j. leigh bailey On Writing, Romances, and her new release Fox Hunt (Shifter U #4) (author interview, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Fox Hunt (Shifter U #4) by J. Leigh Bailey

Dreamspinner Press
Published July 2nd 2019

Cover Art: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with J. Leigh Bailey

I’d like to start with a big “Thank you!” to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me here today to celebrate the upcoming release of Fox Hunt, the fourth book in my Shifter U paranormal series.

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

 

I write for the same reason I read: ESCAPE. Honestly, sometimes the real world sucks—you just have to turn on the news or review your Twitter feed to see this—but books, especially romance novels, provide an escape like no other. As a reader, I love knowing that no matter what happens to my characters, no matter what challenges they face, or how bad the bad guy is, there will be a Happy Ever After. As a writer, it’s very much the same. One of the frustrating parts of watching the news or seeing people be hateful to and about each other, is how helpless it can make you feel. There’s only so much a person can do, and sometimes it feels like it’s not enough. As a writer, I take back some of that control. Sure. I can make the world my characters live in tough, but then, with a few strokes of my fingers, I can make it all right again. I add a little heart ache and a dash of angst, but then I turn around and create love. There’s nothing more rewarding than creating a world of love and hope, even if it’s fiction. Sometimes, especially because it’s fiction. As a writer, I can create that same escape mechanism that I’ve relied on as a reader. Now, hopefully other can escape reality for a while in a world of my choosing, in a world where love and hope really can conquer all.

Have you ever had an issue in real life and worked through it by writing it out in a story?

 

I’ve been battling depression since I was a teenager. For years, I used romance novels to avoid dealing with the negative thoughts and emotions in my head. Novels were an escape, for sure, but they also became a crutch—and not necessarily a healthy one—for me. Eventually I learned better coping mechanisms (counseling, antidepressants, exercise, etc). One of the things that works really well for me is writing. I’m a huge believer in using writing—whether it’s journaling, poetry, short stories, novels, etc.—as a way to help cope with depression and anxiety. What it does for me—and others—is allow us to process different situations, thoughts, and scenarios with some emotional distance. I can take some of the negative emotions inside myself, give them to another character, and let them deal with it for a while. This distance enables me to stop internalizing things and to apply logic to an emotional situation. I discovered one of my emotional triggers almost by accident when writing one of my books. And as soon as I realized what I’d written, and what my characters were doing, I had a better understanding of myself. And with that distance, I learned to recognize my own triggers before I had too much time to get sucked into the downward spiral. It’s not a cure-all by any means, but writing has given me the means to process things in a healthier way.

Do you/did you read romances as a teenager and as an adult?

 

Yep. I was the girl who had my nose in a book—a ROMANCE book—all through middle school and high school, up through my adulthood. I was the one whose 7th grade English teacher wanted to know if my mother knew what I was reading (the answer is yes, she absolutely did). I’d been known to have a romance novel with me at the ROLLER RINK(!) and at the football game (!). During high school I read in study hall, which taught me two things: First,  sex scene sound WAY different when read aloud by a 15-year-old boy than they do in your head; Second, in historical romances of 350-450 pages written in the early/mid-90s, there is always a sex scene on page 200. I was (and am) the lady in the office breakroom reading a different romance novel every day at lunch. It was more obvious back in the day when people could see the cover of the book, but in this age of digital, it just looks like I’m one of the many people staring at my phone.

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

 

I’ve got a couple of projects I’m really excited about. The first is a male/male light sci-fi series that takes place on a brothel star cruiser which is actually the undercover base for a secret militia. It’s tropey and fun. Definitely a romance set in space vs. a sci-fi novel with romantic elements (believe me, there’s a difference!) I have a demisexual prince, a courtesan-trained mechanic, a naïve scientist, a cynical smuggler, a pansexual prince, and a drag queen general, all bent on saving the galaxy.

Here’s the series blurb:

 

The SuperNova Galactic Brothel is the premier pleasure cruiser of the Su’Mar galaxy, a shining beacon in a star system at the edge of war. The elite from every star system frequent the establishment because they know Madame Nova’s courtesans and amenities are the best, bar-none. But beneath the glitzy and glamorous façade, a secret lurks—one that might be the galaxy’s last bastion of defense against the Order of Nammu.

 

Long thought a rumor, the Order of Nammu has been systematically destabilizing the galaxy for years—influencing, instigating, menacing—and now the galaxy is on the brink of collapse. When the Order’s operatives infiltrate SuperNova, a hidden battle station is revealed and the galaxy is thrust into war.

 

The three Adan brothers, princes of the planet Enkhi, are called upon to rally the galaxy’s leaders, marshaling them into war. Along the way, they fall for the unlikeliest of partners—men who are inappropriate matches for a prince, but whose love allows each brother to discover new strengths needed to overcome the threat of the Order of Nammu and save the galaxy’s inhabitants.

 

The second project I’m working on is a contemporary gay YA novel, which I’m pitching as the movie Juno meets Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It’s got a little angst, a little humor, a little romance, and a character coming to terms with the sacrifices required to be a parent—especially as an underage dad.

 

BLURB

 

A Shifter U Tale

Outfoxing their enemies will be a bear of a task.

Aspiring journalist and fox shifter David ends up with a target on his back after hacking the Moreau Initiative, the shifter world’s greatest enemy. But he won’t let that stop him from the campus tour road trip that’ll help him become the next Anderson Cooper… even if his family insists he travel with a grumpy grizzly bear bodyguard.

Buddy Brady is older, sexy, and too damn distracting for David, and as the sexual tension builds, so does the suspicion around the repeated attacks—first in Chicago, then in New York. Someone is tracking them, and all clues point to a traitor in the shifter ranks. Worst of all, they could be after David’s family….

Excerpt:

The hotel I’d chosen was… rough.

Buddy was less polite. “This place is two beers shy of a murder-suicide.”

“I didn’t take you for a snob,” I said, even as I sort of agreed with his assessment. To call the place fleabag would be giving it too much credit. “Besides,” I added, “we’re at the height of tourist season. We’re lucky to find a room anywhere, let alone one for less than a hundred bucks a night.”

“If this place is a dime more than twenty-five dollars, you’re paying too much.”

“I tried to tell you we should have kept going to Sioux Falls.” Thanks to the early start, there was plenty of daylight left, and Sioux Falls was only an hour farther down the line. Buddy had put the kibosh on that, reaching over to press the twitching muscle of my forearm. “You’ve been stretching your back for the last two hours, and twice you got a charley horse in your foot.”

So, yeah, I gave in. I’d been sore, and driving that long nonstop took a surprising amount of energy. Which is how we ended up in terrifyingly run-down motel near the interstate that smelled of smoke and desperation.

It had been a long night. Long and enlightening.

I learned two things from sharing a room with Buddy. First, he slept in soft cotton shorts and a tank top that showed exactly how broad his shoulders were. And second, he snored. The snoring didn’t even bother me, which I guess could be called a third thing I learned. Actually, the heavy breathing was oddly comforting.

I’m not exactly sure what woke me up after I’d finally fallen asleep sometime after three thirty. Maybe noise from a passing semi or a slamming door somewhere in the motel. Whatever it was, I pried my gritty eyes open and promptly squeezed them shut again. Only to open them in awe.

Buddy was… he was… holy shit, I had no words.

On the floor at the foot of his bed, he rested on his knees, his body bowed backward, hands gripping his ankles. It was… obscene? Crazy? Sexy as fuck?

And this was the exact moment my generalized awareness and attraction became straight-up perving. With the way he contorted his body, his pelvis thrust forward, and his thin cotton shorts left nothing to the imagination. He released his ankles and slowly flowed forward, reversing his arching body until his palms lay flat on the carpet in front of him. Then he lifted first one knee, then the other, until his body made a perfect inverted V, his ass on full display.

I may have drooled a little. Because, damn.

Buddy the grumpy grizzly shifter did yoga. I had no idea that a burly man working through yoga poses would be more exciting to me than a lap dance at a strip club.

“You should join me,” he said.

I’m not sure what word I meant to say, but an inarticulate grunt was my response. Because if by joining him, he meant letting me drape myself over that massive—and bendy—body, then I was all in. But… “Wait, what?”

Buddy tilted his head meeting my eyes. “Yoga. It’s good for you. Centers your mind and body.”

“Yeah, it’s not my kind of thing,” I said, trying to keep my voice and my breathing even.

His shirt fell until it bunched up at his neck, giving me a clear view of that mile-wide back, and if I looked right, I got a good shot at his hairy chest. My heartbeat picked up.

“You should consider it.” His nostrils flared, and his eyes narrowed. His right hand slipped, and he fell forward, barely catching himself before face-planting into what was undoubtedly gross carpet.

Nope, nope, nope. This wasn’t happening. I forced myself to think of what a black light would pick up in this place. The floor was probably a Pollock painting of various bodily fluids. When even that wasn’t enough to push away the heat in my blood—and loins—I jumped up. “I’m more of a runner.” In more ways than one.

 

 

 

During my travels, I’ve stayed in a couple of …rough…hotels. How about you? Any vivid experiences at a hotel/motel you want to share?

 

**GIVEAWAY**

I’ll be giving away a digital copy of the Shifter U novel of your choice (Stalking Buffalo Bill, Chasing Thunderbird, The Night Owl and the Insomniac, or Fox Hunt) to a random commenter! Giveaway will close on July 18.

 

About the Author

  1. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending. For upcoming releases and appearances information, sign up for her newsletter athttps://t.co/FfL9gFVJLQ.

Social Media Links

Twitter @JenniWrites 
Facebook @JLeighBailey
Instagram @j.leigh.bailey_author
Website

An Alisa Release Day Review: Fox Hunt (Shifter U #4) by J. Leigh Bailey

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Outfoxing their enemies will be a bear of a task.

Aspiring journalist and fox shifter David ends up with a target on his back after hacking the Moreau Initiative, the shifter world’s greatest enemy. But he won’t let that stop him from the campus tour road trip that’ll help him become the next Anderson Cooper… even if his family insists he travel with a grumpy grizzly bear bodyguard.

Buddy Brady is older, sexy, and too damn distracting for David, and as the sexual tension builds, so does the suspicion around the repeated attacks—first in Chicago, then in New York. Someone is tracking them, and all clues point to a traitor in the shifter ranks. Worst of all, they could be after David’s family….

This was a good story, I haven’t read any other the other Shifter U stories and other than some side references I don’t think it took away from enjoying this book.  David has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle and forced to have a bodyguard while visiting grad schools.  Buddy is a misunderstood, not necessarily in a bad way, man and has never really gotten the chance to do what he has always wanted.

Unfortunately for a book over 200 pages I don’t have much to say, so much of this book was their trips to the colleges with David trying to downplay their danger and shrug off any of the incidents that happen.  Though the big one when they figure out who the spy is finally send him back home.  The big reveal and “battle” didn’t really live up to the big build up for me.

I felt bad for David and how he was feeling about how his family treats him, feeling like the outcast or screw-up is never fun.  Now Buddy has built a nice life for himself but I liked that David was able to get him to open up about the life he would like.  These two are sweet together and they had to of liked each other previously and just didn’t say anything for how awkward their interactions quickly got but David following his dreams gives Buddy the boost to try for his too.

I love the cover art by Aaron Anderson is nice but doesn’t connect with how I viewed either characters.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 268 pages

Published: July 2, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-203-7

Edition Language: English

Series: A Shifter U Tale, Dreamspun Beyond

Shifter U Series

Stalking Buffalo Bill

Chasing Thunderbird

The Night Owl and the Insomniac

Fox Hunt

J. Leigh Bailey on Reading, Romances and her latest novel and series ‘Stalking Buffalo Bill (Shifter U #1)’ – author interview and giveaway

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Stalking Buffalo Bill (Shifter U #1) by J. Leigh Bailey
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J. Leigh Bailey here today.  Welcome, J. Leigh and thanks for the great interview and bringing along such a wonderful giveaway!

♦︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with J.Leigh Bailey

Before I get started, I wanted to say a big “thank you” to Scattered Though and Rogue Words for  letting me stop by today and celebrate the upcoming release of STALKING BUFFALO BILL. I had so much fun writing this book, and I’m thrilled to be a part of Dreamspinner Press’s new line, Dreamspun Beyond.

 

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

I’ve been reading romance—bodice rippers, category, cowboy, paranormal, pick a subgenre and I read it—since I was ten years old. Some were age-appropriate, some were definitely not. But I’ve always chased the Happy Ever After ending. As a writer, there was never any question in my mind that I would be writing romance. Because my reading choices were eclectic within the romance umbrella, my writing has been just as varied. The only requirement: HEA. As a result, I’ve written YA romance, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance. I mostly write male/male now (and I didn’t actually start reading that particular subgenre until well into my 20s), but I’ve had short stories published in horror and erotica with M/F pairings as well. Though, to be fair, even my horror stories could be categorized more as horror-lite and they had the promise of an eventual HEA. So, yes, it’s fair to say that my childhood and teenage reading habits DEFINITELY carried into my choices as a professional writer.

 

Do you like HFN or HEA? And Why?

I’m a big believer in Happy For Now (HFN) endings. Sometimes the traditional Happy Ever After (HEA) is unrealistic in the storyline as written. Sometimes the characters are 17 and clearly the are not going to get married and have a passel of kids. That being said, I can admit that, while the HFN endings are appropriate and logical, I always assume, in the deepest parts of my brain and heart, that the characters will ultimately have their HEA. Yes, even my 17-year-old boys will be together forever and ever, hopelessly devoted to each other for all eternity.

 

That’s what makes romance such an amazing genre. It’s all about the hope, the promise for a future together for two people (or more, if that’s your thing). The world can be a crappy, scary place, and I love that in romance no matter how bad things get, or how many obstacles they face, a couple will end up together, love will conquer all, and good will defeat evil.

 

Do you/did you read romances as a teenager and as an adult?

Yep. I was the girl who had my nose in a book—a ROMANCE book—all through middle school and high school, up through my adulthood. I was the one whose 7th grade English teacher wanted to know if my mother knew what I was reading (the answer is yes, she absolutely did). I’d been known to have a romance novel with me at the ROLLER RINK(!) and at the football game (!). During high school I read in study hall which taught me two things: First,  sex scene sound WAY different when read aloud by a 15-year-old boy than they do in your head; Second, in historical romances of 350-450 pages written in the early/mid-90s, there is always a sex scene on page 200. I was (and am) the lady in the office breakroom reading a different romance novel every day at lunch. It was more obvious back in the day when people could see the cover of the book, but in this age of digital, it just looks like I’m one of the many people staring at my phone.

 

Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?

I suspect that for an author choosing a favorite among her books would be like a parent choosing a favorite among her children. That being said, there are a couple of my stories that are favorites for different reasons. In some ways, GUYLINER (a YA coming out/coming of age story) is my favorite because it’s the “book of my heart” that authors talk about. It was the first manuscript I finished and will always hold a special place in my heart. NOBODY’S HERO is a favorite because it was my first published book, and so holds a special place in my heart. It also allowed me to explore some different family dynamics that I really enjoyed. But I have to admit, my newest book, STALKING BUFFALO BILL, though, is my current favorite-favorite because it was the most fun to write of any of my books. I completely fell in love with Donnie and his voice and personality. I got to be over-the-top and dramatic in a way I’d never been able to do before.

 

What’s next for you as an author?

I’m currently working on edits for the next book in the Shifter U series, CHASING THUNDERBIRD, and writing the third book, THE NIGHT OWL AND THE INSOMNIAC. Ford, the love interest in CHASING THUNDERBIRD, is introduced in STALKING BUFFALO BILL. He’s Donnie’s roommate and best friend. Ford and Simon—a geeky ornithology professor—have to pair up to battle a serpent-worshipping cult who are trying to gain immortality through the destruction of the entire race of thunderbird shapeshifters. Like STALKING BUFFALO BILL, it’s a little quirky and a little fun. I mean, a bird nerd and a mythical bird of prey battling a serpent-worshipping cult? So much fun to write.

Blurb

Stalking Buffalo Bill—A Shifter U Tale

A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.

 

A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.

 

While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.

 

It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.

 

About the Shifter U Series

A fun, male/male take on shapeshifter romance, the Shifter U stories include characters who shapeshift into more than the average apex predator. Sure, there are wolves, tigers, and bear shifters, but there are also coyotes, owls, beavers, bison, and more.

 

All books in the series center around Cody College, located on the outskirts of Cody, Wyoming, where the occasionally furry have a safe place to further their education. Affectionately known as Shifter U, the school offers shapeshifting students a “special track” which gives them the chance to learn important subjects like mathematics, philosophy, and, most importantly, how to hide their secret identity from local humans.

 

Maintaining secret identities is tough. Dark secrets, old enemies, mythical heritage, and a mysterious illness challenge the stealth skills of even the sneakiest students and staff. While these shifters struggle to handle their type of “normal,” thorny complications of attraction pop up—always at the worst possible times.

 

**GIVEAWAY** I’ll be giving away a signed copy of GUYLINER (US only) or a digital copy of any of my Letting Go (new adult contemporary romance) series books (open internationally) to a random commenter who tells me: Why do you read romance? What does HEA mean to you?

Author Bio

j.leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending. For upcoming releases and appearances information, sign up for her newsletter at https://t.co/FfL9gFVJLQ.

 

 

 

 

Social Media Links

Twitter @JenniWrites (http://twitter.com/JenniWrites )
Facebook @JLeighBailey (http://www.facebook.com/JLeighBailey )
Instagram @j.leigh.bailey_author (https://www.instagram.com/j.leigh.bailey_author/ )
Website (www.jleighbailey.net )

 

 

A Jeri Release Day Review: Guyliner by j. leigh bailey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

guylinerBoth sweet and sad, this YA coming of age story was a delight to read.

Connor is the classic all American boy. Baseball star, straight A student, beautiful girlfriend. All of those gave him the nickname Goldenboy- which he secretly hates. Behind closed doors he is the oldest of 5, his very existence making his parents marry young and his father to give up on his dreams. So he works hard to get a scholarship and leave the small town with little opportunity.

Graham is new in school. Moving there ostensibly for the soccer team, but in reality it was to escape the town where his boyfriend didn’t stick up for him after being gay bashed by his boyfriend’s brothers. After a year of recovery, he is ready to move on.

Graham knows who he is. He is out and proud- wearing tshirts that blatantly express the fact that he is gay and wearing eyeliner to school everyday. When Connor defends Graham- again- against the school bullies, they are accused of fighting by the baseball coach and are given the punishment of cleaning out the equipment shed every Saturday until it is done. While there, they get to know each other and look forward to their Saturdays.

Connor is fighting his attraction to Graham, and Graham won’t be a dirty little secret again.

I loved how Graham stood up for himself and what he was willing to be and do. But he also did it with general empathy toward Connor- a boy scared to not only come out of the closet, but scared to admit to even himself that he is gay. Graham is willing to be just friends with Connor, because something is better than nothing.

I also really enjoyed that Golden boy Connor is from such a blue collar family. Usually the sports star comes from a well to do family with all of the support in the world. But watching him babysit his siblings, share a room with his brothers, cook dinner for his family- all while doing his best in school and baseball are so representative of real life.

Graham was so strong. I fully expect a character like that to be broken- to hide from the world, put up walls, etc. But he didn’t. He was who he was and he wasn’t apologizing for it, even when he was getting bullied.

Connor and Graham together were just so sweet. I love a great YA book that expresses the feelings of the characters so well. There was no falling back on sex to move the story along.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Love this cover.  It is, in every way, eye-catching!

Sales Links

        

 

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published October 17th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634777263 (ISBN13: 9781634777261)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Young Adult Release Day Review: Do-Gooder by J. Leigh Bailey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

do-gooder-by-j-leigh-baileyNo good deed goes unpunished, and for seventeen-year-old Isaiah Martin, that’s certainly the case. The gun he was caught with wasn’t even his, for God’s sake. He only had it to keep a friend from doing something stupid. No one wants to hear it though, and Isaiah is banished—or so it seems to him—to live with his missionary father in politically conflicted Cameroon, Africa.

However, when he arrives, his father is so busy doing his good deeds that he sends Henry, the young, surprisingly hot do-gooder with a mysterious past, to pick up Isaiah and keep him out of trouble. Even while Isaiah is counting down the days until he can go home, he and Henry get caught in the political unrest of the region. Kidnapped by militant forces, the two have to work together to survive until they are rescued—unless they manage to find a way to save each other first.

“Do-Gooder” was an exciting, action-packed read. The romance mostly took a back seat, since the protagonists were a little busy trying to survive.

I mostly decided to read this book because of the setting. Not a lot of m/m books are set in Africa and I’ve always liked reading about exotic places. We don’t get to read much about the culture, though, since the story is mostly set in the middle of nowhere, with our two protagonists as prisoners of international mercenaries. I didn’t mind too much, since there were plenty of other things to keep me interested.

It’s interesting how the author managed to keep the story so suspenseful, even though it’s mostly set in a single hut and the MCs mostly just talk. Still, there’s the constant worry about Isaiah’s health, the mystery of Henry’s past and of course the mystery of why they were kidnapped and the worry about the next step of the kidnappers.

Even more amazing is the fact that she also managed to keep the feel of the story very realistic. All the explanations we get throughout made sense and the whole plot seemed like something that could totally happen under those circumstances.

The one part I didn’t really like was the romance. Not so much that it played only a minor role, but Isaiah’s feelings felt awfully rushed. It’s pretty much insta-love for him, which is a trope I despise. I didn’t quite buy into the intensity of the feelings. It read more like a crush to me and they just didn’t spend enough time with each other for me to believe that this was grounds for a serious relationship. Maybe Henry’s POV would have helped, because we only get to see Isaiah’s side. As it is, I didn’t really get the impression that Henry was returning Isaiah’s feelings for a long time.

The result was that I didn’t buy into the ending either. It felt like a forced HEA and pretty unrealistic. A HFN ending might have worked better, at least for me.

If you’re looking for a light, fun read, keep looking. This is not the book for you.

If, however, you’re looking for an action packed story full of intrigues and mystery, with a dash of romance, you’ll love this book.

The cover by Aaron Anderson represents the story perfectly: bullet holes and the all-important backpack with an African landscape on it. I’m not too fond of the background colour, but otherwise this is a great cover.

Sales Links

Harmony Ink Press

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Book details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2016 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634772903 (ISBN13: 9781634772907)
Edition LanguageEnglish

In the Spotlight: Reckless Hope (Letting Go #2) by j. leigh bailey (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Reckless Hope (Letting Go #2) by j. leigh bailey
Release Date: August 24, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Carina Press

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Sales Links: amazon | barnes&noble | kobo | ibooks

My interview with j. leigh bailey

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing j. leigh bailey, author of Reckless Hope.

Hi j. leigh, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Thank you so much for having me! I’m j. leigh bailey, author of New Adult and Young Adult male/male romance. I live in the Chicagoland area and have always believed that nothing—not race, gender, sexual identity, religious background or paranormal affiliation—should get in the way of the vitally important Happy Ever After ending.

  • Tell us about your book.

RECKLESS HOPE is an opposites attract New Adult romance, in which I’ve paired up a hard-working, super-responsible, over-scheduled guy with a hard-partying, entitled, wealthy adrenaline junkie. Together they discover that learning to trust is a risk, and sometimes the risk is well worth the reward

  • How difficult was it to get into the main character’s head?

There are a few challenges I face in getting into the head of my main characters. I’m neither a young male nor gay. Clearly, I don’t have the exact life experiences that match up to my characters.  But I was once twenty. I struggled to find my way, to define my future. One of the greatest things about writing, or even reading, is that the characters, even the non-human ones, have a shared human experience. We all go through stages of growth, of challenges. We all have periods of grief and excitement. We all fall in love and get our hearts broken. It’s exploring and facing these challenges, and hopefully overcoming them, that make books so much fun. It’s proof, through fiction, that people are capable of surviving and, at least in romantic fiction, achieving a happy ever after ending.

Which all sounds very… philosophical, which isn’t very me. The biggest challenge I face, really, is creating an authentic young male voice. Even when I was twenty, I used words and phrasing that came off as “too adult.” There’s a fine line between language that is so simple or clichéd as to insult young men everywhere, and using language that makes my young men sound like thirty-something women with a love of “big” words. Trying to sound realistic, and not stereotypical, while in my characters’ heads can be a struggle.

  • Is this book a standalone or do you plan on visiting it again?

Reckless Hope is the second book in my Letting Go series, though it, and the others, are stand-alone. They share a common theme, but don’t have any characters or locations in common. I have a couple of characters who are introduced in this book, though, that I may decide to expand upon. Micah’s best friend Jace is kind of a hoot, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him paired up with someone who won’t know how to handle his slightly dramatic flair.

  • Why did you choose to write M/M stories?

I’ve been reading romance since I was 11 years old. Even before that, the television shows and stories I read tended to have a romantic pair-up. Added to it, I read about 100 pages an hour, so I’ve read a lot of different books in a lot of different genres. I went through phases. For a while it was all romantic suspense. Then it was Regency romance. Then it was medieval romance. Then paranormal. If it was romance, I would read it. One day I read a male/male romance and it changed everything. In a male/male romance you have all the same elements that make a great romance, the same kinds of conflict that make getting from point A to point HEA so exciting. But you also have the added conflict of social pressure, the questions of to-PDA or not-to-PDA, out or in. Extra conflict that can make achieving the happily ever after ending more rewarding.

  • Where do you find your inspiration?

For me, I’ll get a phrase or an image stuck in my head. That phrase or image grows into a scene. Next thing I know, I’ve got a story brewing in my brain. Almost always I see an opening scene, or the scene in which the characters first meet, and I see how I want their story to end. Then I get to watch everything unfold from the first meeting to the end, just like I was reading the book as I was writing it. Sometimes I’m surprised at the direction the story takes me, but always the first scene and the last scene stick.

Thank you so much for having me!

STRW Author BookSynopsis

What’s life without a little risk?

Or a lot of risk, if you’re Sebastian Carlisle. He’ll never live up to the legacy of his dead brother, so why try? Being the wild child in a family of stuck-up rich snobs suits him just fine.

Until he meets Micah Burke, and everything changes.

Micah’s got too much going on for a relationship. Even if he could trust Sebastian, a distraction—a sexy, reckless distraction with a death wish—would only derail his carefully scheduled life. If it were just Micah, maybe that would be fine, but his mother and sister depend on him, and he can’t let them down. Or at least that’s what he tells himself.

A hot moment leads to a hot night leads to a connection neither of them are ready for. And when a crisis hits Micah’s family hard, Sebastian will have to shed his bad-boy image and decide whether he can be the man Micah needs—and Micah needs to decide whether he’ll let him.

Book two of Letting Go
Pages or Words: 67,000
Categories: M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

“I thought I knew what kind of person you were.”
“Yeah, you made that pretty clear.”
Micah cringed, but kept going. “You take for granted everything I work my ass off to achieve. It’s easy for you. And now I know there’s more to you than that. I don’t understand your choices, or the need for an adrenaline rush you seem to have.” He held up a hand to keep Sebastian from saying anything. He scooted up, resting his back against the handlebars. “I don’t have to understand. It’s part of who you are.”
“Somehow I don’t think this discussion is heading in a direction I’m going to like.” Sebastian drew his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them.
“The thing is, you’re a bad influence on me.”
“I don’t—”
“You don’t even have to do anything. Take tonight, for instance.”
“Tonight?”
“I have a midterm tomorrow. I should be studying. Or even sleeping. Instead I’m here. I never have trouble doing what I’m supposed to do. Setting aside my ‘want tos’ to do my ‘have tos.’ Except around you.”
“I’m not trying to make your life harder. I’m just trying to be part of it.”
“That’s what I don’t get. You could have almost anyone. You could find someone a hell of a lot less complicated than me.”
“You may not believe it, but I don’t mind complications.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of New Adult and Young Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.

She wrote her first story at seven, which was, unbeknownst to her at the time, a charming piece of fan-fiction in which Superman battled (and defeated, of course) the nefarious X Luther. She was quite put out to be told, years later, that the character’s name was actually Lex. Her second masterpiece should have been a best-seller, but the action-packed tale of rescuing her little brother from an alligator attack in the marshes of Florida collected dust for years under the bed instead of gaining critical acclaim.

Now she writes New Adult and Young Adult LGBT Romance novels about boys traversing the crazy world of love, relationships and acceptance.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.bailey.39948
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/JLeighBailey
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JenniWrites

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: An eBook copy of Nobody’s Hero (Letting Go book 1) and an eBook copy of Reckless Hope.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Final

Tour Dates & Stops:
24-Aug

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Velvet Panic, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

25-Aug

Hearts on Fire, Havan Fellows

26-Aug

Amanda C. Stone, Divine Magazine

27-Aug

V’s Reads, Boys on the Brink Reviews, BFD Book Blog

28-Aug

EE Montgomery, Bayou Book Junkie

31-Aug

Happily Ever Chapter, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

1-Sep

MM Good Book Reviews, Cathy Brockman Romances, Jessie G. Books

2-Sep

Dawn’s Reading Nook, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Hearts on Fire

3-Sep

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads

4-Sep

Just Love Romance, Molly Lolly

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Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Velvet Panic, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My
25-Aug
Hearts on Fire, Havan Fellows
26-Aug
Amanda C. Stone, Divine Magazine
27-Aug
V’s Reads, Boys on the Brink Reviews, BFD Book Blog
28-Aug
EE Montgomery, Bayou Book Junkie
31-Aug
Happily Ever Chapter, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat
1-Sep
MM Good Book Reviews, Cathy Brockman Romances, Jessie G. Books
2-Sep
Dawn’s Reading Nook, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Hearts on Fire
3-Sep
Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads
4-Sep
Just Love Romance, Molly Lolly