Friday, January 31, 2014

Negotiation Tactics NBtM

Fans of the Sutton Capital Series have been waiting for Jennie and Chad’s story for a long time and they won’t be disappointed! And, new readers are sure to fall in love with the series.

After the crushing heartache of losing her husband at a harshly young age, Jennie Evans had finally found a place to call home. She had a job she loved and new friends to support her. With the exception of having to continuously fight off the feelings she had for Chad Thompson, she was happy again. As happy as she could be anyway. When Jennie’s well-meaning friends meddle in her life, they send her world into a tailspin once again. Soon, she’s on the run from some very dangerous people with the one man she doesn’t want to be with.

Chad Thompson has loved Jennie from afar for the last year, but he’s maintained control. Jennie’s made it clear she wants nothing to do with him and he won’t cross the line she’s drawn in the sand. Until she asks him to. And, when that happens, their world is turned upside down. Chad’s left scrambling to keep Jennie safe as he tries to right their world again. Unfortunately, Chad has to accept the fact that his heart is likely to be crushed in the process and nothing will ever be the same again.

Jack laughed at Chad’s frown. “Hey, get yourself a wife and you won’t miss us so much.”

“Funny.” Chad scowled as the men picked up their bags and started toward the exit.

Jack and Andrew got quiet and Chad groaned inside. He knew what was coming.

Can’t everyone drop the whole Jennie and Chad thing?

He had barely managed to get the image of Jennie in a T-shirt with no bra, out of his head for the last hour of the basketball game and now they had to put it front and center again without even mentioning her name. That sight had plagued him for two damn days and he wasn’t likely to get over it anytime soon.

“Chad, you really need to see where this thing with Jennie might go. Have you even been on a date with anyone else since you met her?” Jack asked.

They crossed the parking lot toward their cars, but it was clear Jack and Andrew were going to stay until he gave them an answer. Chad didn’t want to tell Jack the answer to that question and he didn’t want to have this conversation with Jack and Andrew again. As far as they knew, he didn’t want to date Jennie because he was her boss at Sutton Capital. And, that was part of it, but Chad hadn't told anyone the truth.

Lori, thanks so much for stopping by. So, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a brand, spankin’ new writer (just started last year) and a mother of two incredible children. I live with them and my husband and a menagerie of animals in Austin, Texas. I’ve had one heck of a ride this first year as a writer and I can’t wait for more!

So, what are you working on right now? Got any releases planned, or still writing?
I’m beginning a new series that takes place in a fictional town called Evers, Texas. I’m a sucker for small town romances so I thought it was time I began my own town. This book will come out at the end of January and then I have two more books planned for the series so far. I hope it goes on for a long time, though! And, I’ll revisit Sutton Capital in 2014 also. There are still a few people who need stories in that series.

How long does the writing process take for you?
It takes a good one to two months for a rough draft, sometimes more if I’m struggling with the plot or a character isn’t speaking to me (they do that sometimes). Once it goes to my editor, it comes back and forth several times for six weeks. So, a few months, total.

Book that inspired you to become an author?
It wasn’t really one book. I was reading a slew of romance novels and I began to have ideas for twists and turns. In my first book, Legal Ease, I twisted a marriage-of-convenience story by having the heroine (who was also the underdog because she had no money and the hero was a wealthy and powerful CEO) waltz into his office and “propose” to him. It’s still one of my favorite books because of that twist.

Alright, you have one superpower. What is it?
Rewinding time so things could be changed. I could fix anything that way. Save any life. Undo mistakes.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Wonder Woman, Jack from Virgin River, and Jill Shalvis.

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
None. There’s really a touch of me here and there in each but none of them has enough of me to really be like me. I try to do that on purpose – if they were all like me you’d be reading the same boring stuff over and over again.

My Review:
4.5 stars

I absolutely love this series, and I have been waiting for Chad to get his HEA ever since I read book 1. To finally be able to see it was amazing. I don't know what else to say that I haven't already said so many times. Amazing characters, humorous yet moving and romantic all at the same time. A can't-put-down-read. Another great book from Lori Ryan. I could go on, but I think you get where this is going. I would highly recommend this series, as it's witty, fresh, and just plain fun to read.

Lori will be awarding a $50 gift certificate to Amazon to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

October 18: Unabridged Andra
November 8: Beyond My Writing Space - review only
November 22: Musings and Ramblings
Novmeber 29: The Reading Addict
November 29: Musings From An Addicted Reader - review only
December 6: Reading In Twilight
December 13: Crazy Four Books
January 3: Harlie's Books
January 10: Simply Ali
January 17: Booklover Sue
January 24: Brooke Blogs

Author Bio and Links:
Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romance with a twist of suspense. She lives with an extremely understanding husband, two wonderful children, two mostly-behaved dogs, and a lone little cat in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn’t change a thing.

Lori published her first novel in April of 2013 and has written three more books since then. Each of Lori’s books have made their way to the Amazon bestseller list and she quickly climbed the Amazon bestselling author list, as well. In November, 2013, Lori and a group of romantic suspense authors landed on the USA Today and NY Times bestseller lists with an anthology only eight months after the release of Lori’s first book. Lori loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog. Oh, and if you’ve read Lori’s books and loved them, please consider leaving a review on Writers live and die by their reviews and Lori promises to do a happy dance around her office every time you write one!

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To buy my books, visit my author page on Amazon.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Here's to You, Zeb Pike VBT

Fact: When Zebulon Pike attempted to climb what is now known as Pikes Peak, he got stuck in waist-deep snow and had to turn back.

That’s the last thing Dusty Porter learns in his Colorado history class before appendicitis ruins his life. It isn’t long before social services figures out that Dusty’s parents are more myth than reality, and he and his siblings are shipped off to live in Vermont with an uncle and aunt they’ve never met.

Dusty’s new life is a struggle. His brother and sister don’t seem to need him anymore, and he can’t stand his aunt and uncle. At school, one hockey player develops a personal vendetta against him, while Emmitt, another hockey player, is making it hard for Dusty to keep pretending he’s straight. Problem is, he’s pretty sure Emmitt’s not gay. Then, just when Dusty thinks things can’t get any worse, his mother reappears, looking for a second chance to be a part of his life.

Somehow Zebulon Pike still got the mountain named after him, so Dusty’s determined to persevere—but at what point in life do you keep climbing, and when do you give up and turn back?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only high school freshman on the planet who actually likes school.

Well, I guess I don’t really like school itself. I don’t really enjoy writing papers or listening to lectures or dealing with quadratic formulas or any of that stuff. It would probably be more accurate to say that I like resting.

School is one of the few places where I get a chance to relax, sit back, and not think too hard. My buddy Race hates when I talk like that—he says it’s egotistical of me to brag that I can ignore about 80 percent of what our teachers say and still get the grades I do—but I’m not trying to brag. That’s just how school is for me.

Take the class I'm currently chilling out in: history with Ms. Carlson. This is a class that probably makes other freshmen want to slit their throats. I mean, I know all students think their teachers drone on and on, but Ms. Carlson brings it to the level of an art form. She must have been absent from teacher school on the day “class discussion” was introduced as a method of instruction.

Me? I love this class. Most of the time I completely zone out for forty minutes and just recap whatever I missed with a little textbook-skimming during study hall.

Today I’ve managed to lean back in my chair as far as it will go, and I’ve got my feet propped up on my backpack. I’m half-listening to Ms. Carlson; she’s going on about the Pike Expedition. After all, this is Colorado Springs, home of Pikes Peak, the semifamous and epically huge mountain that is currently looming right outside our classroom window.

“Zebulon Pike and his team did attempt to ascend the peak, but they were forced to turn back, essentially due to weather conditions and a lack of appropriate gear. There were no REIs in the area then, you see.”

The class titters, which is more of an effort to keep Ms. Carlson smiling than a nod to how great the joke is. Ms. Carlson is one of those teachers who enjoys thinking she’s hilarious. We’re a bunch of students who enjoy inflated grades.

“Wait, Ms. Carlson, I don’t get it. Do you mean he didn’t get to the top?”

Johanna, thanks so much for stopping by. So, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you so much for having me on your blog! Let’s see…what to tell you about me. Hmmm. I was born in Vermont, but I live in Colorado now, so most of my writing is set in one of those two places. I’ve been a middle school teacher and curriculum writer for ten years, which I’m super proud of. I ski badly, and I’m addicted to NFL football—particularly the Giants and the Broncos. (It’s a Manning thing. Well, really it’s because I used to live on the east coast and now I live in Denver. But I do love me some Mannings.)

How did you get started writing?
I’ve just…always written. My first book was The Story of Jackie, the Killer Whale, which I wrote when I was in the third grade. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t coming up with story ideas and trying to get them down on paper.

What was the inspiration for your book?
This book was inspired by SOOO many different students I’ve taught over the years. Students struggling with parent neglect, students deciding whether or not to come out, students handling their parents’ divorce…in my acknowledgement page, I basically had to issue a blanket thank you to every kid I’ve ever had in a classroom.

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I think I’d like to try writing a romance about adults someday. I really enjoy reading the romance genre; I’m such a sucker for people falling in love and having an adorable happy ending. I’ve written a short story or two in this genre, but nothing novel-length yet.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
Well…when it comes to reading, not really. I would say that science fiction and fantasy are probably the genres I read the least of, but I still get in my fair share of those books. I’m addicted to the written word.

In terms of writing, the only full-length novels I’ve ever written have all been YA. Because I work in middle schools, I’m constantly surrounded by young adult novels, and it’s the genre I know the best and truly enjoy writing the most.

So, what are you working on right now? Got any releases planned, or still writing?
I have another book coming out from Harmony Ink Press in March called Every Inferno. I so love this book. It’s a little darker than Here’s to You, Zeb Pike—the main character has dealt with a lot of loss in his life, and he has pretty serious anger issues. I’m really proud of the characters in this novel, and it’s got a mystery element to it!

Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?    Purple. No idea why. I’ve loved it since I was a kid.
Favorite movie?    The Princess Bride. What’s not to love?
Book that inspired you to become an author?
There are sooo many. To Kill a Mockingbird is the book that keeps me going when I’m frustrated with writing. Sometimes I need to be reminded that a book really can speak to many different people and change hearts and minds. The writing is that book is just so powerful.

Alright, you have one superpower. What is it?
DEFINITELY the ability to freeze time. Time is totally my enemy. If I could freeze time I could get so much more writing done!!

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Ooh, such a great question. This one is REALLY tough.

#1. The band The Decemberists (I’ve decided a band counts as a person). Their music just speaks to me, and I have a feeling they’d be a blast to eat with—seems like they all have a pretty great sense of humor.

#2. Wil Wheaton. I’m totally in love with him from his Wesley Crusher days, and his Twitter feed suggests he’d be an entertaining dinner date. (His wife can come.)

#3. Shakespeare. I know it’s cliché and all, but I have a lot of questions for the guy. Starting with how any one person can be that prolific in an age where you had to write everything by quill.

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
I’m probably most like Jack. We’re both teachers, we both like helping teenagers, and we both really want to do right by the people in our lives. Jack’s a lot more patient than I am, though.

That’s all from me, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
Thanks so much for having for me! And great thanks to everyone who stopped by for this interview.

My Review:
3.5 stars

Now, I'm not usually a big YA reader, but when I read the title and blurb, I just had to give Zeb a try.

Now, I'm a bit conflicted on my review. For while I did enjoy the book, I also didn't enjoy parts of it. For instance, the romance. It wasn't a big part of the book, and it felt like it was added in after the fact to me. Also, while I enjoyed the simplistic storyline, at times I just got bored. To me, this book is definitely more geared towards the younger, teenage crowd which I liked. It's nice to see positive, realistic, LGBT books written for teens.

All in all though, I loved the characters, the realistic story, and an overall nice read. I would recommend Zeb Pike, especially for a younger crowd.

Johanna will be awarding one ebook to one randomly drawn commenter and one print book (US only - international winners will receive an eBook substitution) to a second randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

January 20: Andi's Young Adult Books (interview) and Andi's Young Adult Books (review)
January 22: It's Raining Men - Promo (18+)
January 24: It's Raining Books
January 28: Writers and Authors
January 31: My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews - review only

Author Bio and Links:
Johanna Parkhurst grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont before relocating to the rocky mountains of Colorado. She spends her days helping teenagers learn to read and write and her evenings writing things she hopes they’ll like to read. She strives to share stories of young adults who are as determined, passionate, and complex as the ones she shares classrooms with.

Johanna holds degrees from Albertus Magnus College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves traveling, hiking, skiing, watching football, and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband. You can contact her on Facebook or find her on Twitter.

Buy Links:
Amazon     |      Barnes & Noble     |      Dreamspinner Press