Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review: Dying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum

Dying for a LivingDying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to this book on my many dog walks and car rides and couldn’t wait to take my mutt and pug for a drag just so I could hear the next installment. The talented narrator kept me snickering with her well-acted roles with just the right amount of sarcasm for the main character.

This snarky, quirky, inventive story had me at hello! Jesse Sullivan has a unique occupation. A death replacement agent (do NOT call them zombies!) with attitude, Jesse has a handler, two love interests (male and female) a posse of friends and a cute little dog named Winston. Did I say he’s a fawn pug? And I have a fawn pug. Not often you have a pug in a story, so happy dance for me with that!

Her characters are fun, larger than life and full of piss and vinegar. The plot kept me guessing (short version, no spoilers from me: someone is trying to off all the death replacement agents think BIG CONSPIRACY) and Jesse also happens to have an angel in her corner. But since her former mentor was institutionalized after she started seeing angels, Jesse thinks he’s a hallucination and keeps his sightings to herself. She has no desire to eat mashed bananas for the rest of her life.

I loved the fact that this book is about a non-traditional love triangle. It’s important for all readers to have people to relate to in a story. This author has given us a fresh, insightful perspective on what love is, and that does not just mean the traditional M/F. She has a lot of choices to make, none easy.

Five bright shiny stars covered with black feathers! This series is an auto buy for me!!!

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Interview with Susan Sheehey, Author of PRINCE OF SOLANA, Royals of Solana Series Book 1

What made you decide to be an author?
I had characters and stories in my head that would not go away, so I had to write them down. Other novels and movies would spawn a character idea in my head, and the plot would swirl in my mind for months. As my eldest was diagnosed with Autism and we were forced into the heinous world of dealing with health insurance and public school administration (both which are notorious for shoving those with special needs to the side), writing these characters down and fleshing out those plots helped me release stress and deal with reality.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?
I love being surprised by my characters. I’m a big believer in outlines and following them (loosely) until my character decides to take a different route, or throw in a plot twist I didn’t expect. Those surprises always make me so excited to keep writing and see where it leads.
I definitely don’t like the querying and rejection part of being a writer. Over time, you develop a thicker skin to those criticisms, dealing with one rejection or bad review after another, or a critique that leaves you bleeding as you walk out the door. But seeing the finished product and the sense of accomplishment is worth going through all of that. A dishonorable mention would be to the marketing/promotional side. I’m not the kind of person who likes to flaunt my work or become the pushy salesperson. But it’s a necessary evil in the publishing business.

You’ve written two novels and are working on a third novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? Finding the schedule that works best for you, and sticking to it as much as humanly possible. For me, that’s even more difficult due to 1 child with special needs and another toddler running around. But I’ve learned that I have to write when both of my kids are out of the house or someone else can watch them (so I can leave the house and write somewhere else). I’ve actually written four novels, but the first two will never see the light of day (by my choice). They were manuscripts that I learned how to write with. How to develop characters and plots and make a novel worthy of publishing.
I hope to have the sequel to PRINCE OF SOLANA out by early 2016. And the final novel in the trilogy by end of 2016.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? Definitely a plotter. I have to outline a book prior to sitting down and writing it. I have tried to ‘wing it’ before, and I end up writing myself into a corner that I can’t get out of. I’ve learned I have to use at least a loose template of where the story needs to go. If I veer off because a character springs a surprise on me, I can follow that. But at the very least I have to know how the books ends prior to writing it, as well as have all of the main characters fleshed out (goals, motivations, conflicts, both internal and external) before I start writing. I know many other writers who are total pantsers. That works for them, this works for me.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?
Keep writing forward. Don’t let a rejection letter get you down (at least not for too long). Keep writing. If you’re waiting for responses back from editors/agents/beta readers, keep writing while you wait. Work on another story. Don’t stop writing. If you stop, it will be so much harder to get back into it. The words don’t flow unless the faucet is turned on.

Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote?
Not only does music help me, I create entire playlists for books. As I’m writing and I hear a song that fits a scene, I make a note of it while I write. So that I have a complete playlist to release along with the book when the novel is published. Music is a huge factor in how I write. For PRINCE OF SOLANA, two of the primary songs that I kept listening to while I wrote is Secret by Ocean Lab, and Iridescent by Linkin Park.

Tell us about PRINCE OF SOLANA.
Prince Andre Peralta of Solana spent the last eight years in exile, drowning himself in liquor and gambling in casinos. When his father is assassinated by the Lozano cartel, duty to his tiny island country in the South Pacific trumps his fear and guilt. But he’s next on their hit list and he’s forced to hide on a remote Texas cattle ranch, where he meets strong-willed Gemma Westfall, a fascinating and trigger-happy ranch hand who pushes the limits of his self-control. Gemma has no patience for liars and gamblers, and something about this visitor crawls up her spine. His penetrating coffee eyes heat up her core, reigniting a dark passion and history she’d buried long ago. But when assassins find Andre and destroy Gemma’s home, vengeance guides both of them into dangerous waters.


How about an excerpt from PRINCE OF SOLANA?
“When we do this again,” he panted. “We’ll do it right.”
Gemma opened her eyes and looked over his head.
“We’ll take all night,” he murmured against her neck. “Be in our own private yacht beneath the stars, instead of next to a hold full of fish.”
“We’ve already done it under the stars.” She grabbed his hair and pulled his head up, locking her gaze with his again. “The same night my world was destroyed.”
His smile slipped.
“This doesn’t change anything, AndrĂ©,” she panted, a tinge of anger flashed in her eyes. “You took what you wanted back on the ranch. This was mine. Now we’re even.”
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Website Links:
Website: http://www.SusanSheehey.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/SusanSheehey
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/SusieQWriter


Buy Links:
Susan, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Nothingness from the Addictions of the Eternal Series by JC Stockli



THE NOTHINGNESS:
 “Fall from your graces into the depths.”
A dispirited addict learns that history repeats itself deep within hidden worlds. Evie Westvale is lost in the lifeless existence of her drug-laden fishing town. She finds much more than fellow addicts lurking beneath the docks. Craving escape from her inebriated reality, she discovers the presence of a dark stranger who haunts her dreams in the most delicious ways. Lucca has come to prey on the dregs of Fallhaven. He has not arrived by accident, and he is not alone.

Riding waves of blood and lust, Evie is forced to confront her dark past and an irresistible future, but can she survive the tempest brewing inside?

THE NOTHINGNESS is the first installment of the ADDICTIONS OF THE ETERNAL series.
THE SAVING:
COMING SOON!!!!!
“Have you found the light, or have you fallen?” 
Evie’s life can never be the same as long as the Sempiternal continue to call out from the depths. She’s in limbo, too ignorant and afraid of the future Lucca has planned with her. She’s left Fallhaven, set adrift in a new city, and fighting more than withdrawal. Evan has become her constant companion, committed to assimilating Evie to a clean, mortal life, but at what cost?

Though he fights to help her conquer her demons, still she struggles with her cravings for Lucca’s nothingness. How can she move on when there can be no light to her days without the darkness of his nights?

THE SAVING is the second installment of the ADDICTIONS OF THE ETERNAL series

Excerpt
Evie twisted and twirled through the tables and the shadows. She bobbed her head to the music and lip-synced along. Beyond taking orders, the music overwhelmed any attempt at conversation. Familiar patrons nodded or winked a greeting as she walked by. After a curvy course, she'd arrived at her destination.
When Evie reached the corner booth, she stopped dead in her tracks. Tray in hand, mouth gaped open, Evie stared down at whom she gathered to be the most beautiful man she had ever seen. 
The stranger reciprocated her stare with a devious smirk and dark eyes. The sandy scruff of a five o'clock shadow framed his face. His dirty-blond locks hung down the side of his jaw line, ends resting just across his shoulders. His sharp, angular features guarded deep dark irises. They created a sharp line above his eye sockets, like they were meant to purposely shield those dark pools of mystery from the club’s lighting. He held one eyebrow cocked indicating his amusement at her obvious fascination. 
Look away, dammit. You’re embarrassing yourself.
Evie forced herself to look away from his hypnotic features, but not too far. She dropped her gaze to his well-cut shoulders. His lean frame was shrouded under a soft grey sweater and worn leather jacket. 
Dammit. Stop giving him the once over, she demanded of herself again.
Evie averted her eyes once more. This time she stared straight down to his lap. Weathered jeans concealed what Evie presumed was something much more offensive to stare at than his face. She lifted her surprised gaze back up to meet his. The sly side smirk across his face widened. Clearly, he delighted in her awkwardness. Exasperated, she broke the silence and forced herself out of her reverie. 
“Hi,” she said, yelling over the music. She had to lean closer towards him so that he might hear her. By doing so, she caught a faint but pleasant scent overpowering the rankness of the club. “What can I getcha?”
The stranger looked back up at her in pure delight. Eyebrows lifted, he propped himself up with his elbows, one against the table top and the other against the back of the booth's bench. They cradled his thin but muscular frame. He stretched himself up to her. She leaned in even closer. Her senses now identified his aroma of orange blossoms and mint.
Delicious.
“I was thinking I might like you,” he replied and licked his lips.
Evie snapped upright. His dark gleaming eyes held her in place. His smile haunted. Evie’s pulse quickened. Her heart threatened to burst from her chest. And she softened deep between her thighs at the thought of serving herself up to the devilishly tenebrous stranger.
She moved back a little, allowed herself a moment to register his order and shake off his scent. Fighting a quiver, she replied, “Sorry man. If you're looking for a girl, you'll have to request one of the dancers. I just bring the drinks.”
She forced her composure and feigned cockiness with her hip shifted to the side, waiting for a new order. All the while her body trembled with anticipation.
“I can't say I'm interested in any of these girls,” the stranger said. His dismissive hand waved through the air. “And I don't care for alcohol myself.”
He reached into his pocket to reveal a large wad of cash and placed it down on the table. She looked at the generous fold of twenty-dollar bills. At least a few grands' worth. She gawked at him in amazement.
“I...” she stuttered. “I can't accept that. I'm just your waitress.”
“Should that matter?” he asked. His constant smile made her shiver. “You asked for my order, and I'd like to order you.” 

THE NOTHINGNESS is FREE to download until the end of the month!
Author Bio:
Choose your poison: Paranormal Fantasy • Romantic Horror • Dark Fantasy With A Twist? Maybe all of the above, and then some?

Stockli strives to keep it dark and intimate, feeding off of those quiet moments where secret exchanges of eye contact scream louder than words. Her work consists of “perfectly imperfect characters and real-life grittiness.” She is inspired by music, the past, and possibilities. Happily Ever Afters are only achieved through the cost of some blood, guts, or a soul or two… if at all.

Also an established full-time professional, Stockli has earned her BA in Art & Architectural History and MBA with a concentration in Marketing. Over the years she’s traveled, lived, learned, and moonlighted as a magician’s assistant, a roadie for a metal band, a dance fitness instructor, and even dressed up as a promotional character at public events. For her, life has been all in good fun and given her a wealth of real life material to work off of. She lives along the Massachusetts coast with her husband and two little monsters. You’ll likely find them dancing around the house, or out on the water soaking in the sun and breathing in the sea salt air.

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