A MelanieM Review: Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories (Faith, Love & Devotion #7) by Tere Michaels

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A Faith, Love, & Devotion Anthology

What happens after the story ends?

Join Matt, Evan, Jim, Griffin, and their friends and families for a glimpse of what happens after happily ever after. Between growing up and growing pains, weddings and retirement, changing careers and changing diapers, life is never boring. Changes, decisions, tears, and joy await as the years march on.

For most readers, we have favorites series we can name at the  drop of a hat.  Characters so beloved, so familiar that they have become a part of us over time, our affection and love growing with each story that rolled out, our connection deepening as we fell into their lives, riding out their romance rollercoasters and some very heavy drama.  And also for all the highs and rewarding moments that kept carrying all of us forward through the series and their relationship(s).

And with all series, there must come an end.  Not that we want to admit it.  But reasonably for every start, a finale must follow.

And for many reasons, that’s the one bit I always approach with apprehension and trepidation.  Series can get off on shaky steps but soon they are off and running, having found their foundation.  And they just get better and better in every way.  Faith, Love, and Devotion was great from the start.  Tere Michaels had characters that were messy, stubborn, closeted, hounded by demons, one had a deceased wife, kids that came with their own issues, police departments and cases that followed them with ghastly consequences, and so much more.  Complex doesn’t even begin to describe these men and their dynamics.

Nor how deeply I and so many others fell in love with them and their painful, often labyrinthine road to a relationship and HEA.  I’m surprised it was only seven books to be honest.

The author wrote skillfully of how mired down any current decision making is in the past histories, how choices for the future are often decided by others and elements flying under the radar.  In other words, these novels were real, believable, sometimes painful and frustrating to read when the characters behaved all too authentically. We could all shake our heads as Evan overthought something yet again, and we wondered how Matt was going to handle it. Don’t get me started on Jim and Griffin’s rocky path.  That had me glued to my Kindle through many a night. Oh, Jim and Griffin, who teetered precariously on becoming my favorites here. We lived with these people…over and over again We  watched the children grow up, the relationships change and mature as they do…and I started to wonder about the end of the series.

Luckily, Michaels decided to give all her readers a love letter. Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories (Faith, Love & Devotion #7) by Tere Michaels is exactly that.  A collection of short stories that flow one to the other a year of several after that last book.  It shows the natural progression in the lives of these characters.  Mostly hilarious, some warmhearted and loving, it continues to tighten the bonds between all the people you’ve grown to over over all six novels and pulls it together in one last story to gladden your heart.

It’s a series finale you will be happy with.  Not something I have said every time.  No I can go back and read this one again and again as I do many of the books here and be delighted.  I think all lovers of this series and these couples will be too.

So yes I’m highly recommended this collection and this series.  New to Faith, Love, and Devotion?  I’ve listed the entire series for you below. Read them in the order they were written, What a wonderful journey awaits you!  It’s one I intend on taking again and again.

 

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 271 pages
Published December 25th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07L7HLQWY
Edition Language English
Series Faith, Love & Devotion (add to your Goodreads here) :

Faith & Fidelity

Love & Loyalty (the start of Jim Shea and Griffin Drake)

Duty & Devotion

Cherish

Cherish & Blessed

Truth & Tenderness

Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories

Tere Michaels on Characters, the end of a Series and her new collection Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories (Faith, Love & Devotion #7)

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Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories

(Faith, Love & Devotion #7)

by

Tere Michaels

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Tere Michaels here today on tour with Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories
(Faith, Love & Devotion #7) by Tere Michaels.  Faith, Love & Devotion has always been one of my favorite series and I will say it’s hard to say goodbye to it. So Tere’s talking about her characters, the collection and the final chapter.

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Tere Michaels

 

Thank you so much for having me!

Writing the final chapter in the Faith, Love & Devotion series has been a bittersweet experience for me. These characters are so precious to me, and I wanted to give the readers a glimpse past “Happily Ever After” into the future. So it’s happy – but also a little bit sad to say good-bye!

By doing a collection of stories, I was able to extend my reach beyond a year in the life, or a few years. I tried to hit some of the big events, both good and not-so-good, focusing on how these characters would handle it. (Spoiler alert: a lot of sarcasm and a few moist eyes.)

Forever & Ever is a love letter to my readers, a thank you for all their support over the past ten years. And of course, the bow on top is finally getting Matt and Evan hitched!

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

What’s funny to me, in revisiting Matt and Evan, and Griffin and Jim, is seeing how much of my own marriage is represented in their relationships! The basis of my relationship is humor – it’s our love language. And I realized how much I inject that into my characters.

Also overthinking. Matt might have my sharp tongue but Evan has my overactive brain! 

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

HEA! That’s why I’m in this game – I want you to feel like these characters stay together far beyond “the end.” Like, these people are so perfect for each other, they’ve earned their happy ending and you never have to worry about them again. LOL

I read a lot of different genres but I feel very strongly about romance having an HEA. The emotional arc is the most important thing, so when I get to the end, I want that “forever” to be earned and memorable and meaningful.

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

My first romance was “Palomino” by Danielle Steele, purchased for change at a garage sale. I read ALL her books, for years (“Fine Things” and “The Ring” are two of my favorites), but mostly I read historicals. Celeste De Blasis’ “Black Swan Trilogy” was my obsession. I loved that series.

YA wasn’t really a thing when I was a teen so I went straight from Nancy Drew to adult romance novels! It’s funny that I only write contemporaries when I refused to read them as a teen/young adult.

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  

Weirdly enough, my biggest influencer was Dean Koontz. The first book I read of his – “Lightning” – was a contemporary love story/sci-fi book with time-traveling Nazis. I was knocked off my feet because it was this perfect blend of genres and tropes, with snappy dialogue and humor and emotion. And I thought – my God, you’re allowed to write like this!? It was a revelation. I really feel like that book was a key that unlocked my writer’s voice.  I didn’t need to write “formally.” I could be me.

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

It’s like choosing your favorite child! (I only have one child so that’s not exactly hard for me…)

Two books immediately come to mind, and probably not the ones people would imagine. “Love & Loyalty,” the second book in the Faith, Love & Devotion series is my favorite. It took me three tries to start that book, and Griffin took forever to be born in my head but once he showed up, that book was a joy to write. There are still moments that make me cry when I read them!

The second is my novella “Holiday Roommates.” I was struggling with writer’s block and one day a man in an elf suit bemoaning his life popped into my head and boom! Nate Brandywine arrived and my block was wiped out. Nate and Sean are the epitome of my writing – they are both good people struggling through rough times, but they still work to help other people, and never lose their sense of humor. I love them dearly.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I am writing a new series, set against the backdrop of a Broadway show. Since Broadway musicals are one of my favorite things in the world, I am loving the chance to play in this world! I’ll be following several characters involved in the production (actors, a director, the money man), and their romances, as well as the show itself moving from casting to opening night.

I also have the last Vigilante book finally coming out in 2019! And another secret project I can’t quite talk about just yet! 

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I like good people who are trying to grow and learn and heal. People who are eager to know themselves better. All my characters are on a personal journey – good people, doing their best, and not always succeeding. I can’t write an anti-hero. Even my Vigilante series character is basically a really good guy, who doesn’t always make the best decisions! That internal struggle fascinates me about people, and it always, always finds its way into my characters. In fact, that internal journey is the basis to my stories – it’s where a book starts for me.

  • 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?

That’s a tough one! I write stories about real people working through real life hardships on their way to a happy ending to bring some positivity into the world. If someone reads one of my books and goes – yeah, let’s keep going. I can do this – then my work here is done.

And that’s why I write for a living. But for me, personally – I don’t how to stop. LOL Even if I’m not writing words down, stories are still being born in my head. It’s been that way my entire life and it’s like trying to explain why you breathe. The alternative doesn’t really exist.  

About Forever & Ever – A Faith, Love, & Devotion Anthology

What happens after the story ends?

Join Matt, Evan, Jim, Griffin, and their friends and families for a glimpse of what happens after happily ever after. Between growing up and growing pains, weddings and retirement, changing careers and changing diapers, life is never boring. Changes, decisions, tears, and joy await as the years march on.

Faith, Love, & Devotion Series:

 

About the Author

Tere Michaels unofficially began her writing career at the age of four when she learned – via a Disney magazine subscription – that people got paid to write stories. It seemed the most perfect and logical job in the world and after that, her path was never in question.

Tere’s specialties are snark, angst, and happily ever afters. And not so happily ever afters that eventually work out because she is, after all, a romantic – tempered with realism. She has written fifteen books including her popular Faith, Love & Devotion series and the superhero saga The Vigilante.

Nothing makes her happier than knowing she made a reader laugh or smile or cry. It’s the purpose of sharing her work with people. She loves hearing from fans and fellow writers and is always available for speaking engagements, visits, and workshops. Send her a message through her contact page or connect with her on Twitter(@TereMichaels) and Facebook .

Tere Michaels

www.teremichaels.com

https://twitter.com/TereMichaels