Thursday, February 28, 2013

Follow Friday Four Fill in Fun Blog Hop – week 101

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This is a fun meme and it's hosted by Hilary at Feeling Beachie. Check out her lovely blog, if you'd like to participate.

This week’s statements:

1. Sometimes I watch TV when I am too tired to keep my eyes open.

2. When I wear sweats I feel the most comfortable.

3. When in doubt, don't do it!

4. The easiest way to be disappointed is to have unrealistic goals.

The Friday 56



This is a fun meme to do hosted by Freda's Voice. If you'd like to join on the fun go to The Friday 56.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.

I'm reading...



"You sure you're okay?" Slate was staring. I realized that I was shaking. "My grandmother's name was Susan. I used to think those were named after her."

"Your grandmother is buried in the family plot?" Slate reacted out to touch a petal. "Yes. Next to my grandfather Jeb."

"That isn't possible."

"Why is that not possible?"

Book Giveaway Winner!








The winner of Cliffhanger by Amy Saunders is....

Entry #42 Suko


  Congrats to Suko!  
Thanks to all who participated!

Booking Through Thursday - Current Events




If you'd like to join in on Booking Through Thursday, just click the button above.



This week's question...


One of those quick, easy questions that I ask periodically because the answer is always changing:

What are you reading right now? (And, is it good? Would you recommend it? How did you choose it?)

My answer...

I'm reading



I just started reading it, so I can't recommend it right now. I'm only 24% through it on my Kindle. So far, it's a good story but you can't really tell much so early in the book. It's a novella, so it's pretty short. I'm reading it for a review.



Cat Thursday - February 28th



Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! This fun meme is hosted by The True Book Addict. Go over to her site to join in the fun.



iz likin myself on lolcats.com - lolcats.com

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blog Tour: A Luring Murder by Stacy Verdick Case (Review, Interview and Giveaway!!!)





Genre:
Mystery

Format:
E-Book (Also available in paperback)

Publisher:
Before the Fall Books

Release Date:
December 2012





St. Paul Detective Catherine O’Brien finally gets to take a much-needed and deserved vacation with her husband, Gavin. Their first vacation in ten years and it’s to a Minnesota resort for fishing. When one of the town’s citizens is found dead, the local sheriff turns to Catherine for help.

Much to Catherine’s surprise and delight, her partner Louise shows up and together they conduct their own unofficial search for a killer. It’s not long before they find this small resort town isn’t quite as pleasant as they thought.

The mystery keeps you guessing throughout the book. The victim is not well-liked, which means there are many suspects to choose from. Even the local deputy had a reason to want this man dead. The story is filled with deception, betrayal and a stray dog that seems attached to Catherine’s husband. This isn’t how the O’Brien’s planned to spend their vacation.

This is the sequel to the author’s first book, “A Grand Murder” and it picks up right where the first one left off. Although I enjoyed “A Grand Murder”, I enjoyed this even more. The friendship between Catherine and her partner Louise is the best part of this series. They remind me of Thelma and Louise, but these two are on the right side of the law. I can’t wait for the third book!






FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

For reading challenges:

2013 ARC Reading Challenge
2013 E-Book Reading Challenge
2013 Where Are You Reading? Challenge (Minnesota)

AUTHOR INTERVIEW!

Please join me in welcoming author Stacy Verdick Case to Socrates’ Book Review Blog. Stacy is the author of the Catherine O'Brien mystery series. Her second book, “A Luring Murder” was released in December.


1) How did you begin your writing career?

I didn’t start to seriously pursue a career as a writer until I turned 25. That’s when my sister dug up an old goal sheet her, and I had written as kids titled, “By the Time I’m 25.” We laughed at things like I would be married to John Taylor from Duran Duran, but there was one little note that really depressed me. It said, “I will write a novel.” It took about a week after that for me start working on my first manuscript.

2) Are you a mystery reader? Is that why you chose mystery as your genre to write?

Oh yes, I am a devout mystery reader although I consider myself an omnivore reader. If there are words that sit still long enough I will read them, I don’t care what genre they’re in. I love a good romance, horror, literary, self-help, spiritual, reference books, there isn’t anything I won’t read. Anyone who haunts my GoodReads shelf can attest to that.

Originally, I started writing romances, but an editor commented on the high body counts in my books and asked if I’d considered writing mysteries. Then I attempted a romantic mystery but Catherine wanted to be born.

3) Do you have an outline for this series? Do you know exactly how the series will play out?

No, not at all. And outline would imply I knew what these characters are doing. I’m what other writers call a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. I tried to outline once, but the story just wouldn’t behave, it kept going off on tangents that I didn’t expect. As a writer, you’re either a plotter who knows every nuance of the story before you start, or you’re a pantser who trusts it will all work out in the end.

4) How many books will there be in the series and do you have any other series planned?

I wish I knew. I have a third book waiting in the wings, but I don’t have any idea how many there will be. I’ll keep writing as long as I think I can make a story fresh and fun. If I’m bored I’ll stop because I think the reader will be able to tell that I’m not into it anymore.

I’m not sure I’d try another series. If the characters were compelling enough that I wanted to carry on with them, then maybe. At the moment though there’s no plan for a second series.

5) Do you have any favorite authors and/or books to recommend?

Every year I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. That book is so well written that it’s impossible to find fault with it.

6) What do you think about the sudden e-book explosion? Do you like it?

Anything that gets people reading is wonderful. I have a Kindle and an iPad with all the reading apps. When you read as much as I do they’re convenient. My Kindle is the little bitty one, and it fits so nicely in a purse I am never caught in a long line without a book anymore. I now have one book going on Audio in my car, a paperback on my bedside, and another book on my Kindle. Any way you can squeeze a good book into your day is okay by me.

7) From the time you finish writing a book to the time you actually get it published, how long does it take?

Well, it depends. The first one took 10 years from completion to publication, but that’s how it goes sometimes when you’re starting out.

This book took a lot longer than I had intended because it wasn’t originally the second book. I wrote this book very fast. People wanted to know what happened to Catherine on vacation, but I hadn’t written that book. It was originally scheduled to be released in the spring, but I couldn’t get the story right. Then there was an October deadline, but my father-in-law passed away. I didn’t feel I could properly support a book at that time. Then a November deadline that was interrupted by a medical problem and I wasn’t able to support the book.

The third book was written a few years ago, and it got shunted aside for A Luring Murder. So there isn’t really a set time from completion to publication.

8) How did it feel the first time you were published? What was your first published work?

I was first published in The High School Writer; a short piece which I won a High School Writer award for.

A Grand Murder was my first published novel. If I was under hot lights, and force to be honest, it was a bit of a letdown. That sounds horrible, and I don’t mean to be. It’s just that as a writer, you build that moment up so much over the years that nothing can compare to your expectations and fantasies. George Eliot once said, “Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.” I suspect George was referring to book launch day.

9) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write, read, pray, and believe. Also, it’s a real viper’s den out there, so be kind to yourself. There are a lot of nasty people in the world who would like nothing better than to tear you and your work apart. Make sure your coping network is intact and don’t allow the voices in your head to dog pile on. You deserve better than your own harsh criticisms.

10) What upcoming books can we look forward to seeing from you?

The next book is the one that was originally slated to be book two and has now been recast as book three in the series. Then I might take a break from Catherine for a bit. There’s another story that’s been nagging at me to write it. I think I’ll give that some attention and see where it goes.


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us, Stacy.

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so grateful to be part of Socrates’ Book Review.


BOOK GIVEAWAY (INTERNATIONAL)!!!!

How would you like to win a copy of this for your very own? Thanks to author Stacy Verdick Case I can two books to two lucky winners - the first place winner will receive a paperback copy of the book.  The second place winner will get an e-book of this fun story.


Just a few simple rules...

1) You must fill out the form below (including a valid email address).

2) For an extra entry: Follow this blog

3) For an extra entry: Follow me on Twitter

4) For an extra entry: Follow me on Goodreads

5) For an extra 2 entries: Post this giveaway on your blog.

6) For an extra 2 entries: Tweet about this giveaway.

The giveaway begins on February 27th (midnight est) and ends on March 13th (midnight est).

The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays - February 26th




If you'd like to play along on Teaser Tuesdays, just click the button above.


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


This week I'm about to start reading...



It figured that I would get lost. Kyle was always telling me I had a terrible sense of direction.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Author Interview/Spotlight: The Cait Morgan Mysteries by Cathy Ace


The Corpse with the Silver Tongue

In the south of France where hatred simmers in the heat, a man seemingly admired, and certainly feared, drops dead at a dinner party. All of the guests fall under suspicion, including Welsh-Canadian professor Cait Morgan. A criminologist who specializes in profiling victims, Cait sets out to solve the murder–clear her name. Add to this the disappearance of an ancient Celtic gold collar said to be cursed and there you have the ingredients for a Nicoise salad of death, secrets, and lies. Will Cait find the killer before she too falls victim to a murderer driven by a surprising and disturbing motive?

The Corpse with the Silver Tongue is the first in the Cait Morgan Mystery series, a classic whodunit series featuring the eccentric Professor Cait Morgan.


The Corpse with the Golden Nose

A world-famous vintner is dead. And when a heartfelt plea to look into the matter is paired with an exclusive gourmet event in British Columbia’s stunning wine country, overindulgent foodie and criminologist Cait Morgan cannot resist. Cait is sure the owner of a family-run vineyard was murdered. Bud Anderson, Cait’s companion for the weekend, is convinced the woman took her own life. That is, until death strikes once again, between the neat rows of grapevines on the banks of magnificent Lake Okanagan. Uncovering obsessions and murderous thoughts among the victim’s wacky neighbors is a start. But, Cait soon realizes that more lives are at stake. Can she think, and act, quickly enough to prevent another death?

The second book in the Cait Morgan Mysteries, The Corpse with the Golden Nose is a classic whodunit featuring the eccentric Professor Cait Morgan.

To find out more about the books and to purchase them (and Cathy's other books), check them out at Amazon.



Author Interview





Please join me in welcoming author Cathy Ace to Socrates’ Book Review Blog.  Cathy is the author of the Cait Morgan mysteries.  The second book in the series is due out in March. 

Welcome, Cathy!  We are very happy to have you join us today!

Thanks very much for having me! It’s great to have the chance to talk to those who, like me, enjoy a good mystery.

1)         First, when did you know you wanted to write books and mysteries, in particular?

I think I started to write when I was quite young, probably around ten or so, because I wanted to tell stories. I’d always been a chatterbox, and the early influences of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, as well as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven, meant I was sucked, quite happily, toward telling stories that were about adventure, puzzles and mysteries.

I was lucky enough to gain a place at University to study English literature, but realized, quite early on, that, instead of studying how others had described the human condition, I’d rather study it myself. So, I packed in English and graduated in Psychology! My working life has been all about writing: I’ve worked in advertising, marketing, public relations and training for my whole career, so I’ve been lucky to be a “professional writer”. I had the chance to write nine post-graduate marketing textbooks, as a part of that career. Back in 1989 I wrote a short story that won a competition: “Murder and be published” was the title of the competition, so I did, and I was. But this early success came at exactly the wrong time for me: I’d just taken the leap to setting up my own business and, with no alternative source of income, I threw myself into building up my business, and writing as a part of that career, rather than my fiction writing. 

I didn’t re-visit crime writing again until 2007, following the radio broadcast, on BBC Radio 4, of that original short story of mine. By then I’d sold my business, moved to Vancouver, Canada, and was teaching marketing at universities there. I self-published two collections – one of short stories in 2007, one of novellas in 2008 - and was then delighted to be invited to write a manuscript featuring Cait Morgan. I submitted the manuscript to TouchWood Editons in December 2010, was offered a contract in May 2011, and THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE was published in March 2012.

Crime fiction is what I was brought up on – and now I cannot imagine writing anything else!

2)         Who is your greatest influence in your writing life?

If I leave out the authors who’ve influenced me (more of that later) then I think I’m left with my Mum! In fact, thinking about it…I blame her for the whole thing! She was the one who allowed me to spend hours reading books; she was the one who had Agatha Christie’s books on her shelves; even now she’s the one who is the first to read everything I write, and who cheers me, and steers me. The fact that she, aided and abetted by my Dad, brought me up with the firm conviction that the harder you work, the luckier you get, has made me who I am. So, yes, my Mum is the greatest influence in my writing life.

3)         Do you have any favorite mystery authors?   Any favorite books in particular?

In the traditional vein, which is my chosen genre, Agatha Christie, Ellis Peters, Ngaio Marsh and, more recently, Alan Bradley, are my favourites. Along with Conan Doyle, they give me everything I need. That said, I do sometimes enjoy reading books that are a little different, and my next-favourite genre is the British police procedural:  PD James (though I don’t really think of the Dalgliesh books as procedurals), Reginald Hill, Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, RD Wingfield and Colin Dexter have all created worlds where I enjoy spending time. If pushed, then I would certainly say that Agatha Christie is my favourite author, and my favourite books would all be by her.

4)         Do you do much research for your books?  What is involved?

“A lot depends on the book,” is the honest answer! Also, some research is practical: it sounds like a terrible waste, but I had to be certain that a woman of my girth and stature would, in fact, be able to smash a full champagne bottle…so I did it! (By the way, it’s a lot harder than you think.) That said, most is textual, or visual: I read a lot online (always multiple sources, to ensure veracity), and I “visit” places – sometimes via online maps, sometimes on the ground. Usually, I’ll eat the food and imbibe the drinks to make sure I know exactly what Cait has tasted!

 In THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE I didn’t need to do much “location” research as I have lived in Nice, France, so I know it well. I also didn’t need to do much research into the Roman, Belle Epoque or Nazi Occupation history of the city, but I did spend some time researching exactly how snails are raised for food, how the Druids were treated by the Roman armies in Wales just after the birth of Christ, and that sadly necessary task of breaking a champagne bottle! Hopefully that shows how diverse fields of research can be for just one book!

For THE CORPSE WITH THE GOLDEN NOSE, again I knew the location well: Kelowna is British Columbia’s wine country and I’ve visited often. However (and this is where the violins should start up, please) I did have to do a fair bit of wine-drinking research, as my titular victim is a wine taster. I know it’s tough, but someone has to do it! I also had some wonderfully informative conversations with a Coroner in the area, and found out a lot more than I thought I would need to about the box-making industry in Scotland in the 1700’s. Again, research is as varied as your storyline.

For THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB, which is the third in the Cait Morgan Mysteries series, and which will see the light of day in 2014, I can’t say too much . . . but I will tell you that a Mexican location, and a tequila-producing co-operative are involved. I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions about what sort of research I’ve been carrying out for that one!

5)         Where do you do most of your writing?  Can you describe the setting for us?

When it’s hot I try to write outside on my deck: there’s an awning for shade, my dogs can lie in the sun until their fur is too hot to touch, and I can feel the life and strength that I get from being out of doors. BUT, given that I live in the wonder of the world that is the north-western rain forest, I usually write indoors! My study is a fair-sized room, painted in a strong eau de nil, with black curtains, brushed steel blinds, black furnishings and carpet. It’s very art deco. I LOVE art deco. I enjoy symmetry. The bookshelves are stacked (sometimes tidily), the walls are covered with dozens of prints, some of which have lived with me for about forty years – they are old friends.

6)         Is Cait Morgan based on either a real or fictional character?

She’s my height, my weight, went to the same schools I went to, dresses the same as me . . . get the picture?  Yes, Cait is based on me, but only insofar as we are similar – we are not one and the same. She’s had some tough stuff happen to her in her past, she has a photographic memory, and she seems to trip over corpses wherever she goes. Luckily, these are not true of me!

8)         Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

This is so difficult to answer, as there are so many ways to approach it. Generally: be a better reader, and you stand the chance of becoming a better writer. More specifically: practice writing, it’s not something that comes easily, or overnight. Very specifically: if you’re looking for an agent or publisher, do your research, and pick your targets carefully. Finally, even though it’s now relatively easy to self-publish, don’t let that make you think it’s easy to self-edit: if you’re going to spend money on anything, spend it on a good editor.

9)         Are you an e-book or print book reader?

I don’t own an e-reader…though I should add “yet” to that statement, as I think there’s one in my future.

10)       Can you give us a sneak peek at your next release?

THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE was published in March 2012, which means that *drum roll* my next book, THE CORPSE WITH THE GOLDEN NOSE, will be launched in March 2013. Thus, this interview gives me the ideal opportunity to whet people’s appetites for the second Cait Morgan Mystery. I should mention that my aim is to have the titular corpse on the first page of each book: that way, readers don’t have to wade through a lot of background before they get to their first dead body (something I’m not too keen on as a reader).

So here’s the first page (and a bit) of THE CORPSE WITH THE GOLDEN NOSE:

Champagne and orange juice

Bud slapped the photograph onto the table in front of me as though it were a gauntlet.
            “This photo showed up in my email a few days ago. From someone I . . . know. What do you read in it, Cait?” he looked grim.
            I held the photo at arm’s length, and squinted at the blurry image. I could make out two women, both with dark, curly hair. They were smiling.
            I felt my multi-purpose right eyebrow shoot up as I asked, “Is just one of them dead, or both of them?”
            “How’d you guess?” Bud asked, grinning.
            “Oh, let me see, now . . . maybe it’s something to do with me being a criminologist who specializes in victim profiling and you being an ex-homicide detective? And the hope, on my part, that you’re unlikely to show me a photo of a woman, especially two women, in whom you have anything other than a professional interest. Those facts, when taken together with my amazing powers of deduction have helped me reach the conclusion that I’m looking at either one or two victims, or, if not victims, then at least dead people.” I hurled a bright smile toward Bud and waited for him to tell me off for my cheekiness.
            Bud shrugged. “You know me too well, Cait.” His voice warmed, and he looked pleased about something. Then his smile faded. “The taller of the two died about a year ago. The other one’s her older sister. But that’s all you get.”
            “So there’s no point my asking if it was an accident, a suicide, or a homicide?” I punted.
            Bud paused, refreshed our glasses and took a sip from the champagne flute that looked almost too delicate in his large hand. “I can’t tell you that, because I don’t know, Cait, I can only be certain it wasn’t an accident. The whole local community, the cops, and the coroner, all say suicide. The sister says no way. I have no idea. There was a note, and the sister says the cops won’t look into it any further as there are no grounds to suspect that anyone else was involved.”
           

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Thank you, Yvonne, it’s been a pleasure.

Musing Mondays - Reading and Writing Reviews


If you'd like to play along on Musing Mondays, just click the button above to join in.



Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…


  • Describe one of your reading habits.
  • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
  • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
  • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books -- let's hear it, then! :D



My Musing...

This week I'm going to ramble about something and I'm hoping you guys will respond because I'm really curious about this and wondering what everyone else thinks.  It's about writing and reading reviews.  Some of us do both (I'm one of those), some only read reviews, others only write them...whichever category you fall into, here's what I'm wondering...

What do you prefer in your reviews?  A simple synopsis of the story, then the reviewers opinion?  Star ratings...do you like those?  Do you think it's fine to use the official publisher's synopsis of the book (whether it's a book blurb or from one of the sites like Goodreads or Amazon) or do you prefer the reviewer to summarize the book in their own words?  Do you like in depth reviews?  Spoilers?  What's your preference?

Personally, I go for short and sweet because my attention tends to wander if the reviews are too long.  For me, the official synopsis is okay since that's what the book is about.  That doesn't change if I put it into my own words, although sometimes we might tend to see things differently, I guess.  I absolutely hate spoilers.  I don't want a story to be spoiled for me.  I want to read it for myself and be surprised.  I enjoy it more that way.

Do you review all the books you read, whether they've been requested or not?  I don't necessarily review everything (unless I'm reading something that was requested, of course), but there have been books I've read for my own enjoyment and I reviewed those - especially if I'm reading them for a reading challenge.  I always feel like I need to review them, even when a challenge specifically says you don't have to.

Do you read reviews before you start reading books?  For me, it's not a hard rule but sometimes I will.  More often than not, I'll read a review by a blogger who has similar reading tastes as I do.  Sometimes I'll just read a book without a review.  Like I said, it's not a hard rule for me one way or the other.

So, what's your take on reviews - reading and/or writing them?


Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I wasn't very productive but I did finish a book and hosted a few blog tours this week.  Hopefully, I can do more reading this week.



I finished reading...




I'm currently reading...



and still listening to...


Next up...




What was your week like? What are you reading this week?

Blog Tour: Rush by Maya Banks (Spotlight and Interview)





Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking…

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.
Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

Links to purchase the book




Author Interview



I would like to welcome author Maya Banks to Socrates’ Book Review Blog. Maya is a bestselling author of over 50 books. We are very happy to have her visit our little blog.


1) You have written quite a number of books. Do you have a favorite?


I have a few favorites and sometimes they change depending on my mood :) But I really love Whispers in the Dark, Shades of Gray, FEVER, Stay With Me, Amber Eyes and Sweet Addiction.



2) Do you have a favorite genre to read and write?


For me I just love a good romance. If an author can give that to me then I'll read any genre. I will say I don't read a whole lot of paranormal and oddly enough I don't read many historicals at all even though I love writing them. As for what I love to write, I'm writing exactly what I love and want to continue writing. Contemporary erotic romance, romantic suspense and Scottish Historicals.



3) Is it easier to write one genre over another?


I would say my KGI series is the hardest to write. It has a large cast of characters and keeping up with timelines and what's happened in prior books keeps me on my toes. I don't know WHY they're harder for me to write, but I can write my historicals and my contemporary erotic romances in half the time it takes me to write one of the KGI books. I put a LOT of thought and concentration for those KGI books, as I do with all my books, but the KGI series takes more brain power for me than the other books I write.



4) Is it easier to research one genre over another?


No, I'd say research is research. Whether I'm writing a historical or a contemporary, I still have to get it right and I have to fact check and check plausibility and know when I can stretch the parameters and when I can't.



5) What made you decide to be an author?


I love writing. I've always loved writing. I express myself so much better in the written word over speaking. And I love romance. I adore it. I've read it since I was ten years old so it was only natural that romance would be what I wrote when I decided to take the plunge and write for more than just my own enjoyment.


6) Who is your greatest influence in your writing career?


I've always said that everything I learned about writing really great books, I learned from reading Julie Garwood's books. And by that I mean, she makes every single character, no matter how small of a role they play, interesting and colorful. It's something I've carried over into my own writing. If a character is going to make an appearance I want them to be appealing. I want every scene to count and to be interesting and advance the story and I think Garwood is a master at that.


7) How did it feel when you first found out you were going to be published?


It didn't really set in right away. I was kind of disconnected because I didn't feel like it was real. In some ways thats still true. I'm still in awe that I'm able to do something I love more than anything and make a living at it. I still have days where I think how the heck did this happen? And I'm still not really sure how it did lol


8) Do you have one all time favorite book?


I can't pick ONE, but I have several that I adore and reread often. I love Honor's Splendour and Saving Grace by Julie Garwood. I love Dark Prince and Dark Fire by Christine Feehan. I love The Seduction of his Wife by Janet Chapman and I have several favorites by Sharon Sala. Out of the Dark and Remember Me. And my favorite Lisa Marie Rice book is Dangerous Passion



9) Is there one author you admire more than any other?


No, I can't say that there is one single author that I admire above all others because I have so much respect for many authors. If I had to absolutely pick ONE, I'd probably go with Nalini Singh. I adore her personally and professionally.



10) Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?


Don't give up. There isn't an author alive who hasn't been rejected at some point in their career. And be true to your voice and don't let others water it down. Go with your gut and stick to your guns. If you love what you're writing and you're passionate about it, it will show in the writing.



11) Can you give us a sneak peek at your next release?


My next release is FEVER, the second book in the Breathless trilogy and features Jace Crestwell, a man who more often than not shares women with his best friend and business partner Ash McIntyre. But that all changes when Jace meets Bethany, and after a threesome, Jace makes it clear that Bethany is his and his alone and he won't share her with anyone. Even Ash. Even if it costs him a friendship and a bond that is closer than blood. It's a very angsty, raw, emotional book! I can't wait to see if readers love it as much as I do :)


Thank you so much for visiting us, Maya!

Thanks so much for having me! xoxo

The Sunday Post - February 24th


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I'm, once again, falling behind on my reading and reviews.  I guess that's what happens when we have "real" life things going on.  I have a really bad cold and it's been keeping me down.  We did manage to get to a concert this week - since we already had tickets.  We saw The Who.  We've been seeing them every year since they've been touring.  Great concert!  I'm even starting to feel a little better so maybe I'll get some reading in :)


This week on Socrates' Book Review Blog...

Blog Tours I Hosted 

 
 

Blog Giveaways This Week!



Reviews This Week


Posts This Week

Monday
Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday



Blog Tours Coming Up Next Week



2/24 (Spotlight and Interview)



2/25 (Spotlight and Interview)


2/27 (Review, Interview and Giveaway)



What was your week like?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blog Tour: Cupid Rocks by Francesca Hawley (Spotlight)




Cupid Rocks
Francesca Hawley

ISBN: 9781419945281

Book Length: Novel
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.

Availability: Feb 22, 2013








DESCRIPTION

When her parents’ rock band The Pack performs at Zach’s bar, Mandy discovers her True Mate, Joe Blackwolf, the band’s lead singer and guitarist. All she has to do now is convince Joe that she told a little white lie to make her mom happy, her father that rock musicians aren’t all alike, and her new mate’s family that rockers aren’t all that different from classical musicians.

Joe Blackwolf is celebrating his fortieth birthday. And what he wishes for when he blows out the candles is to find his True Mate. He succeeds when he meets Mandy Goldwolf. Problem is…she belongs to someone else. Finding out the truth leaves him free to explore every inch of her smokin’ hot curves, but now Joe and Mandy are neck deep in overbearing relatives and everyone is in for a rockin’ Valentine’s Day.

A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Excerpt

“Am I dead, Angel? Cause you look like you’re straight from heaven!”

“That has to be the worst line I’ve ever heard,” Mandy laughed, looking up into warm brown eyes. She shivered as he settled into the chair beside her.

“Maybe, but it made you laugh.” He took her hand. “Can I buy you a drink?”

Joe waved over a waiter and ordered for them without once releasing her hand. She could feel the rough calluses guitar playing had created on his fingers, but they turned her on. He turned her on.

This was Joe? “Good ole Joe” as Eddie called him. He was neither good nor old. No. He was gorgeous…and talented. Zach wasn’t kidding when he’d said this Blackwolf was a great guitarist and singer. For the first time since Carly bugged her, she wished with all her might she hadn’t lied about Zach being her mate. Zach might be handsome, but Joe made her throb in places that hadn’t throbbed in all of her thirty-five years.

“So what’s with the camera, Angel? Fan or reporter?”

Mandy looked down at her fingers clenched around her camera strap. If she told him who she was, he’d back off so fast she’d see skid marks on the floor. Just this once, she wanted to pretend she was someone else. Just tonight. She leaned forward pressing her lips against his ear.

“I’m more than a fan. I’m a groupie. Can’t you tell?” He shuddered, turning his head he met her gaze. The fire glowing in his eyes set her boiling. Yes. She had to have him. Now.

“A groupie? For just any rock musician?”

“No, Joe. I want you.”

“Fuck, yeah,” he growled, standing so abruptly his chair toppled over. No one nearby noticed as he dragged her to her feet. “Where?”

Mandy looked over toward the hallway leading to Zach’s office and smiled. They had a clear path. She pulled him after her and they ducked into the shadowy space. He pressed her to the wall and took her mouth in a deep kiss. Their mouths meshed together. Joe pulled back to nip at her lips, then ran his tongue along the inside edge of her lower lip. She caught his long dark hair in her fingers, holding his mouth to hers.

Fire. Heat. She’d never felt anything like this in her entire life. She moaned as his mouth slid to nuzzle her neck. Mandy wrapped her free arm around him, clutching his leather jacket. She lifted her right leg along his hip. He stepped into the opening she’d created, thrusting his hips against hers.
 

She shivered as his rough fingers slid along her leg and under her skirt. He slipped his fingers under her panties and cupped her ass. Grasping her, he pulled her more firmly against his hard cock. He reached up to her peasant top, untying the drawstring to bare her bra covered breast. His hot breath teased her neck and then his warm tongue grazed her skin as he licked his way over her curves

“Hey. Anyone seen Joe?” Mandy and Joe froze as she heard Eddie’s voice. He was close. Too close. She looked out of the entrance of the hall. She didn’t see him, but he was right there. She knew it. Mandy closed her eyes, fighting to keep her panting excitement from giving them away.

“I think I saw him with a hot chick earlier. I didn’t get a good look at her though. Just noticed she was his type.” Tom responded with a laugh.

Joe groaned in her ear, and kissed her cheek. She turned to look up at him. He was still on fire, she could see it but there was a definite question in his dark eyes? Stop or go?

She lowered her leg and he sighed, then she smiled and grabbed his hand. “This way,” she whispered.

Mandy knew there was an empty unlocked office back here and she wanted this wolf and she wanted him now. He chuckled as they moved into the darkness. She found the door on the right and turned the knob. Hearing the click, she pushed, wincing at the creak when the door stuck. He pushed her through and they shut the door behind them. Mandy flipped the light switch, blinking a bit to adjust to the table lamps that came on. She’d been expecting an overhead. They looked at each other and grinned.

Joe pulled her over to the empty desk and she climbed up onto it. He stroked her cheek. “You’re sure?”

“Yes. I don’t want to stop. Not now.”



About the Author






Hi. I’m Francesca Hawley and I’m a fat chick. A woman with dangerous curves just like my heroines.

Many people don’t like the word, “fat” but I do because it’s the truth and I’ve learned to own it.  I am a fat chick and I always will be. Even if my fairy godmother popped in right at this moment and waved her wand to make me a size 2, I know that mentally and emotionally I’d still be a fat chick. So why is this relevant? Well, my size has had a major influence on how I see the world and how I write.

I first began to read romance when I was in my teens. I loved the genre, but the heroines were all thin. Their thighs didn’t rub together…had never rubbed together…and frankly I had trouble relating to these ladies. The stories were great—full of emotion and well told, but the heroines weren’t like me and that was a major disappointment.  I kept wondering where were the fat heroines? I found some occasionally, but to have their Happily Ever After they usually had to lose weight and go from ugly duckling to swan.

Well, I wanted a fat heroine who loved herself—or at least learned to love herself—and a hot alpha hero who liked her jiggly bits just the way they were. Since I didn’t find many big girls to read about, I decided  to write about them myself. After all, I loved to write anyway and had been writing almost as long as I’d been reading, so Francesca Hawley – author of Romance with Dangerous Curves was born.

In a Francesca Hawley romance, my readers will find authentic, sensual, fat heroines who love and are loved by their intense, passionate, and seductive Alpha heroes. I hope you enjoy their dangerous curves just as much as their hunky heroes do.









Friday, February 22, 2013

Upcoming Random House Publishing Books

On sale next week








Coming soon



Ruthie Knox’s Camelot Series:
-->

--> Toni Aleo’s Assassins Series: -->
--> And, Loveswept Historical Romances: --> -->


Blog Tour: A Plain Scandal by Amanda Flower (Interview, Spotlight and Bookgiveaway!)





Synopsis of A Plain Death

An unlikely friendship between a high-tech woman and a runaway Amish girl leads to murder. Her first day in Appleseed Creek, Ohio, Chloe Humphrey, befriends Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home. While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish bishop in the process. The case moves from accident to murder when police reveal a cut brake line. Now, Chloe and Becky’s handsome brother, Timothy, must discover who the real intended victim is before the murderer makes a second attempt.


Appleseed Creek Mystery #1

B&H Publishing
Published/Released: July 2012
ISBN 13: 978-1433676970

Buy Now
Amazon.com
CBD
Barnes & Noble
Nook
Books-A-Million
Berean,
LifeWay


Synopsis of A Plain Scandal


The Amish in the quiet Appleseed Creek community are under attack. An unknown assailant is cutting off the long hair of Amish women and the beards of Amish men. Computer specialist, Chloe Humphrey, is alarmed over the crimes against the Amish and worries over how the events will impact the Troyer family, especially her housemate Becky and Becky’s older brother Timothy. Her anxiety increases when she discovers the body of an Amish businessman, who had been stabbed in the back and his beard cut off. Now, Chloe and her friends must find the culprit behind the hair-cutting before someone else pays the ultimate price.



Appleseed Creek Mystery #2
B&H Publishing

Published/Released: February 2013
ISBN 13: 978-1433676987

Preorder Now
Amazon.com

CBD
Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million


Author Interview





I would like to welcome author Amanda Flower to Socrates’ Book Review Blog and Socrates’ Cozy CafĂ© Blog.  Amanda is the author of the Appleseed Creek Mystery series.  We are thrilled to have her join us. 



Welcome to our little part of the world, Amanda!

1)         How did the Appleseed Creek series come about?

The series began as a conversation with my agent. We were kicking around concepts for a new series. After several ho-hum ideas, I mentioned I used to live in Amish Country when I was in my twenties. She latched onto that and told me write about it. As soon as I revealed my Amish connection, I thought, “Uh-oh” but not because I disliked Amish fiction. I had read some wonderful Amish fiction and enjoyed it. My worry was most Amish novels weren’t my style of quirky, humorous writing. Immediately, I began negotiating and asked if it could be a mystery, if the main character could be English (non-Amish), and if I could write in first person. My agent told me to go for it, and the rest is history.

2)         Do you have any idea how many books will be in the series or where you are going with the characters?  Is there an outline?

I’m contracted for seven books, six novels narrated by my computer geek, Chloe Humphrey, and one Christmas novella narrated by former Amish teenager Becky Troyer. I’m so grateful that B&H signed on for that many books. That’s a huge commitment for a publisher to make.

I don’t really outline when I write, but I do know where my protagonist, Chloe Humphrey, and most of the recurring characters will end up at the end of the series. A Plain Scandal is the second novel in the series, but I have written through number four. I know I only have two “Chloe” books left. I’m steeling myself for finishing her last book because I’m going to miss her. Happily, the series will go on with Becky for one novella and maybe more. It’s too early to tell about Becky’s journey yet.

3)         What else have you written?

In addition to the Appleseed Creek Mystery series, I’ve written the India Hayes Mystery series (Maid of Murder & Murder in a Basket), the Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series written as Isabella Alan (debuting September 2013), and the Andi Boggs Series (mysteries for kids debuting in March 2014.

4)         What made you decide to be an author?

I’ve always love to tell stories. My father used to call me “storyteller” when I was a child because I would come home from preschool with wild tales involving the other kids in my class. Usually those events really happened. I just made them more exciting. Then when I was older, I read a story to my sixth grade class about being stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel. Again, I embellished the tale a bit. They class laughed at my story, and that was the ah-ha moment for me when I realized I could write stories that would make someone laugh.

5)         Who is your greatest influence in your writing life?

There are two things: my faith and my other occupation. My faith first because even though I write humorous mysteries for both the Christian and mainstream market, I hope what I believe comes through.

My job as a college librarian is second. On the job, I’m dealing with interesting bits of information while I help students. Sometimes what I learn ends up in a book in unexpected ways. I was helping a student with a project on polio and thought, “Huh, did the Amish suffer from the Polio epidemic?” From there I researched further, and ultimately, it is how Grandfather Zook had polio as a child. Being a librarian is the best job for someone who loves to learn.

6)         How did it feel when you first found out you were going to be published?

Shocked. Completely and utterly shocked. Then elated, worried, happy, weepy, and overjoyed. It was quite an emotional ride.

7)         Who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books?

Mysteries will always be my favorite, but I find myself reading more and more fantasy too. There are so many great mystery authors, but if I had to pick, my favorite is Nevada Barr.

8)         Have you had a chance to go to book signings?  How does it feel when you meet your readers in person?

I’ve had many book signings over the years, and I love them. It’s a great way to connect with readers and answer their questions about my books or just about me as a person. Also, I like to hear their stories about how a particular book, not necessarily mine, impacted their lives.

9)         Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Don’t give up. It took me nine years to publish my first mystery. Just keep trying. It may take time, but if this is what you really want, you will break through.

10)       Can you give us a sneak peek at your next release?

The first week of September 2013 will be a double whammy for me. I have two books releasing the third Appleseed Creek Mystery and the first Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, which I write as Isabella Alan.

Coming September 2013:

A PLAIN DISAPPEARANCE, Appleseed Creek Mystery #3
It’s Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey settles into her life in Appleseed Creek excited to see where her relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead. Unfortunately on her first official date with Timothy, the couple discovers the body of an Amish teenager Katie Lambright. Near the body, there is evidence that Timothy’s friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the murder. The police reveal Billy is an escaped convict who has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias. Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy bring him to justice or prove his innocence.


MURDER, PLAIN AND SIMPLE, An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery by Isabella Alan
Welcome to Rolling Brook, Ohio where life is not as tranquil as it seems. When thirty-four year old Angela Braddock moves back to Ohio to recover from a broken heart and inherit her Amish aunt’s quilt shop, she discovers there is more to the Ohio’s Amish than beautiful quilts and hearty food. With the help of her quilting circle, Angela stumbles into the unlikely role of amateur sleuth.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Thank you for having me! Readers can learn more about me on my website, www.amandaflower.com, or through social media. I love connecting with readers through Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media Links: Facebook Twitter Goodreads Pinterest


BOOK GIVEAWAY (INTERNATIONAL)!!!!

How would you like to win a copy of this for your very own? Thanks to author Amanda Flower and publicist Michelle from Shelton Interactive, I can offer a copy of A Plain Scandal to one lucky winner.  This is open to all, including international!!!


Just a few simple rules...

1) You must fill out the form below (including a valid email address).

2) For an extra entry: Follow this blog

3) For an extra entry: Follow me on Twitter

4) For an extra entry: Follow me on Goodreads

5) For an extra 2 entries: Post this giveaway on your blog.

6) For an extra 2 entries: Tweet about this giveaway.

The giveaway begins on February 22nd (midnight est) and ends on March 10th (midnight est).

The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!



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