A Stella Release Day Review: Coming Up for Air by Amanda Meuwissen

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

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.

I have to be honest, I picked this new release just for the cover, as soon as I saw it I wanted to have the book on my kindle. I think it’s definitely my favorite cover of the year, so far. I didn’t even read the blurb, I wasn’t interested, I was willing to give Coming Up For Air a chance no matter what the blurb said. Sure, I saw the author name and I recalled another great novel she wrote, Model Escort, that I liked a lot.

Then, when I started the reading, since the beginning, I knew I was going to like it a lot, maybe more than the cover and this says how much. I adored everything: first of all the characters, Tolly and Leigh, the second characters, Alvin and Cary, Ger and Gar, and so many others.

There was never a dull moment, something was always happening, or someone was at the door asking for help or reparations. But it wasn’t chaotic or a mess, never.

I ached for both Tolly and Leigh, I cared for them since the first chapters, I wanted to shelter them from all the adversities the human and merfolk worlds were putting against them. I loved how the relationship developed, the way they fell so easily in love, also how much Tolly fell in love with all Leigh’s friends and vice versa.  I so appreciated how ready all of the people that, in such a short time, learn to love Tolly, were to accept his true nature, with no hesitation or fear.

I want to highly recommend Coming Up For Air by Amanda Meuwissen, nothing was as it seemed and the epilogue was so lovely I had tears and hearts in my eyes the whole time. This was a wonderful novel, I will reread it so soon.

The cover art by Tiferet Design is great, my favorite cover so far, so well done and fitting, simply amazing.

Buy Links: Amazon |  Dreamspinner Press Paperback and  eBook

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 200 pages

Expected publication: April 30th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781644051757

Edition Language English

Amanda Meuwissen on Good Writing Habits and her new release Coming Up for Air (author guest blog)

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Coming Up for Air by Amanda Meuwissen

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Publication: April 30th 2019

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press Paperback and  eBook

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome back Amanda Meuwissen here today talking about writing and her new release Coming Up for Air. Welcome, Amanda!

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66 Days to Create Good Writing Habits

More than any other piece of advice, what people most often ask me is how do I foster good writing habits to create as much content as I do each year. The simple answer is I write every day, but that isn’t what people want to hear. Writing every day sounds hard. It sounds nearly impossible.

Considering the amount of people (myself included) who try to break bad eating and exercise habits and fail, it’s no wonder we feel that way. We all wish there was an easy route to what we want to accomplish, but sadly, the difficult path is the only one that works.

But back up. Writing every day, while it might sound difficult and does take discipline, isn’t as hard as you might think. It just starts with consistency, and over time, you can build on that more and more.

When I say write every day, that doesn’t mean you have to write 2,000 words every day. Even a single sentence can be enough, but you must build the habit of writing something each day as a starting point.

Developing discipline as a writer is the same as any good habit (or bad habit you want to break). I’ve heard varying numbers about how long it takes to make or break a habit, but the general rule is that it takes a little over two months, or around 66 days for something to become routine—for eating and exercise habits too, by the way.

And I speak from experience, nothing is harder than the first two weeks of those 66 days, but if you can last that final push over two months, the third month is easy, and from there, it’s no longer a challenge to keep consistent.

That’s why I have repeatedly told people who ask me this question that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in November) is a great starting point for any writer to get into good habits with writing. It gives you your first 30 days right off the bat as a challenge. The trick is to not stop there.

Another exercise I took on last year was an AU (alternate universe) a day challenge for a full month, which can easily be tailored to be a prompt a day challenge if you prefer. In my case, I took one of my favorite fandoms, the superhero world of DC Comics, and chose a different universe to place those characters in each day, so ultimately, I was creating a unique story every time but with familiar faces.

Meaning, I wasn’t pumping out a full novel during this time like with NaNo, adding new chapters and scenes to a single story, I was dabbling in a different story every time I sat down to write.

You don’t have to add to the same project every day if you don’t feel inspired from one day to another, just write something, some amount, and if you do take a day off, make it only ONE DAY. Any more than that, and you risk breaking the path to a good habit.

Blurb:
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.
Author Bio:
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.

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.
Social Media:

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

 

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.