Q & A for Saving Rain, The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy

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1.  What is the title of your book?

Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy

2.  What is the genre and age rating?

Saving Rain is a new adult romance with a dark side.  I would recommend this novel for readers 18 and over.

3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.

Saving Rain is the beginning of a poignant story of abuse, human trafficking, and beautiful, redeeming love.  Raina is the abused heroine who tries very hard to forget her dark past.  Kas is the protective, sometimes over-whelming FBI agent who is hell-bent on saving Raina from the men intent on harming her; a task made quite difficult when she refuses to divulge any information.   Raina joins Kas’ team to help infiltrate a formidable and rapidly growing human trafficking ring. 

4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

Saving Rain is the first novel in The Rain Trilogy.  The second novel, Healing Rain, is written, but not published yet.  I am currently working on the final novel, After the Rain.  Saving Rain is available now and Healing Rain will be available later this year. 

When I began Saving Rain, I intended on a standalone novel, but I fell in love with the characters.  The plot needed more depth than what I felt a standalone could provide.

5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

The main character is a five foot six, auburn haired, jade eyed nineteen year old (at the beginning of the novel) who is as attractive on the inside as she is outwardly.  She is not aware of her beauty.  The cover of Saving Rain is a model, not someone I know personally, but when I saw her photo, it is very close to the way I envisioned Raina.

6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Feeling shame for what other people did to her is Raina’s biggest insecurity. 

EXCERPT:

Raina sits in the cool night air, letting the breeze blow around her, wishing it could blow away her humiliation and shame of Kas seeing the pictures of what her father did to her, his seeing a glimpse into her life before she met him.  She desperately wanted to leave that part of her life behind, keep her past from tainting what she had hoped she and Kas would become.

7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Forgiveness and strength to overcome are Raina’s best qualities.

EXCERPT:

Kas stares at her, bewildered by her innocence, her compassion, her willingness to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, wanting to believe the best in everyone.  He pulls her into his arms and kisses the top of her head.  “You are the most amazing person I’ve ever met Raina Kapture,” he tells her in awe, pushing away his sense of dejection and frustration from the knowledge that ‘Kapture’ isnt’ her real name.  She’s been through enough today and he will not question her about her past again, not today anyway.

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension? 

There is certainly a romantic interest between Raina and Kas that builds throughout the story, and it’s loaded with sexual tension.  

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Raina and Kas are immediately attracted to each other, but neither one admits to the attraction at first.  At the beginning of Saving Rain, Raina had just broken up with her ex-boyfriend after trying to have feelings for him, even though Kas captured her every thought.  Raina is confused and frightened by her attraction for Kas, especially after her past.

10.   Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

 To me, Kas is almost as much of a main character as Raina is.  I love Kas’ dedication to Raina, his struggle to release his death grip of total control in order to find out more about her at her set pace.  He is a very determined man.  He uses his strength to shelter Raina instead of causing her pain.

11.   Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?

All of the characters are fictional, but I do have to admit that some of the traits were inspired by people I love. 

12.   Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…

I chose an excerpt where Raina experiences being undercover.

EXCERPT:

As she walks back to the table, she fakes twisting her heel, feasibly easy to pull off in the unbelievable height of the stilettos.  She spills one of the drinks straight into Victor’s lap.  She quickly grabs the linen napkin and begins dabbing his leg as she discreetly removes the bug from the hem of her dress, attaching it to the under-hem of his blazer while he’s distracted with what her other hand is doing.

Victor lets out what she is sure isn’t a nice word in his native language as he jumps to his feet.  He raises his hand to strike her, but Kas quickly grabs his hand before he can deliver the blow, causing the bodyguards to advance towards them.  Kas realizes that he better make this look convincing or things are going to go south very quickly due to his reaction to Victor’s imminent threat to Raina.

He releases Victor and grabs Raina possessively, “I told you that she’s mine, no one touches her except me.”  He grabs her as roughly as possible without actually hurting her as he growls dangerously, “I will deal with you later.”  He spins her back around so she’s facing Victor and he barks, “Apologize!”

Raina breathlessly whispers her apology, not having to work too hard to feign the fear evident in her eyes, her past giving her a very clear picture of what Kas’ words would mean for her if he wasn’t just playing a role.  Victor eyes them suspiciously, and Kas knows that he has to sell this.  “I apologize for my rashness, but I warned you about not sharing well with others.  I am the only one to touch her, to discipline her.”  He fights to hold in his true emotions and act like the cruel sleaze he’s trying to personify.  He hates himself for the next words he delivers as he grabs Raina, holding her prisoner in his grip. “The sting of my belt will teach you to be more careful.”

The malice in his words has the effect needed, and she blanches, the look in her eyes dissipating any suspicions Victor may have had.  Ambivalence rips through Kas.  He is relieved that she is safe at the moment, knowing what kind of harm can be delivered in the private setting during the minute it would take the undercover agents from Michael’s team to reach them from the bar, but putrid self-disgust fills him from the way he had to elicit painful memories from her to sell the façade.

The need for Kas to get her out of there is overwhelming.  She cringes as he grabs her again and pushes her.  “Wait on me outside,” he yells as she stumbles towards the door.

Victor calmly watches her leave, the blatant disrespect and cruelty bestowed on a lady doesn’t faze him in the least.  Kas would like nothing better at the moment than to rip Victor apart at his aloofness of his treatment of Raina.  He knows it’s a part of Victor’s normal routine to hurt those weaker than himself.

He reins in his temper and smiles at Victor, pulling out a wad of hundred dollar bills, “Allow me to take care of your suit.”

Victor laughs and waves the money away, “It is only a spilled drink, after all.”

“One that I hope didn’t put a damper on a lucrative business deal for the both of us.  I assure you, I will handle her.”

Victor nods towards the door, “Aren’t you worried that she will try to run away?”

Kas bites the inside of his cheek, furthering his self-hatred as he gives the sickening lie, “I found her half-starved, eating from a dumpster when she was fourteen.  I’ve invested a lot of time in training her.  She has only tried to run once, I made sure that night that she will never try to run again.”

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Thanks to author, Karen-Anne Stewart for giving us a special peek into the first novel in The Rain Trilogy, Saving Rain.  Be sure to keep us updated on your progress with future books in this series!

Karen-Anne Stewart

 Click one of the following links to become a fan of Karen-Anne Stewart or follow her current and future projects:

~*~Website~*~Facebook~*~Twitter~*~Goodreads~*~

 To purchase Saving Rain, The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, click one of the following links:

~*~Barnes & Noble ~*~ Amazon~*~

 

Q&A for The Healing Heart, by Jennifer Howard

1.  What is the title of your book?

The Healing Heart

2.  What is the genre and age rating?

It is a contemporary romantic work of fiction. It’s age range is middle teen to adult.

3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.  

The Healing Heart is a fun, funny, quirky look at starting over, when it comes to love. The main character, Jamie Hansen, has spent two years mourning the loss of her husband, Paul, coming to grips with reality, and moving on. She doesn’t expect to ever find a love like that again, choosing to be grateful for what she had, while she had it. Then BAM, Conley Michaels comes onto the scene, and everything in Jamie’s little world gets a charge of electricity. Jamie soon realizes lightning can strike twice, when it comes to love. It takes a heck of a journey for her to make it to that realization, though. Take Jamie’s madcap ride and laugh right along with her!

4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

It is not part of a series. It is written from the perspective of Jamie, the gal. I have contemplated writing it from the perspective of her love interest, Conley. I definitely plan on writing an alternate ending in short story form and releasing that later this summer. It could be sort of a companion piece. Then it would be in the readers hands as to which ending they preferred.

 5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

My main character, Jamie Hansen, is a woman in her mid thirties. She has aged beautifully and is in great shape–curvy in all the right places. Her hair is a straight mousy brown stacked shorter in the back with the front sweeping her shoulders. She has blue-gray eyes, full lips, a slight dusting of freckles on her face. I never chose an actual person in real life to compare Jamie to. I wrote her a little ambiguously because I wanted any woman to be able to place herself in the character of Jamie, as she is reading. The description of her comes from Conley, as I included an excerpt at the back from his POV. He’s all man, so of course he’s going to notice the physical details! haha

 6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Jamie’s only true fault, in my opinion, is her lack of self esteem. She doubts herself way too much, and eventually, she equally doubts the way Conley feels about her. This is an excerpt from a pretty big scene. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I think it proves her ‘fault’.

Excerpt:

“Conley this…this is amazing.  You are amazing.  I know you say I deserve you, but how?  How can that be true?”  He sighed and as I flung open the library doors, my eyes were full of tears, my heart full of doubt.  Looking in my rearview mirror as I drove away, Conley leaned in the open front door, sadness etched across every line of his face.  My tears started to flow, blinding me. 

7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?  

Jamie’s best qualities are her humor and her wit. She is goofy and charming. You can’t help but love her and root for her, in my opinion. Others have expressed the same sentiment to me.  Here’s an example, as she prepares for her first date with Conley:

Excerpt:

I dusted off my yoga DVD and popped it into the player.  Ten grueling minutes later, I patted myself on the back, thinking, Yay, me! There’s exercising for the next month or so under my belt!  Next up on the agenda, brunch.  I didn’t want to skip two meals, and I knew I was going to be way too keyed up for a conventional lunch.  So I indulged in an extra large bowl of organic granola, some Greek yogurt, and about a pint of fresh strawberries.  Hey now, I was still burning calories from my yoga!  I told myself I would scarf down a banana later, energy food for us ‘healthy’ people on the go!  HAHAHA!

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?

Jamie obviously still has feelings for her deceased husband, Paul.  When Conley Michaels enters the picture, the connection is instant and electric, though. It isn’t exactly antagonistic, per se. It’s more like she is trying to convince herself to stay away from him…and doing a very poor job of it! It is a romantic and steamy relationship, but not habanero-style steamy. (boo, I know, but hey, I did it for the kids and the grandmas out there…hahaha)

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person. 

Conley Michaels IS the actor Sasha Roiz, to me. He is scrumptious. I could eat him alive. Tall, well built, masculine, dark hair with a slight wave, but kept short, olive complexion, dreamy green eyes. I described him in EXTREME detail. haha…just as I see him in my dreams every night…kidding…(maybe) 

10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why? 

I love Jamie’s sister in law, Katie! She is one hot mess. She’s really funny. I like humor, especially the weird, dry, smarty pants variety. This describes Katie perfectly.

11.  Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known? 

My characters, with the exception of Conley, all have elements of people I know. My characters are representations of my life–people I love, conversations I’ve held, things others have said. That’s why The Healing Heart is so precious to me. (And if you’re wondering, Conley is all made up in my head…but in Sasha’s voice. #obsessed, you ask? Hmmm…)

12.  Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…  

Here is Jamie, the night before her first date with Conley. You’ve gotta put yourself into context, here. This is a woman who hasn’t dated in over sixteen years. She’s excited and a mess at the same time. Just as she’s ready to change her mind, her crazy sister-in-law, Katie, comes to the rescue! Hope you enjoy!  

Excerpt: 

Was I ready for this yet or was I moving too quickly?  I knew it was just dinner, not a marriage proposal, but still, what did I even really know about Conley Michaels?  He was handsome; scratch that, drop-dead, make you want to faint, gorgeous.  He was obviously intelligent, assertive, a real go-getter.  He was confident, responsible enough to run his own business, worldly enough to brave the likes of New York City and beyond, but quaint enough to appreciate the attributes of a smaller town and make it his home.  He was funny, charming—wow, turns out I did know a lot about Conley Michaels, after all!

But what if he ran a drug cartel?  Or sweat shops in Asia?  Or what if he had a refrigerator full of heads in his basement?  He seemed so perfect, so why wasn’t he already taken?  He must have some deep psychological flaw!  Or maybe he was married!  Maybe he had a wife in every big city across this grand ol’ USA of ours!  Or maybe he was a scam artist, preying on lonely widows?  I had to cancel our date; it was the only safe option!  My imagination was running wild!

Deep down, I knew Conley wasn’t involved in any of those things.  It was the fear of the unknown that was fueling my panic, all the same.  What if this date ended in a shambles?  Where would my self esteem land then?  Could I just pick back up and start my life all over again?  Or what if it went really well?  Was I ready to explore that option?

As my mental tirade raged on, my phone rang.  No one ever called after 10 p.m. on a weeknight, so my heart began to race.  Was mom ok?  Was it Conley calling to cancel our date?  Nope—neither nor.  It was my sister-in-law.  Oops, I was supposed to have called her a week ago!  Well, a little distraction therapy was exactly what I needed right now!

“Hey Katie-bug.”

“Hey James, did you forget about me?”

“No, well, yes.  Things have been really crazy lately.  How have you been?”

“Same ol’—so spill!  What’s been so crazy that could possibly make you forget about Wednesday night girl talk?”

“Well, it’s fall insert time so work has been pretty hectic, soccer is in full swing, algebra is kinda kicking Gretchen’s tail, and I met somebody.”  I tried to slide that last part in on the coattails of my normal, mundane life.  Maybe she wouldn’t notice and I could just pretend I had never said it.  Yeah, and maybe a purple polka dotted alien would streak across my room in the next ten seconds, too.

“You…did…what?”  Her pauses were too slow and dramatic in between each word.  I knew the onslaught was coming.  “When did this happen?  What’s his name?  Is he cute?  Where did you meet?  Is he from here?  Is he older?  Ooh, younger?  Did I ask ‘is he cute’ already?”

Thankfully she had to come up for air.  To stymie any further interrogation, I quickly answered, “Last Friday…Conley Michaels…yes…Dad’s benefactor ceremony…yes…I don’t know, he seems to be around my age…no, I’m not a cougar…yes, you did, and yes, he is…again.”  Phew!

She gave an ear-splitting shriek!  “I…AM…SO…HAPPY…FOR…YOU!!  Did he ask you out?  Please tell me you said yes if he did!”

“Yes, he asked me out!”  I laughed.  “We are supposed to be meeting for dinner tomorrow night, but…”

“But what?”

“But what if he has a refrigerator full of heads in his basement?”

“Excuse me??”

And with that, I let it all go.  I told her everything, about the ceremony, how we met, about running into him (literally) again after soccer, about my decision, about mom and Gretchen’s rebuttal, about the phone call, the texts, all of this evenings crazy thoughts.  I really let her have it!  Surprisingly, for Katie especially, she really listened and let me rant and rave.  When I finished my little vent session, she quietly asked, “Are you quite finished?”

“Yes,” I spoke, a little breathless.

“James, you can’t mess this up, you just can’t!”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I hope you have enjoyed this little sneaky-peek into The Healing Heart, by Jennifer Howard! 

Do you want to see more?  Yep, you know you do! Click on one of the following links to purchase a copy…

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Do you want to know more about the brain behind the book?  Well, be sure to check out the author, Jennifer Howard…

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My Review of Being Isobel, by Claire Louise Coult

Being IsobelBeing Isobel by Clair Louise Coult

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am having a hard time writing this review because I cycled through emotions at an alarming rate while reading it. First of all, it was classified as Romance/Chick-Lit, and after reading the blurb, I incorrectly assumed it would be a light read. I was so very wrong.

Maybe I skipped over the term abusive boyfriend in the synopsis, or maybe I just chose to ignore it, but it was right there in black and white. Don’t make the same mistake that I did. This is not a frivolous, silly, Chick-Lit book, the abusive boyfriend and the victimization of the MC are significant features of the plot development in this book.

I may not make any friends with this next statement, but keep this thought in mind before reading it: I have four small children, between ages 8 and 2, so I don’t typically like to read about heavy subject matters like physical or sexual abuse…I just want to escape to a happy place. That being said, I realized very quickly that not only would I still get my escape to a happy place, but I would be better for the journey. The MC in this book is really awe-inspiring, her strength and maturity given the circumstances, completely captivated me.

Another aspect that I loved about Being Isobel is the overall theme of the novel; growth, perseverance, and family. Extra happy place. 🙂

There were, unfortunately, a few problems for me. The first is really nit-picky and I almost hate to put it in here; however, there were many British colloquialisms that I was unfamiliar with that would cause me to stumble through some passages. The funny thing is that I really like Ms. Coult’s informal way of writing in conversational language, I just felt a little left out at times.

To be honest, the language barrier didn’t really carry much weight with my rating. The main problem that I had with Being Isobel was that it felt rushed. I really enjoyed the characters, the writing was very good with minimal errors, and the story was fantastic…but the romance was really rushed and and there seemed to be a secondary plot line with another love interest that was snuffed out abruptly even though romantic interest in his character was built up during the entire book.

In conclusion, I would have felt absolutely at ease giving this book four stars if the journey to the happy place would have lasted just a bit longer! That, unfortunately, is the difference between Liking it and Really liking it. However, I am glad to have read it and if you are in the mood for a very quick read with a nice mix of depth and a healthy dose of HEA, I would recommend you pick up Being Isobel.

**The review of this book was completed in exchange for a non-reciprocal review.**

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This book is currently free at Smashwords.com…click here to grab it!