How to Kill a Minority Shareholder and get away with it, by Rob Watkins (Author Interview and Review)

Author Interview

Where I dig deep into the mind of Rob Watkins, author of How to Kill a Minority Shareholder and get away with it!

Genre: Revenge Thriller

Rob Watkins has recently published his first novel, How to Kill a Minority Shareholder and get away with it. I recently interviewed Rob in person and quizzed him on its publication, his writing and his future projects. A synopsis of the book and a review follows the interview. We wish Rob every success with the publication of this, his first novel. 🙂

rob watkinsThe title of this book really intrigued me from the off as did the synopsis as I am partial to tales where the underdog fights back and triumphs.  I invited Rob to tell us about himself and what prompted him to write it. Rob explained that although he has worked in many different roles throughout his working life – his current occupation is that of a painter and decorator, not once did he envisage that he would write a novel!

It is clear that the inspiration and compulsion for How to Kill a Minority Shareholder and Get Away with it was very much a personal one. Rob acknowledges that the first third of the story flowed from his experiences of witnessing someone very close to him suffer the crushing blow of having their successful career brought to an abrupt end, due to what he describes as the deliberate and questionable actions of others

The novel’s main themes are pretty dark: greed, jealousy, bullying, mental cruelty, violence and revenge, reflecting human nature at its worst. When questioned further about these themes, Rob stated that he finds it difficult to comprehend how the legal system can do little to protect employees subjected to situations such as those experienced by Deb, the heroine of his novel. He stressed how he wanted the book to serve as a warning to those in the corporate world, so that they take any necessary steps to prevent a similar event befalling them.

Although the issues raised in the novel are serious ones, there is a great deal of humour peppered throughout, much of it dark. Rob stated that the final two thirds of the book, where the hero Bob begins to contemplate and exact his revenge upon his wife’s persecutors, allowed him more scope to introduce humour into the narrative. One of my personal favourites is the passage where Bob dreams of exterminating his wife’s persecutors, in bloody technicolour glory! It comes at the point when I believed that those who destroyed the professional reputation and the life of Bob’s wife deserved to meet a grisly end! Rob underlined how he enjoyed injecting humorous elements into his novel, believing it important to lighten the mood for the reader. The passage in the novel where Bob attempts (with comical consequences) to secure the pontoons in the Venice canal so that his victim is forced out of his water taxi and onto dry land was one of Rob’s favourite passages.

Rob maintained that he endeavoured to illustrate to the reader how and why Bob was spurred on by a desire to avenge the wrongs that had been done to his wife. Before reaching this point Bob had tried to seek assistance from every avenue available to man or woman; personal entreaties; legal assistance and media coverage, but to no avail. Indeed, events soon spiral out of control and lead him deeper and deeper into darker actions and questionable moral behaviour. Rob stated that he was inspired by some of the scenes portrayed by the character William Foster played by Michael Douglas in the 1990’s film Falling Down. I remember this film well and think that he succeeded in doing this perfectly.  Throughout the novel I was constantly torn by the question of whether I believed Bob to be the hero or the villain of the piece! I will not say which side of the fence I opted for – you will need to read Rob’s work and navigate the moral dilemma it presents for yourself!

The metamorphosis that Bob goes through, from supportive husband to master avenger fascinated me and I was particularly interested in how adept Bob became at planning and executing the technical aspects of his ‘hits.’ Rob stressed that he tried to inject realism into his work, especially with regards to the systematic and ordered way Bob eliminated those who had wronged his wife. Rob explained that his penchant for crime thrillers helped to fire his imagination, particularly when it came to ensuring that Bob’s activities left no traceable clues for forensics to link him with a particular crime scene.

As much of the book was autobiographical Rob stated that he rarely experienced writer’s block. The challenge was not writing too much rather than too little. Rob reported that once he had the rough outline worked out, the main task was to weave the various elements of the narrative together, to create a book that offered an enjoyable reading experience but at the same time conveyed Rob’s message about how those in the corporate world should take care not to fall prey to the jealousy and greed of others.

Rob makes us look at our own friends and acquaintances and begs the question “how much would it take for the people you know and trust, and class as best friends, to betray and denounce you to get a share of the pie or increase the size of their slice?” Even when they know the “pie” is only there thanks to you? The answer, and how small the amount might be, may make you look at your closest friends and people around you in a new slightly sinister light and will shock even the most cynical of readers.

The book is Rob’s first published novel, taking four years to write, and I asked him if he had any experience of creative writing prior to penning it. Surprisingly, given the literary quality of the work, Rob stated that he had no prior experience, although he conceded that he has always been artistic, having attended art college in his youth. Although the characters per se are purely fictional, they nevertheless reflect Rob’s own experiences of a lifetime of people watching! Rob is particularly well traveled, often to places off the main tourist map and writes with authority about a number of these far flung places in the novel. Thailand in particular features heavily, and it is there where he met a number of acquaintances who inspired many of the characters in the book, including the Lady Boy owner of the brothel and the expat ex-military personnel whose activities sail close to the wind!

Rob explained that as this was his first novel he wanted to find an established publisher, rather than self-publish, partly because he felt it would validate the book to himself and also because the world of publishing and book marketing was very much outside his realm of experience. He feels very fortunate in that he found a publisher in Book Guild (now part of the Troubadour publishing group) and a very supportive and enthusiastic editorial team.

What of Rob’s own reading material and future works? Rob’s favourite genres to read are sci-fi, fantasy and crime and thriller books, although he laments that since becoming a writer he does not have he chance to read as extensively as in the past. He confirmed that he has another work in the pipeline, also set in the corporate world, involving a character who is being blackmailed and set up to be the fall guy. This work he explains contains more humour, although it too deals with questionable morals and business practices. He hopes to progress this further at some point.

As to all the readers out there, Rob very much hopes that they have as much fun reading his novel as he had writing it; that they laugh and cry at what he writes and that they learn something from it.

Disclaimer: All the characters mentioned in the above interview and in the author’s work, How To Kill A Minority Shareholder and get away with it are purely fictitious.

Book Blurb

Deb had worked and fought her way from council estate to a position that promised a comfortable retirement for her and her husband, Bob, and would make all their sacrifices over the years worthwhile. Her skill, dedication and knowledge had enabled her to take a failing, small family business she had joined a quarter century before and turn it into an international empire. She had made her boss and the shareholders multi-millionaires. On paper, even Deb would walk away with a few million when it came time to retire.

At the happiest and proudest point of her hard-working life, Deb’s evil boss, Ms Summer Ponsenbury, after twenty-five years of festering, hidden jealousy, shattered Deb’s world. With the help of her unscrupulous cohorts, Summer took everything she had promised. She destroyed Deb’s reputation, took her rewards, trashed Deb’s achievements and dumped her at rock bottom.

All concerned believed they were above the law. They were too powerful and too rich to have to worry about Deb getting justice. They thought no one would care… they were wrong. They had forgotten about Bob. The fight was just about to start.

Review

A Dark and Humorous Revenge Thriller *****

I am drawn to tales of where the underdog fights back and triumphs, and this gripping read fits the bill! It dramatizes how Bob, after witnessing how his wife’s business associates deliberately destroy her credibility and career, avenges her by making them pay with the ultimate price, their lives.

The first third of the novel illustrates how easy it can be for those in the corporate world to destroy the life and reputation of another human being. Bob’s wife, Deborah, a brilliant and successful businesswoman, has dragged herself up from her humble beginnings to reach top management. If Deb has a fault it is that she is too trusting of others. She is secretly resented by all around her, who use her to further their own careers, at the same time despising her for her competence and intellect. This hatred and jealousy goes so deep that one woman, the villain of the piece, Summer Ponsenbury actively sets out to destroy her, urging others wield the knife on her behalf or sit passively on the side-lines.

In many regards, the reader is presented with a very negative version of the human condition, delving deep into greed, jealousy, bullying, mental cruelty, violence and revenge. Yet the read is not devoid of humour, albeit much of it dark! Bob’s metamorphosis, as he goes from supportive and angry husband to avenger extraordinaire. is at the heart of the final two thirds of the novel and the author executes the narrative with flair. It is up to the reader to decide whether or not the central character, Bob, is the hero or the villain of the piece. Many of the descriptions are very visual and this aspect coupled with the personal drama and humour make the book ideal for  TV adaptation.

The read will appeal to thriller readers who are looking for a satisfying read which delves deep into the psyche of its characters, is peppered with dark humour and which contains a serious message on human nature for us all.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of the book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rob-Watkins/e/B00XNQSSS4

http://www.facebook.com/100008589104341

 

 

 

 

 

 

**INTERVIEW** Interview with Bestselling Author, Howard Kaplan: Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy Series #2)

Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy Series Book 2)We are absolutely overwhelmed to be interviewing espionage thriller author, Howard Kaplan, for a second time with regard to his second book of The Jerusalem Spy series, Bullets of Palestine. You may remember we interviewed the best selling author last October when his first book of the series, The Damascus Cover, was about to be filmed as a movie.

DAMASCUS COVER, KaplanWith the author’s personal experiences that inspired The Damascus Cover, and with stars such as Jonathan Reis Meyers (Match Point, The Tudors), Jürgen Prochnow (Das BootThe Da Vinci Code), Navid Negahban (Homeland, character Abu Nazir), Igal Naor (The Honourable Woman), and Sir John Hurt, we are very excited about it’s forthcoming release! For more on the film visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3457508/  With the movie now in post-production and many people awaiting it’s release, now is a great time to check out both books!

Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy series, Book 2)

Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy Series Book 2)

Synopsis:

Two agents. Two opposing sides.

Israeli Agent Shai is dispatched to eliminate a terrorist threat. To succeed in his mission Shai must win the trust of Palestinian Agent Ramzy who will help him gain access to the infamous and dangerous Abu Nidal.

Shai is under orders to kill Ramzy when the mission ends. Instead, they forge a friendship that transcends the hatreds of their heritage. Loyalties are tested. Will they capture Abu Nidal or betray each other? In a conflict where both sides dehumanize each other, two extremely human men, are caught in the cross-hairs of the larger war.

Buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK

INTERVIEW

Hello Howard, Welcome back to A Reader’s Review Blog. The last time we interviewed you for The Damascus Cover you certainly opened our eyes with your fantastic travel and life experiences. Thank you so much for your time and speaking with us again.

1. The last time we ‘spoke’ you were about to visit Casablanca on the film set of The Damascus Cover. How was your experience?

I spent a fabulous week in Casablanca and went out every day on the ten hour shoot. I’m beyond fortunate at the caliber of the cast. John Hurt was not there while I was, but I saw a lot of the romantic scenes shot with Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Olivia Thirlby. Jonny, as JRM likes to be called, is intense, passionate and a perfectionist. His cover is Hans Hoffman, and he does the entire film with a remarkable German accent, his hair dyed blonde. A language coach from Berlin was on the set full time and listened to every take. Both of them were zealous that none of his Irish brogue slip into the German accented English. At breakfast in the hotel, I asked the German actor, Jurgen Prochnow (Das Boot, DaVinci Code) who plays a former Nazi in Damascus how it sounded. With a smile, he said, “Familiar.” Thirlby, best known as the sister in Juno, was particularly interesting. Unlike Jonny who hit the same delivery on take after take, Olivia roamed and tried each one a little differently until she and the director found a remarkable spot in both dialog and facial expressions. The producer told me I’d be bored and want to head off to the more exotic Marrakesh or Fez, but I stayed on set the entire week I was there.

 

2. Shortly after your visit to Casablanca the 2nd edition of Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy series #2) was released. Could you tell us when the first edition was published, and if it brought back some memories for you from that time?

 

Bullets of Palestine, first published in 1987, is set 10 years after Damascus. What I was most reminded of in rereading it was all the locales I visited throughout the Middle East and Europe, such as Albufeira on the Portuguese coast to research events that actually happened there, in this case, the shooting at the Socialist International there. This was during Israel’s War with Lebanon and the army took me into Lebanon for a day, as part of a foreign press junket. I did not make it as far as Beirut then, though I had been in Beirut years earlier, but we reached Sidon on the coast and then on the way back to Israel I was able to visit the outdoor Ansar Prison Camp which the Israelis had set up just inside Lebanon. In truth reading it and reliving all this was more fun than I expected, as like many writers I’m among my harshest critics.

3. The bigger picture of Bullets of Palestine is the character, (Israeli) Agent Shai trying to eliminate a terrorist threat, however it is also a story of a growing friendship, between Shai and (Palestinian) Agent Ramzy, and how that friendship is tested to it’s limits. Albeit, not on the same scale of things, being a man of extensive travel, have you experienced a testing/trying relationship due to cultural or religious differences?

I traveled freely to Arab villages in the West Bank and a number of those scenes and meals have made it into Bullets. I’ve spent a lot of time with Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem. Recently a Palestinian merchant I’ve bought silk carpets from over the years took me on a tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the back alleys of the Arab Quarter. This spring, after the shoot in Casablanca, I went to Jerusalem. Unlike the characters in my novel I have not had a battle with trust with people from a different culture. I find if you approach people with interest in their world, they’re generally eager to share it with you.

4. Are there completely new characters in Bullets of Palestine, making it a stand alone read, or is there a cross reference with the characters or story with The Damascus Cover?

The common thread between the two books is the Colonel, the head of the Israeli secret service, who is the puppet master in both novels and is played in the film by John Hurt. I created new protagonists for Bullets, because while Damascus dealt with the conflict between Israel and its nation state neighbors, I wanted now to turn to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is the great challenge for both societies. So I created a Palestinian terrorist-novelist, based on a real person, Ghassan Kanafani, who is well known in the Arab world though not in the West. He was so dangerous as a writer that the Israelis blew him up in a car bomb in Beirut. For his Israeli counterpart, I used a very old friend of mine from Jerusalem, Avraham Infeld, as the template. He’s President Emeritus of Hillel worldwide on college campuses, and a larger than life exuberant guy. I wanted characters who were the salt of the earth, deeply ingrained in their own cultures and at the same time thoughtful contemplative men. So I drew on real such people.

5. Are you aware of any plans for Bullets of Palestine to be filmed? Do you think the success of The Damascus Cover will have any bearing on this?

Both the producer and director of the film have asked and have copies of Bullets now, but they’re focused on finishing this film which is in post production. I expect it to hit theaters early in 2016. Sure success matters a lot, it causes people to knock on your door, or the lack of it, to not open theirs.

6. You have some photographs on your Facebook page of meeting the cast and crew? Were there any highlights that you’d like to share?

Navid Negahban who played Abu Wazir in Homeland plays General Sarraj, the head of the Syrian Secret Service, in my film. He arrived in Casablanca a couple of days after I did and they fitted him with a black wig. Since I’m bald I asked if I could have it after the shoot. We had a lot of fun joking about it and someone online photoshopped a picture of me with it on. Jonny is more private, for example ate breakfast in his hotel room rather than the dining room, but I got to spend some time with him between takes. He’s remarkable, left school I think at something like 7th grade but is an autodidact. He can converse easily on a vast range of subjects and in several languages. It was interesting too to watch him with all the people who approached him, many young Moroccan women who wanted a photo with him. He obliged them all. He was particularly charming with children, and you’ll see a photo on my Facebook author page where he’s with the daughter of the owner of the carpet factory where we shot that day. The little girl was nervous and he charmed her into letting me take the photo for her father.

7. Although a story of defence, friendship and loyalties, are there any moments of love/romance in Bullets of Palestine, as you had in The Damascus Cover?

The love stories in Bullets are very different than the one in Damascus. In Damascus, Ari is recently separated from his wife and begins a new torrid romance with someone he’s not sure he can trust. The Palestinian character, Ramzy, in Bullets is in a wonderful marriage but struggling with the difficulties of being gone so much, always in danger, and trying to maintain a home life. The Israeli, Shai, lost his wife in a car accident, has begun a new relationship at home with a younger woman who works in administration inside the Service. It is new love, but there too, like his Palestinian counterpart, they are separated more than together and feel the strain.

8. Are there any moments in Bullets of Palestine that you have based loosely on your own life experiences?

Bullets is not at all based on my life, though it is vastly based on real life events. The Palestinian and Israeli are edged into working together to capture Abu Nidal, who was in fact, the most dangerous terrorist of the 1980s, and a real person. The novel opens with the assassination of the Israeli Ambassador to Great Britain, Shlomo Argov, which is an historical event. Abu Nidal wanted to goad Israeli Prime Minister, Arik Sharon, into invading Lebanon to crush the PLO, who Bu Nidal viewed as too moderate. He succeeded. I land my Palestinian character, Ramzy, in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps when the Israelis surrounded the camps lit the night sky for the Christian Phalange fighters so they could eliminate the PLO fighters hiding in the refugee camps. This too is an historical event. The fighters had already fled and Ramzy witnesses the massacre of old men, women and children by the Lebanese Christians as the Israelis paved the way unaware the fighters were gone. It tests Ramzy to remain working with the Israelis. Then too, unbeknownst to Ramzy, his budding Israeli friend has been ordered to kill him once Abu Nidal is dead.

9. Despite not reading too much fiction yet on the threat of terrorism, I am an avid fan of the tv series Homeland and 24. Do you tend to watch movies/tv programmes in this genre? If so, which ones are your favourite?

I love great suspense films and TV. Emphasis on “great.” Homeland is great, one of the best things of the genre ever done. I watched the Maggie Gyllenthall miniseries The Honourable Woman. She’s marvelous. Igal Naor who played Shlomo in that show is also in my film as a Syrian General and the nemesis of Navid Negahban. But the miniseries was full of cliff hangers and turns meant to be exciting but ultimately were impossible to both follow and believe, as were all the complications. Gary Oldman did an honourable turn as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Solider Spy but it is such a magnificent and dense book that that too was very hard to follow. The earlier 7- part British mini-series with Alec Guinness of the same LeCarre novel is a wonder to behold. The miniseries Dig set in Jerusalem was a mess and unwatchable. Again, some writers and directors think that throwing nonsense cliffhangers at the end of episode creates suspense but ultimately it creates annoyance. Great characters are crucial,which is why too that Homeland is so wonderful and successful.

10. Your work on both books has been extremely successful despite the subject of terrorism being a sensitive one. Have you had any negative reactions to your work?

Bullets has a 4.8 Customer Rating on Amazon out of 5 with only one negative review. Though written in 1987, it seems to have found its time in the current environment. It is greatly realized, or should be, that reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians is the only future for Israel and Palestinians. The book has been widely lauded in both the Arab and Israeli press as well as in mainstream newspapers. However, I expected blowback from those who see Palestinians as “the other”, and who believe might, which is a requirement for deterrence, alone is sufficient. So far it hasn’t come. Maybe those people too, deep down, known a deal needs to be done.

11. After the success of both The Damascus Cover and Bullets of Palestine, have you any plans to release another novel in the Jerusalem Spy series?

I’m working now on a new book that has not been published before called To Destroy Jerusalem. It will deal with the nuclear issue and have the same two protagonists as Bullets. The Colonel will be there though he’s a bit potty now, long in retirement, and rather than pulling the strings, is the moral center Shai, where he goes when trouble or in doubt.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. It has been an absolute pleasure.

Howard Kaplan Author Photo 1About the Author:

Howard Kaplan, a native of Los Angeles, has lived in Israel and traveled extensively through Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. At the age of 21, he had his own spy experience while attending school in Jerusalem, when he was sent on two missions into the Soviet Union to smuggle out a dissident’s manuscript on microfilm. His first trip was a success. On his second trip, however, he was arrested in Khartiv and interrogated for two days in the Ukraine and two days in Moscow, before being released. He holds a BA in Middle East History from UC Berkeley, an MA in the Philosophy of Education from UCLA, and is the author of four novels. Follow him on Twitter at @kaplanhow.

 

 

**Release day ARC REVIEW w/Author Interview** Palace of Deception by Helena Fairfax

It is an absolute pleasure to introduce you to Helena Fairfax’s latest release, Palace of Deception. It is a beautiful romantic suspense novella, with mystery. And to help celebrate it’s release, not only have we reviewed this sweet romance, but we also have a super interview with the author herself, where Helena will not only be talking about her novels, but also her blogging, social networking, her involvement with the Romantic Novelist Association, and much, much more!!

Sweet, sexy & suspenseful

palace of deception Author: Helena Fairfax

Title: Palace of Deception

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, Mystery

Release date: August 2nd, 2015

Length: 76 pages

Blurb: A sinister housekeeper, a silent bodyguard, and a missing princess – mystery and intrigue in this gripping romantic suspense.

Lizzie Smith is contacted by her old drama teacher over the summer and offered the acting job of her life. Princess Charlotte of Montverrier has disappeared on the eve of her Investiture…and Lizzie must take her place.

But in the run up to the ceremony, all is not what it seems in the Palace of Montverrier. Why does the housekeeper insist Lizzie keep to her suite of rooms? What danger lies outside the palace walls? As Lizzie learns her role, her only confidant is Léon, her quiet bodyguard…but what secrets is he keeping from her?

Mystery and suspense against the backdrop of a beautiful Mediterranean city.

REVIEW

There are many reasons to fall for this romantic novella; not only is the suspense powerful and intense, and captivating with a hot bodyguard in Léon, but the story is set in a picturesque town between mountains and the Mediterranean, which is perfect for a romance. Yes, Montverrier is described so beautifully by the author that you can actually picture yourself there.

Lizzie is instantly likeable and the reader can sense that her drama teacher thinks highly of her, especially to ask her to become involved in such a covert task in taking the place of Princess Charlotte of Montverrier after she has disappeared! One cannot deny the ease and optimism that Lizzie has when accepting the job, albeit she is not completely aware of the full situation.

But, I must admit, aside from the scenic setting, it is Léon that makes my head turn. Meeting Lizzie for the first time in his leathers and taking her back to the palace on his bike, it is hardly believable that he is a bodyguard for the Princess. And yet, his whole mannerism, politeness and care do tell a different story, making him very believable and extremely sexy.

I absolutely love the chemistry between Léon and Lizzie. It is clear before too long that Lizzie is expected to remain in her suite for the full five weeks she is to be at the Palace, and with an emotionally cold housekeeper in Daria, Léon is the only human contact with warmth that she has. I love the mild smiles he passes her, over Daria’s shoulder, and the cute winks he makes – all of which help assure Lizzie that she will be okay. Yes, I found myself smiling at some moments.

Regardless of the mystery surrounding the missing Princess, and the fact that Lizzie feels like a prisoner at times, it is the fact that Léon spends day and night with her that provides her with some comfort. Léon’s character is perfect for the suspense. A man of little words, and yet his actions and expressions speak so loud, it is impossible to not be taken in by him. I’m sure every reader will wish to be in Lizzie’s shoes! I certainly wouldn’t mind being guarded by him!

Lizzie is aware that the situation isn’t quite right at the Palace as she is made to remain in her quarters, the housekeeper is a little stern and cold to say the least towards her, and she is aware of the dislike some members of the public have on the Princess’ s Investiture. Just what danger is she in? Does Léon know? And, will he really protect her?

If you’re looking for a short, suspenseful romance, in a setting you can only dream of, then Palace of Deception is the book for you. As always, it is written in the sophisticated and classy manner that Helena Fairfax is known for, and I have no doubt that her fans and new readers alike will love this sweet, sexy and suspenseful novella.

An ARC copy of Palace of Deception was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Released today, Palace of Deception is now available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Author Interview with Helena Fairfax

 Hello, Helena, and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of our questions.

Hi, Caroline and Tina. Thanks so much for having me. It’s lovely to be with you again!

After having just finished reading Palace of Deception, I must say how beautiful the setting is in Montverrier for your story. How did you decide where to set the story?

One summer there were terrible floods in the UK, but I’d been lucky enough to escape on holiday. I was watching the flooding on the news in my hotel room in Nice, where outside the sun was glittering on the sea. The south coast of France is such a beautiful coastline, and the light is like nothing you would find in northern England. Everything seems bright blue and white, and such a contrast with rainy Yorkshire. The holiday stayed in my mind long after I got home and the floods went down. I based the fictional Mediterranean principality of Montverrier on Monaco, which I find a place with a fairy tale quality to it. And in summer it’s lovely and hot!

And, I am very eager to find out how you dreamed up Léon and the intensity between him and Elizabeth.

I had a clear image of Léon in my mind at the start of the story. I wanted to make him someone quiet, who at first is only protecting Lizzie because that’s his job, but then of course they are thrown together, and his desire to look after her becomes much more complicated! The background of suspense and the constant hint of danger add to the way their feelings for one another deepen and intensify. And although Léon is quiet, Lizzie begins to realise that under that silent exterior beats a passionate heart!

Did you plan to write a novella initially, or did you begin writing and waited to see how it worked length-wise?

I first wrote Palace of Deception as a short story, but I realised the characters would have much more depth if I made it longer. I much prefer it now as a novella. Léon is a far more rounded and interesting character now, and filling in the backstory of Lizzie’s life in Edinburgh makes her someone readers can sympathise with.

After writing both full length novels and now a novella, do you find you have a preference? Or is it a case of depending on how the story pans out?

That’s a great question! I really enjoyed writing this novella. It was a lot of fun to do, and I plan to write more – perhaps next time with a winter theme. But I also enjoy writing the full length books, as I can immerse myself in them far more deeply and for a longer period. I really don’t think I can choose one over the other. I like them both, for very different reasons!

I have also noticed that you now have your publishing rights back for The Silk Romance and The Antique Love. Have you any specific plans to relaunch them?

Both books were originally published a couple of years ago. I haven’t made a big deal of relaunching them, but I have put them both back up on Amazon for now, and they’ll be in other online stores from September. It’s been great having control of the books. The Antique Love was a freebie for a few days, for example, and is now selling well in the US in particular. It gained quite a few more 4 and 5 star reviews because of it, which was really nice to see! I plan to do the same with The Silk Romance once the launch of Palace of Deception is underway.

Have you thought about deviating from contemporary romances and writing historical romances, or penning different genres?

Funnily enough, that question has been on my mind a lot recently. Earlier this year I was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize for a young adult novel, which I’ve written in a completely different style to my contemporary romances. I’d love to write both genres – perhaps using a different name for the YA novels – and it’s one of my aims this year to finish off this particular YA novel and to explore this genre more fully.

With the advent of social media and the internet, I imagine the life of a writer is now far less lonely than in previous generations. How useful have you found social media and the internet to you personally in your journey as a writer?

Social media and the internet have been invaluable. A whole new era of publishing has begun now, with e-publishing, and I’ve made great friends with authors all over the world. We’re able to pool resources and support each other in a way that was unheard of twenty years ago. Having my first novel published was a great experience because I was able to share the moment online. I also find it’s far easier to meet up with other lovers of romance (especially through blogs like yours) and discover new authors. Before, I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about my love of romance. Now there’s a whole brilliant tribe online!

We find your blog fascinating with all of the writing tips, author interviews and general writing experiences that you share. How do you find the time to do both your blog and writing? And, which do you prefer?

I’ve been able to reach out to other readers and writers through my blog, and I really enjoy communicating with people this way. When I first started blogging, I decided to post twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, and I’ve stuck to that. It does take discipline, but writing in any form takes discipline if you want to make a success of it. If I had to choose between blogging and writing novels, then I’d definitely choose writing novels, but it’s fun to be able to do both!

I noticed on your blog recently that you have a re-worked cover on your previous release, A Way From Heart to Heart. Do you have an idea of the front covers yourself, or do you leave it in the hands of an artist/photographer to design?

My designers have always asked what I’d like to see on the cover, and I give them the germ of an idea – nothing concrete. I don’t want to be too rigid about it, because they always have such good ideas themselves. Then I leave it in their hands, and I’ve always been surprised and delighted with what they’ve come up with. I really enjoy this side of publishing. I used to work in the print industry for many years and have a lot of experience working with designers. I admire what they’re able to do, and wish I had their skill!

Would you like to tell us about your involvement with the Romantic Novelist Association and how it has helped you with your writing career?

I joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme a few years ago, and it was through them that I wrote my first novel, The Silk Romance. The critique I received in the scheme was invaluable, and helped me on my way to publication. Since then I’ve made many friends in the RNA and met many people in the publishing industry through attending RNA events. I was given the chance to pitch my latest book to several agents at the last RNA conference, for example, which is an opportunity I wouldn’t otherwise have had. I can recommend joining for any romance writer, no matter what stage your career is at.

How helpful do you think entering writing awards are for authors? Would you like to share your experiences of them?

Entering competitions is a great discipline and a great way to get yourself noticed by agents and publishers. As I mentioned before, I entered my YA novel for the Exeter Novel Prize earlier this year. It was shortlisted by Broo Doherty of the DHH Agency. Broo is an agent I really admire, and having my work noticed by her was a real boost, and gave me the confidence to carry on and finish the novel. Bro was able to offer me advice, too, in which direction my career should take. Writing awards can be a great help to authors – and if you succeed, they are an excellent addition to your author profile.

Can you sum up your experience as an author in five words? If this is too much to ask we’d love to hear your thoughts in a paragraph or two!

Stressful, work, exciting, joyful, fulfilling

Are you currently working on a new book? If so, can you share any hints as to the storyline?

I’m currently working on two books – the YA novel I mentioned above, which is a time slip novel, featuring a fifteen-year-old heroine and a Roman soldier. I’ve also just finished a contemporary romance set in an ailing hotel in the Lake District. I’m hoping that one will be published next year. Fingers crossed!

Is there anything else which you would like to share with us and our readers?

Just to say I’ve followed your blog for a long time, and really enjoy it. I’ve found lots of new authors here, and I just love a place where people can get together to talk about their love of romance and reading. Thanks for having me!

Thank you for your time. We wish you every success with the release of Palace of Deception and any future works. – Caroline & Tina xx

You may be aware of Helena’s previous works in The Silk Romance, The Antique Love and A Way From Heart to Heart, all of which are best sellers and truly lovely reads too!

You can also check out an author post from Helena – In Praise of Romance Reviewers

And, you can follow Helena’s blog here, where you can find out all about her work, her inspiriations, author interviews with her favourite authors, reviews, writing and publishing tips, and much, much more!!

**BLOG TOUR** ~ Bound Series (A Dark Secrets Spinoff), by A. M. Hudson (includes author interview)

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A.M. HUDSON

BOUND SERIES

A DARK SECRETS SERIES SPINOFF

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Blurb 

New world. New powers. New enemies. Elora enters the dark world of secrets from her parents’ past, and in the midst of discovering her new abilities and learning how to use them, she will be forced to fight battles she’s unprepared for in a war that supposedly ended twenty-two years ago.

Old enemies forge new friendships, leaving Elora lost and unsure who to trust, until a cocky vampire walks back into her life with a gift and a clue that will set the end of everything in motion.

The final chapter in the two-book Dark Secrets spin-off series, BOUND

About the Author

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AM Hudson is a music loving, book crazy, ultra passionate writer from Australia. She’s down-to-earth and as normal as a crazy person can be. A young girl at heart, she enjoys alternative music, lives to enjoy life, torture people in her novels and then write happy endings that are never forgotten.

Add her as a friend on Facebook at AM Hudson Author then join her and other fans for some crazy conversations at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dark-Secrets-Series

Sneak into Bound

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Interview

1. When did you first start writing?

A: I’ve been writing all my life; from short stories I’d ‘sell’ to my sisters, right up tomy first really terrible novel at 14. But the Dark Secrets series was my first really serious try,which has roughly been years ago maybe more.

2. What inspired you to write?

A: Music. I hear stories in all kinds of music and love to sit quietly and imagine what the story might be.

3. Who are some of your biggest influences?

A: That’s a tough one, because there aren’t really any literary ones these days. I’d say my influences are mostly musicians and filmmakers now. Peter Jackson, Muse,Thirty seconds to Mars and Birds of Tokyo, to name a few.

4. Is there a special place you go and a certain mind frame you like to be in before you write?

A: I have 4 kids. I write when they’re not hanging off my leg.

5. What’s the most exciting thing that happened to you during your writing career?

A: I could say hitting number one several times on Amazon, but I like to think my most exiting thing is yet to happen.

6. How do you come up with all the characters and different exciting plots?

A: I imagine or dream about a character then start writing the story and the rest just falls into place, as if I have an ‘invisible friend’ writing along with me, or as if the story happened somewhere else and I’m just telling it.

7. What authors have inspired you through your writing and how did they inspire you?

A: Stephen King inspires me toss out excuses as to why I can’t write and also to write boldly.

8. Do you have advice for any writer who’s struggling right now?

A: Nothing to it but to do it. The only guarantee you have with writing is that persistence pays and quitting leads to ultimate failure. You will begin as a terrible writer, as we all do, and you will get better. But only by actually writing.

9. What’s the silliest thing that you have ever experienced in your writing career?

A: One star reviews. Ha ha ha.

10. Could you share something extra that you would like your viewers to know about you are your writing?

A: I’m a chocoholic. I suck the candy off M & Ms, three at a time, then eat the chocolate, while I write. I’m also a huge Reign, TVD and Outlander fan.

Extra things your fans would like to know

Your favorite song? Exogenisis Symphony by Muse

Your favorite food? Cadbury chocolate. And Mexican food. But it has to be authentic.

Your favorite movie? Moulin Rouge

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I have really gotten to know Angie and she is is one of the the most down to to earth person I know and very kind hearted. I absolutely love her books. I would read anything she writes. She is so talented her words seem to bleed off the page into you heart lingering in your mind but never leaving your soul. It imprints as Jacob did on Renesseme!

If you want to follow her on facebook I have provided a link up above and you can one click her new book here on my blog as well. Go to amazon this site and give her a like please. I would like to that A M Hudson for letting me do this interview during her busy time because I know how hard it could be with writing and kids. Kudus to you Angie.

Bound 1 Ebook

http://www.amazon.com/Bound-AM-Hudson-ebook/dp/B00U1UCN9U/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?

Bound Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Bound-1-M-Hudson/dp/1508965471

Bound 2 Ebook

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Z1PP9L4?%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0

Stalk A.M. Hudson

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/A.M.-Hudson/e/B006GJUIOC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1436550828&sr=8-2-

Personal pages

Angie Hudson

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006087213776&fref=ts

Dark Secrets Fan page

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dark-Secrets-Series

Author page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-AM-Hudson/182780011734465?fref=ts

Dark Secrets Series Fan Club

https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkSecretsSeriesFanClub?fref=ts

Dark Secrets Chat Goup

https://www.facebook.com/groups/146765488865405/

Dark Secrets The Movie fan page

https://www.facebook.com/DarkSecretsMovie?fref=ts

Bound Series page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bound-Series/412991222210462?fref=ts

Street Team

https://www.facebook.com/groups/457803301039480/

Join the Release party of Bound Series!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bound-Series/412991222210462?fref=ts

Other books

A.M. Hudson Changed her covers!

Links to books

Dark Secrets Series

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Secrets-1-M-Hudson/dp/1503051188/ref=sr_1_4?

The Heart’s of Ashes

http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Ashes-Dark-Secrets-Book-ebook/dp/B008DS35CQ/ref=sr_1_7?

Mark of Betrayal

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Betrayal-M-Hudson/dp/1514732769/ref=sr_1_9?

Lies in Blood

http://www.amazon.com/Lies-Blood-M-Hudson/dp/1514732602/ref=sr_1_10?

Echoes and Silience book 1

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Part-Silence-Dark-Secrets/dp/151434906X/ref=sr_1_1?

Echoes and Silence book 2

http://www.amazon.com/Silence-Part-Echoes-Dark-Secrets-ebook/dp/B00SWZXPDO/

Willa Wicked

http://www.amazon.com/Willa-Wicked-Charming-AM-Hudson-ebook/dp/B00NMLN1K0/

**Blog Tour for Living The Dream** by Celia J Anderson PLUS Author Interview and Excerpt (includes giveaway)

 Contemporary Romance

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We have a real treat in store today! Not only are we hosting an interview with Celia J Anderson, but we are also sharing an excerpt from her latest contemporary romance Living The Dream. Scroll down to read the interview, find out more about the book and enter a super giveaway. Without further ado, over to Celia!

Welcome to our humble corner of cyberspace Celia and thank you for allowing us to quiz you about Living the Dream, your new release. I am really intrigued by the premise behind this book, where dreams collide with reality!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted you to start writing?

Thanks for the invitation; it’s lovely to be here! I’ve always written to amuse myself but only really began to take it seriously when, hurtling towards my 40th birthday, I retrained as a teacher. The creative writing tutor at my local adult education place (I realised I needed a year of brain-refreshing lessons first) was inspirational and one of the projects was to come up with the first chapter of a book. It was an addictive task. That book – Moondancing – was pretty awful, but I carried on regardless and three novels later, Moondancing has had a huge revamp and is coming out in January 2016. Now I teach full time, the writing opportunities are dwindling, but the holidays are coming up…

2. Your novel delves into virtual reality, a subject which I find fascinating- somehow I’m imagining Keanu Reeves as Moriarty Miles (but enough of my fantasies). Did you have to do much research into this concept or did you give your imagination free reign?

I’ve got to confess I’m the most rubbish researcher ever. I only stop and dig deeper when I have to, or boredom takes over before I can get the story down. I’d love to be better at planning and so on, but it happens when it needs to, and that has to be enough at the moment. It’s a fascinating subject though. Incidentally, in my head, Moriarty is a cross between Andrew Scott of the Sherlock TV series who plays Jim Moriarty and the guy who was best man at my first wedding. Discretion prevents me from enlarging on this…

3. What was your inspiration for the story and the characters?

The heroine, Vita, was named after a charismatic friend of my mum’s who died in the prime of her life. I didn’t know her well because we only saw her once a year. She ran a wonderful B&B with a wild, rambling garden on the east coast, and she stayed in my mind, somehow, even though I was only a child when she died. 

The story evolved from the trip that I took with my family in 2013 – across the USA mainly by train. It was amazing! I wanted to experience it again and again and the best way to keep the memories alive was to write them down. Vita’s journey is pretty much an exact copy, with a bit of artistic licence. The fantasy part came from my love of imagining the perfect holiday and place to have it. It was brilliant fun to write.

3. What did you find were the most challenging aspects of writing it? 

Trying to make the whole thing hang together time-wise. It was really important to tie everything together properly and as I’ve already said, planning is my worst nightmare. Mandy James, critique partner extraordinaire, and Christine McPherson, my wonderful editor at Tirgearr knocked it into shape quite painlessly. I’ll be eternally grateful for their help.

4. What is your writing process like? To what extent do you plan the characters and plot and how much do you just let the words flow?

I usually get straight into writing the first couple of chapters and then make myself stop and focus on the characters’ ages, back stories, favourite foods, best moments etc. Then I go back in and write like crazy. I edit every time I write – it’s therapeutic playing with the words and polishing the work as it goes along. 

5. Do you write every day? Also how do you cope if you experience writer’s block?

In the school holidays I write every day, and I try to fit a good chunk of work into the weekends during tranquil periods, but sometimes work is so full on that my brain won’t focus on writing at all. I’ve started to accept that situation more, instead of raging inwardly (and outwardly sometimes!) I really love working with children and you have to remind yourself that they deserve your whole attention. They only have one childhood and it needs to be the best possible one.

6. If you could give an aspiring author one tip, what would it be?

Learn to spoil yourself. Know what helps you to unwind and let the words flow, whether it’s a hot bubbly bath, a large glass of chilled wine, a cuddle, time to read a good book, a walk or if you’re very lucky, a writers’ retreat or a get together with your writing buddies. My fabulous friends, who blog as the Romaniacs, and Mandy James (mentioned above) are my sanity. We can discuss anything, we prop each other up when the rejections come in, celebrate the good times and get together in person as often as possible, although Facebook is our lifeline.

7. Have you any favourite genres or authors you like to read yourself?

I love Kate Atkinson, Mavis Cheek, Liane Moriarty, Elizabeth George, Alexander McCall Smith and numerous others. Lately I’ve been lucky enough to join a live Radio book club on BBC Radio Derby with Authors Tracy Bloom and Joanna Courtney, and some of the choices have taken me out of my comfort zone in the best possible way, but when I’m sad or worried I go back to my late mum’s ancient collection of novels by D.E Stevenson and Elizabeth Goudge. Bliss.

8. Can you share with us about what you are working on at the moment?

My work in progress is a bit darker than the norm for me. It’s called Hidden Depths, and centres round the relationship between a controlling mother and a previously repressed daughter. Strangely enough its focus is a cruise down the Rhone – guess where I went this summer?

9. And finally, have you a message for readers?

I’m thrilled to think some of you will read Living the Dream, and hope you’ll try the other two – Little Boxes and Sweet Proposal, with Moondancing and Hidden Depths to follow. Thanks for reading my ramblings – whether you’re an avid reader or a writer yourself (or both) I hope you continue to enjoy what you do.

Once again, thank you Celia for taking time out of your busy schedule. We wish you the best of luck with the release of Living the Dream and your career as a writer.

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Excerpt:

The stop press news of the day is that Ronan’s body is one day going to help others less fortunate. He made the announcement this morning just as I limped into the bedroom, still damp from the shower and with my left foot dripping with blood after standing on my razor. He’d taken ages in the bathroom so I was already late for work. He usually waits until he hears the door slam behind me before he even sticks a toe out of bed, but today he sneaked in there while I was making a cup of tea.

This isn’t the first time that Ronan’s seemed preoccupied with his own death. The idea that he’s not long for this world has been brewing for a week or two, ever since he had that dizzy spell when he was bending over to get the last bottle of vodka from the bargain bucket in Sainsbury’s.

‘I’m away into town to the solicitors to make my will,’ he said, frowning at the trail of blood on the cream carpet, ‘just in case you forget the details of what I want when the time comes.’

‘I’m not sure why you’re bothering. It’s bound to be a really boring will. Our flat’s rented and we haven’t got any children or savings, have we? Unless you know something I don’t?’

‘Well, that’s just the sort of thing you would say, Vita.’ Ronan gritted his teeth and sucked in his stomach. He’d made his choice of clothes for the day after some consideration, and was wearing his only suit for the first time in years but the trousers were refusing to fasten. ‘You never give a thought to the future, do you? Stuck in this one-horse town, doing a pointless job that’s nothing but putting up with people banging on about their own miserable little lives. You’ve got no ambitions.’

‘How do you know I’ve got no ambitions? When do you ever ask me about them? And anyway, I thought you liked living in Clayton-on-the-Bream? You always said it was the next best thing to the coast, with the river and the castle and everything.’ I ran out of steam, rather surprised at myself for jumping in to defend my home town so quickly and passionately. Okay, Clayton wasn’t the most exciting place on earth, but it was pretty and peaceful and not too touristy – far enough from the Cotswolds to miss out on the trippers looking for tea, scones and antiques, and only a couple of hours from St Pancras on a fast train. Ronan pulled a face.

‘This dead and alive hole? You’re kidding me, aren’t you? There’s nothing here for me – if I had my way I’d go right back to London in a heartbeat.’

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Blurb:

When dreams and reality crash and mingle, escape can be the hardest challenge of all.

Longing to get away from her troubled marriage, the opportunity to cross America by train seems like a dream come true for Vita Craythorne. But charismatic travel agent Moriarty Miles has other ideas; by replacing her friend Jack on the trip, Vita has unwittingly set herself up as a guinea pig for Moriarty’s mind-blowing and potentially dangerous new virtual-holiday project. His idea is to give clients the holiday of a lifetime without ever having to leave the comfort of their favourite chair. It’s exciting. It’s innovative. It could be just what Vita needs. That is, if she can avoid becoming trapped inside her own, miraculous dream world.

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Here are my buy links:

http://celiajanderson.co.uk/books/living-the-dream/ 

Author Bio:

celia

Celia J Anderson is passionate about writing, cake, wine and long walks in the Quantock hills or on random beaches. She is very proud to be the assistant head at a Catholic primary school in the Midlands and divides her time between walking off the cake, inventing imaginary worlds and teaching English and drama.

http://celiajanderson.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/CeliaJAndersonAuthor

http://www.twitter.com/celiaanderson1 

GIVEAWAY! 

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here:

http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/celia-j-anderson-3/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

**The Alpha Match Blog Tour and Author Interview with Leigh Archer**

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We are thrilled to be participating in the Blog Tour for Leigh Archer’s latest release The Alpha Match, set in the South Africa. The novel is one in which the central characters are given a second chance at their romance whilst grappling with the practicalities of re-introducing an endangered species of wild dogs in to the bush. It has all the hallmarks of a fascinating and romantic read and we are honoured to be given the opportunity to interview Leigh about the release and her work as an author!

After reading the interview, please scroll down and read the blurb and an excerpt from The Alpha Match and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. ❤

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Hi Leigh. Thank you so much for agreeing to be in the hot seat at A Reader’s Review Blog. It’s great to have the opportunity to quiz you about yourself, your writing process and Alpha Match, your latest release.

1. Can you tell us a little about your background and how long you have been writing?

I’m a traveller when it comes to writing. Originally training as a journalist, then specializing in communications, which saw me working for global corporates as well as a tiny art museum. For me, journalism and communications has been like hang gliding or having a whirl in a helicopter; while writing a novel has been like growing wings, stepping off the edge and flying, unaided.

Until quite recently I’d written about serious matters, even the ugly side of life so writing my first romance – The Alpha Match – and having it published by Tirgearr Publishing has been a wonderfully uplifting experience.

2. You’ve set this novel in the African bush, which is a fascinating backdrop to a romance. Is it an area of the world you are familiar with and how much research did you carry out whilst writing it? Did you learn anything during the research that surprised you?

I was lucky enough to grow up in South Africa so spent much of my childhood – when I wasn’t in a classroom – exploring nature reserves, hiking, climbing mountains and playing on the beach. The children in my family have grown up in a similar way.

I’ve explored my own country quite extensively – and South Africa really is a world in one country: cities, forests and woodlands, beaches, deserts and savannah plains filled with lions, elephant and giraffe. I’ve tried to capture in my novels the romanticism of the African bush which can be a simple tent that trembles with the base-notes of roaring lions or the extreme luxury of a bush lodge that caters to every possible whim of the most discerning traveller.

In The Alpha Match, conservationists introduce African wild dogs into two South African reserves which results in some heart-pounding and moving moments. I hadn’t expected to be so intrigued by the lives of wild dogs, also called painted dogs. They have an ancient pedigree – judging by the use of their image by Egyptians, they seem to symbolise order over chaos and the transition from the wild to domestic. The San people of Southern Africa have a story that connects the dog indirectly to the origin of death – the hare is cursed by the moon to be forever hunted by African wild dogs after the hare rebuffs the moon’s promise to allow all living things to be reborn after death. Efforts are being made to keep these wonderful dogs from tipping into extinction but with mixed results. After writing The Alpha Match, I hope with all my heart that the world never loses its paint dogs.

3. What was your inspiration for writing Caro and Ben’s story?

I wanted to explore the lengths we’ll go to avoid being hurt in relationships. Caro and Ben must work together again four years after the end of their love affair. Theirs is a journey of discovery and they have some hard lessons to learn about pain, vulnerability, pride and the importance of communication. Right from the beginning I was rooting for these two strong characters; that the beauty of the bushveld and their common purpose of wildlife conservation would be enough to heal the wounds of the past.

4. What did you find were the most challenging aspects of writing it?

I was at great pains to balance the story of the painted dogs and Africa’s large and unique beauty with Ben and Caro’s story. The other challenge was time, of course, which is not a friend to any of us. It does make an enormous difference when you’re doing something that brings so much enjoyment.

5. What is your writing process like? To what extent do you plan the characters and plot and how much do you just let the words flow?

I would never set off on a hike or bush drive without deciding a basic route. I’d also take a supply of water, something to eat, a small first aid kit, sunblock, a hat and an emergency plan. What happens once I’m out there is up to nature and the path I’ve taken. I approach writing in a similar way. I do some basic planning and preparation but it’s magical when things happen along the way that you hadn’t expected.

6. What motivates you to sit down and write and how do you cope if you experience writer’s block?

I think we all have a way of expressing who we are and the events of our lives in a way that feels natural to us, usually developed in the uninhibited years of childhood. I think that turns into cooking or motherhood, running a business, organising or writing. I feel the urge to write the way another person might feel the urge to bake a batch of delicious biscuits, organising a children’s party that will delight, or have a good day at work.

7. If you could give an aspiring author one tip, what would it be?

Experiment. Be brave, be daring. Write something funny, risqué or scary and get people you trust to give you feedback. You might not think you’re particularly funny, but your characters could have people in stitches. A good place to start is to discover what you’re passionate about and keep practicing. Writing is one activity in which quantity does usually lead to quality.

8. Have you any favourite genres or authors you like to read yourself?

I have an eclectic reading appetite because, for me, reading has many purposes. Sometimes I’d like to be moved or scared. There are times I want to be informed, learn something new. And at other times, I want to escape and feel good about the world. Two favourite authors that immediately come to mind are JK Rowling because she’s so brave and imaginative, and Lauren Beukes for her scary talent and original stories.

9. Can you share with us about what you are working on at the moment?

I’m working on book #3 in the Untamed Safari Series – Wetlands – the story of award-winning wildlife filmmaker, Adrian Barnard, who first appeared in The Alpha Match. He is tasked with making a documentary about a multi-purpose development being built close to sensitive wetlands. His life takes an unexpected turn when he develops a powerful attraction for Dani who heads the corporation behind the new development after her father’s sudden disappearance from the corporate world. Adrian is hell-bent on protecting the sensitive wetlands and its wildlife while Dani has everything to prove to her father’s board of directors.

And Moonflower, the second in the Untamed Safari Series, is now available for pre-launch order – Moonflower.

10. And finally, have you a message for readers?

Africa, and South Africa, is often reported in the media as a place of pain and poverty but it has many different faces. Whether you have travelled to Africa or never set foot on the continent, I hope you will get to travel through some of its exotic beauty, luxury and wildness through the Untamed Safari Series. Happy travelling and, who knows, we might just get to meet one day.

Once again, thank you Leigh for taking time out of your busy schedule. We wish you the best of luck with the release of Alpha Match and your career as a writer. ❤

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EXCERPT

As soon as Caro stepped off the plane at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport, her heart began to thunder like the hooves of a herd of stampeding zebra. She had no idea who was waiting for her in Arrivals. Her gut told her it would not be Ben, but she couldn’t be sure.

The wild thudding in her chest grew stronger as the passenger shuttle neared the terminal.

She never had this problem with animals, which is why she enjoyed being around wild dogs. Unless directly threatened, they would never try to hurt you. Once you had been accepted, they were loyal, gentle and affectionate. The laws of the wild were so much easier to understand than those of the heart.

As she waited at the luggage carousel, perspiration broke out on her upper lip and she fanned herself with her ticket. She congratulated herself for having worn a pair of low-slung black trousers and a cropped white shirt. At least a sliver of her midriff was getting some welcome ventilation.

Thanks to some deep breathing exercises, she had her nerves under control. Until she walked into the arrivals hall, then it was galloping zebra all over again. There was a huge lump in her throat as people rushed forward to embrace friends, relatives and lovers, and children were hoisted laughing into the air. She had not returned to Johannesburg for four years, even though she had once thought this would become her home. Now she was just a visitor, but in some strange way another part of her felt as if she’d come home.

That made her think of Ben again.

She tried to reassure herself that he would not be here to meet her. Judging by the way he had discarded her all those years ago, he had probably barely registered that they would be working together again. Caro braced herself for their meeting, but still… not yet. Please, not yet.

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BLURB AND BUY LINKS

English conservationist, Caro Hannah, and South African, Ben Duval, must work together to introduce endangered African wild dogs to a game reserve four years after their love affair ended. The challenges of their profession pale into insignificance beside the personal obstacles they must overcome to either bring closure to the events of four years before, or reignite a passion hot enough to burn up the African bush.

The Alpha Match is the first in a series set in the African bush where luxury tented camps and romantic hideaways are havens for royals, celebrities and the adventurous at heart. The Untamed Safari Series places unforgettable men and women in this captivating setting and holds its breath as they play out their passions. Moonflower, book #2 in the series has just become available for pre-launch order – Moonflower.

The Alpha Match at Amazon.com

The Alpha Match at Amazon UK

The Alpha Match at Tirgearr Publishing

The Alpha Match at Smashwords

The Alpha Match on Apple

The Alpha Match on Kobo

The Alpha Match on Nook

AUTHOR BIO AND LINKS  

Leigh Archer author pic

Leigh writes romance novels set in her native South Africa. She has always had a love affair with Africa’s wild open spaces, the intensity of its people and sunsets. Her love of storytelling began as a child when she spent every spare moment playing barefoot in golden grass, watching wild creatures, learning to track spoor and dreaming up heroes and heroines dynamic enough to stand out in all the beauty and drama of the African landscape.

Always in search of adventure, Leigh’s journey as a writer has taken her from journalism through communications, to writing novels.

Website – http://leigharcher.net/

Twitter – Leigh Archer

Facebook – Leigh Archer

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**RELEASE BLITZ** ~ Baubles and Beads, by Cherime MacFarlane (includes excerpt)

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Cover Final 3.24.15

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Della Street Jones is everyone’s ‘good little girl’ and is tired of the label. Munk Riley is the skinny little thief she shared her lunch with until the family left the Copper Basin. Riley, caught by the Jones family, is given a chance to redeem himself and earns a diesel mechanic certification. All Munk wants is to marry Della and have all the things denied him growing up the only child of an alcoholic mother.

Taking a job without telling her, causes a blow out between them. Embarrassed, Della takes a live-in position at a remote lodge. She finds something that causes her to send an SOS to her family to get her out. Munk will do anything to get her back where she belongs. But does Della belong where everyone else thinks she does? Can they get out without waking the man who controls the underbelly of Alaska?
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A tiny little twitch upward at the corners of her mouth at that statement made him groan. “Just this once in my life I want to have something start right. I want it to go the way it’s supposed to. I want a preacher to say the words over us, then he’ll tell us to kiss and I can take you home and make love to my wife all night long.”

Letting go of her arms, Munk watched as she crossed both arms over her chest. “It’s because of your mother. That’s the reason you want to wait?”

Running both hands through his hair, he looked down at his shoes. “Partially, I guess. Ya, I’ve screwed other girls. I didn’t think I had a hope in hell of winding up with you. After I figured out there might be a chance, I haven’t been with another woman. I want it to be right. I want us to be shiny and bright like that bracelet is now, not like it’s going to be when it tarnishes.”

Her bare feet shuffled closer to him and Munk found his head pillowed against her chest. “I’m so sorry, love. I didn’t understand. We’ll do it your way. I don’t want you to ever feel that way again.”

Without thinking about it, his arms went around her. “What way?” he whispered.

“Like you don’t matter. Like you’re not good enough.” Long, delicate fingers combed through his hair. The scent of her rose into his nostrils and he was almost in heaven. “You are a good man and I love you, Munro Lowell Riley. I love everything about you. But, can we at least get married as soon as this miserable job is over? Please?”

Pulling slightly backward, he looked up to find her face turned toward him. “If you get out of this dive. If we go to Palmer on your day off, we can get the damn license and swear to God, the day after I’m away from here we can get married. You can stay in the cabin and set the whole thing up. Have it at the Great grans’ place. I don’t care who you invite, but the minute the ceremony is over, we’re gone.”

“But how are we going to get out of here? You don’t have your truck, do you?”

“I’ll get us out of here. Let me handle that. How about you tell me what brought this sex thing on? We’ve never had this come up before.”

Della held his head in both hands and kissed him sweetly on the lips, then the forehead, before tugging him against her chest. “I had a dream. I had to go take a shower after it was over.”

Breaking away from her, he stood and pushed her hair behind her ears. “You mean like a wet dream. You got hot for me?”

Cheeks flooding with color, Della nodded. “Yes. And I got tired of being everybody’s good little girl. I asked Sandy about it and she told me guys like blowjobs.”

The color in her cheeks deepened. “She said I was asking the wrong person ’cause she’s into girls. And Sandy said I was a hottie.”

“She didn’t do anything, did she?”

“No. She said she wasn’t a cheat and she has a partner at home. But she said a threesome might be fun.”

The look on Della’s face was so serious, Munk had a hard time holding in a laugh. “Okay, as long as she keeps her hands to herself, we’re good.”

Taking her wrists in his hands, Munk slowly backed Della toward the bed. “What did you do in the shower, Della? How did you fix it?”

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Although born in New Orleans, I am proud to call myself an Alaskan. I have lived here since 1977. I have seen -40 degrees, hauled water, made bear bacon and I live in a cabin. I have used a fishwheel to catch salmon coming up the Copper River. I was my second husband’s chief mechanic’s helper and roadie. I have cut firewood on shares. I worked as a cocktail waitress during pipeline days in a small lodge on the Richardson Highway.

My second husband, a Scot from Glasgow, was the love of my life. When I write Scots dialect, I personally experienced hearing it from my in laws. When my husband got on the phone to Scotland, after 5 seconds I could barely understand a word.
We moved to Wasilla to get warm. It barely drops past -25 degrees here in the winter. I became a paralegal and worked for over 26 years for the same firm.
Alaska is my home. I never thought I would love it so much, I never want to leave. The beauty of Alaska is a draw I cannot resist. I love the people and the history. I have been captured by a place I came to under duress. Life does play some interesting tricks on one. My love and I were not apart more than 24 hours for 20 plus years. I never wanted to be anywhere but with him. He was a man to run the river with and was my biggest fan.
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Today Cherime is hosting a Release Party. There will be author takeovers, games, pics, prizes and much more. Join today and enjoy a taste of Alaska as much as Cherime does.

You can enter one of the giveaways now. Follow this link to find out how to win this gorgeous pendant.
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