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After All Is Said and Done Giveaway + Guest Post

September 28, 2011

Guest Post:

Over twenty years ago, my husband to be asked me once if I would be able to forgive him if he said or did anything to hurt me.  I vividly remember shrugging my shoulders and saying ‘Yeah.  If you said you were sorry.’
Now, those words rolled off of my tongue very easily, but the act of forgiveness itself is not such an easy task.  I am not the world’s most forgiving person.  In fact, it takes me forever to get over something.
This brings me to the question of why do we forgive?  Do we do it to make the person that has wronged us feel better?  Or do we do it for ourselves?  And how do we truly forgive someone?
I have met a few people in my life who have the ability to truly forgive and forget.  These people are fortunate souls indeed.  Hurt seems to roll of their shoulders like water.
Elton John wrote a beautiful song for The Lion King called The Circle Of Life.  There is a verse in there that goes ‘Some of us sail through our troubles, and some of us live with the scars.’  As humans, some of have been deeply hurt or even traumatized by something that has happened to us as an adult or in childhood.  It has left us emotionally scarred, because we can’t let it go, no matter how hard we try.
Ethan Harrington, one of the main characters in my book, is such an individual.  He is a tormented soul trying desperately to lead a normal life under the guise of forgiveness.  After All Is Said And Done is about healing and forgiveness.  I have learned over the years to let things go.  It has not been easy, but it is better than the alternative.  Carrying around anger over something that we cannot change can eat us alive.  Does forgiving someone change what has happened?  Of course not.  But I do know that forgiveness can be healing.  Sometimes we must go through the stages of anger, grief, and denial before we can do so.

About After All Is Said And Done

Mary Gramlich from the Reading Reviewer wrote an excellent review that sums up my novel perfectly:

Sarah is married to Gavin, who has had an affair with Jessica, but she is married to Ethan, and pregnant with his child.  They are all doctors sharing partnerships, friendships, and perhaps too much personal space all intertwined together. But right now everything is about to explode as Jessica goes into labor and has a son that everyone but Ethan knows is not Ethan’s.  The affair with Jessica and Gavin was over, spouses had taken them back, forgiveness was extended, and then all the lies come out and the one night turns into a baby.  

Gavin comes clean with Sarah about the baby and their fragile relationship becomes cracked beyond repair and Sarah decides to move on without him.  But Jessica and Ethan live under the guise of the baby’s parentage and Jessica is getting really good at keeping secrets she should be confessing.  Jessica wants them to remain a couple and if lies are needed to make that happen, so be it.  

When Ethan’s father passes away, the pressure of his life explodes like fireworks around him.  Ethan crumbles under the stress from complicated family relationships, his supposed failures and misdeeds until the only comfort he finds is in the bottle of scotch sitting by his elbow.  When the bottle creates new issues and no longer provides comfort Ethan starts to see only a dark tunnel with no light.  When the worst that can happen to you already has what would your next step be?  

The long trip from infidelity to reconciliation is one paved with truces, promises and hope.  When all those things turn into a huge deception no one is going to forgive or forget and the chance of moving on is almost impossible.  Ethan, Sarah, Jessica and Gavin cause pain to one another but when you walk forward what is behind you may stay there and you can rise again from the ashes to build a new life if you are honest with everyone including yourself.

I hope this is enough to pique your interest to check out my book.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be a guest here on Reading Romances and thanks to Liz of CBLS Promotions.

It is available on Amazon | Smashwords

A little bit about Belinda:
I have been happily married to my husband (the same man I mentioned at the beginning) for over 21 years now.  I have two great sons, two persnickety cats, and 1 unconditionally loving dog who thinks he’s a person.
I am currently working on my second novel, The Monster of Silver Creek, which is due out in December.  The follow up book to After All Is Said And Done will be published in 2012.

My website | Book trailer | Blog  | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway:
Please be sure and leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for After All Is Said And Done.  The winner will be selected at random after the tour is over.

The next stop for this tour is at Unputdownable Books.

10 Comments - Categories: Giveaway, Guest Post, New

Masquerade by Gabrielle Bisset + Interview

September 27, 2011

What you’ll read next: who’s the most erotic character Gabrielle has ever written, bad guys being heroes, crafting second characters, how she come up with all the names, and insight on Destiny Redeemed!

***

Reading Romances: How does it feel to be wrapping up the Victorian Erotic Romance Trilogy?

Gabrielle Bisset: It’s a little sad, actually.  I love that time period, but I’m very much an author who likes the trilogy idea.

Do you feel like someday you might want to continue and expand it to a bigger series of novellas, or do you have it in your mind as a closed series already?

I have to admit until this moment I had it closed in my mind, but that was because I hadn’t thought of it, I guess.  Also, it’s almost like I haven’t finished it in actuality because I’m in the middle of writing Vasilije’s story, and even though his is set in modern times in New Orleans, it’s still related to the Trilogy.

What about Cecile from Masquerade? Will we get to read her story? I absolutely adore her!

I’m so thrilled to read you liked her.  I’d never even considered it, mainly because Cecile, like all my other secondary characters, is mostly a foil for Annelisa. But you’d be surprised how often I’m asked for all my stories about a secondary character story. I guess that’s how Vasilije’s story came about. 

I believe that your second characters are just there for supporting the hero and heroine’s story, but they do make a lot of difference in the story.

I’m so happy to read that because I’m very careful in how I craft the secondary characters.  Cecile had to be the opposite of Annelisa to show how the heroine was older and more serious, but also Cecile added to the lighter feel of the story, along with some of the scenes between Nikolai and Annelisa. 

Now that we’re talking about crafting characters, can you tell us how is the process of naming your characters and books?

I use names to indicate character traits, for the most part.  Nikolai is a Russian diplomat, so I wanted something that sounded stereotypically Russian.  I gathered about five names and then narrowed the choice down to one.  Annelisa’s name I’d had in my mind for a while, and I used Masquerade to finally name a heroine that.  Other times, I use a name because it sounds sweet or evil or tough.  Amon in Stolen Destiny and Destiny Redeemed is a fine example of that.  I have no idea what his name means, but it sounds ancient and bad, so he got that name. 

As for the book titles, I have the hardest time with them.  Masquerade came easy because of the idea of the story and the mask on the cover, but for Love’s Master, I didn’t have a title until I was almost done writing the book!  The same thing with the story I’m writing now.  I’m ten chapters in and just decided on Blood Avenged.  Sometimes the name comes easily, but then other times, no way! It’s like pulling teeth.

Let’s talk about Blood Avenged a bit, what was the most difficult thing about writing Vasilije’s story so far?

Vasilije has been the most difficult thing about the story so far.  He’s by far the most erotic character I’ve ever written, and he often threatens to go a bit further than I feel comfortable with.  For example, I was entertaining a menage with him and the heroine and a secondary character for about a week.  It kept calling to me, but I don’t generally do menages.  That brings a new level of sex into the picture, and then I have to think about whether or not he’d be with the man too….I generally don’t go in that direction, but he seems to!  He’s a bit too much for me to handle some days. 

And you have another series going on, the Destined Ones, and the second instalment will be released now in October, Destiny Redeemed! Amon was the villain in Stolen Destiny and now he’s got his chance to shine! How will the readers relate and cheer for him now?

Honestly, I can’t tell you how many reviewers said they didn’t want to see Amon not end up with the girl in Stolen Destiny.  Of all my characters I’ve ever written, Amon is the one that I can’t shake.  It seems from a number of reviews of Stolen Destiny that he has that same effect on other readers. One even said she couldn’t stop thinking about him for days after he affected her so much.  I know what she means. :)  

In Destiny Redeemed, Amon is just a year older but he’s had to deal with that year in Nil, so it’s changed him a bit.  What really changes him is Thea, an Aeveren healer who becomes his fourth destined one.  Amon is her first destined one in 45 lifetimes, but she’s no scared virgin. Aeveren healers just aren’t usually given destined ones, so she’s a strong women with lifetimes of experiences.  Amon is forced into a position like Varek’s when some very bad people kidnap Thea to get to him.  The idea is redemption in this novel, whereas in Stolen Destiny it was second chances. I think readers will like Amon’s story because he’s never really not the bad boy since he has so much power. And there is at least one really evil character in this story.  There’s no chance readers will fall for Kiril. 

Thank you for taking the time to have this interview, I know you’ve been busy! All the best with the release of DESTINY REDEEMED next month!

Thank you very much!  It’s been lovely talking to you. 
***

My Thoughts:

The pacing is great, the second characters are intrinsic to the plot development and, as always, Gabrielle surprises us when you think that everything is lost.

Annelisa is very drastic in her actions and incredibly stubborn- almost unbearably so! Nikolai is the type of character that you fall in love at the first line of dialogue. They’re both really strong characters, but on the other hand, I did wonder if certain blackmails were threatening enough that couldn’t have been fought back with more blackmail! But again, this is a novella and we didn’t have enough time for come backs or further persuasion.

Even though the story has its simplicity, it is very well written and edited. The English setting is vivid and I really enjoyed how it ended – I loved Masquerade!

Heat Level: 4/5

Rating: 5/5

I received this book via CBLS Promotions in exchange for a honest review.

***

by Gabrielle Bisset

August 23rd 2011 by Gabrielle Bisset

Annelisa Fielding has had the blessings of wealth her entire life, thanks to her industrialist father. However, there is one thing even he can’t give her: a title. So he arranges a marriage between his daughter and the Earl of Swindon, Thornton Sutcliffe. As long as his future bride is a virgin, the Earl will tolerate the marrying down because in return for taking Annelisa as his wife, her father will pay off his debts. Everyone wins, as far as the men are concerned, but Annelisa wants more out of marriage than a title and is willing to wait.

But she won’t be able to wait if she doesn’t find some way out of the marriage and fast because the deal is in one month she’ll become Lady Annelisa Sutcliffe. The solution to her problem? Count Nikolai Shetkolov, a diplomat in the service of the Tsar and stationed in England. An honorable man, he’s the perfect person to help a young lady lose the one thing her odious future husband prizes most. But Annelisa must watch out or she may get more than she bargained for with Nikolai.

***

The next and last stop for this tour is tomorrow at Coffee Beans & Love Scenes!
Sept 19 – Kay Dee Royal (Giveaway/Excerpt)
Sept 21 – Release Notes (Guest Post/Review)
Sept 22 – Romancing the Book (Interview/Giveaway)
Sept 23 – Pimpin’ Reads (Giveaway/Excerpt)
Sept 26 – Erotica for All (Giveaway/Review)
Sept 27 – Reading Romances (Review/Interview)
Sept 28 – Coffee Beans & Love Scenes (Giveaway/Excerpt)

3 Comments - Categories: 5 stars, Interviews, New, Rating, Reviews

In Total Surrender by Anne Mallory + Interview + Giveaway

September 26, 2011

In Total Surrender

(Secrets, #3)

by Anne Mallory

September 27th 2011 by Avon

My Q&A with Anne Mallory!

Reading Romances: Who are your favorite romance authors, and are there any new authors who have grasped your interest?
Anne Mallory : I have so many favorites, but Marjorie M. Liu, Sarah MacLean and Meredith Duran are current loves.

Q: If someone were writing a story about Anne Mallory what would your blurb say?
A: This is the strange tale of an optimistic girl with crazy hair and very questionable taste in shoes…


Q: How is the process of naming your characters and books?
A: I have to have a title and character names that resonate in order to write, but sometimes that resonance changes, and then so do the names of the characters.  It all depends on how much I have “set” in my mind when I start writing.  Some books bloom fully before I start typing, some are slow-to-open buds.

Q: How do you like your heroes and heroines?
A: I like characters who are strong, smart and adaptable.  I tend to like my heroes a little rough around the edges.  My heroines tend to be pretty pragmatic.

Q: What are five fun facts about you or IN TOTAL SURRENDER, that readers might like to know?

A: 1. The book is told primarily from the POV of the hero.

2. The hero is a main player in the London underworld.  Not normally the type of man you’d take home to mother…

3. When the heroine keeps popping up with a sunny smile, he thinks she must be either mad, brilliant, or some strange combination of the two, and I found writing that confusion so much fun.

4. While In Total Surrender can stand alone, I set up a number of plot elements in One Night Is Never Enough (which features the hero’s brother).

5. My working title for the book was One Kiss Leads to Another.

Q: What’s your best line of dialogue?
A: Hmmm…not sure about best…but this line is part of a scene in the book that was a lot of fun to write:  “But, see the thing is, sir, we don’t know what to do with a hundred chickens.”

Q: Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, or new projects that we can look forward to?
A: I’m hoping to have a book out soon featuring a secondary character from a past book – the secondary character who, by far, I receive the most mail about.  :)

Q: What would you consider to be the perfect blend of ingredients to make a romance a great love story?
A: A wonderful emotional connection, great characters, and a satisfying ending!

Thank you so much for having me here today!  I would love to hear from readers about what YOUR blurb would say, if someone were writing a story about you.  :)

***

My Thoughts:

Interesting plotting and development. A unique and delightful new approach to a historical romance novel!

I have to admit that I had some trouble with the first chapters, where we only get the hero’s POV. After we start to see thing through the heroine’s perspective you won’t be able to stop reading! Phoebe is very daring and has an incredible strong way to voice her opinion, it made the story feel fresh and you never knew what she would come up with next! It isn’t very believable according to the context but so fun you’ll totally forget about it! I believe she didn’t have a major development through the story, that was heavily the heroe’s job. And oh boy, he had so much to deal with!

Mallory could have explored a few situations further, extending the trip scenes and perhaps creating new problems for the characters during that. I was also expecting the sex scenes to be a little more detailed since the tension between the couple got better and better! I did feel like the end was rushed, but I was VERY surprised with the secrets in this story and how they were delivered to the reader.

Heat Level: 3/5

This book was received in digital format through Goddess Fish Blog Tours, in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5


The first kiss was dangerous enough…

Andreas Merrick is the king of London’s dark underworld, having amassed unimaginable wealth
and power…and a fierce reputation that leaves even the bravest men quaking in their boots. Yet
one person is maddeningly unintimidated by his fearsome presence: the persistent Miss Phoebe
Pace.

And one kiss always leads to another…

Equal parts honey and steel, Phoebe will stop at nothing to find her missing brother and save
her family. Though associating with Andreas means peril and scandal, she never expects to
experience a passion so intense that it threatens to consume her. But enigmatic Andreas is no
ordinary man to love. He brings dangers from all sides – without and within – while tempting her
beyond her wildest dreams…

***
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Anne Mallory and Harper Collins will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour! Go check the other stops and the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!

Goddess Fish PartnerNext TOUR STOPS:

September 26: Reading Romances
September 26: REVIEW ONLY: Reviews by Molly
September 27: Black Velvet Seductions
September 28: Book Junkie
September 29: Among the Muses
September 30: Romancing the BookReading Romances Newsletter

Subscribe to the Reading Romances Newsletter and receive the latest information about giveaways and other events!

18 Comments - Categories: 4 stars, Giveaway, Interviews, Rating, Reviews

SBBG3 Winners

September 24, 2011

And the winners are:

1st prize winner: Entry #2139Kate aka YzhaBella’s BookShelf

2nd prize winner: Entry #2772juhina

3rd prize winner: Entry #3031Marianna Ballard

Entry #3348joannie sparks
Entry #1003Grace

Giftcard winners:

Entry #3518Laura Ann Dunks
Entry #1894amanda
Entry #1191Ada Miller
Entry #3485jill kecseg
Entry #2381donnas
You’ll receive an email and pleaset reply within 48 hours!

Thank you very much for participating,  I hope you’ll be with us in the next edition: october 22-29!

3 Comments - Categories: SBBG