Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Interview with romance author Terry Spear

Today we have with us Paranormal Romance author Terry Spear. Welcome back to our crazy world Terry, and thank you for being here! It is always a pleasure to have you with us.
TS: Thanks so much for having me back! I guess I fit nicely in that crazy world, don’t you think?

Tell us a little about your new release Savage Hunger, which is the beginning to a new series right?
TS: Absolutely!! Not that I’m done with the sexy, loving wolves, mind you. But I’m also now writing about hot, sexy jaguar shifters. In this case, Connor Anderson can’t get his mind off an Army officer, Kathleen McKnight, after he saves her life and hopes she made it home all right. She can’t quit thinking about the man who came into the camp and saved her, besides having reoccurring night terrors over the massacre. So she wants to go back, get over her nightmares, and thank the man who saved her. Only there’s a problem. He’s not exactly a man, and when his sister sees Kathleen, she knows she should be part of the family, too. I think family is so important, so I loved creating another story with a sister and a brother, as so many of mine are about brothers.

What can readers expect next?
TS: Lots and lots of fun stories! Next year we have A Howl for a Highlander, Feb 2013 (think sexy Highland wolf in paradise!), where Duncan MacNeill continues the saga of the MacNeills of Heart of the Highland Wolf while trying to recapture the money stolen from them and doesn’t get very far—the airport—when he is totally distracted by one sexy she-wolf.

A Highland Wolf Wedding, May 2013 (think hot Highland wolf in a kilt!), where Cearnach MacNeill is on his way to a wedding when he nearly runs into a she-wolf looking for pirate’s treasure. Long story.

Then we have Jaguar Fever, Aug 2013 (more sexy jaguar shifters!), which means Maya gets her say where Wade is concerned, learns she has some cousins, and that Wade has a sexy brother too!

And a special bonus—A SEAL Wolf Christmas, where the Oregon wolf pack is back and readers will get to see many of the characters from the past—and Bjornolf and Anna’s story, Oct 2013.

And that’s not all. (Doesn’t this remind you of that annoying commercial? But wait, we have more. And that’s not all, just for buying this, you will receive…) :)

Tom’s story, from Destiny of the Wolf pack fame, youngest of the Silver brothers, gets to have his story, Jan 2014! Another Highland story will be out that year, and the 3rd jaguar book, too.

What genres and authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
TS: Historical and paranormal. Everybody. I read a ton of different authors’ works. I love finding new authors when I have the time.

Do you travel to any of the places you write about in your books? If yes, where is the most interesting place you’ve visited?
TS: Every place I travel is interesting! In Greece, I LOVED the islands. And the windmills with blue roofs. Whoever would have ever thought! Actually, I hadn’t written about it yet. Maybe in the future! In Scotland, the castles—*sigh*—I think the most interesting thing about them were all the stairs, whether outside or inside, are curved so that defenders of the castle had the advantage. In Telluride, Colorado, the old silver mining town, which is what I based Destiny of the Wolf’s Silver Town off of. In Grand Cayman Island, I did everything that Duncan and Shelly did—feeding the sting rays, night dinner cruise, ate at the restaurant they ate at, walked the plank on the pirate’s ship, and much more—and loved every minute of it! Oregon coast, loved to hike and loved Portland/Tigard where I used to live, trips to Mt Hood. And so many other locations.  I’m off to visit my son and daughter-in-law in Omaha, NE soon. Any wolves there? Who knows what I might end up writing about there!
When writing your description of your hero/ine what feature do you start with? Eyes, age, hair color, etc? 
TS: Eyes and hair color. But these don’t tell anything about a person’s character, so to me, writing about what they wear is lots more fun. In A Howl for a Highlander, Duncan is struck by what the she-wolf is wearing, and when readers get to see her again in A Highland Werewolf Wedding, she’s wearing something similar; her signature, so to speak. In Savage Hunger, Kathleen McKnight is first NOT wearing an Army uniform, her hair is dyed blond and she has blue eyes—so her clothes and other details present a mystery. Same with Connor Anderson, he shows up in camo pants that are too short for him, no shirt, and no boots. His hair is too long to be military, he sounds American, so again, a mystery. In A Highland Werewolf Wedding, Duncan arrives in a kilt—does he or does he not go Regimental? That’s all anyone needs to wonder…

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
TS:  Savage Hunger is the first of the jaguar shifter series, so starting off there is fine. Heart of the Wolf is the first book in the wolf shifter series, but all are stand-alone titles, so any would be fine to start with. But then you’d just HAVE to read the others to find out what happens to them in later stories, right?

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?
TS: Yes.

I so wanted to leave the answer at that. LOL :) I know. I am so bad.

I live in the real world (when I’m not immersed in fantasy, of course), but in the real world I read the news and try to read about something that is not all gloom and doom. But oftentimes I will read something that will give me an idea to “ground” my stories. As I was writing Wolf Fever, the World Health Organization predicted a really severe flu epidemic that year. It didn’t happen, thankfully, but it made me think—what would happen if a werewolf got a strain that affected it in a really bad way?  In A Howl for a Highlander, there have been a number of major world financial crises because of crooks who have absconded with tons of funds, so I based this book off a character derived from someone like these people. It started with Heart of the Highland Wolf.

In Seduced by the Wolf, this story was based on a wolf biologist rescuing a she-wolf and her pups when her mate was killed, and the happily-ever-after when a male befriended the pups and took her for his mate. It always makes me smile when I think of it.

And in Jaguar Fever, I touch on the subject of the exotic animals market—they have hunts here and other places of exotic animals, and so I used that to base my story. Though no one is hunting jaguars in the States for real that I know of.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
TS: Multi-task. It’s taken me two days to write this because I’m trying to keep up with the tons of comments (which I love!) on several guest blogs for last week and this week, constantly get the word out about new guest blogs I’m at, answer fan questions (why is your web page showing you have Jaguar Fever out Spring 2012 and I can’t find it? Eegad—then I have to quickly find the mistake and thank the fan, hope that my readers can catch stuff like that when I miss it, etc, etc, etc.), and not only do I have the current WIP going (Tom’s story, *sigh*), I have to still do a final-final read-through on A Highland Werewolf Wedding, edits on Jaguar Fever and A SEAL Wolf Christmas. So definitely multi-task! If I only worked on one project at a time, I would be in serious trouble!

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
TS: The Character Naming Guide. I love it. I often use it to decide on names that mean something special. Sometimes a name and what it means sets the groundwork for the person’s character. I write so many books, and have so many secondary characters, it can be really difficult ensuring I have different names for most of them. I realized in A SEAL Wolf Christmas I have two Mr. Smiths. Whoops. But that IS a really common name!! But the books were written a couple of years apart and neither was mentioned in the other book, but here comes hot SEAL story #3 and I have two Mr. Smiths. One’s a law officer, the other a SEAL. I needed both. LOL Sometimes readers wonder why we come up with weird character names. It’s too avoid this complication in our lives. LOL

Now for a couple just for fun questions:
What song would best describe your life?
TS: Werewolves of London…Owwwoooo!  I was at a mystery theater the other day and they were playing that music, but they were also bashing werewolves!!! I wanted to sign my books afterward to show the “true” story about werewolves. How romantic and sexy and protective and loyal they are.

If you could be a paranormal creature, which one would you be?
TS: It’s hard to say because every kind of creature has its drawbacks, including humans. I think I want to be an immortal fae, where I could be a mischievous creature without having to pay the consequences. I’ve never been mischievous in my life except for the time I put the joke plastic ice cube with a fly in my dad’s drink for April Fool’s Day, or pulled the plug on my NCO’s phone and when he went to answer it, he was speaking into a dead receiver…but I only did it because he screwed my seat to the floor and nearly gave me a heart attack when I sat down. Payback is…fun. :)  So I guess I have to admit I do have my mischievous moments. :)

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would be the most essential for you?
TS: A shifter. They hunt, no tools need. They’re protective. Great at outdoor stuff so they’d know how to make a shelter, build a fire, and make the necessary tools for other things. They love to swim so I’d have a swimming buddy. They love to hike so I’d have a hiking companion. If he’s a jaguar shifter, he can climb trees and reach the bananas and coconuts. If a wolf shifter, he can serenade me with his hauntingly beautiful howl. That’s about it! I’d definitely be in paradise. (Read: A Howl for a Highlander, where being stranded with a kilt-less Highland wolf hunk is truly paradise!)

Thank you so much Terry for spending some time with us again and we hope you will come back and visit us again soon.
TS: Would love too, and thanks so much for having me!!! This was fun!

USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has captured hearts worldwide by wrapping the realities of nature into the glorious romance of the wild. Now, she turns her award—winning imagination from the sexy werewolf hunt to the intense sizzle of jaguar shape-shifters.

As a jaguar he is graceful and gorgeous...

Speedy and stealthy...
Fierce, independent, and wild...

As a man he is passionate and powerful...

Willful and wonderful...
And he'll stop at nothing to protect what's his...

Terry Spear has written a couple of dozen paranormal romance novels and two medieval Highland historical romances. Her first werewolf romance, Heart of the Wolf, was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and her subsequent titles have garnered high praise and hit the USA Today bestseller list. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on her next werewolf romance and continuing her new series about shapeshifting jaguars. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear .

Contest:  One lucky person will receive a copy of Savage Hunger.  Leave a comment and make sure to include your email to be entered.  Open to U.S. and Canada residents, contest ends November 4th.

Review: How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English

How to Tame a Willful Wife
by: Christy English
$6.99 mass market paperback
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Historical Romance
Released: November 2012

The war is over, and all Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook wants to do is come home and marry his commanding officer's daughter.  He meets her, expecting to find a meek and proper woman.  Instead, he finds a fiery temptress that rides horses in men's breeches, swordfights, and can best most men with a bow.  For a man whose self-control is legendary, he knows he must tame her and show her her placeif the marriage is to work.  But that's easier said than done.  While Anthony is fine with her forwardness in the marriage bed, it just won't do anywhere else.  Too bad Caroline has no plans to be tamed.

This was a great book about two opposites who butt heads at every opportunity.  It's a battle of wills to see who will emerge victorious, and Caroline's determined it will be her.  It's about love blooming between an unlikely couple.  I always have a hard time with the mentality of the age where the woman is supposed to be meek and quiet, and stay home to pop out babies.  I sure am glad we've outgrown that.  It was a good first book by a promising author, with plenty of wit and humor throughout.

Carla gives this book a

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Self's Blossom by David Russell

Self's Blossom
by: David Russell
$4.99 ebook
Devine Destinies
Contemporary Romance
Released: July 2010

Selene’s life has been structured, even at work she confirms to the norms of what is expected of her and endures her friend Janice who is too quick to point out Selene’s flaws and misgivings.  Selene has taken matters into her own hands.  She has scrimped and saved every extra penny she has and planned a trip to an exotic location in South America.  Here Selene plans on enjoying the freedom of giving into her needs, desires and wants.  Along the way, she meets Hudson.  Hudson does not only tempt Selene physically but challenges her mind.  He also encourages her to take on a dangerous expedition which gives Selene the opportunity to reflect deeply on who she is and her life.

This novel is definitely not the regular romance novel I was expecting. The author writes in the narrative form and there is very little dialogue between the characters. The author has an exceptional command of the English language and writes quite eloquently. 

Heather gives this book a

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Inteview with Author Jacob Z. Flores

Thanks for having me here at RomFan Reviews, Annette. You’ve had some great authors here, such as Brita Adams, whom I adore. I’m honored to occupy the same electronic halls they have graced with their presence.

That’s why I’m thrilled that this is the first stop on my bog tour!

I also wanted to let everyone know that as part of the blog tour, I’m holding a contest. All you have to do is leave a comment with your email to this post, and your name is entered to win a free electronic copy of 3. If a reader happens to follow all my blog stops, then she or he can leave a comment at the other sites a well. This means that someone could enter 7 times for a chance to win the book. At the end of the tour, a winner will be chosen and announced.

Tell us a little about your new release 3 that became available on October 15th.

I’d be happy to.

I’ll start by saying that 3 is a contemporary m/m/m romance. It tells the story of three men, Justin, Spencer, and Dutch, whose lives have become inexorably linked.

Justin Jimenez is a flawed man. He is proud and stubborn, but his heart is so big that when he falls in love, he falls hard just as he did with Spencer ten years ago. Justin feels as if the universe magically brought them together, which is why he is so devastated when he and Spencer separate after a year of romantic upheaval.

Guarded and cautious, Spencer Harrison has never found it easy to let down his guard enough to be able to fall in love. When Justin obliterates his defenses with no more than a kiss upon their first meeting, he is surprised. What shocks him even more is when he and Justin almost break up. Spencer is so devastated he flees to England for four months to escape the pain of heartbreak.

Dutch Keller charges through life with both barrels, rarely weighing the consequences of his actions. If it feels right, then he does it. Still, meeting and falling in love with Justin while Spencer is abroad terrifies Dutch. He is uncertain if Justin’s love for him will prove stronger than the feelings Justin has for Spencer. Dutch also fears the secret that he and Spencer share, and he wonders what his hidden relationship with Spencer might do to his relationship with Justin.

When Spencer learns of Justin and Dutch’s affair, the first of their many secrets are exposed. The three men must untangle the web of lies and betrayals in order to find the events in their lives that led them to friendship, passion, and betrayal. If they don’t, they might never see the love at the heart of their shared pain.

What can we see coming from you in the future?

I’m hoping a lot.

I recently submitted a paranormal romance titled The Gifted One to my publisher Dreamspinner which I just found out that they accepted . It’s a story about a man and his guardian angel, but I’ve put a Stephen King-esque twist to the complications on the path to love. I’m a fan or horror and romance, so when I came up with this idea, I saw the opportunity to merge the two genres together. I had great fun writing it, and my husband and beta reader enjoyed the mixture of romance with horror.

I also just finished a short story about a man in his fifties, who is trying to piece his life together after being shoved out of the closet by his vindictive ex-wife. He wants to move on, but as the town pariah, he finds it difficult to get past his mistakes at least until he becomes reacquainted with his son’s childhood best friend. I’m hoping to get this short story into an anthology titled Snow on the Roof.

Is there anything special you do to get in the mood to write?

Well, I used to dance naked outside while listening to Lady Gaga, but when the neighbors complained, I had to change my tactics.

When dancing naked fails, nothing gets me in the mood to write more than reading. My creative side just opens up when I lose myself in someone else’s world, and ideas just flow out of me. I constantly stop what I’m reading to write my ideas down. Then, when it’s time, I sit in my comfy chair with my laptop and start pounding away at the keys.

I know it’s not as spectacular as naked Lady Gaga dancing, but really, who wants to see that?

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

This is something I struggle with. I used to be a pantser, but I found that it didn’t work for me creatively. For me, stories and characters take on a life of their own, and the story that I started writing changes a great deal by the time I get to the end. When I don’t plot, I usually have big holes or continuity problems that require major revision.

For the last two novels I completed, I plotted them, and when the story changed, it was easy for me to go forward in the outline and make the necessary changes before they could cause huge headaches later.

You also have an alter-ego as an English Professor how do you juggle both careers?

It’s a source of constant frustration for me. Just ask my husband and those closest to me. They can fill you in on how much of a bear I become when my writing and my day job conflict. While I love my job and the opportunities it affords me to write, my ultimate goal is to write full time. Until then, I try my best to compartmentalize the two. During the school year, I try to write at least a couple of hours every day. During the summer, it’s all about writing. I can write for 12 hours and not even realize 12 hours have passed.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

I think many authors base their characters on people they know and around events they’ve experienced. I know I do. For me, it adds that believability to the mix, to make the characters come to life for the reader. Justin and Spencer are based partly on my husband and me. I infused a mixture of our personality traits into both of them, so in a way they are the best and worse of the both of us!

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Michael Thomas Ford influenced my love of gay fiction because prior to him, I had read no other mainstream, contemporary novels with gay characters as the main characters. I had always wanted to write one, but I let uncertainly about the subject matter get in the way. Ford gave me the strength to find my own voice. Other than Ford, Stephen King has been a major influence in my life since I was a child. His books fanned my love of writing and made me want to be a writer in the first place.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Sex scenes are always a challenge. I want the reader to be able to not only see what is happening, but to be able to experience the sounds, sensations, and smells of sex. To accomplish that, I take on the arduous task of watching a lot of porn. I know, it’s difficult work, but watching two men have sex inspires my writing, and well, it inspires me in other ways as well!

How do you come up with the titles?

It happens in many different ways actually. Sometimes, the title comes from the theme of subject matter or even a song that inspires me. Lately, music has been my muse. I listen to lyrics or read a song’s title, and I imagine a story that fits.

When not writing, how do you relax?

I love going on vacation with my family, but it’s not very relaxing sometimes as anyone with children can attest. Not that I don’t love my children, because I do, but for real relaxation, I look forward to our annual trip to Provincetown. My husband and I spend a few weeks there, where we rent a condo with some dear friends. We have a blast hanging out, going to the various events, and just enjoying ourselves. It’s always a sad day when we leave Provincetown, but I’m definitely refreshed when we do.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it? 

I stomp around the house and pout. It may sound childish, but I really do. I get so upset when I’m creatively constipated as I call it. After I’m done throwing my tantrum, I pick a book and read. After a few chapters, my mind starts working again like usual. I guess in those situations reading becomes my artistic laxative. 

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers? 

Willpower and a thick skin.
Writers need the willpower to get them through the writing process. It isn’t easy to create a novel or short story and requires discipline to see it through. We can have as much desire as we want to be a writer, but without the willpower to accomplish it, it won’t happen. When it does happen, that’s when the thick skin comes in. Not everyone is going to love you, and you have to be okay with that. 

Let’s throw in a few fun and crazy questions:

What song would best describe your life?

“When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland.

Not only was it the first song my husband and I danced to after we were married in Provincetown in 2011, but it reminds me that when I feel overwhelmed or lost, love in some form will snatch me from the jaws of despair. It’s corny I know, but it’s true!

What sound drives you crazy?

Hiccups. My God, I can’t stand them. I don’t know why, but they’ve always driven me crazy. It annoys the fool out of me! Put me in the same room with someone who can’t stop hiccupping and watch me lose my cool.

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

May cause anal leakage

A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be?

May Cause Anal Leakage!

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would be the most essential for you?

Electricity, running water, and hair product. I’m very high maintenance.

Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. At night and during his summer vacation, he loosens the tie and tosses aside the trendy sports coat to write man on man fiction, where the hard ass assessor of freshmen level composition turns his attention to the firm posteriors and other rigid appendages of the characters in his fictional world.

Summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, provide Jacob with inspiration for his fiction. The abundance of barely clothed man flesh and daily debauchery stimulates his personal muse. When he isn’t stroking the keyboard, Jacob spends time with his husband, Bruce, their three children, and two dogs, who represent a bright blue blip in an otherwise predominantly red swath in south Texas.

You can follow Jacob’s musings on his blog at http://jacobzflores.com or become a part of his social media network by visiting http://www.facebook.com/jacob.flores2, http://twitter.com/#!/JacobZFlores, or http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5142501.Jacob_Z_Flores