Tag Archives: contemporary romance

Book Blast: Lila Munro’s ‘Love Vindicated’ WIN $25 Amazon Gift Card PLUS Gift Basket!

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Pump Up Your Book and Lila Munro will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card plus a GIFT BASKET during Lila’s Love Vindicated Book Blast today ! This promotion starts at 12 a.m. June 20 and will end at midnight. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!



In 1980, Kyle Montgomery’s life was seemingly perfect. Heavily recruited by Force Recon fresh from the Naval Academy, he’d been working black ops for the Marine Corps for six years and was on the cusp of being promoted to Major. He was on the fast track to bigger and better things, had all the right people vetting him, and he’d married the woman of his dreams and was exploring a lifestyle which could have ended his career. With the Iranian embassy under siege and the Middle East in turmoil, Kyle was sent on a mission which would change the course of his life forever.

Returning home after three months of being invisible, Kyle finds his wife has been murdered by the very people he’d been sent to protect. And instead of the government retaliating, they hand him his walking papers with the agreement they’ll never speak of the events again. It’s like Kyle never existed. His wife never existed. And the people who maimed and tortured her never existed.

Resigned to never again walk that path, Kyle opens the first Steele Image club with the thought of providing a safe haven for others like him, those who were invisible to the public and most of the government. Those who had eclectic sexual tastes. Those who would later become his allies. And his enemies. And both will drive him back to the place he’d thought he’d let go of forever to vindicate his love…




Lila Munro currently resides on the coast of North Carolina with her husband and their two four-legged kids. She’s a military wife with an empty nest and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fifteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual softer read to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, Three for Keeps, the Force Recon series, the Slower Lower series, the Identity series, and the Private Collection. Currently she is working on two new series set to release summer of 2013, the At Your Service line and the Steele Image line. She’s a member in good standing of RWA. Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted at lilasromance@gmail.com .

Her latest book is the BDSM contemporary romance, Love Vindicated.

Visit he website at www.lilamunro.com.



Pump Up Your Book and Lila Munro are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and Gift Basket!


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Talking Books with Cynthia Gail, author of WINTER’S MAGIC

Please welcome my special guest, contemporary romance author, Cynthia Gail. Cynthia is here today to talk about her latest release just in time for Christmas, Winter’s Magic (Book 1 in the Music City Hearts series).
My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our teenage son and three dogs. Life is busy, but when I have free time, I love to read. A math/science girl at heart and a retail analyst by trade, I never thought I’d be writing romance. But one day, a story popped into my head and I had to write it down. The fantasy, escape, and wonder of just reading multiplied by ten-fold and I couldn’t stop my fingers from typing my own fairy tales.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.

Cynthia’s latest book is the contemporary romance, Winter’s Magic (Book 1 in the Music City Hearts series).

Visit her website at www.Cynthiagail.com.

Why was writing Winter’s Magic so important to you?

Spring’s Surprise, now book #2 in the Music City Hearts series, was actually the first book I wrote. At the first draft stage, I hired an editor to give me feedback and direction. She suggested I take Beth’s character from book #2, create her own story, and plan a full series. I’d already fallen in love with writing, but the guidance and validation from a professional, award-winning author, stirred a deeper passion and I jumped right in.

What was the experience like writing Winter’s Magic?

It was so exciting to write with a purpose. I’m a planner at heart and I felt like I was finally on a path that I had confidence in. Beth is probably my favorite heroine in the series. She’s a strong woman, she’s worked hard to get where she is, and as a result, runs a successful, elite day spa. But even strong women have vulnerabilities. It’s how we face our weaknesses that counts and I think Beth handles adversity with a lot of grace and fortitude.

Can you tell us more about Beth Sergeant and Nick Chester?

Beth’s parents were middle-class, but found a way to send her to the most prestigious, private high school in Nashville, Tennessee. While the invaluable experience prepared her for college, she never felt as if she fit in.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. At the age of thirty, he’s built his own business and experienced enough of life to realize everyone has an agenda.

Despite her deep-seated insecurities, Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and finally accepts an invitation to dinner. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and she slowly learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?

Sara and Jenny are Beth’s two best friends. Spring’s Surprise is Sara’s story and Summer’s Family Affair is Jenny’s.

Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?

This is the end of a scene where Nick realizes how different Beth is from other women in his circle. Due to his family’s status, he’s constantly pursued by women looking for prestige and money. But Beth isn’t pursuing him and he can tell by her genuine interaction with his grandfather that she’s someone special he simply has to know more about.

What about page 65?

In a previous scene, Beth’s bank calls a surprise audit of her day spa’s construction expenses, based on allegations from an anonymous source. Nick offers to use his grandfather’s influence to get the audit dismissed, but Beth won’t let him. She has nothing to hide and doesn’t want to ‘use’ his connections. In the scene on page 65, Nick’s ex-girlfriend makes a surprise visit to his office. During the conversation, he realizes she’s the anonymous source. Though he’d promised Beth that he wouldn’t interfere, he can’t stop himself, and calls his grandfather.

Now that Winter’s Magic has been published, what’s your next project?

Spring’s Surprise is under contract and expected to release in March or April 2013. I’m just starting to work with the first draft of Summer’s Family Affair and I’m outlining Fall’s Redeeming Grace.

Do you have anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It’s no surprise that my first book had to celebrate the season. I hope you enjoy Winter’s Magic as part of your holiday collection.

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Women’s Contemporary Fiction Author Rozsa Gaston: ‘When I suffer from writer’s block I go running’

Rozsa GastonRozsa Gaston is an author who writes serious books on playful matters. She is the author of Paris Adieu, Dogsitters, Budapest Romance, Lyric, Running from Love and the soon to be released Paris Adieu sequel, Black is Not a Color Unless Worn By a Blonde.Rozsa studied European intellectual history at Yale, and then received her master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia. In between Rozsa worked as a singer/pianist all over the world. She currently lives in Connecticut with her family.

You can visit Rozsa’s website at www.parisadieu.com.

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About Paris Adieu

Paris AdieuThe first time Ava Fodor visits Paris as a nineteen-year old au pair, her French boyfriend introduces her to the concept of being comfortable in her own skin. If only she knew how…

One Ivy League degree later, she’s back for an encounter with a Frenchman that awakens her to womanhood. If only she could stay….

Five years later, Ava returns to Paris as a singer/pianist. She falls for Arnaud, whose frequent travel tortures her. While he’s away, a surprising stranger helps Ava on her journey to self-discovery. Armed with the lessons Paris has taught her, she bids adieu to Arnaud, Pierre and her very first love – the City of Light.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Rozsa. Can you tell us what your latest book, Paris Adieu, is all about?

Paris Adieu is a coming of age tale of self-discovery and self-acceptance.

The book has two themes: 1) how to be  comfortable in your own skin and 2) how to fake it till you make it.

Paris Adieu’s heroine, Ava Fodor, is clueless about both at the start of the story. But over ten years and three separate stays in Paris, she figures out a thing or two – thanks to insights living in Paris has given her. Ava studies French women, French food,  French attitude – while French men study her.  By the final chapters of Paris Adieu, she’s more or less transformed herself into the woman she wants to be. And if she hasn’t entirely, at least she’s learned how to fake it till she makes it.

Ultimately, Ava grasps that her newfound sense of self will work for her back in the U.S. in a way it never will if she stays in Paris. She’ll never become French. But she has become fabulous. More or less.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

My main character is Ava Fodor, a slightly plump, frizzy-haired nineteen-year-old American au pair in Paris. She struggles with being less than perfect.

Jean-Michel is Ava’s fussy, exacting first French boyfriend who educates her on all matters Parisian. Too bad his provincial outlook drives her up the wall.

Four years later, Pascal, Ava’s second French boyfriend, gives her something she’ll thank him for eternally – an introduction to her own womanhood.

Arnaud, Ava’s third French boyfriend, dazzles Ava’s head as well as her heart, until she finally tires of matching wits with him in a never ending zero-sum game. Recalling Pascal’s advice to her to always seek authenticity, she realizes she can’t be herself with Arnaud, nor in her career as a singer pianist.

When Arnaud’s friend Pierre shows interest in her original songs in a way Arnaud never has, Ava gains insight into who she really is and where she belongs. Pierre’s entrance into her life catalyzes her to move in a new direction – back to New York armed with the lessons Paris has taught her.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I base my characters on real people.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I almost never have more than a vague idea of where my plot is going. My characters let me know sooner or later what is going to happen to them. The plot derives from them.

Q: Your book is set in Paris. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

Audrey Hepburn summed it up best when she said “Paris is always a good idea.”

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Yes. Mais oui!

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Ava meets April, the Californian ex-girlfriend of Ava’s French boyfriend Jean-Michel. April has returned to Paris for a brief visit and drops by to see Jean-Michel. Expecting to feel jealous, instead Ava realizes that she and April have far more in common with each other than either of them do with Jean-Michel. They’re both a bit plump, both on diets, both struggling to get their arms around the very Parisian concept of being comfortable in their own skins. When Ava witnesses Jean-Michel trying to sabotage April’s efforts to stay on her diet when they all go out, she gets wise to Jean-Michel’s controlling ways. After April’s visit, Ava has Jean-Michel’s number – and it’s up.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

I hope you enjoy reading the following excerpt from Paris Adieu as much as I enjoyed writing it:

“You saw her recently?” Arnaud asked, his voice for once not booming out, dominating the conversation.

“She passed through Chavignol about a month ago,” Pierre said.

“Did she ask about me?” Arnaud’s tone was serious, almost reverential. I remained quiet as a mouse, tiptoeing behind the men.

“I can’t remember,” Pierre replied.

“You can’t remember what Mélanie said to you? I don’t believe it,” Arnaud said.

“We were at the boulangerie. It was crowded – we spoke in passing.” Pierre looked around, spotting me then clearing his throat.

I walked quickly ahead, pretending not to have heard anything. My blood boiled to think of how vulnerable Arnaud’s voice had sounded when he’d asked if whoever Mélanie was had asked about him. I’d never heard Arnaud utter a single word to me in a similar tone, not even when he’d said je t’adore.

Suddenly, I didn’t adore him back at all. My feelings for him crumbled, as the scales fell from my eyes. He was carrying a torch for someone named Mélanie. And whoever she was, she wasn’t me.

Always maintain straight posture at critical moments,” my grandmother’s voice rang out inside. I straightened up, flicking my ponytail back to ward off the gnat of insecurity now buzzing behind me. Then it hit me – Mélanie was the name of the woman in the photo at Arnaud’s country house.

Something tugged at my hair. I ignored it. Again, I tried to catch their conversation.

Arnaud had realized I was within earshot. Changing course, he began to describe a herd of elephants he’d seen in Cambodia.

I felt another tug. This time, I turned my face to the left, where Pierre’s warm, brown eyes caught mine. I lowered my own quickly, my pulse racing. He had been the one pulling my ponytail. Meanwhile, Arnaud droned on about yet another fascinating, obscure thing that had happened to him in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Pierre lowered his eyes back at me and made an inaudible ‘shhh’ with his mouth.

My smile was discreet, unnoticed by Arnaud, who was now waxing rhapsodic about how baby elephants call for their mothers. Whatever.

It occurred to me things that happen to us don’t really matter as much when they are not shared. If Arnaud had been watching baby elephants bawl for their mothers with me, for example, we would have shared the memory of such a charming scene forever, woven into the fabric of our relationship, however long it lasted.

Instead, it would be Arnaud telling his baby elephant story to others throughout the years, regaling strangers in bars with tales of wondrous exploits he underwent alone. So what? It all seemed like a big nothing to me.

“And then the female elephants all form a circle around the babies and bellow at the male elephants who try to charge the watering hole before the babies have had their drink. Yak, yak, yak, blah blah …” Arnaud was now completely caught up in his anecdote, oblivious to Pierre’s eyes flickering over mine, engaged, attentive, and fully present in the moment. “Be here now” was what Arnaud had preached to me.

But Pierre practiced it.

My mind wandered back to George Berkeley, the eighteenth-century empiricist who’d said “to be is to be perceived.” He was one of my favorite philosophers. In my college philosophy classes, he’d been one of the few I’d fully wrapped my brain around, along with Hegel and his three-part dialectic. As a songwriter I could really get behind the concept of three – verse, chorus, bridge were the three components of just about every pop song ever created. It was inarguably a pleasing number, both to the mind and to the senses. No wonder God had chosen it to represent Himself.

But back to Berkeley’s way of thinking – let’s just say that Arnaud hadn’t really seen those baby elephants, or heard them crying for their mothers, or seen the ladies get huffy with the males who tried to drink before the kids had their fill. Who would ever know? Since Arnaud witnessed this whole scene by himself, then who was to say it actually happened?

That’s what Berkeley would ask and that was what I was asking now. If Arnaud chose to live his life in a way largely unshared by anyone who remained constant in it, then was there meaning in what he experienced? Frankly – who cared?

Excerpted from Paris Adieu (2011) by Rozsa Gaston

Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

When I suffer from writer’s block I go out running. If I’m really blocked, I do a speed workout. Speed workouts put the body into an anaerobic state which causes the brain to produce endorphins afterward. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that promote feelings of euphoria. I usually sleep well and dream vividly the night after I’ve done a speed workout. I think it’s those endorphins inviting inspiration into my brain. By the next morning I’ve usually come up with a fresh new writing idea.

If that doesn’t work, I brainstorm by writing down as many plotlines, outcomes, and crazy directions for the story to go in as come into my head. I do this first thing in the morning before the day gets cluttered up with real life.

Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

Read! I’d kick back with a fiction work of choice and learn from other authors. Famous, infamous or unknown, it wouldn’t matter. I love reading what other writers do with words. It’s always instructive. Even when its bad, it teaches me something. But there’s nothing like the pleasure of reading a well-written passage. It’s as good as eating a box of fine chocolates.

Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why?

I wish I’d written Bonjour Tristesse, the 1954 masterpiece and debut novel by Françoise Sagan. That book had it all: style, austerity, chic, wit, insouciance, ennui, the whole gamut of what the French refer to as “je ne sais quoi” – “I don’t know what.” I hope Paris Adieu has a similar blend of seasoning – but without the ennui. Ennui is one of those characteristics largely exclusive to Europeans – unless we’re talking about Whit Stillman characters. I’ve always wanted to have it, but never will.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?

Complete your projects. Don’t start a manuscript, lay it aside then start another one. Get into the habit of completing whatever writing project you begin. It’s a good discipline to follow and sooner or later one of your completed projects will be good enough to publish. If no one else thinks so, just publish it yourself. Voilà – you’re on your way!

Thank you so much for this interview, Rozsa.  We wish you much success!


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Author Interview: ‘Nobody’s Angel’ K.T. Wells ‘ I’d kill for an extra hour of sleep’

K. T. Wells has been telling stories since before she could read. She used to narrate books for her baby brother, concocting a plotline from the pictures. Not much has changed. One of her husband’s favorite pastimes is to listen to her tales after asking her to tell the story of people they observe in restaurants, airports or the subway.

Fascinated by the human condition, K. T.’s writing captures the emotions that drive the engines of our hearts. She is captivated by the rituals of love and believes everyone is entitled to a happily ever after.

Join her in celebrating her first published novel – Nobody’s Angel.

You can visit her at http://ktwells.wordpress.com.

About Nobody’s Angel

Jake and Angie’s twentieth high school reunion sets the perfect stage for their lifelong friends to reunite the former sweethearts. Major roadblock – they have to trick Angie into coming home after twenty years. An elaborate ruse ensues at the same time they work on browbeating Jake into attending.

Maneuvering through emotional minefields rates a 10 for difficulty level, particularly when Angie lives the maxim: Time does not heal all wounds. And Jake? Check the Wiki pic next to Pride comes before the fall. Yep, that’s him tripping all over himself year after year.

But the firm conviction that these two were meant to be together propels a cast of quirky, determined friends into action. When tragedy derails the best laid plans, will Jake and Angie’s love rise to the occasion?

Q: Thank you for this interview, K.T. Can you tell us what your latest book, Nobody’s Angelis all about?

Loving each other from childhood, Jake and Angie seemed destined to spend their lives together. Youthful mistakes separated them and twenty years later neither of them could form a long-lasting emotional attachment to another person. With their twentieth high school reunion looming, their cadre of quirky and loyal friends break all the rules in attempt to reunite the lovers. Just as forever seems possible again, tragedy strikes and the strength of true love is put to the test.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?


Jake takes the road harder travelled even when the easier path is laid out in front of him. As he says, he zigs when he should zag. For the most part, Angie willfulness keeps Jake in check, but when he goes to far and breaks her trust, his misstep was too much for her to handle. Head-over-heels in love, she doesn’t suffer from a lack of self-preservation, but forgiveness gets shut down when fear controls her heart. Their twenty-year separation hurts everyone who loves them and it’s those dear friends that engineer Jake and Angie’s reunion.

Dianne and Nigel are Angie’s truth mirrors, as only great friends can be. With the help of their families and Jess and Avery, they all pull together to right a wrong before it’s too late.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?


A little bit of both. Most of my characters have foundational traits of real people who have touched my life, but the characters’ layers are mine.


Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?


For the most part, I know most of the major plot points in my stories before I begin writing. But, as characters are wont to do, they can steer the story in a direction that surprises me, however they never veer too far off their original course.

Q: Your book is set between suburban New York and Los Angeles. Can you tell us why you chose these locations in particular?


Familiarity, to a certain extent. Also, the story called for a physical separation of the main characters and I thought having them live on opposite coasts emphasized the chasm between them.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?


In some books more than others, particularly when the setting influences attitudes and outcomes. In Nobody’s Angel, the hometown location played a major role for what it represented to the characters, not so much for it’s actual beauty or topography.


Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?

Flashback to Angie’s crushing teenage heartache after she and Jake’s big break-up.

We’re in Angie’s bedroom, and Avery has returned home from college to pull her back to from the black hole of sorrow.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?


This is one of my favorites. We’re at Dianne’s Thanksgiving table where only some of the guests are privy to the ruse that got Angie to return to New York.

“So Robert. You studying to be a lawyer?” Grandpa leaned forward to look past Marc to see Oscar’s face.

         Oscar just sat there, eating his third sourdough dinner role. Erin tried to kick him under the table, but her legs weren’t that long, he was too far away.

         “He’s more of a math guy, Grandpa.” Erin jumped in hoping to distract her grandfather.

         “That so.” Grandpa leaned forward even further. “You going to become Robert Einstein?” He chuckled at his own joke.

         Oscar didn’t register, his eyes glazed over in a food haze. Somewhere between the giant Greek salad and the pumpkin soup, he’d become so absorbed by the meal he forgot the role he was supposed to play.

         “Robert, dear. Don’t let Vincent intimidate you.” Now Grandma leaned forward. “I think math’s a perfectly nice subject to study. Would you like to be an accountant?”

         Grandpa snorted. “Like damn Harry Engels. Who’d want to be stuck behind a damn desk twenty-four hours a day from January through April? That’s not what you’re looking to do, is it Robert?”

         Oblivious, Oscar was piling a piece of turkey and some stuffing onto his fork.

         “Robert” Grandpa called out. “Robert” he said louder.

         “Robert” Erin shouted at the same time she saw Simi stab Oscar in the ribs with her spoon.

         Oscar’s hand jerked up, the turkey and stuffing went sailing over his shoulder and splattered against Mom’s butterscotch silk wallpaper before it slid to the ground.

         Angie let out a squeak of laughter. Ben howled and Marc let a “Damn fine” fly before Dad gave him the dreaded eye-squint.


Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?


Not block, writer’s stumble. Sometimes I get caught up in minutiae and spend one hour on a paragraph trying to find the precisely perfect word or sentence. Usually a brain break cures me, but sometimes I have to go with it and work on through before the flow starts again.



Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?


I’d love to give an exotic answer here to make me sound intriguing and beyond interesting, but truly, I’d kill for an extra hour of sleep.

Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why?


There are more than a few books that are imprinted in my brain for all time, but I’d have to say Charlotte’s Web. It is a classic tale of unrelenting friendship with iconic characters that transcend time and place.



Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?

Don’t give up. Know your market. Keep writing. And don’t give up. A popular Romance author that has enjoyed significant success since being “discovered” had written ten books before her eleventh was picked up. Most of the ten have been published now. That could be any one of us.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, K.T.  We wish you much success!


Very generous of you; thanks for the opportunity to spend time with your readers.

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Interview with Bonnie Trachtenberg, author of “Wedlocked”

Bonnie Trachtenburg

Bonnie Trachtenberg worked as Senior Writer and Copy Chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She’s also written for three newspapers, and has penned countless magazine articles.Wedlocked is her first novel. She lives on Long Island with her husband, stepchildren, and cats.

Please visit her blogs at:



and on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/WritebrainedNY

Q: Thank you for this interview, Bonnie. Can you tell us what your latest book, Wedlocked: A Novel, is all about?

A: Wonderful to be here. Wedlocked is the witty, engaging tale of a struggling actress named Rebecca Ross, who, after years of disappointment and heartache, finds herself catapulted into a disastrous marriage and onto a honeymoon from hell. Readers will find that the story is like a wild ride through Rebecca’s life, featuring zany, memorable characters; unique, unpredictable plotting; and lots of humor.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

A: Rebecca starts out as a perfectionist Pollyanna and talented overachiever but gets taken down quite a few notches by her experiences in life—so much so that she begins to doubt everything she’s ever believed and is compelled to make a desperate decision. Rebecca does what her dictatorial mother, an overzealous convert to Judaism, has always wanted her to do: she marries a Jewish man, namely Craig Jacobs. Craig is charismatic and persistent but brash and defiant too, and he comes into Rebecca’s life like a hurricane. But it’s not until her wedding day that she begins to realize just how wacky and destructive a man he is—and just wait for the honeymoon!

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

A: The characters in Wedlocked are closely based on real people, as the story is based on my first brief and calamitous marriage. Some characters are composites and most were amplified—but not all! I guess you could say that with a few changes, Rebecca is really me. In fact, friends who have read the book say they hear my voice in their heads when Rebecca narrates.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

A: In this case I was very consciously aware of the plot since it was inspired by actual events from my life. In my second novel, which is in the editing phase, I used an idea that had been marinating in my mind for a while. However, in both cases, I found that the stories took unexpected turns as I wrote.

Q: Your book is set in New York, Los Angeles and Italy. Can you tell us why you chose these places in particular?

A: I’ve lived in both New York and Los Angeles and therefore have a great affinity and good knowledge of both. Many of my life experiences can be tied to places and events in both cities. I chose Italy because I’ve been there three times and find it to be a paradise. What better place to set a disastrous honeymoon? Especially since that’s where mine took place.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

A: Yes, all three settings are like characters in what they offer and how they each affect Rebecca’s life. They also lend a certain richness to the story that only location can.

Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?

A: Rebecca is about to shoot her first national commercial and is practicing her lines. She wants to make sure absolutely nothing goes wrong since, thanks to her, all her other career opportunities have gone down the drain. Of course something will go wrong, but this time it will be totally out of her control.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

A: Sure. This is from the prologue and sets the stage for what’s to come:
“As we were announced into a resplendent ballroom filled with enthusiastic guests, it was as if a UFO had plucked me out of my should-be life, only to plop me down in some sort of bizarre alternate universe. For it had been less than a year earlier that I was this close to seeing my dreams of fame, fortune, and romance come to fruition, when they exploded in my face like a cruel joke.

With Craig’s hand gripping mine, and the Starbright Orchestra’s lead singer channeling Frank Sinatra, the glorious, Gatsby-esque room that had so enchanted me, began spinning even faster than my shell-shocked, post-nuptial brain. What some brides know is that when you find yourself sashaying down the aisle on what’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life, things can sometimes turn bafflingly surreal. Sensing something’s terribly amiss, you chalk it up to jitters, refusing to acknowledge a most unpleasant fact: the man standing before you in white tie and tails is far from the soul mate you hoped for.

If I could have seen this truth in real time, I like to think I would have mustered the courage to make a mad bolt from the chapel. But I was thirty-six—trampled, lost, and romantically bankrupt—so the only thing running away that day was the train I was riding, and I kept my seat, although I was destined to wreck.” —from Wedlocked: A Novel

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Bonnie. We wish you much success!

A: It was a pleasure. Thank you!

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‘The Mermaid’s Pendant’ LeAnn Neal Reilly on virtual book tour October & November ’10

LeAnn Neal ReillyJoin LeAnn Neal Reilly, author of the general fiction novel, The Mermaid’s Pendant (Zephon Books), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in October and November ‘10 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

LeAnn Neal Reilly grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, near the Missouri River, in that fertile land where corn, children, and daydreams take root and thrive. She spent countless hours reading and typing chapters on an old Smith-Corona in her closet, which luckily for her didn’t have doors. Then she put away her daydreams and her stories and headed off, first to graduate magna cum laude from Missouri Western State University, and later to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for a master’s degree in professional writing. Along the way, she majored briefly in chemistry, served as opinion editor and then editor of her college newspaper, and interned for the international design firm Fitch RichardsonSmith in Columbus, Ohio. The highlight of her internship came when she generated the product name renata for a Copco teakettle (although designing the merchandising copy for ceramic tile adhesive and insulation packaging surely runs a close second).

After graduate school, LeAnn worked first for a small multimedia startup and then a research group in the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. At the startup, she spent her time writing user manuals and multimedia scripts for software to train CSX railroad engineers. While working among geeks, LeAnn became enamored and decided to take one home for herself. After getting married and starting a family, she returned to her adolescent daydreams of writing novels. Never one to shirk from lofty goals, she added home schooling her three children as her day job.

After years of working in an office not much better than an unfinished closet, LeAnn has finished The Mermaid’s Pendant and is currently working on her next novel. LeAnn joined GoodReads three years ago where she writes reviews regularly.

LeAnn lives outside Boston with one husband, three children, a dog named Hobbes (after Calvin &), and a cat named Attila. The Mermaid's Pendant

Inspired by the beloved classic The Little Mermaid, THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a modern fairy tale about growing up and discovering who you are—and what you believe in. At times lyrical, this novel is a fantastic journey filled with magic, myth, romance, and adventure.

Four years after John Wilkerson claims the mermaid Tamarind for his wife, they have an idyllic marriage that depends on a talisman that she crafted on their island paradise. But Tamarind learns a painful truth: it takes more than legs to live on land and more than magic to sustain a bond. When the talisman breaks, she and John are forced to rely on themselves instead of magic.

Three wise women play key roles in the young lovers’ journey to mature love. Ana, Tamarind’s aging mentor, casts spells and performs seductions to keep the lovers apart. Valerie, an expat jewelry maker cum fairy godmother, works her own magic to bring them together. Lucy, their widowed neighbor, grounds the couple in the realities of marriage, parenting, and family.

THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a story for anyone who has ever believed in the transforming power of love.

You can visit LeAnn’s Web site at www.nealreilly.com.

If you’d like to follow along with LeAnn as she tours the blogosphere in October and November, visit her official tour page at Pump Up Your Book. Lots of fun in store as you travel the blogosphere to find out more about LeAnn Neal Reilly’s newest book, The Mermaid’s Pendant.

Join us for the LeAnn Neal Reilly’s The Mermaid’s Pendant Virtual Book Tour ‘10! Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours. You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

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Interview with Randall Lang, author of Magnificent Man

Magnificent ManRandall Lang grew up in the tough coalfields of southwestern Pennsylvania where nothing comes easily. It is a world of limited opportunity and few roles to follow. Dreams are quickly vanquished in the shadows of necessity and creativity is usually buried beneath an avalanche of cynicism.  However, epiphanies come in all shapes, sizes, and in a wide range of locations. In the dark and quiet world of the underground worksite, the stories within him began to take form. Years later, Randall Lang is the author of eight books of erotic stories published by Renaissance E Books, has contributed to two erotic anthologies, and the recently released Magnificent Man, an erotic romance published by Midnight Showcase. Randall’s erotic works include the five volume Trailer Park Nights series and three books of erotic short stories. These are available at http://shop.renebooks.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=120. His newest release, Magnificent Man, is available from Midnight Showcase at http://www.midnightshowcase.com/MagniMan.htm. See the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv3T4zXq_Lo.  Visit Randall’s website, The Worlds of Randall Lang, www.randalllang.com.Or his blog, The Mind of Randall Lang, www.randalllang.blogspot.com. It’s a strange place to be. Randall now lives historically on an historic island in historic Wheeling, West Virginia.

Thank you for this interview, Randall. Can you tell us what your latest book, Magnificent Man, is all about?

Firstly let me thank you for inviting me here today. Magnificent Man is the story of Cassandra, a struggling single Mother, who takes a chance to better her family’s future. On her way home she is rescued from dangerous thugs by a large, handsome man on a motorcycle. He agrees to take her home after he completes his work at reservations and small villages in the southwest. It is during this journey that she realizes what a special man Coyote is. Coyote and Cassandra resist the ever-growing attraction between them, but ultimately they surrender to their love.

Is this your first novel?  If not, how has writing this novel been different from writing your first?

I have been writing contemporary heterosexual erotica for about ten years and this is my ninth published novel. For several years I have felt a bit ‘illegitimate’ for writing wrotica. While I was not ashamed of what I was writing, I avoided author interviews and I did not even know to whom I should market what I wrote. After spending more time on the internet chat loops with heavy-duty romance writers such as Brenna Lyons and Morgan Ashbury, I developed the desire to write something more ‘mainstream’. An idea had been haunting me that combined a strong, anachronistic hero with a capable but in need of a break heroine in a hostile but beautiful environment. That idea became Magnificent Man, my current release. To answer your question specifically, I believe that this novel is better written and more polished that my earlier works. Having an editor helps to eliminate those problems that an author does not recognize as problems.

How difficult was it writing your book?  Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

I have this inertia problem. Once I make a credible start I am able to keep pushing until it is finished, but that start is the critical thing. Magnificent Man started with an idea for a hero, then a setting, and finally a story. It took off well, but I quickly hit a wall because I had never been to the American southwest. After spending time in Arizona and New Mexico actually visiting places where I was an obvious stranger, I developed a feeling for the land and its people. After that, the novel began to flow. There were a few times when I simply couldn’t picture the next step in the novel. I wanted to keep it moving so I skipped ahead and wrote scenes that I knew would be included later in the story. That helped a lot and made it rather easy to connect up the scenes.

How have your fans embraced your latest novel?  Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

My feedback has been limited. What I have received both from readers and reviewers has been very positive. What surprised me was the enthusiastic reception for Frank Sancho, a secondary character in the book. Some readers found him so interesting that they asked about a sequel written about him. That was completely unexpected. Another unusual thing that happened after I finished Magnificent Man (so I thought),occurred when I asked my friend Morgan Ashbury to read through the book and give me her opinion. Morgan has been an award winning writer for many years and I seriously wanted her input. She returned the manuscript fully edited, but the big surprise was a note stating, “This is NOT the ending! You do NOT leave romance readers hanging with a (expletive deleted) ending like this!” That put my head back into gear and my butt back in the chair. The ending was revised until Morgan approved.

What is your daily writing routine?

A: It is more like a nightly writing routine. I am nocturnal by nature and my best hours are from eight in the evening until about four A.M. Inside and outside are quieter and the mind can be more free. If things are cooking along and the story is flowing, I may work all night. It’s just really nice to have that option.

When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

I enjoy bicycling. Please do NOT misunderstand, I’m NOT one of those characters in the spandex suits with the silly little plastic hats. My blog post “Some Serious Spandex” lampoons them. http://randalllang.blogspot.com/2009/04/some-serious-spandex.html .  I’m just a plodder in jeans and tee shirt grinding away the miles on any of the wonderful rails-to-trails conversions that exist all over the country. We have two excellent trails here in Wheeling, several nearby in Pennsylvania, and more (as of yet unexplored) in Ohio.

I also enjoy kayaking. I must admit that I’m a ‘wimp-water’ kayaker rather than a Mountain Dew swilling white-water’ kayaker who is  out playing in waterfalls and protruding rocks. But I do enjoy four or five hours of quietly drifting down a scenic river.

What book changed your life?

Not so much a book as an author. I’m actually hooked on history, and in particular local history. Much of my working life was spent in and around the coal mining industry. One of my favorite writers is Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys, the book that became the movie October Sky, http://www.homerhickam.com/. He has numerous published books and many of them are about his youth in Coalwood, a small company town deep in southern West Virginia. I had met his Father, a mine supervisor featured in several of his books, and I was familiar with the town and its people. Reading Homer’s work taught me that an author could write an interesting and captivating story in plain words. Before that, I had assumed that authors had to have a PhD in literature from an Ivy League college and be fluent in four languages before they could write a book. Homer opened the mental doors that had held me back.

If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

It would be called Doing the Right Thing. Despite my failings and rather shady lifestyle, I always attempted to do the right things in life, and I tried to treat people with courtesy and respect.

Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

Oh gosh this kind of thing is difficult. Here it comes, stripped to the bone! I’m not arrogant or stand-offish, I’m shy. That may be hard to believe of a veteran public speaker, stage performer, and professional group president, but it is true. I welcome meeting people, but I have a problem remembering names and that is embarrassing and awkward. I recognize the same trait in other people and it is more common that most people expect.

Thank you for this interview Randall.  I wish you much success on your latest release, Magnificent Man!

Thank you for inviting me, it has been a pleasure.

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