July 28, 2014

5 Easy Questions: Jocie McKade @JocieMcKade #RLFblog #romcom

Heart River Inn 
5 Easy Questions is an interview is designed to be quick, easy, and fun. Today's guest is Jocie McKade. 

5 Easy Questions

This interview is designed to be quick, easy, and fun. Answer any five of these. Please put your answer on the line below the question.
What is your go-to meal to order when you dine out? Your favorite "I know it will hit the spot" item.
Anything I don't have to cook! I do have a passion for Italian, Mexican, Southern Fried, Yankee farm food, and Midwest garden dishes. Oh, and Crab Rangoon, and......maybe a foodie world tour is in order. I guess I'd have to go with honey smoked ham and mashed potatoes - perfect.
Who is your "book boyfriend"? You know, that hottie you read about and drool over.
Just one? Really? I do love Longmire - Craig Johnson's cowboy, and of course, I wouldn't turn down an evening with Diana Galbadon's Jamie Fraser, and when my adventurous side rear's it's ugly head, Dirk Pitt, the brain child of Clive Cussler would be my pick.
What were you like when you were in school?
I was a NERD! I was the kid who would win all the mock Jeopardy tournaments, loved history, political science, and hated the teachers that told me I could only read and do a book report on one book a quarter. Gasp.
Would you rather stay inside and watch snow falling, or get out in it and build a snowman?
If it's above zero, I'll be snowmobiling and building a snow fort to contain my extended snow family. I may not look so hot in a bikini, but I can rock a parka!! If it is below zero, I'll be making snow cream, and sipping a hot toddie in front of the woodstove! Again rocking a parka.
What is your favorite quote?
It Never Ceases to Amaze me. I have no idea who said this. I saw it on a bumper sticker on a Hummer limo and stole it.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I had a backpack full of favorites. This is one of the hardest questions I've ever been ask. Again, y'all make me pick one? I guess I'd have to pick To Kill a Mockingbird. It was the first time my belief in the American justice system was sorely tested, and I've never forgotten it.
What was the last movie you watched (home or theater)?
GI JOE, yeah, I do like it when the good guys win. And BONUS, The Rock is shirtless!
If you're on Twitter, what's your favorite hashtag to watch?
I love #romcom #amwriters #weekendreads
If the hero of your latest book called you on the phone, what would be a perfect ringtone for him?
Stay with Me by Sam Smith, because she's all he needs.

About the Book

Title Heart River Inn
Genre Romantic Comedy
Author Name Jocie McKade
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG13
A mysterious photograph, lethal swans, gushy beds and a kitschy lovers resort in the Pocono Mountains. Can you say single woman in hell?
Lexi Sheridan doesn't believe in true love. It's a fantasy found only in old Hollywood movies. She's a journalist trying to climb the professional ladder and work her way into a national news organization. When a mysterious old photograph lands in her lap, it could be her 'golden ticket' to that coveted news job.
That photo leads her to the Heart River Inn, a lovers' resort nestled in the wilds of the Pocono Mountains. The resort is a kitschy place that she at first finds nauseatingly filled with fake couples in love. However, after only a few days interviewing guests, her jaded soul begins to see things with a new perspective.
At the Heart River Inn, Lexi encounters a soft-hearted owner with a secret past, a hot manager, lethal swans, attack curtains, and an assortment of couples you won't soon forget.
If on some night your world is looking bleak, your heart is broken, and you don't think true love exists, maybe you'll be lucky enough to stumble across the heart-shaped sign of the Heart River Inn.

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July 27, 2014

Interview: Brenda Corey Dunne author of Dependent @overdunne #RLFblog #amreading

Dependent 

About the Book

Title: Dependent: A Novel
Genre: Fiction/ Literary
Author Name: Brenda Corey Dunne
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R for violence, sexual themes.

Interview with Brenda Corey Dunne

Why did you write this book?
About nine years ago, I took a look in the mirror, and—like many military spouses—faced one of the things that scared me the most. What would happen if I got that soul-destroying knock on the door? I was in my mid-thirties, not working, and in danger of losing my hard-earned physiotherapy license. What would I do if I was left alone, like so many military spouses are, to raise three children with no career? It was an eye-opener, for sure. I sat down that day, and wrote it out—in fictional form—and then put it away. It was too hard, too emotionally draining to think about. I couldn't write it. But I knew, deep down inside, that Ellen's story was one that had to be written. It stayed in the back of my mind as I watched friends, colleagues, and neighbors deal with that very knock. Finally, in 2012, I forced myself to push through and finish it. It's not an easy story to read, nor is it an easy story to write. But I wanted to make it real.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Just about anything YA, especially urban fantasy, and some pre-dystopian. I read for entertainment. Life is real enough as it is!
What is your favorite character from fiction (not including your own characters)?
Depends on which book I'm reading at the time. I'm fickle, and switch regularly. If I had to choose I'd say Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I love her wit.
Do you enjoy films and/or TV shows? Which are your favorites?
I love to escape in a good movie, and like books my favorites change regularly. I loved Super 8—Aliens, coming of age and some really good lines: "Drugs are so bad!". I also loved the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice. Could watch that movie a hundred times. But for pure wit, intelligence and brilliant screenwriting I'd have to choose the TV show Sherlock. Every episode is like a mini-movie in itself.
What are you working on at the moment, and what are we likely to see from you in the coming months?
Right now I'm in the middle of a cross-continental move, so my laptop is a little lonely. I have two projects on the go: a sequel to Treasure in the Flame (my self-pubbed historical fiction), and also a contemporary story about the meaning of 'home' for a military child. Both are at the 20k mark or so, so lots of work to come!
Please tell us about your latest book.
As I mentioned above, Dependent is not an easy book. It's the story of how a widowed military spouse (a 'dependent') re-discovers her self-identity. Married young, and the victim of sexual assault, she is riddled with guilt and self-doubt when the love of her life is killed in a military training accident. She drifts in a grey, anchorless fog, haunted by memories. Only when she meets up with an old friend from her past can she deal with her demons and move on.
The story is raw, emotional and sometimes uncomfortable. But it's also heartwarming and romantic. Get out your tissues.
When 45-year-old Ellen Michaels loses her husband to a tragic military accident, she is left in a world of gray. For 25 years her life has been dictated by the ubiquitous They—the military establishment that has included her like chattel with John's worldly goods—his Dependents, Furniture, and Effects. They—who have stolen her hopes, her dreams and her innocence, and now in mere months will take away the roof over her head. Ellen is left with nothing to hold on to but memories and guilt and an awful secret that has held her in its grip since she was 19. John's untimely death takes away her anchor, and now, without the military, there is no one to tell her where to go, what to do—no one to dictate who she is. Dependent deals with issues ever-present in today's service families—early marriage, frequent long absences, the culture of rank, and posttraumatic stress, as well as harassment and abuse of power by higher-ranking officials. It presents a raw and realistic view of life for the lives of the invisible support behind the uniform.

Excerpt

There is no more conversation. Young men with close-clipped haircuts straighten up and square their shoulders. Mothers wipe their eyes with soggy tissues. One by one, their sons grasp their duffels and walk forward.
"Michaels, John! Board now!" The man screams.
John turns to face me, a determined gleam in his eyes. "Don't wait up," he says.
I grin half-heartedly and finish our little saying. "Don't be late," I say. He leans forward and kisses me, then nods, turns and walks forward, as if this were the easiest thing in the world, his legs swinging in more of a saunter than a walk. He pops his bag in the compartment and hops up the stairs. Only when he is seated by the window does he look back. He waves to his parents and then his eyes find mine.
I breathe in quickly, caught off guard by what his eyes are saying. My cheeks burn at the dangerous grin he gives me, not much different than that of five weeks ago in the flashing red glow. His gaze flicks down to the neckline of my blouse and below. It's as if he's having sex with me in his mind, as if we are alone and together, not separated by a crowd of sniffling parents and twenty-five feet of soggy paved space. I feel my body respond—my breath quickens and something flutters behind my breastbone. The rush of need shocks away my unshed tears.
I hear the sound of marching feet, slamming doors, and revving engines, but I don't look away. The corners of John's mouth twitch, and the bus moves forward. Parents wave frantically as it pulls away, calling their goodbyes and well wishes to the stench of exhaust and flying water.
I am left alone, standing in a puddle of need and lost dreams as John drives away in search of his own.

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Author Bio
Brenda Corey Dunne

Brenda Corey Dunne grew up in rural New Brunswick, Canada. She originally trained as a physiotherapist and worked several years as a Physiotherapy Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force before meeting the love of her life and taking her release. Since that time she has had frequent moves with her Air Force husband and family, living in such places as Nova Scotia (Canada), Watchfield (England) and Elizabeth City, (NC). She currently resides on the Pacific Coast, in British Columbia, Canada.
Brenda spent several years volunteering on the Board of Directors at a Military Family Resource Centre in Nova Scotia, culminating in a year term as Chairperson of the Board. She completed her first full-length manuscript in 2008 as a bucket-list item and caught the writing bug. Since then she has self-published a work of YA historical fiction (Treasure in the Flame), and has several other manuscripts in various stages of completion. Dependent is her first traditionally published work. She is represented by Jennifer Mishler and Frances Black of Literary Counsel.

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July 26, 2014

Cover Love: Fallen Leaves @AuthorTinaGayle #RLFblog #contemporary

Fallen Leaves 
Title: Fallen Leaves (Family Tree book 2)
Genre: Romantic Suspense with Paranormal Elements
Author Name: Tina Gayle
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG13
As autumn comes to the Winston estate in Ohio, Amber Harrison learns further lessons in her new position as keeper for the spirits and ghosts who haunt the estate--and further lessons in love, too. She and her love, Carter Miller, grapple with the fears and passions of new love, while caught up in the storm of ancient family drama.
This is the second book in the unfolding saga of the psychics and talents associated with the Winston estate, a sheltered place where past, present, and future are woven into a single dramatic tapestry of love and desire. The tale spans multiple generations, multiple eras, and offers something special for all ages of reader. A sexy, erotic winner, with an assortment of couples to appeal to most tastes.

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Publisher: Tina Gayle

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July 25, 2014

Character Interview: Candy Kavana from The Beginning @AuthorAnitaCox #RLFblog #Contemporary

The Beginning 

About the Book

Title The Beginning, Dirty White Candy, Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Author Name Anita Cox
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R+
Blurb (up to 300 words) Watch what happens when a recently divorced and sexually repressed thirty-something woman transforms from vapid novice to bombshell maven in The Beginning. Going bravely where she's never gone before, Candy Kavana is about to take the first steps towards her new life in Book 1 of Anita Cox's intensely passionate and entertaining series, Dirty White Candy.
Traded in for a younger, newer model by the only man she's ever made love to, thirty-something Candy Kavana finds herself craving human interaction of the carnal nature. Shy and sexually repressed, Candy turns to her best friend, Stacy, for advice. And what advice it is!
Candy nervously dives into sex therapy and what she discovers is more than mind-blowing sex. She discovers a side of herself she never dreamed existed. Now that she's whet her whistle, she can't get enough. Just how far is Candy willing to take her sexual exploration?
Content Notes: Intense, Light BDSM, Ménage, D/S Elements, Polyamory, Contemporary

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Interview with Candy Kavana

Tell us about yourself, please.
At work, I'm a successful marketing executive. I'm good at my job and I've moved up the company ladder. Outside of work, I'm a bit of a recluse. If it weren't for my best friend Stacy, I'd have no social life. At least, that's where my story begins. I've only made love to one man, my dirt-ball cheating ex-husband. Even then, it was nothing exciting.
What is it that you want, but cannot have? Authors call this the conflict of the story.
I'm really repressed and very uneducated about the sexual world. Because my ex was so demeaning, I just don't thing I'm very good in bed either. I want contact. I want connection. I WANT AN ORGASM.
What's your internal limitation? Meaning, what is it about you that makes it so you cannot do what it is you need to do during this story?
I have a difficult time with new things sexual in nature. Stacy calls me a prude. I'm really my own worst enemy. But I'm grabbing ahold of my lady balls and moving on with life.
What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
As I said, the ex told me I was bad in the sack. We never tried anything other than missionary and blow jobs for him. So my self-esteem is pretty much shot. I found the most interesting form of sex therapy, so I'm learning to get over myself and find my inner vixen.
What's your external complication? In the story world your author created, explain what it is you fear most.
The world's view of a sexually free woman. I don't want to be seen as a whore, even if I want to act like one. I'm terrified it'll ruin my impeccable reputation.
Are you happy with the way your story ended? Why or why not?
Oh Anita gave me knowledge, power, orgasms and hot people to experiment with. I'm satisfied (and a little spent.)

About the Writer

You have the length of a tweet (140 characters) to describe yourself as a writer. Let's see what you can do. Anita Cox has an affinity for leather and high heeled boots. The same vivacious attitude can be found in her erotic adventures.
Why did you choose to write about this character?
I'd met a woman who was about 30, in Candy's situation. Her story was quite sad, but it got me thinking…what if there was an erotic turn of events? Then, owning a swing club, I had several ideas about realistic scenarios I could put her in.
When you wrote about this character, what made you the most happy? What made you the most sad?
I was the happiest the first time she took charge. I felt her power increase, her self-esteem heal and I really enjoyed watching her finally enjoy sex with a man.
Why do you write?
There's another option? I'd be a compulsive liar if I couldn't write.
Are any sequels planned for this book?
I think the trilogy is great as it stands. Adding to it would just drag the story on.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?
The greatest feeling an author has is when someone enjoys their work. It is with utmost sincerity that I say, I hope you enjoy the Dirty White Candy series.

Author Bio

Anita has been writing general fiction, under her given name, for nearly a decade. In 2012 she strapped on a new name for a new genre and dove head first into writing erotica.
Anita Cox's erotic debut series Dirty White Candy was picked up by Liquid Silver Books in 2013, but this wasn't her beginning. Under her given name she has written crime fiction (some with paranormal elements,) paranormal romance and suspense novels. With a decade in the industry, she has finally started to get her feet wet.
In 2014, she became a Director for the Erotic Author's Guild. Her altruistic nature found its purpose, assisting other erotic authors with issues specific to the genre.
With a busy home life, Anita manages to ferret out enough time for each hat she must wear, though secretly, she wants to shut the world out and just write.

Author Social Media


July 24, 2014

Interview: Jami Gray author of Shadow's Moon @JamiGrayAuthor #RLFblog #paranormalromance

Shadow's Moon 
About the Book
Title Shadow's Moon
Genre Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Author Jami Gray
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R

Interview with Jami Gray

Why did you write this book?
This is the third installment in my Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles. While the first two books follow Raine McCord and Gavin Durand and introduce the reader into the shadowy world around us, for this book, I've loved Xander since she popped up in the first book, and her relationship with Warrick held too many layers to ignore. Plus, my critique partners threw down a challenge—"Write a romance, we dare you." I hemmed and hawed, only to get "We triple dog dare you." Sigh, who's going to turn that down?
What is your favorite genre to read?
I'm a huge reader, so my taste are wide, but my favorites are Urban Fantasy and Military influenced romantic suspense.
What is your favorite character from fiction (not including your own characters)?
Oh, that's a hard one. I first fell in love with Anita Blake in Circus of the Damned by Laurell Hamilton, but have since gone on to develop serious feelings for Mercy Thompson of Patricia Briggs' series, Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrew's series, and Joanne Walker from C.E. Murphy's Walker Papers series. Of course, not to leave out the male half of the fiction world, I love to spend quality time with Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. ((wiggles eyebrows))
Do you enjoy films and/or TV shows? Which are your favorites?
I live in a household swimming in testosterone, so films are a great way to spend time with my boys—wild explosions, furious car chases, we're an action flick family all the way. However, I'm a huge devotee to both the ID channel and the History Channel. Favorite series right now: The Blacklist. Favorite Movie: right now the boys and I are waiting for Guardians of the Galaxy, but me and the other half are looking forward to Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.
What are you working on at the moment, and what are we likely to see from you in the coming months?
I'm just about to begin the second book in my upcoming new Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, which spins together a mixed team of ex-military psychics, some serious chases, shootouts, and various other mayhem, all while take out the baddies of the world. The first book in the PSY-IV Teams (think Cypher), Hunted By The Past, will be coming out August 26th.
Right behind that book, will be the fourth book in the Kyn Kronicles, Shadow's Curse, which should hit shelves Oct/Nov 2014.
Please tell us about your latest book.
Without spoilers, Shadow's Moon follows Xander Cade, the female Tracker for the Northwest Motoki wolf pack and her unexpected bond with her alpha, Warrick Vidis. The two have to find their way as their relationship shifts under them, even as someone is threatening their pack. If they can't find their way to work together, more than them will end up paying a deadly price.
Even a wild heart can be broken…
A blonde, a brunette and a monster walk into a bar and all hell breaks loose.
It should have been the start of a bad joke, but days from a full moon Xander Cade, Tracker for the Northwest Motoki Pack, finds nothing funny about confronting an enraged Shifter in a crowded Portland nightclub filled with unsuspecting humans. The resulting carnage frays an already thin veil of secrecy shielding the supernatural Kyn community from public scrutiny, and ensures she can't escape the one man she's been determined to avoid, her Alpha and mate, Warrick Vidis. Dominating, protective and compelling, Warrick threatens her individuality like no other.
As the Northwest Alpha wolf, compromise isn't in Warrick Vidis's vocabulary, but when his reluctant mate, Xander Cade, refuses to leave off the hunt for a killer, he has no qualms using whoever or whatever necessary to protect her or his pack. A series of unusual deaths involving lone wolves, along with anonymous threats against him and his Pack, begin to jeopardize his normal steely control. Add in Xander's continual reluctance to fully accept their Soul bond, and the line between intellect and instinct begins to blur, leaving him wondering if one woman's love and acceptance will be enough to save both man and wolf.
As the danger escalates, threatening not just their Pack but those closest to them, Warrick and Xander must find a way to trust each other and accept their rare bond or risk losing everything-their pack, their friends and each other.
Excerpt.
Silence descended between her and Warrick, stretching until it played along her nerves. Slowly, like a door creaking open, he began to loosen his end of the bond. Her wolf began to settle as it sensed his. He studied her, and she could see both the wolf and man looking back. He reached out, but she stepped out of the way and caught a fleeting sense of hurt and confusion. But she couldn't allow his touch to weaken her resolve.
"Why are you running scared?" His question was stiff.
"Let me ask you something," she said. When he gave a short nod, she continued. "Why did you bond us?"
"You were dying." His voice was gruff, almost angry. "I—we need you."
Need, not love. His choice of words scraped over her heart. "Need?" she asked around the tightness of her chest.
"If we lost you, the pack would be devastated.""What about you, Warrick?" she whispered.
"An alpha can't have a weakness, Xander," he said, searing her with the brutal truth.
"So you consider a mate a weakness?" Oh, this was just getting better and better. Why had she thought she could make this relation- ship work?
"Did you forget what happened with Chavez?" he gritted out, rubbing the heel of his hand over his chest.
His movement had her realizing she was projecting her pain through their bond. Furious with herself, and with him, she reeled in her emotions. "Chavez's mate was crazy."
"He covered for her because he loved her, and now his pack is in upheaval."
She wanted to punch him. The urge was so powerful, she had to curl her hands into the leather of her bike's seat behind her. "So it's not a mate that you consider a weakness, but the emotion behind it?" she pushed.
"No," he growled. "You should never give an alpha wolf someone of his own."
Confusion momentarily overrode her anger. "Why?"
His lips thinned and his jaw tightened. "An alpha is the ultimate protector. Protection of our packs is a natural directive. We will do whatever is needed to protect what is ours. Even if they don't want to be protected."
"Even a mate?" She kept her tone careful as she began to get an inkling as to why he was so damned determined to keep his heart out of her reach.
"To protect a mate some would burn the world," Warrick answered. "Even at the expense of our pack. Chavez is proof of that."
"Warrick—" she started.
He snarled and ran a hand through his hair in obvious frustration. "My wolf recognizes you as our mate." Possessiveness stormed down their bond confirming his words.
Mate. A deep thrill hummed through her at his claim, but her heart ached because there was more to it. Dreading his answer, she asked, "And the man?"
"Is torn." His face was grim. "Claiming you protects and strengthens the pack, but increases the danger to you." His and me was left unsaid.
"You think you can claim me, but keep me at arm's length? As if that will somehow keep me safe?"
He didn't answer, but she could feel the belief in his screwed up logic. She and her wolf took exception to his assumption, and there was no stifling her growl. "I don't need you to keep me safe, Warrick. I need you to accept me for who I am."
Feminine fury rose and burned against his male arrogance. Her challenge was the last straw. She practically heard his control break. Swearing, he trapped her between his body and the bike before she could blink.
Being caged brought her wolf snarling to the forefront. Claws broke through and she swiped out, leaving thin bloody lines across one cheek before he captured her hands in his. He snarled back and took her lips with savage intensity. Ravaging her mouth, he took sharp bites of her lower lip before laving the stings with his tongue.
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Author Bio
Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. Her latest release, Shadow's Moon (5/14) was a Golden Claddaugh Finalist, and the first in her newest series, Hunted By The Past, hits shelves in August 2014. She is surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and a male lab, who masquerades as a floor rug as she plays with the voices in her head.
Author Social Media
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.com/e/B006HU3HJI
Google+ https://google.com/+JamiGray

July 23, 2014

Cover Love: Curse of Winford Manor @LocGlin #RLFblog #timetravel

The Curse of Winford Manor 
Genre Historical Paranormal Romance, Time Travel
Author Loc Glin
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R

Blurb

Leslie Braddock feels responsible for her husband's death. She is having trouble reentering the dating scene. Leslie travels back in time, where she meets Sir James.
Sir James Winford is a three-time widower. He believes he is cursed, and is certain death to any woman he loves. He has vowed never to love again.
Emily, the ghost of Sir James's Leslie Braddock feels responsible for her husband's death. She is having trouble reentering the dating scene. Leslie travels back in time, where she meets Sir James.
Sir James Winford is a three-time widower. He believes he is cursed, and is certain death to any woman he loves. He has vowed never to love again.
Emily, the ghost of Sir James's first wife, has unfinished business, and still lingers at the Manor. She wants to see her husband happy, and she wants to bring her murderer to justice.
Rose has loved Sir James since childhood. She must live with the unspeakable things she has done trying to make James see her as more than a child. She believes she is close to achieving that goal when Leslie shows up.
Leslie and Sir James share the experience of losing a loved one. Will Leslie be the woman to break the curse? Or will she be just another victim?

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July 22, 2014

3 Tips for Writing Likeable Characters @VeronicaBale1 #RLFblog #amwriting

A Noble Deception 
Today's post is by guest author Veronica Bale.
---
It there's one thing you need to know about yourself as a writer, it's what you do well. As an author of historical romances, I know I'm good at creating real, believable characters. I'm not being arrogant by saying that, it's actually what my readers say in their reviews of my books:
"A warm-blooded historical romance that breathes with the true humanity of its characters (even the secondary ones)." - A Noble Deception
"The H and h are likeable characters that I would enjoy reading more about." - Bride of Dunloch
"A very engaging presentation and characters you're compelled to follow." - Legend of the Mist.
It's something you hear often about your favourite books: the characters are likeable; they are real. But what, exactly, makes a character real? This is unfortunately something that surprisingly few writers (relatively speaking) understand. And that's a shame, because creating memorable characters that readers can identify with is not hard to do.
At the risk of giving a leg up to the competition (that's tongue-in-cheek of course; I always love to help my fellow writers), I'll share a trade secret: the trick to writing real, likeable characters is to spend time on scenes, or parts of scenes, which do absolutely nothing to further your plot.
Please, keep reading this post - I promise, I'm making sense. You might think it's counterproductive to waste time on anything that doesn't further your plot. And if the sheer volume of books out there that don't understand this vital concept attest to anything, it's that many authors would agree with you. But nothing could be further from the truth. By allowing your character these non-plot-advancing sections, in which nothing more than their personalities are front and centre, you make them real to your readers.
Here are three methods you can try to add likeability to your characters.

Silliness

Ever had a tickle-fight? Ever played keep-away? These kinds of silly moments, especially between your characters, are a great way to show their real sides. They are fun moments, and don't do much to enhance your plot. What they do is enhance the overall quality of your story, though.
Take the Disney movie Tangled as an example. The character of Flynn Ryder is obviously the sexy, smouldering hero we expect of a good fairytale. But what did you think about the scene where Rapunzel wasn't falling for his charms, so he declared it was time to "give her the smoulder?" What did you think when, after she dropped him on his face, he groaned "You broke my smoulder?" Didn't that endear him to you all the more?
Admittedly Tangled is a children's comedy; it's supposed to have silly bits like that to make the audience laugh. But apply the logic I've given you to the romance novels you've read where the characters fell flat. I'm betting that silly moments like this were notably absent.
This is especially prevalent in historical romance novels. Too many authors focus only the sombre mood, the tension borne of historical conflict or the burning lust. But even in a romance novel with tension and strife and desire, your characters can still indulge in a bit of silliness every now and again.

Banter

I just had a bantering argument with my husband about whether or not soccer is the least skill-oriented sport played professionally. At the end of the … discussion (putting it mildly) we were no further ahead on the topic than the last time we argued about it.
Everyone banters. What real person doesn't? So, if you want your characters to be real, let them banter. Let them argue and snipe at each other over something that has nothing whatsoever to do with your main storyline. Let them debate about the most ridiculous of things, and let them rage at how pig-headed and stubborn they're each being over something so insignificant. They might end up angry at each other by the end of your chapter, but your readers will end up loving them because of it.

Mild embarrassment

Have you seen the movie Hitch with Will Smith and Eva Mendez? Then you'll probably remember the part where Will Smith's character, Alex Hitchens, has an allergic reaction to shellfish. Okay, now I'll admit that seeing him with a distorted, swollen face did not do this hottie any favours, but how much more attractive did this embarrassing event make him overall? No longer the smooth-talking, suave "Date Doctor," we saw Alex Hitchens' real side. And we loved him for it.
Your characters, too, can benefit from times of mild embarrassment like this. Maybe your hero gets caught belting out some Spice Girls tunes in the shower. Maybe your leading lady falls into a nearby body of water in her best cocktail dress. Whatever it is, embarrassing your characters this way warms them to us and makes them real. Because hey, we've all been there.
Living, breathing characters are so much more than the things they need to do and say to advance your plot. Your characters become real when we see them do and say things that we recognize of ourselves - silly, stupid and embarrassing things. Allow your characters a few unnecessary scenes where their personalities can really come through; let your creativity wander in writing those memorable moments. They serve your plot in no measurable way, but they'll serve your overall story beautifully.
These aren't the only ways to show the real sides of your characters and make them likeable. What other "tricks" can you think of? Weigh in here at Romance Lives Forever and let us know.

Author Bio

Veronica Bale
Veronica Bale is a romance novelist, freelance writer and copyeditor. Her latest book, A Noble Deception, was released June 1st. She graduated from Toronto's York University with a degree in environmental writing, and she writes Scottish historical romance novels with strong heroines and cracking-good love stories.

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July 21, 2014

Character Interview: Shaina Williams from Eyes of Bast by Lisabet Sarai #RLFblog #paranormalromance #erotica

The Eyes of Bast 

About the Book

Title The Eyes of Bast
Genre M/F Paranormal erotic romance
Author Lisabet Sarai
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): NC (X)
Trust your heart. Follow your dreams.
Shaina Williams' grandmother bequeathed her that wisdom, along with a old pendant from the Islands, carved from an ocelot's tooth. When instinct tells Shaina to visit the feral cat trap she'd set in Central Park, she listens to that inner voice, She discovers she's caged a magnificent black tom, but the cat inexplicably vanishes after she tends to his wounds. Seeking the errant feline, Shaina encounters instead a handsome stranger whose slightest touch sets her body on fire. As the day dawns after a night of ferocious passion, her mysterious lover is forced back into his true shape - the tomcat she'd rescued.
Born a cat, Tom was transformed into an unwilling shape shifter by a sorceress who craved a human plaything to satisfy her perverse lusts. Centuries old and irresistibly powerful, Delphine Montserrat will stop at nothing to find her runaway familiar. Shaina vows to do whatever is necessary to defeat the vicious but seductive witch and save the man she believes is her soul mate – even though it might mean losing him forever.

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Interview with Shaina Williams

Tell us about yourself, please.
Hmm. I don't really like to talk about myself. I prefer people to meet me and take me as I am. I'll give it a try though.
I'm a twenty seven year old Black woman who has spent her entire life in New York City. I was born here, in NYU hospital, although my mom and grandmother came from Trinidad. I work in an office downtown, for a cranky boss who doesn't appreciate me, and live in a fifth floor studio a block from Central Park West. In my spare time, I volunteer at a downtown animal shelter called Animal Haven. I'm also part of the their feral trap, neuter and release program. That's how I met Tom – he'd been caught in one of the traps I'd set in the park.
What is it that you want, but cannot have? Authors call this the conflict of the story.
Well, before I met Tom, I wanted someone to love. You know, the classic soul mate. (chuckles) I dreamed of someone who'd understand me completely, who'd cherish and nurture me, and of course, someone who'd drive me wild with desire. I certainly found what I was looking for, in the most unlikely of places.
Then, after I heard Tom's story, all I really wanted was to take away his pain. Nobody could erase the scars of the abuse he'd suffered, though. But at least I thought I might be able to set him free from the enchantment that made him half man and half beast.
What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
I have no power, not really, nothing but my wits. Meanwhile, I'm up against a wily sorceress more than two centuries old who can command all the forces of darkness. Just being in her presence undermines my will. I find myself wanting to obey her, to reveal the truth, to make myself her slave. That's just part of her magical glamour, I know, but I have to constantly remind myself how evil she is - how cruel she has been to my poor Tom.
I worry that I'm too weak, too small, too ordinary, to save my beloved. That's a horrible thought.
Tell us about your significant other, that person who makes living worthwhile.
Ah, Tom... He's strong and sweet, wild and sexy, a creature of the night but with an unbelievable capacity for love. Our connection – there's something irrational about it, primal – magical, I guess. The first time we touched, I nearly had an orgasm.
I actually don't know him too well yet. I do know he's stubborn, with a rash streak. He came close to committing suicide in his efforts to save me.
I look forward to a life time of growing closer to him. Who knows, perhaps many lifetimes.
What would that person say about you?
He calls me beautiful. And I know he'd praise my compassion. That was what led me to him, that and my instincts.
What is your family like?
I never knew my dad, and my mom died when I was just a kid. My grandmother brought me up in an apartment in Harlem, full of cousins and aunts. She was warm and caring, also insightful, and intuitive. Full of wisdom I didn't fully appreciate until I got older. Gran was at the center of my life. When she died, I thought I'd fall apart. But it seems she bequeathed me a bit of her wisdom, and some of her power, too. I didn't realize that until I tried to save Tom.
Are you happy with the way your story ended? Why or why not?
Of course I'm happy to have released Tom from the terrible spell that kept him a prisoner. I still feel a bit guilty about what happened to Delphine Montserrat, though, especially now that I've inherited all her wealth. Evil as she was, I'm not sure she deserved her fate.
And then, occasionally, I think about the chance at immortality that I threw away. I'd be lying if I told you I had no regrets. All it takes is a few kisses from Tom, though, to dispel those dark thoughts.

About the Writer

You have the length of a tweet (140 characters) to describe yourself as a writer. Let's see what you can do.
Lisabet Sarai is heating up yet another genre. You'll never look at a black cat the same way again.
Why did you choose to write about this character?
It wasn't really a choice. She came to me and began talking, in the first person. This doesn't happen to me very often, actually. Usually I am more in control. I really didn't work out the plot of this book ahead of time. I just let the story tell itself.
Was there anything you discovered about this character that was a surprise to you?
I really didn't know much about Shaina at first, other than the fact that she loved animals. I guess I was a bit surprised to find out how wanton she could be, in the arms of the right man. I'd thought she seemed a bit retiring, sort of a do-gooder, with her volunteering and all. Given that she's one of my characters, though, I should have known she'd be passionate!
And then I was surprised to see her grow into the power she inherited from her grandmother. By the end of the book, she's something of a sorceress in her own right. I never expected that.
Why do you write?
I can't not write. I've been creating stories and poems ever since I first learned to hold a pencil. It's as natural as breathing.
The joy I get from creating and sharing my stories lights up my life. When I'm feeling depressed or frustrated, I go to my website and scroll through my book page, just to remind myself of how many tales I've brought into the world.
What do you want to write next?
I'm currently working on a romance between a billionaire and a virgin. It's not the what you'd expect, though. The billionaire is a female serial entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, and the virgin is a shy, hunky professor of computer science who's done plenty of research on sex but has never dared to act on his knowledge. I'm having a lot of fun with this.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?
Be adventurous! Don't stick to one just one kind of story. Be willing to explore, to branch out in your reading. Too many readers are stuck on the concept of genre. Discover what awaits you when you step outside your comfort zone.

Author Bio

When I was a little girl, my dad would make up stories for my siblings and me, fabulous sagas about ghosts and monsters, magical races with mysterious powers, heroes on impossible quests, hidden treasures awaiting only the most courageous seeker. I blame him for my lifelong fascination with the occult and the miraculous.
Now that I'm grown up, I create my own tales of wonder, weaving in generous portions of human desire with its potent enchantments. In my paranormal tales, love works the most powerful magick.

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Oh Get A Grip (group blog): http://ohgetagrip.blogspot.com

July 20, 2014

5 Easy Questions: Jennifer Lynne author of Demon of Envy #RLFblog #EroticRomance

Demon of Envy 
5 Easy Questions is an interview is designed to be quick, easy, and fun. Today's guest is Jennifer Lynne.

5 Easy Questions

This interview is designed to be quick, easy, and fun. Answer any five of these. Please put your answer on the line below the question.
What is your go-to meal to order when you dine out? Your favorite "I know it will hit the spot" item.
Anything seafood. I have a pretty healthy appetite for anything savory, and I do eat most things, but I love my seafood. For lunch, maybe a Caesar salad - but it needs to be a good one, with real anchovies.
Who is your "book boyfriend"? You know, that hottie you read about and drool over.
I think it would probably be Eric Northman from Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series. I was in love with him even before I watched True Blood - but of course it helps immensely when the actor on whom you have a crush (Alexander Skarsgård) is actually playing that part in the TV series!
What were you like when you were in school?
I think I'd be described as quiet. I was a huge reader, and loved English, History and Literature. Hated - and I mean really, really hated! - math, science and sport. I went on to study Literature at university, and that in turn led to a career in business writing, and a life-long passion for fiction writing.
Would you rather stay inside and watch snow falling, or get out in it and build a snowman?
I'm definitely an indoor girl. I'd much rather stay inside by the wood burner, laptop or a good book on my lap and a cup of strong, sweet black coffee by my side. The cats would be purring in front of the fire and the snow would look so beautiful falling gently outside the window, where someone else could get cold building a snowman.
If you're on Twitter, what's your favorite hashtag to watch?
I like to keep an eye on the hashtag #amwriting as it gives me a peek at what other authors are doing. Writing is such a solitary pursuit. I find it beneficial to be reminded that there is a legion of writers out there, struggling just as much as I am to get words down on paper and stories completed.

About the Book

Title Demon of Envy
Genre Erotic Romance
Author Name Jennifer Lynne
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R

When Olivia lets a sexy god into her life, will his demon Envy behave, or will it rip her human heart to shreds?
Phthonos, Greek god of envy and jealousy, has been given a second chance at life and love in the mortal realm. The wayward son of the goddess Aphrodite and brother to the erotes is desperate to make up for the mistakes of his past. But is Thon more demon than god? And if the demon Envy wins out, how will this lonely god ever find room in his heart for love?
Olivia is an ordinary woman living an ordered life, but at thirty-two true romance appears to have eluded her. Everywhere she turns people are in relationships or falling in love, but her career and her charity work are enough to keep the demon of envy at bay.
Until the moment he turns up on her doorstep with a demand that rips her life and her heart wide open and leaves her at risk of eternal torment.
Demon of Envy is the latest in the Gods of Love series about the Greek gods of desire searching for love in a modern-day world. Each of these erotic novellas is stand-alone
and can be read in any order.

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July 19, 2014

Cover Love: A Long Way from Eden @JanaRichards #RLFblog #contemporary

A  Long Way from Eden 
Cover Love at Romance Lives Forever is a short intro to a book and includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is A Long Way from Eden by Jana Richards.

Genre Contemporary romance
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG13

Blurb

Zane Martin's teenage daughter is pregnant. Meg Evan's son is the baby's father. Because Zane grew up not knowing who his father was, he'll be damned if he'll let his grandchild live with that shame. Meg was forced into an abusive marriage because of an unplanned pregnancy, so she knows that love is the only good reason to marry. Neither Meg nor Zane expects or welcomes the attraction that sparks between them. As they await the impending birth of their grandchild, old wounds open and long hidden family secrets come to light. The young couple builds a newer, stronger relationship, while Meg and Zane reach for a love passionate enough to overcome the past--if they're strong enough to trust it...and each other.

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