Review

The Prisoner of Paradise: A Dual-Timeline Thriller Set in Venice (Painted Souls Book 1) – My Review


Title: The Prisoner of Paradise: A Dual-Timeline Thriller Set in Venice (Painted Souls Book 1)

Author: Rob Samborn

Release Date: November 30th 2022

Genre: Historical, Thriller

A trip of a lifetime.
A 433-year-old murder.
An ancient order that will kill to silence the truth.


AMERICAN WRITING AWARDS FINALIST (THRILLERS/ADVENTURES)
Nick and Julia O’Connor’s dream trip to Venice collapses when a haunting voice reaches out to Nick from Tintoretto’s Paradise, the world’s largest oil painting.

Though Julia worries her husband suffers from a delusion, Nick is adamant the voice belongs to a woman from the 16th century—his soul mate from a previous life. He discovers a religious order that has developed a method of extracting people’s souls, which they imprison in Paradise. Over the centuries, they’ve judged thousands of souls and sentenced them to eternal purgatory.

As infatuation with the past clouds his commitment to his present-day wife, Nick must right an age-old wrong—destroy the painting and liberate his soul mate. But freeing her would allow all the souls to be reborn.

The order will never let that happen.

A riveting thriller ignites with a time-spanning love story. Perfect for fans of Dan Brown, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman or David Mitchell.

This book was quite the adventure! Secret society and the past and future colliding makes for an interesting read. The beginning was a little slow for me. I struggled a bit to keep reading. I knew characters and plot were being set up so I kept going. I did find the switching of views between the characters a bit confusing at times. I wasn’t sure who’s point of view I was reading because it had switched. I found myself enjoying the chapters that featured the past. From the way they spoke to the events, I found those chapters most enjoyable. I didn’t connect with any of the characters. They all seemed like pretty awful people but I feel it was intentional. None of these issues affected the story for me too much. I kept reading and found myself immersed in a different world. There are twists and turns and I had to know what would happen next!

All that being said, this was a good read. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone with this book and I’m so glad I did. If you’re a fan of historical time travel thrillers, this book is right up your alley! I give this 3 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

Rowan: The Lochlann Feuds Complete Series – My Review


Title: Rowan: The Lochlann Feuds Complete Series

Author: Robin D. Mahle & Elle Madison

Release Date: June 9th 2022

Genre: Historical Romance

A Reckless Princess. An Enemy Kingdom. And a mistake that could cost her everything.

Rowan never wanted the kind of love you go to war for — the kind of love that could break you.

But when a harmless adventure lands her in the dungeons of her enemy, she’ll realize that’s just one of many things that’s beyond her control. Between Socairan politics, blood debts, and arseling lords with perilously gray morality, Rowan is forced to learn more than she ever wanted to about herself, about the kinds of choices she is capable of making.

And about how much she’s willing to risk for a love she never wanted to begin with.

**The Lochlann Feuds takes place after the events of The Lochlann Treaty Series, but it can be devoured and enjoyed all on its own.**

A fantastic and exciting series!

From beginning to end, these stories will captivate you and then leave you wanting more! It was great to read and watch Rowan change from that very first page to the end. Nothing went like I thought it would and it was glorious! The characters were a fun bunch and very well written. Well, some weren’t as fun. You’ll see what I mean once you dive in. I had my favorites for sure. Secrets, lies, and revenge made for some really great reading. Was I irrationally angry when I had to put the book down? Yes but in my defense I REALLY wanted to stay in this world!

If you love adventure, witty characters, and more, this collection is for you! I’m a fan of this writing duo and will highly recommend their books to anyone who will listen. I give this 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring Kris Calvin

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Kris Calvin! Her latest release, Under a Broken Sky: A Novel release on July 12th 2022.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was little, I didn’t feel safe in my own home. Sadly, I’m far from the only child who has endured those circumstances. But my particular response to having a frightening reality was to also fear what my imagination might hold—I didn’t play make-believe, and I didn’t originally have much interest in “telling stories”. Fortunately, I discovered the local public library, where the librarians and staff were unfailingly kind and the children facing peril in my books had happy endings. 

For my career, I worked in an analytical and unimaginative, but fulfilling policy job advocating for children’s well-being in the state legislature. In the process, I wrote a lot of dry policy memos and letters. It wasn’t until I was in my 50s that I felt “safe” enough to  explore my creative side and write fiction.

What time of the day do you usually write?

5am to 9am.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

Before I start writing, none–I don’t make outlines. But as I write, I pause frequently to envision everything. I need to be able to see a scene in my mind to transform the scene into words, so every sound, color, and texture matters.

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?

I am always most enamored with what I am currently working on. What’s already written and out there has to be “forgotten” for my new ideas to feel fresh. Right now that means a dual timeline story with two strong women protagonists set 100 years apart.

What gave you that final push to press publish on your first book?

When I shared my first manuscript for my first book, a “whodunnit” mystery called One Murder More, with a developmental editor, to my horror she pronounced it “terrible”. She said from my years working in policy I wrote clearly, but that what I’d produced was dull and dry. My characters only “saw” things; they didn’t touch or hear or smell. I spent a year in workshops and read countless books on writing fiction, gaining what I could from those who had already done it. I contracted with a hybrid publisher, they set a deadline, and I was ready. For my second book, the first in the Emma & Alibi series, I did 17 drafts before I submitted it to a traditional publisher, who gave me a 2-book contract. For that one, I was “ready” when I was done!

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I know a lot of authors don’t read their Goodreads and Amazon reviews. I read each one. I don’t expect a book of mine to be a good fit for everyone, so it doesn’t bother me when that happens (unless the reader is flat out mean and calls me names, which has only happened once). I learn from what people like best and what they struggled with and do my best to use that to improve my writing. The most common positive comment is that people like Emma, my 32-yr-old ethics investigator, and Alibi my homicide cop. They also seem to like the dynamic between Emma and her best friend, Kate, and Kate’s teen son. 

Negatives have included a few people saying I describe clothing too much (which as a result I dialed down in my later books 🙂 and that the names are “weird”. (I didn’t change that. I like weird names.)

Favorite book when you were a kid?

Black Stallion.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

I love this question! I used to play this game with my kids and their friends. 

For me? 

(1) Responsible. Ugh, I was once on a 3rd date with a man who I thought was about to tell me how fabulous I was and instead he said, “If I could sum you up in one word, it would be ‘responsible’.” No 4th date for him! 

(2) Kind. Not always and not perfectly, but one plus side of having lived in fear is I have no interest in making anyone feel anything other than respected and safe.

(3) Creative! This is a new one, late-in-life, but being creative is now a big part of who I am.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Write every day, and don’t share what you’ve written until you are very far along.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I write thrillers where no harm comes to children. They may be in danger, and we may worry for them, but every child you come to know in my books will be safe.

Thank you Kris Calvin for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Under a Broken Sky today!

~Synopsis~

In this Sacramento-set thriller perfect for fans of Meg Gardiner, Emma Lawson uncovers greed and deception for a living, but this time is different. If only she knew this killer can hear her.

He can see her.

One year into her prized role as the youngest ethics investigator in California’s history, Emma suspects corruption in the state’s billion dollar expansion to train travel. That unwittingly puts her on a killer’s trail – a killer who will do anything to reach his illicit million dollar payday, including personally eliminating Emma Lawson as a threat.

Detective Alibi Morning Sun sees connections where no one else does. For him, a drowning at a lake, a fire in a storage facility and a murder by the river carry a thread soaked in blood.

As Emma follows the money and Alibi traces bullets and bodies, the killer counts down to his grand finale. With each mounting danger, it quickly becomes apparent that the corruption Emma has been digging for is real— and it’s deadly.

Three days. Two days. Now only one…

Kris Calvin’s latest novel, UNDER A BROKEN SKY (July 12, 2021; Crooked Lane Books) is the second in her Emma & Alibi mystery-thriller series. Kris served for more than 20 years as the CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics in California, and was honored for her leadership in advocacy for children by the California Legislature. You can visit Kris online at kriscalvin.com.

kriscalvin.com

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring D.B. Motu

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is D.B. Motu! His debut novel, Lords Of The Archipelago: Blood-Feud released on August 1st 2021.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi! My name is D.B. Motu. My debut novel, Lords of the Archipelago: Blood-Feud, is a modern-day-pirate action thriller, with a hard-edged Romeo & Juliet love story mixed in. 

I was born on an island you’ve probably never heard of and I spent most of my childhood not far from the South China Sea Archipelago, where the events of the novel take place.

I currently live and write in sunny Southern California.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember; short stories, songs and even poetry…whatever I could put down on paper. I wrote screenplays for years—and my greatest claim to screenwriting fame is that Wes Craven once declined a script of mine, because he thought it was too dark! The man who gave us Freddy Krueger thought my script was too dark. Fantastic. Now, to be clear, I don’t write horror, but the script he read was a dark drama and very grim. Anyway, I’m pretty proud of that particular rejection!

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

For my day job, I’m a background actor. I’m the blurry guy that you see in the background of some of your favorite tv shows and movies, the don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-me guy. My writing quirk is that I enjoy writing on set. As a matter of fact, I have some of my most productive writing days on tv and movie sets. The constant activity and energy seem to tap directly into my creative flow somehow. I love it.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

Well, my debut novel is actually an adaptation of a script I wrote years ago. I went back and took a script that had been well received in Hollywood and I turned that script into a novel. I had to flesh it out quite a bit, because when you write a script you only write what the audience can see onscreen. The screenwriter doesn’t include thoughts or emotions, except through the actions of the characters. For the script to read like a book, I had to fill in the gaps, but it was great fun!

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

At the end of the day, I am a storyteller. I tell stories for the enjoyment of others, and if I can stumble through a narrative effectively enough to take someone on an adventure, then I’ve done what I set out to do. I don’t have a message, I just want a reader to lose themselves for a little while in the magic of a tale well told. If I manage to make them laugh or cry or feel inspired along the way, then all the better, and I’m happy.

What is the significance of the title?

Ha! That is a funny question, because the title has seen many changes. When I first wrote the story as a script, it was simply ‘Archipelago’. My agent was not a big fan of that title, so we kicked around a few ideas and then he suggested ‘Guardians of the Reef’. We went with that. When I turned the script into a novel, I went back to one of the ideas we had discarded, ‘Lords of the Archipelago’, then added ‘Blood-Feud’ at the last minute, in an attempt to make it sound more action-y.

What gave you that push to press the publish button?

I have always been super excited about the idea that I could tell a story and someone else could hear it or read it. That has always seemed magical to me, and it’s what led me to publish this novel. I want as many people as possible to be a part of this circle and enjoy the stories I tell. 

What was the highlight of writing this book?

That’s a tough question, but a good one. The process of writing is such a roller coaster but I have to say that the greatest moments in the creation of the book were when I could see that my beta readers had connected with the characters–that those characters had become real to them and they were no longer strangers. That process of creating something out of nothing is absolutely magical and I will never get used to it.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

Thanks for asking. I’m working on the sequel to ‘Lords of the Archipelago: Blood-Feud’ and that is going quite well. I tend to work on more than one project at the same time, so I’m also working on adapting another script into a novel. I’m very excited about that project, as it gives me a chance to reconnect with characters that I wrote a decade ago.

What advice would you give to other authors?

I’m no expert, but… 

READ. Whenever you can. As much as you can. That would be my first piece of advice. 

Secondly–WRITE! I know that sounds obvious, but writers need to write. Every single day. Be consistent and strict with your writing time. Don’t dilute it with distractions. Do your research outside of writing time. Do your social media posts and marketing outside of writing time. If you lock in dedicated writing time, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.  

Finally–give yourself grace. Being a writer/author is hard. Don’t beat yourself up. The world needs your words. 

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I love writing. I want people to know that my goal is to tell a story as well as I can. As far as the books are concerned, it’s the same. I want people to enjoy them enough to care about what happens to the characters. I wouldn’t mind if I made a reader laugh or smile every now and then as well. I believe stories are essential. I’m excited that I can be a part of the process of building worlds and adventures that other people can walk in. I’ll never get tired of it. 

By the way,I love to hear readers’ thoughts about my book. If you decide to read it, you can always connect with me through TikTok (@authordbmotu). I can’t wait to hear what you think! 

Thank you.

 

Thank you D.B. Motu for chatting with me! I will include his information down below. Check out his debut release, Lords Of The Archipelago today!

~Synopsis~

A brutal, modern-day-pirate syndicate.
A young man torn between family honor and the woman he loves.
Deadly secrets. Cold-blooded killers.
Welcome to the Archipelago.

The Tavingtons are the PIRATE LORDS OF THE ARCHIPELAGO—the most powerful family in a high-seas, 21st-century pirate syndicate—and Caleb Tavington is the heir to the throne.

Unknown to the syndicate, Caleb wants out. He’s in love with Emma Wallace, and in the Archipelago that’s a death sentence, because the Wallaces and the Tavingtons are locked in a deadly blood-feud, with decades of hatred and violence between them.

Caleb knows that, to survive, he and Emma have to disappear, and he has an exit plan…but then everything falls apart.

To make it out alive, this modern-day Romeo and Juliet must walk a deadly tightrope of betrayal, blood-feud and war, and Caleb will have to remind an ocean full of stone-cold killers why he is the most feared pirate in the syndicate—and still a Lord of the Archipelago.

Readers call this explosive action-thriller ‘RIVETING’, ‘BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED’ & ‘ACTION-PACKED’

D.B. Motu is a recovering screenwriter, often found drowning in coffee shops. He was born on an island you’ve never heard of, grew up under martial law in Southeast Asia, and currently lives and writes in sunny Southern California. He insists he’s directly descended from Samoan and British royalty, and counts among his ancestors a South Seas pirate. He’s a board-gaming poet and aspiring liar. Pull up a chair.

Link to Amazon page:
Link to Goodreads Author Page:
Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring S.C. Grayson

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is S.C. Grayson! Her debut, Spears and Shadows (Defenders of the Light Book 1) released June 16th 2022.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

 Hi! I’m S.C. Grayson, and I’m a fantasy romance author. My first book, Spears and Shadows, released on June 16th. I was born and raised in Chicago (and I show my love for my hometown in my books), but I now live in Pittsburgh with my husband and our two adorable cats. When I’m not writing, I’m a registered nurse and a breast cancer researcher.

Congrats on your debut release! How was that experience for you?

It’s been great! My debut has been out for about a month now, and I’m still waiting for the day it will really sink in that I’m a published author now. It still doesn’t feel real. I don’t even know what to do with my personal copy of Spears and Shadows. It’s sitting laying sideways across other books on my shelf, haphazardly shoved in there because I’m out of room. I should make a place of honor for it I suppose, but I just haven’t gotten there.

How long have you been writing?

Fiction? This book is my first foray into fiction, and I started writing it back in 2018. After I finished drafting it, the story sat on my computer untouched for almost a whole year, since I didn’t know if I was going to publish it. At first, I started writing it just for myself, so when I realized I wanted to share it with the world, it took me a while to figure out how I wanted to do that.

In terms of writing in general though, I’ve been at that for quite a while! I’m currently a nurse researcher working towards my PhD, so I’ve written a good number of scientific publications regarding my research of breast cancer genetics. I even wrote a chapter in a genetics textbook that is being published in September! It feels extra special to publish fiction and nonfiction in the same year.

Describe a typical writing day.

I’m not sure I have a “typical” day, considering I don’t really have a writing routine. I tend to write huge chunks at a time, followed by a period of days with no (fiction) writing when I get busy with science. When I am dedicating a day to my writing though, I walk to my favorite local coffee shop and camp out with an iced americano and one of their homemade rice krispie treats. I think I wrote at least 75% of Spears and Shadows while sitting in that coffee shop!

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

This is one of the questions I get asked the most and still is one of the hardest for me to answer. I’m not always sure where my ideas come from when they pop into my head. I do know that what makes me sit down and write is the need to make the kind of stories I would like to read. I started by first book because I had been reading a lot for a period, and I still felt like I was looking for a specific story that I wasn’t able to find. I decided that I owned a laptop, so I might as well fix the problem by creating it myself!

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

First and foremost, I want my readers to be entertained. Especially in this day and age, I feel like we could all use a little escapism. If I offer readers a chance to spend an afternoon engrossed in another world, then I will have done my job.

What is the significance of the title?

To be transparent, the title wasn’t settled on until well after I had signed a publishing contract, much closer to publication. For me, the spear was really important as it symbolizes the start of the adventure. The weapon is what draws Nora, the main character, into the whole new world she discovers. The Shadow is the evil in the story, and while it is a dark and mysterious force, it isn’t the traditional characterization of evil. The concept of an evil that is born from the good, just like light casts a shadow, is a central tenant of the story. So, Spears and Shadows refers to two of the most important aspects of the story. Plus, who doesn’t like a little alliteration?

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Enthusiastic, unconventional, compassionate.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Sharing my book with my sister and my husband for the first time was incredible. They are the first people to read everything I write. My sister and I have been reading fantasy and discussing it since I could read, so being able to talk with her about a story I wrote was really special. This book really wouldn’t exist without my husband’s support, so handing him the first copy and having him open it to see the dedication to him in the front was a teary moment for me.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

Yes! I have the first book in another series scheduled to release in January. It is called Beauty and the Blade and is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast taking place in a dystopian version of Victorian London that is being overrun by magical street gangs. Spears and Shadows is also getting not one, but two sequels! So all the reviewers who have been saying they want to know more about the side characters, your time is coming.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Write the story you want to tell. You can figure the rest out later.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I write because I love telling stories! I have a job outside of writing that I wouldn’t leave even if I sold a million copies. So for me, this is about sharing books and connecting with people through the characters I create. With that in mind, I don’t think I’ll ever be tired of hearing from readers. I genuinely love to connect with all of you!

 

Thank you S.C. Grayson for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her latest release, Spears and Shadows today!

~Synopsis~

Nora struggled with work-life balance even before an immortal sorcerer showed up and turned her career-and her love life, upside down.

Historian Nora Zvezda is gunning for a promotion at The Chicago Field Museum. The discovery of two ancient Greek weapons unlike any she’s seen before might be her big break-but the artifacts are more than they seem.

Trying to uncover their secrets, Nora enlists the help of professor of ancient languages, Dr. Adam Scott, an undeniably handsome man of intrigue. Nora has been too busy to worry about romance, but Adam seems to be overflowing with charm-and secrets, the biggest being his rank among the Eteria, a secret society of powerful sorcerers who’ve been in hiding since the days of the Greek empire.

When Nora’s work with the ancient and mystical weapons draws the attention of the Shadow, a powerful force that feeds off fear and negative emotions, she finds herself thrust in the middle of a perilous, age-old war between good and evil.

To protect herself, she must join the Eteria in their fight, all while struggling not to sacrifice the life she’s worked so hard for. Complicating things further is her undeniable desire for Adam and the feeling that he may be hiding more than his status as an immortal sorcerer.

S.C. Grayson has been reading fantasy novels since she was a little girl stealing books from her older sister’s shelves, and that has developed into a love of writing and storytelling. Her writing is currently focused on fantasy and paranormal romance. When she is not sitting in a local coffee shop writing and consuming an iced americano, Grayson is a nurse working towards a PhD in nursing with a focus on breast cancer genetics. She lives in Pittsburgh with her loving husband and their two cats, who enjoy contributing to her work by walking across her keyboard at inopportune moments (the cats, not the husband).

Website/newsletter sign up: https://www.scgrayson.com/
Spears and Shadows on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B1CJF65W
Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring J.S. Latshaw

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is J.S. Latshaw! Author of the Brathius Legacy Series.

How long have you been writing?

I was one of those kids that was always writing, trying (and too often succeeding) to make my classmates perform my plays. I remember a Christmas play in 3rd grade where for some reason I thought making 80% of the production an intense birthing scene would be a good idea, and my teachers didn’t agree, though they expressed their horror too late, only after it was performed for an audience of visiting parents. More formally, I started writing screenplays 20 years ago, and novels 7 years ago.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I get my inspiration from living life and all the hurts and joys that come from doing that, from exploring the outdoors, from lots of reading (fiction and non-fiction), from unapologetically watching and loving movies and television, and from paying attention to what rattles around in my head and heart throughout the day.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

For me, a whole lot. I normally do not start writing until I’ve got a ton of raw material to work with, and I can inhabit the world and hang out with the characters. I think about stories and worlds for a long time before I write, normally during long solitary hikes in the santa monica mountains. Sometimes I even try to write little almanacs and encyclopedia entries about the worlds my stories take place in, and answer a lot of those questions. I’m curious about mapping all these things out, whether I’ll use them in the books or not, it’s important for me to know. Of course, while writing more of the world will be revealed to me too. But I need to have a lot of it felt and known prior to writing pages.

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

I would hope characters are transported somewhere faraway and fantastic, and yet in that journey learn something about their everyday life and their own heart. I want people to feel like they’re reaching for the unknown and grasping enough of it to think they’ve embarked on an adventure. There’s a lot of loss and pain and joy and curiosity and strength and weakness and betrayal and heartbreak in my books, and I want people to feel those things deeply.

What is the significance of the title?

I’ve always been fascinated by the hidden dangers in this world, the creatures in the shadows, the sea monsters hidden below the surface. There’s something about an unmapped, unknown area that is both incredible attractive to me, and utterly frightening, at the same time. So with THE THREAT BELOW, to me that’s both a warning but also a siren’s call. Yes, it’s dangerous down there, but isn’t it also exciting? And don’t you want to know what’s going on exactly?

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Curious, sensitive, active.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Finishing it! And having it exist not only in my head, but in a form where other people can experience it, live in it, interact with it, love or hate it, feel something. That’s been truly satisfying in a way I wasn’t fully aware it would be prior to writing.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

Yes! I’ve finished the sequel to the Threat Below, and now I’m working on the third in the series. (I have 4 books planned all together.) I’m also almost finished a shorter stand alone novel which is set in this same world, but a completely different location with different characters. And I’ve completed a novel with a writing partner which I’m also very excited about and we’re pursuing traditional publishing for that one.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Oh goodness. One, write what’s exciting to you. If you’re looking at a chapter and you think I don’t want to write this because it feels boring… don’t write it! If you’re bored by it, there’s little chance someone else will enjoy it. Find another way, find something that intrigues you, characters who beguile you, stories that enfold you. And two, expect the criticism, and listen to what is useful but tune the rest out. Nobody can write something that everybody in the world loves. Accept that. There is no bullet proof book. Write something that you love, and there’s a good chance many others will love it too. And lastly, just write it! It’s scary to actually bring something that exists only in your head onto the page, because it never looks quite as good there as you’d hoped. But something on the page, that actually exists in the real world, is a thousand times better than something that lives only in your head. Accept this on faith, and press into it. You will fight yourself on this. But make the writing your goal, and tune out the naysaying.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

If you like headstrong stubborn but lovable characters, faraway worlds that maybe could have been or could still be, mysterious monsters that aren’t quite what you think they are (but are, I promise you, still monsters – not people in masks, I will never write a scooby doo ending, my monsters are always real, and huge stories that ultimately focus on heart and relationships, you might find something you like in my work.

 

Thank you J.S. Latshaw for chatting with me! I will include his information down below. Check out Brathius Legacy Series today!

~Synopsis~

She heard the legends. She knew the history. But nothing could have prepared her for what she found.

Three hundred years ago, a lethal and mysterious threat arose and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. Now, a small remnant – the descendants of the few survivors who escaped the massacre below – lives above the clouds, atop a mountain. When they discover their water supply is being poisoned, an expedition, including seventeen year-old Icelyn Brathius, must descend and face the horror that wiped out civilization centuries ago.

The danger is closer than you think. The shocking true nature of the Threat Below.

As Icelyn faces dangers in a world humans are not meant to survive, she learns that not everything is as it seems, uncovers an ancient revelation, and faces a choice that will change the fate of everyone above and below the clouds. Will Icelyn be strong enough to survive – and bear a terrible secret?

Read this page-turning adventure today. 

Jason was raised in Pennsylvania and now lives in Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA’s Screenwriting MFA program.

Website: https://jlatshaw.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jasonsethlatshaw/?hl=en

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Kristy Brown

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Kristy Brown! Author of The Summer Solstice series.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was a teen, I wrote lots of poetry and short stories, but I ended up falling in love with drama. I studied acting at university. After having my first child I started writing again. A short story turned into my first book, KIERA’S QUEST, a Middle Grade fantasy series. I haven’t stopped writing since. 

What time of the day do you usually write? 

I usually write when the husband and kids are at work/ school/ college. I need total silence. Normally I try to fit in two to three hours a day. 

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

If I’m to be honest the characters usually come first and I build the world around them. There was lots of world building in Kiera’s Quest as it happens across different magical realms. 

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?  

All my books are special to me for different reasons. I love Summer, Alex and Andi in Summer’s End. I love the magical romance in Cinderfella, a modern-day retelling with all roles reversed. Kiera’s Quest was an adventure as I could go mad with my imagination creating new creatures and worlds. Just Sam was the easiest to write as there’s a lot of my personality in it. For instance, Sam loves tennis, as do I (watching, not playing!) She loves Disney and I love a bit of that! My problem is that I can’t seem to stick to a genre. I write whatever may pop into my head. 

What book is currently by your bedside table? 

Flock by Kate Stewart. 

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say? 

Yes, I love talking to them. Mostly it’s positive asking me to continue with a series etc. 

Favorite book when you were a kid? 

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl because I have fond memories of my grandad reading it to me and chuckling all the way through. 

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be? 

Honest. Caring. Creative. 

What advice would you give to other authors? 

Read as much as possible. Edit as much as possible. Get a thick skin because not every reader will like your work. 

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

That I love writing each one and hope that the reader finds something to love too. 

I’m currently writing a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet…watch this space 😊 

 

Thank you Kristy Brown for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her series today!

~Synopsis~

YA Paranormal Romance

She wakes up in the hospital, badly burned with no identity.
He’s been trained to kill her before she burns the world to ashes.
When they finally meet, will he be able to take her life now that he’s started to feel for her?
His fate is already written.
The prophecy is already set.
Love between them is forbidden.

Hi I’m Kristy and I live in the U.K. I have always written short stories and poetry. I went to university to study acting which I loved, but my real passion has always been writing. So, now I write the kind of stories I would have wanted to read as a teen. “Kiera’s Quest- part one & two,” a Middle-grade/ teen fantasy series, is now available on e-book and paperback. If you like shape shifters, magical realms and a chosen one, then this may be for you!
My YA contemporary romance book, “Just Sam,” about a young tennis star who loses someone important and has to trust in life and love again, is available on Amazon in print & on Kindle, as is my YA/NA fairy-tale retelling, “Cinderfella.”​ Cinderfella has all roles reversed and is aimed slightly older, as there is a little passion and darkness to this tale, but still keeps the magic of the original.
I also have a YA Paranormal Romance trilogy, ‘The Summer Solstice series.’ “Summer’s End,” book one, “Summer’s Lost” (2) and “Summer’s Time,” are all available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited, as are all my titles. I love reading of course. I have lots of new projects in mind, and I’m currently working on a retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KristyBrownWrites/

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3nAKk7O

Author Spotlight · Coming Soon · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Ariel Dawn

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Ariel Dawn! Her upcoming release, Hecate (Speed Dating with the Denizens of the Underworld Book 6) is releasing June 28th 2022.

Congrats on hitting the USA Today best selling list!!

What inspired you to start writing?

I’d always wanted to be an author. I can remember being younger and thinking one day I’ll write a book. Even then I was inspired by love and love stories, and some of my first writings were love poems and fanfiction. I’ve always been a dreamer, and always constructed stories and epic daydreams in my head. It just took me 35 years to put those stories on paper and realize they could be published, and that I had the drive to actually finish a story and see it through to publication.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I write on my couch. I have a desk, in fact I have a studio downstairs in my house that is a stocked art studio, with shelves and great lighting…but I write on my couch under a blanket, usually with a big cup of coffee beside me.

How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

It’s almost a little impossible for me to NOT soak up some of the characters I write. Especially the ones that I feel a connection to, like Ava, Jade, or Ketra. Those 3 are probably the most vivd to me, and writing them can sometimes be very taxing on me emotionally, and when I find myself soaking up too much of those moments, too much of their drama, I usually take a break or hop into another book, or read someone else’s book to reroute my brain a bit.

But for me I think what impacts me the most, if when I’m in the zone, I tend to hyperfixate. When I was writing Blood & Lust, I wrote for nearly 5 days straight. I slept, but not well because my mind was racing with the next chapter almost non-stop. When I get like that, I build in breaks to my schedule for rest. Shut my phone off and zone out with some Netflix, take a nap.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I wrote and published 8 books in 2021. So far in 2022, I have published 3, but I’ve written quite a few. I’m on track to publish 15 books for 2022 total, and I’m going to be starting work on my 2023 books soon, and there is a lot for 2023 as well.

If I had to pick ONE, I’d say In The Blood (or literally ANY of the Ava Crowley books) is my favorite, but Hollow’s Sunset (well, the whole Shifters of Starfall Creek Series, really) is a really close second.

In The Blood gets the number 1 spot because I’m a vampire girl at heart, and In The Blood is inspired by a lot of my favorite vampires ad vampire media. It’s the one I am most proud of, and Ava & Cas are my favorite to write because they really come so naturally and easily to me, and they are really great characters on their own as well as together.

Hollow’s Sunset is the second book in my co-written Shifters of Starfall Creek Series with Quell T. Fox, and the series was a milestone series for me for a number of reasons. It was my first shifter story, my first reverse harem story, my first crack at writing steamier material, my first time writing spicy m/m scenes (and group scenes). Hollow’s Sunset is my favorite out of the series because I really started to explore more m/m romance, and was much more confident in writing steam, plus there is a lot of really great character development and action in it. Even though I didn’t write him, Dustin is my favorite, and he really opens up in the second book, which I loved!

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

First off, Quell T. Fox. If I hadn’t met Quell and started co-writing with her, I would never have gotten so comfortable writing steam and spice this fast, that I know. Before I started writing with her, I could barely write the word cock, and I’d never written anything other than M/F. Writing with her really helped me learn firsthand where my strengths and weaknesses were, and her support as I found my footing and got more comfortable writing reverse harem, steam, spice, and conflict has definitely made a huge impact on my writing.

I also have to shout out C. Rochelle and AJ Mullican for their constant support and the role they play when it comes to my writing. Especially when I hit those roadblocks in the steam and conflict department. Both of them were authors I started reading in the very beginning of my author career and they continue to be two of my favorite authors, and are both amazing writers as well as amazing people.

What was the highlight of writing your latest book?

The latest book coming out, Hecate which comes out in just a few days- the highlight of that book had to be the steam for me. It’s my first book in a shared world, and I was writing it while I wrote the Shifters of Starfall Creek with Quell, and I got to really explore writing an alphahole and writing something on the steamier side solo.

The latest book I WROTE- was A Dark & Stormy Night, and the highlight of that for me was writing my first F/F romance. Dark & Stormy is a menage romance with f/f romance in it, and after writing m/m romance I was really excited to tackle a MFF pairing.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

I have a literal STACK of books my bedside table, on my coffee table, on the floor in front of my bookshelves… but the NEWEST book to my coffee table stash is New Orleans Vampires by Marita Woywod Crandle. I picked it up on my recent trip to New Orleans after learning about some of the local vampire legends.

Do you have any new series planned?

I have many!

This year I am releasing Heaven Knows, which is the first book in my Lost Souls Series, and Voices In The Dark which is the first book in my Monsters of Ashwood Series.

Next year I plan on releasing my Lunar Mates Series, as well as my Merciless Gods Series, and I have another Ava Crowley spinoff series in the works which follows the male hunters from the Ava Crowley Vampire Slayer Series!

What advice would you give to other authors?

Just write. Don’t worry about polishing or making it perfect on the first go around. Just write. You can always go in after you finish to clean everything up and revise, but getting the words out is the most important thing. And even if you don’t like it after you’ve polished, revised, edited- that doesn’t mean your readers won’t love it. In fact, I guarantee that even if you can’t stand the book and see all its flaws they will still love it and think it’s amazing. Because YOU wrote it, and they love what you write!

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I love love. I write and will always continue to write inclusive, diverse characters in my stories and represent all the facets of love I can. Whether that be F/F, M/M, MFM, MMMF, and others. I will always feature characters with complex backgrounds and plots, and will continue to write all steam levels. I will always write strong female characters as well as vulnerable and strong male characters and build the most vivid worlds I can for you to escape into.

Thank you Ariel Dawn for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Preorder her upcoming release, Hecate today!

~Synopsis~

Sometimes you need to unleash the beast inside…

Cate’s solitary life as a goddess is turned upside down when she agrees to attend a speed dating event with her mortal friend. When she’s paired with Gunner—a shifter with an attitude—sparks fly, and she soon finds herself entangled in a fate she cannot fight. The night will not last forever, and she must find a way to set Gunner’s caged spirit free.

Can Cate fulfill her duty and link her destiny with his—before time runs out?

Hecate is book six in the Speed Dating with the Denizens of the Underworld shared world, filled with badass witchy goddesses, broody shifters, and more.

It’s always darkest before the dawn…

USA Today Bestselling Author Ariel Dawn grew up as an avid reader and is a creative soul.

Ariel writes plot driven paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and reverse harem and hopes to venture into many other genres in the future. When she isn’t writing, she can be found cosplaying, attending conventions, swimming with her mermaid tail, creating all sorts of artwork in her studio, or editing photos for her photography business. A self-professed geek and foodie, she loves hanging out with family and friends and playing video games and board games with her retro gamer husband.

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring Leila James

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Leila James! Her newest book, Sweet Punk (Shadow River Elite Book 3) released on June 2nd 2022.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always loved to read and three years ago I’d arrived at a place in my life where I was looking for a creative outlet. It started as a bit of a hobby, but I quickly became invested in what I was doing. One book turned into a five book series. That was where I started—I was writing under another name in small-town steamy contemporary back then.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I have a very hard time writing without cover images. The images tell me a lot about the characters and the story. For that reason, I always try to have my covers first. I plaster the images everywhere—a couple of places in my office, my phone lock and home screens, my iPad, my computer …

How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I let it overtake me. It’s the only way through it. So, that means sometimes I cry a lot. And then there are those times when I’m stuck in a scene for days. Lemme tell ya, it’s rough to be stuck in a sexy scene for that long.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Under Leila James, fourteen. Under my other pen name, twenty-two (Amanda Bailey – you can tell them if you want) Asking me to choose a favorite is like asking me to choose a favorite child. No can do. I like them all for different reasons and connect with each character in a different way. 😉

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

In the beginning? Nora Roberts. Colleen Hoover.  Now? Anything Ashley Jade or Angel Lawson or Samantha Rue or Rachel Leigh or Becca Steele or Caitlyn Dare. 🙂

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say? 

Sometimes! I get an occasional email and try to respond to those personally. My ARC and Street teams are probably my biggest fans. They talk to me all the time. I also have a great reader group on Facebook.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

No physical book, but my iPhone Kindle App is currently on Filthy Rich Boys by C.M. Stunich.

Do you have any new series planned?

Yes, but only my editor, alpha reader, and critique partners know anything about it yet. It’s due out in October. Look for a series reveal in mid-August.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

Honestly, I haven’t thought about it for even a second. I’m not one for Pinterest boards or anything like that. Once the cover model is in my head, that’s it. Maybe I’ve never thought about it like that because I tend to be very practical and right now, one of my books being made into a movie seems like a farfetched fantasy.

What advice would you give to other authors?

There are many different ways to write and to publish a book. Study what others do, but do it your own way. Stop. Evaluate what’s working … and what’s not. 

 What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

All I’ve ever wanted is for people to read and enjoy them. I hope through my books, I help those who need it find an escape.

 

Thank you Leila James for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Sweet Punk today!

~Synopsis~

The sweet punk across the hall has my undivided attention.

He’s inked perfection.
Totally unattainable.
He’s hiding something behind his quiet demeanor.
But I’ve got trouble of my own. The dangerous kind.
He wants all of me, but he doesn’t know my whole story.
And I will walk through fire to keep him.

WARNING: Shadow River Elite is a New Adult/College series of standalones filled with drama, angst, and bad boys. If you’re not into romances where hate turns into love, and tortured souls find their match, this might not be the series for you. This series is recommended for mature readers due to graphic language, dark elements, and sexual content.

Leila James has one goal: keeping you up past your bedtime turning the pages of her books. She writes emotional, angsty, and swoon-worthy new adult romances with lots of unique characters and plot twists.

Leila’s family will tell you she’s as big a reader as she is a writer. And … she’s completely obsessed with both. She resides in Virginia with her husband and two children.

Website: https://www.leilajames.biz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.leilajames

Facebook Reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/leilaslovesandbullybadboys

Instagram: @author_leilajames

TikTok: @author_leilajames

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Leila-James/e/B08P2LJVRV

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20933618.Leila_James

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/leila-james

New Release · Review

Bad Girls Drink Blood (Blood Fae Druid Book 1) by S.L. Choi – My Review


Title: Bad Girls Drink Blood (Blood Fae Druid Book 1)

Author: S.L. Choi

Release Date: May 17th 2022

Genre: Paranormal Suspense, Fantasy

Part sun fae, part blood fae, all abomination.

After a life spent dodging slurs, threats, and assassination attempts, Lane Callaghan gave her past the one finger salute and ditched her former fae home for good.

The detective agency she and her sisters run on the edge of Las Vegas continues to limp along, with Lane doing more debt collecting and intimidating than investigating, but anything to pay the bills. Between working for low-lifes to bring down even lower-lifes, eating cheesy poofs by the bucket, and flirting with the criminally attractive bartender where she conducts business, life is good.

That ends when a routine job goes sideways leaving Lane with a sack full of stolen sun shards—the source of sun fae power. Without the shards, the sun fae face giving up their magic completely, or risk death if they use their power.

As far as Lane’s concerned, good riddance, considering they would rather see her dead—except her father and adopted sister are sun fae. Lane must choose to return home to save the fae bastards that almost killed her…or let them burn.

“With tantalizing hints of a wolfy blood tryst, a heavy dose of sisterly love, and plot twists to make the ride a surprise, S.L. Choi’s, Bad Girls Drink Blood is too much fun. If you like the Hollows, you will love this.” — Kim Harrison, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Hollows series

Bad Girls Drink Blood has the heroine we didn’t know we needed and may not deserve! Lane is one tough cookie. She doesn’t back down from a fight and she always gets the job done. 

What an entertaining ride this book was! You get a front seat into the adventures and shenanigans that Lane seems to find herself in. Her humor is on point, which had me laughing. Action and humor. A great combo! Teddy is dreamy! New book boyfriend? I think so! The banter between the characters was great. It made this a fun read. Oh there were plenty of moments that got you right in your feels too. That ending left me longing for the next book. I needs it!! 

A fantastic debut for S.L. Choi! The book is well written and the world building is impressive. This witty, action packed paranormal goodness will have you on one crazy ride. A ride that you won’t want to get off any time soon! I give this 5 stars. 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*