Q & A for Shades of Summer, The Haunting Ruby Series, Book One

Click the image to purchase on Amazon

1.  What is the title of your book?

Shades of  Summer, The Haunting Ruby Series Book One

2.  What is the genre and age rating?

Young adult paranormal romance

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

Ruby Matthews is a 17 year old girl who is haunted, both literally and figuratively, by the past as she tries to move forward after a tragic loss.  She meets the boy of her dreams at what feels like the worst possible time.

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

The first three books in the series are currently available and I am working on the final installment.  I wanted to do one book for each season of the year.  Each season corresponds directly with the direction Ruby’s life is taking her.

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

Ruby is slightly mysterious.  She has black hair with one red streak.  Her hair is naturally curly but she straightens it every day to try to look more ‘normal’.  She is average height, thin build with pretty hazel eyes.  She sees herself as plain but that isn’t how the world sees her.

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

Ruby has a problem with lying.  Her lies aren’t malicious but they always tend to bite her in the behind.  She lies because she’s afraid of what other people will think about her and her slightly odd ways.

EXCERPT:

I opened my mouth to tell my dad what I just experienced.  “Dad the light just….” When my brain caught up with my mouth, I shut it pretty fast.  If I told him what I thought just happened, he would think I was crazy, right?  He threatened to send me to a psychiatrist about a thousand different times over the past year, but I was always able to pull my act together long enough for him to change his mind.  This time, I wouldn’t just sound depressed, I would sound insane.  There would be no talking my way out of this one.  So I lied.

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

Ruby’s best quality is her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of someone she loves.

EXCERPT:

I knew he was trying to be nice, but he wanted to go check on Rachel and I couldn’t ask him to wait for me.  “Zach, go find Rachel—I’ll stay here until you get back.”

He opened his mouth as though to speak, but no words came out.

“I’ll be fine—you said it yourself, the storm’s over.  I’ll find Coco and then wait for you upstairs.  Go find your sister.  I know you’ll be sick with worry until you know she’s safe.”

I knew it was a tough choice for him.  But who needed him most—Rachel or me?  I watched as he mulled it over in his head.

“Are you sure?  I hate to leave you here alone even on a good day.  If something happens, you won’t even be able to call me.”

“Nothing will happen.  Just go!”  There wasn’t a single worry in my mind that I would be anything but perfectly safe.

“Alright.  Just find her and get out of this basement.  I’ll be back as soon as I can.”  He hugged me close and gave me an extra squeeze.  “Be careful.”

“You, too.”  I watched as he closed the door behind him.  It was only after he was on the other side of it that I started to change my mind.

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?

Ruby’s romantic interest is Zach Mason. Something happens the first time they meet that simply takes both of their breaths away.  Their relationship is intense in so many different ways.  Paranormal activity forces Ruby to keep him at arm’s length.  She is afraid that Zach will leave her when he finds out the truth about her, so she tries to spare herself that pain by keeping him at a distance.

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

Zach Mason is the exact opposite of Ruby on the outside.  He has blond hair, blue eyes, and an athletic build.  He has a smile that would melt anyone’s heart.  Ruby swears that there isn’t a female of any species that wouldn’t find him irresistible.  She’s right.

10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

Rachel Mason.  Rachel is Zach’s twin sister and Ruby’s new best friend.  I like Rachel because she isn’t afraid to speak her mind.  She tends to say funny things when you least expect it.

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

Every character has at least a small piece of someone I have known.

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

EXCERPT:

I jerked away from the table, nearly burning myself on a candle in the process.  We took one look at each other.  One thing was clear.  We needed to get out of there.

One by one, the candles extinguished themselves around the circle, wispy trails of smoke drifting up in their wake.  Another flash of lightning lit the room and I saw that we were not alone in the attic.  A dark shadow hovered closely behind Rachel.

“It’s behind you!”  I reached out frantically to pull her away but it was too late.  The entity rocketed forward and dove straight into her. 

Rachel’s eyes flew wide and her face contorted into a vision of agony.  I watched helplessly as she doubled over and the shadow figure forced itself out through her stomach and disappeared.  She crumpled to the floor lifelessly.

“No!  Rachel!”  I rushed to her side, afraid of what I was going to find.  I grabbed for her wrist and felt a weak pulse.  I breathed a sigh of relief—I couldn’t be responsible for another death!

“Rachel!  You have to wake up!  We have to get out of here!”  I took her by the shoulders and shook her hard but she bobbled limply like a rag doll.

I sunk to the floor beside her and cried.  A thundering crash resonated behind me.  And then another.  And another.  I opened my eyes to see my books flying off of the shelf one at a time and hurtling across the room.  I had to get us both out of there.

I was too weak to carry her so I gripped her by the ankles and dragged her toward the door, book bombs exploding around us as I went.  Suddenly, a weak groan rose from her throat.

“Rachel, we have to get out of here!  You need to get up—now!”  I slapped her sharply across the face.  It always seemed to work in the movies—it was worth a try.

“Ruby?!  Why are you slapping me?”  Rachel opened her eyes slowly.  “Where are we?”

I could tell when the initial confusion wore off because a look of mortal terror replaced it. 

Just then, the door flung open and a looming figure appeared in the doorway.  A piercing scream escaped my throat as it seized me around the waist and pulled me toward it.

Thanks to author, Joy Elbel for giving us a sneak peek into the first book in The Haunting Ruby Series! Keep your eyes peeled for more from The Haunting Ruby Series, as I’ll be featuring books two and three during the next couple of months, leading up to the release of the final book at the end of the summer!

Joy Elbel

For more information on author Joy Elbel, or her current and future projects, click one of the following links:

 ~*~Blog~*~Website~*~Facebook~*~Twitter~*~

Click the image to purchase Shades of Summer, The Haunting Ruby Series, Book One:

Cover Reveal for Give Me Pleasure, by Celeste Carrara

I am so pleased to be a part of the cover reveal for author Celeste Carrara’s newest book, the fourth book in her Paranormal City Series!

GiveMePleasureBookCoverJPG

~Give Me Pleasure ~

Kayla has needs and desires and thus far hasn’t found a man who can accept her kinks. Then again, she has a hard time accepting them too. She’s suppose to be a good girl. Good girls don’t do the things Kayla fantasizes about.

Mika doesn’t have time for women. His life revolves around his job. As the head of security to vampire king Sebastian, Mika’s only focus is protecting and serving his king. Women, especially the human variety, are used for only two things. Blood and sex.

When Mika and Kayla meet, neither are prepared for the feelings they stir in one another. They shouldn’t be together, too many obstacles, yet they can’t stay away…

Get an in depth look at Give Me Forever, the first book in the Paranormal City Series, from the awesome Q&A completed by author, Celeste Carrara as a part of my Write it Forward Indie Author Initiative!

For more information on author Celeste Carrera, or her Paranormal City Series, click the following links:

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

Q&A Session on Of Stone and Mist, By Donna Hawk

1.  What is the title of your book?  

The title of my book is Of Stone & Mist

2.  What is the genre and age rating

The genre is paranormal romance and, though the main characters in the story are about mid-twenties, it is suitable for teens. I’d say it is a young adult/adult story.

Even though it is classified as a PNR, the mystery is the main plot line for Of Stone and Mist.  The romance in the story develops alongside the mystery, creating a whole level of tension for the characters as they try to get to the bottom of a mystery.

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

This story is about a young photographer, Jessa, who goes looking for an advertising job at a restaurant. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get the job she goes there for, but is hired by the owners to snoop on a young man, Mitch, who was once engaged to their daughter, Maria.

Maria has been missing for three years and her parents think Mitch has murdered her. It is Jessa’s job to go to Mitch’s historic home, Bristol House, to take pictures and see if there are any clues left that would help them understand what has happened to Maria… all without Mitch’s knowledge.

She makes several trips to his house but gets caught snooping on more than one occasion. Mitch is not pleased, but somehow can’t keep her under control or off his mind.

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

   This is not a series, just a stand-alone book. There are ideas in my head if I happen to decide to write a sequel, though.

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

My main character is a young, perky 20-something. I don’t think of her as being traditionally beautiful, but she’s cute. She has very short, spiky hair, not very big herself, except with a big personality and too much sarcasm for her own good. She’s very brave, but wouldn’t ever describe herself that way. She’s witty and a romantic at heart. It’s funny, I’ve been looking for a “picture” of Jessa, but I’ve never found one I thought fit. I’d be interested in seeing a picture YOU find that you think looks like her.

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

      Jessa’s mouth usually gets her into trouble as she opts for sarcasm:

Excerpt:

“The car beside her little Honda was a sleek, black BMW convertible, though with the top up. It oozed taste and wealth, much like the driver sitting quietly behind the wheel studying her. Yikes! she thought as her heart raced guiltily. Busted!

She stopped short in her tracks and stared back at him. She reminded herself that this was, in some ways, public domain and she had a right to be here. All the same, she swallowed hard.

The man in the car got out and shut the door quietly, never taking his eyes off her. He was very good-looking, dark, expensively dressed… and furious. Taller than most men she knew, she wondered how a man with the perfect high cheekbones and just enough five o’clock shadow to look rakish could glower so attractively. Jessa knew that if she waited for him to yell at her, she would sound guilty and no words would come into her brain that would make her appear otherwise. So, she opted for sarcasm. “Really, dude? Seriously?” she chastised, “could you park a little closer, please? Jeez, I wouldn’t want your pretty little car to get sideswiped!”

………..And, though she is usually a rule-follower, she lets her emotions get in the way.

Excerpt:

“She did not hear the soft footsteps behind her, but the words spoken chilled her to the bone: “What the hell are you looking for?”

Jessa used the only weapon she had with her: her sarcasm. “What the hell am I looking for? You’re freakin’ kidding me! Besides, you about scared the ever-lovin’ crap outta me!” Reaching up to turn the light off with a snap, she pushed Mitch away with a hand to his chest, and stormed passed him. “Move!” she demanded.”

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

  I think Jessa is very brave. Under the same circumstances, I wouldn’t fare so well.

Excerpt:

“As she approached the veranda, she realized it would take every ounce of strength she had to go inside the house once again.

Since the day was dark with clouds that threatened rain, the house looked nearly black. Gray, diffused light filtered weakly through the sheer curtains on the windows in the parlor. Silence greeted her oppressively as if the house itself held its breath. Jessa squinted into dark corners, and strained her ears to listen for the tiniest sound. Her nose silently sniffed the air for the all-telling scent of rot that she now associated with the appearance of the specters.”

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 a romantic interest for Jessa. She finds she has fallen in love with the man she is supposed to be snooping on. The longer she is around him, the more unlikely she thinks he could possibly hurt anyone. I guess, at first, their relationship is antagonistic. It gets steamy, only if you read between the lines. She does sleep with him, but the doors are closed. :^)

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

Mitch is a very sexy, wealthy man. He is private with his personal life and resents Jessa snooping, which he discovers early in the story. But as much as they butt heads, they can’t seem to leave each other alone. It’s more of an emotional tie than a physical one. I think of him as looking a little like Jude Law.

M.C.’s sidenote: Jude Law is just delicious. 🙂

10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

I liked Maria, though she could be exasperating sometimes. She is capable of doing some really dumb things and she is very self-centered. In the end, I think she realized the harm of her ways, but she could get on a person’s nerves.

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

No, though I know sarcastic and dumb people. I taught school for a long time, so I’ve probably known lots of people like this!  

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

Excerpt:

** Mitch had forgotten to lock the front door!

She slipped silently inside [Bristol House]. Here, alone at dusk, the house seemed to welcome her, but she couldn’t shake the impression of anger she’d had when she first arrived. Static electricity ran up and down her arms. She rubbed them as if she were cold, hoping to stop the sensation. Uneasily, she fingered the camera inside her pocket.

Her goal: the third floor apartment. She crept quietly up the stairs. Though there was no particular reason for her stealth, she somehow felt that silence was vital. It was not until she reached the master bedroom on the second floor that she caught a faint pungent puff of something foul. She stopped moving for a moment and sniffed the air. Dead animal? Rotting vegetation?

Oh, god! Could it be a body? Her heart raced furiously until the pounding filled her ears and burned her eyes. Could that explain his nervous restlessness? With an inexplicable nudge to her shoulders, she was propelled forward toward the stairs leading to the top floor.

Walking carefully through the threshold, she saw the apartment was neat and clean. This time she didn’t bother looking through the stacks of CDs or volumes of books. She headed to the bedroom and found what she was looking for: his desk.

Unlike the rest of the apartment, it was a disaster. Stacks of papers lay aimlessly about. Several drawers were left open. The contents were an erratic jumble of journals, reports, stationery, and other random documents. Jessa knelt on the soft carpet and pulled out her camera.

Taking care to return each sheet of paper to its original place, she carefully sifted through the documents, first on the desktop. There was nothing particularly incriminating there, but to be on the safe side, she took photos of the most important-looking ones. Next, she began to sift through the topmost drawer. It housed mostly pens, pencils, paper clips, and an odd assortment of office necessities. She moved quickly on to the next drawer.

She had her hands deep inside the drawer in the process of pulling a handful of papers out when a noise caught her attention. She stopped stone cold and listened. The unmistakable sound of laughter floated up to her from directly below her on the second floor. It was the husky voice of a man. A foul odor seeped up from under her feet.

Gulping nervously, Jessa pulled her arm away from the drawer as quickly and silently as she could. Mitch’s laughter sounded odd to her and quite unlike his voice, which was smoother, and more refined. He would not be laughing long if he caught her at his desk.

Walking as hastily as she dared, she crept her way to the stairway, hoping to make it down before he headed up. Then, as she passed the window, she glanced outside. To her surprise, she couldn’t see Mitch’s car inside the garage’s open door. She frowned in confusion.

Stepping quietly down to the second floor, Jessa decided to take a look at the room that would be located directly below Mitch’s bedroom. She walked down the long hallway, turning her head and looking in as she passed each door. Most of them were shut, but the ones that were open were fairly empty except for an old-fashioned bed and dresser.

Cautiously, Jessa stood just outside the door to the room from where the laughter came. With her back against the wall, she strained to listen. No sound came from the room. Daring to peek, she turned her head around the corner of the door frame just enough to see inside. Like the other bedrooms, the old bed was in the middle of the wall on the far side with an antique dresser beside it—but no one was in the room.

However, the foul odor was stronger in here than in the master bedroom earlier. A macabre sense of curiosity lured her into the room farther. She stood in the center of the room, and turned a complete circle. The room was empty except for the bed and dresser.

The closet door was slightly ajar.

Jessa could feel fearful adrenalin coursing through her veins. She was utterly powerless to stop her feet from stepping nearer to the closet. Almost detachedly, she could see her hand reach for the doorknob, grab it, and pull it open. It was as black as ink inside. She stepped through the door and took a deep breath.

The fetor was oppressive. With one hand over her nose, she reached with the other toward the center of the little room in hopes of finding the chain to the light switch before she realized that this part of the house had not been built with electricity. Just as that thought crossed her mind, however, her fingers found the pull chain, and the room was flooded with electric light.

Almost blind after walking around in the dark, she backed away from the light defensively. When she could focus, she saw the room was larger than she had thought and was filled with a huge amount of cardboard boxes. Some were old, others not so much. Closer to the door, most of the boxes seemed to be filled with papers and other documents. Her eyes widened with this new-found treasure trove of information. She itched to dive into the boxes. Maybe this would contain the information she would need that would open Maria’s missing persons case.

She did not hear the soft footsteps behind her, but the words spoken chilled her to the bone: “What the hell are you looking for?”**

I hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look at Of Stone and Mist, by Donna Hawk…
 

You can purchase this book in many forms, including clicking the cover image at the beginning of this post.

Here are alternate links to purchase:

eBook for sale:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Of-Stone-And-Mist-ebook/dp/B007IOG9WO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1365987031&sr=1-1&keywords=donna+hawk%27\

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/of-stone-mist-donna-hawk/1110196886?ean=2940033118120

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/144103

Also available on iTunes, Kobo, and other ebook retailers.

 

Paperback:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stone-Mist-Donna-Hawk/dp/0985339004/ref=sr_1_4_bnp_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365987298&sr=1-4&keywords=donna+hawk

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/of-stone-and-mist-donna-hawk/1109477113?ean=9780985339005

Be sure to check out Donna’s other book and be the first to know when she publishes anything new!

Website: http://donnahawk.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Donna.Hawk.Author?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/byDonnaHawk

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4344451.Donna_Hawk

My Review of Magic at Work, by Sotia Lazu

Magic at WorkMagic at Work by Sotia Lazu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is something about gettin’ your mack on at work that is really appealing to me…if you know what I mean. *wink, wink*

Therefore, when I saw this title and read the blurb, I snatched it up like it was the last cupcake on the buffet table and read it in one sitting. Ooohhh man, I was not disappointed! It was Hotty Fatotty, so hot that I had to make up a new phrase to suit its relative hotness. I mean, seriously…unbridled sex…in the rain. W.O.W.

Another thing about Magic at Work that appealed to me, was the minimalist approach to the paranormal. Sometimes, the entire story line is so dependent on the paranormal aspect of the plot that the reader cannot get a true sense of the characters. They become one dimensional, and if you take away the paranormal, you neither have characters nor do you have a story.

This is not the case in Magic at Work, the paranormal is subtle, it is applied with a light hand. Like good make-up, it is used to enhance the natural beauty of the story rather than paint it up like a garish whore.

So, it is safe to say that I highly enjoyed the premise and the story. The flow of the story was exceptional, there was no drag. It was the perfect escape and I was pulled into the story immediately.

The MC, Lexi, was very realistic and I found myself liking her. She is intelligent, highly sensual, and a dry sense of humor that is not often seen in female characters. Her thought process is a little twisted at times, which makes her even better in my opinion. There were many moments when I chuckled or giggled at the inner workings of her mind, and only very few moments where I caught myself wanting to beat her senseless for stupid actions/choices.

The male MC, Ric, was a very lickable character…he was pretty likable as well. 😉 He is a multi-faceted male MC, exhibiting a healthy balance between tender and caring, and aggressive edginess. Let’s face it folks…all of that blistering testosterone is great and all, but in real life all that testosterone will get you after a few years is an angry man with a receding hairline and a spare tire.

In conclusion; if you want a refreshing look at Paranormal Romance with plenty of heat and quality characters, you want to pick up Magic at Work…now.

View all my reviews

My review of Of Stone and Mist, by Donna Hawk

Of Stone & MistOf Stone & Mist by Donna Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, do you remember being in junior high and learning about the use of imagery in literature? I think that my teacher used Shakespeare to explain every literary technique; thus, in the case of imagery, it was Romeo and Juliet. Stay with me here…a prepubescent girl, Catholic school, and the imagery of Romeo and Juliet; I can still remember the heavy sighs and distracting daydreams that accompanied those particular lessons.

What I’m getting at is this: I learned long ago just how strongly words can induce feelings, emotions, and images. However, not every author can pull out the kind of imagery that plays the story like a movie in your mind as you read, but Ms. Hawk absolutely does! The author’s phenomenal use of imagery in Of Stone and Mist had me so caught up in the events of the story that I would catch myself giggling one minute, and curling into a tight ball while attempting to push my iPhone away from me with my big toe soon after.

Alright, I’ll admit it, I am a scaredy-cat. I have never liked horror movies, and I slept clutching a crucifix for at least a year after reading about Anne Rice’s Witches of Mayfair. However, with the few exceptions of toe-nudging, I couldn’t put this book down!

So many things drew me into this story, the imagery is a big factor, but it wouldn’t have worked without the strong MC, Jessa. I loved Jessa, she was written so realistically that I connected with her almost immediately. There were times when she would do something stupid and I wanted to pop her head like a grape, but what made her great is that she would acknowledge her poor decisions and learn from them. She has a great voice too, a little snarky, but loaded with courage and intelligence. I had connected with her so thoroughly that it was Jessa’s anxiety or fear, more than anything, that would get me all antsy-pants during a particularly dark scene. Unlike the TSTL heroine, who makes crap decision after crap decision, Jessa uses genuine courage and ingenuity to act during some of the darker scenes.

I really enjoyed the development of the romance between Jessa and Mitch as well, they had a great connection. I particularly liked the moments when they were exploring the house together, their interactions and shared looks made me giggle!

Final thought…this was a great read, that draws you into the story and keeps you at the edge of your seat! You will love Jessa, but most of all, you will love her refreshingly honest reactions to the events of the story!!

View all my reviews

This book can be found at Smashwords.com by clicking here.

It can also be found at Amazon.com by clicking here.