Monday, September 30, 2013

New interview with romantic suspense author Leslie McKelvey

I'm happy to welcome romantic suspense author Leslie McKelvey back to Reviews and Interviews. She's promoting her novel Accidental Affairavailable from Black Velvet Seductions, through a tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. You can read her first interview here, if you'd like.

Leslie will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to a lucky commenter. So, you know what to do! If you'd like to be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment below. If you'd like to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too.

Leslie McKelvey has been writing since she learned to write. Her mother still stores boxes of handwritten stories in the attic. Leslie read her first romance at 12 and was hooked. When her high school Creative Writing teacher told her she needed to be a novelist, she decided to give it a try. Finally, at the ripe old age of...forty-something...her debut novel, Accidental Affair made it into print through Black Velvet Seductions Publishing. The publisher has also contracted two more manuscripts, which will follow Accidental Affair shortly. The next story slated for release is Special Agent "Bear" Bristol's, so for all who fall in love with Jack Vaughn's best friend, get ready. The 6'8" FBI agent saves wildlife photographer Beth Drummond's life and loses his heart to her in the process, a dangerous journey that tests the boundaries of loyalty, friendship, and love.

Leslie is a war-veteran who served with the U.S. Navy during the Gulf War, and she was among the first groups of women to work the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. During her five years of service she was stationed at NAS Miramar (previously the home of Top Gun) and was an F-14 Tomcat mechanic. While at Miramar she detached to the aircraft carriers USS Independence, USS Ranger, USS Lincoln, and the USS Nimitz. The final two years of her enlistment were spent on Guam and her squadron frequently deployed to Japan and the Middle East.

Leslie, welcome back to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell us about your newest release.
Accidental Affair is the story of Dr. Laine Wheeler and Special Agent Jack Vaughn, and what happens after she nearly runs him over on a rural Montana highway. Laine is an emergency physician hiding from her past, and Jack is an undercover ATF agent tasked to infiltrate a domestic terror group. After his cover is blown he barely escapes with his life, and now that Laine has made the fateful decision to help him, both of their lives are in danger. The story follows them as they run from their pursuers across Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, and the fiery, although inconvenient, passion building between them.
What inspired you to write this book?

I have great Technicolor dreams (when I manage to get any sleep at all), and I feel compelled to write them down to get them out of my head (because it would be illegal to kidnap people and make them act out what I see while I’m sleeping *grin*). I dreamed the opening scene and the rest just sprang from that point. The setting was inspired by a family vacation through the northern plain states of Montana and the Dakotas. As a California native I was not accustomed to so much emptiness and open space, and it seemed like the perfect place to stage the book.

What’s the next writing project?
I’m currently in edits on a sequel to Accidental Affair, titled Right Place, Right Time. It’s the story of Jack Vaughn’s best friend, Special Agent Ted “Bear” Bristol. It should be out by the end of the year and I am really looking forward to its release. Bear is my favorite character so far, and telling the tale of how he saves wildlife photographer Beth Drummond and then falls head over heels for the dark-haired beauty was a bittersweet roller coaster ride. See, I fell in love with Bear as soon as he started whispering in my ear, and letting Beth have him was really hard. Only a writer will understand this….

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
With any book I think my greatest challenge is finding time to write at all. I am married to a police officer, and his schedule basically makes me a single parent with three boys. Between everything I have to do to maintain a household, take care of my kids and my hubby, and take care of myself, there aren’t many hours left in the day. Thankfully I’m a vampire, so I don’t need much sleep. The coffin isn’t that comfortable anyway. As soon as they make a Tempurpedic to fit in there I am SO getting one.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
I research as I go. I’ll do some preliminary research, and thankfully my husband is my number one source, but then I write and research as needed along the way. I recently completed a story about a Navy SEAL and a CIA agent set in Afghanistan, and I did a LOT of research for that one – satellite photos of Bagram Air Base, bomb-making methods, Muslim customs, weapons, torture techniques, etc. My husband said to me, “You know you’re pinging every computer at Langley right now, don’t you?” He’s convinced the black Suburbans will be arriving any day now to take me away. But, one does what one must to make the story as accurate and believable as possible, don’t you think?

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
My writing space is a TV tray in the family room in between a flat screen TV and a fireplace. I often sit in front of my laptop with headphones and music playing to drown out the television, or I just wait until everyone else is in bed before putting fingers to keyboard. And my muse is always active, which contributes greatly to the reason I don’t sleep much. That b**** never shuts up! *grin*

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I love Dean Koontz for his descriptive abilities, and I have read almost every book Catherine Coulter has written. I also like the classics, and non-fiction. I even read military and police books, and I used to read the dictionary when I was bored. Really helps when I’m playing Words with Friends!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
I really appreciate your readers’ time, and hope they check out Accidental Affair and the upcoming sequel. I may not be a rocket scientist and I probably won’t save the world, but if I can make someone smile and provide a temporary escape I’m happy. And I’d love to hear from those who read my book. I respond to every review posted on Amazon, and every comment on my blog. It’s like Christmas when someone takes the time to tell me what they think of my writing, at least it has been so far. I’m sure I’ll cry if I get less-than-favorable feedback because I want to please everyone, but at the same time I know that’s not possible.

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!
Thank you for having me!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Live chat with Hope Clark of FundsForWriters - Sep 29, 7-9PM EST

The Writer's Chatroom presents C. Hope Clark of


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Sign In. No password needed.

Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Review of "Travels in Elysium" by William Azuski

The following review is my contribution to a virtual book tour forTravels in Elysium by William Azuski. Opinions are my own.

Literary fiction blends with Plato’s tale of Atlantis is this metaphysical mystery that takes place on an archaeological dig on the island of Santorini. Travels in Elysium is written in an allegory style. Click here if you would like to read an an online excerpt
Author: William Azuski
Fiction / Mystery / Thriller
Rated: Very good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Twenty-two year-old Nicholas Pedrosa gets the job of his lifetime when he receives an apprenticeship with archaeologist Marcus Huxley. Before he can catch his breath and think about the opportunity, he's already on his way to a non-stop adventure filled with all types of surprises...and never enough time.

‘Then chalk it up to experience, Mr Pedrosa. Trust no one. Believe no one. Question everything. Remember, there is nothing here you can take at face value... No — not even yourself.’

Those words are shared more than once in this novel; they are easy to read and digest, yet also easy to ignore. Working an archaeological dig is tangible and real. The myth of Atlantis, is intangible by definition (as myths are); yet this novel gives the reader something new to think about. Consider mythological Atlantis being the mirror image of the real Athens, in all its glory of purple mountains, fields of green, turquoise water, ever-present sunshine, and more. Then imaging that the people of Atlantis were losing "the fairest of their precious gifts" and that is what caused the city to sink to the bottom of the ocean by an angry God. The journey is filled with clues, like any good mystery, and twists and turns that don't stop.
I found Azuski's writing incredibly appealing. I love mysteries and the ocean, and have always been mesmerized by the lost city of Atlantis, so having all of those combined into one finely woven novel was a treat. He captivates the reader by putting us in the character's mind and letting us experience the tale as he does. What's real? What's imagined? Do we ever know if we're fully awake or dreaming? I thought I knew the answers going into the novel, but I really didn't. And still don't. And I like that. This riveting tale based in mythology is educational and entertaining.
William Azuski was born in the United Kingdom, and is of British and Yugoslav descent. Travelling widely through the Mediterranean since childhood, his frequent sojourns in Greece included several months on Santorini in the 1970s, an experience that provided firsthand experience for his exceptional novel Travels in Elysium and its outlandish local setting. Writing as William Miles Johnson, Azuski is also author of the critically‐acclaimed The Rose‐Tinted Menagerie, an Observer Book of the Year (nonfiction), and Making a Killing, an end of the world satire, both titles recently republished by Iridescent.

Travels in Elysium is an exciting read. It is full of sights, sounds, and smells so intriguing that the fictional world feels tangible. I love when a book pulls me in like that and the world around me falls away. When the only motion I make is turning the page (I still prefer paper to e-reader), for long periods of time, that, to me, is the sign of a great read. I enjoyed being swept away on the tide with Nicholas' adventure to Greece and think you will, too.

Available through: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Title: Travels in Elysium
Author: William Azuski
Publisher: Iridescent Publishing
ISBN: 978-3-9524015-2-1
Pages: 540
Price: $18.90

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Interview with thriller author J. H. Bográn

Thriller author J. H. Bográn is in the hot seat today. He’s here to tell us a little bit about himself and his writing, in particular, his new novel Firefall.

J. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He’s a member of the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributor editor their official e-zine The Big Thrill.

Welcome, Jose. Please tell us about your current release.
Firefall is the story of a wounded flawed hero coming to a new job in order to rebuild his life. Except, his first assignment lands him strapped to a chair and in the hands of a former KGB agent who likes to torture his victims with fire before killing them.

New York City firefighter, Sebastian Martin, seeks sanctuary in spiraling alcoholic oblivion following the loss of his wife and child in an air crash. Consumed by rage and resentment, directed against his brother and uncle, he takes a last-ditch job in Dallas, Texas, investigating insurance fraud.

I took the opportunity to showcase some exotic locations as half the events of the books happen in the Central American country where I grew up. The official release date of the book was September 15, 2015 which coincided with the 192th celebration of independence in Honduras. Neat, huh?

What inspired you to write this book?
The initial inspiration for this tale came from reading a sordid email. It happened that I was the lucky winner of an internet lottery—even without buying a ticket—and this honorable gentlemen from a certain bank in Africa were approaching me to make sure I claimed my winnings. I went as far as to exchange a couple of emails with them, but balked when they asked me to wire some funds for “paperwork fees.”

By that time, I had my main character almost developed in my mind, he was to be a globe-trotting investigator, and the email sparked the idea of him going after a missing person—the victim of the fraud who had been naïve enough to meet the “bank staff” with deadly consequences.

Eventually, the idea grew and morphed, and the bad guys became a ring of car thieves instead of internet con artists. Of the initial seed, only a short conversation remains in the book. I figured it would be a great trivia bit, and who knows, maybe I can revisit that idea in a sequel.

(This excerpt is the pivotal change in the life of Sebastian Martin. The moment when he becomes the wounded flawed hero)

The lights went out. A rumble grew louder and louder. He heard frightened screams from other passengers. A knot in the pit of his stomach told him they were about to plummet, then the force of gravity plastered him to the back of his seat. The oxygen masks dropped down from the bulkhead as dim emergency lights came on. With his mask in place, he turned to his right. Kelly had her mask on already and he watched as she helped Joshua. She pulled the white plastic strap, and then held their son’s hand. After nine years of marriage, Sebastian and Kelly could communicate their thoughts with a single look: They didn’t know if they’d make it out of there alive.
A flight attendant ran the length of the plane from the back. Even in the dim light, he recognized the fear in her eyes. She made sure everybody was buckled in. She had to shout above the deafening roar.
The plane rocked from side to side. A few of the overhead bins opened and luggage pieces bombarded the cabin. He deflected a duffle bag with his forearm. One of the bag’s metal buckles nicked him and blood trickled down from the stinging scratch.
The noise increased. A massive tremor shook the plane and Sebastian feared the worst: the fuselage would collapse. The sound of ripping metal filled the cabin, overwhelming any scream.
He turned to his wife and saw her moving away. That’s impossible, he thought. A tiny ray of daylight from above illuminated her. He heard a screeching sound as metal wrenched from metal, as the light increased and a section beside the wing broke away from the airliner.
With a sense of surreal lingering, an adagio that defied reality, he watched Kelly and Joshua as they were sucked out and away into the emptiness. They hung, suspended, in time, motion and the raw air.
His gaze locked on Kelly’s face, her eyes wide with fear. All sound faded away. Through the clear plastic mask, he saw her mouth open. He couldn’t hear her scream, but her voice was crystal clear in his ear. Clouds took their place as the plane raced to earth and left them to follow. Through the gap, air rushed in, creating mayhem and devilry in its onslaught. Luggage, backpacks, shoes, cans, cups, the sick bags, and safety cards from the seat pockets, newspapers and magazines swirled, dipped and dived and danced, like a ticker tape parade, leaving Sebastian gasping from the icy air and smelling the fear all around him.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on serial killer mystery now. I added a fresh twist to it since the killer stages his early victims to look like accidents. I’m hoping to have the second draft ready to send out by the end of the year.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Before a writer, I became aware of the notion that I liked entertaining people with stories. Telling high stories to my friends, making awesome excuses that quickly became standard and made the old “dog-ate-my-homework” go into retirement.

The idea of actually writing stories took hold in the year before graduation from high school, we’re talking circa 1988, people. However, the idea got stashed in the backseat as I dedicated my time to a profession that would secure me a living. During the 90’s, and with mid-twenties bravado, I figured writing in English should be a piece of cake. Got my first story published in 2007, so yeah, that was easy.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
During the day, I work running production for an American brand in the garment manufacturing industry. One of the best things of it is that I actually love my job so I don’t mind working overtime when demanded.

My writing time is limited to a couple of hours at the end of the afternoon, or nights, and weekends. I know it is not enough since I have to share that time with the promotion of other works, research, etc. But, instead of complaining, I try to get creative with my time allocation in the same vein as my stories.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Besides the fact that I write in both English and Spanish, I think probably my weirdest quirk is that I listen to music in the other language. For example, when I’m writing in Spanish, the playlist include The Beatles, Michael Bublé, Aerosmith, Frank Sinatra, Guns & Roses, etc. And I put Spanish singers like Alejandro Sanz, Moises Canelo, Ricardo Arjona, and others, when I write in English.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A spy like James Bond, except I’m not from the UK. Then I wanted to become a full-time author, I’m still working on that one, which brings hope.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Some people ask me what I want readers to take away from my stories. The answer to that one lies with a previous response in this very interview. I’m a story teller looking to dazzle you, entertain you, and since I can’t be a part of roadshow, I use the written word as my means to reach you.

Ways to connect with me, include:

Thanks so much for joining my blog, José. Happy writing! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book blurb for Fire on Ice by Dakota Madison

Today is a book blurb blitz tour stop for Fire on Ice by Dakota Madison. This contemporary romance book is available from Short On Time Books.

Dakota will be awarding a backlist e-book to three (3) randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and a grand prize of a print copy of After Alex Died (US ONLY) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To be entered to win one of these prizes, leave a comment below. And if you'd like to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too.

He’s Fire on Ice and she’s afraid to get burned again…

After Taylor Thompson’s heart was completely shattered by her high school’s most popular jock, she vowed never to date another athlete. She keeps that promise through her first three years of college. But after a chance meeting with a star hockey player, the charming and irresistible Kian Kavanagh, Taylor’s carefully constructed walls are in serious danger of being burned down by Mr. Fire on Ice.

I shook my head and glanced around the club. Runt was right about one thing: the kids who frequented this place were loaded. Most of them were wearing top notch designer clothes and sporting hundred dollar haircuts. I grew up dirt poor, lucky to have second hand clothes from the donation bin and the occasional coupon-day haircut at Super Cuts. Even now, I didn’t like to waste money even though I was earning good coin. I knew there was a big chance my hockey career could be cut short, so I saved as much as I could for my future, which I hoped would someday be a sports bar, if I saved enough and was smart with investing.

As I glanced around the bar at the sea of perfect young faces, I spotted a girl sitting by herself at a small table in the corner. She was looking in my direction but when our eyes met, she quickly looked down and started reading a book.

What the hell?

Who reads a book in a bar, I wondered. I was intrigued.

The first thing I noticed about her was her beautiful wavy brown hair. The long waves were tucked behind her ears, which were decorated with a single pink pearl in each center. She was wearing a flowered blouse tied over a black tank top and a long black skirt. It was such an odd outfit to be wearing at a bar. She looked like she was ready for a stroll through a museum or art gallery. Most girls at bars tried to show as much skin and body parts as humanly possible. They left little to the imagination. But this girl had her arms and legs completely covered.

I could tell she was different and I wanted to know why.

I tipped back the rest of my beer, put the empty glass on the bar and made my way over to the girl. I just couldn’t get over the fact she was reading a book in a bar. It was such a strange sight. As I got closer, I noticed the book was a lot thicker than I initially thought. A textbook? Who studies at a bar?

She didn’t even have a drink in front of her. She was just intent on reading her book.

I stood next to her table and cleared my throat to get her attention. When she glanced up at me, her expression was neutral.

“Hey,” I said and gave her a quick smile.

She just stared at me. I have to admit, it kind of freaked me out. I was used to girls doing most of the work. Usually all I had to do was decide if I wanted to take them home or not.

Her hazel brown eyes were completely captivating. I felt like I was swimming in the deep end of two delicious pools. I gulped and suddenly couldn’t think of anything to say. The girl made me nervous and I never got nervous. All I could do was stare into her beautiful brown eyes.

“What do you want?” she said finally. The question wasn’t mean; it was like she was really curious why I was standing there.

“I was just wondering what you were reading.” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I sounded like a complete asshole.

And why was I second guessing myself? That was not like me at all. From the time I was fourteen, and started to really show off on the ice, girls dropped their panties for me with little more than a wink and a winning smile on my part.

But this girl was different. When she looked at me, it was like she was looking right through me, like she could see into every part of my mind and soul. And that scared the hell out of me because there was a lot going on in there that I never wanted anyone to see.

Author Bio and Links:
Dakota Madison has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books. When she's not at her computer creating spicy new romances, Dakota is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Interview with literary critic Voicu Mihnea Simandan

Today I have an interview with Voicu Mihnea Simandan, the author of The Matrix and the Alice Books, a non-fiction / movie studies / literary criticism book.

Voicu will be awarding at each stop to a randomly drawn, most engaging commenter, an e-copy of The Rage of a New Ancestor, a collection of short stories set in Asia, where Voicu also has one contribution. Also, a Grand Prize of a $10 gift card will be awarded to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 

To be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment below. And to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too.

Welcome Voicu. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in 1978 in Arad, a small city in western Transylvania, Romania, in Eastern Europe. My father is a journalist and an author with tens of books of non-fiction and poetry published under his name. In 2002, I moved to Thailand to work as a secondary school teacher and continue my graduate studies. Now I live in Bangkok where I teach writing and Social Studies at an international school.

Please tell us about your current release.
The book that I’m virtually touring now is an intertextual study of the film The Matrix and the books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. The initial research for the book was done as part of my two-year master’s degree studies in Bangkok. But, the first hurdle was finding a professor at my university to agree to supervise my thesis and then pleasing her with my work. Eventually, after three initial attempts, we agreed upon presenting the similarities between The Matrix and the Alice books using an intertextual framework.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have probably seen The Matrix trilogy over one hundred times and having the book in my hands has brought my longtime obsession with The Matrix and the Alice Books to a satisfactory conclusion. Now it’s time for the world to read it and dive down the rabbit hole and explore a world where the boundary between dreams and reality is blurred by some of the most remarkable and memorable fictional characters ever to appear on the pages of a book and on the screen of a TV.

“In The Matrix, Neo comes from the Oracle a bit disappointed with what he had just found out, but Morpheus tries to show him the way: “Neo, sooner or later, you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path... and walking the path...” Alice wakes up only when she is ready to face the real world, just as Neo has to understand that, in order to defeat the agents and end the war, he has to face his demons and take control of his own life. […]

In The Matrix, Cypher confesses his regrets to Neo over getting unplugged. “You know, I know what you’re thinking, because right now I’m thinking the same thing. Actually, I’ve been thinking it ever since I got here... Why, oh why, didn’t I take... the blue pill?” The repeated phrase shows hesitation and the intensity of Cypher’s emotions. Neither Alice nor Cypher understand the new world they have entered, and both have second thoughts about remaining there. But, while Alice tries to unlock the secret of wonderland and eventually is able to control it, just as Neo does in the end, Cypher betrays his crew members in a desperate move to be reinserted into the Matrix.

Despite an ever-changing environment and logic, both Alice and Neo continue to deal with the challenges that beset them. No prior experience in wonderland or the Matrix can teach them about what to expect in their next undertaking; nevertheless they manage to get through each encounter, ready to face new situations.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
For 2014, I’m planning to release the following titles: Riding the Cylinder, three science fiction short stories set in Thailand; Taking the Seas, a book of adventure stories for the young ones; Angelee, a collection of short stories and, of course, my pièce de résistance would clearly be The Buddha Head, a suspense thriller set in Ayutthaya in Thailand.

At the same time, I am at various stages of completion with three other books of non-fiction which have the working titles of Thailand from A to Z: Sports, Activities, and Martial Arts; 10 Destinations In & Out of Bangkok, and Archery from A to Z. Also, I have started work on The Ancient Sword, the second novel in The Ayutthaya Trilogy,” which started with The Buddha Head.

Have you always enjoyed writing?
As a young boy, I used to see and hear my father writing fast and furious on his noisy typewriter on a daily basis. I published a very short news item in a local newspaper in 1995, at the of 17, and ever since then I have published hundreds of articles and about two dozen short stories in newspapers, magazines, anthologies and websites around the world, using both English and Romanian text. For me, writing seems to be a family legacy.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am a full-time secondary school teacher. I teach writing and Social Studies to middle school and high school students at an international school in Bangkok. I’ve always loved working in education, teaching being the only profession I’ve had in my work life. Teachers benefit from fairly long holidays which are a blessing to any writer. 

Time management is a topic approached in many articles and in this hectic world we live in, people struggle to find the time to do whatever they love doing, but at the same time making and securing a living for themselves and their families. Writers and athletes are no different. To be able to make a living as a writer or an athlete requires for someone to see the genius of your words and talents. This is reserved to a very small percentage worldwide.

I believe that (emerging) writers need to read in order to improve and, eventually, master their craft to perfection but, more than often, you hear ‘wannabe’ writers complaining that they don’t have enough time to read as they also have a full time job and are also trying to finish “that” book. This, to me, sounds like a lame excuse. I strongly believe that reading is not something you “have to find” time for, but rather something you “should make” time for.

Like with anything else in our lives, it has always been and it will always be a matter of choice. Everyone’s got only 24 hours in a day, but still there are people who make the time to read every day and are able, at the same time, to keep a job and, in the case of writers, continue with their work.  

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do the bulk of my writing on a MacBook Pro laptop but I also keep three notebooks and notepads where I handwrite ideas for future stories or articles. In these notebooks I also keep track of my writing schedule and it is where I paste newspaper cut-outs which might just be the start of a future short story, novel or article. If I’m in my condominium in Bangkok, I write at a desk or on a sofa with crossed legs and a pillow on my lap to support my laptop. If I’m on holiday, I take my laptop to one of the nearby coffee shops that I usually frequent, order a coffee and type away until it’s time to go to aikido or archery training.

As a child, what book did you like to read?
The world Lewis Carroll created in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass had a great impact on me and, as a child, I often found myself slipping down my own rabbit hole under a pillow-made castle, joining Alice in her wonderful adventures. Jules Verne’s adventure novels, especially Around the World in 80 Days, instilled in me a strong desire to see the world and Verne’s great explorers, men of arms and scientists soon became my heroes in whose footsteps I hoped to follow. Now, in my mid-30s, after having published a postgraduate study about the Alice books and having made a new life for myself in Asia, miles away from my home country in Eastern Europe, I do believe that the books I grew up with have made me the man I am today.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’d like to quote what Morpheus told Neo in The Matrix, “Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.” Regardless of your dreams and ambitions, just wanting to do something is not enough. Getting down to doing it and facing the challenges life puts in your path is a journey we all have to take in order to become successful.

Ways to connect: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Website

Buy links: Amazon | Amazon UK | Kindle US | Kindle UK

Thank you, Voicu, for this great interview. Good luck with the book tour!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Book blurb tour stop for Beside Your Heart by Mary Whitney

Today is a book blurb blitz tour stop for the new adult novel, Beside Your Heart, by Mary Whitney.

Mary will be awarding one big package of 3 signed paperbacks of her books to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. If you'd like a chance to win, leave a comment below. If you'd like to increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too.

"It's an emotional story that will take the reader back to those feelings that made the late teen years such a powerful time."

Late one night Nicki Johnson plays with emotional fire and Googles her high school love, only to find his name splashed across the British gossip columns. Back in his native England, Adam Kincaid is successful and dating a woman from an aristocratic family like his own. With a career in politics, Nicki’s no slouch, but she knows Adam is living a world away from her life.

Yet there was a time he was no farther than the next locker. Nicki will never forget their year together in high school—the year of her sister’s death, the year her mother checked out. Adam helped Nicki through suffocating grief, and she led him through a coming of age. Was it just high school, or was it something more?

“No British literature. Isn’t this supposed to be an English class?” Adam asked.

“Uh.” My ancestors would’ve been proud of the jolt of American patriotism that hit me.  “There was a revolution two hundred years ago. We write our own books now.”

He leaned back in his seat with a smile. “I think I heard about that.”

“We still share the same language.”

“Sometimes I’m not too sure.”

“I bet not.” I could imagine what he thought of a Texas accent.

 He picked up the list of books again. “What about Catcher in the Rye?”

“I read it a long time ago when I was, like, eleven. I laughed a little as I remembered how I’d first come to read it.

“Is there something funny about that?

“Yeah. My father had suggested I read it then. The book is the classic coming-of-age story. Clearly, he wasn’t really thinking about whether or not it was appropriate for an eleven-year-old.”

“Really? Why?”

“Well, for one thing, the main character is a guy who swears a lot.”

“I suppose I swear a lot.” He cracked a sly smile. “At least compared to you Yankees.”

“Yankees? You’re in the South.” I laughed.

“What else is inappropriate about the book? Now I’m interested. It can’t only be a few swear words.”

“No, it’s not just that. It’s…” I hesitated for a moment as I realized I was about to bring up the topic of sex with Adam Kincaid. What the hell, I thought. I should be matter-of-fact about it. He had a girlfriend and would never want anything with me. I could hide I thought he was hot, so I shrugged. “Holden, the main character…he’s a little sexually frustrated.”

His eyes twinkled, and it felt as if my words hung in the air. I wanted to squirm in my seat. ‘Sexually frustrated’—like me checking out Adam Kincaid.

His proper upbringing showed again as he sidestepped the issue, yet he smirked. “That sounds like an adventurous book to be on an American high school syllabus.”

“Like I said—it’s considered an American classic.” I laughed. “I guess some things are sacred.”

“But of course.” The gleam appeared in his eye again, and he turned toward me in his seat. “Teenage sexual frustration is sort of a rite of passage, if you will.”

There went the good-English-boy manners out the window. His tone, the look in his eye, his body language—was he flirting with or taunting me? I decided the former was impossible, and if the latter, I wasn’t going to back down. With two parents who were lawyers, debate was a family routine.

“A rite of passage? More like a biological fact, isn’t it?” I asked, casually clicking my pen. I raised a brow. “Especially for guys.”

“You’re right about that,” he said with a grin.

Author information:
Even before she graduated from law school, Mary knew she wasn’t cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she’s spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Live chat with historical fiction author John Cressler - Sept 22, 7-9PM EST

The Writer's Chatroom presents historical fiction author John Cressler.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Book blurb for new adult romance Weak at the Knees by Jo Kessel

Today is an introduction to the new adult contemporary romance novel Weak at the Knees by Jo Kessel.

Jo will be giving away a $50 Amazon or (winner's choice) gift card to a lucky commenter during the tour. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

Blurb for Weak at the Knees:  
“We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”

Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning.

The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.

Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible.

Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.

But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul?

Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story about love, loss and relationships, set between London and the heart of the French Alps.

Excerpt from Weak at the Knees:
Late afternoon Olivier and I are playing with interlocked fingers, sitting side by side on the balcony step, basking in the sun.

“I’ve been thinking about your birthday. Is there anything in particular that you’d like to do?” he asks.

I shrug.

“I don’t think so. Birthdays are no big deal and twenty-seven is hardly one of the big ones.”

It’s getting dangerously close to thirty and my life is still not exactly sorted. He rubs it in.

“There’s only three more years to go until you join my decade! Look, forget about it being your birthday. Let’s just say we’ve got an evening to spend together to do something a bit different. What would you like to do then?”

I’m not brave enough to ask what’s going to happen to us, to ask whether he’s going to have left his wife by then, or whether he’s expecting me to stay as his bit on the side. But perhaps I won’t need to. Because if I can summon enough courage to tell him exactly what I’d really like to do for my birthday, his answer will probably tell me all I need to know. There is something I’ve been desperate to do since we got together, but it’s not been possible seeing as our affair has to be kept secret. It doesn’t seem much to ask and for most couples it’s the simplest thing to do. I can’t bear to look at his face, to see his expression or to read his reaction, so I fixate on our fingers instead, making pretty puppet patterns.

“Actually, there is something I’d like to do,” I say. “I’d like to go out and eat at a restaurant, just you and me.”

He’s silent for the longest moment. His fingers stop moving and so, it feels, does my heart.

“Do you know how difficult that is for me Danni?”

His face is tight and serious when I look up and drown in his clear blue stare. I can barely breathe. It feels like the question mark hanging over our relationship and future has just jumped off the page, quadrupled in size and wrapped itself tight around my windpipe.

Author information:
When Jo was ten years old she wrote a short story about losing a loved one. Her mother and big sister were so moved by the tale that it made them cry. Having reduced them to tears she vowed that the next time she wrote a story it would make them smile instead. Happily she succeeded and with this success grew an addiction for wanting to reach out and touch people with words. Jo lives in London with her husband and three children where she works as a TV and print journalist. She tells life stories and can often be found travelling the globe researching the next big holiday hotspots for readers to enjoy. Since becoming a mother anything even remotely sad makes her cry. She’s a sucker for a good romance and tear-jerker movies are the worst. She’s that woman in the cinema, struggling to muffle audible wails as everyone else turns round to stare.

P.S. Jo’s pretty certain one of her daughters has inherited this gene.  

I love to hear from my readers and they can connect with me on:
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Twitter: @jo_kessel

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