Sunday, 31 March 2013

Taking the Cinderella Tale into the 21st Century by Hope Tarr + Giveaway


I love fairy tales and their modern retellings and Cinderella being my favourite when I first heard of Hope Tarr's modern Cinderella series I was excited and curious how that would turn out. Having read and LOVED both the prequel Christmas novella (A Cinderella Christmas Carol) and the first book (Operation Cinderella) (they were both some of my favourite reads of 2012!) I became a fan and couldn't wait for The Cinderella Makeover, the next book in the series. It is finally here, so let's hear what Hope has to say about the inspiration behind the series! :-) 

Taking the Cinderella Tale into the Twenty-First Century
by Hope Tarr

The first time I saw Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” performed live was at the Center Stage theatre in Baltimore, Maryland. The set design, costumes, and props were all contemporary to the time, then the 1980’s. Sporting a black leather biker jacket and slicked back hair, Hamlet rode a motorcycle onto the stage. Crazy as that may sound, the play still worked. Brilliantly.

When I first began sharing my idea for setting the Cinderella fairytale in contemporary times, not for one book but a series of books, I’ll admit I got some odd looks. Historical romance authors such as Judith Ivory, Mercedes Lackey, and Elizabeth Hoyt had already done a brilliant job of retelling fairytales in the context of their chosen epochs, sometimes layering in paranormal and erotic subplots. But whether set in the Victorian or Regency era or another occurring earlier or between, there were still swishing gowns and peers of the realm, and yes, balls.

But I was determined. There was no reason that Cinderella or any of the fairytale classics shouldn’t work equally well set in the twenty-first century. Fairytales aren’t only about pretty dresses or richly appointed ballrooms or even about being “the fairest in the land.” At their essence, fairytales are about transformation. The protagonist makes a conscious choice to break away from the bonds and boundaries of the past and to forge a new and usually fairly bramble-riddled path forward into the future. In the process, the peasant becomes a princess, the ugly duckling a swan, the separated lovers come together as two halves of a perfectly unified whole.

And so my Suddenly Cinderella Series was born.

In the series, four unlikely Cinderellas meet their matches in modern day New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. In OPERATION CINDERELLA (Book #1), my Cinderella heroine, Macie, is a New York City goth girl, the features editor of a ballsy women’s magazine, who decides to transform herself into a sweet, old-fashioned miss to ensnare the sexy conservative media pundit who’s nearly cost her job. In the in-series novella, A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS CAROL, my curmudgeon heroine, Starr, is both Cinderella—and Scrooge. Talk about multi-tasking!

And in my current release, THE CINDERELLA MAKEOVER, my Cinderella is…

A guy.

Silicon Valley CEO Contestant Gregory Knickerbocker is a geek with a heart of gold, a six-foot three leanly-muscled hunk in need of a mercy makeover. A new reality TV show, “Project Cinderella,” aims to remake fashion frogs like Greg into styling Cinderella princes and princesses. Seizing his opportunity to turn his personal life around, Greg gets himself cast as one of six contestants on the show.

Internationally famous fashion photographer, Francesca St. James needs a major life change and leaving New York for Los Angeles to join Project Cinderella as a fashion “fairy god mentor” is certainly that. Coaching Greg may prove the biggest challenge of her career but when an old rival baits her into betting that he’ll win, she’s determined to get both her Happily Ever After—and her revenge. Can a pair of vintage Saks Fifth Avenue red slippers help her look beyond Greg’s center-parted hair and gray hoodies to the Cinderfella who lies beneath?

Instead of a mean stepmother, we have a vicious rival fashion coach stirring up all sorts of trouble on the set as well as the show’s meddlesome producer. Greg’s kingdom isn’t a castle-on-a-hill but the Silicon Valley tech startup where he and Francesca first meet. And the “ball” isn’t a ball, but the show’s black tie finale episode when the winner will be crowned.

As with any good Cinderella tale, we have a great pair of shoes. Substituting for glass slippers is a svelte pair of vintage Saks Fifth Avenue red velvet heels from the 1930’s. And though my slippers are passed along friend-to-friend rather than conjured by a wand-waving fairy godmother, they are magical nonetheless—and gorgeous! This is the photo of the real shoes upon which my fictional pair is based. Aren’t they great?

But regardless of whether our princess is wearing soot spotted rags, a glittering ball gown, or a fabulously fitting pair of skinny jeans, her story, and our fairytale, serves to remind us of timeless, universal truths. That good is stronger than evil. That love is stronger than hate.

And that a Happily Ever After beginning is possible for every one of us brave enough to reach out and claim it.

What favorite fairytale would you like to see re-set and in what era?


Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of twenty historical and contemporary romance novels including THE CINDERELLA MAKEOVER, Book #2 in her Suddenly Cinderella Series of contemporary fairy-tale themed romance novels. Hope is also a co-founder and current principal of Lady Jane’s Salon™, New York City’s first and so far only monthly romance fiction reading series now with satellites in four other U.S. cities. 

Connect with Hope at her website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads


Book #2 in the Suddenly Cinderella series

Fashionista Francesca St. James has agreed to work as a "fairy godmother" on the reality TV show Project Cinderella, taking contestants from geeky to dreamy. When Francesca’s archrival bets she can't transform the awkwardly sweet CEO to hot in under eight weeks, Francesca accepts the challenge.

As CEO of a tech company, Greg may have billions, but what’s it worth without a woman to share it with? From day one on the show though, he clashes with his gorgeous fairy godmother—yet off-set, he can’t stop thinking about her. But this sexy woman is so far out of his league…and wants to change every single thing about him. It's up to him to show her it's more than clothes that make the man.May the best man or geek win…

Read an excerpt

Read my review of Book #0.5 and Book #1

Buy at Amazon - B&N

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Hope has generously offered an ebook copy of Operation Cinderella to a lucky commenter!

 
To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 12 April 2013!

Good luck!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Bride’s Wedding Day Checklist by Erin Nicholas + Giveaway


I looove wedding romances and I already had the pleasure to introduce you to the Promise Harbor Wedding Series, penned by four of the Nine Naughty Novelists wand this time I bring you one of my favourite contemporary romance authors, the lovely Erin Nicholas who wrote Hitched, the 4th book in the series, about the runaway bride. Please give her the warmest welcome, read on to see what is on a bride's wedding day checklist and don't forget to enter to win a fantastic prize at the end! ;-)

I’m so happy to be here to help Stella celebrate! Happy Anniversary!

Thanks for inviting me and for letting me talk about my newest project, Hitched and the Promise Harbor Wedding series!

Hitched is book four in the series and it will release on April 30th! BUT, book one released on March 19th, book two will be out April 2nd and book three will be released on April 16th… so don’t forget to add them *all* to your wish list!

Here’s more about the series:

Into even the best-planned wedding a little chaos must fall...

Join the residents of Promise Harbor, Massachusetts for the wedding of the season! Or, at least, for the most entertaining wedding of the season.

The groom's been left at the altar, the Maid of Honor is MIA, the Best Man is in handcuffs and the bride has been swept off her feet--literally.

There's definitely love in the air, but things are going to get a little crazy before anyone gets to happily ever after.

Jilted, Promise Harbor Wedding book one, Kelly, Jamieson, March 19, 2013
Bolted, Promise Harbor Wedding book two, Meg, Benjamin, April 2, 2013
Busted, Promise Harbor Wedding book three, Sydney Somers, April 16, 2013
Hitched, Promise Harbor Wedding book four, Erin, Nicholas, April 30, 2013


My heroine, Allie, is the bride in this crazy wedding. You’ll read the groom’s story in book one, the Maid of Honor’s story in book two (Bolted) and meet the Best Man in book three (Busted).

Allie’s feeling a little… stressed… about this whole wedding thing so one of her bridesmaids, her annoying cousin, Bernice is trying to help her out.

I found this note in Allie’s room when I was helping clean up. I thought maybe you all would get a kick out of it! :-)


Dear Allie, Happy Almost Wedding Day! I made this up for you because I wanted to be sure you wouldn’t forget anything. Thanks for making me a bridesmaid! (don’t forget to tweeze your eyebrows and touch up your toenail polish… I know your feet won’t show in your shoes but really, you should try to be as put together as possible k?)

Hugs, Bernice


Bride’s Wedding Day Checklist

___ Take tweezers in while Bernice sleeps and see how she likes her eyebrows tweezed

_X__ Hair and make-up are at eleven. I’ll bring mimosas Oh, thank god

_X__ Shoes wow, I hate these shoes. Why did I let Bernice pick these out? I’m gonna trip and kill myself walking down the aisle in these

___ Dress Seriously? She thinks I’d forget the dress? What am I gonna do, walk down the aisle naked?

___ Check with Sophie on where she put the dress

_ X __ Extra bobbi pins just in case you need to touch up your hair

__X _ Hairspray for touchups

__X _ Lipstick and lip gloss for touchups She really thinks I’m going to need a lot of touchups.

___ ibuprofen

___ schnapps in travel shampoo bottle

___ breath mints

__X_ Copy of your vows to look over just before you walk down the aisle

_X__ Make sure your brothers have their black socks and bow ties I’ve been taking care of them since… forever. I got this one.

___ Tuck a couple of tissues into your bouquet in case you get teary-eyed when we do the memorial candle and song for you mom

___ Your mom’s earrings

___ buy another travel shampoo bottle for schnapps

___ DO NOT PANIC

___ buy more schnapps

Hitched by Erin Nicholas

Book #4 in the Promise Harbor Wedding series

And she thought the bridesmaids dresses were her biggest problem...

Allison Ralston would rather be anywhere other than this wedding. Even if the wedding is hers. Especially since the wedding is hers.

But Allie's determined to restore her family's happiness, and if tying the knot with longtime family friend, Josh Brewster, is the way to do it, then she'll walk down that aisle, toss that bouquet and drink that champagne.

Oh, she'll definitely drink the champagne.

There’s only one thing that could get Gavin Montgomery back to Promise Harbor. And she’s about to say I do to another man. Now he’s back to claim what’s his—even if he has to do it in the middle of her wedding.

Allie is shocked—and okay, a little turned on—when Gavin literally sweeps her off her feet. Safe in his arms, she succumbs to fatigue, stress, and yes, the champagne, only to wake up in his bed. In Alaska.

Now that he’s put four thousand miles between Allie and all her responsibilities, Gavin’s determined to show her that they can make a life together. If he has his way, the next wedding Allie will be planning will be theirs.

Warning: Contains a guy so in love he’s willing to break up the wedding of the season, a bride who just needs to get to, well, anywhere else, and enough hot sex to take them from New England to Alaska and back again. 

Buy at Samhain

Erin Nicholas has been reading and writing romantic fiction since her mother gave her a romance novel in high school and she discovered happily-ever-after suddenly went a little beyond glass slippers and fairy godmothers! She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they’re shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).

You can reach Erin at her official websiteblogTwitter and Facebook account.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Erin has generously offered a $10 gift card to either Amazon or B&N (winner's choice) and a choice of one ebook from the backlist of either Kelly Jamieson, Meg Benjamin, Sydney Somers or Erin Nicholas to a lucky commenter!

 
 
To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 12 April 2013!

Good luck!

Book Review: Jilted by Kelly Jamieson

Title: Jilted
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Series: Book #1 in the Promise Harbor Wedding series
Release Date: 19 March 2013
Number of pages: 230 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Source: ebook provided by the author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, SamhainRead an excerpt

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer: The wedding's off but the honeymoon is on...

The Promise Harbor Wedding, Book 1

Devon can do this. She can show up at her ex-boyfriend Josh's wedding, even though he's marrying her ex-best-friend. She can show everyone she's happy with her fabulous life in Boston, her great career, her amazing shoes -- and she can show everyone she's over him.

Truth is, her life isn't so fabulous. She's just been downsized out of her job, her Jimmy Choos won't pay her mortgage, and...she's still heartbroken that Josh chose family over her. The real reason she's enduring this wedding is that her next stop is nearby Greenbush Island, her last hope of finding a new job.

Josh knows marrying long-time friend Allie will make everyone happy after the rough time their families have been through, and since the woman he really wanted to marry chose her career and big city life over him -- why not?

But the perfect wedding turns into a perfect disaster when Allie leaves him at the altar for another man. He never saw that coming! But hey, Devon's there, offering to help him look for Allie on Greenbush Island, where he'd planned their honeymoon. Only, all they find are their old feelings for each other and a temptation to risk their hearts one more time...

Warning: This book contains a firefighter hot enough to ignite flames, a woman who doesn't want to get burned again, a honeymoon suite but no honeymoon, and sex not on the beach (sorry).

My Thoughts: I love wedding romances and am a big fan of Erin Nicholas and Kelly Jamieson, so when I heard that together with two other authors they were about to publish a wedding series I couldn't wait for the release day to finally roll around. Well it has arrived and Jilted is here!

Jilted is the first book in the Promise Harbor Wedding series and it introduces both the setting and the characters: it is Josh and Allie's wedding when the bride's ex-boyfriend just storms in the church and spirits her away.

We see the story unfold mostly from Devon's perspective, who is Josh's ex-girlfriend and Allie's ex-best friend. We learn that she still hasn't gotten over her break up with Josh and it hurts so much to see him marry someone else, but as she doesn't want anyone to think she is pining she's attending the wedding to show everyone she is fine. Even though she is far from that. She just lost her dream job, the one she has been working for for years and after a month of unemployment and her rapidly dwindling savings she is desperate to find a job. So when she learns that the man who could hire her is vacationing on the island Josh and Allie would have spent their honeymoon she offers to go there and look for Allie. But she hasn't counted on Josh taking her up on her offer and joining her in the honeymoon suite...

Devon and Josh have some loaded history: they practically grew up together with Devon having a teen crush on Josh, and then becoming sweethearts and lovers in college. However, when Josh wanted to come back to their hometown to take care of his family and Devon wanted to stay in Boston because of her work they parted ways and it crushed Devon. It has been more than a year and she still isn't over it. Especially seeing the man she still has such powerful feelings for is about to marry her childhood best friend.

“I came to the wedding.”
“Yeah. You did. Oh Christ, Dev. I’m sorry.” Anger sizzled through her veins. You think of everyone else. You look after everyone else. Why didn’t you think about what that would do to me? To date my best friend. To marry her. She shoved at his chest, pushing away from him, tangling herself up in the covers.

My heart really went out to Devon. The poor girl really didn't have it easy: she went through so many emotional abandonment that it is no wonder she is scarred and jaded. First it was her mom who left her when she was only twelve and never even bothered to check on her after, then the emotional abyss and neglect with her dad, who just didn't know communication and showing his love for his daughter was indeed crucial for a child, then having Josh the love of her life leave her and see him get together with her own best friend. And as a final strike losing her job, which was her identity, personifying her dreams and goals for about the past decade. *sighs* She really didn't have it easy.

And poor Josh, he must have suffered as well, but sadly we only got a couple of glimpses to see how their break up affected him:

“So, see? I had to come back to Promise Harbor. I told you I had to. And it…” He paused as if his throat might be closing up too. “It fucking killed me when you wouldn’t come with me, Dev.”

I missed seeing more of his point of view, I think it would have given us a rounder picture to see how their relationship ended and how it affected both of them. We got about 90% of Devon's thoughts and how she was feeling, but I would have liked to get a better insight, a deeper understanding of Josh's mind. I would have loved to read more about his emotions and longing, but he just suffered in silence and the reader only witnessed Devon's pain.

Kelly Jamieson did a terrific job conveying the all encompassing sexual tension between Josh and Devon, the combustible sparks made my own skin prickle as I bit my nails impatient to finally see them give into their attraction.

The skin of his neck was right there, and she let her own lips touch it in the barest of kisses. But his body tightened. His hand slid into her hair and gripped a fistful of it, firm yet gentle, and he tugged her head back. She bit her lip and looked up at him. Her heart trembled at the heat and hunger in his eyes. Her stomach swooped, and she gulped a mouthful of air as his eyelids lowered over gleaming eyes and hers responded the same way. Josh gave a rough groan as he bent his head and kissed her, finally, finally, oh god, finally.

Verdict: Jilted nicely introduced the Promise Harbor Wedding series, giving a first glimpse of the characters who will figure in the four books. I expected a fluffy light and roses romance but Jilted is more bittersweet due to the hero and heroine's history. They have shared a great love and with that a crushing  heartache before finding their way back to each other. If you don't mind lots of heart-squeezing moments peppered in the sensual and sizzling scenes I am sure you will enjoy Jilted. And I most certainly cannot wait to read the next Promise Harbor Wedding books!

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Writing: 8/10
Ending: 8/10
Cover: 10/10

Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

Buy it:

Friday, 29 March 2013

The Tortured Hero by Heather Snow + Giveaway


You might remember *cough* after all the raving *cough* that in 2012 I discovered a new favourite historical romance author, Heather Snow, whose debut novel Sweet Enemy became on of my favourite reads of 2012! I just fell in love with Heather's Veiled Seduction series and have been counting back the days 'till the release of the 3rd novel Sweet Madness (April 2!), which thankfully is just around the corner! So join us as Heather talks tortured heroes and why we just love them. ;-)


Thank you, Stella, for inviting me to help celebrate your 3rd Blogoversary! I’m a huge fan and happy to be a part!

Today, I’d like to talk about the tortured hero. Apparently I love them. Not bad boys (although the two often go hand in hand) but good, old fashioned emotionally (and sometimes physically) scarred men who need the love of good women to heal their wounded souls.

I hadn’t really thought about it before, but looking back at some of my very favorite heroes I’ve ever read, it’s quite obvious. Derek Craven from Lisa Kleypas’ Dreaming of You? Love him. Gabriel St. Croix from Judith James’ Broken Wing. Sign me up. Or how about Dylan Moore from Laura Lee Guhrke’s His Every Kiss or Robert Carroway from Suzanne Enoch’s England’s Perfect Hero or practically every hero Elizabeth Hoyt or Jennifer Ashley have ever written? Yes, yes, and yes again!

When I started writing, I didn’t consciously set out to create tortured heroes of my own. Now, however, I see that they have gradually gone that way. Geoffrey, from my debut, Sweet Enemy, wasn’t tortured. Definitely wounded, but not tortured. Poor Derick, from Sweet Deception, well, he was a bit tortured, though when I started the story he wasn’t supposed to be. It was only as I dug into his character that I realized what was behind his polished façade. But Gabriel from my upcoming release, SWEET MADNESS?  Yep, I intentionally tortured him. Once I’d named the book Sweet Madness, he didn’t stand a chance.

And you know what? I really like him. Yep, I’m definitely a sucker for a tortured hero.

Luckily for Gabriel, I had a heroine in mind for him who would stop at nothing to save him. Unfortunately for Penelope, however, I had to torture her a bit so that she could truly understand him and could follow him to the dark places they both needed to go in order to heal each other. I hope readers find their love story all the sweeter because of what they must overcome to reach it.

What are your favorite kinds of heroes? I’ll be happy to give away winner’s choice of either of my first two novels in the Veiled Seduction series, SWEET ENEMY or SWEET DECEPTION, here is a bit more about them:

Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow

Book #1 in the Veiled Seduction series

Geoffrey Wentworth, the Earl of Stratford, is a war hero focused on affairs of king and country rather than affairs of the heart. Nevertheless, his mother is playing matchmaker and has invited potential brides to visit the family estate. Geoffrey resigns himself to playing host to a gaggle of husband-hunters more interested in his title than in him—until he unexpectedly meets one notable and intriguing exception.

Miss Liliana Claremont has no interest in being an earl’s wife, least of all Wentworth’s—the son of the man she believes murdered her father. Liliana is determined to find evidence of the crime, but her behavior rouses the earl’s suspicions as well as her own undeniable attraction to a man she thought was her enemy. As Geoffrey and Liliana explore their growing passion for one another, the truth behind their fathers’ enmity threatens to destroy their newfound love…


Sweet Deception by Heather Snow

Book #2 in the Veiled Seduction series

In the dark, the greatest lover can become the most dangerous conspirator...

Lady criminologist, Miss Emma Wallingford, unknowingly finds herself tangled in the dangerous mission of Lord Derick Aveline, a spy who also happens to be her long lost first love.

But when deception is the name of the game, no one can be trusted. And every love--and every life--is at risk.


Sweet Madness by Heather Snow

Book #3 in the Veiled Seduction series

There’s a fine line between love and insanity.

An Untamed Mind

Ever since her husband’s sudden and tragic death, Lady Penelope Bridgeman has committed herself to studying the maladies of the mind, particularly treating traumatized soldiers of the Napoleonic Wars. It is this expertise that brings the Marquess of Bromwich’s family to her door.

Gabriel Devereaux’s unexpected and unpredictable episodes are unlike any Penelope has studied. The once proud soldier has been left shaken and withdrawn, but she manages to build a fragile trust between them. Strangely, Gabriel seems completely lucid when not in the grips of his mania, and in the calm between bouts, she is surprised by how much she is drawn to him.

Despite his own growing feelings, Gabriel knows that he is fit for no one, and is determined to keep Penelope away from his descent into madness. But even though she knows firsthand the folly of loving a broken man, Penelope cannot stop herself from trying to save him, no matter the cost.



SWEET MADNESS is a story of the healing power of love, and just as important, of hope. Gabriel is a fictional war hero but there are many real life heroes and their families suffering today. Therefore, my husband and I have decided to donate a portion of all royalties earned from the sale of SWEET MADNESS to Hope For the Warriors®, an organization dedicated to “restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.” You can find out more about this wonderful charity at http://www.hopeforthewarriors.org/


Heather Snow is an award winning historical romance author with a degree in Chemistry who discovered she preferred creating chemistry on the page rather than in the lab. The final book in her Veiled Seduction series, SWEET MADNESS, hits shelves April 2, 2013. RT Book Reviews Magazine gives it 4 ½ stars, saying “In this emotional, compassionate romance...the powerful love story will sweep readers away." Find out more or connect with Heather at:



GIVEAWAY RULES:

Heather has very generously offered a copy of winner's choice of either Sweet Enemy or Sweet Deception to a lucky commenter!

 

To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 April 2013!

Good luck!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Fairy Tale Questionnaire by Nadia Lee + Giveaway


You all know what a big fan I am of fairy tale retellings, so I couldn't have been happier that one of my favourite authors Nadia Lee is on a fairy tale retelling mission! :-D Join us as I grilled Nadia regarding her future plans and her favourite fairy tales! ;-)

Stella: Hi Nadia, welcome back to Ex Libris, so glad to have you join my blogoversary celebrations! :-D

Nadia: Thank you, Stella! I'm so happy to be here.

Stella: I’m curious as to beginnings. You worked in the finance business, how did you make the transition to writer? Was it something long time coming or happened rather unexpectedly?

Nadia: Oh it sort of happened by accident. I’d always wanted to write something -- wrote a very torrid and hackneyed novel in high school -- but I decided that finance would be more practical. I didn't really like my job. The money was great but it was really stressful, especially because we were dealing with companies that needed to be restructured. It was hard to face the people who were going to be laid off, among other things. Finally I’d had enough and quit. I sometimes miss the travel and some interesting projects that I used to work on, but I'm content working on my books. And much less stressed. :)

Stella: You are quite the globetrotter, where have you been? Or if that’s too long a list what were some of the most memorable places you have seen?

Nadia: Let's see. I'm an American expat in Japan, so you already know that the US and Japan are on the list. Other than those, Canada, Korea, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Mexico, Belize (beautiful place!), Thailand, Hong Kong... There might be a few more as well.

Stingray City - Source: Magnus Manske

Loved Stingray City, where I got to kiss a big stingray, though I read recently that the tourism in that area is affecting the stingrays too much right now. Too much tourist food, you know? The rays are probably going to get fat. Belize was fantastic -- really friendly people and great food -- and especially memorable because I got bitten by a shark there. I adored Thailand. I went there with my husband on our honeymoon. Phuket, Chiang Mai, the Andaman Sea, which in addition to being spectacularly beautiful is where they shot an old James Bond movie. I want to revisit with our son when he's older. Korea's always fun, especially since I love the food and speak the language.

My dream destination, however, is Europe right now because I've never been there. A lot of people told me it's wonderful, and I really want to visit the south of France, Spain, Italy and Rome and all the spectacular works of art, Germany to experience the autobahn, Czech Republic, and Hungary...well, the list is pretty much endless.

Elephant ride in Chiang Rai - Source: Broken Sphere

My husband also has a hankering to visit Africa and do one of those high-end safaris, you know, where the tent is almost like a motel and they cook for you and all that, but I’m not too sure. I’m a city girl at heart, and even though we rode an elephant in Thailand it was a TAME elephant.

Stella: Lol, I loved Thailand as well, and the elephant ride was one of its highlights (I love elephants!)! And if you come to visit Europe let me know :-) You have written stories in many different genres: contemporary romance, paranormal romance, erotic romance, urban fantasy and lately fairy tale retellings. I’m wondering is the writing process any different depending on what genre you are writing?

Nadia: Yes, they’re quite different. I have to plot more for longer books or books with a lot of paranormal elements so I can keep things straight. :) I plot for contemporary romances too, but it's different in that I don't have to come up with a bunch of rules for magic and other creatures.

Some of the shorter stuff just comes to me all at once, and then it’s more like a race to get it all down before I forget something.

Stella: And is there a genre/sub-genre you are pretty certain you will never write?

Nadia: Literary novels. I know I’m not supposed to say this, but I don't always get them. And I don't think I'm a good enough stylist to write one beautifully.

Stella: You started with A Happily Ever After which is kind of like a Shrek + contemporary romance mash up and now you have released several fairy tale retellings (Cinderella and The Frog Prince). Are you planning on writing more fairy tale retellings? And which ones do you have a plan to pen?

Nadia: A Happily Ever After was one of those ones that came to me in a flash. I think that I wrote it in two days or something, which has to be a record for me. And yes, I’m hoping to write more fairy tale-based stories. Actually I planned to have one written featuring Snow White this spring, but a bunch of crazy stuff happened real life, and I haven't been able to really plot anything out for that story. As soon as things settle down, I hope to devote more time to it.

Stella: Do you have a favourite fairy tale yourself? Why do you like that one?

Nadia: I adore Beauty and the Beast. I love it that the heroine in the story was a lot more active than many other heroines, such as Sleeping Beauty. I mean really. What did Sleeping Beauty do? Sleep, right? Give me a break.


Stella: Thanks to Walt Disney and co. we were lucky to have lots of classic fairy tale adaptations and lately some more unconventional ones (Shrek, Tangled, etc.). Do you have one you particularly like?

Nadia: I love Shrek because it's funny, unconventional and quite smart. I love humor in my entertainment. I also like more conventional ones too, like The Little Mermaid, especially since I really didn't care for Andersen's ending. I was so upset that the Mermaid Princess ended up dead in the original. I read it when I was 9, I think, and couldn't understand why she had to suffer such a horrible fate for loving someone. It remained one of my least favorite fairy tales until I saw the Disney adaptation.


Stella: Same with me! I couldn't believe when my parents read it to me that it was a tale intended for children! O_O Then when I saw the Disney version years later I was surorised such a happy version existed as well ;-) Would you like to tell us more about what we can expect from the desk of Nadia Lee in 2013?

Nadia: I just got done finishing the structural revision for the sequel to Carnal Secrets, featuring Ethan Lloyd and Kerri Wilson. Kerri's back in the States, and Ethan's not about to let her slip away again. (Yes, they have a history!). It needs line editing, among other things, but hopefully it'll come out sometime this year. While that's going on I'll probably work on another contemporary romance novel (I call it the sequel to the sequel to Carnal Secrets) featuring one of Ethan's siblings. Provided that things settle down in my RL I'm hoping to have another Ever After novella out this year as well.

Bilingual former management consultant Nadia Lee has lived in four different countries and enjoyed many adventures and excellent food around the globe. In the last eight years, she has kissed stingrays, been bitten by a shark, ridden an elephant and petted tigers.

She shares an apartment overlooking a river and palm trees in Japan with her husband, baby boy, winter white hamsters and an ever-widening pile of books. When she's not writing, she can be found digging through old Asian historical texts or planning another trip.

Connect with Nadia at:


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Nadia has very generously offered a copy of winner's choice of one of the following of her books: A Happily Ever After of Her Own, One Kiss, Carnal Secrets, Ashwyn or The Last Slayer to a lucky commenter!


To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
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Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 April 2013!

Good luck!

Deadly Sting Excerpt by Jennifer Estep + Giveaway


Fans of Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series can rejoice: Deadly Sting, the eighth book in the series got released 2 days ago! If you haven't gotten the chance to devour it yet, read the exclusive excerpt Jennifer shares with you below and enter for a chance to win a copy of Deadly Sting, open worldwide! :-) 

Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

Book #8 in the Elemental Assassins series

Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.

Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me— Gin Blanco, aka the Spider—it’s just part of the job.
Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’s priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository US - Book Depository UK

Deadly Sting Excerpt:

While Finn soothed the saleswomen’s ruffled feathers and bruised egos, I stepped around the case.

“Hey, there, baby sister,” I said.

Bria smiled and got to her feet. “Hey, there, yourself. You know, when Finn told me that he was going to take you shopping this afternoon, I didn’t imagine things would turn out quite like this.”

My gaze dropped to the bloodstains on the thick gray carpet. “Me either.”

“Although I have say thanks,” she continued. “You’ve made my day a little easier.”

“Thanks for what? And how so?”

She gestured at the boutique windows. Xavier had stuffed the dwarf into the backseat of the sedan and was now leaning against the side of the car. He had his sunglasses on and his head tilted back, enjoying the warm, early June sun.

“For catching the bad guy for me.” Bria paused. “Or rather, knocking him unconscious.”

I grinned. “You know me and my methods.”

“That I do.”

She returned my grin before swiveling back around to the case. Bria picked up a necklace set with square diamonds that were the size of gumballs. She studied the flashing gems for a few seconds before putting the piece down on top of the glass.

“All these diamonds would have made for a nice haul if the guy had gotten away with them.” She shook her head, making her blond hair shimmer. “The moon must be full or something. This is the second robbery I’ve been called out to today, and the fifth one this week.”

“Well, that’s not so unusual, is it?” I asked. “This is Ashland, after all. Somebody’s always up to something in this town—usually something evil, dastardly, and violent.”

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository US - Book Depository UK

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. Deadly Sting the eighth book in her Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, was released on March 26. 

For more information about Jennifer and her books find her at her



GIVEAWAY RULES:

Jennifer has very generously offered a copy of Deadly Sting to a lucky commenter!


To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 April 2013!

Good luck!

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