Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Meet Samanthya Wyatt and The Firefighters of Station #8

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 1 comment

THE FIREFIGHTERS OF STATION #8 Passions soar and desires burn hot, yet each is afraid to surrender to love. Five Men - Five full-length books. Together, the hero and heroine overcome their inner conflict to achieve love completely unaware there is a more dangerous peril—one man’s revenge. 
Please welcome author, Samanthya Wyatt. She's giving away a copy of either book one or book two of her Firefighters of Station 8 series. See the Rafflecopter toward the end of the post. Samanthya, please tell us a bit about you.

Thank you, Sue, for inviting me to be on your blog. 

Let’s see, a bit about me. I was born and raised in Virginia. When I graduated, I married a military man, we traveled the United States and abroad. Ever since I can remember, I have loved curling up with a book. When I was young, I wrote poems and short stories. When my children were in high school, I started writing again. It took years before I gained the courage to submit my work. My first book ‘The Right One’, was published in 2014. Since then I’ve had ten books traditionally and indy published. 
I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.
I remember that first call. I received a phone call from an unidentified number. Nowadays, we all tend to ignore numbers we don’t recognize, but I took a chance. I was congratulated on my MS being a finalist in the Golden Rose Contest. I think I was as excited then as the day when my “Hook” resulted in a request for a full, and then offered a contract. Of course, getting a contract was huge. I did a little dance, and voiced/yelled my happy thoughts while I punched my fist in the air. LOL, Then I called hubby and said, “Let’s go celebrate.”

Even though historical romance is my first love, I also write contemporary romance with suspense. There is a lot of research that goes into historicals, but don’t be fooled. I do a lot of research for my contemporary books as well. Especially for my current firefighter series. I interviewed some real fireman for the research and background information so I can be as accurate as I can in writing this series. Each book is based on a firefighter with a love story all his own.

Creating characters and bringing two people together in a romantic tale gives me great pleasure. If you’re like me, I like strong characters. It’s a challenge trying to invent conflict, but I like surprising my readers with the unexpected. Of course, adding a bit of humor keeps the readers interested with active scenes.

I’ve been asked if I model my characters after real people in my life. My husband gets a kick out of this. But I have to admit, I make up my characters. Strong, hot guys are always appealing, but understanding the inner personality of the hero and heroine gives depth to the story. My characters are fictitious, however, I’ve drawn on real-life experiences in attaining the emotion for my characters.

Advice for new writers just starting out? No# 1. Join RWA. From there you learn to do a number of things. You can join chapter groups, critique groups, you’ll find friends and receive a lot of help. Take every workshop offered—GMC, POV, character interviews, etc. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

Don’t expect success overnight. It is a long, hard process. Don’t give up.

As for me, I’m determined to keep writing and hopefully publish more books.
I write because I enjoy it. And because I hope to give someone else the pleasure of a romance. Whether you want to escape reality or just live in the moment of fantasy, I hope you will enjoy a few hours of reading one of my books. Get lost in the pages of a romance. 

Here are the blurbs for the first two books in the Hot Firefighters series. If you click on the links, you can use Amazon's Look Inside Feature to read the beginnings. (I love this feature.)

“MIKE” The Firefighters of Station #8 – book 1

Mike Armstrong puts his life on the line every day but he doesn’t like being called a hero. Fighting fires is his job.  It’s in his blood. A profession that has made him a confirmed bachelor—until a certain female lights a fire under his skin. 
Cassie Peters spends her days teaching children and her nights dreaming of Mr. Right. Shy and self-conscious of her curvaceous body, she keeps men at a distance—until she meets the sexy firefighter who keeps her awake at night.
Passions soar and desires burn hot, yet each is afraid to surrender to love. Together, they overcome their fear of rejection, completely unaware there is a more dangerous peril. A thirst for vengeance threatens the firefighters of Station #8 placing Mike and Cassie directly in the line of fire. 

“SHEP” The Firefighters of Station #8 – book 2

Can the hot firefighter prevent her ex from taking her children while trying to find the enemy who has targeted Station #8?
Shep, the captain of Fire & Rescue Station #8, devotes his time and energy to fighting fires and rescuing victims. At the age of thirty-six, he’s spent the last fifteen years without a woman turning his world upside down. Tammy needs his help. And damned if he doesn’t like the idea of being tormented by the sexy redhead.
Tammy’s ex threatens to take her boys away. She needs a lawyer – fast. Through her best friend, she finds an attorney. But his brother is the one she wants. A hunk and a firefighter who creates a burning flame in her.
Can Shep and Tammy conquer their own impediments, or will vengeance intercede as the captain desperately attempts to find the man threatening the firefighters of Station #8? 
Interested? Enter the rafflecopter.
Thank you for being here, Samanthya. 
I love to hear from readers. To find out more about me and updates on my books, please visit my website: http://samanthyawyatt.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Meet Aviva Vaughn and her Slow Burn Fiction. #freebook Book 1 of Beckoned

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with No comments

Meet the super-fascinating Aviva Vaughn, writer of slow burn romances based on her love of food, travel, and Jane Austen. 
She's made the first book in her series, BECKONED  free to attract you lovely readers. BECKONED, From London with Love

FIRE AND ICE. They met as MBA students in Barcelona. Angela, the spitfire exchange student from Los Angeles, putting herself through business school. Soren, the brooding real estate heir from Denmark, living in the shadow of his family. She shot into his world like a comet--setting his soul on fire--but slipped through his fingers, leaving him cold and hollow; unspoken words of love frozen on his lips. 
Now they are in London and Soren has only one night to win her over, or risk living forever in the shadow of what might have been.
If this is up your reading alley, click on over and grab it.

Aviva, please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a word nerd. I DEVOUR books from all genres. I’m an Angeleno. I love to be outside. I love to get lost in my head. I’ve never met a chocolate croissant I didn’t like. I adore non-peaty whiskey.  I'm a very private extrovert, if that makes sense. In person, I'm very loud and spunky, but you don't see that on social media because I’m private like that. However, if you ever meet me in person, I guarantee to make you laugh (good reason to come to my book signings, LOL!)

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you decided to self-publish?
I wrote the first 2/3rds of BECKONED in a feverish 10-day sprint that left me delirious and bedraggled. Then I shelved it for three months, but it kept beckoning to me. “Finish me! Finish me now!” it called. And that’s why I decided to publish.

I call my series BECKONED "a modern story told in an old-fashioned way." It's slow, slow, slow burn, second-chance romance inspired by food, travel, and Jane Austen and it features diverse characters. My books were really demanding...I probably should have published them in 2018 but they were in a rush to be birthed and I didn't want to spend time trying to find an agent and publisher who believed in me, given how unique my books are, so I decided to self-publish.

How did you choose the cover?
Because I didn't have the budget to do a custom shoot, I had to use stock photos. My characters are very diverse, and there are love triangles, so I wanted to keep the identities of my cover models a bit obscured. Because of these constraints, I used black and white images.  Also, my locations are a big part of my books, so I requested that they be highlighted on the cover some way. My designer did the rest...

Your series BECKONED--how, when, or where did your idea for the series come to be? Do you have a goal for the series?
BECKONED was birthed by a couple of ideas. The first was that as a multicultural reader--I'm of Asian, Polynesian, Hispanic, and European descent and I was born and raised in Los Angeles--I was never able to find a character that looked like me, not even one. I wanted to create characters that my own mixed child could relate to and look up to. So I fashioned Angela: an aspiring entrepreneur putting herself through MBA school who just happens to be of a mixed background. The second idea was kind of inspired by one of the parameters Stephenie Meyer uses in TWILIGHT; in her books, vampires personalities are fixed when they become vampires, so her hero, Edward, has the values of someone from the early 1900's. I liked the tension that it created having her modern heroine fall in love with an old-fashioned guy. I also wanted to have a hero who was the complete opposite of my fiery, multicultural Angeleno, and so I looked to Denmark which is a very homogeneous society and is famous for its gender equality, and it felt perfect. So I created my hero, Soren Lund, who is a humble, polite real estate heir that has lived a life of boring privilege until he meets fiery Angela—who melts his heart—and realizes he doesn't want to live without her. 

Those twin inspirations, along with my love for food and travel, are what inspired the series. As far as my goal for the series, I want women to feel inspired and empowered by BECKONED. Many readers have said that they look up to Angela and I think that's wonderful. I happen to know many women like Angela, so she's not aspirational, she's inspirational.

 What’s the nicest thing a fan ever said to you?

I don't think I can pick just one! Some of my favorite quotes from reviews are:
-"I found myself stealing away to read this book”
- "This book gives a new meaning to the word sizzling!”
- "Read this in one sitting and left me wanting more”
- "The series has been fascinating and captivating”
- "Singed my eyebrows and melted my kindle”
- "You can’t deny the connections of writing styles between Aviva Vaughn and Jane Austen” 
Great stuff. These are reviews to dance over,

Beckoned Part 6 -Adrift in New Zealand made its debut on May 16th. What can you share with us about this new book?
Hhhhmmmm....all I can say is that books 1-4 are kind of like "The Bachelor," where there is a love triangle, and the man who doesn't get the girl becomes the focus of Books 5 and 6. Readers have loved that I've been tying up the loose end of the guy who "lost". Part 6 will be a very satisfying conclusion to this part of BECKONED.
Aviva provided me with a blurb and excerpt. 
In a different time. In a different place.
Soren Lund has found passion and purpose in Costa Rica, spending his days surfing and his nights in the bed of ex-pro-surfer Elena Sol. But when Elena decides to reenter the pro circuit, their new relationship will be put to the test.

And when Soren's resort business beckons him to New Zealand, he decides to take Fate up on its offer and ends up encountering two women from his past who will make him question everything. The final chapter of BECKONED: slow burn, second-chance romance inspired by food, travel, and Jane Austen.

You can read the excerpt HERE

What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?
I'm working on a collection of steamy slow-burn stories as a way to introduce different couples to my readers and get their feedback on whom I should turn into my next full-length book. I'll also have some previously unwritten scenes for Angela and Soren to introduce new readers to BECKONED. This collection might come out as early as March 2019, so look for it!

Where can we find you?
You can find "universal" links to my paperbacks and e-books here: 

Choose your favorite way to follow me! I love interacting with readers. If you are in the Southern California area, I have a bunch of readings and signings coming up.
My website: AvivaVaughn.com 
My newsletter: SmartURL.it/FollowAviva
Thank you for being here, Aviva. You are a delight. And thank you for the link to the first book in the Beckoned series.
To all of us, I wish a Happy Memorial Day. I know mine is blessed. My son Jim's birthday is May 26th. He and my granddaughter, my co-granda, Sharon, and Ella's cousin Olivia will be visiting me in Los Angeles this week and we will be doing Disneyland, Universal and celebrating Jim's 40th birthday. I have no idea how he got that old. Or that funny. His patch notes on Game of Thrones are a delight to read.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Heart-Lightening Literary Fiction from Catherine Ryan Hyde. Review and #Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 2 comments
Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde made me feel better about our world. I am delighted to have an ARC to give away. (paperback. US Only)

From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a moving novel about two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear.
Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?
Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.
Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.

I loved it. 15-year-old Raymond and the 92-year-old Mildred drew me into their hearts. I didn't want the book to end.

This is a "growing into a possibility of better things" novel. It acknowledges the terrible divisions fears and prejudices have created in our society and leads the reader to the realization that every good act performed is a blow to these divisions. In spite of everything the news clamors us to believe, there is so much good in the world and I love Catherine Ryan Hyde because she spotlights it in her beautifully written books. 

So, my friend, if I have interested you, please enter below.

Plus, FREE
Sally Brandle's book The Hitman's Mistake is free on Amazon May 15-19th. 
Sally will be on my blog June 4th, but that will be too late for this promotion and I didn't want you to miss it.

Now it’s her life or his.
After Miranda Whitley stops crooked cops from assassinating a prominent Seattle judge, she’s next on the hit list, and her survival depends on the buff FBI Agent she’s had one awkward encounter with. But can she find him in time?

The last person Grant Morley expects to discover on his annual supply run to a Montana mountain hermit is alluring Miranda Whitley, nearly dead from a bullet wound in her side. An accidental witness or the cold-blooded accomplice to would-be assassins?

Miranda must convince Grant of her innocence, evade the killers intent on preventing her testimony, and fight her unwanted attraction for the agent…an attraction which seems to be mutual. If you love sizzling chemistry, Montana’s mountain landscape, and fast-paced action, then you’ll love Sally Brandle’s galloping thriller, The Hitman’s Mistake.

Book 2, Torn by Vengeance, releases May 22nd. “Look over your shoulder. He’s watching.”
Happy Reading.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Robyn Carr's The View From Alameda Island Explores Divorce after 24 years of Marriage

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 4 comments
Robyn Carr's latest release/best seller is Women's fiction and is available on all platforms. I have an ARC copy of The View From Alameda Island to give away.

A poignant and powerful story about how one woman’s best intentions lead to the worst of situations, and how love helps her to heal and ultimately triumph.

From the outside looking in, Lauren Delaney has a life to envy—a successful career, a solid marriage to a prominent surgeon and two beautiful daughters who are off to good colleges. But on her twenty-fourth wedding anniversary, Lauren makes a decision that will change everything.

Lauren won’t pretend things are perfect anymore. She defies the controlling husband who has privately mistreated her throughout their marriage and files for divorce. And as she starts her new life, she meets a kindred spirit—a man who is also struggling with the decision to end his unhappy marriage.

But Lauren’s husband wants his “perfect” life back and his actions are shocking. Facing an uncertain future, Lauren discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had as she fights for the love and happiness she deserves.

My review:
I didn't want to stop reading and I always love Robyn Carr, It is possible in middle age to decide you deserve a better life. And it is possible to find someone perfect with whom to share it. All of that happens in this book. And I am all for romance with a mature couple which Robyn always does well. There is often a mature couple in her stories. 
But I have a personal problem with evil spouses. So this was not my favorite book. Robyn's evil spouses were extremely convincing. Both Brad and Lauren were definitely married to awful people. So if you are ok with evil spouses then I am sure you will like this book, because Robyn is a wonderful writer.
I have an ARC to give away. Enter below. Happy reading.

a Rafflecopter giveaway