Jera’s Jamboree : Neverland Blog Tours ~ Author Interview Stephanie Keyes

10480046_646389968787004_1938249816_n

JJ is delighted to be interviewing Stephanie Keyes.

steph10

Stephanie Keyes grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spent years traveling and working as a Corporate Trainer before she made the decision to pen her first novel. As a teen, her family always accused her of having an “overactive imagination.” Now, she’s encouraged to keep her head in the clouds and share her world with readers.

Still a resident of the ‘Burgh, Steph is now Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she’s best friend to her incredible rockstar of a husband. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), as well as a featured author for Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle e-magazine.

Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, and The Star Catcher, all from by Inkspell Publishing. The Fallen Stars was a 2013 semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. The Star Child has topped the Amazon best-seller list several times since its 2012 release. Steph writes YA novels because she’s a hopeless romantic who lives to believe that Magick truly does exist. She is hard at work on a new YA novel.

Website: http://www.stephaniekeyes.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Keye…;
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/StephanieKeyes

Blog-Background-20111-006

Hi Steph,

Did you travel to any places or undergo any new experiences while you were writing The Fallen Stars?

I packed my entire family (my mother included) into a rented minivan and drove sixteen hours to Bar Harbor, Maine for research. Now, keep in mind, I’d already been there ten years ago, but I wanted a refresher. So I went everywhere in the area. We drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain, had breakfast at Jordan’s (which I call Jacob’s in the book), hiked through the woods by Jordan Pond. I even went on the spooky Compass Harbor Trail and climbed the steps to the remains of the Old Farm estate—the inspiration for the Compass Harbor chapter in this book. It was a great trip and really helped me get into the Maine frame of mind for the book.

Do you have a most creative time of day?

Yes. Early morning. I’m usually up and writing by 5am. I have the house to myself and I can be as grumpy as I like. This usually requires copious amounts of coffee, but it works.

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Oh, God. I am a serial plotter. I probably need help. I can’t write anything valuable without an outline! Of course, once I have an outline, I’m happy to throw it out the window in order to follow where my story needs to go.

Which authors have influenced your writing?

OR Melling, JK Rowling, Cate Tiernan

What are you reading now? Opinion?

Mist Walker by Saundra Mitchell. I am inly about ten pages in, but loving it so far.

Being a writer can be lonely.  Do you have a support network?

Yes, it can! My husband is my number one supporter. He reads everything, listens patiently as I bounce ideas around, and makes me banana and Nutella crepes. I am also a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and participate in a critique group. That Monday night writer’s group is a big part of what motivates me every week. Those guys and gals are the best.

Does your book tackle a social barrier?  How have you incorporated it into the story?

It’s not contemporary, however, there are several underlying themes throughout the series. I think the most important is that, no matter who you are and where you come from, no one else defines you. YOU define you. I believe in that message wholeheartedly. That’s something that applies whether you’re in a fictional world of Faeries or deciding whether you’re ready to have sex for the first time. We all make our own destiny.

Do you make use of local resources for promoting your book?

Absolutely. I’ve appeared at local bookstores and many of the libraries in the Pittsburgh area. This fall, I’ll be presenting at the Three Rivers Romance Writers retreat and at the Peters Township Library, as part of the PA Speak Up For Libraries! program. Details are on http://www.stephaniekeyes.com

What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?

Finding my way back to writing. This is, without a doubt, the hardest job I’ve ever had. Keep in mind that I came from a decade in the corporate world with 60+ hour workweeks. That being said, this is also the most rewarding job. I’ve not only found myself in the hundreds of pages I’ve written, but I’ve discovered friends I’ll never forget. The best part is I get to share them with the world. :)

Finally Steph, what tips do you have for other aspiring writers?

Embrace critique. Be hungry for feedback. It will only make you better. Hunt down a good critique group and become an active participant. You’ll be a better writer for it.

Thank you for sharing Steph.

Wishing you success with all your writing projects.

17293205When all is lost, he will have to make the ultimate decision.

Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to the Celtic Goddess, Calienta. But then everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when he and Cali end up on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why they’re being hunted.

Suddenly, Kellen is stuck in the middle of another prophecy that foresees him turning away from Calienta and embracing the dark. He’ll be forced to take sides in a struggle to claim his birthright, while discovering secrets about his father’s past. Meanwhile, his passion for Cali grows stronger, even as the prophecy threatens to tear them apart.

In the end, will Kellen and Cali survive the fates? When the ultimate power is within reach, which side will he choose?

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

final-banner

Jera’s Jamboree : Author Interview Neil Grimmett

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Neil today

grimmet_n

 

Neil Grimmett has had over eighty five short stories published. In the UK by among others: London Magazine, Stand, Panurge, Iron, Ambit, Postscripts Magazine, Pretext etc. Australia, Quadrant, South Africa, New Contrast. Plus stories in the leading journals of Singapore, India, France, Canada, and the USA, where he has appeared in Fiction, The Yale Review, DoubleTake, The southern Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Descant, The Southern Review, West Branch and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. He has appeared online in Blackbird, Plum Ruby Review, Tatlin’s Tower, Web Del Sol, In Posse Review, m.a.g., Word Riot, Blue Moon Review, 3AM, Gangway, Eclectica, The Cortland Review, Segue, The Dublin Quarterly , Ducts, Sugar Mule, Mysterical E, Thuglit and over thirty others. His stories have also appeared in the anthologies: ENGLAND CALLING, BOOK OF VOICES and Italy’s ISBN’s Top International Stories. He has made the storySouth Million Writers Notable Short Story list for the last three years. In addition, he has won the Write On poetry award, 7 Oppenheim John Downes Awards, 5 major British Arts Council Awards, a Royal Society of Authors award and was just awarded a major grant from the Royal Literary Fund.  He has been signed over the last ten years by twelve of the leading literary agents in both the UK and USA. His current agent is Jon Elek at United Agents .

THE HOARD, Neil’s next novel is about to come out on Kindle.

Blog-Background-20111-006

Welcome Neil,

What was the idea/inspiration for The Threshing Circle?

 The murder of a young English woman who had fallen in love with a Greek Resistance hero and was betrayed to the occupying Germans.

If you could choose to be one of your characters in your book which would you be? and why?

Barba Yiorgos, because he is a complicated, reluctant hero who eventually makes good.

Please tell us about the characters in your book

Kirsty: feisty divorcee who tries to rescue a kidnapped couple. Barba Yiorgos, her reluctant and devious (at first) accomplice. Nikos and his sons: band and evil to the core. And the Cretans with their special take on life.

Was there anything about your protagonist that surprised you?

My characters always end up surprising me. That is how I know when they are alive!

What scene did you most enjoy writing? Why?

The tunnel to the prison. I loved the smell, memory and tension.

What scene was the hardest to write? Why?

The end. Can’t say as it is a spoiler.

Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book were optioned for a movie?

Several reviewers have said Sean Connery for Barba Yiorgos and he would be perfect if still young enough to try! Julianne Moore for Kirsty.

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be … 

Kirsty, run; Barba Yiorgos, stay hidden; Eleni and Patrick don’t come to Crete. But then there wouldn’t have been a book!

Did you do any research for your book?  What resources did you use?

Orthodox Academy of Crete; Chania Museum and several interviews with Resistance fighters and about everyone who I met during six years on Crete!

What inspired you to write?

Like Faulkner said every time I sit down to write, I am inspired! But also, the short story that came out in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and the fascination with the story I felt.

Do you have a most creative time of day?

Morning before anything or anyone gets in the way!

Who designs your book covers?

Damon Za  for the Kindles and a painter, Louise Yeandle, for my early literary novel, The Bestowing Sun.

How do your characters come into existence?  Do they have a bio?

They grow hair by hair, tooth by tooth until flesh covers bone and they begin to move off the slab  by that spark of life I’ve managed to generate.

What are you working on now?

A new novel about to come out called, THE HOARD. And 300 pages into a supernatural thriller.

Do you have a favourite book? Why?  What is it about that book?

Too many; but recently read again Polar Star by Martin Crutz Smith and was amazed that a writer could take a different culture, place it in an almost alien environment and make it totally credible and so surreal at the same time. Great writing. But so many. Comfort book: Brideshead Revisited.

Do you think movie adaptations do books justice?  Do you have a favourite?

Yes and no. Loved Shutter Island and Mystic River nearly as much as the books. Thought Life of Pi better than the book. Thought Blood Works destroyed a good novel.

What are you reading now? Opinion?

Gone Girl; contrivance but an original one. Dr Sleep; brilliant as King often is.

Are there any tips you could share with self-published writers that have worked well for you or was there something difficult you overcame?  How?

At the moment this is new to me after having had top literary agents for the last decade, but something I have been told many times already by Amazon’s top reviewers is: (a) most of the query letters are so badly written they don’t bother to ask to see the book; and (b) most self-published novels are so bad, they are refusing to read them all! So, just because you can self-publish, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are ready to be read. Work, work and work some more. And remember what King said: To write is human; to edit divine.

What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?

My literary credits; the prizes and the recent reviews for THE THRESHING CIRCLE. Plus meeting other writers.

What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?

14 major literary agents signing me; and all the publishers not quite willing to take a risk.

 Finally Neil, what tips do you have for other aspiring writers?

Keep writing; keep reading. Don’t lose the fact it is about the story and your vision. And do not try to write for the market.

Thank you for sharing with us today Neil.

Wishing you success with all your writing projects.

The Threshing CircleD (4)A young couple arrive on Crete and start prying into the execution of a beautiful English woman during the German occupation sixty years before. They enter a labyrinth of betrayals, murder, greed and vendettas, old and new. Then they disappear.

A feisty Scottish lady and an irascible, Zorba-like Greek, form a reluctant allegiance in a desperate attempt to save them. Each has a very different motive for their actions. Their search will take them to hidden rituals and remote gatherings, famous monasteries and villages abandoned after years of vendettas. To the remote island of Gavdos and to a place ‘even the gods do not know exists’.

All the time they are being stalked by the sons of a man who seeks to complete the crimes of his father and sate his own greed. His sons are more animal than human and have been raised in the mountains for the sole purpose of fulfilling his brutal will.

The mystery of Crete runs deep and the novel explores some of the myths and magic while not shying away from its violent history.

By the end choices will have to be made; if such things are possible on a island where many Cretans still believe, ‘The Cycle of Blood’ can never stop flowing.

US Amazon

UK Amazon

Goodreads

 

Jera’s Jamboree : (Life in the fun lane) From Paris with Love by Samantha Tonge

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Sam today.

Picture 013

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, came out in November 2013.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Doubting abbey Blog: http://doubtingabbey.blogspot.co.uk/

Blog-Background-20111-003

Life in the Fun Lane

The tagline on my Facebook author page and Twitter profile is “Samantha Tonge – writing about life in the fun lane”. And that’s what I hope I do. My main goal with novel writing has ALWAYS been to entertain and put a smile on someone’s face. With my debut Doubting Abbey I was lucky enough to receive a good number of lovely reviews, and the ones that really made me glow inside, said how the book made them giggle. If I can help make someone’s bad day a bit more bearable, then I have done my job. And I hope I achieve this too, with the standalone sequel, From Paris with Love, a story that revolves around romance, food, a mystery guy called Joe Bloggs (yes really!) and Blade, a hot French rockstar.

So, does this mean I’m a fun person? Am I anything like my main character bonkers Gemma? Er… It’s possible! In my youth. I always seemed to be getting myself into embarrassing scrapes – like the time I hadn’t noticed my wraparound skirt had fallen off, or when I nearly got caught skinny-dipping by a deep sea diver! Plus I had lots of fun times in various jobs, including working in the Christmas decorations department of Harrods and a riotous few months employed by Disneyland Paris. And out with friends, or people I don’t know, I laugh a lot. People would probably call me outgoing. I like to see the humorous side of life and encourage funny banter with anyone who’ll participate, be that a cashier, bartender or person standing behind me in a queue.

I remember my grandfather – who often larked around – saying “if you can’t laugh, what’s the point?” I guess that has stuck with me, ever since he passed on. Of course, as I’ve matured – like Gemma now is, in From Paris with Love – I’ve taken life more seriously. I now have responsibilities like a mortgage and kids to look after. I’ve faced illness myself, and lost dear relatives. And yet… perhaps it’s that ‘Britishness’ people have talked about since the war, or just human nature, but humour, albeit dark at times, has always played an important part in me coping with life’s trials.

As time passes, I truly believe, more than ever, in my grandfather’s words. You need to be able to laugh at life, because if not, at times you really would feel like giving up. I may be older and wiser but lots of element of life – even the ageing process! – still hold the fun-factor for me. And the day that changes, is the day I’ll stop putting finger to keyboard.

Laughter is universal isn’t it!  No matter the language we speak, we all understand what laughter means (in all its different shades).

Thank you for sharing Sam.

From Paris With Love coverEvery girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…

Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!

A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!

But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade – there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…

|  Amazon UK Kindle  |  Amazon US Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

Jera’s Jamboree review : Kiera’s Quest ~ Choices by Kristy Brown

Kiera's Quest ChoicesFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 3533 KB

Print Length: 176 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (16 April 2014)

ASIN: B00JRGJSY2

 

Feeling desperately confused and betrayed by the people she trusted the most, Kiera chose to jump through the disappearing vortex. Did she make it over to Zakk’s kingdom or was she pushed back to Earth? Would she even survive this time?

The next four years are long and heartbreaking for both worlds. As the darkness spreads throughout the lands, will Zakk’s army be able to stop it reaching Earth? Will Tom’s small band of rebels on earth stand a fighting chance?

At the time of the final battle will the Chosen One have the power to stop the oncoming evil or will it be too late?

|  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

Blog-Background-20111-002

 

Kiera’s Quest, as a whole for me, has become one of those series that started well and got better and better with each part.

Zakk has been searching for Kiera for over a year and while key people think it’s time he gave up, he wants to give it one more try.  Hayley (Nurse Bell) is in the cells.  She surprised me twice in Choices!  I love it when a character does this.  My opinion of her changed completely and I loved her for what she did.

With her memory lost, Keira has been healed and taken into the community of the Ovads.  Nova is the leader of this peaceful race and tries to find out more about which race Kiera is and where she has come from.

On Earth, Kiera’s friends and family are devastated.  They are setting up their own army to be ready for when the vortex opens.  Maddison and Chloe are in conflict which adds tension to this already fraught group.

More excellent world-building with the Ovads. Alongside the Ovads, the races we’ve met before have an integral part to play as the conflict all comes together and Keira comes into her power.

Keira is strong in Choices (but she still has her caring nature).  I loved her disobeying Zakk.  Mason (one of the Hershen’s) takes on more than the role of training her.  Instead of making Keira weak, I felt it made her even stronger and allowed her to tap into her power.

What an awesome final battle! So fast paced.  I just couldn’t put my Kindle down.

Lots of resolutions in Choices and even though this is the last book in the series, I still think there’s an opening for more (disappointed not to be attending the wedding in six months time!) I would love to see more action with Kiera’s power as I feel she is only just beginning to explore what she can do.  What happens in Zakk’s kingdom? What about his future children? What will happen to Zantar? How about those taken away to be healed? Will they live or are their injuries fatal? You see how much I’ve become involved with this series :)

I know Kristy is working on her next novel which is a YA.  I can’t wait to see where she will take her readers next!

You can read my reviews of Awakenings, Sacrifices and Perceptions here.

This series is targeted at a tween audience but if you love magic and fantasy, I highly recommend, no matter your age.

4 owl rating

I would like to thank the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Kiera’s Quest has a Facebook page.  The author tweets @kierasquest and you can connect with Kristy Brown on her Facebook author page

Jera’s Jamboree : Characters and Settings ~ Follow a Star by Christine Stovell plus Giveaway

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Christine today.

Find out what surprised Christine about her hero … and carry on reading for a giveaway.

Christine Stovell

Winning a tin of chocolate in a national essay competition at primary school inspired Christine Stovell to become a writer! After graduating from the University of East Anglia, she took various jobs in the public sector writing research papers and policy notes by day and filling up her spare drawers with embryonic novels by night.  Losing her dad to cancer made her realise that if she was ever going to get a novel published she had to put her writing first. Setting off, with her husband, from a sleepy seaside resort on the east coast in a vintage wooden boat to sail halfway round Britain provided the inspiration for her debut novel Turning the Tide and Follow a Star. Turning the Tide was a top 100 Bestseller with Amazon Kindle and spent months in the Top 10 Chart for Adult Contemporary Romance. Christine has also published numerous short stories and articles. Christine lives in Wales. Her novels include: Turning the Tide, Move Over Darling and Follow a Star. She also has a novella published with Choc Lit Lite called Only True in Fairy Tales.

www.twitter.com/chrisstovell

www.facebook.com/christinestovellauthor

www.christinestovell.com

Blog-Background-20111-003

Hello! It’s lovely to be here, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about a book that was a joy to write.

You’re very welcome Christine. 

Follow a Star is set in the present and begins with my heroine, May Starling, running away to sea in a vintage wooden boat bound for Little Spitmarsh, the location for my novel, Turning the Tide.  Little Spitmarsh is a fictitious seaside town, an amalgam of the faded coastal resorts and harbours I visited with my husband when we sailed halfway round Britain, but its inhabitants are very real to me. I missed the place and the people when I left it behind so I couldn’t resist returning to see how some of the familiar characters were doing. That said, you don’t have to have read Turning the Tide to read Follow a Star as both May and the book’s hero, Bill, are completely new characters

My first mental image of May was of her hoofing it down a lonely road with a rucksack slung over her shoulder, but I had no idea what she was running away from until I was a third of the way through the first draft.  I liked May from the start, she’s funny and self-deprecating, but she’s certainly got some baggage and felt that I wanted to give her a hug before the emotional journey ahead.  The biggest surprise to me though was when my hero, Bill, stepped out in front of May and I saw his flame-coloured hair! I never expected to be writing about a red-haired hero, let alone fall for him in such a big way. Sure he can be bit quick to pass judgement at times, but he’s got a lot on his plate worrying about his uncle, who’s very ill, and trying to keep his building business afloat so I think that’s understandable. He works hard, he’s kind, very loyal and has, erm, some attractive hidden assets.

My first-hand experience of the tensions that can arise in the confined space of a small boat, made it the perfect place to put two people who don’t need any further complications in their lives.  By the time May and Bill tie up at Watling’s, the old boatyard in Little Spitmarsh (which gave me another good reason to revisit some favourite characters from Turning the Tide) the heat between them is almost boiling over.  But unfortunately for them, reaching dry land means their troubles have only just begun and they’ve both got some choppy waters to negotiate before they can find safe harbour.  As for me? My second trip to Little Spitmarsh wasn’t the end of the journey either – somehow I just know I’ll be back!

Love the sound of the heat between May and Bill :)

Wishing you success with all your writing projects Christine.

FAS AppleSometimes your heart’s the only navigator you need

May Starling’s had enough of her demanding career and even more demanding ex. Responding to a ‘crew-wanted’ ad, she follows her dreams of escape only to find herself at sea with red-haired Bill Blythe.

Bill warns May that close-quartered living can create a boiling pot of emotions, but even May is surprised by the heat building up inside the vintage wooden boat. And when May and Bill tie up at Watling’s Boatyard in Little Spitmarsh, May’s determined to test her new-found feelings on dry land.

But May’s dream of escaping her former life is in danger of being swept away when several unwelcome blasts from the past follow her ashore, all seemingly hell-bent on reminding her it’s never that easy to clear the decks.

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

curlicue_grating_whole

TurningTheTide:Layout 1

All’s fair in love and war? Depends on who’s making the rules. Harry Watling has spent the past five years keeping her father s boat yard afloat, despite its dying clientele. Now all she wants to do is enjoy the peace and quiet of her sleepy backwater. So when property developer Matthew Corrigan wants to turn the boat yard into an upmarket housing complex for his exotic new restaurant, it s like declaring war. And the odds seem to be stacked in Matthew’s favour. He s got the colourful locals on board, his hard-to-please girlfriend is warming to the idea and he has the means to force Harry s hand. Meanwhile, Harry has to fight not just his plans but also her feelings for the man himself. Then a family secret from the past creates heartbreak for Harry, and neither of them is prepared for what happens next …

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

Blog-Background-20111-004

Publishers Choc Lit are generously sponsoring a giveway.

One lucky blog reader in the UK could be reading a paperback copy of Follow a Star.

Easy entry via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

shaz owl signature

Jera’s Jamboree review : Dancing in the Rain by Amanda James

dancing in the rainFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 1032 KB

Print Length: 301 pages

Publisher: Choc Lit Lite (5 Mar 2014)

ASIN: B00IU0TGDO

 

What if the responsibility for preventing a major disaster lay with you?
Jacob Weston has felt like he doesn’t belong for as long as he can remember and the strangely vivid dreams he experiences only serve to make him feel more alone …
But when his job in research science takes him thousands of miles away from what he thought of as home, Jacob finds the mystery of his past begin to unravel. A trip to the breathtaking Monument Valley and an extraordinary encounter with a Navajo guide seem to hold the key to who Jacob really is.
After meeting the beautiful Rosenya Neboyia, Jacob feels he may have found what he’d been searching for. But with this meeting is the discovery that his dreams come with a responsibility, and that responsibility is bigger and scarier than he could have ever imagined …

Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

Blog-Background-20111-002

 

In April 1977 we find out how Jacob came to be in the care of Aggie and Ernest Weston.  After 4 stillbirths and at the age of 44, Aggie sees her act as a rescue.

We pick up with Jacob’s life in his mid-thirties.  He’s feeling dissatisfied with life and has a sense of foreboding.

Josiah’s visions of being guided to fight to contribute to the future of the Navajo nation take us back to 1940.

Narrated in alternating chapters in present day with Jacob and in the past with Josiah, we find out the task Jacob needs to undertake to prevent the major disaster.

The company that Jacob and best friend/colleague Greg works for, moves them to the US to work on a project.  Jacob’s gut feelings about the company building and Zak (who is leading the project) prove to be very accurate.  The team they’re working with provide plenty of conflict and hidden agendas. Jacob and Greg have a true friendship that shows when they’re living together in the US (who cooks and who cleans! and being able to express their grumpiness) and putting the other first when it really matters.  Greg is a fabulous character and deserves to find his own HEA.

I loved the mysticism (and the history) linked with the Navajo people and how the visions motivate Jacob, moving him in directions he would never have chosen for himself.  Got to love a hero who listens to his intuition and instincts :)

Meeting new people in Monument Valley and the link they have with Jacob added even more depth to the plot and with Rosenya being one of those people, alongside the attraction is more conflict.  It was fabulous to see Jacob becoming engaged with his emotions instead of shutting himself off.

The suspense leading up to the climax is really well-paced.  I felt myself tensing as the time ticked past and couldn’t see a way out hoping that no-one was going to die …

The ending was perfect.  So fitting with the spirituality of the plot.

Dancing in the Rain is such an apt title!  With the history/culture, romance, spirit and suspense, I recommend Dancing in the Rain to romance readers who are looking to be entertained and wanting a story that is  just that little bit different.

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Amanda’s blog – http://mandykjameswrites.blogspot.com/

Twitter – @akjames61

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MandyJamesAuthorPage

Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Author Celia Kennedy ~ How Charlotte’s Restrained came to be…

JJ is delighted to be welcoming Celia Kennedy today

SmallPhoto

Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on an American military base. Her parents’ penchant for traveling the world, via a Volkswagen Minibus with a Porsche engine, sparked her imagination. Staring out the window, sometimes through fog and rain, at other times at sunny blue skies, she began to make up stories for the places and spaces they passed by. The in-between time, the most fascinating to her.

The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Design, and pretty much every other subject matter. Like her childhood, it was the ride that was the most entertaining, arrival at a degree, not anywhere as important.

Mark Twain said, “Write what you know.” When combining this concept with her unusual life experiences (working at a nuclear submarine base when Chernobyl blew, testing software Bill Gates kept close tabs on, travelling extensively while quite broke, or falling in love with her boyfriend’s close friend) thinking of what to write about isn’t challenging; there just needs to be more hours in the day.

Celia published Charlottes Restrained in December of 2012 and Venus Rising in August of 2013. Look for Kathleen’s Undressed, a companion novel to Charlottes Restrained, to be published in 2014.

Currently she lives in Washington State with the loves of her life.

website – www.celiakennedy.weebly.com

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6965584.Celia_Kennedy

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/KennedyCelia

Blog-Background-20111-003

How Charlotte’s Restrained came to be…

Late in the summer of 2008 my husband and I were watching an episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Host James Lipton was interviewing Clint Eastwood. This multi-talented man fascinated us. After the interview was over, we chatted about how amazing it would be to invite him over for dinner and get to know him. The obvious problem: how to contact Clint Eastwood? Next obvious problem: if we could call him on the phone, what would compel him to want to have dinner with complete strangers? Sidestepping these crucial issues, it didn’t take long for the plan to evolve. It also didn’t take long to realize that it would be preferable to go to his house for dinner. After all, he lived in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and likely had a better cook than me.

At the same time, I spent the first week my kids were back in school perfecting my domestic goddess-ness and realized I was as good at it as I wanted to get. There was something else I wanted to do more – write. I fired up my laptop and started writing. I didn’t have a strategy, hadn’t jotted down an outline or done any research. I also had zero contacts and resources. All I had was plain old-fashion gumption. Honest to Betsy, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t write a book.

It was also completely obvious to me to borrow from reality and write a book about encountering a long admired celebrity. Mirroring real life, there would have to be plenty of twists and turns. However, in the fantasy world, we can make incredible things happen. I needed people, loads of interesting and entertaining people who could make such a feat happen!

Let’s face it, we want it all. We want romance. We want to be a part of a group of friends who grew up and grow old together. We want to travel. We want to eat good food and drink great wine. We want to wear fabulous clothes! So, how to get it all in one book?

Charlotte, her BFF’s, a celebrity, and a handsome Irishman!

I like to think of myself as mostly normal, so I feel comfortable representing all women, when I say that we know we’ve found a real friend when we don’t worry about the state of our house when they stop by. We are really good friends if we’ll change our clothes in front of each other. We know we are Besties if when we really mess up, the other person may be really angry, but needs our own special brand of crazy in order to feel like life is do-able. Oh! And the most important factor: laughter. All of us want someone we can belly laugh with.

Charlotte, Hillary, Tiziana, Kathleen and Marian are such a village. These five women have history, have bled for each other, talked each other in and out of bad and good situations. Let each other be real. Fortunately for us these vivacious women are scattered around the globe, giving us the opportunity to travel to exciting places, where they meet up, drink up, and get into a little trouble.

We also have Des Bannerman, the King of Romantic Comedies in Charlotte’s Restrained. Des Bannerman is my vision of a mega star. A decade into his career he is riding the wave of major-motion picture success. He’s the go to man for chick flicks. Des Bannerman started out with a really big dream, but has become a little jaded by all the glitz and glory, and lives a life surrounded by people he trusts, but doesn’t really get to meet new people, because how does he meet them and who can he trust?

Pivotal to the story, is Liam Molloy, the Irishman who steals Charlotte’s heart. Liam has many things going for him; he’s gorgeous (of course), he’s the source of envy (providing many opportunities for the ladies to banter about men and “love”), and he has a great sense of humor. To be honest, I borrowed from reality again, the banter between Charlotte and Liam is much like mine and my husbands.

What makes a compelling story?

Beneath it all, I believe that we thrive when we know we are a part of a village. No one person can give us everything we need, BUT when we have a village we have everything! Friends, lovers, pets, children, frenemies, co-workers, all provide us with opportunities to grow and love. The most successful tales take place in the village concept.

To make the village happen in Charlotte’s Restrained, we are blessed with the opportunity to travel to London, Rome, New York, Dublin, and Saint Tropez. Amongst the many benefits of all this travel is that we get to see and feel the tempo of life in different parts of the world – we eat and drink foods that may be new and unique, we walk down streets ladened with history and float on oceans that are azure blue.

Me!

I love getting to know authors, most of those that I’ve reached out have been amazingly accessible and supportive. You can learn as much about me as you can stomach at www.celiakennedy.weebly.com or on Twitter (@KennedyCelia), Facebook (Celia Kennedy, Author). On my website there are links to my blog WomanReinventsSelf. That’s where you read the good, the bad and the ugly!

If you look for me on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/celiakennedy) you will find boards that I have created for Charlotte’s Restrained, Venus Rising, and my current work-in-progress, Kathleen’s Undressed (a sequel to Charlotte’s Restrained).

It’s great where an idea/inspiration can take the imagination Celia :)

Wishing you success with all your writing projects.

Charlotte’s Restrained is going on tour!

Charlottes Restrained Tour Banner

Date Tour Host
4th August Tome Tender
5th August Chicklit Club Connect
6th August Books are my life
7th August Brook Cottage Books
12th August Tracy Riva Books and Reviews
13th August allthingsbookie

Giveaway on tour is a signed copy of Charlotte’s Restrained plus Amazon GC.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We hope you’ll check out the posts and enter the giveaway!

Jera’s Jamboree : A Debut is a Very Special Thing ~ Kathryn Freeman Guest Post plus #giveaway

JJ is delighted to welcome Kathryn.

Kathryn is sharing with us her feelings about her debut paperback.

Keep reading after the guest post to enter the giveaway!

5707-2-2

Kathryn was born in Wallingford, England but has spent most of her life living in a village near Windsor. After studying pharmacy in Brighton she began her working life as a retail pharmacist. She quickly realised that trying to decipher doctors’ handwriting wasn’t for her and left to join the pharmaceutical industry where she spent twenty happy years working in medical communications. In 2011, backed by her family, she left the world of pharmaceutical science to begin life as a self-employed writer, juggling the two disciplines of medical writing and romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero …

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) the romance in her life is all in her head. Then again, her husband’s unstinting support of her career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

Kathryn’s novels include: Too Charming and Do Opposites Attract?

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

Blog-Background-20111-003

Firstly, a big thank you for kindly having me on your blog to discuss my debut paperback, Do Opposites Attract?

A debut book is a very special thing. Now I know why sportsmen are moved to kiss the trophy they win. When I opened a parcel from Choc Lit to find a copy of Do Opposites Attract?, I instinctively went to kiss it. I might not have won a championship, but there was plenty of sweat behind that final book – and buckets of pride on my achievement.

I couldn’t have been more delighted when I saw the cover for the very first time (a huge thank you to the talented Berni Stevens who designs covers for Choc Lit).

My first thought was – it’s pink. I’m a total sucker for all things pink. The walls of my study are pink, my handbag is pink, ninety percent of my wardrobe is pink. Maybe it’s because I live in a male dominated household – or maybe it’s because pink is such a vibrant, happy, romantic colour.

Coming down from my pink high, I took in the fabulous contrast of elegant stilettos and pearls next to clumpy workman boots and a stethoscope. That’s it, I remember thinking. She’s caught the very essence of the book.

DOA_front small

Do Opposites Attract? features Mitch McBride and Brianna Worthington – two people from totally different backgrounds who meet in the harsh and emotionally charged environment of a refugee camp. They couldn’t be more opposite. Think tough versus genteel, rough compared to elegant, gruff and distant as opposed to warm and friendly. Mitch McBride grew up on the wrong side of the tracks but now works as a doctor for a medical charity. It’s a place where his background doesn’t matter – until the patron’s daughter comes to visit, that is. Brianna Worthington with her class, her wealth and her supreme self-confidence, rubs at an unhealed wound. She’s a sharp reminder of the bleakness of his own roots. He’ll do as he’s promised, show her what the charity does, but he’s going to keep his distance. No matter how beautiful she is.

What he doesn’t reckon on though, is Brianna’s determination to get what she wants. Surprisingly, she finds herself wanting Mitch. First she has to prove to him, and herself, that she isn’t a spoilt little rich girl but a strong woman with compassion and purpose. Of course it would help if she didn’t feel so totally out of her depth in the refugee camp. And if for once, just once, she could do something useful instead of getting in the way.

Do Opposites Attract? Well, they do in this story. But will the attraction last? Sorry, I’m not telling :)

Thank you so much for having me. If you want to find out more about the story, it’s available on Amazon.

 Wishing you success with Do Opposites Attract? Kathryn and all your writing projects.

DOA_front smallThere’s no such thing as a class divide – until you’re on separate sides.

Brianna Worthington has beauty, privilege and a very healthy trust fund. The only hardship she’s ever witnessed has been on the television. Yet when she’s invited to see how her mother’s charity, Medic SOS, is dealing with the aftermath of a tornado in South America, even Brianna is surprised when she accepts.

Mitch McBride, Chief Medical Officer, doesn’t need the patron’s daughter disrupting his work. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks and has led life on the edge, but he’s not about to risk losing his job for a pretty face.

Poles apart, dynamite together, but can Brianna and Mitch ever bridge the gap separating them?

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

Blog-Background-20111-004

Publishers Choc Lit are generously sponsoring  a giveaway.  

One lucky blog reader in the UK could be reading a paperback copy of Do Opposites Attract?

Easy entry via the Rafflecopter link below.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

shaz owl signature

congratulations

ANNE C

Jera’s Jamboree review : The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

no kids clubFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 3632 KB

Print Length: 253 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477822925

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (3 Jun 2014)

ASIN: B00H8AP1VI

At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.

Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it’s not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it’s time for people who don’t have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together—Anna, who’s seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive—Clare’s hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.

Will the No-Kids Club be Clare’s route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle?

Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Amazon AudiobookGoodreads  |

Blog-Background-20111-002

It’s clear how Clare feels about having children from the intimate scene with boyfriend Edward – and with best friend Ellie 7 ½ months pregnant and attending all types of clubs for pregnant mums, the idea of the No-Kids Club takes shape at Ellie’s baby shower.  She is determined to meet people without children in their lives.

Anna and Poppy are the first women to attend the meet up and for very different reasons.

Talli Roland’s writing always just flows so it was easy to become involved in our three women’s lives.  Clare thinking she knows what she wants, Anna losing herself in her relationship and Poppy obsessed to such a degree that she can’t feel/see anything else.

I have to admit squirming while Clare was on live TV talking about how she feels not wanting children … dressed from wardrobe in clothes that just weren’t her and giving the wrong idea to the viewing public.  It did give the No-Kids Club a high profile though!

I’ve enjoyed getting caught up in the character’s lives with the drama and conflict – wanting to shake Michael because he just might lose everything he takes for granted, tell Nicholas to own up, shout at Poppy that she’s going to lose everything with her lies and give Clare a hug while saying she is missing a vital link in how she feels.

The No-Kids Club tackles the subject of fertility/infertility and societal expectations brilliantly.  Talli Roland shows us those tangles of emotions and misunderstandings through our characters with such realism and sensitivity.

Another great Talli Roland novel and I recommend for all romance readers.

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the author for pre-approval via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author Website

Author Blog 

Twitter @TalliRoland

Facebook Author Page