Blog

Complete: WIP-IT Wednesday

A pre-edited sneak peak at the 5th Legatum book.

tree-3352202_640

“Homework?” He asked, resting on the opposite bench for a moment.

“Yep, grading. I was hoping a change of scenery and some food would make this easier.” She rubbed the back of her neck.

“That sounds like it’s not working.”

“It’s not. I don’t know.” She rested her cheek in her palm, elbow resting on the table. She stared at the papers. “The students need an algebra brick upside their heads and I need a bubble bath.”

“The thing that always helped me with math, was context.” Bobby leaned back looking at the other customers, seeing if he was needed. He was. “I’ll be back.” He stood and left.

Ramona was still staring at the papers, she hadn’t moved when he returned with her french fries.

She popped a hot fry in her mouth, and chewed.

“As I was saying, context. I could care less about watermelons, but when Brad helped me he always put it into terms of the shop. How many cars how many parts, how to know what to order next. Have you tried that yet?”

“I need to. They were talking about that at my last school. How to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, food storage and stuff. How many cans of peaches to survive the first winter. How fast your gun shoots, how many bullets you need. That’s not a bad idea actually. I’m going to have to go over all of this again, why not. Thanks Bobby.” She popped another fry into her mouth, and smiled. “I’m going to need a burger for while I grade the rest of this.”

“BLT burger or you looking to branch out?”

“I’m going to live dangerously, can you add cheese to that?”

Bobby chuckled, “You are living dangerously.”

Ramona picked up the next paper in front of her. Teaching math with zombies, might actually work. She just hoped it wouldn’t get her into trouble with Principal Grover. He seemed to like to keep a tight reign on standards and how lessons were presented. The homework assignments seemed to get worse and worse as she continued grading.

Bobby arrived with her hamburger. “You’re still looking stressed.” He put the sandwich down in front of her, then reached behind her and began kneading her shoulders. Ramona felt like melting. Bobby’s hands were large and warm. His strong fingers dug into the tense muscles supporting her neck. “Your neck is like a rock.”

Ramona suppressed a groan, the massage felt so good. She felt like all of her muscles turned to jello. Bobby did know how to touch, okay this wasn’t the touch her friends seemed to seek out, but she would take it. “You need to go home and soak in a hot tub, that will help.” His thumbs continued to press circles next to her spine. Ramona could barely think.

“Ahh, I don’t have a tub, just a walk in shower. It sucks.”

Bobby continued working his hands over her shoulders.

“I think you missed your calling. You would make a killing as a masseuse.” Ramona almost purred.

His hands stopped, he patted Ramona on the shoulder. “I have a tub you can borrow.”

“What? Really? I don’t want to impose, but oh my God really?”

“Yeah, be right back.”

Ramona sat stunned. Bobby had a tub, and he was going to let her use it. Oh no, he’s hitting on me, wait Bobby never does that, he doesn’t need to. Her thoughts raced from the joy of a tub, to being worried if it was a come-on, and if she really wanted to be another notch on his belt or not. He was good looking, and nice, and that massage had felt so good. She wouldn’t mind a full body rub down. All the tension he had managed to work out of her neck returned. She shook her head, stop over thinking girl. She focused on eating her hamburger.

“Okay,” he was back. “I have an outdoor tub.”

“A hot tub?” Oh, that would be perfect she thought.

“No, just a tub. A really big tub. It has its own hot water heater, so it could be a hot tub, but no bubbles. I’m here all night, so if you wanted you could go over an use it.”

“Are you serious?” Ramona’s eyes were large saucers as she eagerly looked at Bobby. A tub! A bath!

“Yeah,” he chuckled. “Look my dogs will be out, but they won’t bother you. Just tell them to shut up, use their names so they think they know you.” He picked up the pencil she had been marking papers with, tore off a sheet from his order book, and scribbled down his address.

“I’m out on east 2280, dented white mailbox just past a red cattle gate. Una is the big brown hound, Deuce looks like a white pit, Tre is the gray mutt. They are all bark. Like I said, use their names tell them to shut up, and they will calm down. Tre might jump a bit, but they’re harmless.”

Ramona took the scribbled address. “Your dogs are named one-two-three?”

“And the cat is Cat.”

Happy Release Day!

SweetSatisfaction

Now Available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!

Sexy hot dessert chef Les Hernandez knows how to make a cheesecake.

Les Hernandez is hot. He is sexy as hell, he has that whole bad boy chef vibe, rocks a kilt, and makes the most orgasmic cheesecake Tori has ever tasted. No wonder it was crush at first sight. Tori even changes her work schedule so she can see him more, all under the pretense of excellent customer service. But she knows it’s hopeless, that he only sees her as that funny pudgy girl that’s good to hang out with because she doesn’t threaten away other women. 

Tori begins to question her life choices: moving to a small town in the middle of wine country no longer seems like the best idea. Her best friend no longer returns text messages, her boss has changed the nature of her job, and she really needs to get over her crush on Les.

Les can’t figure sassy Tori out. Her job as Social Marketing and Special Projects Manager for one of their suppliers has her in his kitchen doing everything from delivering vegetables to taking selfies. She also has this way of eating his desserts that leaves him needing a moment or three in the walk-in freezer to cool off. But he doesn’t think of her that way. Or does he?

Wine Country Tour with Kate Kisset

1-Kate Kisset-Kate Kisset Books

Hey everyone! Thanks for having me Lulu!

I’m Kate Kisset waving to you from my car. Get ready, we’re going on a road trip today to celebrate the release of my third book AND I LOVE YOU. I’m about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco in California wine country, the setting of my series.

While Lulu’s running back into the house to grab her stuff, allow me to introduce myself.

Readers say my stories aresexy, and refreshing, with complex characters and plots that serve up humor without holding back on heart.”

I took the phrase “write what you know,” to a whole new level :). My books take place right outside my front door. I use “real” wine country locations, actual events and pour genuine wine whenever possible.

Kate Kisset, Love in the Vineyards, And I Love You

 

Here’s the scoop on my series:

Love in the Vineyards is a small-town romance series centering around six very hot Italian brothers from a Napa Valley wine dynasty and three strong, passionate women who are roommates at nearby villa in Sonoma Valley. The Santino brothers are swoon-worthy, protective, loyal men who’ll do anything for the women they adore…

(FYI: You don’t have to know anything about wine. My characters just drink it.)

I have three books out so far: Love at Last, Love’s Home Run and my latest, And I Love You. All the novels are standalone romances and readers are loving them. Check out the hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon to see what I mean.

Lulu’s getting in the car now, so buckle up. I’m going to take you to some of the scenes in my books and show you around California wine country…

*All the photos are my own, taken with my phone camera.

3-Bella Villa, Kate Kisset, Love in the Vineyards

 

Let’s park at the villa. In Love in the Vineyards, the heroines of Love at Last, Love’s Home Run and And I love You live in this historic villa.

Lulu Castelli the landlady of what I call “Bella Villa” is more like family to my characters, Sarah, Danica, and Juliet.

In my story, Lulu is the great-granddaughter of a famous winemaker very similar to Agoston Haraszthy.  Mr. Haraszthy, the self-proclaimed “Count of Buena Vista,” created California’s first premium winery in Sonoma Valley in 1857.

The actual building is an exact replica of the family home the “Count” built in the 1800s. The property is now Bartholomew Winery property in Sonoma Valley.

Moving along, we’re approaching the Sonoma Plaza in the center of town.   

4-The Sonoma Plaza, Kate Kisset, Sonoma, Love in the Vineyards

 

The series begins with Love at Last when Sarah Dupont moves to Sonoma after her fiancé cheated on her with a co-worker at their San Francisco bakery.

Sarah opens her own café on the Sonoma Plaza and gets tricked into giving notorious panty-dropper-actor Jamie Santino baking lessons for his upcoming movie role. (*Inside scoop: The “real” Basque Boulangerie Café just a few doors down from theatre was the inspiration behind Sarah’s Vine Café in the story.)

5-The Sebastiani theatre, Kate Kisset, Sonoma Plaza-

Their love affair ends up throwing Sarah for a loop. Her heart’s already been broken once. How can she believe Jamie isn’t acting when everything he says sounds too good to be true?

Let’s pull over for a second. A lot of people think Sonoma looks a lot like Stars Hollow from the Gilmore Girls. Do you notice a similarity?

(*Inside scoop: Jamie Santino shows up at a screening at the “real” Sebastiani theater at the end of Love at Last.)

Did I mention that every woman at Bella Villa and all the Santino brothers are getting happily-ever-afters in this series? Let’s head over to the ballpark, it’s just off the plaza.

6-Love's Home Run Collage, Kate Kisset, Kate Kisset books, Love in the Vineyards, Love's Home Run,

Book two, Love’s Home Run centers around Jamie Santino’s baseball star brother, Luca. Luca and Danica Vargas (Sarah’s roommate) were childhood sweethearts. When Luca ends up back in wine country, Danica doesn’t recognize him.

She didn’t think he’d ever come home or she wouldn’t have “accidentally” kissed his older brother Michael.

(Inside Scoop: The Napa Crushers, Luca’s team in the book was inspired by Sonoma’s “real” indie team, the Sonoma Stompers.)

7-And I Love You-GG Bridge-Kate Kisset, Love in the Vineyards

 

I’m going to head back to the put the car in park now. In book three, my latest release And I Love You, the scenes move back and forth from Sonoma to San Francisco.

Disc jockey Juliet St. John, (the third Bella Villa roommate), has been patiently waiting for her happily-ever-after and she finds one with single dad, Gabe Durand.

Here’s the short blurb:

She’s the overnight DJ desperate for a caffeine infusion.
He’s the late-night bartender who has just what she needs.
If they play their cards right they might both get the refill of a lifetime.

(Inside scoop: I used to be a San Francisco disc jockey and just like Juliet, I was demoted to the graveyard shift! I used to run from my car to the station every night praying I wouldn’t get mugged.)

Kate Kisset, And I Love You, Love in the Vineyards

 

I think this is a good time to wrap up our drive today. Thank you so much for having me Lulu! I hope you and your readers enjoyed the mini-tour of wine country and got to know me a little better.

I’m working on book #4 of the series, Michael Santino’s story now. This one’s a doozy. I’m sticking with the plan to “write what you know” and setting this story in the middle of the wildfires that hit northern California wine county last fall. It’ll be “hot” to say the least!

I’d love it if you followed me and we stayed in touch.

Here’s where you can find me:

Kate Kisset AMAZON PAGE (All Books)

http://www.katekisset.com/

Kate Kisset NEWSLETTER

Kate Kisset FACEBOOK

Kate Kisset PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

Kate Kisset INSTAGRAM

Kate Kisset TWITTER

Kate Kisset BOOKBUB

Dangerous is now Available!

teamdante

Family goof-off and all-around playboy Dante has been tasked with finding the missing branches of the family tree. It’s a big tree, but luckily he’s a trained investigator. What he finds instead is Geena. Only she doesn’t understand how important she is to him and she’s slipped through his fingers. Now he wants to drop all his responsibilities and track her down.

Geena’s traveling companions are the trifecta of feminine beauty. They are thin, rich, and stylish, so she’s shocked when the hot guy starts hitting on her. What she doesn’t know yet is that Dante isn’t just a guy. And to him, she’s not just another in a long string of women in his loose past. Dante has seen the mate glow and he knows what it means.

Dangerous book birthday

AMAZON – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079HHK6RW
KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dangerous-64
NOOK – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1127911659
IBOOKS – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dangerous/id1342768021…
GOOGLE – https://play.google.com/…/books/d…/Lulu_M_Sylvian_Dangerous…

Play Ball! Interview with author Jen Doyle

A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. CALLING IT, the first book in her baseball/contemporary romance/romantic comedy series of the same name, has been winning awards since its inception, the most recent being the 2017 Best Banter Contest. (And it’s on sale through 4/5/18 for 99 cents!) She also writes the acclaimed HANSONS OF ST. HELENA series of novellas in the St. Helena Vineyard Kindle World.

Today is the beginning of baseball for the year and the first day of Jen’s 99 cent sale! The runs until April 5th.
Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.33.03 PM

I love to set a scene for our interview. It helps to give the readers a little more insight into you as a person. I’m not sure if we should be at a ballpark with hotdogs and drinks, or chatting quietly in the big comfy chairs at a library?

LOL! How about sitting on the beautiful porch of a library that’s situated in an old Victorian home and overlooks a baseball field? (I used the house in the picture at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/385620786821588739/ as my inspiration for, well, the Inspiration (IA) Public Library. So that’s the porch I’m thinking of. Which, come to think of it, kind of looks like the porch on the house in Field Of Dreams, which in turn looks over a baseball field. [See how I did that? ]) Oh, and don’t forget the Cracker Jacks!

Your first series centers around baseball and a small town in Iowa. So let’s start with baseball, I take it you are a fan? Who is your favorite team? Did you grow up playing as a kid?

I am! I actually just recorded a podcast with my sister where we talk about that. For me, baseball brings about memories of sitting in the living room and doing homework while my dad watched the game on the TV. He was a huge Yankees fan, so those games were a big part of my growing up. When I met the man who was to become my husband (we met in college), the fact that he was a Red Sox fan was a bit of a concern in my family…with good reason. We moved to Boston in 1996 and living in such a big baseball town it was hard not to begin to side with the hometown team. I officially converted in 2003 and am now raising three fairly rabid Red Sox fans, to (some of) my family’s dismay.

And now for small towns, you also write for St. Helena Vineyards Kindle Worlds, that also takes place in and around a small town. What drew you to these two small-town locations for your writing?

It’s weird, because I’m actually a city girl at heart, but when it comes to my fiction, I love reading and writing about small towns. I think it’s about these communities of people who know everything about each other and are in each other’s business all the time. Sometimes that’s a good thing, with communities coming together in times of hardship, and sometimes, of course, it’s not quite as idyllic, with small-town politics, etc. But being able to explore those themes—and play up those characters—is definitely one of my favorite things to do.

And to add on to that, what I love about writing in the St. Helena Vineyard KW universe, is the ability to play off the amazing characters that Marina Adair created in her original series and then either expand upon or bring brand new characters into the world. Plus, to be part of this community of writers…it’s like all the amazing parts of a small town rolled up into one.

Tell us a little about the Calling It! series. Is there a next book in the works, and what is that one about?

The Calling It series starts off with, unsurprisingly, LOL, Calling It in which a superstar major league baseball player Nate Hawkins returns to his small hometown of Inspiration, IA, in order to escape a scandal that he’s part of through no part of his own. He hasn’t told anyone he’s coming home, so when he arrives in town just before midnight, he decides to crash at his baby sister’s apartment, not knowing that she’s sublet it. When he’s confronted by a woman in her bathrobe—who is very much not his sister—he finds himself being more intrigued than he should be, especially considering she’s clearly ready to clobber him with a baseball bat. The woman, of course, is the local librarian, Dorie Donelli. Things proceed from there.

There are two more books in the series—Called Up, which centers around Nate’s baby sister (Fitz) and one of his best friends from high school (Deke), and Called Out, which centers around Nate’s former teammate and Deke’s sister Lola. All are standalone books, but definitely more enjoyable if read in order because of the way different characters are revisited. There’s also a shorter length book, Holiday House Call, that takes place in the same small town. It, too, is a standalone and more loosely related than the other books, however, it does bring back some of the same characters from the earlier books.

I’m actually working on a proposal for a new series right now, but my next project is to write the first book in a spin-off series that will revolve around Dorie’s brothers back in Boston. And then—I hope!—back to Inspiration again as there are still some characters whose stories I’d like to tell.  

You also have a paranormal romance serial out on Radish. Educate us a bit on what Radish is, and how readers access your work there. 

Radish is an app that you would download—just like any other app—and then begin to explore the different genres. For those not familiar, serial fiction is made up of stories that are told over a period of time. With Radish, each story is broken up into difference ‘episodes’ which are posted throughout the week. So, for example, Butterfly Ops, my story in Radish, is posted three times each week. It’s part of the ‘freemium’ model, which means that the initial few chapters are free, and then readers can either choose to pay coins for succeeding chapters or wait until they become free over time.

You used to be a big mystery fan, do you blend your two favorite genres? Romance with serious who-done-its?

You know, I don’t! That’s so funny. I never thought about that. Butterfly Ops, although primarily a romance, does have an overarching mystery to it, and that was a lot of fun to write. But my contemporary romances don’t have any whodunit elements whatsoever. Hmmmm… I’ll need to think about that.

Do you listen to music when you write? What is the soundtrack to your latest book if you do?

I don’t really listen to music while I’m writing because there are already too many voices in my head, LOL. But I will say that I find music very inspirational and that it helps stir the creative juices when I’m more in the ruminating stage of a book. Or, for that matter, when I’m really stuck. I will say that I had a very difficult time writing Holiday House Call due to some things that were going on in my life, and although I had a contract deadline to meet, I was getting to the point where I was afraid I actually wasn’t going to be able to do it and that bothered me immensely. And then I stumbled upon Walker Hayes (specifically the video to You Broke Up With Me) and that finally got me going again. It wasn’t the song so much as the musician. He had all the characteristics I was looking for in Tuck, my hero for the book—not just the looks, although the whole chiseled jaw, ridiculously gorgeous arms thing didn’t hurt, but he brought to life a character that I was having a hard time visualizing and it made a huge difference. (Incidentally, Walker Hayes is an incredible songwriter and storyteller. I highly recommend boom., the CD he just recently put out.)

Who are your writing heroes, and how did they inspire you to become a writer?

You know how people say they knew from almost as soon as they could talk that they’d be a writer? Yeah. I’m not one of those. I actually didn’t even think of myself as a writer until about five years ago. Up until then, I considered it a hobby as the first thing I put to paper (well, virtually, of course) was a fanfic in the Buffy universe. One of my favorite characters left the show under circumstances that I wasn’t at all happy with, so I decided to write an explanation that I could live with. My writing career kind of spiraled from there.

As part of that experience, however, I ‘met’ someone named Diana, who responded to one of the first stories I ever wrote. (Incidentally, dear reader, she hated it.) But that turned into a ten-year relationship where she helped me make the journey from hobbyist to actual novelist. She’s the person who eventually told me that I had it in me to write a book—that, in fact, given what I’d done in the fan fiction world, I already had nine times over—and that I should think about it seriously. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to dedicate Calling It, my first published novel, to her.

The question I ask everyone is about their characters. How do your characters come to you? Do they show up and say “hi write me” or do they develop as you construct your story?

I’d say it’s a combination of both. Although I have a general sense of where my story is going to go, I find that the characters truly take me there. I’m definitely one of those writers who basically has scenes unfold in my head as I’m writing them (thus the ‘voices in my head’ I referred to earlier), and, as a result, characters basically telling me where they want to go. There are also some characters which take some time to develop—like Tuck, from Holiday House Call, who I didn’t even know was going to have a book of his own until, well, he did—and then some characters who are so vivid and strong that I’ve known from the second they appear in my head exactly how their story is going to play out. For example, Jack, the hero from Called Out (#3), is one of the first characters I ever conceived of even though he didn’t show up in person until the very end of book one. And although some of the background details may have changed a bit, he ended up exactly as I saw him in those very early days.

Which comes first the character or the story?

I guess I’d say the characters, but only by a little bit. I tend to see particular scenes in my head, and those scenes have characters in them—sometimes the romantic leads, sometimes a group of friends—but I have no idea what bigger story the scene is part of. Which, unfortunately, is a huge problem for me, LOL. (I HATE first drafts.)

Which do you prefer rom-coms or action adventure movies? Or are you an Oscars kind of flick person (of course this year a monster movie won, so that’s a bit of a change up, isn’t it?)

I like my movies the way I like my books—with happy endings. So, unfortunately, those big “important” films that tend to win the big awards don’t usually appeal to me no matter how amazing they might be. And although I do enjoy a good action adventure movie for, say, date night with my husband, or a family outing with the kids (have you seen the new Jumanji? It was AWESOME), I will always choose the rom-com if it’s just me. But it definitely has to have a happy ending. None of that Nicholas Sparks stuff for me!

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. No question. (To the point where I went out to lunch last weekend and ordered a Diet Coke, and when the waitress asked if Diet Pepsi was okay, I had to give the big n-o and switch to Iced Tea.)

What’s on your pizza?

Well, I should probably say things like a lot of vegetables and easy on the cheese. But that would be a total lie. Pepperoni and extra cheese, please.

I really want to ask that credit card commercial question: What’s in your wallet?

Ha! My wallet is pretty boring. Credit cards, my driver’s license, and a bunch of old receipts that I stuffed into the inner pocket. My purse on the other hand…I’ve got toy cars (even though my kids stopped playing with them some time ago), cough drops, tissues, a book, my planner, pens, more cough drops… Oh, I could go on.

And with that, it looks like I’ve reached the end! Thank you sooooo much for having me! I’ve enjoyed sitting here on the porch and watching the game with you. Let’s do this again sometime!

IMG_5403

 

01_You-Say-21430388_171480110088873_2407601217637277315_n

Baseball player Nathan Hawkins needs to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think…except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she’d get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less in her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.

For Nate, being with Dorie is the only time in months that he finds himself smiling. Laughing. And he has no intention of letting that go. He might even be falling in love…if only Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn’t just a dream, but the start of a dream come true.

 

Wip-It Wednesday: Longing

Longing- Legatum book 4- is in the works for an early fall/ later summer release.

lady-in-red-2189102_1920

Lucy hung up the phone. A smile crossed her lips. The kids were off with Geoff’s sister Michelle, and now a dinner date, alone, just the two of them. It had been entirely too long since they had some time to themselves. Last night had been the kick off to what was turning into a fabulous weekend.

She stood in front of her open closet. She wanted to wear something that made her feel beautiful, something that would remind Geoff of last night. Something that would remind them both that over forty wasn’t old.

Lucy sensed that Geoff had been hit hard by the big four-oh. Middle-aged. Even though it really wasn’t. His family had longevity in their genes, and modern medical science added in the extra boost. Besides Geoff was fit and healthy. His doctor declared it about his insides, as well as the obvious physical appearance. Lucy felt that forty was just the beginning. Then again she also felt that her kids kept her young. Tonight she was going to remind Geoff they were nowhere near being old.

Red would set off her pale skin and black hair. Turquoise would light up her eyes to a neon blue. And then there was always basic black. Her closet was full of basic black. Her closet wasn’t the gloriously large walk-in type she used to have, it was slightly deeper than two hanger’s widths and as wide as half the bedroom. She knew in the depths there had to be a sexy red dress. Lucy dug into the corner, cursing how she wished she had a flashlight. Clothes pressed against her back and felt uncharacteristically heavy. She cursed again as she discovered just how many of her clothes had slipped from their hangers and were piled up in the back.

I need to clean this thing out. I bet I can give half of these to Stacey. Her daughter was about the same size now, and had a flair for style that Lucy no longer embraced. She unearthed a lone shoe, tossing it to the other side of the closet.

Lucy came up for air, sitting on her haunches just outside of the open closet. She pulled a heap of random clothes with her. Everything was black, or beige. Not beige, taupe. She had gone through a phase where she only wore black white or taupe. She had been very stylish, but also fairly conservative for her own tastes. A glint of red caught her eye as she shifted the pile.

A dress. A spaghetti-strapped velvet sheath dress. Perfect.

A simple guide to writing a simple review

Book Review

You love to read.

Authors love to be read.

Authors also love book reviews.

Reviews trip algorithms in online bookstores, reviews open up advertising options. More reviews get your favorite authors in front of more readers. More readers actually do lead to more books being written.

But you don’t like to write book reports and aren’t comfortable putting out a review of that level.

But the authors keep asking for reviews.

And you like the authors and you want to help.

What do you?

Thats easy, you write a simple review. Authors don’t need those big elaborate reviews that include a synopsis, an analysis, and then an opinion.

Authors don’t need a Thug Notes level review (If you are not familiar with this brilliant literary reviewer, check him out https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLghL9V9QTN0jTgA1qrhWrBCB_Ln4xlVlB). Authors need you to share what you would want to know with other potential readers.

So here are some easy to answer questions that will help you to write a simple review:

Did you like the book? Yes? Fantastic keep going!

Why? What about the story kept you reading? Was it the characters, the location, the use of language, the hot romantic scenes, the lack of romantic scenes, the adventure, the intrigue….

Anything in particular really stands out? Plot twist you didn’t see coming, the character had a flaw and you really could relate to how they overcame it. You laughed out loud. You sobbed and dripped tears on the page.

Did you binge read the book and lose sleep?

And, lastly, would you recommend it?

You don’t need to worry about providing a brief spoiler-free overview. You don’t need to worry about analyzing the symbolism and pointing out any instances of foreshadowing. Just let us know you liked it.

Now what to do if you didn’t like the book.

At this point, most authors are going to say don’t leave a review. While that is an option, sometimes the book is so bad you feel the need to warn others off. Fair enough, but remember if you need to do that, do not level a personal attack on the author. That’s just rude and unnecessary.

What about the story bothered you? Were there overwhelming themes or storylines that you don’t like to read you were unaware were in this book? Was the storyline difficult to follow? Try to be specific in your reasoning for not liking the story. If you didn’t like the characters share that.

Make sure you are clear about the type of book you are reading. It doesn’t help anyone to complain about a relationship in the middle of your adventure if you are reading a romance novel. Or to complain about the violence in a war action novel.

Reviews don’t have to be complex. They really aren’t difficult or intimidating. And authors appreciate them more than you know.

 

 

Interview with Anna J. Stewart

anna

Anna J. Stewart is a USA Today and national bestselling author. Her work ranges from sweet romance, to not so sweet, romantic suspense. Her new release Always the Hero comes out tomorrow (March 1) and will be available as ebook from leading online ebook retailers.(edit: I’ve got links for you at the bottom of the page).

I like to set my interviews in a setting, gives us and the reader a little inside into where you would like to relax. As a self-proclaimed geek girl would we be at Comic Con, or hanging out in the lobby before the next Marvel Cinematic Universe movie?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. With a lot of movies coming out in the next couple of months AND a local Comic Con, it’s an even bet, LOL.

Speaking of MCU movies, what did you think of Black Panther?
I knew it was going to be good. People were raving ahead of time but I didn’t expect to be that blown away. I felt so empowered, so proud of what writers and filmmakers and amazing actors can do when they combine their efforts. And the message of the movie couldn’t be better timed. It wasn’t just a great comic book movie, it was a great movie. One I can’t wait to see again. Which I’m going to have to, because I was late for an appointment and missed the final extra scene. *whaaaaa!*

What were your feelings when watching Wonder Woman last summer?
For a writer, this is going to be a cop out, but indescribable. I’ve been waiting for a feature film of Wonder Woman since I was seven years old. Growing up, there were three shows I never missed: The Hardy Boys, The Bionic Woman, and Wonder Woman. Having read so much about the character, about her history, about the purpose behind her, Patty Jenkins (the director) put it all on the screen and while I wasn’t sold on Gal Gadot when she was first announced, I can’t imagine anyone else playing her now. It was my girl power dreams of childhood made real. Good storytelling, staying true to the character, and those Amazons. Woohoo! I still get chills. I think it was also, aside from the Dark Knight Trilogy, that DC finally got one of their characters right (as opposed to MCU). I’m crossing my fingers for Aquaman (then again, it’s Jason Momoa, so who really cares? I’m going no matter what, LOL).

Cos play yes or no?
Ah, no. Although I did consider wearing a bullet proof vest with “writer” on the front to go as Castle one year. That said, there have been some pretty kick-ass female characters of late to emulate.

Please tell us about Always the Hero, and the Butterfly Harbor Stories.
Butterfly Harbor is my fictional homage to Monterey and the Pacific Grove area of California. As a born and bred California girl, I have a hard time setting my books anywhere else. I love it here. Butterfly Harbor is small town personified, with lots of fun, quirky characters who deal with serious real-life problems.

Always the Hero is the fourth story in the series and features Deputy Matt Knight, an Afghan war veteran who lost his leg in combat. He’s made a lot of promises to a lot of people and he’s not about to let anyone down. But sometimes it just isn’t possible to be all things to all people and unfortunately, he’s going to have to earn Lori Bradley’s trust again after breaking her heart. Lori has her own issues stemming from a difficult childhood that included the death of her little brother when she was only ten, and an event in high school that still haunts her even though she’s convinced herself she’s moved beyond it. She’s my first full-figured heroine, something I’ve been dying to put on the page. As someone who has battled her weight for most of her life, I wanted to explore those issues from a completely different perspective.

Is this a serial series we need to start at the beginning, or can we jump in at any point and still get a complete story?
They absolutely stand on their own so a reader can jump in anywhere they’d like. Hopefully seeing where the characters are now will entice them to read how they got there.

When did you and the writing muse discover each other?
I think I was always a storyteller. I used to make up stories all the time, probably because I was an only child and if I wasn’t reading or watching TV, I was lost in my imagination. Freshman year of high school, soon after reading my first romance, some friends and I started writing mini-romances featuring our favorite rock stars. They moved past it. I didn’t. It’s all I wanted to do. It’s really all I’ve been doing since.

How do your characters come to you? Some authors have described them as voices in their heads, others as a construct they create as they write. Where do your characters fall in that range?
Every story I’ve written has come differently. Sometimes it’s plot or story idea first, other times it’s definitely the character. When the characters appear, Most of the time I tend to know what they look like, but I spend an inordinate amount of time fleshing them out before I get writing. There have been times when I haven’t been able to wait and just jump in. For LOVE IN FOCUS, my second Kindle Worlds story for the St. Helena Vineyards series, Dante was just there (if you read the story, you’ll definitely see why).

Being a USA Today Best Seller is a huge goal, how did you feel when you found out?
I was very fortunate it happened very early on. It was a novella I wrote for a boxed set that I was asked to participate in right before my first Berkley book, ASKING FOR TROUBLE came out. I was thrilled and a bit stunned. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like adding that to my website and signature line, but that said? It’s still all about the stories for me and whichever one I’m working on at the moment.

You write both sweet romance to hot. How do you decide which is appropriate for your stories?
Honestly, my publisher decides, LOL. The Heartwarming line is Harlequin’s sweet (or as they call it, clean and wholesome) line. There’s NO sex on the page and even very little sexual/physical contact. It’s all about the emotions and the connection between the hero and heroine, which I happen to love. Not having a love scene to rely on has made me a better writer; I have to focus on more than the physical and really delve into why two people fall in love. That said, after writing a few sweet romances, I’m ready for some characters to hit the sack. Not that any of my books get particularly steamy. I’m tame by most people’s standards. I write what I like to read.

Do you have a preference for sweet or for the more detailed steamy scenes?
Totally depends on the characters. Going into any of my Heartwarmings, I know what I can and can’t include. I can push the boundaries a little with the romantic suspense and paranormal (which I just started publishing). If I had a preference? I’d fall somewhere in the middle.

I saw a teaser on your website that you plan on returning to writing paranormal and urban fantasy, how soon can we expect that to happen?
It did, actually! In February, I published the first of three short paranormal romances (all connected) in Heart’s Kiss Magazine. WARDEN OF MAGIC (book 1, February’s issue), WARDEN OF SIGHT (April’s issue), and WARDEN OF FATE make up one big story of three sisters vacationing in Edinburgh, Scotland, who each find themselves whisked into a magical storybook. From there, they each meet their heroes, imprisoned warriors, and together they must battle and defeat an evil focused on taking over the imaginary world…or is it imaginary? I’m having SO much fun writing these. It’s like coming home (it’s been almost 10 years since I’ve written any new paranormal stories).

The NSA checks out your browser history, what are they going to think of you?
Oh, trust me. If the NSA checks, you’ll be seeing me featured on the evening news, LOL. I’ve researched everything from pipe bombs (for a Heartwarming no less) to blood diseases to serial killers. Man, I love my job.
You can find Anna on these social media outlets:

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Book Bub

Instagram

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 8.07.05 PM

You can find Always the Hero at these retail ebook retailers:

Wip-it Wednesday Tori and Les

grapes-1952073_1920

I’m really excited to announce that I will be contributing to the May release of Marina Adair’s St. Helena Vineyards Kindleworlds! This is a little peek at what I’ve been working on for it.

“Oh we’re not done.” Les smiled before turning away. He bent over and pulled something from the lower level of the serving cart behind him.

Tori’s eyes went wide.

Les held two long white rectangular plates with five round mini towers of cheesecake.

“Oh, none for me, I don’t eat dairy.” Krista quietly pushed out of her chair. “I’ll see you in the truck.”

Everyone watched as she quietly left.

“Is she okay?” Marc asked.

“Yeah, she’s just really quiet and shy.” Tori screwed up her face. “And socially awkward. But I think she actually really liked the cakes. She said something.”

Tori turned her attention back to the cheesecakes. Now, this is what she was hoping for. She smiled with delight as he slid the long plate in front of her.

“Are you going to do a cheesecake flight? That would be awesome.” She looked at Les expectantly.

“Hadn’t thought about that. Hmm?” Chef tapped his fork against his mouth. “That might be worth looking into.”

“A flight?” Marc asked.

“Yeah, it’s like a wine tasting where you get a smaller portion of different flavors. People have been doing it around here for so long, they don’t call it a flight, just a tasting,” Les answered. He turned to Tori. “Well? What are you waiting for?”

“Sorry…I…ah…yeah.” She slid the fork into the first cheesecake. Chocolate by the coloring. It was delicious, and smooth, and perfect. The cocoa flavor almost as intense as the cake earlier.

She wanted to dive in and finish the entire small piece, but Krista was waiting, and there were four more flavors.

The next one played a myriad of flavors across her tongue. She closed her eyes and savored the nuances of wine and white chocolate. She may have moaned.

Les shifted uneasily. He watched as the tip of Tori’s tongue touched the morsel of food on the fork. She guided the fork into her mouth, then closed her pink lips around the cheesecake. The fork slid ever so slowly from between her lips, wiped perfectly clean. His body pulled, what he wouldn’t give to be that fork right now. Stop it, dude, that’s just Tori.

She focused on a bite of a different flavor. Mouth, lips, tongue. She made a stuttering mew of a moan. The look on her face…Les felt a throb in his crotch.

Chef cleared his throat and put his fork down. Les looked over at Marc, he shifted uneasily in his chair. Damn, Les wasn’t the only one thinking that Tori might be enjoying her cheesecake a bit too much. Then again, what would it take for a man to satisfy her to that level?

Les started clearing plates as Tori sampled the last flavor on her plate. He had a hard time watching, he felt almost dirty, like he had been caught sneaking into his dad’s Penthouse collection.

He shook his head, yeah, no. Stop that. It was Tori, she was cute and all, but no, not Tori. Not with her plus-sized jeans. Oh shut the f* up Les, you’re beginning to sound like Stevens. Why not Tori?

After a few false starts, and a voice crack, Chef managed, “You certainly enjoy your cheesecake. That was positively…”

“I feel like a bit of a voyeur having witnessed that.”

Les caught Tori blushing, and staring at her plate embarrassed. “No boss-man, that’s exactly the reaction we want. Tori, you clearly had favorites, share.”

“Uhm, okay.” She pointed to the chocolate, “This was nice but boring, especially after trying the rest of these. The wine, whats the chocolate?” Tori slid her fork back into the swirls of the cheesecake she mentioned and then slipped another small bite between her lips.

“White chocolate ganache with blackcurrant marbling.” Les swallowed the dry lump in his throat. The way she enjoyed the dessert made it hard for him to focus. He needed a moment or three in the deep freezer to cool off.

“Yeah,” she hummed. “It’s amazing, but I think too rich for a full-size slice. You really should consider a flight, because this amount would be just perfect. But include a plain cheesecake, as a cleanser between the other fancy ones.”

She tapped her fork against what remained of a soft orange and lavender-tinted piece. “This is the one you threatened me with before isn’t is? It’s amazing. It could easily stand on its own. I’ll make sure to get all the lavender I can for you.”

The kitchen doors swung open. “Your ride is honking, it’s distracting.” Stevens sneered at Tori.

“That’s not like Krista. I better go.” Tori stood in a hurry. “Thank you for letting me try all these out. You have to do the honey lemon and lavender, it’s amazing.”

“You didn’t like the chocolate cheesecake?” Les asked. People loved his chocolate cheesecake.

“Don’t get me wrong…” Tori flushed. “The chocolate was fantastic, but I want to have the honey, lemon, and lavender’s babies. Why have just good, when you can have orgasmic?”

In the back of his brain, Les was kicked with a thought, what would it be like to have Tori look at him as if he were cheesecake.