Pick of the Month & Giveaway: A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White

It has been a long while since I have published a pick of the month post. One reason is because such outstanding reads have been few and far in between.adarklure

Loreth was kind enough to answer a couple of questions about the book and writing in general, for which I am grateful. Hope you guys find the interview as insightful as it was for me!

What made the book stand out:

  • A Dark Lure was a book that warranted a 5-star rating from start to finish!
  • The book is intensely emotional – there is no way you can be removed from what takes place in the story!
  • There is darkness, depravity and hope in the story. Nothing can beat that.
  • Dark romantic suspense of the well-written kind is rare in the world of romance today. All the more reason to appreciate it!

Interview with Loreth Anne White on A Dark Lure

MBR: What inspired you to write A Dark Lure?

Loreth: The story was born out of several fishing trips into British Columbia’s Cariboo country and fleshed out around campfires at night. While sitting under a vast northern sky, listening to coyotes cry in the Marble Mountains, and hearing the crack of hunters’ rifle shots at dawn, as all writers do, I began to wonder ‘what if’ there was a human hunter in those dark woods around us. And I began to braid these thoughts with inspiration that came from the real life serial killer, Robert Hanson, the so-called Butcher-Baker of Alaska who abducted, tortured, then set his victims out to be hunted in the wilds.

MBR: A Dark Lure deals with disturbing material. While writing this particular novel, which aspect of it would you say was the toughest to write?

Loreth: I think my greatest challenge came in trying to create a heroine who is both vulnerable, and afraid, yet also incredibly strong, resilient, and brave—a true survivor. Even the strongest of people have fears, yet they face them—I hope I’ve managed to show this. And I wanted to do justice to PTSD.

MBR: Olivia is a woman who has gone through more than most people for that matter would go through their entire lifetimes. Where did you draw inspiration from, in crafting her character?

Loreth: I have long been intrigued by real life survival stories of people who triumph against seemingly impossible odds, while others die when all they needed to do was wait for help. There appears to be some interesting common traits among these survivors, and they’re not what one might imagine … I wanted to show these traits in Sarah/Olivia, yet also show that while people can survive a devastating event, they remain forever changed in some form.

MBR: Are any of the events that took place in A Dark Lure drawn from real life events or experiences?

Loreth: As mentioned above I drew some inspiration from Alaska’s Butcher-Baker case. Other than that, inspiration comes from some of my own real life experiences. For example, like the dead character in the book, Melody (Tori’s mother), I worked as a journalist. And while working for the newspaper in the ski resort in which I live, I covered countless search-and-rescue and survival stories. People go missing in our mountains all the time. Some come back. Some never do, and what happened to them remains a mystery to this day. This in turn led to a personal interest in the psychology of survival. And like Melody, and Olivia, I’m also a mother. Like Tori, I lost a parent at a vulnerable age. And like Olivia, I am rarely without my dog.

I have also done tracking with my dog, Hudson. This was something else borne out of my obsession with people who just go missing, and are never found. Hudson and I have attended several BC Search Dog Association wilderness training camps where we were lucky to have tracking and air scent instruction from some of the best Royal Canadian Mounted Police K9 handlers and BCSDA volunteers. And I’ve done courses in man tracking through the BC Outdoor Association. My husband is also a keen fly fisher, and I do fish with him, too. We often camp at a place called Big Bar Lake in the Cariboo, which was the inspiration for the setting of Broken Bar Ranch.

MBR: What did you, as an author and as a person, learn from crafting A Dark Lure?

Loreth: In writing A DARK LURE I went deeper than my earlier/shorter romances into developing secondary characters and layering story lines, and I learned how much I enjoy digging into this direction. This book also veers further into mystery/thriller territory than my earlier romantic suspense stories which is something I am enjoying.

MBR: Is there any message or messages that you wanted to convey to your reader base with A Dark Lure?

Loreth: I hope the book shows the resilience of human nature, and how important forgiveness is, especially forgiveness of oneself. And how dark and dangerously powerful a sense of shame can be, however unjustified. I also hope to show how love, and how belonging to, or being welcomed into a family/tribe in its many disparate forms can help healing.

A Dark Lure, at its core, is a story of survival and finding the strength to accept oneself in spite of scars both inside and out, and allowing oneself to be loved.

MBR: Are you currently working on any projects? If so, would you care to share some information regarding that with us?

Loreth: I have a book coming out August 16 – IN THE BARREN GROUND. It’s a dark, atmospheric romance and police procedural with gothic/horror overtones set in a remote fly-in community just south of the arctic circle.

I’m also working on a more mainstream suspense/thriller, which I hope will appeal to those readers who enjoyed A Dark Lure, as well as a new romantic suspense police procedural series.

MBR: Looking forward to all of it! So excited! Thank you so much Loreth, for taking the time!

Giveaway!

You can choose either one of the following. Just state which one you would like in your comment below the post!

  1. One e-copy of A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White.
  2. A US$ 10.00 gift certificate from either Amazon or B&N.
  3. A paperback version of A Dark Lure to those residing in US.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Tell us the darkest romantic suspense you have read, to-date!
  2. Specify the number or which of the 3 options of the giveaway you would like!
  3. Leave a valid e-mail address as a way for me to contact you in case you are the winner.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, February 4, 2016 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 23:59 hours, February 5, 2016 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

Pick of the Month & Giveaway: March 2014

Title: Waiting On You by Kristan Higginswaitingonyou

What made the book stand out:

  • A read that warranted 5-stars.
  • Great emotional depth.
  • Witty banter.
  • Lovable characters.
  • To-die-for hero!
  • Melt your panties variety sexual tension.
  • Humor of the stomach cramping kind. Yes, you laugh that much.
  • Angst! Oh god, yes the angst!

Basically, the book picked itself out of every single book I have read of late and jumped into the pick of the month wagon. End of story!

Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!

As is customary with all my pick of the month posts (which have been quite sporadic in recent times), I have included a giveaway which hopefully would garner some attention. After all, who doesn’t love free stuff yeah?

Giveaway options:

  1. One e-copy of Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins; OR
  2. One paperback copy of Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins. This option is available for those countries to which Book Depository ships to; OR
  3. 10$ gift certificate; OR
  4. Any e-book or paperback you’ve been wanting, below the price of $10.00. Condition in #2 applies for paperback versions.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Specify which giveaway you are entering for.
  3. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  4. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries, or recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. Post the URL of your tweet or recommendation post on Facebook in your comment.
  5. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a follower of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.
  6. Follow me on Twitter and gain 5 extra entries. If you already follow me, state so and you gain your extra 5 entries.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, April 7, 2014 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 00:00 hours, April 8, 2014 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

Pick of the Month October 2013: Interview & Giveaway!

Its being a while since I have come across a book that made me want to choose a pick of the month. Cynthia Eden’s Mine series has all the elements that tends to work for me. The darkness, obsession and the alpha men who makes me want to do all sorts of things that better not be mentioned here. Thus October’s pick of the month goes to, Mine to Keep by Cynthia Eden, book 2 in the Mine series!

And of course there is the giveaway too, which everyone is free to enter! So check out the giveaway section after the interview potion that follows.

Interview: Mine to Keep by Cynthia Edenminetokeep

MBR: When I read Mine to Take, I had no inkling that there would be a second book featuring Trace and Skye, not that I am complaining of course. Was it always in the works; a second book or did their story remain unfinished with the end of the first book? In other words, what made you want to write the second book?

Cynthia: I had actually not planned to write a second book for them—so it was a surprise for me, too. 😉 But I received a great deal of reader emails about Skye and Trace, so I thought—why not? There was more that could be told about them, so writing MINE TO KEEP seemed like a good idea.

MBR: I love the fact that your heroes are so darn possessive, especially Trace who seems to be borderline obsessive but still comes out with that quality that makes him a hero and not that of the kind that draw contempt from female readers. Where do you draw the line when it comes to exhibiting alpha traits that might make readers turn away from your male lead characters?

Cynthia: I think that can be a very fine line. I try to show that my heroes always want the best for the heroines that I write. Yes, those heroes are possessive, but they love the heroines more than anything, and it’s the heroines who actually have the power in my stories—because they can get the guys to do anything they want.

MBR: That is so very true! And it is evident with every single action that Trace takes. Is there anyone in your life or otherwise from whom you drew inspiration from to come out with Trace’s character?

Cynthia: If only! But, no, Trace is pure fiction—though I did get inspiration from his appearance thanks to the ever so handsome Ian Somerhalder.

MBR: Ah. Fans of Ian would definitely go gaga over that fact.

I loved Skye. She had that vulnerability and the strength in equal spades that just seemed to call out to me. Not to mention the fact that she understands Trace so well and accepts him for who he is. If Trace and Skye’s books were ever to be cast into a movie, who would you cast in the roles of both Trace and Skye?

Cynthia: I’m so glad you enjoyed Skye’s character! Thank you! Hmmm…for the characters, I will go again with Ian (The Vampire Diaries), and for Skye…I think that Kristin Kreuk (Beauty & The Beast) would be a good fit.

MinetoKeepStars

MBR: Oh, I really think Kristin would make a splendid fit for Skye!

Where do you think Skye draws all her strength from even in the face of all the adversities that seemed to have hit her life?

Cynthia: I think Skye learned early on that she had to depend on herself. Having Trace by her side makes Skye’s life easier because he is there to share all the challenges that come her way, but Skye won’t crumble without him. She has an inner strength that can get her through anything (and it has!).

MBR: The next question brings me to the explosive sex in your stories. How do you manage to write so many scenes that are always so raw, hot and have that tender quality to it all at the same time? Do you find writing sex scenes in your books easy or hard as some authors seem to find it?

 

Cynthia: For me, the sex scenes are the hardest part! It’s a challenge to get the heated intensity paired with the emotional elements of the encounter. I feel like it’s a delicate balancing act, so I try to be very careful as I write these scenes.

MBR: And you manage to pull it off with every single scene. That must be hard. That brings me to my next question.

By the looks of it, two more books are set to be released; the first one already released in October entitled Mine to Hold telling Noah’s story. Are there any more books scheduled for the Mine series and if so when do you think they would be released?

Cynthia: I do want to write more of the “Mine” books—next up will be a story for Drake.  I think his book will be out in early 2014. Then…well, I’ll let that be up to my readers. When I first started the “Mine” series, I wanted to write dark and sexy stories…all stories that featured obsession as an element of the tales.  I do have more ideas for additional books and characters, so as long as my readers are enjoying the stories, then I will keep going!

MBR: Thank you so much for taking the time. It has been fun getting to know some of the inside facts on how this series and Trace and Skye came about! And I am definitely looking forward to MORE books from the Mine series. 🙂

Cynthia: Thanks so much for interviewing me! It’s been a pleasure! 

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway includes:

  1. THREE e-copies of Mine to Keep which Cynthia Eden is offering. Believe me, its worth it. 😉
  2. 15$ gift certificate offered by Cynthia Eden
  3. Lastly, you get to ask for any e-book you have been hankering for, below $15.00 in price offered by myself! ^^

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Please do not forget to mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Specify which giveaway you are entering for. If you are entering for all 3, please state so as well.
  3. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  4. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries, or recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. Post the URL of your tweet or recommendation post on Facebook in your comment.
  5. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a follower of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, November 2, 2013 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 00:00 hours, November 4, 2013 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

Pick of the Month Author Interview: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

theduchesswarThe interview potion of the Pick of the Month post for the month of February came a tad too late and hence I am posting the interview segment separately. Many thanks to Courtney for doing this for me.

MBR: So the Brothers Sinister, how did you come up with the series?

CM: I can’t answer this question truthfully without giving some massive spoilers for Sebastian’s book. So I will just say that the very inkling of an impetus for this series was that I imagined the first scene in Sebastian’s book, and the rest of the series came about imagining the people that this would be happening to.

The whole left-handed thing…started as an internal joke. Actually, the way it started out was that there was a point (long since abandoned) in the plot for The Duchess War when Minnie was going to try to join the Brothers Sinister, and was going to have to pretend she was left handed. Oliver was going to figure out she was faking it, and then she was going to say: “I have a confession to make. I’m not really left handed.”

And he would say in response: “I have a confession to make, too. I’m not really left handed, either.” Which is true, because Oliver is ambidextrous.

So yeah, they are all left handed as a Princess Bride homage. I sort of had to abandon that as a plot point, and there’s really no way to save that scene anywhere and I’m so sad. 😦

MBR: What struck me the most while I was reading was the fact that all the characters in the story continued to surprise me all throughout the story. So which character would you say was the hardest and the easiest to write?

CM: Sebastian is definitely the easiest. I have to watch him when he’s in a scene, because he’ll take over the whole damned thing, and then smile at you while he does it.

The hardest… gah, there are so many choices. I think in many ways Oliver is and has been the hardest person to write. Every scene with Oliver in it got rewritten somewhere between two (at a low end) and 17 (not an exaggeration) times. Robert’s mother was also quite difficult, in her own special way.

I thought Oliver was going to be really, really easy to write, because in many ways I feel like he and I have more in common than any of my other characters–we both come from homes where our parents have worked hard to give us a huge boost, and we feel like we owe our parents a lot, and we have families that we love, and we’re both ambitious and driven. But Oliver doesn’t want any of the same things I want and that makes him so hard. I’m like, “Dude, you are just like me, why are you like this?” It’s taken me a very long time to figure him out. He has finally given up and spilled the beans, and now he’s a little easier, but he was a tough nut.

I think that sometimes the easiest characters to write are the ones that are not like me at all, because I’m operating on a clean slate.

MBR: When writing, do you ever have someone in your mind to physically match the characteristics of the hero and heroine in your novels? If so, who did you think of while creating Robert and Minnie?

CM: Never, actually. I have almost no physical sense of people at all. I don’t recognize people easily. I confuse TV actors. I can’t watch most TV shows because the people look so much alike to me. If the main character changes clothing half way through, I get confused and don’t know who is who. It’s very confusing being me! I have to go in and add descriptions after the fact to all my books when the book is almost done because I just do not have a head for description. I don’t even know what it means for someone to have a “square jaw” or a “patrician nose” or any of that stuff. Physical characteristics on humans are not my strong point. I only know what people look like because I make a spreadsheet.

Some people never get described, or only get described once, and then things get dicey.

If you pay attention, you’ll see that a lot of the physical characteristics I end up giving them are really just stand-ins for character description. Like calling Minnie’s hair mousey and that sort of thing. I’m a total cheat that way. Don’t know what people look like; do know what they act like, so I make them look how they act. Now that I’ve admitted my fakery my books will never be the same.

So no, I actually don’t have anyone physically in mind for my characters. If you asked me to pick someone, I would probably freeze up because I don’t know who anyone looks like and I’d be afraid of getting it wrong.

MBR: I see that you have a lot of books in this series scheduled to come out this year. Are these the only books you are currently working on or are there other books that you are simultaneously working on?

CM: Er… I am writing, very slowly, a modern urban fantasy. It may never see the light of day, but it’s about an ER Doctor who gets changed into a vampire. And before you say, “Eek! A vampire!”–rest assured, it’s not like any vampire fic I’ve read, and I’ve read a bunch of them. It’s also not an ER like the glorified kinds of ER that you’ve ever seen anywhere on TV. It’s the ER as it is, in all its messy, transcendent awfulness, complete with drug-seeking frequent flyers. HIPAA plays a role at a crucial point early in the book!

Or, as Dr. Grand says:

Everyday I work pisses me off. I wanted to be fixing gunshot wounds, reviving people from heart attacks. Instead, I feel like a college guidance counselor. See a shrink. Stop taking drugs. No, I’m not going to write you a prescription for Delaudid.

This is very different from a historical romance.

MBR: And my final question since I was so moved by the story, are there any particular scenes from The Duchess War that tugs at your heartstrings, that would stay with you always?

CM: I wrote the scenes surrounding the primer–Robert’s mom, and Minnie–when I was injured and barely able to walk and very pissed off and depressed about the whole thing. There is nothing so frustrating as having a body that doesn’t comply with what you want it to do! I think I ended up channeling a lot of my own feelings of helplessness into those scenes.

For exactly that reason, though, I don’t want those to stay with me. The association is very negative.

But one of my favorite scenes in the whole book is one that only tugs at my heartstrings a little, and that’s the scene on the train with Sebastian and Violet and its aftermath. Because I love writing scenes where a character is embarrassed. Embarrassment is a lovely, rich emotion, because usually the things that embarrass you are also the things that you love the most. You don’t get embarrassed about some random stranger saying things. It’s your mom who embarrasses you by saying…really Mom, you said that? In front of everyone?

Embarrassment is the collision of love and pain.

For me, my favorite part of the scene is when, afterwards, Robert is trying to figure out how to apologize for his ridiculously embarrassing friends, and Minnie looks at him like she’s crazy and tells him she likes his friends.

That’s the essence of love. If someone can see the things that most embarrass you–the things you love, and you love so hard that you are afraid to admit it–if they see those things and don’t say, “Yuck, embarrassing, stop!” I think you’ve got yourself a winner.

A big part of love is finding someone who knows who you are, deep down, and says, “No, no, you’re not embarrassing. You’re gorgeous.”

Pick of the Month February 2013 & Giveaway

February’s pick of the month happens to be The Duchess War by Courtney Milan. theduchesswar

Though an interview request was put through, the author’s busy schedule perhaps did not allow her to send the answers back to me. So guys, we will have to do without the interview potion of the post for this one.

But the good thing is, you can still win stuff as you can see from the giveaway details given below.

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway Includes:

1- An e-copy of either The Duchess War or any of the titles published as e-books by the author. OR

2- A gift card of value 10$ either from Amazon, B&N or Samhain.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Please do not forget to mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Specify which giveaway you are entering for. If you choose option 1, please state whether you want a copy of The Duchess War or any of the back titles from the author. If its option 2, state  which vendor you would like your GC from.
  3. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  4. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries, or recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. Post the URL of your tweet or recommendation post on Facebook in your comment.
  5. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a follower of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, March 1, 2013 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 00:00 hours, March 2, 2013 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

Pick of the Month January 2013: Interview & Giveaway

Yes, its being ages since I’ve had one of these posts up on my blog. Don’t blame me, I just haven’t come across any books good enough to warrant a pick of the month post for like almost a year. I am partly to blame of course, for having lost my zeal to read as much ever since the political turmoil in the country began last February. Its going to be a year on the 7th of this month since the coup happened in the Maldives, something the rest of the world seems to have forgotten.

So before I go rambling about my sense of desolation about democracy and the loss of people’s rights, please welcome author Sarah Mayberry who as usual was wonderful enough to answer my questions regarding her January 2013 release, The Other Side of Us, which was practically the most wonderful read I have read for quite some time. And lest you may have forgotten, there is always a giveaway included with the interview.

The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberrytheothersideofus

MBR: How did you come up with the premise and the story line for The Other Side of Us?

SM: I was talking to my lovely fellow Super Romance writing friend, Joan Kilby, and she was telling me about how her dog, Toby, used to sneak through the fence in their previous house so he could go play with the dog next door. She said no matter what she did, that dog was a Houdini, and they could not keep him on their side of the fence. Well, that got my story brain ticking over. What if two people who didn’t really want to know each other were forced to do so because their dogs kept hooking up? Which then got me thinking about why these two people didn’t want to know each other… and I was away. At first I wanted Oliver to be the one recovering from injury – I thought I might even make him a cancer survivor – and I was going to make Mackenzie the one who had been betrayed for almost the entirety of her marriage. But then I decided to flip things, make her the loner curmudgeon and him the betrayed one, and all of a sudden my story brain was REALLY going crazy.

MBR: You always manage to leave messages in your novels on those little and not so little things that makes a relationship work. Do you make it a point to do that or does it come naturally as you plot the story?

SM: I don’t consciously think about adding those elements, but I do always strive to really show readers that these people have a genuine, heartfelt connection that’s about more than smokin’ chemistry. I really believe friendship is the foundation for any lasting relationship – a genuine liking for each other as well as love – and I am always looking for ways to show that my hero and heroine enjoy and “get” each other.

MBR: Whose character would you say was the hardest to write in The Other Side of Us and why?

SM: You know, both Oliver and Mackenzie had their challenges. I didn’t want to make him too mopey and angry, but I wanted to also be true to where he was in his life – ie recently badly burned and betrayed. And I knew that some readers might find Mackenzie too much hard work with all her prickles and hard edges, traits we are usually much more forgiving of in the hero. I had to constantly push myself with both of them to be true to my vision of who they were.

MBR: I loved the bits that were about Mr. Smith and Strudel. How much of the antics of your puppy would you say have found its way into the story?

SM: Well, my little Cavoodle (Cavapoo in the US, I believe) is no escape artist – he loves people too much to run away from them! But certainly I tried to inject my new found love of the quiet, wordless companionship dogs bring to a home. I’ve been really blown away by how much having Max has changed my life – I truly adore him, as anyone who follows me on Twitter can attest! – and I loved channeling that doggy love into the book.

MBR: So what’s next from Sarah Mayberry and when can readers expect to get their hands on them? (I for one cannot wait!! – as usual)

SM: You’re always very kind to me! I have another Super Romance scheduled for September. This one is called Her Favourite Rival and is an enemy to lovers type story. Audrey and Zach both work at the same retail hardware company, and they are aware that while they are equals at the moment, they are also each other’s greatest rivals for the next promotion that comes up. Unfortunately, they are also both aware of a niggling attraction that just won’t die a quiet death. An incident at the company conference throws them more fully into each other’s orbits, and from then on it’s a slippery slope for both of them from attraction to lust to something much more profound. I’m really enjoying watching these two try to swim against the tide and protect themselves.

I’m also hoping to be able to get another self published book out there before the September release – in my head, I’m thinking maybe May, which would be a full year from when I did my last self pubbed book. It will be the first book in my Fitzgerald’s Run winery series, set on a winery on the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne. It’s great wine country, and it also happens to be near and dear to me because it’s near where I live. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the Fitzgerald’s and the first story I will tell is Jess Fitzgerald’s. She’s a tom boy, and she’s about to realise the man of her dreams has been living under her nose for half her life…

Thanks so much for the questions and your interest. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book.

To finish off the interview, Sarah was kind enough to provide some pictures of Max, her Cavoodle. Ain’t he just the cutest? ^_^

max2

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

This month’s giveaway includes 2 copies of The Other Side of Us (either e-book or paperback); open internationally. If you are requesting for the paperback version, your country has to be on the list of countries to which Book Depository provides free shipping to.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Please do not forget to mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  3. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries, or recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. Post the URL of your tweet or recommendation post on Facebook in your comment.
  4. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a follower of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, February 2, 2013 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 00:00 hours, February 3, 2012 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

Pick of the Month, March 2012: Interviews & Giveaway!

This March, my pick is a debut novel by an author who shows outstanding talent and has received rave reviews for her book on various bookseller websites. I found the book on an Amazon discussion thread and one thing that I loved dearly about it was the fact that this romance took place partly in the Maldives where I hail from. So without further ado, my pick of the month for March 2012.

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Gravisontheisland

MBR: So what made you decide to base On the Island in Maldives, not that I am complaining of course?

TGG: Well, I needed a desert island so I googled and the Maldives popped right up. Because there are so many islands in the Maldives that are uninhabited, I thought it was the perfect location for my story. I knew nothing about the area, so it was definitely a learning experience, and I’m not sure I ever want to write such a research-heavy book again. I really hope to visit the Maldives someday so I can check out the crystal clear water and white sand beaches for myself.

MBR: Why the first person POV? Would you change the style if you were to do it a second time round?

TGG: Strangely, I always thought I’d write my first novel in third person. I wrote a few short stories in college and they were all in third person, but T.J. and Anna’s story poured out in first and it felt very natural. I knew I wanted to get into both of their heads as much as I could, so first person just seemed to fit.

MBR: I loved the way you brought about the viewpoints of both characters in a novel written in first person. I loved T.J.’s take on things. Whose POV was the hardest to write and why?

TGG: T.J.’s, definitely! But his was also the most fun, if that makes sense. I sometimes have the maturity level of a teenage boy, so it was refreshing to really let that part of me loose. But I also didn’t want to dumb him down because of his age, or have his character sound contrived, so I had to really think about what a teenage boy would say. I then needed to age him up slowly so that his character development and maturity level fit the circumstances. It was also very important that Anna and T.J. each had their own unique voices, so I would read their dialogue out loud to make sure nothing pulled me out of the story. Originally the book was going to be told only from Anna’s POV, but about 2/3 of the way through the first draft I realized that T.J. had a lot to say, and adding his POV would give more depth to the story. It ended up working really well, especially for the chapters where they were apart. 

MBR: T.J. is such a swell character. I loved him to bits and then some. Who was your inspiration to write his character? 

TGG: The inspiration for T.J. was purely my desire to write a character readers would fall in love with. On the Island has an extremely risky storyline, and I wanted people to see Anna and T.J.’s relationship as something beautiful and genuine, something that evolved naturally due to their circumstances. If I was going to put two people on an island who, for all intents and purposes should *not* be together, then I needed to create a hero readers could imagine themselves with. If I could make *them* fall in love with T.J., then they would also understand why Anna fell in love with him. Personally, I think he’s pretty swoon-worthy.

MBR: If you ever get the chance to choose the cast, if On the Island were ever to be made into a movie, who would you choose for the roles of both Anna and T.J.?

TGG: Anne HathawayLots of people have asked me this same question. It’s funny because when I was writing the book I could see the characters in my head but they weren’t famous people or anyone I recognized. It was only after the book was released that I started thinking about who I’d cast to play Anna and T.J. Jesilea from Diary of a Bibliophile actually came up with Anne Hathaway as the perfect Anna. I totally agree even though Anne Hathaway doesn’t have blue eyes; we’ll just have to pretend she does, lol! Actually, if Anne Hathaway had Courtney Cox’s eyes, it would be exactly as I envisioned Anna. Anne Hathaway encompasses Anna’s understated beauty wonderfully because in my mind I pictured Anna as someone who was very attractive, but not overtly so. She’s classy as opposed to flashy, but she can rock a fancy dress when she wants to.

Taylor KitschAs for T.J., I have to thank my friend Tina for the suggestion of Taylor Kitsch. Fans of Friday Night Lights will recognize him from that show. I agree that he would be an absolutely perfect and swoon-worthy T.J., and I don’t know that I’d mind being stranded on an island with him. He has a wonderful boyish charm, and I can totally picture him with a ponytail, dark suntan, and a lot of scruffy stubble.

Wouldn’t John Goodman be a good choice for Mick (the seaplane pilot)? I can see him sitting in the pilot’s seat with a big smile on his face. In my mind, Mick was jovial, kind, and brave which are all traits I can imagine this actor portraying flawlessly. I’m a big fan.

MBR: So what’s next from you?

TGG: Covet is my next book. It will be available in the fall, and it’s contemporary women’s fiction.covet

Here’s the tagline: What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?

Here’s a brief description:

Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire.

Daniel Rush had it all, until a tragic accident took away everything he cherished. A chance meeting with Claire sets in motion a chain of events that will leave three people questioning their choices and dealing with the aftermath of their decisions.

This book tackles some major issues and it’s been quite emotional to write. I’ve shed many tears. But one of the things that I wish for in women’s fiction, and don’t find often enough, is a feel good ending. A romance novel will definitely have a happy ending – the genre calls for it – but women’s fiction doesn’t always end on an “up” note. That’s totally fine, but my personal preference is for a satisfying ending that doesn’t leave me feeling sad or bummed out or frustrated. I read to be entertained, to escape the daily grind. I want to feel good when I finish reading a book which is why Covet has an uplifting, hopeful ending.

My 3rd and 4th books, planned for release in the fall of 2013 and 2014, respectively, will be a return to straight-up contemporary romance.

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

This month’s giveaway includes:

  1. Two e-copies of On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves. You get to choose which format you want from me.
  2. And because I never did celebrate my birthday here on the blog, a 25 $ gift certificate from Amazon to sweeten the deal.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Please do not forget to mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Remember you can enter for either or both the giveaways. If you are entering for just one, state the giveaway you are entering for. If you are entering for both, please state so as well. Failing to do so will automatically disqualify you from entering.
  3. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  4. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries, or recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. Post the URL of your tweet or recommendation post on Facebook in your comment.
  5. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a follower of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, April 1, 2012 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 00:00 hours, April 3, 2012 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

Pick of the Month February 2012: Interviews & Giveaway!

This February, my two picks are contemporary romances, my favorite genre of romance. They are titles from great authors, whose books I adore and would never pass an opportunity to indulge. So without further ado, my picks for the month of February 2012 ladies and gentlemen.

Pick #1: More than One Night by Sarah Mayberrymorethanonenight

MBR: Undoubtedly, Charlie is one of the most unusual heroines I have ever come across. How did she morph her way into becoming one of the lead characters of your latest novel?

SM: When I thought about this scenario (an accidental pregnancy) one of the things that I thought was vital to the believability of the story was that there be a real reason for either the hero or heroine to walk away from what was undoubtably an awesome night of smokin’ hot sauciness. Obviously, a man bailing the way Charlie did would make him a complete alphahole (to quote Karina Bliss!) but a woman needs some pretty powerful reasons, too. Charlie popped into my head almost fully formed as I considered why someone would sneak away from a one night stand like that. The fact that she’d been in the army, her aloneness, her lack of self esteem – it was all there. I’m not sure why or how that happened, and it certainly doesn’t happen with all my characters, but that’s the way it was with her. Romance tends to be a genre that plays with self-deprecating heroines who undervalue themselves on some level – appearance, achievements, whatever, but I really wanted to explore what a woman would be like who believes herself to be intrinsically unlovable. She’s missed out on her mother’s love because she died giving birth, and her father never expressed his love for her… She needs someone like Rhys so badly. She was actually one of the most personally heartbreaking heroines I’ve ever written.

MBR: As I mentioned in my review, you have taken a plot that is pretty much cliche’ in romanceldia and managed to make it a memorable one. What made you follow this plot line and explore the possibility of a happily ever after with two characters such as Rhys and Charlie?

SM: As you said, this plot is as old as Adam and Eve. Most romance tropes or themes have been written a million times in a million different ways – it’s rare to find an author blazing entirely new territory. I have long believed that it’s the author’s “take” on a theme or a common trope that makes it different from another writer’s efforts, and for some reason the idea of tackling the accidental baby scenario tip-toed across my mind when I was coming up with proposals for future books. And, once I’d started thinking about how you bring about an accidental pregnancy, I imagined Charlie and Rhys and knew that I *had* to write this story because I had to give Charlie her HEA. So, really, I was toying with the trope, exploring it as a story starter, and then I found the characters and got sucked in…

MBR: I have my own reasons for admitting to the fact that Charlie was a character who drove me to tear. In your opinion, what is it about Charlie that makes a reader bleed while reading her story?

SM:  I don’t know if you have seen the New Zealand movie Whale Rider, but I pretty much bawled my eyes out through the whole thing. I found it an incredibly emotional experience, and everyone I know felt the same way (but perhaps with not quite the same amount of eye leakage!). The theme of this movie is parental approval – a little girl striving desperately to earn her grandfather’s approval and attention (he’s her stand-in parent). I think it’s a universal theme, because most of us have experienced at the minimum a moment where we wanted/needed our father or mother’s approval/love and were uncertain about it. You see little children following their parents around all the time,waiting for their gaze to fall on them. And the way kids light up like little beacons when they get a pat on the back or a hug or praise… It’s powerful stuff and even if we get better at denying and rationalising our need as adults, those visceral memories are still there, buried deep. Charlie has missed out on so much a lot of us take for granted, and I think it’s a rare person indeed who hasn’t had moments of self doubt the way she does. Beneath her no-nonsense, get-business-done demeanor, she’s hugely vulnerable and incredibly sensitive. And scared, too. Certainly, I have experienced moments of self doubt the way she has, which is what I channeled when writing this story.  

MBR: So what is next from Sarah Mayberry?

SM: My next release is called Within Reach. It’s an August release and is about Angie and Michael and the year they spend in each other’s pockets trying to get through the grief of losing Michael’s wife, Billie, who was Angie’s BFF.  I called it “the grief book” while I was writing it, for obvious reasons. Angie and Michael have absolutely no interest in each other at the start of the book. Billie is their point of connection, but when she dies suddenly and unexpectedly, they begin a whole new phase of their relationship as Angie does her damnedest to help keep Michael and his two kids’ heads above water through difficult times.  As they grow to know each other as friends instead of merely through Billie, they forge a true connection – and discover an unwanted, unwilling mutual attraction. It’s not something either of them even want to acknowledge, and it comes with lots of guilt and denial – but it’s fueled by some pretty hot sexual attraction and eventually Things Happen (cough). There was some tough stuff in this book and I desperately wanted another 10,000 words to play with… but, sadly, they were not on the table. I’m waiting to hear back from my editor on final edits – it’s running a little late! – but I’m looking forward to seeing how this one winds up and what the wonderful Harlequin art department comes up with, cover wise.

Pick #2: The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probstthemarriagebargain

MBR: I would be the first to admit, you completely blew me away with The Marriage Bargain. And the thread of humor in the novel is very nicely done. What made you come up with the Marriage to a Billionaire series?

JP: I’m so glad you loved the humor! First off, I adore marriages of convenience – it’s always been one of my favorite themes, with a wonderful way to force the hero and heroine together and demand they deal with their relationship. I decided to write a book with the common theme but twist it to include other items I love to see in a great romance:  quick wit and sharp conversation between the hero and heroine, tons of sexual tension, and the crazy, everyday chaos that is life. This includes but is not limited to: dogs, toddlers, and big old fashioned families! It started with an idea for a love spell. A girlfriend told me about a spell where you make a list of all the specific qualities in a mate and the universe will send him. This intrigued me, and what a great idea for an opening scene! Of course, being a writer, I wondered what would happen if the universe seemed to send the wrong man, and they were stuck with one another. Fun for me..not as much for them until the end!

MBR: Alexa was such a wonderful heroine. She landed in my list of favorite heroines just because of that. How did you come with her character, give her that wholesome family experience that makes her the well balanced character she is?

JP: I’m so glad you love Alexa! She was such an easy character to live with while I wrote her story. I related to her, and I loved the way she took the bad stuff that happened in her family and transformed it. I’m struck a lot by different family tales, and how no one’s past is ever perfect. Alcoholism, infidelity, neglect, abuse, or just being ignored can cause a person, and a character, to be scarred. Alexa may have had a rocky past, but she was able to work her way through to forgiveness. She never turned her back on her family, and they stuck together. Forgiveness is a powerful tool in Alexa’s arsenal, along with a good cheer and humor that gets her through life. What I love most about Alexa is she’s one us – working on the day to day stuff, getting messy, letting herself feel and experience it all. She’s in the trenches and not up on some pedestal. That is what I wanted to sketch out the most in her character and I hope I succeeded.

MBR:I loved so many things about Nick and I could gush on about him forever. What would you say is your most favorite trait about his character as the one who created him?

JP: Lord, I love Nick. He will always hold a very special place in my heart. Nick is full of love and goodness, but never got a chance to show it or express any of those feelings, nor receive them back. Then all the negativity blocked him from ever truly growing, until he meets Alexa. My favorite trait is his ability to be loyal, and to finally push past his fear to take a chance on love. We all need courage for that. His huge leap at the end of the book puts it all out there – and that terrified the poor man (but I made him do it anyway – hee hee!) Oh, and I just love all that fierce passionate focus when he’s either designing his buildings or seducing Alexa…who wouldn’t love that?

MBR: So what is next from Jennifer Probst?

JP: Yes! I am very excited to say I’m working on Maggie and the Count’s story entitled The Marriage Trap. Maggie was a bit pushy in The Marriage Bargain. After the first draft, I noticed she had tried to take over the book! So, I promised I’d write her story next, then I pried her out of many pages so Alexa could shine. Now it’s finally Maggie’s turn, and she’s just as pushy in her own story! But this one will take my readers to Bergamo and Milan, Italy, where you will meet many new characters, revisit some old, and watch Michael and Maggie embark on a fake marriage to satisfy an old family custom.

And if you like my erotic novellas, I have two more in the series with Decdadent’s 1NS for The Steele Brothers – Play Me and Dare Me coming out this year.

Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to talk about my books, interact with your readers, and be spotlighted on one of my favorite review sites!

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

This month’s giveaway includes:

  1. Two copies of More than One Night by Sarah Mayberry. You get  to choose whether you want an e-copy or the Paperback. If you choose to win the Paperback, you should live in a country to which the Book Depository offers free shipping.
  2. Two e-copies The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst, one copy which is being offered by Jennifer Probst herself.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Please do not forget to mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  3. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries, or recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. Post the URL of your tweet or recommendation post on Facebook in your comment.
  4. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a follower of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, March 1, 2012 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 00:00 hours, March 3, 2012 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

Pick of the Month January 2012 + Interview & Giveaway!

daremeThe beginning of 2012 turned out to be a great one for me reading wise though it didn’t initially start out that way. Two books which had received rave reviews from reviewers and readers alike, I found the books lacking the spark that jump starts my reading juices.

And then things started looking up, though I was a bit worried since the end of the month was looming nearer and nearer and I hadn’t read a book that I could choose as my Pick of the Month read for January.

My savior came in the form of Dare Me by Lexxie Couper, a book that hit the e-book stands just yesterday. A story that rocked my very world with a seriously, sinfully sexy Australian hero (did I mention the sexy part?), and a heroine who matched him very well in EVERY SINGLE way!

Since I didn’t have much time to do the Q&A, I almost skipped that part, but at the last minute decided to contact Lexxie who was wonderful enough to squeeze my questions in and help the post go live on time. Thank you so much Lexxie!

So, here goes.

MBR: Since I didn’t read book 1 in the series (Triple Dare), I must have most definitely missed out on the urge to do some serious arse kicking after Rob reveals he has brain cancer. What made you end the book on that note, leaving the reader practically squirming with the need to know what happens next?

LC: (SPOILERS *grin*) I originally planned for Rob to die. I’d planned this bittersweet epilogue that saw Anne and Joseph be thinking about Rob as they planned their next big “kick-life-in-the-butt” adventure holiday. However, three things stopped me. One, my editor (who demanded Rob’s story even as I was writing Triple Dare), Jess Dee (who threatened my with death if I did, in fact, let Rob die) and three, Rob himself. By the time I got to the epilogue he was whispering all sorts of things in my ear I just couldn’t ignore. I must say, I am sorry for making people wait twelve months to get Rob’s story. I hope it’s been worth the wait for everyone 🙂

MBR: As I mentioned earlier in the post, Rob has that seriously sexy thing going for him that just made me want to hum in pleasure just by his mere presence alone. How did you come up with his character in the first place and is he based on any real life character that you know?

LC: LOL Yeah, there is something special about Robert Thorton, isn’t there. Rob is a collection of men I know (all Aussies, of course *grin*) but he also took on a life of his own as I was writing him. Quite often during Triple Dare he would do something I totally wasn’t expecting and be damned if I could stop him (I tried once, and had to delete an entire chapter). What I was really hoping to do with Rob (and Joseph) was capture the sardonic cheekiness of most of the Australian guys I know and love. 🙂

MBR: As much as I found Rob swoon-worthy, I loved Emily. Her no nonsense attitude and her giving nature just won me over right from the start. Did Emily come out on paper as you exactly wanted her to, or did she completely surprise you with the way she turned out in the end?

LC: I had great difficulty with Emily…right up to the point Rob stumbled after their first kiss. I couldn’t get in her headspace for quite some time, but from that point, BAM! Emily surged forward, with all her no-nonsensesness, serious compassion and medical mind-set. From then onwards, she pretty much wrote herself. Of course, she also took charge quite often of her own actions to the point I wanted to scream at her when she got up and walked away from him in his home (you know the point I’m talking about? I mean, how could she do that?? Argh!!!)

MBR: In Dare Me, you tackled with an issue that is rarely discussed in romance novels. The line that might be crossed over in doctor-patient care, something few acknowledge or talk about. I think you handled the conflict quite well and because of it, the book’s emotional impact was that much more. As a writer, do you always constantly challenge yourself to writing about situations that aren’t easy for the hero or heroine to get out from?

LC: Thank you so much. I must admit, I was quite nervous about how readers would react to a hero recovering from brain cancer, and a heroine who has difficulty separating her professional side from her heart. I do challenge myself, but not always by design. Even when I try to write something light, funny and flippant it will often turn into something so much more. Those times I ask myself and/or critique partners what the hell I’m doing. I’m 100% convinced Rhian Cahill, Jess Dee and Mari Carr are sick of hearing me wonder what’s going on in my brain. Having said that, there are very few of my characters that have had an easy backstory and even fewer of my books that let the characters off easy. I’ve complained often to Rhian, Jess and Mari that I’m not deep enough to write the stories I seem to somehow end up writing. They tell me to shut up and just keep working. *grin*

MBR: I see that you write a wide variety of genres. What’s next from Lexxie Couper for 2012?

LC: Oh Lordy. 2012 is insane for me. Next month I have How to Love Your Dragon, a story about a re-incarnated druid who is now a Sydney veterinarian and the dragon-shifter police officer who pulls him over for speeding. Then in April, Love’s Rhythm, which sees Nick Blackthorne, the world’s biggest rock star return to his small home town and the only woman he’s ever loved, a woman who’s heart he destroyed fifteen years ago, only to discover a secret that will change everything. Then there’s the next Party Games book, Twister, followed by Sunset Heat which tells the story of a love-triangle between an Australian, a Brit and an American. Then there’s Suspicious Ways (my first ever non-erotic romance) in September, then Dark Embrace, the first sequel to Death, The Vamp and his Brother in November. All of them feature some very sexy, very cheeky, very very naughty Aussie heroes. Oh, and in amongst all that there are two more dragon-shifter books to be written, five more Deadly Daemon books and four more Stimulated books, not to mention the series I’m co-writing with Mari Carr about two Australian cowboys (who we call “stockmen” Down Under) and the women who finally rope them 😉 Seriously, I think my muse must has a caffeine drip inserted. 🙂

GIVEAWAY!!! GIVEAWAY!!!

Lexxie Couper is giving away TWO copies of BOTH books in the series which means you get a copy of Triple Dare and Dare Me as well. How awesome is she?

So the giveaway rules, as usual:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Please do not forget to mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  3. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries (use the hashtag #MBRPickofTheMonthGiveaway), recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. And don’t forget to mention in your comment whether you have tweeted or recommended the post on Facebook to get your extra entries.
  4. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a member of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.
  5. Giveaway begins at 00:00 hours February 1, 2012 and will end at 00:00 hours Maldivian time on the February 3, 2012. Winners will be contacted soon after and announced here on my blog!

So come on over & enter!

Pick of the Month December 2011 Giveaway Winners!

I am a trifle bit late in picking out the winners of the December 2011 giveaway post.

So the winners:

Copies of Dancing on Coals go to 2 winners, Jessicaf and Pamela.

The signed bookplate by Rainbow Rowell was won by Jill.

The 20 $ gift certificate as well as the e-copy of Sweet Dreams was won by Pamela.

Congratulations to ALL the winners. I have sent out e-mails to all of you. Please respond before the end of January 6, 2012.

Thanks to everyone who continually help towards making events on my blog a success.