Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What's up, Sunday?





Hope this finds everyone enjoying their weekend. Just wanted to stop by and give y'all a few updates of what's moving and shaking with myself, and my publishing house cohorts.



I completed my next novella which originally had the working title of The Beach House, however ended up being renamed Haunted Raine by the time I finished. I've submitted it to RenRom for inclusion in their Beach Reads anthology which will be released this July. For any interested writers out there, this is part of an open call and they are still taking submissions through March 1st: OPEN CALLS

For the record, there are multiple open calls going on so in case a week isn't enough time to put together a 5-18k word novella, you might want to take a look at their Fall Fires call which is for m/m novella's due July 1st. Also still open is their Standing on the Edge YA call due October 1st (15-30k word limit).

Now that Haunted Raine is off to start its journey, I'll be getting full swing back into finalizing A Divine Life (Book 2 of the Divine Trilogy). We've narrowed down a release date of August 2013! Probably the 6th, but I'll keep y'all posted.

One last thing before you go . . .

Join Renaissance Romance Publishing and Lorenz Font as we celebrate her first release: Hunted, Book One of The Gates Legacy. Use Hashtag #HGLRRP and get your questions ready to win great prizes, including several ebooks and one signed paperback copy from Lorenz Font!

March 5, 2013 at 5 PM, PST (or 6 CST and 7 EST)


Deep in the heart of New York City’s underworld, a horrible disease is ravaging the vampire community. The Vampire Council is on a crusade to obliterate those infected, and Harrow Gates is target Number One. The unwitting source of the plague, he suffers from the same nightmarish symptoms as his victims. The world he'd been thrust into was cold, cruel, and intent on eradicating him, and the legions of afflicted vampires he created with his bite. 
A bounty hanging over his head, satisfying his hunger has become an enormous challenge for Harrow. The less he feeds, the more hideous and painful his lesions become. Constantly running for his life and learning new tricks to survive, Harrow is in no position to refuse when Pritchard Tack offers him a unique opportunity. Pritchard not only gives Harrow a new beginning, but also a purpose and a chance to rectify the chaos he created in the vampire world. However, the multi-billionaire has an agenda of his own.
Jordan is a reluctant new vampire and a woman on a mission. After the demise of her family and her own transformation at the hands of Goran, the ruthless leader of the Vampire Council, her only focus is revenge. Constantly faced with one frustrating dead-end after another, a stroke of luck leads her to an underground facility that she suspects is the lair of the monster for whom she is looking.   
Upon learning more about the truth behind the secret bunker, Jordan must fight against her growing feelings of friendship and concern for the facility’s inhabitants. One man in particular threatens to pull her heart away from her sworn mission. There is something behind Harrow’s dark lenses that unsettles the hardened female. Once again, she trembles and hungers for something other than red-stained revenge. Is love strong enough to override her hate-fueled thirst for vengeance?





Thursday, February 21, 2013

GUEST AUTHOR: Elizabeth M. Lawrence

Wow, loving the guest stops that are rolling in!  Remember, if you're an author looking for a host, please don't hesitate to click over on the "Want to be a guest?" tab to get the details and send me your goodies! All genres welcome! Speaking of interviews, I made my own stop over at N.Wood's blog today to discuss my novella, Sugar & Spice. You can read it HERE.

Without further ado, allow me to welcome my verbose head editor at Renaissance Romance Publishing and fellow author here to talk about her novella My Apple Tree:

Elizabeth M. Lawrence


We'll start with the fun stuff – the random questions!
1. If I gave you an elephant where would you hide it?
In an elephant factory.

2. Name one actor/actress you would love to get naughty with?
David Tennant, in a heartbeat.

3. If I came to your home and looked inside the refrigerator, what would I find?
Jimmy Hoffa and the Holy Grail. Possibly an apple or two.

4. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Two. A pair of Doc Martens and that other pair of shoes I swear I have but can never find.

5. If you were a tree, what would you be?
Taller.

6. What was the best thing before sliced bread?
Knives, I would imagine.

7.  Why isn't the number 11 pronounced as onety one?
I don’t know, but it probably has something to do with why 10 isn’t pronounced onety.

8. Which is the one television character that you simply adore?
The Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who (or the Fifth… or the Eighth… or the Ninth...)

9. What kind of kid were you, naughty or nice?
I was happy, outgoing, and well behaved. My mother still can’t figure out what happened.

10. Are you a morning person or a night person?
What is this “morning” of which you speak?

So, I'm going to go out on a limb here (hehe... did you see what I did there?) and guess that you are a Dr. Who fan? Fantastic answers, Elizabeth. Now let's dig a little deeper into Lawrence's psyche and get to know more about her book, shall we?


Book summary/blurb:
David Cleary and Katie O’Connell had the perfect love. When they are separated by tragedy, David is devastated and refuses to move on — until he meets Emily “Mel” Wallace. Gun-shy Mel understands how a heart can break in the aftermath of violence. Although neither of them want to love again, the attraction between them is difficult to resist. David wants to keep Mel safe, but first he will need to risk his heart.

Harvest Treats Anthology Video Trailer:

Excerpt from My Apple Tree:

His first thought, when the haze of desire had lifted and they lay out of breath and exhausted, was to wonder what the hell was going on between them. They both were trying to recover from their past experiences with love, and neither wanted a new relationship. So why the hell were they unable to keep their hands off each other?

When David managed to drag himself away from her and they had both gotten dressed, Mel followed him out to his car. He paused before opening the door to brush his fingertips along the curve of her cheek with a smile. She took a deep breath as if she was summoning her courage and spoke. “David, we can’t see each other again.”

His brow furrowed, and he began to protest. “But . . .”

She shook her head. “It’s no use. I don’t know what it is between us, but we can’t seem to be able to be in the same room together without this happening. I just can’t do this. I’m too afraid that I’ll wind up falling for you.”

He winced. “Don’t fall for me, Emily. I’m not worth it.”

She just gave a helpless shrug, the wounded expression in her eyes sending a stab of guilt through him. They stood awkwardly facing each other, both uncomfortable and thinking things that they lacked the courage to say. At last, taking a deep breath, Mel spoke.

“Good-bye, David.” 

Oooh, what a place to leave it!  So, Elizabeth, can you tell us why you wrote My Apple Tree?

Anyone familiar with the Celtic ballad “I Am Stretched on Your Grave” will recognize it as the source of my short story’s title. Even so, it may not be clear why I chose to single out that particular phrase and work it into the text itself. Before I begin, some of the actual lyrics to the song are as follows:

I am stretched on your grave
And will lie there forever
If your hands were in mine
I'd be sure we'd not sever
My apple tree my brightness
It's time we were together
For I smell of the earth
And am worn by the weather

Cheery, ain’t it? I normally hesitate to post lyrics because the power (in my opinion) lies in the marriage of words with music. Any reader who wants to read the full text can Google it, but I would recommend listening to Sinead O’Connor’s version, which is available on YouTube. It’s a more complete experience.

I liked the image of the apple tree because it’s a source of shelter, nourishment, and stability in the song, and that perfectly mirrored the childhood friendship with which I begin my story. In the song, the speaker identifies his lover as his apple tree, almost as if it is a term of endearment. This also appeals to me because it says so much more about their relationship and his feelings for her than a more typical “darling” or “dear” or “sweetheart.” This is an endearment from a man who really sees the woman he loves – he has taken the time to identify her role in his life and why their relationship is so essential to him. If he called her “honey” or “babe,” I doubt that the listener would feel the same piercing agony and sorrow when he describes how he mourns her loss.

Everyone has mourned the loss of something or someone. It is one of the impermeable truths of life. Any change we experience is a sort of death, whether it is the end of a phase in one’s life or the passing of a loved one. People fear change, just as they fear the unknown. This song throws that frightened reluctance into sharp relief. Here we see a man who is determined to cling to his lost love. He refuses to move on, and can only imagine finding peace again once he joins her in death. We can feel his resentment that he continues to live and the unwanted solitude and isolation of his grief has overshadowed every other aspect of his life. He does not apologize for it; on the contrary, he wears his desperation like a badge of honor.

It would be all too easy to brush aside this overblown display as teenage angst if it were not for those simple words he gives her: “My apple tree.” It is there that we feel that perhaps he is justified in clinging to her memory as he does. What would otherwise appear morbid and self-indulgent is changed with those words into a love that shines with reverence and loyalty and pure devotion. We can believe that death will bring him peace, just as we know he will not seek it out prematurely. He would not choose to destroy something she loved – not even himself.

It leads us to wonder whether someone this fundamentally (and justifiably) wounded could ever recover. Can you recover from losing someone who is your heart, your home, your touchstone, and your guide? In exploring this question, it was necessary to make the nature of what my protagonist has lost absolutely clear to my readers. That is why, when it came time to select a title, I could not think of anything more fitting than the words that so simply cry out, “She was my everything.”

Wow, I'm speechless and taking a moment to reflect. With a build up like that, I can't imagine anyone not needing to get their hands on a copy of My Apple Tree at once!


Author Bio
Elizabeth Lawrence is the author of both contemporary and period romances. Each book incorporates its own unique blend of humor and reverence. In addition to her novels, Elizabeth serves as Lead Editor for Renaissance Romance Publishing. A lifelong writer and former paralegal, Elizabeth divides her free time between her husband and two sons, her three cats, her collection of cozy murder mysteries, and her mildly severe caffeine addiction. A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Elizabeth now works from her home in Cleveland, Ohio.
Where you can find Elizabeth M. Lawrence:















Wednesday, February 20, 2013

GUEST AUTHOR: M.B. Feeney

Today I get to welcome friend and fellow author M.B. Feeney to the blog with an excerpt from her novella, Right Click, Love which was released as part of Sugarplum Dreams (Book 4 of the Candy Collection). But first, lets get to know a little about:

M.B. Feeney


What is your favorite color of socks to wear?
I tend to wear multicoloured, stripy socks, and I nearly always wear 2 pairs so my boots fit me (I have narrow feet – the only part of me that IS narrow these days)

Name one actor/actress you would love to get naughty with?
*raises eyebrow* Do you really need to ask? Oh wait, yeah, not everyone knows me. Weeeellllll, I may or may not have a teeny tiny crush on a certain Mr Jackson Rathbone (please attach a pic... hell, I’ll include it with my gubbins)...

What kind of music do you like?
Well, I have such eclectic tastes when it comes to music. I love cheesy pop music to bounce around to when I’m doing house work, I love “guitar” music – as in bands who play their own instruments -, rock, a touch of R&B, dance. It all honestly depends on the mood I’m in and what I’m doing at the time.

Do you know how to drop an egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
Er... Actually, I do. Boil it, then peel the shell off it first, but my main bit of advice would be don’t drop it, it’s a waste of an egg.

If you were a cookie, which would you be?
Non-existent as cookies don’t last very long in my house!

Do you speak with your dog?
Best conversation I have in my house, away from the laptop!

Which is your favorite time of the day?
Bedtime... for the kids! I love them more than breathing, but it’s blissful when they go to bed and I gain control of the TV again.

If you were a t-shirt, what color would you be? Why?
Firstly, I wouldn’t be a tee, I’d be a vest (tank) top because I wear them all year round. I’d be black because a) it goes with everything and b) it’s slimming

Very nice answers, quite logical! 
And because you asked, here's your celebrity crush . . . well, his boots anyways:




Excerpt from Right Click, Love: 

Sipping her hot coffee, Jodie Lynch tapped in her login details to check how well the latest blog post had been received. The stats were through the roof, and there were almost thirty comments awaiting approval. She’d never expected that writing about the nonexistent sex life being experienced by her and her best friend Louise Hewson would garner so much attention.

Ever since they’d started the blog six months ago after suffering yet another dire date with someone who wasn’t what they’d ‘advertised,’ the friends had begun to enjoy the torture of dating. Back then, Jodie had sat with Louise drinking cheap rosé into the early hours and lamenting the lack of decent, single, honest men who still had their own hair and teeth. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it? Without thinking and under the influence, Jodie had pulled out her laptop and set up the blog. She’d been thankful that she hadn’t posted anything that evening, and she had almost deleted the blog altogether once she’d overcome her hangover the next day. However, after to speaking with Louise, Jodie had decided to go ahead with the no-holds-barred outlet for their frustration. She read the last post back before looking at the comments.


14 June 2012 –
Why Would You?


So, Louise got set up on another blind date by her boss Theresa. She kept telling Louise that Mark was “such a nice guy” and “so perfect for you”. Since pickings had been slim, Lou tarted herself up, yet again making me jealous of her gorgeous, slim, petite figure, which made my almost six-foot frame look extra gangly. As I curled her hair, she began her age-old whinge about wanting my red hair. Who wants to be ginger with all the hassle we get? Anyway, I digress. She got ready and went to meet him at the local Bella Pasta (His choice, not hers. *eye roll*). Typical Louise, she arrived early. She decided to wait at the tiny bar and get herself a drink — non-alcoholic, of course, since we ALL know what happened last time. While she waited, she scoped out all the escape points. Just in case.

Looks good, no? As I've read it, I can tell you it really is! Here's a little more about the lovely M.B. Feeney and where you can find her:


M. B. Feeney is an army brat who finally settled down in Birmingham, UK with her other half, 2 kids and a dog.  She's also a student teacher, a doodler and a chocoholic.  Writing has been her one true love since she could spell, and publishing is the culmination of her hard work and ambition.








Monday, February 18, 2013

GUEST AUTHOR: Amylynn Bright

Good morning happy readers! Hope you had a fabulous weekend? I'm here to start the week off with the first author to take up my offer of being a guest. Allow me to introduce:

Amylynn Bright


Amylynn read her first romance novel in 2008 after being a lifelong literary snob. By the time she was done, she was hooked.

She is an Arizona native and lives in the same house her husband owned before they were married. Amylynn fears she will never call another state home unless someone tells her husband there are forty-nine others to choose from. In reality, she'd settle for a walk-in closet.

Her family consists of the aforementioned husband, two beautiful children, two dogs, two cats, some fish, and a hankering for a panda. She'd like it mentioned she's never been in prison, but we'll see how that panda thing works out.

Now for some random questions – because those are always the most fun!

If I gave you an elephant where would you hide it?
Oh. My. God. Are you giving away elephants because I would really, really like to have one. I have no intention of hiding it. I find that when you have something you're not supposed to, such as an elephant, the best policy is to leave it right out in the open and then simply deny it exists. Repeat after me, "What elephant?"

Why isn't the number 11 pronounced as onety one?
For the same reason 12 isn't pronounced onety two. Onety one is just stupid. Like when all those people argued that the year 2001 would be pronounced "ought one". **eyeroll**

Which is your most favorite book ever? 
I don't have a favorite book. I have favorite books in different genres. If you want to laugh out loud, I assure you A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson will make you pee yourself. I'm also a huge fan of A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving. My favorite romance is The Princess Bride by William Goldman but my fav historical romance is The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley - astounding book. I have a first edition copy of To Kill a Mockingbird that I consider my greatest possession. I've also got a first of Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry that I've been trying to get signed by him for years. I'm diverse. I'll read anything that's not moving.

If you were stranded on a lonely beach, what are the five things that you would want to survive?
Funny you should ask. I have a recurring fantasy where I find myself just as you've described. I have what I need all worked out: a trunk full of books I've been dying to read but don't have the time (Don Quixote, The Name of the Rose, etc.), a hammock, sunscreen, a Snickers bar for emergencies and a case of water.

Do you speak with your dog? Not only do I speak with my dogs, but we sing, sleep and tell secrets while we braid each other's hair.

Which is your favorite genre of movies? (Comedy/Romance/Suspense/Action/Horror)
I have an affinity for action movies, especially super hero movies. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I'm not really a guy based on my film choices. I can't tell you how many times I've seen 300. I'll try to tell you it's because I was a film major and I am captivated by the filming techniques. Yeah, my husband isn't falling for that either. He's starting to get a complex. And then Thor came out. Oh dear.

If given a chance to skip work for a day, how would you spend the entire day? I'd sleep late and then roll out of bed around eleven. Head over to my favorite cafe for an omelet and toast where I'd sit for several hours writing on my laptop. I'd take in a movie and eat a huge popcorn. Somehow I'd want to fit in a two hour lunch with my Sisters. And then read an entire book.Eventually I'd want to snuggle with my kids till we all fell asleep. Sigh. Sounds lovely.

What is the craziest thing you've ever done? I constantly surprise myself with the wacky things I've done. I've bungee jumped, raced Nascar and Van Diemen open-wheel race cars, and I crashed a major political party to meet Robert Redford. My Sister and I have been working on a plot to get a panda bear. Honest to God, you never know what I'll be willing to try. Still - the craziest thing? I wrote a book. I know! I can hardly believe it either.

Oh my goodness, you are cracking me up! Those are some fantastic answers, and with your witty comebacks, I've no doubt your book will be amazing! For the readers that agree with me, here's the 4-1-1 on Amylynn's book ~
Lady Belling's Secret:


BLURB:
Francesca Belling is torn between two worlds—her past infatuation with her brother’s best friend and her future obligations. She never intended to end up in the bed of her longtime crush, Thomas Wallingham but that’s exactly where she finds herself.

Unfortunately, mail is slow during a war. She thought he knew everything. He had never suspected.
Thomas has always wanted to be a part of the Belling’s family but he was too foolish to grab the chance when she threw herself at him before. Instead, he ran off to war.  Emboldened by his new-found appreciation for a grown-up Francesca, he finds that dream is within his reach. 

If she thinks he’s running away this time, she has no idea what she’s in for.

Where you can find Amylynn Bright:









Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day from Candy, Lacey, and Trent


Lacey Harrison doesn't trust men. Trent Childress just wants to settle down and raise a family in a quiet life. What happens when these two collide and a meddling nine-year-old intervenes?

 

Candace Michelle Harrison                  Lacey Harrison                                Trent Childress

*All images were found in public domains for the sole purpose of inspiring the author. If you would like to see more of the images that helped inspire the tale of Lacey and Trent, and of course Candy too, please check out my story board on Pinterest.










Monday, February 11, 2013

Meandering Monday

Howdy to all my delightful readers! I had a wonderful weekend building and planting two raised garden beds – fresh cooking here we come! While I took the weekend off, To Serve is Divine was getting mentions around cyberspace so I wanted to share!


And the Goodreads winner came back to leave her 4 Star Review of TSID:

I won this book in a give away and was really happy because I would have purchased it anyway. I really enjoy this genre and because of this I a bit hesitant to add new authors to my must read list. I am glad I read this! The scenes were hot and realistic, the story line was pretty well developed especially toward the end and I am excited to read the next story about Erin's development as Jaydens sub. The only thing I really didn't like was Catherine spoke in the third person. I understand its a common practice in the lifestyle but personally I am not a fan! So really my only issue was not an author issue but my own! K. Payor

Thanks to all of you!



While I am working on A Divine Life, Book 2 of The Divine Trilogy, I'm also working on a novella for inclusion in a Beach Reads anthology coming this July from Renaissance Romance Publishing. Here's a little (unedited) sneak peak:
       Most of the two acre property was overrun with large cypress trees whose branches slumped under the heavy weight of Spanish moss. In the waning afternoon sunlight, the shadows created by the vegetation made it easy to imagine a wispy figure shrouded in the moss, watching me while I walked from the car to the house.
I paused and squinted while fumbling for the glasses perched in my hair. By the time my specs were on my face, the image was gone and I laughed at the cold shiver that caught me off guard. The air was the typical muggy warmth found on the coastline this time of year, and I was sure the chills had come from the fact that we’d just spent several hours in an air-conditioned vehicle.
With a shrug I moved to the porch and dug out the key the Realtor had sent us with our closing paperwork, unlocked the door – with some effort as it was sticking – and entered.
It’ll be an adventure. We’ll have fun.
I had to remind myself of the words I’d used to beg Rick to give this crazy idea of mine a try while I looked around the dusty and dank living room.
“Lorraine, how much should I . . .”
Rick’s voice halted behind me as he got his first look at the place. I turned with an apologetic expression in place.
“We knew it needed work when we got it so cheap.”
Nothing was said for a few minutes while we looked at each other from two feet apart.
“Raine . . .”
I didn’t like the emotion in his eyes: tired and doubtful.
“We’ve got a busy three months ahead,” I offered, and tried to sound upbeat.
He sighed, and nodded in reluctant defeat.
I hadn’t asked him to go on a murdering spree – just to spend some time with me without dockets, depositions, case files, and everything else that had become the center of his world. Stubborn as ever, I plodded forward ignoring the vibe coming off of him which made it clear he didn’t want to be here right now.
“Let’s do a quick walk through and get a starter list together. We’ll make a run to the store so we can get settled in tonight and then have an early start in the morning.  I noticed a Wal-Mart on the way here through town – it’s off the main drag.”
“Sure, Raine. Whatever. I’ll just get the rest of the luggage brought in while you start on your list.” With that he set down the two cases he’d carried in and disappeared back through the rickety door, the screen door then emitted an abrasive squeak as it resisted use.
“Rick,” I called after him, but he didn’t stop.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Last Day of the TSID Blog Tour

What a whirlwind couple of weeks it's been! I am humbled by the support and enthusiasm that has been shown for my debut novel, To Serve is Divine, and seriously cannot thank everyone enough – especially everyone that participated in my cover reveal and an amazing blog tour! I'll be honest though, I feel like I've answered everything there is to know about me and I'm a little worried about what will come up on the next tour when A Divine Life (Book 2 of the Divine Trilogy) is released in August! This will be the last "tour" post until then. To bring this ride to an end, allow me to point out who my last two stops were:





A massive thank you to every one that hosted my tour 
(and a recap in case anyone missed any stops):

michbookreviews: Guest Post (You’ve never hidden the fact that the series started out as a fan fiction, where did the inspiration for the original story come from and how did you decide to adapt it for publication?)
B.F. Betty: Guest Post (Irish Chocolate Cake & Excerpt)
Laura Braley: Guest Post (A Day in the Life of R.E. Hargrave)
nails233: Guest Post (Backtracking & Bridging with an exclusive peek at book 2)
behindtherows: Guest Post (Educating our Youth: Tiger Mom Tendencies)
Sarah Aisling: 4 Star Review AND Guest Post (Tell us about the research that went into writing a BDSM novel)
GirlWhoReads: Guest Post (Meet the Author)

Reminders:
If you are an Indie author wanting to a place to spotlight your book, please check out the "Want to be a guest?" tab for details on how to be a guest here on my site.

If you're one of my Rockin' Readers, don't be shy! Send me a picture of yourself reading one of my books, with a caption, and I'll add it to the Rockin' Readers tab! Email me at rehargrave@gmail.com 

Don't forget I've got the "Upcoming Events" tab where I post things (i.e. cover reveals, blog tour participation, Twitter release parties, etc) so you'll always know what's going on!




COVER REVEAL: Hunted by Lorenz Font


Hunted, Book One of The Gates Legacy

Deep in the heart of New York City’s underworld, a horrible disease is ravaging the vampire community. The Vampire Council is on a crusade to obliterate those infected, and Harrow Gates is target Number One. The unwitting source of the plague, he suffers from the same nightmarish symptoms as his victims. The world he'd been thrust into was cold, cruel, and intent on eradicating him, and the legions of afflicted vampires he created with his bite. 

A bounty hanging over his head, satisfying his hunger has become an enormous challenge for Harrow. The less he feeds, the more hideous and painful his lesions become. Constantly running for his life and learning new tricks to survive, Harrow is in no position to refuse when Pritchard Tack offers him a unique opportunity. Pritchard not only gives Harrow a new beginning, but also a purpose and a chance to rectify the chaos he created in the vampire world. However, the multi-billionaire has an agenda of his own.

Jordan is a reluctant new vampire and a woman on a mission. After the demise of her family and her own transformation at the hands of Goran, the ruthless leader of the Vampire Council, her only focus is revenge. Constantly faced with one frustrating dead-end after another, a stroke of luck leads her to an underground facility that she suspects is the lair of the monster for whom she is looking.   

Upon learning more about the truth behind the secret bunker, Jordan must fight against her growing feelings of friendship and concern for the facility’s inhabitants. One man in particular threatens to pull her heart away from her sworn mission. There is something behind Harrow’s dark lenses that unsettles the hardened female. Once again, she trembles and hungers for something other than red-stained revenge. Is love strong enough to override her hate-fueled thirst for vengeance?

How awesome does this sound?! 
I've received an ARC for this book and will be posting my review of it on March 17th. 
Until then, check out the AMAZING cover:


Author Bio:
Lorenz Font discovered her love of writing after reading a celebrated novel that inspired one idea after another. Hunted, the first book of The Gates Legacy trilogy, is her debut novel. Written in forty-five days, the grueling writing schedule was a personal challenge, even though she thought it was madness at first.

She enjoys dabbling in different genres with an intense focus on angst and the redemption of flawed characters. Her fascination with romantic twists is a mainstay in all her stories.

She currently lives in California with her husband, children, and two demanding dogs. Lorenz spends most of her free time writing while also working as a Business Office Manager for a skilled-rehabilitation hospital.








Monday, February 4, 2013

REVIEW: My Bittersweet by N. Wood



My Bittersweet
by N. Wood
Genre: M/M Erotica Romance
Length: 250 pages

When you sit down to read your copy of My Bittersweet, let me suggest you have a few supplies at the ready such as tissues and waterproof pants. I guarantee your emotional state will run the course with this one! Also, I should probably point out that the author is British and therefore there are some points where British terms make their way into the story; not that it was a deterrent for me. I've made several friends over the pond and the terms are second nature to me now, not to mention that while the story is set in Seattle, everyone knows that America is a melting pot and you'll find all kinds of people wherever you go. I will also warn that although this book is not listed as such, it should be labeled an erotica by publishing standards as there are definitely more than four sex scenes (and let me tell ya, they're HOT!)

Wood sucks you in with a passionate and intense prologue that leaves no question as to the depth of feeling felt between her main characters: Archer Callahan and Nicholas Walker.

On the bed lay a man still of youth, his brown hair a mass of tangled loose curls, splayed on the pillow. His jaw was speckled with day old stubble, the rest of his skin smooth and pale in the street light. As he breathed, his toned bare chest lightly rose and fell peacefully. The blanket gathered around his stomach, but his thin frame outlined the sheets.

He was watched for perhaps a minute, before the sound of a running zipper spoiled the silence of the room. A heavy, black leather jacket was draped quietly over a desk chair in the corner. Another run of a zip, the kicking of boots and the footsteps began again, quieter now; only sock clad. A weight dipped the bottom of the bed before evening out as it moved closer toward the sleeping form.

Oblivious to the approach, his chest continued to rise and fall steadily. As a baggy t-shirt brushed faintly over his body, he didn't even stir and the weight increased as the person gained proximity on him.

Warm lips began their descent, before finding their target on the mouth of the sleeper. A larger breath was inhaled and he turned his head just a little. Retreating momentarily, the lips then pressed to the soft flesh beneath the stubble clad jaw.

A moan escaped the young man as he tilted back on the pillow. His hazel eyes slowly fluttered open, glazed with sleep. As consciousness returned to him, he registered the warm breath on his throat and reflexively swallowed.

"Archer?" His voice sounded groggy even to himself.

The day had been long and sleep had only found him an hour before. The kiss to his neck increased a little, then disappeared. With a blink to clear his vision, the tired man lowered his head, his gaze finding the crystalline blue eyes he'd become so accustomed to seeing. Below was a cute little nose and a dimpled smile.

"Hello, Nicholas. Did you miss me, sleepy head?"
. . .
Smiling to himself, Archer leaned back down and ghosted a kiss over the bare chest beneath him. A strained breath filled the lungs under his lips, making him smirk against the skin. Slowly, he trailed kisses up the toned pectoral muscle and over the collarbone. With the inhales growing shallower, he was winning.

"Are you mad at me, Nick?" Without leaving time for an answer, he pressed his lips to the neck beneath him, strangling any response.

Hollowing his cheeks, he sucked at the soft skin, drawing a choked whimper from the man below. When he withdrew, a small red mark remained on Nicholas's throat. The hazel eyes were open and boring right into his own, no longer tired, but lust-filled. With fingers snagging the blanket separating them, a quick flick of a wrist cast it aside and Archer was off the hook. He smiled and reached for the hem of his t-shirt. As he began to lift the fabric and raise it over his head, a dip in the mattress made him aware Nicholas was moving. A warm breath fanned against his skin, seconds before soft lips assaulted his chest, kissing and nipping their way north. With the t-shirt removed and tossed to the floor, he peered down to discover Nicholas now in a sitting position, supporting himself back on one arm; the other hand hooked into Archer's jeans.

The intensity continues when your mind is left reeling by the closing line of the prologue and you move onto the first chapter where Nicholas, with all his quirks, is introduced in full. 

I can sympathize with this character who is so sensitive he tends to come off whiny at times because I've had gay friends who are similar. They're products of their environment. Nicholas represents the portion of the gay community who are judged and cast out by their own families. To make matters worse, his step-father has taken his homophobia to an abusive level. Nicholas endures this in silence in an attempt to keep his mother in his life only to eventually be rejected by her as well. It's no wonder Nicholas is guarded and questions the true intentions of those around him along with lacking any self-confidence to better himself or his situation. He simply accepts and survives.

Meeting Archer Callahan is the catalyst for Nick's metamorphosis. Of course change is never easy and we often find that things have to get worse before they get better. Archer sees the potential in Nicholas and is more than willingly to look past the defensive exterior to find the tender soul residing inside Nick. Through patient persistence Archer nurtures and coddles Nicholas, slowly bringing him out of his shell, and we, the readers, get to follow that journey – with no shortage of well-penned, hot man-loving!

When tragedy befalls our fragile Nicholas (Tissue Warning) you'd have to have a cold heart not to feel pride when the story comes to an end knowing that a better life for Nicholas is finally beginning; much like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

****
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it!

*DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC of My Bittersweet in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. The only thing that kept me from giving this a 5 star rating is that as a writer and beta there were a few technical errors that distracted me from the experience, and as a reader there was just a tad too much "recapping" for my liking.

~*~*~*~*~

About the Author:
N. Wood is a budding young author living in Cornwall, United Kingdom. She first gained an interest in writing when she became a published poet at the age of nine. Since then she's moved onto both short and novel length fiction with a M/M romance baseline.

Find her here:

Monday Catch Up!

Good morning and welcome to a new week!
I've got a few things for you today:

First, my blog tour stop for yesterday was with the lovely Sarah Aisling. She received an ARC of To Serve is Divine so her stop includes a review, but she also asked me to do a guest post on how I went about researching to write TSID.







Now to share the spotlight! 
Fellow RenRom author (Right Click, Love) and good friend, M.B. Feeney has recently had a couple of blog stops herself so please go check them out:





And to round it out: 
  • Be sure to come back tomorrow for the cover reveal of Hunted by Lorenz Font
  • There will be an another post today with my personal review of My Bittersweet by N. Wood
  • Renaissance Romance Publishing is still holding an assortment of OPEN CALLS – check them out HERE.