Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Boys of Summer by Sarah Madison




About the Author:

Like most writers, Sarah Madison was a story-teller as a child. She couldn’t help herself! She carried a grubby spiral notebook with her everywhere she went, filling it with stories about dogs and horses. When she reached the end of high school, however, she packed up all her creativity in a box and placed it on a shelf, to be stored with other childhood memories. She worked hard at her job and thought that being passionless was just what growing up was all about.

One day she woke up. She opened the box on her shelf and discovered much to her surprise, her passion was there, just waiting to be claimed again.

Now, writing sometimes takes precedence over everything else. In fact, when she is in the middle of a chapter, she usually relies on the smoke detector to tell her when dinner is ready.

To learn more, visit Sarah on her website, on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Author Interview:


What is your favourite food?

Bread. I would have killed Marie Antoinette, too. :-) Sadly, I have developed an intolerance for wheat in the last few years and I feel much better if I limit the amount of grain in my diet. I’d be better off if I was truly allergic because then I could quit cold turkey. Instead, I cheat a little here and there until I feel so crappy I wonder why I do this to myself. It’s an addiction, seriously.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

A night owl by nature, a morning person because of work. I’m so conditioned to rise and hit the day running as soon as I put my feet on the floor that it doesn’t matter how late I’m up the night before, I will stagger out of bed at the same time regardless.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I’ve done so little traveling in my life that I scarcely know where to begin with the dreaming. When all you know is the briar patch, it is hard to imagine a larger world out there. I would very much like to see the countries of my ancestors. I recently visited the UK on a short trip and fell in love. It felt like I was coming home. I would love seeing more of the British Isles.

Do distant places feature in your books?

Not really. Having felt what it was like to step foot in a different country and experience first hand what that was like, I realize now how impossible it is to really get the feel for a place that you’ve never seen. You can use your imagination, but there’s nothing quite like experiencing it firsthand.

Do you listen to music while writing?

No, I don’t I find it too distracting. I listen to music when I’m brainstorming for a story—I commute long distances to work and I have playlists I listen to while I drive. The familiar music lets my mind wander and I frequently have ‘eureka!’ moments during these trips, but when I sit down to write, I can’t listen to music unless it is a quiet instrumental in the background.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

The Boys of Summer is a story about two very different men who otherwise would be two ships passing in the night; only circumstances force them to rely on each other for survival. In the normal course of events, they’d have gone their separate ways without ever acting on their attraction to one another. Now they have to re-evaluate what is important to them and how much they are willing to put on the line for each other.

What makes this story different is the there is a long dream sequence in the middle of the novel that mirrors some of the decisions that Rick and David have to make about each other and the risks each of them would be asked to take. Like the reliance on each other to survive being marooned on a deserted island in the South Pacific, both men have to decide if putting their hearts on the line is worth the risk.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

Whew-boy! I’ve learned so much—and part of that is that I have so much still to learn. The publishing industry is in the throes of major upheaval right now as e-publishing changes the face of the industry in ways no one could have seen fifteen years ago. It has made it possible for publishing houses to take chances on no-name writers such as myself with minimal risks to their bottom line, but it has also made it easier than ever for anyone to become a published author. As such, the overall quality of the mass market stories has gone down, and reader expectations of cheap, readily available stories has gone up.

I hear lots of authors wish that they could just write their stories and find some publisher willing to do all the work they don’t want to do: the self-promotion and marketing aspect of things. Sadly, I think that’s a fantasy now. Legacy publishing has really fallen down on the job of keeping up with the changes in the industry, and social media promotion on the part of authors is probably here to stay.

I’ve worked with publishers and I’ve self-published. There are pros and cons to both but I can honestly say that I never fully appreciated how much my publishers do for me until I tried doing it all on my own. There are some people for whom self-publishing gives them the total control they desire. For me, with limited amounts of time in which to write, I’m better off working with a publisher who can take care of the things I don’t have the skills to handle well and putting my time resources into the one thing I do know how to do: writing the next story.

Is there anything you would do differently?

I’d have concentrated on one type of story rather than writing whatever caught my interest. I’d have buckled down and written my sequels rather than moved on to the next set of shiny characters that enthralled me. In the genre of M/M romance, what sells best is the long, contemporary romance—preferably part of a series as well. Unfortunately, I write what I love and that isn’t necessarily what sells the best.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

I’ve always read a lot. My favorite genres are mystery and sci-fi, so when I write my own stories, I like plotty adventures. I do love seeing my favorite characters get together, so I refer to my stories as romances with detective (or paranormal) interruptions. I am a huge sucker for witty banter and clever dialog, so I aim to include that in my own stories. And even though I like torturing my characters, I want to make things right in the end. I believe in happy endings. Life is tough enough. At the end of the day, I want to read a story that will make me forget about how hard my day was. So what if it is a little fluffy and not very intellectual? What is important to me is whether or not the author makes me care about their characters and transports me to another world for a few hours. If I can do that for any reader, I am thrilled.

I want heroes that are better than I am. Heroes that inspire me to live up to their standards. I want to be good enough to be considered for the crew of the Enterprise. I don’t want to read about characters that might as well be my boss or my co-workers or the man-next-door.

I love intelligent characters and adult relationships. One of the main reasons I am attracted to M/M romances is because the characters usually meet as equals. On the whole, I read very little traditional romance because I loathe what falling in love does to the average heroine.

I’m a huge fan of David Weber, Jane Austen, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Elizabeth Moon, Laurie B. King, Elizabeth Peters, Josephine Tey, Tasha Alexander and more. If I could produce a story a tenth as good as any one of theirs, I’d be happy.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Write more, talk less. I know there is this whole thing about Promotion is King and how you need to spend x amount of time self-promoting and a certain amount of that is true. But remember this: it is easier to sell books and workshops on marketing than it is to teach you how to be a better writer. Your best promotion is your next story. Never forget that.

What are three words that describe you?

Loyal, hard-working, self-deprecating.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

My all-time favorite must-have-on-a-desert-island book is Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. By this point in the series, you know that Harriet Vane has been acquitted of the murder of her former lover with the help of Lord Peter Wimsey, who has been pursuing her romantically ever since. Gaudy Night is a grown-up novel with adult issues, disguised as a mystery. Not to mention, it has the hottest scene ever for a novel that contains no overt sex whatsoever.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book


The Boys of Summer: Working for a California-based film production company, David McIntyre is the go-to man for matching the right location to the right project for the right price. On an extended trip to Hawaii, he hires Sutton’s Air Service to cart him all around to some of the most exotic locations in the South Pacific. During one of those trips, a freak tropical storm forces them to make a crash landing, leaving both men stranded without a radio and with very little in the way of food and water. Rick Sutton’s injuries make it imperative that they be rescued soon, and David finds himself calling on all his professional skills to keep both of them alive.

It takes a vivid dream about WW2 however, to make David realize that he has real feelings for Rick—more than just his natural concern that both of them get out of this mess alive. But putting his heart on the line might be the greatest risk David has ever taken—does he have the courage to make it before time runs out on both of them?

List of previous books if any

Unspeakable Words
Crying for the Moon
Raincheck
Practice Makes Perfect
Going for Gold (anthology)
A Summer Fling


Any websites/places readers can find you on the web

All my links (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc, are available on my website.
http://www.sarahmadisonfiction.com/




Book Trailer:



***

The Boys of Summer
by Sarah Madison
M/M Romance
Amazon Paperback | Kindle
Amazon UK Paperback | Kindle


David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches…and a secret crush on his hot, ex-Air Force pilot, Rick Sutton. Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, make rescue imperative, but it takes an intensely vivid dream about the war to make David see that Rick is more than just a pilot to him. Will David gather his courage to confess his feelings to Rick—before it’s too late?

The Boys of Summer has recently been given an Honorable Mention and is one of the finalists in the 2013 Rainbow Awards! The winners will be announced sometime in December.

“Settings are used wonderfully here, becoming so vibrant that they played out like a movie in my mind as I read.” Jessewave

“I devoured it and it has moved into my top ten books of all time.” Josie Goodreads

“Ms. Madison writes with a wonderful, flowing style, her words effortless and magical, drawing you into her story.” Susan Mac Nicol

Giveaway

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Friday, 6 December 2013

Book Review: The Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon


The Gengleman and the Rogue
by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon
M/M Historical Romance
5 Stars
Review Copy supplied by author.
Amazon

Blurb:

Lad from the streets meets lord of the manor. Both men's lives will be changed forever.

When Sir Alan Watleigh goes searching for sex, he never imagines the street rat he brings home for one last bit of pleasure in his darkest hour will be the man who hauls him back from the edge of the grave. Despite his harsh life in the slums of London, Jem is a bright, cheerful young man. He's also witty, irreverent, glib, and makes Alan laugh--a rare occasion since war time trauma and the death of his family have made the man a ghost of his former self.

A single night of meaningless sex turns into an offer of permanent employment. Jem acts as Alan's valet, but offers him so much more than polished boots and starched cravats. Just as the men are adjusting to their new living arrangement, news about a former soldier under his command sends Sir Watleigh and Jem on the road to save a child in danger.

The journey brings them closer together as they travel from lust toward love. They rescue the girl from the clutches of an insane surgeon, who is as interested in experimenting on the vulnerable human spirit as he is on physical bodies. Alan realizes his love for Jem when he nearly loses him, but is Alan's love strong enough to risk society discovering the truth about him? And is he strong enough to finally accept his sexual nature?

Review:

I adored this book, I could hardly read it fast enough, but then I wanted to eke out the last few pages so it wouldn't finish too soon, so engrossed was I in Sir Alan's and Jem's tale.

Jem is a male prostitute, hired by Sir Alan for one night, one night of pleasure before he leaves this world for good. Only things don't quite turn out that way. Alan decides against suicide and to his amazement, he offers Jem a place as his valet to get him off the streets for good.

Despite the first intimate scene being between Alan and Jem, a street whore, I am going to call it a love scene rather than a sex scene, because it was so emotionally fraught for both of them. When Jem began by kissing Alan's battle scars so tenderly, I was almost in tears.

Despite being a sometime thief, liar and whore, Jem is still a good character; he's the light to Alan's darkness, his remembered horrors of the war. Both are damaged characters, but both find new purpose with each other.

The story is so well-written and the characters speak as if they are in Regency times, not in the modern world. You won't get any 21st century slang in here. The history just blends in with the story, the reader isn't lecutured on the past.

Jem and Alan are delightful, their love scenes hot and sensual and again, flow within the story. There's a villain you'll love to hate but any more than that I won't say in case I spoil it.

It was just a wonderful read all round.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby