Tuesday, July 23, 2013

#BookChat THE BOOK OF JOSHUA by Iris Bolling #romanticsuspense

CIA Operative Joshua Lassiter is always in the midst of danger. When an international incident requires his attention, the journey begins. In foreign territory with a ruthless King at the helm, Joshua finds himself rescuing royalty and a mysterious woman. 
Akande Ambree has a mission: kill the man who dishonored her family. Ready to give her life in honor of her country, it is Joshua that crosses her path. Life takes on a different meaning under the tutelage of a Lassiter in more ways than one. 
Love for your country or the sweet love of a man.....
The choice comes with trust. 
It felt as if she was floating on a cloud. The guard would be coming through soon to check on the girl, she thought. Opening her eyes was the last thing she wanted to do, but she had no choice. Akande rolled over flinging one arm over her forehead. She suddenly sat up, threw the sheet off and jumped out of the bed. Turning around, looking from one item to another.  This was not the dungeon, she thought as she swiped her hair from her face. Her eyes quickly darted around the room until she spotted him sitting in the chair near the door.  
“Good morning.”
Akande looked up to see a man dressed in a tan linen shirt, matching pants and sandals, with his ankle resting across his knee. She had never seen him before and had no idea if he was friend or foe. Looking around the room there was nothing she could use as a weapon. Glancing down, she noticed her clothes had been changed and she felt clean. She narrowed her eyes at him.  At least in the dungeon, she knew who her captors were. Here, she did not know where here was. The unknown was a fear for her, therefore she did the only thing she could. Attack.
Joshua saw her intent before she took the first step. He jumped from the chair he was casually leaning in. Using his arm, he blocked her kick, which caused her to fall to the floor. Standing now, he watched as she jumped up and took the battle stance with her feet apart, arms up, ready to attack. It tickled him to see she had taken a battle stance against him. He thought she would stay down. He was wrong.
“So you know a little Tae Kwon Do?” He asked as he appeared to be lazily leaning  against the wall. He’d learned a long time ago to never underestimate his opponent.
“Come near me and I will kill you.”
Two strides and he was in the center of the room with his arms folded across his chest. He smiled down at her. “Many women have tried, my sweet, yet, I’m still standing.”
“Who are you?” The woman questioned in an angry voice.
“Joshua,” he raised an eyebrow. “I know who you are. I don't understand your attitude at the moment. Most women are grateful when I rescue them. You are not.” He stepped back and grinned at the woman who looked ready to kill. “Do you know each of your names begins with the letter A? Akande Ariana Aubree. Nice name, by the way. You know, we have this company at home called Triple A. Can I call you Triple A?” He turned to take a seat at the table, when she attempted to kick him from behind. He caught her legs in midair and held her upside down. “Now, why do you want to be this way? All I said was good morning.”
When she composed herself, in the upside down position, she curled her hand to make a fist, pulled back and swung.
He jumped back. “Oh no, not the jewels, baby.” He flipped her onto the bed, as if she was nothing more than a flea. Taking the silk scarf from the chair, he tied her feet and hands together behind her back. She lay on her stomach like a seesaw, as he pulled a chair to the foot of the bed, where she could see him.
“Okay,” he took a moment. “I’m going to forgive you, for I understand you may be a little confused at the moment. However, you take another swing at my jewels and I’m going to knock you out. Are we clear?" He smiled, as daggers appeared to be shooting from the woman’s eyes. He wondered if that would translate into passion in a bed. He shook the thought away as the door opened.
LaVere' walked in with a tray of food. He froze in the spot, tilted his head at Joshua and raised an eyebrow. “You seem to have a way with women.”
Joshua smiled. “I think she likes me.”
LaVere' put the tray of food on the table then glanced at the angry woman tied up on the bed. "I am not getting that feeling. Are you making progress?”
“Yes,” Joshua replied as he walked over to the table, picked up a slice of toast and bit in to it. “She speaks English.”
“That should make communications easier.”
Joshua looked at her. “I don’t know.” He shook his head. “She just tried to hit my jewels.”
“Ouch." LaVere' frowned, then folded his arms across his chest and stared at the woman. “Your mother would not be happy if you are unable to give her grandchildren.” 
“True,” Joshua replied as he carried the tray over to the bed. “That’s why I’m going to plan number two.”
“Can you handle her or do you need me to stay?”
Joshua looked incredulously over his shoulder. “Is that an insult?”
“You’re the one with the woman’s hands and legs tied behind her back,” LaVere' laughed. "Since she speaks English this may be a good time for you to explain your life's mission," he smirked, then walked out of the room.
Taking a seat, Joshua smiled. There may be something to LaVere's suggestion. "You may not believe this, but women generally love me. I think we just got off on the wrong foot." Still receiving daggers from the woman, he decided to switch tactics. He turned to the food. It was mid morning, maybe she was hungry.  "This looks good.” He sat back and bit into a slice of mango. Closing his eyes, he moaned. “Mmm, this is really good.” He picked up a napkin, held it under the fruit, then put it to her lips. “Here taste.”
She turned her head away.
“I bit it first so you would know it’s not poisonous. it really is good. Try it.”
The woman watched him, then her eyes narrowed. She opened her mouth and he  placed the fruit inside. She bit down on his fingers and would not let go.
"Damn it." He dropped the napkin on the bed, then squeezed her jaw applying pressure until she released his fingers. He shook his fingers as if the bite was nothing. “Okay. That was my fault. I tried to force you to eat, when I should have asked if you were hungry.” He sat forward and looked at her. “So let’s try again. Hello. My name is Joshua. Is it okay if I call you Triple A.”
“That is not my name,” she angrily replied with an accent. “My name is Akande Ariana Aubree.”
“Okay, now see we are getting somewhere." Anxiously, he looked at his fingers to make sure she had not drawn blood, then turned back to her. "Since we are making progress, tell me this. Were you being held against your will?”
“As I am now?”
“See, there’s a difference. I rescued you and even had breakfast brought in as a peace offering, thinking you may be hungry. In payment for my thoughtfulness and bravery, I might add, what did you do? You attacked me without cause or provocation. All I want to know is, if you were being held against your will, do you want to go home?”
A flicker of surprise appeared in her eyes, then quickly disappeared. Sitting back in the chair, he crossed his legs at the ankle and just stared at her and thought. Masking your reactions takes years of practice. The stance she took before attacking him was not amateurish, it was a professional stance. Where did she learn that, he wondered?
She had beautiful eyes, a slight slant to them. Dark lashes, against smooth chestnut skin. Her natural hair, was twisted in a large single braid, that was wrapped around her head giving it a crown effect. To him, she looked like a temptress, in a neat little package. A wildcat. He liked that. “Where are you from,” he asked?
The room was silent as he patiently waited for her to reply. At some point, she would realize he was not the enemy.
“Finally," he threw his hands in the air. "Okay, next question. Do you want to return home?” He watched as the question played in her mind. He wondered why she had to think about the question. He would think she would be excited with the possibility of seeing her loved ones again.
“Okay,” he stood, and placed the tray back on the table. He walked back over to the bed and stood over her. “I’m going to untie you. Make a wrong move and I will take you out. Do you understand?"
"Yes," she replied.
With one flick of his wrist, she was released. She immediately jumped up from the bed and kicked his legs from under him. He fell to the floor  and she sat on his back, grabbed the scarf, and tied it around his neck then pulled with all her might. “Where is the girl?”
"Whoa. That was good," he laughed as he reached back grabbed her by the neck and flipped her over. "One good turn deserves another," he said as he now sat on her back. "You got the drop on me." He shook his head as he pulled the scarf from around his neck then ripped it in half. "I was looking at your lips instead of your eyes." He huffed as he ripped the scarf again. "My bad. What you don't know is I have six sisters who have tried that maneuver on me. You could take lessons from them." He huffed, angry now, he stood, putting his foot in her back to keep her down. "First you tried to kick me." He tied her feet together. "Then you tried to hit me in my balls of all places," he yelled as he turned her over and tied her hands. "Then you bit me." He tied a strip around her mouth placing a knot behind her head. He stood over her to take a look at his work. Satisfied, he picked her up and sat her on the edge of the bed. "I pride myself on being a patient man, however, you are slowly pushing me over the edge,” he yelled. “The only thing keeping me from knocking you the hell out is I think you have the girl’s best interests at heart." He huffed, then pulled the chair up and sat in front of her. "The girl is back with her family. Now, what was your role in her capture?”
The woman angrily mumbled something.
He realized she couldn't speak. Frustrated, he reached behind her and pulled the scarf from her mouth and glared into her eyes. "I kill people for a living. Keep that in mind the next time you think about doing something to piss me off. Now answer me," he sat back.
The woman flinched at the controlled anger he was displaying. With fire coming from her nose, she replied. “I had no role in her capture,” she seethed. “I was only told to care for her. Where am I?”
“Not important.” He crossed his legs at the ankle. His legs were so long they almost reached where she was sitting. “I'm not a mean person. I do however kill people when provoked. If, I’m so inclined I rescue a few. I’m good at both--damn good.” From time to time I return people to their families. You hesitated when I asked before. Are you sure you want to go home?”
All Akande could do was stare at the tall dark man before her. Friend or enemy, he was an imposing figure. What had happened, she did not know. The last thing she remembered was hearing steps at her door. Her confinement had heightened her senses. The moment his steps stopped at the first door, she immediately awakened. Not moving, she watched as his penlight swayed around the room. The click, he thought was silent, vibrated through her mind, as if it had been a bulldozer. She sprang up and grabbed the heaviest thing she could find, a book. After waiting for a minute, she heard no movement. She took a step towards the open doorway and peeked around in the room. Her next memory was of a few minutes ago when she opened her eyes.
Fear, more so uneasiness, spread through her, for she did not recognize him or know where she was. Anger filled her for she was tired of people just taking her and locking her away. Did he just ask something?
“Are you?”
She heard him ask again. “Am I what?”
“I need you to stay focused. Are you sure you want to go home?”
“If I am, what are you, as the Americans say, my knight in shining armor?”
“I’ve been called that from time to time,” he smiled displaying two huge dimples on each cheek.
His smile jarred her senses. She did not believe men who looked like him really existed. This man, she could look at for days and never blink away.  He was dressed as if he was on vacation, not like a warrior, yet, there was something clearly in his eyes indicating he was dangerous. For some reason, unknown to her, she felt drawn to him. She shook the feeling away. “I want to leave here. I want to go home."
“Where is home?”
The sight of the fiery woman of five minutes ago, with her head now down, bothered him.  He placed a finger under her chin, she quickly pushed it away. “ That’s more like it. I like my women fiery. This is the last time I’m going to ask. Where is home?”
He stood, giving her the feeling he was towering over her, as her eyes traveled up his body to reach his eyes. Another feeling invaded her senses, but this was not the time to figure it out. This may be her only opportunity to escape.
She exhaled.  “My uncle is King Tarik of Asmere.”
Excerpt for The Book of Joshua I - TRUST ©2013 by Iris Bolling
Iris Bolling Biography
Iris s Bolling was born in Richmond, Virginia, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management. S is currently a Workforce Development Trainer with the Commonwealth of Virginia, providing management training and professional development consultation for the state workforce.
In an effort to combine the areas in her life she enjoys the most, education, politics and romance, she penned her first manuscript, Once You’ve Touched the Heart, which was release in March 2008.  Since that time she has released books 2-5 of what has become The Heart Series which includes, The Heart of Him, Look Into My Heart, A Heart Divided, A Lost Heart and her latest release, The Heart.  In May of 2011, Iris introduced her new novel, Night of Seduction/Heaven’s Gate.
In April of 2010 Iris was named Debut Author the Year, at the Romance Slam Jam conference. Her novel, Once You’ve Touched the Heart was voted the Readers Choice Award with Shades of Romance Magazine for, Romance Book of the Year. Iris was voted Romance Author of the Year and Author of the Year. Her novel A Lost Heart was nominated Romantic Suspense Novel of the Year, at the 2011 Romance Slam Jam. In 2012 her book Teach Me, was awarded Heroine of the Year-Diamond Lassiter
Contact Info
Twitter @Siriaustin

Monday, July 15, 2013

#BookReview Recent Reviews of HIDDEN UNDER HER HEART #ya #pregnancy


Blurb: Maryanne Torres swears off sex to land a marrying man. But an unexpected pregnancy and a dark secret threaten her chance for true love.

Editorial Reviews:
This is a wonderful love story between Maryanne and Lucas. They have so much pain between them that I do believe that they were truly were meant to be. They were each others healing stars. - My Thoughts for Thought

I also loved that Ayala made Lucas a very lovable man of color (half black, half white).  Honestly, I'm OVER the whole bad boy thing...  It's nice to have a wholesome man who we can love! - Sandling All Day

The hero, Lucas, was my favorite. He started off great and he had me rolling! He's upbeat and hilarious at opportune times, but straight forward and serious, letting his voice shine when it all boils down to his 
compassion for life. - Finding Forever in Romance

you become a character in her book. You live the adventure, the romance, the thrill, the mystery. Putting the book down is literally impossible until you've finished it, because it becomes your life. - Mom's Thumb Reviews

The book takes you on a journey through a new romance plagued with unfortunate circumstances,   It tears at your heart, and manages to also lift you up. - Domesticated Breakdown

The issue is covered from both sides of the table regarding abortion and I thank the author for that. There are a lot of one sided novels out there, that do not touch on the real emotion that a woman is feeling when trying to make this decision and fighting with herself from the inside. - Manic Mama of 2

Hidden Under Her Heart is an intense, roller coaster ride that invites us to experience romance, suspense, and human emotion. The twists and turns that Ayala introduces will keep you on the edge of your seat and you won’t 
be able to stop yourself from having feelings for the characters and their life experiences. As I read I laughed, I cried, and I found that there were moments where I could barely breathe. - Griffin's Honey

This book is a book about choices. The choices we make, and those made for us. - Thoughts of a Mother, Wife, and Daughter

Best described as an emotional, fast-paced rollercoaster ride that is sure to grip and tear hearts of all who read it. - Hearts and Hands More Than Full

Available at Amazon (kindle) (US, UK, CAN and more), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo, Smashwords, Diesel, Ganxy, WHSmith (UK)

For more reviews, visit my website: http://rachelleayala.me/books/hidden-under-her-heart/

Saturday, July 13, 2013

#AuthorInterview Melissa Mayberry - author of Mellifica, Top Ten Questions

It takes a lot of guts to write a fictional account based on a devastating first love, but Melissa Mayberry has not only done it, but relived it and survived. I'm happy to have her take on the Top Ten Questions she gets as a writer.

If you are a writer, you’ve been asked about your book. If you are like me, you’ve been asked the same things more than once. Here’s a list of my most common questions.

10. What’s wrong?
I’m an emotional writer. All the cussing, yelling, and even crying gets a lot of attention around my house (and that one time at work). Granted, sometimes it’s because I want to use a question mark and my word processor is insisting it’s a period. Or, for the MILLIONTH time, it decides that Mellifica or Arien is obviously misspelled and throws the ugly red line under them. “I SAID IGNORE ALL!!” If my characters misbehave, it can foul my mood for days. Then sometimes, when I’m really hitting my stride in the emotional depths of my books, and the tears start falling, my poor husband walks by and stares.  No, this article isn’t coming to you from Eastern State Hospital. He hasn’t committed me yet, but if I hear, “What’s wrong?” one more time …

9.  Who is … ?
It’s no secret that my book is written about a true life story. My characters are all based on someone, and people that know me now are dying to know who is who. I recently invited my friend from work to a family celebration that included my ex-husband. First thing out of her mouth—is he really Arien? Her assumption wasn’t funny, but her curiosity had me rolling in the aisles. I couldn’t believe the sheer delight in someone reading, and becoming curious about my story. So I wonder, why don’t my friends recognize their characters?

8. How long did it take you to write this?
Okay, so I’m not the brightest person on the planet, I know this and I’m willing to admit it. But really, people, must you act so surprised when I tell you I’ve written a book? Yes, a whole book, but, I didn’t sit down and a month later a readable manuscript appeared.

Even though life handed me an entire plot, I hadn’t written since high school. So, the main rule I followed was, try—and try again.  This process took about two and a half years. Not bad? Yeah, well I wrote when we weren’t busy at work. I also wrote the other four nights that I had off. That went on for about a year. Then, it was time for revisions. I revised every night of the week, and most every day. I also had friends read and offer revisions and two editors cleaning it up. Whew. I need a nap.

7.  Don’t you worry about reviews?
                Sure. I worry about them. I try not to think they are personal, but my main character is me and I’ve poured my heart into this story. Then, when I’m just about bald and have no more fingernails, I have a glass of wine and think about the good reviews I’ve received.
When Mellifica was published, I knew that I would have mixed reviews. Everyone has mixed reviews, especially authors that have sold bazillions of books. And that’s what helps me sleep at night. If I receive reviews—good or bad—then people are reading my book.

6. So, I bet you’re rich now, right?
                Yep, we all have this relative. No, he doesn’t need your money, but for some reason he is sizing you up. I don’t usually discuss my finances with relatives, but I’ll tell him my bottom line and then ask him for a loan.

5. Is it one of those eBooks?
                Ugh. I hate this question. We’ve all been trolling on the internet late at night, procrastinating, and come across a website that will eliminate all of our problems forever! So for some silly reason, we click the link. After ten pages of an infomercial with a guy drawing on a steno pad, they offer to “let you buy” an eBook on how to cure toe fungus for a one time limited price of just $29.99. And now our vision of eBooks is tainted forever. 

                So, what’s my answer to this question? The paperback is $12.99 but if you have a Kindle or Nook it’s only $2.99.

4. Can I read it?
                Luckily for me, these people get uncomfortable reading over my shoulder, and they’re usually my teenage daughter who has the attention of a gold fish. Thank God it’s published! Too bad that daughter is always broke; I could’ve made a sale …

                Everyone else, you can find it wherever books are sold online.

3. Why did you write a book?
The satellite was down that day. I love this question. LOVE IT, because I can be snarky, and they are just begging for it. But some days, I’m sweet and explain to them how my book came to me from a situation in my past. They get to hear how much I’ve always enjoyed writing and about the process I took to begin writing again. Then I wake them and say, “Just kidding. It’s really to get revenge on my ex.”

2. Maybe I should write a book. Think I could do it?
                When someone asks me this, I take a good long minute and size them up. I really, truly consider their strength and fortitude. Would they be happy writing, or would it drive them mad?

So far, I’ve only said yes to one person. She reads about four books a week, so she has strong English skills. We worked together, and for a year she worked on call, sometimes being called in twice a night for less pay than she would at another facility and maintained grace and fortitude. Last but not least, she has twin boys, so she’s already crazy, no worries there.

11.      What’s your book about?
If you’ve written a book, you’ve heard it. What people don’t understand is how much we, as writers positively hate summing up our work in a few sentences. I’ve got it down now, and don’t keep the note cards in my pocket anymore, but I still cringe every time.  
Don’t get me wrong, I love my book. Deep down inside, every author loves what they write. Every author wants readers. In short, we want people to know our story but in its entirety.  When I break it down short and sweet, it’s feels like I’m sacrificing my first born—or at least removing his best features so that someone else will like him too. The goal is to find that sweet spot in the description that make people stop in the middle of our sentence, open their Kindle and start reading, and I actually had that happen—once.  
What questions do you hear the most?

Thanks Melissa, for sharing with us your most commonly answered question. I enjoyed reading your book, and look forward to the sequel, assuming you have one.

Mellifica is available at Amazon

Friday, July 12, 2013

#AuthorIntervew Joelle Sterling, Eternal Dead Series

Joelle Sterling
1.        Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am the author of Midnight Cravings and The Dark Hunger. Forbidden Feast is the third title of the Eternal Dead Series. I love to fuse real life with fantasy. Currently, I live in Philadelphia, PA.

2.        Can you tell us about your most recent release?
This is the third book in the Eternal Dead Series. If you like the television show True Blood, this is the series for you! This series showcases zombies, witches and vampires that are trying to coexist in weary world.

3.        How did you get the idea for the book?
I love the writings of Zora Neal Hurston. I found her research and writings intriguing. Therefore, I  have crafted a story that brings breathe to her body of research.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Favorite One-Star Reviews or Bad Reviews to Make You Laugh

One-star reviews never fail to bring out the emotions. Some of the most passionately written reviews are the single-starred ilk. So, without further ado, here are a collection of zany, zingy, zalongy one and two-star reviews:

Michal is Bella
This is such a juvenile romance that I could not force myself to finish it. How can I judge, then, you ask? Well, I am firmly of the camp that good writing hooks the reader. Absent that, it does not lose it's built in fan base. With historical fiction, there is the added burden of ringing true to what is known of the characters and times. This book fails on all three counts.

Woah! TMI!!!
O.k., I have been married for 6 years and have been the youth pastor's wife for all 6. That being said, I have given many talks on sex to teenage girls. I say that so you realize that it's not that I'm a sheltered home-schooler who has never heard the word sex. Now, all that said, THIS IS WAAAAYYY too much information!! This author is practically pornographic in her words describing the sexual relationships Michal has with David. I would say that NO teenage girl or unmarried woman should read this as it will only cause her to stumble in her thought life and fantasies. I was astounded by how graphic this author was, and I didn't even finish the book. Do not let your teenage daughter read this and don't even read it yourself - it's not even well-written and the content is IMO way too graphic. I didn't ever expect a Christian novel to be this way! Skip this book and try out Jill Eileen Smith's series instead - WAY BETTER!

Not for Me.
Every single bad thing that could happen happens to Jen, the main character. Somehow, she still manages to save the day with her tablet and fix the build.

With someone that is running from a bad past, I feel like she should be more concerned as to where her personal items are - phone, iPad, etc.

What I will say is that the author was a decent writer. And I would recommend this book to those that do not mind reading religious or technology lingo.

Compromise on the message, the skill, and the characters=EPIC FAIL
The straw that broke this camel's back came on the last page, just before the epilogue. She sweeps back his hospital gown to find no underwear and presses her body against his. Close scene. Quote BIBLE VERSE?!?!?!?!!!! I was saddened, disgusted, and then irritated. This type of compromise is unacceptable.

Hidden Under Her Heart Review
First of all, the characters made me SO ANGRY. The main characters can't make up their minds... ever! Honestly, Lucas. If you want to marry the girl, then pray about it like the good Christian man you are and propose with an ENGAGEMENT ring, not some empty-promise promise ring. Also, don't try seducing the pregnant women. How much more awkward can you get? Seriously, bro, get a grip.

And Maryanne... Oh, brother. I'd tell you not to get me started but it's too late now. She's absolutely INFURIATING. She can't decide if she loves Lucas or hates him, so she just goes into a downward spiral of death instead of trying to communicate. Hello? What if everyone did that? We'd be in the middle of World War XVI. Honestly. Pull yourself together, girl!

Do bad reviews serve a purpose, or are they just the ear-wax of a writer's life? One thing for sure, you can't avoid them. Nathan Bransford wrote a post about how you can't even see them coming. "You Can Never Predict Your Bad Reviews." A bad review shows you can't please everyone, and more importantly, it warns people who would dislike your book from reading it. Call it preventative medicine, but bad reviews actually ward off future bad reviews.

Okay, what do you think? Do you leave one-star zingers? And if you're an author, how do you react to bad reviews? Love 'em or hate 'em, they come with the territory.