Thursday, July 3, 2014

Live For Me by Erin McCarthy

LIVE FOR ME is Book 2 in Erin McCarthy’s “Blurred Lines” series in which she re-imagines classic romances for a modern setting. LIVE FOR ME is a re-envisioned Jane Eyre. I don’t feel like it’s necessary to have read the previous book in this series to enjoy LIVE FOR ME.

I was a little skeptical at first, just because Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite love stories. I figure – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I don’t feel like the author bastardized a classic. I feel like it was just inspired by, but it doesn’t try to be a carbon copy of a beloved classic just in a modern setting. Gone are some of the gothic elements from the classic. There is no crazy wife hidden in the attic. There is a crazy ex sending creepy dolls and generally acting psycho. The essential things that made Jane Eyre great are still there. Tiffany is a young woman who was lacking in natural family affection and many creature comforts but, like Jane Eyre, she has a spine of steel and self-respect. Devin Gold – music producer extraordinaire – may be no Mr. Rochester, but he is a man with a troubled past, finding sanctuary and peace with an intelligent, strong women he respects.

There are some sweet, poignant moments, some super sexy moments, and some hugely cheesy intimate moments that make for an interesting story with two complex main characters. As with any Erin McCarthy book, the dialogue is great and makes for a good window into the characters.
If you get this book looking for a word-for-word copy of Jane Eyre, you will be disappointed. However, if you go into reading this book with an open mind, you will be pleasantly surprised how strangely familiar these characters and these themes seem.

I look forward to more books in this series as well as more from this author.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Q & A with author Cheryl Brooks and giveaway of her latest book Rebel

I was lucky enough to interview author Cheryl Brooks about her newest installment in her fabulous sci fi/fantasy romance Cat Star Chronicles series. The book is called Rebel and, as  fan of this series and having recently read an advance copy, I can honestly say that it's smoking hot & a great bit of story-telling.out

Can you start off by telling us a little about yourself?

Hi Miranda! Thanks for allowing me to guest post here on Miranda’s Library!

I was born in Louisville, KY, and graduated from the Kentucky Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in 1976. I went on to earn a BSN from Indiana University in 1986. Horse crazy from the time I knew what a horse was, my family and I moved to rural Indiana in 1989. Since then, I've managed to accumulate a number of animal friends, but I’m currently holding at two horses, four cats, and one crazy little dog named Peaches.

I have been married to the same wonderful man (aka Budley) for thirty-five years, and we have two grown sons, Mike & Sam. I worked full-time as a critical care nurse for thirty-five years before resigning in 2012 to allow more time for my writing. I'm a member of RWA and the Indiana RWA chapter. My other interests include cooking, gardening, singing, and guitar playing.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Basically, I got tired of reading books that closed the door on sex and had heroes I would rather slap than fall in love with. I wanted sexy details and guys that were truly lovable! I love a good laugh, and I adore sci fi, but it never had enough romance for me. Slave wasn’t my first book by any means, but it was the book I’d always wanted to read —a super-sexy sci-fi/adventure with a dash of humor.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite – other than your latest release, of course?

I’m not sure how many I’ve actually written, but I currently have published sixteen full-length novels, eight novellas, and two short stories. I have another two books and one novella that will be published next year. I love my Zetithian cats, and I think Rebel is the best book I’ve ever written, but I got such a kick out of writing a novella for Siren called The Boys in the Band, which is part of the Sextet’s Dirty Dancing anthology. I loved the characters and had an absolute blast writing it.

You create such wonderfully detailed, engaging characters like Captain Jack (my personal favorite), Lerotan, Waroun, and the lizard voyeurs on Darconia – do you have favorite characters or locations that you’ve created and like to revisit?

You gotta love those Norludians! They may be ugly, but they make the best sidekicks in the galaxy and they are always good for a laugh. With absolutely no filter on what they say, they are very outspoken, and for them, nearly everything has some sort of sexual connotation.

What are you working on at the minute? What is your next project?

Right now, I’m working on the second book in an erotic contemporary cowboy series that Sourcebooks will publish next year. After that, I’ll be going back to the romantic suspense series I had to shelve in order to write the cowboy books. I also have plans for a spin-off series to the Cat Star Chronicles about the Avian clones that are introduced in Rebel. Both of those projects will probably be self-published unless someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse.

Give us a brief overview of Rebel:

Having made a fortune selling his services in the Zetithian Palace brothel for the past ten years, Onca has finally decided to retire. A refugee of the destruction of the planet Zetith, he has no family, no surname, and no woman has ever touched his heart—until he rescues a homeless young Zetithian woman from a Herpatronian kidnapper.

Kimcasha Shrovenach has lived on the streets of Damenk since the age of ten when Nedwuts wiped out her entire family. She has had to steal in order to survive, which makes her reluctant to notify the police when three of her friends vanish. Her plan to use herself as bait to discover her friends’ fate goes awry when Onca intervenes.

Kim’s initial distrust evaporates when Onca offers her food and shelter as well as his help in locating her missing friends. The attraction between Kim and Onca is immediate and intense, but Onca considers himself to be too jaded and used for such an innocent young woman. Kim has never met a man she can love and soon realizes that Onca is the one she’s been waiting for.

Together with a gang comprised of cooks, prostitutes, and street urchins, Onca and Kim attempt to bring down the conspiracy behind a string of brothels filled with homeless orphans kidnapped from the streets of Damenk for use as sex slaves. Kim fully intends to spend the rest of her life loving Onca. But first, she must find her missing friends —and rescue him.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have always been a fan of Mary Stewart. I grew up reading her romantic suspense novels, and for me, her first person voice never gets old.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished reading Carolyn Brown’s The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee. Still chuckling…

It’s sometimes difficult to describe this series when people ask me about it and always want to know what genre it is. I love the Cat Star Chronicles because it has a little of everything: fantasy, sci-fi, romance, erotica, action & humor that makes me laugh out loud - What genre are your books, or how would you best describe them?

LOL! I think you’ve got it covered. I’ve been told many times that this series is so unique, it’s a genre in itself. Even I don’t know what to call it, but futuristic erotic romance comes close.

What draws you to this genre?

I love being able to invent new planets and species. It requires very little research while allowing me to stretch my imagination.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

Writing a series can be tough. Yes, the world has already been created, but you have to introduce new readers to that world with each installment without boring those who are more familiar with the series. Another problem is writing from a first person point of view. The first three Cat Star books are written that way; therefore the writing is in each heroine’s voice. Those who liked (or hated) Jack in book one may not give the rest of the series a chance if her voice irritated them. By the same token, people who started off loving Jack may be disappointed that the rest of the series isn’t written in the same voice and style. Switching to third person (in books 4-10) made it much easier for me to continue the series.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

Hmm… Not sure I had much input in the beginning, other than to point out that the man on the advance copy of Slave didn’t look anything like a Zetithian! Since then, I’ve done my best to avoid the headless torsos and get them to at least show the models from the nose down. Unfortunately, the guy they chose for Stud was too pretty, so they chopped off his head. *shakes head* I knew I should’ve said something…

Who designed the covers?

Anne Cain has been doing my covers since the series first began, and what she can do with a stock photograph is pretty amazing. Not long ago, I learned that the font for my titles was specifically created for my series, which is pretty cool!

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

The biggest advantage to traditional publishing is getting the book into bookstores. However, shelf space is shrinking, and the loss of Borders hurt a lot of authors and publishers. Other big chain bookstores are still with us, but even they are carrying fewer romance titles than they did a few years ago. Other outlets are even more selective. A book has to make a bestseller list before drugstores and groceries will carry it. Even the big box stores are very choosy about what they sell. They want proven sellers, which, while perfectly understandable, doesn’t allow for much variety.

Marketing is another advantage to traditional publishing, although the mid-list author doesn’t get the kind of push that a big name author does. Much of the promo is left up to the author, and there aren’t many of us who are good at that sort of thing. I’m still learning!

Self publishing allows an author control over the entire publishing process. That control can be exhausting and time-consuming, but is ultimately very rewarding. The author is the one who writes the blurbs and approves the cover art and is solely responsible for the content. For some, that amount of control is a dream come true. For others, it’s a little scary.

Again, marketing is an issue, and it’s a given that the author will have to foot the bill for any advertising and promotional items. Although self-published authors don’t receive an advance, the money from sales is received more quickly, which is nice because some of those earnings must be spent on promotion.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

Thank you so much for your support! I’m glad there are people out there who enjoy reading what I write as much as I enjoy writing it! 

For one lucky person the publisher is giving away a copy of Rebel. All you have to do to be entered in this giveaway is leave a comment with your email address. A winner will be drawn on Thursday, July 3rd.

Review of Rebel on the website Fresh Fiction:

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