Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Interview with Shawntelle Madison + Giveaway

Today I am happy to start the Halloween celebrations in style by welcoming to Ex Libris Shawntelle Madison, author of the much praised Coveted urban fantasy series! Join us as we discuss OCD, werewolves and Halloween traditions and what better way to have fun on Halloween than entering to win a unique and exciting UF novel? So make sure to enter the giveaway at the end and get the prequel novella Collected for FREE now at Amazon!

Stella: Hi Shawntelle, welcome to Ex Libris! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Shawntelle: Thanks for having me, Stella. I’m excited to be here. I’m the author of Coveted, an urban fantasy romance from Ballantine Books. I’m a geek who spends way to much time at the computer. I work as a web developer on the side writing code for the websites and much more.

Stella: You took the blogosphere and the virtual bookshelves by a storm with your new urban fantasy series, Coveted, congratulations! Can you tell readers what they can expect of this series of yours?

Shawntelle: Thanks! I hope readers will have a chance to meet Natalya and get to know a flawed heroine with drive and spirit. I had a lot of fun writing about Natalya’s adventures.

Stella: How did the idea for the series come to you? Any specific moment/event that sparked the inspiration for it that you could share with us?

Shawntelle: My heroine, Natalya, came from an article I read in a physician’s magazine. The article was about obsessive compulsive disorders and went into the symptoms, treatments plans, and medication involved. I asked myself what would happen if a werewolf had OCD? How would that alter her pack relationships? From that point, conflicts blossomed and I had a story.

Stella: Coveted the first book was published in April and Kept, its sequel is set for release in November. Can you tell readers a bit about the world that your series is set in? There are werewolves and wizards and other supernatural things, what sets your Coveted series apart from the other UF series? (do they have the same powers/traits, e.g. can vampires venture out into sunlight? Do they drink blood to survive? Do werewolves shift only at full moon? Can they stop the shift or its inevitable? Etc.)

Shawntelle: In the universe of my books, werewolves can shift anytime they want. They are forced to shift during the full moon, but other than that, they have control. There are no vampires in the Coveted universe, but there are plenty of other supernatural creatures that roaming the shadows to keep things interesting. As far as spellcasters, I have witches, wizards, and warlocks. The wizards perform white magic, while the warlocks dabble in black magic. Werewolves are able to do magic, or old magic, as I call it in the book, but there is a big price to pay for shapeshifters to do magic. Other than no vampires, I believe my series is different because my supernatural creatures have humanistic flaws. They can have a mental illness. They can make great or even poor decisions like us humans. I love flawed characters and bringing them to life is very fascinating to me.

Stella: Can you tell us a bit more about Coveted and Kept and tease us? ;-)

Shawntelle: I had such a blast writing Coveted and Kept. The series also made me cry too. There are so many pieces to series. It’s mainly about being swept away in the crowd, then finding your way back to the love and family you’d lost. Natalya lives alone in South Toms River, NJ. She is estranged from her family and pack due to her OCD. But things change when her former boyfriend returns to protect the pack from another invading pack. Things also change when Nat’s friend Aggie shows up. Nat makes a decision to finally change her life. In therapy, she meets Nick the wizard. He’s a kindred spirit who understands her and hopes she’ll welcome him into her heart.

Kept is a continuation of Coveted in that Nat has a chance to reenter the pack, but she must several challenges to reach that point. A lot of questions from Coveted will be answered in Kept, including who wins Nat’s heart. ;)

Stella: Could you introduce the main characters of the series?

Shawntelle: Natalya is a brunette woman of Russian descent who is around five foot eight and one hundred twenty pounds. She lives alone and prefers to wear clothes that have a similar style every day. She’s quite stubborn and prefers things done her way--which of course is the correct way of things. Nat works day-to-day as a clerk at the Bend of the River flea market where she sells antiques to other supernatural creatures. With all the things she faces, like OCD, Nat has a good heart and wants the best for her family. She has a strong sense of loyalty and plenty of sarcasm-laden remarks to boot.

Stella: Which (secondary) character is your favourite to write, either because their scenes just seem to flow or to the contrary, even though they aren’t easy to write their scenes just make it all worthwhile?

Shawntelle: I loved writing Aggie as a secondary character. When Nat felt like holding back her opinion, Aggie felt perfectly inclined to give it. The scenes with Aggie and Nat took hardly no time at all. My favorite scene between them was when Aggie used her dominant nature to make Nat do something positive for her life. Like bonding with her family.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia connected to the writing of Coveted/Kept (a scene/character that did not end up in the final version, a real person inspiring a character, scene, etc.)?

Shawntelle: I actually do have a deleted scene available HERE.

Nat had a few adventures that got cut from Coveted. Sometimes I think I have a bit too much writing quirky characters. There was a teen name Blythe that never made it into the book. She would have been a fun secondary character.

Stella: How many books are you planning to have in the series?

Shawntelle: Right now I have to novels planned with Ballantine Books, but I have storylines planned for Aggie, Heidi, and most importantly, Nick.

Stella: What is your favourite kind of supernatural being? And why is that?

Shawntelle: I adore werewolves. There is just something sexy about a primal beast lurking under a man’s skin. Unlike a vampire who pretty much wants to drain your blood. Not that sexy.

Stella: What made you choose to write in the genre that you write in? Do you still remember your introduction to the paranormal world? Was it a book? A film, or a TV series?

Shawntelle: I’m a big sci-fi reader. Growing up, I read a lot of books by Octavia Butler, Robert Heinlein, and more. Those books inspired me to create my own universes and actively think about a world around me and ask critical questions.

Stella: What do you do when you aren’t writing? What are some of your pastimes?

Shawntelle: I spend a lot of time reading. Another pastime I enjoy is watching shows, in particular k-dramas (Korean dramas) on my television.

Stella: What is next on your schedule? Any future plans you’d like to share with us?

Shawntelle: Right now, I’m working on Aggie’s story and I hope to share it with the world near the end of the year.

Stella: Reading your bio I was impressed: it seems you are talented and interested in very varied fields: be it mathematics or Russian literature, it seems you have this blend of pragmatic yet romantic side. How did you choose to study such different areas?

Shawntelle: I love studying foreign languages. Love it! But I’m a computer nerd at heart, so I pursued the sciences. If I actually had more spare time, I’d study at least four languages.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?

Shawntelle: Not many folks know I have a helpful habit of cleaning when I get on the phone. I’ll be chatting with a friend and then I’ll suddenly get up and start cleaning. It took me years before I’d realized I always did it. Rather handy when my house is a mess.

Stella: And let’s finish in style, with today being Halloween, care to share with us one of your Halloween related best or worst memories? :-)

Shawntelle: I have great memories of Halloween. My most memorable one was when I went out for Halloween and there was snow on the ground. Most Halloweens in the Midwest, in the state of Iowa in particular, get cold, but they very rarely have snow. To have snow while Trick or Treating was quite an experience. A cold one that is.

Now, the cold weather doesn’t stop me or my kids from the candy and trick or treating. What is the one candy treat you’d go into the cold weather for?


Shawntelle Madison is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. She’d never admit it, but if asked she’d say she covets and collects source code. After losing her first summer job detassling corn, Shawntelle performed various jobs—from fast-food clerk to grunt programmer to university webmaster. Writing eccentric characters is her most favorite job of them all. On any particular day when she’s not surgically attached to her computer, she can be found watching cheesy horror movies or the latest action-packed anime. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

Connect with Shawntelle at her Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Coveted by Shawntelle Madison

Book #1 in the Coveted series

Sometimes what you covet is impossible to keep.

For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home—and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense.

Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.



Kept by Shawntelle Madison

Book #2 in the Coveted series

Fresh from defending her pack in battle, Natalya Stravinsky, a whip-smart werewolf with a lovable neurotic streak, wants a little rest and relaxation. Once an outcast, she’s now eager to rejoin the ranks of her New Jersey pack, and has even gotten a handle on her obsessive urge to hoard holiday ornaments. Yet Nat barely has time to revel in her progress before the next crisis comes howling at her door.

Nat’s father has suddenly gone missing, captured by the Russian werewolf mafia. And as Nat steps up to save her dad from a mob boss’s deadly game, two men step in to play another round for her heart: her gorgeous alpha ex-boyfriend, Thorn, and her new flame, the sweetly sensitive wizard Nick. With her life growing more harried by the minute, Nat must stay cool, calm, and collected . . . or else risk losing everything.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Shawntelle is generously giving away a paperback copy of Coveted to a lucky commenter!


To be entered just leave a comment answering Shawntelle's question: What is the one candy treat you’d go into the cold weather for?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 10 November 2012!

Good luck!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Character interview by Sarah DiCello + Giveaway


An Interview with My Main Characters, Dani and Ben
by Sarah DiCello

Author of the young adult novel, As I Close My Eyes, Sarah DiCello, sits down with Danielle Grayson and Benjamin Sheffield to discuss their instant attraction and where their relationship stands today.

SD: Dani, some of the questions I’ve received from readers are how your relationship grew so quickly and what it felt like for you to have such an intense draw towards Ben when you first saw him in the restaurant in Tallulah Falls. Can you talk about that briefly?

Dani: It was surreal. He walked into the restaurant when Shannon and I were just sitting down for dinner and time stopped. I wanted to leap up out of my chair and run to him. If he thinks I’m a nutcase now he definitely would have thought I was insane if I did anything like that. I tried to stay engaged in conversation with Shannon but I couldn’t take my eyes off him. You know that feeling when you pass someone on the street and you feel like you’ve met them before but you can’t place where? That’s kind of what it was like for me. I knew I had met him before I just didn’t know that our connection ran much deeper than I ever imagined. I thought I was going crazy.

SD: Ben, you said that you noticed her in the restaurant as well. Did you feel that same instant connection?

Ben: I’m afraid she’s going to hit me when I say this but no. I thought she was absolutely the most beautiful woman I had ever seen despite her very swollen nose and bruised face. I wanted to go over to her and ask her what happened. I assumed someone hit her and I couldn’t imagine anyone hurting someone so beautiful. I could sense her staring at me while we were eating dinner but I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable by staring back. Plus, the woman I was with wouldn’t have appreciated it.

SD: Here’s another question for you, Ben. After learning about Dani’s dreams, how did you deal with helping her through the discovery of what they actually were? You seemed so supportive through everything. More so than other men would be I think.

Ben: Yeah, it all sounded so unbelievable to me at first but after watching her slip away with my own eyes, I knew she couldn’t control it. Plus, I felt some sort of strange connection to her as well. Our relationship developed so quickly but I think that’s because of the nature of our past. I had to stand by her. I couldn’t let her do this alone.

SD: It’s obvious that you both have an intense romantic relationship. Do you still feel so passionate for one another?

Dani: I know I do and I think Ben does too. We’re just really attracted to one another. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Ben: Dani’s the love of my life. I just wish I could help her more with the dreams. We just want to understand why this is all happening to her.

SD: Speaking of the dreams. Dani, were you scared the first time you started dreaming about Cape May?

Dani: Not really. I just thought they were dreams and nothing more when they first started happening. After a few of them I really started to anticipate going to sleep at night so I could see Robert and experience the Victorian era through Caroline’s eyes. I feel pretty lucky that I get to do something no one else I know can. After a few months more interesting things have happened since I last saw Cape May and I finally feel like I’m on the path to discovering why.

SD: Can you talk about the things you’ve seen recently?

Dani: You’ll just have to wait for the sequel around Christmas of this year.

SD: So you’re going to hold us in suspense for a little more just to torture us?

Dani: Yup.

SD: Well this has been an absolute pleasure to talk with both of you. All of your fans can’t wait to see what happens in the second book.


A note from Sarah DiCello: About a week ago I had the idea to create a Pinterest page for my book with photos of the characters and scenes from As I Close My Eyes. If you’d like to have a visual of the characters interviewed, go HERE to see the board.

You can also find me on Facebook, Goodreads or on my blog. My Twitter account is @sdicello.

You know you are alive, but what if you are dead?

Danielle Grayson is a beautiful, intelligent young woman in present-day Georgia, but when she closes her eyes, she becomes someone else in a different time, one hundred years earlier in fact.

Danielle's other life is as entrancing and romantic as her current one, and the contrast between the lifestyles is intriguing and enlightening (they didn't have iPods in 19th century USA, apparently), but what starts out as being dreamlike soon becomes real and strangely familiar.

Worse, whatever happens to her as Danielle seems to change the past, if it is a true past.

And when she finds she is not alone in being able to flip between the two worlds, life, love and death become really disturbing.

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - FREE for Prime members $0.99 for others


 
GIVEAWAY RULES:

Sarah has generously offered a paperback and an ebook copy of As I Close My Eyes to TWO lucky commenters!


To be entered just leave a comment/question for either Sarah, Dani or Ben.

Giveaway open worldwide and ends on 9 November 2012!

Good luck!

Guest post by Nikki Logan + Giveaway

Today I welcome to Ex Libris Nikki Logan, who is celebrating the release of her first Dead Sexy novel published by Entangled Publishing: Wild Encounter! When we discussed Nikki's stops there was something I was most curious about, namely whether she has been to Africa and if she has used her own personal travel experiences to add colours and reality to her story of if it was "all in her mind". Now take a seat and let Nikki tell you the story behind Wild Encounter (and you could also win a copy of the book!).

Wild Encounter by Nikki Logan width=

The Africa of My Mind
by Nikki Logan

When I first pitched Wild Encounter to an editor for a big international house a few years ago, her instant reaction was ‘I can’t sell the book if you haven’t been to Africa. There’s a credibility issue.’ The fervour with which I disagreed with that statement explains why I never subbed the full to her even after she reluctantly slid her card across the table. Almost as though she wanted to read it against her own better judgement.

I wondered how Asimov or Scott-Card ever sold a book if that’s how publishing really worked. Or Pullman. Or Heyer who, last time I checked, did not actually live in the regency period (nor solved a crime, come to think of it). Surely Creighton never travelled back to the Jurassic or Lewis to Narnia.

Writers weave. That’s what we do. We take threads and we criss-cross them with other threads of a different colour and we slowly build our story-tapestry. In a perfect world, some of those threads will be memory threads from personal experience but the vast majority, for any fiction writer, will be fabricated threads. Or intensely researched threads.

But what all those threads must do is create a strong, captivating tapestry.

Africa was the right place for this story. The perfect place. It was as dangerous as I needed it to be to keep my heroine on her toes, it was as big and uncharted as I needed it to be to ensure she felt very isolated and alone and it was one of the big go-to places in the world that a lot of wildlife workers are doing their great works. Plus it had the advantage of a fairly unstable, shifting political climate so that even safety wasn’t really all that safe for her.

So this book needed to be in Africa. I was not about to let the fact that I’d never been stop me from setting Wild Encounter there.

But I knew it had to be one hell of a rich, engaging tapestry and so I immersed myself in Africa-substitutes. Films, documentaries even (fantastically) hours and hours of wildlife footage belonging to friends from an actual wild dog release trip into Zimbabwe. I trolled the internet for anyone who’d blogged about their travels in Africa and I read other books set there (the latter with some trepidation for fear of crippling myself creatively). I spoke to people who’d been and I poured over tourist websites, topographic maps and even primary industry information for Zambia. I took what I knew of wildlife in other parts of the world and I extrapolated, and then I cross checked those assumptions with those who could personally verify.

I plucked out of each of these sources the threads-in common (the sights, the sounds, the smell, the wildlife, the grasses) that impacted on people equally and then I wove them carefully into the story and through it and, yes, used creative licence along the way. This is fiction, after all. And I wanted my Africa to leap off the page, not just be a pretty, benign backdrop for the story.

I think that the Africa of my mind may well have exceeded the Africa of my memory because I would never have taken the same care and time to research the setting if I’d had personal experience to call upon. It would have been a lazier process. So, for this book, I believe the intensive research focus has worked better than two weeks on a canned tour photographing the Big5 might have furnished me with.

I like to think that my ability to really ‘sell’ a setting—whether based on research or personal experience—is part of what makes my readers return. Rich, engaging locales against which the stories unfold. And, at the end of the day, research and imagineering is an occupational necessity because I physically couldn’t go to all the places I’ve set my stories. Africa, a remote island in the Indian Ocean, seal colonies, whale migration beaches, New Zealand, the Blue Mountains, Everest, The Kimberley, outback Texas, the Queensland hinterlands, Cappadocia (Turkey)… it’s endless. I’ve managed some, but certainly not all.

But my lord I can weave a rich and beautiful tapestry based on good, thorough research, and, really, isn’t that what matters the most?


Nikki Logan lives amongst a string of wetlands in Western Australia with her long-suffering partner and a menagerie of furred, feathered and scaly mates.

She studied film and theatre at university, and worked for years in advertising and film distribution before finally settling down in the wildlife industry.

Her romance with nature goes way back, and she considers her life charmed, given that she works with wildlife by day and writes fiction by night–the perfect way to combine her two loves.

Nikki believes that the passion and risk of falling in love are perfectly mirrored in the danger and beauty of wild places. Every romance she writes contains an element of nature, and if readers catch a waft of rich earth or the spray of wild ocean between the pages she knows her job is done.

Connect with Nikki at



A wildlife release mission in Africa turns deadly when the convoy is hijacked by smugglers, and veterinarian Clare Delaney is taken hostage. Terrified for her life and her animals, the intrepid Clare establishes a rapport with the man she believes is the criminals’ leader, and reluctantly finds herself under his protection...and falling hard for the enigmatic man.

Alpha-to-the-max Simon deVries sees right through his sexy captive’s attempt to seduce her way to freedom. So when their simmering attraction flares into true passion, it takes them both by surprise. Now he’s torn between completing his secret mission and letting her escape without telling her his true identity. He knows if he lets her go, he will be risking his career, his life...and his heart.


Buy at Amazon - B&N

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Entangled Publishing has generously offered an ebook copy of Wild Encounter to a lucky commenter!


Just leave a comment and tell us: if you could virtually tour a place, where would you go?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 9 November 2012!

Good luck!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Excerpt from A Wicked Beginning by Calinda B + Giveaway


Just in time for Halloween - an excerpt from A Wicked Beginning: Book II in the Wicked Series.

As he leaned one shoulder against the red, blue and yellow tiles, a loud scratching echoed through the water spray, as if someone was forcefully dragging a dagger tip down the wooden door of the bathroom. Odd. Is someone out there? He wrenched off the faucet and cocked his head.

Maybe Mano’s hyperactive mutt, Severe, is digging along the outside wall? Yeah, that must be it. “Stop it, Severe,” he yelled, pounding his fist a couple times on the wall.

The bathroom door burst open, slamming against the porcelain sink with a crack. Cam jerked and hit his head against the metal shower nozzle. “Damn it!” He gingerly ran his fingers across the protruding knot in his skull before wiping the thick condensation off the shower door. Paw print outlines bloomed on the glass. “What the..?” He threw open the door and it thwacked against the shower enclosure, vibrating to a halt. Cautiously stepping out, he peered around the spacious room. Nada. The bathroom door hung wide open, but no sign of that mutt, Severe, anywhere. He examined the chipped sink and stared at his blurred image in the foggy mirror. “There’s got to be an explanation.”

Quickly toweling off, he whipped on his green t-shirt and clean jeans and dashed into the kitchen. Mano stood at the stove, stirring vegetables and beans in a simmering pot. “Hey, Mano.”

“Good, you’re here.” Mano replied. “I’m trying out a new recipe I’ve been creating. The flavors have to marry throughout the day. Care to join me for dinner tonight?”

“Uh, sure, man, that’d be great. It smells fantastic.” With a trembling hand, Cam seized a carton of orange juice from the refrigerator shelf. He grabbed a glass from the counter and poured, splashing liquid onto the bright Italian counter. “Say, where’s Severe? She must’ve gotten into my bedroom. She scratched the bathroom door open and jumped up on the shower stall door.”

“I don’t think so, Cam.” Mano brought a spoonful of sauce to his lips. He slurped, paused and snatched a glass container from the spice cabinet. “She’s at the dog park with Jayze and Marilyn.”

Cam’s face contorted. “Oh, really?”

“Yeah, man, really. They picked her up come daybreak. She’s been gone for two hours. They’ll return later this afternoon.”

“Right….I must’ve heard a dog in the neighbor’s yard.” A really, really loud dog…

“Whatever. Hand me that towel, will you?”

Cam tossed the towel to Mano. Abandoning the glass of juice, he raced down the hall to his bedroom. He inspected the bedroom door. No marks of any kind. He slowly inched across the rug-covered floor, looking right and left, and stopped at the bathroom door. Sure enough, colossal claw marks scored the wood. His skin prickled and the hair on the back of his neck bristled. “Hey, Mano” he yelled.

“What?” Mano yelled back.

“I think you should look at this.”

A WICKED CHOICE

(Book #0.5)

A Wicked Choice: When C decides she wants to have an earthly experience, there’s no telling what the consequences will be for the rest of the Galaxy Dancers, especially her beloved consort, K.

This 4150-word humorous, sexy, tongue-in-cheek sci-fi short story is for those who want to dip their feet in the wicked world of the Wicked Series and for the fans of the Wicked Series who have wondered how the Galaxy Dancers came to Earth in the first place. Just blame on on a woman’s curiousity and desire for new experiences.


A WICKED AWAKENING

(Book #1)

Chérie’s just a small town girl living life the way she thinks it’s supposed to be. She’s got a great guy, a great job and a whole lot of things that don’t make sense. Like, why can’t she stick up for herself? And why did this mysterious guy walk up behind her on the dance floor, whisper “sexy girl” in her ear, make her body quake with sensation and then disappear? Who is this crazy old woman with eyes like an eagle and braids that blaze with fire who keeps dropping into her world? And where are all these bewilderingly vivid dreams coming from with the mysterious guy as the main attraction? Chérie wants answers. She finds these answers and more as she faces her past, and comes face to face with a future that is more remarkable than she ever dreamed possible.


A WICKED BEGINNING

(Book #2)

Cameron Delaney Tyson’s just an ordinary guy, living an ordinary life, trying to sort out his issues along the way — or that’s what he keeps trying to tell himself, that is. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural, thinks dreams are just daily recycling, and lives in the here and now. Meanwhile, a vicious star dreamling from another galaxy is tracking him, he’s trying to prove himself to the woman of his heart and soul and an ex-playmate is stalking him through sex magic and nightmares. What’s an ordinary guy going to do?


WICKED WHISPERING

(Book #3)

Kai Williams hears voices…wicked whisperings that threaten his sanity…his life and livelihood…and his ability to love. When the whispering begins to destroy all that he cherishes, he does what any red-blooded guy would do: he goes deep into the darkness, deep into the sea that cherishes and nourishes his soul. There he comes face to face and eye to eye with evil and more heartbreak than he ever knew possible.


An award-winning web designer and certified SEO specialist, Calinda B has worked in the Internet industry as a web page designer/developer since the early 1990′s. She has also taught web site design and computer graphics at community colleges in Northern California. In addition to writing, Calinda B creates fine art and music, and enjoys scuba diving, kayaking, and bike riding. Calinda B makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with the love of her life and her two cats. She is currently working on the fourth book in The Wicked Series, tentatively entitled A Wicked Ending.

For more about Calinda B and her work, visit:


GIVEAWAY RULES:

One randomly drawn commenter from the tour will win a $20 Amazon gift card.


The winner will be randomly selected and notified via email. To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The more tour stops you comment on, the greater your chances of winning! Follow the tour HERE.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 9 November 2012!

Good luck!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

It's Monday, What Are you Reading? (#97)


It's Monday, What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

After a long weekend we had to work on Saturday so reading time wasn't great this week either, but I'm hoping that with two of my current projects ending this week (fingers crossed!) it will get less busy and I'll get to immerse myself in some wonderful stories :-) Here is what I have read this past week:

Books I completed


I have read and enjoyed Maya Banks scorching hot erotica novels so when I saw she had Scottish historical romance series as well I was excited. It was surprising how tame and sweet it actually was, based on her name and what I am used to from her I was expecting it to be lot steamier. And while it was a nice light read I have read much better Highlander romances (like Monica McCarty's series for example)...



I had high hopes for this story because I seriously LOVE arranged marriage/marriage of convenience trope stories, but it didn't live up to its promise. It was nice but did not blow me away. Detailed review will be posted soon. 


For Desire Alone by Jess Michaels
Amazon

This was the 2nd instalment in Jess Michaels' Mistress Matchmaker series and I very enjoyed much the first one, An Introduction to Pleasure, so I was excited to see how Book #2 would fare. Glad to report that it was a delightful steamy read! The characters were likeable and interesting and the hero was so deliciously intense and brooding, yum! :-D Review will be posted next week, when Jess Michaels will stop by for an interview, so mark your calendars, don't miss it! ;-)


Books I'm currently reading


This is the first book in Maggie Robinson's new steamy historical romance series after her beloved Courtesan Court series has ended, and as soon as I read the blurb I was hooked: a heroine who dresses as a man and works and is independent? Sounds like a heroine I would respect, so I couldn't wait to read her story, and though I'm still at the beginning it's shaping up to be pretty good, and it doesn't hurt that the hero is delicious... ;-p lol 



Halloween is fast approaching and what better way to get in the scary and spooky mood than read some paranormal stories set around Halloween! This anthology has about 10 novellas from a bunch of beloved authors like Jennifer Estep, Cynthia Eden, Allison Brennan, and I could go on. Besides the great stories you should also know that all profits from the anthology are donated to breast cancer research. So grab a copy, help a great cause and have a couple terrific hours reading some trick or treat spooky stories!


Book I can't wait to start 


The release day of the 2nd book, Kept is fast approaching and before I start Coveted, the 1st novel in Shawntelle Madison's exciting new urban fantasy series, I just wanted to let you know that the prequel novella, Collected is free on Amazon, so grab your copy and start reading the series :-)

And what are you reading this week?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

And this week's winners are...


Hey Everyone!

Just so you don't envy me too much, I'll let you know that after last week's lengthy 4 day-long holiday weekend this weekend we had to work today, so my weekend is only one teeny tiny day long. :-( Furthermore the sun has deserted us, it is gray and rainy, autumn has really arrived (or what I call November-weather). The only good thing about this crappy wet cold weather? That it makes you want to curl up with a good book even more ;-)

So here are a few lucky ones who'll get those good books to curl up with under the duvet:

Congrats to  

The lucky winner of an ebook copy of Contract for Marriage by Barbara DeLeo is

Laura


The lucky winner of an ebook copy of Worth the Risk by Karen Erickson is

Katherine


The lucky winner of a paperback copy of The Recruit by Monica McCarty is

Maureen


The lucky winner of a paperback copy of Until There Was You by Jessica Scott is

QuenKne


The lucky winner of a paperback copy of Iced by Karen Marie Moning is

Jennifer Ezovski


Congratulations winners! I have sent you all an e-mail notifying you of your win, please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw a new winner. Thank you.

There are a lot of great giveaways still open, enter them while you can by clicking on their individual links at the top of the blog.

Hope you all had a great weekend! :-)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Interview with Miranda Neville + Giveaway

It is my great pleasure to welcome to Ex Libris the wonderful Miranda Neville, who is celebrating the release of The Second Seduction of a Lady, which is the introductory novella to her new historical romance series The Wild Quartet! Join us as I discuss with Miranda this new series of hers, the inspiration behind it and our favourite Mr. Darcy among many other things, and you could even win yourself a copy of The Second Seduction of a Lady! ;-)

Stella: Hi Miranda, welcome to Ex Libris! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Miranda: Hi Stella. Thanks for inviting me and asking such excellent questions! I’m an ex-pat Brit living in rural Vermont, exact age and natural hair color a closely guarded secret. I’ve always been a fan of both history and happy endings. Since they in real life they didn’t always go together, writing historical romance is the perfect way to combine my two passions.

Stella: Your latest story, the introductory novella in your new historical romance series, The Second Seduction of a Lady was released last Tuesday, congratulations! Can you tell readers what they can expect of this new series of yours, what is the concept behind The Wild Quartet series?

Miranda: The series title refers to a wild foursome of young men who met at Oxford and quickly got kicked out of school. They raised a fair amount of hell, and as time went by they got into different kinds of trouble and drifted apart. The series deals with them a few years later when they are grown up and have to deal with the consequences of their youthful folly. That sounds preachy, but anyone who has read my books knows that they are light hearted and tolerant of my characters’ flaws. The first book, The Importance of Being Wicked, actually features Caro, the widow of the leader of the group Robert. (Death, the ultimate comeuppance!) I have a great deal of sympathy for the sins of youth and I believe that people who make mistakes are interesting to write about. That said, Caro’s hero Thomas is not at all wild and needs to be loosened up. Despite his far from misspent youth I adore him and he may be my favorite hero yet!

Stella: Can you tell readers what The Second Seduction of a Lady is about?

Miranda: Max and Eleanor fell in love five years ago but she discovered he was wooing her on a bet and broke off the relationship. When they meet again by chance, Max is determined to win her again, forever. With Max in hot pursuit, Eleanor has to take a good look at her own reasons for not forgiving a man she truly loves.

Stella: Could you introduce Eleanor Hardwick and Max Quinton, the heroine and hero of The Second Seduction of a Lady?

Miranda:

Eleanor:

Vital statistics: 30 years old, tall, handsome rather than pretty.
Interests: visiting her relatives, especially the children and youth.
Favorite things: common sense, expensive hats.
Best & worst characteristics: loyalty & stubbornness
Greatest fear: losing her independence

Every so often he’d catch a glimpse of a tall, trim figure in a crowd and his heart would leap. But it never was her. The world, it sometimes seemed, was full of well-dressed brunettes. He hadn’t set eyes on Eleanor Hardwick in almost five years. In a crowded street or an assembly, it wasn’t unreasonable to anticipate an encounter. Any such expectation in a Somerset meadow, many miles from either of their homes, was irrational. Still, as always, he had to be sure. Blue cloth flashed among the branches of a willow. His inattention allowed the line to slacken; his trout broke away from the hook. It had been a large one.
One that got away. Just like Eleanor.

Max:

Vital statistics: 35 years old, ruggedly handsome in a countrified way.
Occupation: horse breeder, estate manager.
Favorite things: sports, Shakespeare, Eleanor Hardwick.

He was a man comfortable in his own skin. A countryman through and through, he would never be mistaken for a man of fashion. His broadcloth coat in pine green and buff buckskin breeches were plain and only discreetly hinted at his powerful figure. As Eleanor had reason to know, the hints did not deceive. He responded to the sallies of his youthful admirers with sense laced with humor that would charm the birds out of the trees, or a lady out of her virtue.

Stella: How did the idea for the story come to you? Any specific moment/event that sparked the inspiration for it that you could share with us?

Miranda: Max and Eleanor made an appearance in The Importance of Being Wicked. As always with secondary characters, I started wondering about them and how they met. Caro’s youthful marriage to Robert is the back story to the book, so I decided it was entwined with Max and Eleanor’s romance.

Stella: You must have done quite some research for your historical romances, could you share with us one of the most interesting/amazing/weird historical tidbit you discovered?

Miranda: Don’t get me started! I love finding out of the way facts that haven’t already appeared in a dozen Regency romances. They often inspire bits and pieces of my plots. In Confessions from an Arranged Marriage my couple go to Paris for their honeymoon. Reading nineteenth century guides to Paris, I learned that, unlike in London, it was perfectly acceptable for ladies to dine out in restaurants. Then I discovered a slightly seedy cafe occupying a converted theater. I had so much fun setting a scene there, complete with a kissing competition in a theater box.

Stella: Being a historical romance author I bet you love period dramas ;-) Which one is your favourite?

Miranda: You’re right there! My daughter always says no costume drama is too far fetched for me to see! If I have to pick one it would be North and South, for Richard Armitage and The Best Kiss Evah.

Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe in North and South

Stella: Oooh! I SO agree, that series is also my favourite and Richard Armitage's Mr. Thornton definitely replaced Mr. Darcy as my favourite fictional hero :-D

Speaking of period dramas: who IS the real Mr. Darcy? A) Colin Firth, B) Matthew McFadyen, C) Laurence Olivier, D) Orlando Seale, E) Martin Henderson, F) someone else? Who then?


Miranda: A). No one does wet shirt like Mr. Firth.

Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy

Stella: So agree! lol :-D Would you care to summarize The Second Seduction of a Lady or The Wild Quartet series for us Twitter-style (in 140 characters or less)?

Miranda: Max must grovel & accomplish THE SECOND SEDUCTION OF A LADY to win back his true love.

A WILD QUARTET with Oscar Wilde titles know the love of art and the art of love

Stella: What is next on your schedule? Any future plans you’d like to share with us?

Miranda: I’ve almost finished the second WILD QUARTET book. I’m not saying much about it until after The Importance of Being Wicked appears. The hero is one of the wild foursome and the title is AN IDEAL SCOUNDREL. After that, I have two more books to write (the other two guys) then I will likely take to my bed. Seriously, I don’t know. I have various plot bunnies cluttering up my brain but no time to see if they’ll run!


Miranda Neville grew up in England devouring historical novels and romances. She now lives in Vermont where she is hard at work on her seventh full length novel. THE SECOND SEDUCTION OF A LADY is a prequel to THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED, coming November 27th.

She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and on her website. She also blogs regularly at The Ballroom Blog.

The Second Seduction of a Lady by Miranda Neville

Book #0.5 in The Wild Quartet series

Enter the thrilling, sexy world of Georgian England in this splendid Miranda Neville novella—and catch a glimpse of Caro, the heroine of the upcoming The Importance of Being Wicked, on sale December 2012.

Eleanor Hardwick and Max Quinton shared one night of incredible passion . . . that was shattered the next day, when Eleanor learned of a bet placed by Max's friends. Now, five years later, Max still can't get Eleanor out of his head or his heart. He has a single chance to make a second impression—one that will last forever.

Buy at Amazon - Kindle


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Author Rescue is generously offering an ebook copy of The Second Seduction of a Lady by Miranda Neville (either Kindle or Kobo copy) to a  lucky commenter!


To be entered just leave a comment and tell us: Do you like period dramas? Which one is your favourite? 

The giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 2 November 2012!

Good luck!

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