Reviews: Slip of the Tongue and Scot Appeal

slip of the tongue coverCan you be in love with two people at the same time?

This is the question that Sadie Hunt struggles with in Slip of the Tongue. On the one hand, there is her husband, Nathan, who–until recently–treated her like she was the centre of his world. Suddenly he’s become cold and distant with her and makes her feel like she is invisible and unwanted in his life. On the other hand, there is Finn, the sexy new neighbour who’s just moved in across the hall from Sadie and Nathan. From the moment she meets him, there’s a white-hot connection between them.

Now, before you ask: this is a novel about marriage and infidelity. So if you have a problem with reading about people cheating, then maybe you should still read this book to gain a different perspective.

What I loved about this book was how all three characters showed us their best and worst sides. No one is the good guy here. Even Nathan, who is presented as the good guy, is actually pretty selfish and manipulative when he wants to be. But what is so interesting with Slip of the Tongue is how Hawkins handles the affair. Even if you don’t agree with how it starts, you empathise with the characters. Well, at least, I did.

This is a very intense book with some very sexy moments. It’s also a book that takes a good, long look at what is marriage and what makes a good one…and what makes a bad one. It’s also about second chances at love. But what I think will resonate with readers is the emotional layers in this novel. It’s not a straightforward love story, but it is definitely a story about love–romantic, illicit, familial. And I loved Slip of the Tongue.

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MelissaBlueScotAppealMelissa Blue has done it again: made me absolutely adore the sexy Scotsmen she creates. Marcus, our ruthless CEO who’s pretending to be a handyman to get the company and the position he wants, is very, very sexy. And he thinks he doesn’t have the capacity to fall in love. Now, I usually avoid any stores about ruthless businessmen, because they usually bore me. But Marcus and his backstory are quite intriguing. And then there is Ivy–who is a virgin even those she’s closing in on thirty–but she’s not one of these insipid ones that goes around saying “holy cow!” or talking about her “inner goddess”. She’s kickass and she feels authentic and real.

What I really enjoyed about Scot Appeal (and the entire Under the Kilt series) is that the relationships and the conflicts the main characters experience feels very grounded and realistic. These are adults dealing with adult problems and behaving like proper adults and not as overgrown teenagers. And the way race is addressed is very subtle without it becoming an overblown sticking point.

Following this story of unlikely neighbors who become lovers was so much fun. I admit: I ignored my yummy Swedish hubby to finish reading this book and he was a good sport about it. I will have to make it up to him this weekend. 🙂

I loved Scot Appeal and the chemistry between Marcus and Ivy, and I think you will too.

5_Star

 

 

Release Day Blitz: Maldeamores (Lovesick) by Mara White

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“Exquisitely sensual, Maldeamores is the most unforgettable forbidden romance I have ever read.” Katy Evans, New York Times Bestselling Author of the REAL Series.

“Refreshingly ‘taboo’ – in a community where we’re inundated by novels claiming this title, it’s wonderful to finally find a book that not only truly lives up to the word, but is also well written, moving, and beautiful in its prose.” Stylo Fantome, Best Selling Author of the Kane Trilogy.

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Belén: I’ve loved Luciano ever since I can remember, desired him before I even knew what it meant. He’s always been the only man in my life—my constant protector, and his rejection only intensifies my need.
Luciano: I’ve never known a love more fierce than the one I feel for Belén. But I force myself to deny her no matter how much it hurts.
Our love is a sickness and both of us are infected.
Because there’s no cure for being from the same family.
***Warning***
This novel contains graphic sex scenes, including: incest, F/F, and ménage, M/M/F. Some drug use and violence.

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Mara White is a contemporary romance and erotica writer who laces forbidden love stories with hard issues, such as race, gender and inequality. She holds an Ivy League degree but has also worked in more strip clubs than even she can remember. She is not a former Mexican telenovela star contrary to what the tabloids might say, but she is a former ballerina and will always remain one in her heart. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children and, yes, when she’s not writing you can find her on the playground.

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6 IR/MC love stories to read to get your heart racing for Valentine’s Day

shutterstock_152210192I’m not one of those women who usually get so worked up over Valentine’s Day. Hard to believe, right? Especially since I write romantic fiction. But I’ve never been a big fan of the commercial aspect of a day dedicated to love. It could also do with having had a high school boyfriend who’d break up with me just before Valentine’s Day and Christmas so he wouldn’t have to spend money on presents. Good thing I wised up and left him behind. But I do love reading (and writing) love stories, so I thought I’d give you some suggestions for IR/MC novels to get you in the mood for love. Are you ready?

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5: Again for the First Time by Raven St. Pierre

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What would you do if a stranger approached you and, instead of asking  you for directions, he asked you to marry him? That’s exactly what happens to Lissette when the very handsome Luke proposes to her on a very emotional afternoon when she’s just found out that her ex is now engaged and moving on with someone new.

What neither Lissette nor Luke expect is that she says yes. Suddenly she and Luke are embarking on a journey that has them married within two weeks of meeting.  Jumping into the unknown with nothing but blind faith and a burgeoning attraction for one another, their unconventional relationship leaves their friends and families wondering if they know what they’re doing. And the two must learn to get to know (and trust) one another–even when the odds are stacked against them.

It’s a quirky love story that–even with its improbable scenario–has you falling in love with Lissy and Luke and hoping their newfound love will stand the test of time. Raven St. Pierre does a great job of carrying the reader along the bumpy road of Lissy and Luke’s marriage. A great love story–sexy without being overly graphic, with two well-drawn characters whose flaws make you love them.

4: The Sweetest Taboo by Harper Miller

HarperMillercoverNow I am usually not very interested in BDSM novels, but Harper Miller has done something very interesting here by creating two characters who go into the relationship on equal footing–despite Rick being the dom and Micah being the sub. From the moment they meet in a New York City fetish club, it’s obvious that fate will pull strings and make sure these two will cross paths again.

Like I said, I don’t usually find BDSM novels very appealing, but Miller succeeds in creating two very intriguing characters in Rick and Micah. Also, she takes us into the heart of what has brought them into this world of submission and domination without making the reader lose sight of the fact that this is a love story–a very erotic love story, but a love story from beginning to end.

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3: Yours by Tia Kelly

Yours CoverIf you’re more in the mood for a quick read that’s smart, sexy and unputdownable, then this is the novella for you. A chance encounter between two people in need of a second chance at love, Yours chronicles how a one-night stand leads to something more for good girl Theresa Clarke and the very sexy, brooding Spaniard, Javier Fernandez.

After spending a very passionate night together, neither expects to see the other again, but–as is always the case with a good love story–fate decides to bring them together again. There’s off-the-chart chemistry between Theresa and Javier–and even when she tries to deny it, Theresa knows she cannot ignore the feelings she has for him. The same is true for Javier–the desire he feels for Theresa pushes him to pursue her, even when she initially says they cannot see one another or when she assumes all he wants from her is a glorified booty call. Sexy and smartly written, this is one must-read novella.

2: Addicted Allison by Noelle Black

Addicted AllisonI thought I was the only black woman writing sexy stories featuring black women and Nordic men, but Noelle Black has joined me. 😉 Her novella, Addicted Allison, is set in world of luxury hotels and the heroine, Allison, blows off steam after long work days as the creative director for a hospitality design firm by meeting men online for one reason alone–sex.

Enter Mattias, a Swede with a big personality and a love of curvy black women. Mattias is enthralled with Allison and all too soon he makes it clear he doesn’t want to share her with anyone else. Her sexy encounter with him has her questioning what she really wants…and could have her going down a very different path than she initially intended.

This is a cleverly written erotic romance that’s more than a just sexy story. It also goes into the expat experience from a black woman’s perspective and gives us an open-ended but satisfying ending that leaves room to explore more of Allison’s adventures.

1: Maybe BabyMaybe Tonight by me

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Maybe Tonight Cover for WPYes, yes, I know, this smacks of blatant self-promotion but Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight fit the bill. I’m not going to review my own books, but I will tell you that you get to read both Laney and Mad’s sides of their love story–which definitely had an unusual start seeing as they met when she looking into finding a sperm donor to be the potential father of her future children. If you haven’t read Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to get to know their stories and maybe even get hooked on their different sort of love story.

Happy reading!

Cover Reveal: Fear of Heights by Mara White

 

Title: Fear of Heights (Book 2 in Heightsbound Series)
Author: Mara White
Genre: Erotica
Publication Date: September 16, 2014

 

What are you willing to sacrifice for love?

Your family? Your freedom? What about your life?

She’s a wealthy, forty-three-year-old Upper East Sider with a PhD – He’s a twenty-three-year-old Dominican drug dealer from Washington Heights.

Kate Champion always did exactly what was expected of her. She was the perfect wife, the perfect mother – until the day she met Jaylee Inoa.

Their journey travels a path riddled with danger, deceit, scandal and loss – where nothing is as it seems. Yet Kate and Jaylee’s passion for one another remains nearly unstoppable.

Will this daring pair of lovers from two different worlds triumph over circumstance? Can they deny the past in their quest to be together? Or is fear the ultimate navigator – a force more powerful than love?

I’m a reader, a writer, and a lover of all things romantic. I’m also a coffee, hot sauce, ink, telenovela and Bikram Yoga enthusiast. I live in New York City with my husband and two children, and I spend a lot of time on the playground.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authormarawhite

Author Website: marawhite.com

Author GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7372906.Mara_White

Blog Tour: Zack Love’s The Doorman and City Solipsism

Book Blitz Banner The Doorman Cover Synopsis

Alex seems to have it all: a great penthouse apartment, a lovely girlfriend, and a prestigious Wall Street job. But below the surface he is sure of nothing but his angst-ridden doubts. And when he realizes that his doorman may be God, or sent by God, he will question things like never before.

This novelette is a story of New York doormen, tormented love, empty office life, and the theological questions that arise in response to the horrors of evil.

City Solipsism Cover Synopsis

Have you ever been on a train, bus, metro/subway — or any other shared space with strangers — and started to wonder what that person right next to you is thinking? Did you ever start to think or hope that maybe your temporary neighbor was somehow sharing your thoughts and/or desires? Ever sensed some sort of romantic connection or sexual tension and wished you could get into the individual’s head, to know for sure?

“City Solipsism” will take you on a journey into the mind of one commuter on a New York City subway car, riding next to and thinking about a person standing awkwardly close…The man and woman are total strangers but their proximity is almost intimate, as their hands share the same metal subway pole…

NOTE: Readers seeking the over-top-hilarity of “Sex in the Title” should know that “City Solipsism” is written in a very different style. Rather than a comedic series of misadventures in New York, this short story takes more of a philosophical and psychological walk through the mind of one New Yorker observing and speculating about another.

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CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

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THE DOORMAN

AMAZON * AMAZON CA * AMAZON UK

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CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

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MeetTheAuthor

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Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he tried to create a bachelor’s degree in Women. With the bachelor portion of that degree in hand, he settled in New York City but – to afford renting his bed-sized studio – found himself flirting mostly with a computer screen and stacks of documents. Determined not to die a corporate drone, Zack decided to sacrifice sleep for screenwriting, an active social life, and Internet startups offering temporary billion-dollar fantasies.

To feed his steady diet of NYC nightlife, he regularly crashed VIP parties in the early 2000s and twice bumped into his burgeoning crush, a Hollywood starlet. But – much to Zack’s surprise – neither of those awkward conversations led to marriage with the A-list actress. Zack eventually consoled himself by imagining fiascos far worse than those involving his celebrity crush. In the process, he dreamed up a motley gang of five men inspired by some of his college friends and quirky work colleagues. And thus was born Sex in the Title. But the novel is not autobiographical: Zack never had his third leg attacked by any mammal (nor by any plant, for that matter). In fact, keeping his member safe has been one of Zack’s lifelong goals – and one of the few that he’s managed to accomplish.

Excerpt

THE DOORMAN

During my first year at 777 Fifth Avenue, I came to realize that Lenny had never made a false prediction or failed to supply the correct answer to a question, no matter what the subject. He wasn’t just a handyman who could fix a twitching toilet or stubborn sink; he could look at his watch while taking you down in the elevator and accurately estimate the number of minutes before a downpour would start or a cab would show up outside. He could tell you the corner where the scent of fresh lox and bagels mixed just right with the scent of the neighboring Laundromat; he knew the best place to buy your curtains or cut your hair or get your suits dry-cleaned; and he knew every phone number you needed, like the yellow pages on two short legs. He was a pipe-smoking almanac, energetically rattling off any fact about the world. “Bhutan’s current population? Let me see,” he would say, looking up for a moment before launching into his usual light-speed speech, “2,047,453. But seven more were just born yesterday, so it’s at 2,047,460 now.” Of course, I couldn’t verify such a preposterously precise claim, but he was always right about everything else, so I was inclined to believe him. He could tend to any wound or malady, as though he had perfectly mastered the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine, and his advice always seemed more effective than any doctor recommendation I obtained. And despite the swiftness of his incessant chatter, there wasn’t a word he uttered without gentle passion and infectious enthusiasm. And so he would engage you in some topic you never imagined could interest you for more than a polite minute – the history of vacuum cleaners, or the different flavors of ice cream in China, or the intricate ways of the delicate blue ball turning third in line from the sun. The elevator ride would be over but you’d still be listening until someone else called the elevator or Lenny jokingly reminded you that you had originally entered the elevator with a look of great purpose. Mercifully enough, Lenny always kept it brief in the mornings, knowing that I had to be at work by 8:30 a.m.

At one point, I began to think that I had a divine doorman. Lenny was the most unlikely incarnation of God I could imagine, and yet I kept drifting irresistibly towards this absurd conclusion. Despite my staunchly atheistic inclinations, I couldn’t explain Lenny any other way. But eventually I came to my senses and realized that he was just one of those game show freaks with an encyclopedic memory. That didn’t make him God, did it? Would God proclaim so regularly how much he likes Patsy’s Pizza?

Excerpt

CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

The pages of my calendar flip by faster each year as the bewildering march of time presses forward through alarm clock blues, dinners at the office, and “free time” planned away – in the same way – month after month. As I stand on the same subway platform, waiting for the same local train, I think to myself how youth is marked by a breathtaking novelty that diminishes with each year of age – until life becomes a delusive struggle to break routines, escape the ordinary, and rediscover the joy of discovery.

“What does it take now – as a ‘grown-up’- to make a month memorable?” I wonder. “How do you make treading the treadmill feel like trailblazing a trail? What would make this morning any more remarkable than any other morning?”

And then I notice someone who doesn’t look quite so beleaguered by it all. She’s a woman in her early-twenties with features that hail from either Italy or Spain – I can’t be sure because it’s been about six years since I played my guitar for coins across Europe (and even then, I wasn’t great at differentiating Italians from Spaniards).

Summer sticks to her skirt sumptuously, in the shiny gray fabric hanging loosely from her curves. Her chestnut eyes, apparently hidden from strangers; her simple but graceful face, unpainted by Madison Avenue; and her straight black hair, parted down the middle without ego, all suggest a minimalist – almost pastoral – beauty that is oddly discordant with her fashionable attire, comfortable indifference to the crowds, and quasi-attentive perusal of the Time magazine unfolded over her hand.

I don’t know her name and I’m sure that I’ve never seen her before, but there is something familiar about her. She seems to have this schizophrenically interested or curious look that reminds me of the female shoppers I once observed in a busy Florentine marketplace. The young Italian women in that spice-filled outdoor market, buying their extra virgin olive oil and red ripe tomatoes, seemed flirtatious in their enjoyment of the young men eyeing them, yet guardedly guilt-ridden about any deviations from a properly Catholic day of shopping. And here in our subway car, the way in which this bucolic belle’s eyes occasionally seem undecided between the text of her magazine and the people standing around her makes me wonder how those Florentine shoppers would look if their daily routine were transformed from an outdoor Tuscan shopping spree to an indoor New York subway ride. Would they all look at the magazines in their hands more or less than this woman two feet away from me does?

At the risk of fetishizing an unsuspecting subway rider, I’m going to call her “Florence.” The name of that city evokes in me so many magical memories that I’ll call her “Florence” even though the vestiges of my origin-detection skills insist that her roots might actually be Spanish. Calling her “Madrid” just wouldn’t sound as good, and admitting my uncertainty by calling her “Southern Europe” would sound even worse. So she’ll be Florence for now.

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What I Read When I Read About Love

Our Valentine's Day at the Avenue Hotel. Photo: Avenue Hotel, Copenhegen

Photo: Avenue Hotel, Copenhegen

I know, I am a few days late–but I was in Copenhagen celebrating Valentine’s Day with my gorgeous hubby. I won a Valentine’s Day stay at Avenue Hotel, a design boutique hotel in Copenhagen’s Fredriksberg district. The stay included a cozy tower room at the hotel (breakfast included), champagne, pastries from Strangas Dessert Boutique and an amazing dinner at Höst. Needless to say, inspiration came to me while I was there and there will definitely be a a follow-up to Maybe Baby.

But while I was there, I starting thinking about which books would be on my Books About Love 2014 list–if I had one.

 

Sex in the Title CoverSex in the Title by Zack Love – a satirical rom-com set in New York City in the 1990s that revolves around the romantic adventures (and misadventures) of five guys who think they are going to conquer the world. Since it’s set in the 90s, the New York we find is pre-smart phone, the Twin Towers are still standing and there’s a wonderful air of nostalgia (perfect for someone like me who was a teenager in the 1980s and in college and grad school in the 1990s). Contrary to the title, the book is not all about sex. It’s more about the pie in the sky ambitions and goals we set for ourselves when we’re young and naive and what happens when we are finally faced with reality. Now, how can this be a rom-com then? Well, Zack Love interweaves the tales of five friends and their pursuit of love. Yes, there are foibles, nothing is perfect–even the people who almost seem too perfect are just as flawed as you want them to be. This is a book with so many laugh-out-loud moments as you are reminded of your own romantic foibles and dreams of youth. Bravo, Zack!

 

cover-jod-webcover-joy-webJust One Day/Just One Year by Gayle Forman – Wonderful books about Allyson and Willem, who meet by chance in the UK during an open-air performance of Shakespeare and what happens when Willem convinces Allyson to do something unexpected–go to Paris with him even if it’s just for one day. What happens during that day and, in the next book, as they try to reconnect, is amazing. If you liked Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, you’ll love these books.

 

Is Marriage coverIs Marriage for White People?: How the African American Marriae Decline Affects Everyone by Ralph Richard Banks – The title alone is enough to stop you in your tracks but there is more to this book than meets the eye. It is an interesting study of love and marriage within the African-American community and how antiquated ideas of the black woman’s place in society had led to a decline in marriage within the community and the implications it has on US society. Banks questions why it is considered acceptable for African-American men to marry outside of their race while the same is not always true for African-American women. He also examines the mixed messages sent to young men and women by the media, their families, the church, etc about their place in society. So why do I consider it a book about love? Because quite a bit of the book examines why African-American women may maintain friendships or be attracted to men of other races but will not, or are reluctant to, pursue relationships with these men. Since I write a lot about interracial relationships, I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that social pressure can prevent someone from seeking love.

 

The-FLAVOURS-OF-LOVE-HB-654x1024The Flavors of Love by Dorothy Koomson – Dorothy Koomson has always said that what she writes is heart fiction–not simply women’s fiction. Her books are always about love and the choices we make because of love. This book is more suspense than romance–the story revolves around Saffron Mackleroy, a widow whose husband was murdered eighteen months prior to the start of the novel. On the outside, Saffron looks like she’s coping well with her situation–she’s even decided to finish writing the cookbook her husband was working on. But then her fourteen-year-old daughter Phoebe gets in trouble at school and confesses to something that begins to tear apart the semblance of normalcy Saffron is trying to maintain. And then the person convicted of killing Saffron’s husband begins sending her letters and claiming to be innocent. It’s easy to get hooked by The Flavors of Love. I know I did! Another great one, Dorothy! Can’t wait for your next book. 🙂

That’s it for now! What books would you put on your Books About Love list?

Guest Post: Getting to Know Mara White

HOD_quote_01A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon fellow indie writer Mara White on Goodreads. It all happened by chance–another member posted a short note about a book she was reading, and the synopsis sounded pretty intriguing. Who knew it would lead me to reading a book that beautifully captures the dilemma of craving someone you know should not want? I’m halfway through Heights of Desire, and it’s a definite must-read if you like your books hot!

Could you tell us what inspired the story of Heights of Desire and the Heightsbound series?  

My main inspiration has come from living in Washington Heights and closely watching the wave of radical gentrification that the neighborhood has been experiencing within the last five years or so.  The story and plot line developed as I started writing, but the inspiration for Kate and Jaylee’s relationship definitely came from witnessing the changes in the neighborhood.

Mara White Author

Mara White, author of Heights of Desire

Two years!!  My kids are toddlers, so there was a lot of interference from daily life.  About three-quarters of the way through the novel I started to feel disillusioned with the genre and actually gave up.  Then I read a new novel and it inspired me, so I decided to reach out to the author.  She took me under her wing, beta read for me, walked me though the self-publishing process and helped turn my disheartened attitude into determination.  Without her, HOD never would have come to fruition and she’d kill me if I revealed her identity so I’ll just say that she is a phenomenal writer and quite possibly the kindest and most generous person I know.

When you were writing, did you envision any actors or actresses to play the leads? Or did you find inspiration elsewhere? 

Not really.  Dare I be inflammatory and controversial here and say that Hollywood does not fairly represent the US population.  Knock, Knock, Hollywood – let the world in!  How hard is it to cast HOD?  Hard enough that I gave up on doing a blog post on casting despite help from friends.  I would absolutely love it if readers would chime in and throw ideas for casting my way.  But to answer the question – whenever I felt that the age difference between Kate and Jaylee was too extreme or bordering on inappropriate, I would look at pictures of JLo and Casper Smart together and channel their chemistry.  I also have become – of the corner boys as well as the young men that work out on the neighborhood playgrounds in the Heights (as you can imagine) so I picked up a lot of inspiration from listening and watching.

Heights of Desire CoverHow would you describe your typical writing day?  

Oh Lord!  Write if I possibly can.  Write after the kids are asleep if I’m not too exhausted.  My most productive writing time happens on the NYC subway on my commute to work (if I get a seat) with a pen and a notebook and bumpy train handwriting.

Do you have a special place where you like to write? Could you describe it for us?  

The train!  Somewhat dirty, oftentimes packed beyond belief, always entertaining (with performers or just regular, crazy old, New Yorkers), always infuriating (late or stuck underground or running on an alternate track) and forever epic – the best mode of NYC transportation hands down.

Did you have a special playlist or soundtrack which you listened to while writing Heights of Desire? Could you share it with us? 

I mostly just listened to the soundtrack of my neighborhood seeing that wherever you go in the Heights there is always music playing!  For the playlist for HOD, I collaborated with a dear friend and fellow WaHi resident, Leslie de Jesus.  She runs a music reviewing blog called http://sinistergirlz.com  The fist song Leslie gave me was ‘Llévame Contigo’ by Romeo Santos and I listened to it repeatedly while completing the end of HOD so that’s how it became Kate and Jaylee’s song.

 When will the next book in the series be released?  

As soon as I can finish!  Late 2014

Sale Graphic-2What has been the biggest challenge for you as an indie writer? What lessons do you feel you’ve learned going through the process?  

Definitely trying to get the word out about he book to the general public.  Accept any and all help offered because you can’t possibly do it all on your own.

Have you already got plans for other standalone novels or series? Could you share any info about those with us?  

I do have new ideas as well as some older work that I’d like to revisit at some point but for the immediate moment I’m just putting my energy into finishing the Heightsbound sequel.

What advice would you like to give to aspiring authors?  

Write because you love to write.  Don’t let the criticism get you down.  Break the rules.  Run from convention.  Push boundaries.  Challenge your readers.  Scare yourself.

Many thanks to Mara for making a book blitz pitstop with us! If you like sexy women’s fiction, then head over to your favourite online bookstore and get a copy of Heights of Desire. It’s on sale this week for e-readers for only 99 cents–but I can tell you this book is definitely worth the normal price. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Heights of Desire Synopsis

A woman who has everything meets a man who can offer her nothing but trouble.  They bring each other to a height of desire neither thought possible, but is it enough to overcome the differences that tear them apart?
Kate Champion, a forty-two-year-old, married mother of two, leads an enviable upper class life of luxury.  Her comfortable path takes an unexpected detour after a chance encounter at a neighborhood playground.

Jaylee Inoa is a twenty-two-year-old, second generation New York Dominican with close ties to the Heights and the gangs that run them.

Her life of privilege is no match for the code of the streets he navigates with ease.  When a crime of the heart leads to a crime in the flesh, how far will she go to redeem him?  Can she risk all in her life that is golden for the love of her golden-eyed man?

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Heights of Desire is on sale for $.99 during the blog tour!

Purchase Links:  Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Kobo | Google Play | Smashwords

 

About the Author

I’m a reader, a writer, and a lover of all things romantic.  I’m also a coffee, hot sauce, ink, telenovela, and Bikram Yoga enthusiast.  I live in New York City with my husband and two children, and I spend a lot of time on the playground.

Connect with the Author:  Facebook | Twitter | Blog  | Instagram | Goodreads 

Enter to win an autographed copy of Heights of Desire in paperback:

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Three More Books to Read This Summer

You all know how much of a book nerd I am. I proudly fly my book nerd flag. 🙂 So while everyone else around me has been going clubbing or sailing or disappearing to summer houses or the Greek islands (and all those other things Stockholmers do when it’s summer), I’ve been working and reading. You may remember I took two weeks off in June, went to Italy, wrote and lived la dolce vita. Since then, I’ve been working, working, working and taking the occasional weekend trip. And all the while I’ve been reading. 🙂

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Cover of Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

Love Minus Eighty – Will McIntosh

It’s been a while since I read any sci-fi novels. None has really jumped out at me. So I was really pleased when I heard about Love Minus Eighty through a Twitter connection. The story is set in a future version of New York where one’s love life is as closely monitored like a reality TV show and death isn’t always the end–especially if you’re an attractive woman on the right side of thirty. This addictive novel follows the stories of several interconnected characters as they try to figure out romantic love in an age where technology has taken over. This is not your usual sci-fi novel. It reads more like speculative literary fiction and is a real page-turner. I loved sinking my teeth into it, and I think you will too. The world presented is like Facebook on crack…no, more like Facebook on the most psychedelic drug you could imagine. Hats off to Will McIntosh for such a brilliantly written novel! This was the first time I’d ever read his work and I am already a fan. 🙂

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Cover of French Kissing by Catherine Sanderson

French Kissing – Catherine Sanderson

French Kissing is not a new book. It was originally published in 2009, but I only just heard about it a few weeks ago. I was thinking about booking a weekend trip to Paris and stumbled upon a short interview with Catherine Sanderson and her experiences as an expat living in France. And as an expat living in Stockholm, I always find it fun to read books about others wading in the murky waters of another country’s culture and unwritten rules of society. And Sally, French Kissing‘s heroine, is doing just that while also trying to raise her four-year-old daughter Lila and maintain an amicable relationship with her ex, the faithless Nico. While Nico has moved on with two other women, Sally hasn’t dated and decides it’s time to take the plunge and rejoin the dating market. She does so via Rendez-Vous, the French version of match.com. We follow Sally through a few dreadful dates, a few not-qute-right-but-nice-enough dates and all the while get an idea of what it’s like to date in a foreign language. Sanderson does a great job of giving the reader insight into how the French (and especially Parisians) date and what it’s like raising a bilingual child while also trying to maneuver as a newly single mum. Sally is an extremely likable character. She is definitely not an all-too perfect Mary Sue. And her journey from coupledom to singledom while looking for love is an addictive read!

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Cover of S.G. Redling’s Damocles

I first heard about the plot of Damocles during a Matera brainstorming session. I thought the story–of a crew on a one-way expedition into deep space mission to search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence–was intriguing. I couldn’t wait for the book to finally come out, and it doesn’t disappoint. Linguist Meg Dupris and her crew have the daunting task of making first contact with the humanoid inhabitants of Didet, an earth-like planet with eternal sunlight. But first they must overcome the Didetos’ fear that the “earthers” are there as invaders…and they must find a way to communicate when there is no common language. The story moves quickly, with Meg and Loul, a Dideto who predicted that “aliens” would come, struggling to figure out how to interact and learn from one another–and realizing they have more in common than they think. What I really liked with Damocles is how the story is told from both Meg and Loul’s perspective. So we get a very interesting view of just how first contact might be. Two thumbs up!

OK! That’s it for now! Happy reading (and writing)!

Getting to know Karen Siplin

A few years ago, I stumbled upon Such a Girl and fell in love. There was something about the story that really spoke to me and made me take notice. Since then, I’ve recommended Such a Girl and everything else by its author, Karen Siplin, to everyone I know. I liked her novels so much I sent her an email and now we’ve also become pen-pals.  Karen is based in New York City, which is also the setting of Such a Girl and His Insignificant Other (her debut novel). Her latest release (another favorite of mine) was the fantastic Whiskey Road. She’s now hard at work on two new novels, and was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about writing, chick lit and everything in between. So let’s kick back and get to know her…

New York City plays a huge role in Such a Girl and His Insignificant Other. For Whiskey Road, the small town of Frenchmen’s Bend pulls the reader in. Do you have any tips for writers on how to make the setting of the their novels/short stories come alive?

We’re often taught to write what we know, but I recently came across a quote by author Yusef Komuniyakaa that I believe is much more useful to writers: “Don’t write what you know, write what you are willing to discover.” Frenchman’s Bend is a fictional town in my third novel, Whiskey Road; a town loosely based on rural New York towns I’ve passed through while traveling. In order to get a better feel for such places, I visited Phoenicia and Woodstock, and set up breakfast dates with locals to get a better sense of how to make my setting seem authentic. This helped me to create a place I had only imagined. I definitely advise writers to visit a place they’d like to write about when possible.

Chick lit has been proclaimed dead by agents and the media. Do you agree with this sentiment? Also, why do you think people look down their nose at chick lit?

The term “chick lit” may not survive as a marketing label, but stories about women coming of age in their twenties and thirties, and struggling with work, love, weight and family will always exist. In May of this year, I picked up Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses at Book Expo America. It isn’t being labeled “chick lit”, but according to Publisher’s Weekly, it explores the “chick lit staples” of relationships and disappointing first jobs. The publisher compares her writing style to Melissa Bank. And a search at UK book sites turns up several recent releases that would have been labeled “chick lit” in the US ten years ago.

There are probably a lot of reasons why people look down their nose at chick lit, but I’ve heard some argue that chick lit fails to encourage women to dream bigger and aspire for something other than meeting a nice guy to marry. In the end, I’m not sure anyone has the right to tell people what they should be reading.

Which of your protagonists is your favorite? 

I love Caleb (Whiskey Road) and Kendall (Such a Girl). Caleb is sexy, volatile and loyal; I’m a big fan of tough, misunderstood, tattooed men in fiction. And I think the way Jimi describes him the first time she meets him says it all: “…he has the face of a man who wouldn’t desert her even if it meant he might be hurt.” Kendall is also misunderstood, and I adore that she’s a total ballbuster. The risk of making enemies at work never stops her from speaking her mind and that is an admirable trait in my opinion. She’s an adult struggling to find her place in the world after making a lot of mistakes.

How would you describe a typical day of writing?

My writing day typically begins around 9 in the morning, after I’ve had breakfast. When the weather is nice, I try to make it over to Central Park. Otherwise, I go to a library or sit in front of my computer until 3 or 4 in the afternoon.

Do you have a favorite writing space? Could you describe it for us?

I’ve always been partial to writing in coffee shops, but ever since I gave up coffee in 2007, I avoid them. I haven’t found a satisfying substitute. Libraries are a close second, but I really miss having that cup of coffee next to me. I try to walk to Central Park on nice days; I have four favorite spots in the park where I like to revise my work.

So many times, writers are advised to “kill your darlings”. Do you follow this advice? 

I don’t kill my darlings, I massacre them, but I don’t call it that. It’s just the editing process to me. If a question comes up several times from early readers about a scene or moment or phrase, a writer should consider whether she’s holding onto it because it moves the story forward, or because she’s emotionally attached to it.

What titles are on your must-read list this year?

Deanna Raybourn’s fifth Lady Julia Grey novel is high on my must-read list this year, as well as Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow, Duane Swiercznski’s Fun & Games and Cate Tiernan’s Darkness Falls.

What are you reading now?

I read way too many books at once. I’m currently reading Wendy Burden’s memoir, Dead End Gene Pool, Kody Keplinger’s second teen novel, Shut Out, and Gilded by Deborah Davis.

What book inspired you to become a novelist?

I was a film major in college, so movies had a stronger creative influence on me, but I was a diehard Jim Thompson fan in my twenties and would still love to write something as fabulous as After Dark My Sweet. James Baldwin’s Another Country blew me away when I read it some time in the nineties. I wish I could write as lyrically as he did.

Are you working on a new book now? Can you give us a sneak peek of the plot?

I’m working on a novel for adults and a novel for teens. Both books are wiping the floor with me, so I’m not entirely comfortable saying too much about their plots. I can say there’s a misunderstood bully in one, and the other features a recovering bad boy multimillionaire.

 

For more information about Karen Siplin and her novels, check out her website and blog