Feb 272014

So as I was looking for better links to Gracen Miller’s Rockin’ the Heart for last week’s post, I came across a book that’s been on my radar for awhile now, but I’ve never blogged about. So… while I’m coveting Rock Fiction every Thursday, here’s another one to publicly drool over.

It’s Michelle Valentine, who has written an entire Rock Fiction series. The first is called Rock the Heart, and it has a twist that’s both familiar and fresh.

How can that be?

Easy. The familiar is that the character comes together because of a business arrangement between the bands. Here, the rock god has hired the marketing company the heroine works for. What’s fresh is that it’s a marketing company, and they send an intern out to seal the deal.

Now, this brings up immediate questions. Does this marketing company have music industry experience? If so, why doesn’t Lane know this? And why send an intern to do an executive’s job? Personally, I’d be offended, whether or not I already knew the person involved.

These two have a lot to overcome, our intern and our rock god. Notice how they aren’t even on equal footing? They’ve got this past history and, of course, Noel is into the groupie scene.

How author Valentine can pull it off… that’s the question, as it always is. Any book can have holes poked into it when you’re only going on the description. What matters, as always, is if the characters can transcend the cliche, if the music biz details are accurate, and how well the book captures the reader’s imagination and comes alive in our minds.

The pursuit of the books that do that make the occasional clunker worthwhile. I’ve seen more than one book rise above familiar tropes and be standouts. Here’s hoping this series does exactly that.

Feb 202014

I do way too much surfing some days. I think we all do, but when you’re a business owner, it can be a dicey proposition. There’s always something business-related that needs to get done and what am I doing? Not that!

But it pays off because Rock Fiction is an important genre — a claim reinforced by the number of books I covet around here. I’m hoping all these cool authors will join in for this year’s Rocktober.

Like this woman: Gracen Miller. She’s got a history as a paranormal writer, and she tips her hat to that by naming her lead character Fang.

But… like always, I have reservations. The problem with Rock Fiction (as most acquiring editors at publishing houses will tell you) is that their plotlines tend to be a bit cliche. Like here: Fang’s got it all except a woman. And what do you know, but the woman he wants is his best friend’s girl.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is execution, which is why I usually overlook the plot and read the book anyway. I mean, I adore romances and we all know that the plots in the end are the same: Boy and girl meet (or meet again). Things get in the way. They overcome and have a Happily Ever After. In fact, Rockin’ the Heart might very well be a romance first and Rock Fiction second. That’s not an uncommon thing in the Rock Fiction genre.

It’s what happens along the way that makes it worth reading. It’s how the author brings the characters to life, how authentic the rock and roll details. Like I said: it’s all about execution.

So I covet this and dread the day Jett will tease me because she’s got a copy and I don’t.

Aug 262013

One of the best things about this here Internet is the way it brings us together. Take today’s feature author, for instance. I met Nessa on a booklovers’ forum, and she is one of the few people who knows what I actually look like. She’s even (brace yourself) been in my house.

So no one’s jumping for joy higher or with more glee — well, other than Nessa herself — than I am to see she’s got a book in print. And best of all, she did us all a zinger and wrote a super book (Okay, speculation there. I haven’t read it yet.) that’s outside the genre we all thought she’d first publish in.


Let’s get right to it. Nessa, what song makes you think of Syrah?

This was actually a very difficult question for me, because I am really bad with music. I’m just not the kind of person who is always listening to it, and associating songs with things is not something I tend to do. However, I asked my friends on Facebook & Twitter and I was told by someone who loved the book that it made them think of Stormy Weather by Ella Fitzgerald. So I’m going to go with that.

Ooh, what a voice. What a legend. Mmmmmmm….

Want to know what the book’s about? I sure do!

All Corked Up: Book One

All Shawn Neale is looking for when he stumbles into All Corked Up on Christmas Eve is some wine recommendations. What he finds is an instant attraction to Royce Wilkinson, the shop’s owner. After a few weeks of flirting during shopping and some semi-dates at Royce’s wine tastings, they decide on a real date. It goes well, but life isn’t that simple.

Shawn wants to buy Delicto, the local pub he manages. He’s been planning his life around this for years, but when the owner, who believes being gay is an illness, discovers Shawn went out with Royce, he gives Shawn an ultimatum: stop dating guys or he won’t get to buy Delicto. It’s a heartbreaking quandary: Can Royce and Shawn be happy with a secret relationship until Shawn buys Delicto or is Shawn going to have to choose between his dream job and his dream guy?

Ready? Go get your own copy!

Buy from the publisher
Buy from ARe
Buy from Rainbow
Buy from OmniLit
Buy from Amazon
Buy from B&N

Connect with a really cool cat.
Author bio

May 202013

I first came across Lily Harlem’s name because she’s written a Rock Fiction trilogy (Mattress Music, Mirror Music, Menage a Music). I haven’t read them yet, but hope to.

However, SHE came across ME while looking for some promo for her new book, Breathe You In. And the Featured New Book is here for exactly that: Promo for your new book.

(If this isn’t showing right, yell at Tim at Tech No Riot. He’s supposed to fix this stuff for me.)

So… Lily, tell me what song makes you think of Breathe You In?

With Or Without You by U2

Breathe You In is a story that has been lurking in my mind for years. Before I became an author of erotic romance I worked in London as a nurse. As part of a post graduation course I got to spend time observing cardiac surgery which looking back was when this story was born. Because it wasn’t just the surgeries that fascinated me but also caring for these patients after life saving and life changing operations.

Seeing a chest wide open, a heart beating, being repaired or even transplanted held something magical for me, so much more so than a hip replacement or a bowel operation. I remember chatting to a woman in the post-op ward about her operation and she was completely fascinated that I’d observed her surgery and actually seen her heart. In fact she made me come and speak to her husband about it when he visited that evening. He looked at me as though I’d told him I’d seen a fairy at the bottom of the garden. I’ll never forget that look on his face.

Why? Because the heart is the foundation for our lives, not just the chemical, electrical and engineering qualities it possesses, but also the way we refer to it when we love someone. It’s more than that even, we say it breaks when someone leaves us, pines for a lover we are separated or beats more quickly when we’re held, kissed, made love to.

The heart is an organ referred to more than any other in our body in our day-to-day lives. When I started outlining the plot of Breathe You In it was these thoughts that kept playing with the threads of the storyline. I became fascinated by the thought of a girl obsessing over the recipient of her dead husband’s heart. She wanted to see him, to know where the heart that loved her so much was when she went to sleep at night. It’s the one piece of him that she cannot stop thinking about. I guess that’s where that haunting U2 song, With Or Without You comes into play. The words, not being able to live with someone or without them worked for the situation my heroine found herself in. She’s torn up with grief but also fascinated to find the one part of her husband that is still alive, still breathing, beating. I even managed to give the songs references to thorns into her thoughts at the end of the first chapter.

In the UK donor families and recipients can communicate and even meet but it has to be mutually agreed and coordinated through a liaison officer. In my story, Katie, can’t wait, she has to see the donor, but that’s it, just see him from a distance, and she hires a private detective to seek him out. But when Ruben Strong turns out to be not only fit and healthy but gorgeous and charming things start to get complicated, not least because she doesn’t tell him what he has inside of his chest that she’d come looking for.

It was this complex tangle of emotions that for me, as a writer, were so much fun to play with, and satisfying too, because I didn’t want this to be a sad story, I wanted it to be about overcoming tragedy, trauma, getting out of the lowest point of your life and finding love and happiness, passion and laughter once more. It’s an emotional tale that is fun and sexy too, my very favorite sort to read and write, and I even managed to get the song With Or Without You into the novel because U2 (like me) were her husband’s favourite band and that leant itself to a mention.

One other song features in the book, The Police, Every Breath You take. That worked so well for my hero and heroine’s first dance, in fact my beta reader wrote a comment when checking through the manuscript that she was crying with joy at that point and had to walk away and compose herself before she could carry on reading – which I took as a compliment!

Reviews so far are very positive, much to my delight, and out of my 30 novels and short novels that I’ve published, this one is certainly a story that tugged my heartstrings when writing it – pun intended. I hope you’ll check out Breathe You In. Thanks so much for reading about the special songs which inspired several scenes within this story and have a wonderful day.

Yowza! How can you resist after THAT??? I sure can’t.

Need a blurb? Sure, you do!

Soul-aching desire was just the beginning!

If the road to Heaven starts in Hell then I was ready to start climbing my way out and Ruben Strong was the man to accompany me. With his devastating good looks, seductively sexy charm and lust for adrenaline he was sure to make it a sensual and erotic experience as well as one to re-awake the passionate, throw-caution-to-the-wind woman I’d once been.

I’d given Ruben something, though, without him realizing, and that gift had come from the man I’d loved before. But I couldn’t tell Ruben. I had to keep that a tight secret even as our naked bodies wound together, sought out pleasure and hit the dizzy heights of ecstasy as one. Because Ruben had my husband’s heart, literally, and that heart was still in love with me, so it seemed, and now I was in love with Ruben.

Emotions tangled with bliss, and fears were locked away as I surrendered to the touch of Ruben’s hands, the taste of his skin and the sounds of his pleasure. I couldn’t deny that Ruben had brought me back to life the same way I had him and there was no way I was giving up that feeling, not for anyone.

How about some links?

Amazon US
Amazon UK

(Not available anywhere other than Amazon)

Lily Harlem Links
Facebook author page

Jan 212013

After a holiday hiatus, the Featured New Book spotlight is back in action! (I had to give the spotlight operator time off. Union rules. Plus, he was going to tell Roadie Poet about what a hardass I am. Hello? One day of work a week? Spotlight operators should have it so good!)


Today’s guest is the lovely Julia McDermott, whose new book, Make That Deux, sounds simply delightful. But before we get to the book, here’s the song behind it.

The song that makes me think of my book is LOVE AND AFFECTION by Joan Armatrading, recorded live in 1976:

MAKE THAT DEUX is the story of Jenny Miles, who spends her junior year of college studying in the south of France in the late 1970s. Jenny leaves behind her boyfriend Phil in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the two met and became a couple almost a year before the novel’s opening. Jenny has studied French for years and is ecstatic to be able to realize her dream of participating in UNC’s new year-abroad program, and to see Europe. But she’s anxious and uneasy about being separated from the person with whom she’s been madly in love for many months.

Phil and Jenny manage their long-distance relationship via handwritten letters and a few very expensive phone calls, and Phil plans to come see Jenny over the winter holiday break. But in the fall, when unexplained issues force Phil to renege on his promise to visit, Jenny begins to suspect his feelings for her. Later, an accidental incident fuels Jenny’s doubts about their relationship and whether they are meant to be. Then, as her friendship with French-speaking (but not French) Lucas develops in romance, Jenny is forced to make some decisions.

The novel has three parts, and Part 3 is entitled OPEN TO PERSUASION, taken from the beginning lines in Armatrading’s song:

“I am not in love
But I’m open to persuasion
East or West
Where’s the best
For romancing”

Here are a few lines from Part 3:

“…I left and trudged back to the room. I unlocked the door like a cat burglar while Trish slept soundly. Good. I changed clothes and softly crawled into bed. What a day it had been. Maybe it was for the best that tonight had turned out like it had…
Love and affection, that was what I wanted. With someone. I just wasn’t sure with who anymore.”

Joan Armatrading! Who’d have thought such a classic would grace THESE pages?

Believe me, I’m not arguing.

Here’s the book blurb:

Three American college girls living in an apartment on the Mediterranean. Two boyfriends back home. “The One” (and only), if it’s “meant to be” — whatever that means!

Jenny Miles has three goals: to speak French like a native, to travel all over Europe, and to have a blast. Meanwhile, two men compete for her attention and amour, ici et là. C’est compliqué!
Take 10 months. Add 2 (surprise) transatlantic flights, 2 Greek isles, 1 moped (une mobylette) and beaucoup de lettres! Subtract 1 phone, 1 promise to be faithful, and 1 bikini top. La solution?

Make that…a year that Jenny will never forget.

Ready to go buy? (Why not???)
Amazon paperback


Barnes and Noble


Smashwords (note that this IS an affiliate link, please and thank you!)