a hopeless romantic! Her heroines are women who don’t want the expected life, rarely worrying about their age, weight, marriageability, or fertility. 

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