Q&A with Ann Marie Walker

Ann Marie Walker authorAnn Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She’s a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl.

If it’s December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.

Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Favorite writing place.

Honestly, it varies from book to book, but Black Tie Optional was written almost exclusively at the corner table of my local Starbucks and I have the gold star rewards to prove it haha.

If they could sit and write in a different country where would it be? 

I’ve had the chance to visit the UK recently and as a result am thinking of basing my next series there. Maybe it’s my love of Hugh Grant rom-coms, but after a few days in Notting Hill, the ideas were flying!

Co-writing have you done it with another author, if not, would you?

The first series I wrote, Chasing Fire, was co-authored with Amy K. Rogers. It was a wonderfully collaborative process but we always knew I would write solo as well (hence publishing under both our names versus one pen name) due to Amy’s demanding “day job”.

Name three things on your desk right now.

Coffee mug (a necessity), cell phone (a distraction), and a frame with a print of the first fan art someone ever made based on one of my books (a reminder).

What are you favorite types of stories to read? Continue reading

My thoughts on Home Chef Food Delivery Service

I’ve tried Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and now Home Chef. If you missed my thoughts on Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, you can view it here.

Hello Fresh won out Blue Apron for me, but I was looking for something more. I wanted to incorporate more veggies into my diet. An ideal mix for me would be more veggies and seafood and much less meat.

With Hello Fresh you either got all veggies or all meat and seafood. I didn’t like their choice of veggie meals; most were sandwiches at the time I was looking (keep in mind they change their recipes all the time).

Enter Home Chef. I checked out their menu for the month. I was highly impressed with the selections. You could mix and match which sold me, so I signed up for the special (they always offer a special to get you started).

First off Fedex dropped my box straight to my door! The others usually leave the heavy box at the office, and I go get it when the office remember to call me or leave a note.

The box was much smaller than the others and I got worried. It was in excellent condition though.

When I opened the box, the first thing that greeted me was the menu binder. That simply warmed my heart, it was so thoughtful of them to take the time to put together something like that. Continue reading

What Hollywood has in common with Washington DC by Taylor Marsh

Taylor Marsh photoTaylor Marsh writes smart, arousing romance while deciphering world events. She lives in the Beltway area of Washington D.C.

Beltway Betrayers, Book 2 of The Beltway Series, will be out in May 2017 and Book 3 of this series will be out in the fall.

She is a former Broadway performer and beauty queen who was the Relationship Consultant for LA Weekly, then the nation’s top alternative newsweekly. Taylor is the author of two traditionally published non-fiction books, The Hillary Effect, and her memoir, The Sexual Education of a Beauty Queen.

Taylor was profiled in The Washington Post and The New Republic for her coverage of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primary season. She became a contributor to The Huffington Post in 2006 and has written for Washington, D.C.’s The Hill, as well as for U.S. News & World Report and for Zócalo Public Square in Los Angeles, among others.

As a seasoned entertainer, communicator and speaker, Taylor have also been interviewed by The Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera Media NetworkThe New York Times, BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, among other outlets.

Why did you set your book in Washington, D.C., & Los Angeles?

The people who reside in or nearby these metropolises absorb the ego accumulated by the history made in them over decades.

The glamour and power that is Hollywood is unparalleled, and it remains one of the last bastions of male dominance.

It’s just one thing Hollywood has in common with Washington, D.C.

The pageantry and anointed royalty of Hollywood was born many decades ago in the Golden Age of cinema.

It wasn’t until the era of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy that Washington became the center of the world, with beautiful people commanding the ultimate power.

Hollywood had moved east. The world revolved around a swamp area populated by some of the most gorgeous creatures living off the lushest land imaginable, none of them human.

These two cities lend themselves to a psychological thriller (romance) because the continual competition can make for fragile egos, short-lived romances, and lethal battles of will. Continue reading

Drury Jamison Talks Writing Romance In A Field Dominated by Women

Drury Jamison photoDrury Jamison is not a bestselling author, yet. But he believes hard work will prevail. He has been writing since he could read and gave all his attention to the story at the expense of the rules.

Born an Army brat he finally settled and came to call the Missouri Ozarks home. While raising wonderful kids and failing at everything else he wrote screenplays, television scripts, advertising copy and filthy limericks. After many twists, and multiple once-in-a-lifetime life changing events, he returned to work on the short stories and novels he loved best.

Drury Jamison in his own words

I’m a guy who writes erotic, romantic/suspense novels. That’s an odd thing all by itself. Writing is one of the few artistic or business areas truly dominated by women.

Sure, you have genres that are bastions of maleness but even those are changing. Aside from writing the books, most agents and editors are women. I’m not complaining or taking a position on it. I think so much of the reason it is this way is that you can’t hide behind gender or bluster or tradition when you literally have your words doing the talking for you.

The thing that makes everything all the weirder for me is that my main characters are women and judged by women gatekeepers and readers. I hope I do a good job. The response had been overwhelmingly positive. But…

I’ve begun to notice something consistent in my criticisms. The main female characters in my books, the ones who are carrying the load of the story—the heroes—have been described to me as not feminine. The really strange thing about it is that those same characters are also getting a lot of attention, from readers, as true people.

This was something I did a lot of worrying and soul searching about. Then I believe that I came to an answer. The criticism is not about the women, it is about the role.

All of my female main characters defy gender expectations. In traditional mysteries, my Katrina (Hurricane) Williams series, I write about a female cop who has issues with PTSD, drinking, and violence. That’s to say I took a traditional male literary trope and put in a woman.

In my erotic suspense novels, my main characters tend to be strong women discovering their personal dominance. It turns out that I don’t write damsels in distress.

Defying expectations is what the criticisms are really about. I’m not saying my writing or my characters deserve no criticism. No writer can support that. But it is important, for the writer, to recognize the difference between criticizing the art and criticizing the expectation.

Like I said, I’m a white man writing books in a culture dominated by women and one very open to diversity. Maybe I’m getting a little taste of what my audience has experienced for generations. Not only is this my chance to learn from it, but maybe a chance to help expand the perceptions of what’s possible a little bit. I hope so. I’m a big fan of defying expectations. It seems my fans are as well.

Give my latest, The Red Kiss a chance and let me know how I’m doing. This time I created two strong women who are going through life changing challenges and heart changing relationships. The fun thing is, maybe they do the rescuing. Continue reading

Review King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

About King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

After the murder of his father, young Arthur’s power-hungry uncle Vortigern seizes control of the crown. Robbed of his birthright, he grows up the hard way in the back alleys of the city, not knowing who he truly is. When fate leads him to pull the Excalibur sword from the stone, Arthur embraces his true destiny to become a legendary fighter and leader. 

(Source: Google)

The Cast

Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Eric Bana, Djimon Hounsou, Aiden Gillen

My Review

I can usually tell if I would like a movie from the opening scene. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword had me from the jump. Okay granted I only became interested in it because Charlie Hunnam was the lead. With that said, I did not see The Lost City of Z nor do I intend to unless it comes on Netflix (maybe).

I felt that the story was really well told, the characters were interesting and easy to care about. It was a story that had a lot of heart.

Jude Law’s Vortigern was an excellent bad guy! He had all the qualities; devilishly handsome, witty and power-hungry.

Charlie Hunnam’s King Arthur was cunning, likable and funny. Who knew! He was cheeky but that played well considering that the movie did not take itself too seriously. I mean come on, they were wearing beanies, and Vortigern was seriously styling in a white button-down soft shirt and black slacks. Those tiny details could have taken me out of the time period but it didn’t.

The graphics felt kind of like a video game, my sister thought, and I’d have to agree.

I usually don’t get into mythological stories because they tend to lag on and I get bored or I don’t know what the hell is going on. But the storytelling in King Arthur was pretty good.

What really got me was the ending sequence when Arthur comes face-to-face with his demon (Uncle Vortigern).

SPOILER ALERT!

Stop now if you do not want to know. Continue reading

Quick Questions with Maya Banks

Photo of Maya BanksMaya Banks is a multiple #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the Surrender Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels. She lives in Southeast Texas.

Describe yourself in five words or less.

Unorganized, melt-down prone, laid back, despise drama & conflict!

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

My Give A Damn is Broken

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

A cup of crushed ice

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I’m a complete homebody & enjoy hanging out at home with my family every chance I get. It’s rare for me to leave my house!

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

I love revealing information about various characters personalities and the closeness between them through dialogue. I also always look forward to writing the dark moment as I love me some angst!

What are your favorite types of stories to read?

I love stories that don’t feature a couple who spend the entire book apart or that focus on internal conflict. I much prefer to see the hero and heroine together on the page and to see them working together to overcome external conflict.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I absolutely love following up with characters from a previous story whether it’s including them as secondary characters in a newer book or writing a short novella that revisits them so readers can see them after the HEA

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I absolutely credit my readers with my success and my career. They, not me, are why I’ve been able to write close to 80 stories in the 11 years I’ve been writing

Connect with MayaWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win $50 Amazon Gift card and copies of the Slow Burn Series Books 1 – 4

Maya Banks novelTitle: Just One Touch (Slow Burn #5) by Maya Banks
Release date: May 9, 2017
Published by: Avon Books

Synopsis

Multiple #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks continues her Slow Burn series with a suspenseful and sizzling story of a young woman who escapes a terrifying past… into a more uncertain future.

Raised in a strict religious cult since she was a young girl, Jenna has no connection to the outside world beyond vague flashes of memory that seem to be from another life. Memories she clings to when the cult leaders discover her extraordinary ability to heal and punish her. Years held captive and forced to do the cult’s bidding have turned Jenna into a meek, timid woman…or so they think. In truth, she is merely biding her time, waiting for the perfect moment to escape.

When a terrified young woman tries to steal the SUV of Devereaux Security’s toughest recruit, Isaac’s anger quickly turns into a strange sort of protectiveness for the beautiful, bruised stranger. But when they are caught in a firestorm of bullets and Isaac is hit, he’s sure the end is near, until Jenna touches him and closes his wounds. As he tries to bring Jenna to safety, she refuses to tell him what danger haunts her or how she healed him, but Isaac vows to do whatever it takes to gain her trust…and her heart. Because with just one touch, Isaac knows he wants Jenna to be his–forever.

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Excerpt

“She’s mine, Dane. No one else’s. I told you I’d ask if and when I need backup or help. Until then, it’s better that none of you are associated with her or are seen anywhere near her. She risked everything to save me when I could have been no better than the assholes trying to get to her. She sealed her fate in that moment because I’m not going anywhere. I need time to hear her side and I have a feeling she’s not just going to volunteer any information about herself, so I’m also going to need time to gain her trust and I’m going to prove to her that she can trust me. I appreciate the offer. More than you know. But she isn’t a DSS client or assignment. She’s mine, and I’ll protect her with my life.”

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Inspirational Quotes by Les Brown

Leslie CalvinLesBrown (born February 17, 1945) is an American motivational speaker, author, radio DJ, former television host, and former politician. As a politician, he is a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives. As a motivational speaker, he uses the catch phrase “it’s possible!” and teaches people to follow their dreams as he learned to do.

Brown was born with his twin brother, Wesley, in an abandoned building in Liberty City, a low-income section of Miami, Florida. He was subsequently given up for adoption and adopted by Mamie Brown, a 38-year-old single woman who worked as a cafeteria attendant and domestic assistant. He was declared “educable mentally retarded” while in grade school.

Despite the self-esteem and confidence loss issues this created, he learned how to reach his full potential with the encouragement of his mother and assistance by a helpful teacher in high school, a key point in many motivational speeches he gives now.

Source: Wikipedia

When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. Let your reason get you back up.”

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Get to Know Elton Hall with Sarah Fischer

Elton Hall University

Sarah Fischer: Since I didn’t get my Hogwarts letter (I’m still waiting), I created a college for my upcoming novel, Elton Hall Chronicles: First Semester.

Elton Hall University is situated in a small town in Pennsylvania, next to a popular suburb. But what makes Elton Hall unique, is that the school is run out of an old castle. Most of the classes are held in the thick stone walls, some in the towers, and some of the bigger lectures are held in the former throne room.

Elton Hall University

The school has a special horticulture program that helps to maintain the grounds and the flower beds that surround the castle in the spring and summer time. There are giant fields between the castle, the dorms, the apartments, and the cafeteria. Paths, flower pots, gazebos, and gardens are scattered around the grounds. It is the perfect place to grab a blanket and study in the grass during the spring, build a snowman during the winter, or take a romantic walk among the changing leaves.

Elton Hall gardens

The school holds about 10,000 students and used to mostly be a suitcase school. Students would party on Thursday and leave for home Friday after class. To keep this from happening, EET was established. EET is the Elton Entertainment Team. In the Fall, they organize the Welcome events and bring a famous comedian to perform. In the Spring, they set up a huge concert. Throughout the year, they host smaller events to encourage club participation and to keep the students out of too much trouble.

Elton Hall Throne room

As with a lot of old schools, the motto is in Latin. “Cras Sit Vivere” which means “To Learn Is To Live”. The school’s crest has two dragons, a key, a bell, and a rock. The key is a symbol of knowledge, companionship, and dominion. The rook represents strategic thinking and the bell represents someone who isn’t afraid to be heard when times are hard. The dragons protect all of these things to give you the ultimate environment to learn, succeed, and grow. The university’s colors are blue and gold. Blue is considered a color that helps improve anxiety and calmness while gold represents wisdom and wealth. All together, they make up the Elton Hall University crest. Continue reading

Rachel Lacey Blog Tour + Giveaway

Rachel Lacey book tourGet to know author Rachel Lacey, and her new novel Crazy For You as she answers a few questions supplied by Tasty Tours!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved writing all the fun, adventurous things Ryan and Emma did together in Crazy For You – rock climbing, cliff jumping, motorcycle rides, etc. They were so much fun to write, and it was the perfect balance to some of the heavier themes in the book. These two characters really bring out the best in each other, constantly pushing each other out of their comfort zones.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Dream On by Aerosmith – “Dream until your dreams come true!”

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

Chapstick! I have a weird obsession with it.

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.

Contemporary Romance Author. Wife. Mother. Animal Lover & Rescue Advocate. Hufflepuff. Powered by wine, chocolate, and books!

If you could have dinner with any three authors (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?

First, JK Rowling because she is a literary genius and a fierce feminist, and I’d love to chat with her about anything and everything. Next, Mary Higgins Clark because she was my very first “favorite author,” and I’d love to thank her for that. And of course, Nora Roberts because she is my hero and gives great advice. All three of these ladies have inspired me so much, and I would love to just soak up all the knowledge they could impart.

What are your favorite types of stories to read?

My favorite books make me laugh *and* cry. I want All The Feels while I’m reading! Continue reading

Q+A with TJ Kline

The last time T.J Kline visited Plain Talk she opened up about coping with PTSD. Click here to read more.

Q: Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

Easy! My cell phone. I live on it. I made sure the last time I upgraded that I purchased one that would serve me, and my writing, on the go. I do everything from it – reading, emails, texts, appointments, even writing. I can even set my home alarm from it. I even use it to set up playlists for while I’m driving. I’d be lost without it (which is why it has frequent backups!)

Q: What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

The best? The fact that, most days, I don’t even have to brush my teeth if I don’t want to. I do, every day, I swear! But I don’t HAVE to. I have the freedom to style my hair or not, wear PJs all day or dress up. I can set a doctor’s appointment whenever I want to rather than in limited “free” time. I work around vacations and trips, around my kids’ schedules and when I want to. Being a writer has given me more freedom than any job I could ever imagine.

The most challenging? The freedom. When you don’t HAVE to do anything, you have to be self-disciplined to still get up every day and do what needs to be done. There are times, under deadline, when I’ve planned poorly and forgo a trip to the movies. Or, even more difficult, when I’m not under deadline to actually sit in the office chair and put words on the page knowing no one is keeping tabs and I have an entire season of Hart of Dixie waiting for me on my DVR.

Q: What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, you can either find me hanging out with my husband and kids (two- and four-legged). If I’m not out working with my horses – is it work if it’s something you LOVE to do? – the family loves being outdoors. We’ll take off and go to the beach for the day, hiking in the mountains, or playing in the snow. Living in California, we can pick from all three, in the same week even, and I’ll be taking pictures the entire way. If weather doesn’t permit, you can find us watching movies together with popcorn, pizza, candy and sodas.

Q: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Be prepared for the “real” life of writing. It’s not all fun and games, pajamas and book signings. Most days, it’s ugly, hard, gut-wrenching work. You will doubt yourself, listen to people rip your work apart and feel like you are crazy for attempting to make this your life. It’s okay…we all live there. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve written one book or nearly twenty, writing is always hard work. But, as I said earlier, is it really work if it’s something you love to do? Never give up on what you love to do, whether it’s writing, painting, acting, debate, mathematics, history, woodworking…do what you love and it will show in the results.

Want more T.J. Kline? Head over to our website to catch her Book Talk interview.

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