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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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Aspergers and Autism and e/affects

All of Me Book Cover All of Me
by Emily Duvall
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: May 29th 2019

Maren Cole survived adolescence by relying on her intellect, but has never felt more different as an adult. The diagnosis she received as a person with Autism makes functioning in a fast-paced city with bright lights and big sounds a challenge. Forget about dating. Forget marriage. She would like to survive a conversation. Independence has never been more isolating or confusing and is complicated by a situation that puts her directly in the path of arrogant lawyer Caleb Allan.

Caleb isn’t interested in anyone except himself and his legal career. The one person he doesn’t need to spend time with is the awkward Maren Cole, but their interactions are unavoidable when she has the potential to push his career ahead. Forced to confront the fact that she’s unlike anyone he’s ever met, Caleb knows falling for her will destroy his work. He may also lose his heart to a woman who may never fully love him back.

This is a story of Maren and autism as an adult – Maren is high functioning on the spectrum, but she lacks social cues and skills and this makes it tricky for her to cope with adult life – especially as she has a family which tends to over-smother and over-protect.

She is employed very gainfully and is great at her job – so long as she is in front of a computer and working alone – or alongside a trusted friend. But general workplace skills and coping are tricky for her to navigate. And then she wants to date and wonders about children and marriage.


This story is told very empathetically and using Maren’s voice to tell it was a great device. It really helps the reader understand her life choices and why she lives by rules. I felt that the author was familiar with the syndrome and I also became familiar as the story progressed and I was privy to Maren’s thoughts and rationales.

A good read and worthwhile for anyone who wants to understand Asperger’s behaviours.


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I succumb too easily

Temptation Book Cover Temptation
Bad Angels
by Inara Scott
contemporary fiction, romance,
Entangled Publishing, LLC
Pub Date 26 Aug 2019

As close friends and coworkers, attorney Zoe Riva and tech genius Connor Ashton know they can never get involved.

Never.

Ever.

Until a scooter accident lands Zoe in Connor's arms—and his overnight custody—and she starts to see a man she's never seen before. With her career and her heart on the line, Zoe can't afford to take any chances. But when combustible chemistry takes over, even the smartest people in the room can make the biggest of mistakes…

Temptation

A romance about two troubled souls, both nerdy and brilliant but wit troubled backgrounds and difficult family relationships. She is an engineer and a lawyer, (girls please note this possibility), and he is an IT engineer.

They work together and office rules say no romances with co-workers but.. a nice story with good characterisation.

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I Know You

Knowing Nichelle by Tinsley Sellers Publication date: August 16th 2019 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance Book Cover Knowing Nichelle by Tinsley Sellers Publication date: August 16th 2019 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
(A Beckley's Daughters Romance) #3
Independently published
(6 Aug. 2019)

She’s just met the man of her dreams…but he’s not who he said he was. Neither is she. Until they get a second chance to make a first impression. Is he a sophisticated big-city lawyer, or an easygoing small-town woodworker? And if she’s not a career-driven high-powered attorney, then who is she? Hiding behind their masks is second nature until circumstances force them to see beneath the surface and realize just how alike—and in love—they really are. He’s only got one rule: no lawyers. She’s a lawyer. Burned by experience, Buck’s got a rule for a reason. After walking away from a lucrative legal position, he found his peace in Beckley. Life on the farm is simple, and his woodworking business is thriving. He’s not interested in trading his work boots for wingtips and rejoining the rat race. So what if she’s the most compelling woman he’s ever met? She’s only got one requirement: no a**holes. He’s an a**hole. After a disastrous encounter in a trendy bar, Nichelle’s convinced that he’s an over-muscled a**hole. She’s got a sleek car, luxurious condo, and elegant designer clothes. Family comes first, and her legal career is on the fastest track. She’s never met a problem she couldn’t solve on her own. So what if he can see beneath her carefully constructed façade? They’re perfect together. They just don’t know it yet. Welcome back to Beckley, Michigan! Autumn is in the air and as the days get shorter, the air gets cooler and the calm lakes reflect the blue skies and red-gold trees for a double-dose of fall color. The people are just as warm, friendly, smart, funny, and real as you remember. When you need a place to call home, Beckley welcomes you—and sometimes the family you choose is as strong as the bonds you’re born with. If you like small-town romance, you’ll like Beckley. If you like smart heroines who balance demanding professional careers with a commitment to family, friends, and finding love, then you’ll definitely like it here. If you like strong, sexy, hard-working heroes who have not-so-secret soft spots for kids, dogs, and classic cars, you may find that you never want to leave!

Review:

I enjoyed reading this book and was tempted to read the books 1 and 2 in the series, but then realised I already knew their outcomes and some of their trials and tribulations so…

I like the town this is set in, but really agree, a coffee shop is needed – perhaps then they wouldn’t spend their time so much in the tavern and get drunk quite so often!

This book gently took you into the issues with racism in the States and some areas, especially small town living. Miscegenation is a term I really haven’t heard for a very long time, and certainly not when my own cousin married a gorgeous tall girl whose father is very dark indeed and mother is Cypriot. A model to look at and I just wonder how he persuaded her into marriage..

I also suspect the issues with lawyers may not be quite as rabid here in the UK although London may be an exception to some extent.

I liked the writing style – it was clean and easy and yet you allowed you to think about issues without being over the top.

A good read.

Knowing Nichelle is the third in the Beckley’s Daughters Romance series. It can be read as a stand-alone story, but continuing readers will recognize many of the characters and locations. This series is recommended for adult readers and contains explicit language and intimate situations.
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46025510-knowing-nichelle?ac=1&from_search=true
Purchase:

Amazon: https://books2read.com/u/baWnDQ?store=amazon

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/knowing-nichelle-tinsley-sellers/1131678514

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/knowing-nichelle/id1465076703?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/knowing-nichelle

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=GpGnDwAAQBAJ

AUTHOR BIO:

Tinsley Sellers grew up in Chicago, spending her summers with her grandparents in a tiny town a lot like Beckley, Michigan. Life took her to Arizona, Washington, and Idaho before she finally found her home in Arkansas. She is married to an amazing, supportive (and handsome!) man, with whom she has rescued three dogs and two cats. When she’s not writing, she teaches physics and engineering at the local university. When she’s not writing or teaching, she’s probably trying new recipes. She enjoys fast cars, loud music, fine whisky, and big books. In no particular order.
Author links:

https://tinsleysellers.com/https://www.instagram.com/tinsleysellers/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18212378.Tinsley_Sellers

https://www.facebook.com/TinsleySellers/https://twitter.com/TinsleySellers

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Aimee tells some heart secrets

Steal My Heart Book Cover Steal My Heart
Aimee O'Brian
contemporary fiction, romance, erotic
C
(5 Aug. 2019)

When a fantasy turns into a cold reality

Lexanne Harris had a plan down to the last sexy detail. Never did she think her attempt to spice up her love life with her boyfriend would involve her in a burglary with a sexier than sin thief whose emerald eyes and serious between the sheets skills are impossible to forget. As a police detective she is expected to stand on the side of the law and fight for justice. But what happens when the lines of justice blur and what’s wrong becomes way too tempting?

The situation might be challenging but Lexanne is determined to get assigned to the case, recover the jewels and catch the culprit.

The question is: What will she do with her sexy cat burglar when she catches him?

Aimee O’Brian, author of Steal My Heart, a hot, contemporary romance with elements of mystery and suspense

  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?

Steal My Heart has been percolating in the back of my mind for years. What might happen when a woman plans to act out her sex-with-a-cat-burglar fantasy with her new boyfriend? What if her plans were to go awry in a deliciously naughty way? I never thought I’d be brazen enough to write this novel, but the boldness of my protagonist drew me in. I’ve always had a strong first-person voice and decided to showcase that by writing a hot, fast-paced, contemporary romance with a heroine who knows what she wants, isn’t afraid to admit it and is willing—at least to herself—to own her mistakes. 

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

I don’t know how many times I’ve been rejected, but it’s a lot, so I choose not to count them. Those rejections taught me to be a better writer and to have a tough skin.  I started seriously writing in 2011 and joined Romance Writers of America a year later.  That’s where I really learned my craft and made the contacts I needed to begin submitting. I went from form rejections, to the occasional encouraging note, to personalized feedback. Overall the agents and editors who rejected my work were generous in their comments, and it made at tremendous difference.   I finished four novels over eight years—not counting partial and abandoned manuscripts. Steal My Heart is my fourth completed novel and the first to be published.

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

Knowing I needed affirmation that my work was ready for publication, I chose not to self-publish. Each rejection was the impetus I needed to get better.  Entering contests also provided valuable feedback.  I never ruled out self-publishing, but I didn’t want to put my work out there before it was ready. Once accepted, this book went through three rounds of edits: developmental, copy-editing and proofreading. I’m grateful for the expertise of my publisher and editors, who not only made the story better and me a better writer, but caught mistakes I missed. One such mistake was assuming the signature of an artist I referenced was legible. The copywriter of her own initiative looked up the signature and let me know that my characters wouldn’t be able to read it off a painting. This required I rewrite the dialogue in that scene for accuracy. So to the writer considering self-publishing, I’d advise investing in professional editing. I know my book is much improved because of it.

  • What do you read when you are ill in bed?

When I’m ill and don’t want to think too hard but want immediate gratification and distraction, I go straight for smart, sassy heroines in pretty dresses.  For me, this usually translates into a historical romance.

  • What is your favourite genre?

I read primarily romance. It’s what I want to write, so I immerse myself in all its subgenres: contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, and paranormal. I enjoy its many heat levels, everything from sweet to hot.  I’ve been known to veer off into science fiction and mystery, but still crave that happily ever after. 

  • What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

I love perusing my college papers. I was so smart. Sometimes I wonder at the vocabulary I used. I was quite the literary writer. But the ability to write a superlative essay does not translate to commercial fiction. I was quite stunned at how difficult it was to write a romance. Romance writers make it look easy. The easier a story is to read, the harder it is to write.  What did translate from school was the drive to write well.  University classes taught me to work hard and to work on deadline.

  • Do you have an unusual hobby?

I don’t how unusual it is, but I love visiting museums. I can get lost, literally, in a museum for hours. I recently visited the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and had to leave after three hours. It was heart-breaking. I could’ve spent days there.

I also really like being on the water. Every time I go on vacation, I find myself on a boat. I love harbor cruises and ferry rides. And windy days on the water are the best!

My website http://www.aimeeobrian.com/ is a testament to both of these activities.

Having lived in both California and Texas, Aimee O’Brian now resides in the beautiful wine country. With her three children grown and experiencing their own adventures, she and her husband are free to explore the world. When she’s not reading, writing, or planting even more perennials in her garden, she can be found stomping through ancient ruins and getting lost in museums.

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