A MelanieM Release Day Review: Whiskey to Wine (Leaning N #3) by BA Tortuga

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Love is hitting the slopes, and the competition is fierce.

It’s Gay Ski Week in Aspen, and blind sculptor Bleu Bridey and his ex-fiancé, Dan, are at the Leaning N Ranch to unveil Bleu’s latest commission.

Former Olympic snowboarder Ryan Shields is there too… and he’s Bleu’s true love who got away. Seeing Bleu again, Ryan remembers how they couldn’t get enough of each other in college.

Too bad it looks like Bleu is with Dan now, because Ryan would love to remind Bleu how good they were together, in and out of the sheets.

Between Ski Week parties, a bunch of exes, a private ski lesson, and one terrible accident that leaves Bleu stranded and Ryan in rescue mode, it’ll be a wonder if these two manage to survive, much less find a few seconds alone to remember how much love they have to keep them warm even in the worst of storms.

I am really enjoying the Leaning N series from BA Tortuga and this story especially checked a lot of my boxes for contemporary romances.  The first beingOK it’s author!  yes, I can never pass up a BA Tortuga story, and Whiskey to Wine (Leaning N #3) by BA Tortuga has so many elements in it that I love to red about.  It has cowboys and kids in the family that owns the Leaning N (they are central to every story here.  It also has a wonderful second chance at love, lovers reunited aspect to the romance and main couple.  Plus the couple itself has two men whose characters and personalities are just so compelling that it makes for a story and romance that grabs you right from the start.

Told from both the perspectives of Bleu and Ryan, BA Tortuga manages to bring the reader inside the darkness of Bleu’s everyday life and give us a feel for the way in which he lives and manages his life, with the assistance of his service dog.  I’m not sure who was helping with this realistic portrait but I suspect they are close to the subject or know someone like Bleu given the cringeworthy moments and comments from  other characters and situations Bleu finds himself in, the authenticity rings true throughout the story.  Everything about Blue pulls you to him, and makes you want to shove Dan, his ex right off the next ski lift.  Dan is one of the less enjoyable characters there but has been a minor series character throughout the three stories so far.

Ryan the former Olympic snowboarder also has that personality down, as well as that of regret for the past and the real sense of loss when it comes to Bleu.  When it comes to writing chemistry, BA Tortuga can make two men and their connection seem almost organic, it’s that natural and mighty.  I really loved watching them reconnect, worth through their old issues, and current ones, including current exes that won’t go away.

There is adventure, huge drama, and a wonderful end to everything that I adored.  Plus the secondary cast of characters some of which …cough..Geoff. cough..I’m hoping which eventurally get his story.

While each book easily can be read as a standalone, it’s far more fun to read them as a series, a method I recommend.    I have fallen in love with the Leaning N and the family and crew that lives there.  I only hope we will be getting so many more romances and novels to come.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Handsome man, beautiful background.  Both in keeping with the series although I could wish for more from the story.  I just find it cute but lacking.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, Dreamspun Desires #78, 181 pages
Expected publication: March 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07NNLYLYG
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Leaning N :

Commitment Ranch

Finding Mr. Wright

Whiskey to Wine

Come Back Around coming out in July 2019

Amanda Meuwissen on the “Realness” of Characters, Writing, and her new release A Model Escort (author guest blog)

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A Model Escort by Amanda Meuwissen

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer; Design by Paul Richmond

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Amanda Meuwissen

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  • Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue (or should I say Gary Stu) and using your own experiences to create a character?

Not really, because unless you’re literally creating a character to be exactly you, giving them some of your life experience (or details from someone else you know) isn’t going to translate to exactly you on the page.

I’m a geek, so I tend to make my main characters geeks too, liking some of my favorite movies and songs and books. Having a character like the book Good Omens in and of itself and having another love the movie The Fifth Element doesn’t make either of them me.

The trick is how those details relate to that character within their story and situation and letting it breathe unique life into them.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I did not read romances as a teenager—at least not novels. I did, however, devour fanfiction specifically about romance (or with heavy romantic subplots) since I was about thirteen, so really, I should say yes.

And I still do today—read fanfiction that is, mostly stories about falling in love and making it work through a series of obstacles. Those are always my favorite kinds of tales. I’d say usually I want more than just romance as the focus, same with my own writing, but at the end of the day, love stories are what make me smile.

With some heat in there too, of course.

  • How do you feel about the eBook format and where do you see it going?

eBooks are everything. My book sales are hugely reliant on eBook sales over paperback, and I think that’s going to remain true for years to come. I love it, because it’s easy for on-the-go people and voracious readers to take whole libraries with them in their pocket or purse.

Not to say I see paperbacks going away. I love going to conventions or author events and signing paperbacks for fans, and they still come to see me regularly to get hard copies of my books. But for the average reader, eBooks is where they turn for convenience and cost savings, and I think that’s great.

  • If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

This is actually my first ‘normal’ contemporary romance, since I usually write more urban fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal stories, but even then, making characters real is what gives them life.

It’s all about balance though. Characters who are too perfect are boring, they need SOME flaws, but likewise, characters can be boring if they’re nothing but flaws. Even a villainous character needs something redeeming about them.

Real people are balanced, and characters should be too.

  • Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I think the best example of this is my duology Lovesick. It’s a very emotionally exhausting read because it focuses on mental health and dealing with past traumas and bipolar depression.

This was something I had faced and overcome for the most part when I started writing the story, but what I didn’t realize initially was how much it helped me deal with feelings I hadn’t yet worked through.

I was putting a large part of my soul into those characters and how they hit rock bottom and then healed, and that journey was very rewarding for me.

  • Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

Oh my, have I. One of my favorites was when I had taken an Ambien before bed, which is normal for me, but I didn’t go to bed right away like I should have. I hit that weird loopy level that can happen and started writing something out of the blue.

I proceeded to forget about it, found it on my desktop a day or two later, and was amazed at how good it was. I ended up finishing it as a short story that I later published online.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I have another new release coming up very soon, also with Dreamspinner Press – Coming Up for Air. It’s available now for pre-order, with it’s official release on April 30, 2019.

It’s not easy being someone’s fairy tale.

Leigh Hurley is making a name for himself among thieves and criminals, even if it isn’t the life he would’ve chosen. He shouldn’t have screwed over the Moretti brothers, though. It landed him in the river with weights on his feet. But somehow he’s escaped certain death. The last thing he remembers before waking on the riverbank is a beautiful face and a soft kiss.

Then, Tolomeo turns up naked at Leigh’s apartment.

Tolly comes from a race of killers—merfolk who drown humans for fun. But Tolly is different, and when he sees a human in trouble, he offers a kiss, granting the man the ability to breathe underwater… and himself the ability to walk on land, at least until the next full moon. The ancient laws state that if he is given a vow of love by the one he kissed, he will be able to keep his legs. If not, he will be put to death when he returns to the water.

But love is not something Leigh offers easily… and Tolly has a secret of his own.

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/coming-up-for-air-by-amanda-meuwissen-10421-b

Blurb:

What’s the value of love?

Shy data scientist Owen Quinn is brilliant at predictive models but clueless at romance. Fortunately, a new career allows him to start over hundreds of miles from the ex he would rather forget. But the opportunity might go to waste since this isn’t the kind of problem he knows how to solve. The truth is, he’s terrible at making the first move and wishes a connection didn’t have to revolve around sex.

Cal Mercer works for the Nick of Time Escort Service. He’s picky about his clients and has never accepted a regular who is looking for companionship over sex—but can the right client change his mind? And can real feelings develop while money is changing hands? Owen and Cal might get to the root of their true feelings… if their pasts don’t interfere.

About the Author
Amanda Meuwissen is a primarily gay romance writer, as well as Marketing Operations Manager for the software company Outsell. She has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed major from St. Olaf College in Creative Writing, and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. As author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga, young adult novel Life as a Teenage Vampire, the novelette The Collector, and superhero duology Lovesick Gods and Lovesick Titans, Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga, and can be found at www.amandameuwissen.com.
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A Stella Release Day Review: A Model Escort by Amanda Meuwissen

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

 

What’s the value of love? Shy data scientist Owen Quinn is brilliant at predictive models but clueless at romance. Fortunately, a new career allows him to start over hundreds of miles from the ex he would rather forget. But the opportunity might go to waste since this isn’t the kind of problem he knows how to solve. The truth is, he’s terrible at making the first move and wishes a connection didn’t have to revolve around sex. Cal Mercer works for the Nick of Time Escort Service. He’s picky about his clients and has never accepted a regular who is looking for companionship over sex—but can the right client change his mind? And can real feelings develop while money is changing hands? Owen and Cal might get to the root of their true feelings… if their pasts don’t interfere.

 

A Model Escort was the first book I read by Amanda Meuwissen and it won’t be the last. I fell into this beautiful story so easily I too soon was reading the last chapter and I so wanted to restart it again and again.

Sure, some of you can obviously think there’s nothing new in the plot, just an already seen plot, a “Pretty Woman” (or better say “Man”) retelling; and you’re right, I thought it too but that’s exactly why I picked it. Have no fear, there will be some surprises.

The reason why I loved A Model Escort so much stays in the main characters, I adored Cal and Owen deeply, their pasts, their futures together. The author did an amazing job with them, I was able to know so much, how they suffered from different and at the same time, similar reasons, how they were able to escape and be strong and build their new lives. Plus the author gave me many second characters, all of their friends, families, coworkers, bosses. And they were never too many, cause I felt them all supportive and positive.

I appreciated how Owen and Cal took their times, they were of course attracted to each other, but being things a little complicated, they waited and it was simply perfect. They were funny, sexy, cute. And although they were so different, they were open and never judgemental versus the other.

I feel to highly recommend this novel, I loved it from the start till the ending. I give up, I think I’m going to reread it right this second.

The cover art by Bree Archer is simple and fitting, but it’s not so eye catching as the covers I usually love

SALE LINKS   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 184 pages

Published March 5th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B07NND1YR8

Edition Language English

 

A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates and Colin Darcy (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Opposites who go together like country and rock ’n’ roll. 

Long before he was a superstar, Remy Sean had a secret crush on Jed Riley. But Jed sees Remy as a spoiled pop rocker and an extension of his father’s control. Still, Jed is willing to let Remy hide from the press on his ranch—but only as a way to get his father out of his life and business for good. 

Used to being admired and fawned over, Remy keenly feels the sting of Jed’s dismissal. Can he make Jed see him as more than a pain in the ass? Or is Jed too tangled up in his ranch to see past his old hurt?

Jed doesn’t believe someone desired by so many fans could want him, a simple cowboy. But Remy is determined to change Jed’s mind and steal his heart….

Remy goes through a terrible event and it freezes his ability to write music or be in front of a crowd.  It is his manager, Buddy, who comes up with the idea of sending Remy to the ranch Buddy owns and his son, Jed, cares for.  Buddy couldn’t be less interested in the ranch but he is stubborn (and selfish) and won’t sell it to Jed.  So the idea of hosting a diva singer in exchange for Buddy selling Jed the ranch as well as showing up for Jed’s sister’s wedding and giving her away seems like a good one.

Remy definitely doesn’t seem like a spoiled pop star. He owns a mansion that he rarely spends any time in. He mentions things like his clothes and hair products as a must, but he doesn’t whine or throw a fit about anything. He’s more down to earth than the blurb made it seem.  He definitely isn’t used to not being admired, but he wants to earn Jed’s attention and respect.  He takes to the ranch life so well, learning to ride a horse and work around the place.

Jed is quiet, used to the isolation of the ranch and unwilling to admit that the desertion of his father for Hollywood has affected him so much.  At first he takes this out on Remy because Remy was Buddy’s big break, the boy who had the potential to be a big star.  Potential that was fulfilled and Buddy left the ranch to manage his star without looking back.  As the days go on, however, Jed sees what a good person Remy is and what stress he’s been under.  Jed starts to thaw and teach Remy the workings of the ranch.  TShe two become friends and then turn to more. 

Everything is under the cloud of Remy leaving.  Remy is an internationally famous pop star and his life and world is a million miles away from the isolated ranch in the mountains that Jed loves so much.  They know the time is limited and try to make the best of it.  The wedding of Jed’s sister will bring Buddy back to the ranch and Jed knows that will be the end. 

There is not a lot of angst here although there is that sense of “how can this work” throughout.  We do get Jed acting like a brat who won’t listen, Buddy acting like a major ass and pulling a stunt that proves how selfish he is (as if we didn’t know that from his conversation about Nicky, Remy’s horrible ex-boyfriend, before Remy goes to the ranch) and Remy being his lovely self.   I liked how this got worked out and especially that Remy was the strong one throughout. 

Narration by Colin Darcy had an odd nasal quality at times but mostly worked. This was my first audiobook with him as narrator and I would try another one.

This is a sweet, low key story of two opposites who want to make it work. 

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson. Eyecatching and in the style of sthe Dreamspun Desires series.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published January 3rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published August 21st 2018)
Original TitleRocking the Cowboy
ASINB07LB5XBH1
Edition LanguageEnglish
settingCalifornia (United States)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4. 5 stars out of 5

KC Wells took an old classic—My Fair Lady—one of my all-time favorites—and created a Dreamspun Desires book that gave me all the feels I’d expect from a story with that theme done in the MM romance genre.

In this instance, Brady Donovan is the best PA any exec could hope for. He’s bright, cute, anal about being organized, and anticipates his boss’s every need. Jordan Wolf couldn’t ask for a better assistant, and the sweet, smart nerd with his dark-framed eyeglasses is cute too. When Brady is suddenly no longer there to meet his needs, it takes a few days, but Jordan finally goes to Brady’s place to check on the guy. There he finds a Brady so ill he can’t take care of himself and Jordan’s nurturing side comes out. Added to that, getting to know Brady in a different way tweaks something in Jordan’s heart and he no longer only sees his PA when he looks at the young man.

Not long after that, Jordan asks Brady if he’d be his plus one at a weekend party in the Hamptons, and when he agrees, Jordan treats him to a day at the spa followed by a shopping trip that awakens Jordan’s hidden desires and gives Brady hope that his attraction may not be one-sided after all. Get the picture? Of course, this is based on a well-worn trope, but KC Wells infuses it with new life, and I was transported to my happy place where the smile never leaves my face as I engage with two very nice men who needed a subtle push to get together. 

Are there angsty moments? Definitely, but they’re not overdone. And is there a nasty surprise over the weekend—a protagonist determined to break them up? Well, yes, but there are also friends who won’t let that happen, and there’s the bloom of new love and open communication which seals the foundation of their chance for love.

I totally enjoyed getting to know these characters and was caught up in their lives within the first 10% of the story. The long, slow love scenes were explicit and yet more romantic than a quick hop into bed. KC Wells does this so well. A host of secondary characters round out the cast and add enough to the story without taking it over.

All in all, a very satisfying and heartwarming read. MM romance at its best. 

The cover by Alexandria Corza features a handsome young man, wearing glasses, a button-up shirt and a bowtie. He’s the perfect representation of Brady and the bright colorful cover is very attractive.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 226 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07NN5GSDX
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Whiskey and Moonshine by Elizabeth Noble

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Drunk on love.

Like a well-aged whiskey, master distiller and old-money entrepreneur Malone Kensington is elegant and refined. Unfortunately he’s also a perfectionist who is more dedicated to the success of his generations-old company than his own love life.

That company needs a public spokesman.

What Colton Hale lacks in sophistication, he more than makes up for with the charisma that’s allowed him to survive on the street from a young age and charm his way into the lucrative—if overwhelming—public position at the Kensington Distillery. When Mal takes Colt under his wing, hoping to polish off his rough edges, opposites attract and a passionate romance blossoms despite the differences in age and background. But can it survive a Kensington Board of Directors who believe Colt is nothing but a gold digger and a kidnapper determined to profit from the love of Mal’s life—dead or alive?

I enjoyed Whiskey and Moonshine, a Dreamspun Desires title by Elizabeth Noble as I do most of her romances.  She created two wonderful main characters in Colton Hale and Mal Kensington, as well as including a age difference/economic level advantage to make it interesting.  On top of that?  The basis and foundation of Whiskey and Moonshine is a famous family held whiskey/moonshine distillery along the line of Jack Daniels so the reader gets some fascinating inside details on how whiskey is cured and stored.  I really could have used a little more of that.  But what we get is enough to provide an authentic “flavor” and framework for Mal and the Kensington Distillery.

I actually found the novel the strongest when it had  Colton working in the janitorial department and scanning the company boards for jobs to work his way up in a company and place he was clearly meant to be.  Touching, real, and given his background, easy to connect with his struggles to move forward.  And delight in a company that continued to accept him.

When the company chooses Colton to be the ‘face” of the distillery, then the novel moves into several new stages.  The romance stage and changes in dynamics for many of the relationships here, including Colton and Mal. We lose that intimate connection Colton was having with the  distillery oddly enough as he becomes it’s spokesperson and it removes him from the actual jobs itself.  Colton keeps saying he wants to learn the business but that’s impossible when your job is public relations and “the road”.  That’s one hole that never gets completely filled in this story.

The warm, loving relationship between Mal and Colton is lovely and sweetly based on complete truths on Colton’s background.  A nice changeup from other novels.  But it’s also a bit of a reality bump for me in the story.  I didn’t have issues with their relationship, not the age difference or anything else for that matter.  Mine was more of a corporate common sense one.  Colton had lived on the  streets for years, turning tricks and doing what he had to survive.  He told Mal and the people who hired him.  Admirable and truthful.  Hire him for lots of things.  But not the very public “face” of Kensington Distillery who appears on The Tonight Show for all his former johns to see.  I really don’t see that happening in RL, nor that he didn’t have even one charge for soliciting after all those years on the streets in Toledo for someone to find.  So that all that strike me as realistic?  Uh, no,  not really.  That strikes me as a public relations nightmare.

Does it come up? No.  Other things yes, this huge one no.  So there are things here you either  just pretend to overlook or they don’t matter to begin with, because you are enjoying the romance so.

And that’s ok, it’s a really sweet romance with some angst and drama in the wings.  It all gets sorted out in time for a HEA in the Smokies.  If you like contemporary romance, Elizabeth Noble, and the Dreamspun Desires line, then Whiskey and Moonshine is another story you will want to grab up.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza has done a fine job with the cover and story elements.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 238 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640803824
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review :The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster and Seb Yarrick (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Chef Marcus Vine is a busy man, running his own popular restaurant in the UK and opening another with an investment partner in New York. But he finds time to step in and help out when he realizes his former best friend’s family needs him. Raine died a year ago and her husband, Tom, is struggling to be everything to his two daughters. 

With Marcus’s help and support, their lives take a turn for the better. And along the way, Marcus’s feelings for Tom—unrequited love—take on a renewed life. And then one day, Tom confesses his attraction to Marcus. He’s not gay, of course. That’s reiterated a number of times. So much so, that this reviewer found it distasteful when they went from that declaration to a simple kiss to penetrative sex. If one isn’t gay, why not try frottage or fellatio first? It just felt wrong and rushed. 

And then, of course, when Tom realizes Marcus has feelings for him, he backs off, and Marcus finds out he’s seeing a woman. So we have the heartbreak action, and the crisis comes when one of the girls needs medical attention and Marcus saves the day. But is Tom grateful? Nope. Now we have the period of breaking off, cooling down, and then the finale with the grand sweeping gesture. And the ending was… There’s not really a way to describe it. Granted, I was listening to an audiobook, but it seemed really bizarre to me—definitely from the pages of an old-fashioned dime novel romance.

Granted all these stories are based on old tropes. And granted, audiobooks pass quickly and there’s no chance to reread sections for clarity, so I could be wrong in my assessment. However, I will say that Seb Yarrick did a nice job on the narration. With a very British accent, he brought authenticity to the feel of the story. But I’m not a fan of gay for you when the character refuses to identify as anything but straight, even after sex, so I can’t rate this higher than 3 stars. As it is, the 3 stars were mostly earned by the narrator.

The cover by Aaron Anderson is a typical Dreamspun cover, with the circle in the center that, in this case, features a handsome man in chef’s coat in front and a man in a bathtub in the background. That is definitely not a scene from the story, but at least the colors are bright and the guy is attractive.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | AmazonAudible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5 pages
Published November 8th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published August 7th 2018)
Edition Language English

Louisa Masters on Writing, Contemporary Romance and her new release ‘The Athlete and the Aristocrat’ (author interview and giveaway)

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The Athlete and the Aristocrat by Louisa Masters

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:

Dreamspinner Press: http://bit.ly/2NuvcEm

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2STNG43

Nook: http://bit.ly/2PshNhb

iBooks: https://apple.co/2zVhUN4

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2C2HP7e

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2L9jhfv

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Louisa Masters here today talking about her latest story The Athlete and the Aristocrate. Welcome, Louisa.

 

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An interview with Louisa Masters

How much of yourself goes into a character?

It depends on the character, but I think there’s a little bit of me in every person I write, although sometimes it’s as simple as a dislike of fish, and other times it can be a major personality quirk.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Without question. I’ve always preferred books that ended happily. I’ve always, since I was old enough to know what it meant, liked a romantic storyline. I started reading romance when I was eleven (sneakily) and have never stopped. I love fantasy as well, and one day may try my hand at writing one, but it will also be a romance.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like both. The key ingredient for me is the H—as long as the story ties up happily, I’m good with it. Some shorter stories feel unrealistic with a HEA, so a HFN works perfectly.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I love this question, mostly because after thinking about it for ten minutes, my answer has changed five times. Ultimately, I have to say yes. I think there are some “flaws,” for want of a better word, that make a person irredeemable. That’s not to say that if they were a real person they wouldn’t be able to find love (it’s a weird and sometimes scary world out there), but I don’t think they could ever be the focus of a romance novel. For me, the best kind of development in a “flawed” character is when they become a better person without changing who they fundamentally are, and that assumes that on some level they are a relatable person to begin with, even if readers initially hate them.

 

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

Yes, absolutely. One of my M/F novellas touches on the issue of workplace bullying, which I was dealing with at the time I wrote it. I’ve also taken RL situations and written what I’d like to have done, but didn’t—a great example of that was in The Bunny and The Billionaire, when Ben followed the sexy, mysterious stranger into the casino to find out who he was. In real life, I stayed where I was and finished my ice cream, forever doomed to wonder.

 

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

No, although I may try it sometime 🙂 One time I was at a wedding, drinking steadily in an attempt to make it through the speeches (the best man talked for ten minutes about his car) and live-texting the highlights to Renae Kaye. Most of those texts ended up in a novella of hers, pretty much word for word.

 

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

I’d love to say a busy café or a hotel terrace overlooking a crowded beach, but the truth is, I’m way too distractible. I already struggle with ignoring social media and email when I’m trying to write. A private, quiet space is the best bet if I want to be productive, although I will vote for a warm climate.

 

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write to escape—the same with reading. Anyone who’s read my books is going to know that deep angst is not my thing. I don’t mind reading it occasionally, but for the most part I’m all about minor angst or none at all. I love including new information and places I’ve travelled to in my books, but ultimately, it’s just an escape to a different world to live with different people. Plus, I love being part of their stories!

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

The Athlete and The Aristocrat is my next release, coming January 1 from Dreamspinner Press. In March I have an M/F novella in the Emerald Isle Enchantment series being released, and I’ve just signed a contract for another M/M novel, set in a fictional theme park complex, that will release in 2019.

The Athlete and The Aristocrat:

Sometimes love takes balls.

Newly retired championship footballer Simon Wood is taking on his next challenge. His plan for a charity to provide funding for underprivileged children to pursue football as a career has passed its first hurdle: he has backers and an executive consultant. Now it’s time to get the ball rolling.

Lucien Morel, heir to the multibillion-euro Morel Corporation, is shocked—and thrilled—to learn his father has volunteered him as consultant to a fledgling football charity. Better yet, the brains behind it all is heartthrob Simon Wood, his teenage idol and crush.

Although Simon and Lucien get off on the wrong foot, it’s not long before they’re getting along like a house on fire—sparks included. But with the charity under public scrutiny, can their romance thrive?

The Giveaway

And don’t forget to enter the Giveaway! http://bit.ly/2CnrBFQ

 

About the Author:

Louisa Masters started reading romance much earlier than her mother thought she should. While other teenagers were sneaking out of the house, Louisa was sneaking romance novels in and working out how to read them without being discovered. She’s spent most of her life feeling sorry for people who don’t read, convinced that books are the solution to every problem. As an adult, she feeds her addiction in every spare second, only occasionally tearing herself away to do things like answer the phone and pay bills. She spent years trying to build a “sensible” career, working in bookstores, recruitment, resource management, administration, and as a travel agent, before finally conceding defeat and devoting herself to the world of romance novels.

Louisa has a long list of places first discovered in books that she wants to visit, and every so often she overcomes her loathing of jet lag and takes a trip that charges her imagination. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she whines about the weather for most of the year while secretly admitting she’ll probably never move.

Website: http://www.louisamasters.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LouisaMastersAuthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AuthorLouisaM

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/AuthorLouisaM

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/subscribeLouisaM

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Louisa-Masters/e/B008YBZT0S

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/louisa-masters

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5755521.Louisa_Masters

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The CEO’s Christmas Manny (Beyond the Boardroom #1) by Angela McCallister

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

From the blurb: Billionaire CEO Nic Price lives for his job. With sales down and grumbling from the board of directors—including Nic’s permanently dissatisfied father—the last thing Nic needs is distraction from the new manny, whose freewheeling approach to childcare is outlandish… and who makes Nic feel things he’s never allowed himself to feel. Ex-teacher Sasha Lindsey is all about fun—that’s the reason people love him, so he has to be. After a bad break-up leaves him jobless and homeless, the live-in manny job with Mr. Price seems like a windfall. But his chemistry with Nic is off the charts, and he can’t afford another workplace romance disaster.

This is a Dreamspun Desires story. As such, it’s based on an old trope: the billionaire falls in love with the nanny, which in this case is the manny. The execution was good overall, but there were segments where it dragged for me and I just wanted it to end.

On the flip side of that, the time it took for the attraction and then the romance to evolve was a plus. I do love a slow-burn romance. There are always pluses and minuses to these trope-based stories. In many cases, it’s nice to see them applied to MM romance, but in some cases, the plot gets bogged down in repetitive detail. In this case, what bugged me most was Nic’s relationship with both parents, primarily his father. He’s the most disgustingly reprehensible businessman I’ve encountered in a while, and of course, a nasty piece of work to his hard-working son who’s dedicated to making their company succeed. Thinking that might even remotely be true in real life hurt down my heart and saddened me so much I found it hard to enjoy the story.

And Sasha was a sweetheart, but another character caught up in the “nobody loves me” trope. For a guy who has so much going for him, his self-worth was sure in the dumps, and he easily thought the worst of Nic. Granted what Nic does is reprehensible (like father like son?) but honestly, I would have loved to see Sasha pop Nic in the nose. In any case, the two fumble their way back together, and we do get a HEA. And we get a nice secondary character in Percy as well, a man who I hope we’ll see in the future. 

If you love these Dreamspun Desires stories, you will likely enjoy this rich man/poor man theme.

Cover by Alexandria Corza is done in the style of other Dreamspun Desires books and shows a ferry on Puget Sound in the background and a man in a business suit in the foreground. It definitely represents the story and the bright color attracts attention.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 222 pages
Expected publication: December 18th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781644051207
Edition Language English

Cover Reveal for A Model Escort by Amanda Meuwissen

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Title: A Model Escort

Author: Amanda Meuwissen

Cover Artist: Bree Archer http://www.breearcher.com.

Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: March 5, 2019

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback
Blurb:
What’s the value of love?
Shy data scientist Owen Quinn is brilliant at predictive models but clueless at romance. Fortunately, a new career allows him to start over hundreds of miles from the ex he would rather forget. But the opportunity might go to waste since this isn’t the kind of problem he knows how to solve. The truth is, he’s terrible at making the first move and wishes a connection didn’t have to revolve around sex.
Cal Mercer works for the Nick of Time Escort Service. He’s picky about his clients and has never accepted a regular who is looking for companionship over sex—but can the right client change his mind? And can real feelings develop while money is changing hands? Owen and Cal might get to the root of their true feelings… if their pasts don’t interfere.

Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires

Pages: 225

About the Author
Amanda Meuwissen is a primarily gay romance writer, as well as Marketing Operations Manager for the software company Outsell. She has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed major from St. Olaf College in Creative Writing, and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. As author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga, young adult novel Life as a Teenage Vampire, the novelette The Collector, and superhero duology Lovesick Gods and Lovesick Titans, Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband, John, and their two cats, Helga and Sasha (no relation to the incubus of the same name), and can be found at www.amandameuwissen.com.