Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bad Behavior at the Sizzling Summer Giveaway

Whoops! I traveled to Hilton Head Island today for a long weekend vacation with my family, so I hope it's not too late to tell you about an opportunity to win book two of The Conduct Series: Bad Behavior.



Grant Madsen’s got issues. He’s still battling his Mafia family and doing everything possible to keep his loved ones safe. With the cruising season coming to an end, he has to find another job soon or he’ll rejoin his father in prison. And he’s trying to convince his rebellious teenage nephew to stay away from their criminal relatives (you can imagine how that’s going). But worst of all, Grant’s parole officer has mandated that he attend therapy.

The only saving grace is that they’re couples sessions with his girlfriend, Sophie Taylor, a fellow parolee who’s struggling with a few issues of her own. Sophie desperately hopes her past with Grant’s brother won’t destroy her future with him. There’s a sleazy professor at work who revels in sexually harassing women in the psychology department. And her father still hates Grant.

Their psychologist has his work cut out for him.

When Grant’s ruthless father hints at a plot to get out of prison, Grant must use everything he’s learned in therapy and beyond to try to stop him. It’s a race against time -- and a race to rescue Sophie from the Mafia’s clutches once again. But this time McSailor and Bonnie refuse to play victims. This time the cuffs are coming off.

Head over to The Romance Reviews to answer a trivia question based on this blurb, and win an ebook of Bad Behavior!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cover Reveal: Hold Tight and Embrace by Cherie Colyer

Wow! *gushes* I absolutely love these covers for my pub sister Cherie Colyer! Here's my review of Embrace, and I can't wait to read book two in the series: Hold Tight.


Title: Hold Tight (Embrace, #2)  
Author: Cherie Colyer 
Publisher: Omnific Publishing 
Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Age Group: Young Adult 
Expected release date: August 20, 2013 

Sixteen-year-old Madison Riley and her friends discover they aren’t the only supernatural beings in Gloucester, Massachusetts. These new creatures are more dangerous than ever, and this time Madison risks losing more than just her friends.

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This is the new cover for Embrace, book #1, to match Hold Tight.


Title: Embrace (Embrace, #1) 
Released: December 2012   

Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It's responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve. Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he's a guy harboring a secret, but she's willing to risk the unknown to be with him. Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren't there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can't find the answers, Madison seeks her own. Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover. Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound.

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About the Author 

   
Cherie Colyer writes young adult and middle grade novels. She loves finding new stories that keep her up late reading. While her favorite genre is realistic paranormal/fantasy, if the book is beautifully written with characters that come alive she’s all over it. 

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherieColyer ; @CherieColyer  

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Writing Addicted Characters: Guest Post by Lisa Daniels

Today I welcome Lisa Daniels to the blog. Her guest post shares tips for writing characters who are addicted to drugs. What fun! Take it away, Lisa:

Writing Addicted Characters

One of the first pieces of advice you hear when starting to craft stories is 'write what you know'. The obvious way to interpret this is to focus on things you're already familiar with such as your local neighborhood, jobs you've held and people you've known. There is nothing wrong with this approach and it can lead to some inspired writing. However, if you want to include elements in your story that seem a million miles from anything you've ever experienced, such as a character who is an addict, you will need to adopt a broader interpretation of that advice in order to achieve authenticity.

Effective research

When it comes to writing fiction, research can mean a number of things. It can be from a textbook in a college library, a session typing things into an internet search engine, or going out into the world and walking in your character's shoes. Researching addiction is no different. While you wouldn't want to indulge in your character's drug of choice, there is plenty of information out there that can help you craft an authentic character. Remember that in order to avoid clichÈ, be sure to go beyond the obvious and research all aspects of your character's addiction: physical, psychological, social and emotional.


Online research should be able to provide general information on addictions, associated behaviors and the route your character would take if seeking help. For example, if you were writing a 'rags to riches and back again' story about a small town actor who makes it big in Hollywood and becomes addicted to painkillers, try finding information on some west coast treatment centers your character could potentially attend. Other options include finding social media chat rooms and blogs where people to share their stories, or searching out some psychology journals and books to get an idea of the thought processes often underlying addiction. If you want to carry out some first-hand research, be warned that approaching treatment centers directly is a delicate matter. If you're confident in your approach, maybe you could find a doctor or nurse willing to discuss their work, but be extremely mindful of the confidentiality issues concerned and tread lightly. A better option may be to find some autobiographies of people who have overcome their addictions and adapt their experiences

One key piece of advice when researching fiction is 'know when to stop'. You need to do sufficient research to be sure you can write with authority and authenticity, but only enough to fulfill the demands of your story. Unless you are utilizing the research for another purpose, such as a self-help book on addiction, you do not need to be an expert in all aspects; but you do need to be an expert on the world you create. When youíre done with the research, clear it all away and face that blank page or computer screen. By this stage you should have all you need to know embedded in your mind.

Write from experience

Look at a list of symptoms addicts often manifest. According to Psychology Today, these can include shame and guilt, a sense of hopelessness, and feelings of failure, as well as anxiety and depression. While you may not be an addict yourself, have you ever experienced any of these in your life? Maybe you've had a bout of depression; or lost money gambling one night because you just couldn't walk away from the table; or turned to the bottle to escape a stressful period in your life? While you may not be able to truly empathize with someone whose life is blighted by addiction, maybe there is something you can recall from your own experience that can offer a little insight into the signs of addiction and an addictís mindset. A key word that often comes up when discussing addiction is 'control': losing it and getting it back. Think about times in your life that you've either felt a loss of control, or a time when you've taken control of something and apply it to your character's life.

Power of imagination

Ultimately, stories are a work of fiction. They are the product of a writer creating and inhabiting the mind of their characters and fitting them into a believable world; whether that's outer-space one thousand years from now, Victorian England or modern day inner-city Los Angeles. The key is authenticity. Before you start your story, shape a full character biography that fills in as much detail of your character's life as possible. Include a timeline and think about their interactions with other characters (either within or outside the story). If you're clear about the choices your character has made in their life so far, you can understand what fuels their behavior now. Addiction does not exist in a vacuum. Imposing the term 'addict' on a character (or person) is not the end of the story. Something drove them to their extreme behavior and maybe something can bring them back from the brink. If you know what motivates your character then you will know how to guide them through their story.


One final reminder is to avoid cliches. Countless stories have utilized 'the addict' in all too familiar ways. Think outside the box and create a character who no one would believe would be an alcoholic, gambler or drug abuser, or afflict your character with an unusual addiction. If youíve done your research, reached into your deepest emotions and compiled a detailed biography then you might not have lived your character's life, but you will still be going a long way towards writing what you know.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cover Reveal: Faythe Reclaimed by Lisa Sanchez


Yay!! Here it is! The new cover for Faythe Reclaimed (Hanaford Park #3)


Our very talented author friend, Carol Oates created the cover, and I'm in love!

Blurb:

Running through a strange forest with a bloodthirsty demon hot on her heels wasn’t Taylor’s idea of a rockin’ evening. Then again, neither was soaring backward through time and space. Time travel chafed and left a rank, nasty aftertaste. So, when she finds herself floundering amidst a sea of Commandment-loving holy rollers who fling accusations of witchcraft and bedevilment like hotcakes in a diner, finding her way home jumps to the top of her to do list. Too bad she can’t remember who she is or where she came from. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Taylor realizes she's falling for the mysterious Latin warlock living on the edge of Salem Village, Gabriel Castillo.

Battling an identity crisis and lost in a time that’s not her own, Taylor is determined to find her way back to twenty-first century Hanaford Park. But first, she and Gabriel must work together to uncover the dark scourge lurking in Salem's shadows, and in doing so, save their own lives, and the lives of countless innocents from a lethal date with the hangman’s noose.


After Lisa's publisher downsized, she regained the rights to the story. This lovely new cover will grace the book when she republishes the story in her own name at the end of the month. Woot!!

LISA SANCHEZ Author links:

Twitter 
Facebook
Goodreads

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bad Behavior Excerpt

As I head into a day filled with psychotherapy clients, I decided to share a brief excerpt from Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2).

In an unconventional move, Sophie and Grant's parole officer ordered the naughty parolees into couples counseling sessions with psychologist Dr. Hunter Hayes. Here, they process a lovers' spat after Sophie falsely accused Grant of betraying her:



“So what have we learned here today, people?” Hunter asked. “This isn’t the first time one of you has been so upset that you’ve left your partner feeling rejected and panicked. What did you learn?”
Sophie sniffled again. “We need to communicate,” she said quietly.
“What was that?” Hunter mocked, dramatically drawing his cupped palm to his ear. “What did you say?”
“We need to communicate!” Sophie shouted, earning a chuckle from Grant.

Yes, good communication is essential for any relationship. Too bad it's so damn tough!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cover Reveal: Trisha Wolfe's Of Darkness and Crowns

Of Darkness and Crowns (Goddess Wars #2)
Release Date: September 1, 2013
Cover artist: Steven Novak
Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours


***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BOOK ONE***

Summary from Goodreads:
The moon goddess has taken up residency within Prince Caben, darkening his mind and soul. Now he hunts the very women he sacrificed his life to save, his conflicting desires for love and power raging a battle within him. Kaliope possesses the key to setting Bale free, and Caben will stop at nothing to see his goddess restored. Even if that means destroying the kingdom he’s sworn to protect, and the infuriating woman who torments his thoughts.

Kaliope, now the leader to the newly formed Nactue Guard, has vowed to save Caben. But with a traitor lurking among her people, and powers she’s unable to fully control, Kaliope’s mission becomes shrouded with doubt. Her new role as watcher over Caben’s kingdom brings a burden she’s unable to bear alone, and appointing the right person in charge of the prince’s affairs has turned a kingdom against the Nactue leader. Saving her stubborn, willful prince from the darkness overtaking him will be the battle of her life, and she needs people she can trust by her side. But bad blood between members of the Nactue obscure Kaliope’s journey, while her feelings for Caben cloud her judgment.

When the time comes to do what she must to destroy the goddess of chaos, will she be able to if it means losing Caben forever?

Book two of the Goddess Wars is told in dual point of view from Kaliope and Caben. New Adult Dark Fantasy, intended for readers 17 years of age and older. 

***Excerpt (Caben’s POV)***

The Crusher grinds to a halt. I’m propelled forward, and my head smacks the low-hanging ceiling of the front compartment.
“Damn, you fool!” I palm my throbbing forehead, eyeing the driver of the Crusher—the machines I now call by their Otherworlder name.
“Sorry, my liege,” he says, backing against his seat, farther away from the glowing ribbons circling my fingers. 
Ignoring him, I study the luminous white—like the surface of the moon—crawling beneath my skin, and marvel at the power. My power. Had I possessed it that day the Cavan Army forced me from my home, they never could have done so easily. But then, I never would have obtained this power. Ironic. 
“Just drive,” I tell him. I take a seat on the front bench, away from the foul stench emanating from the back compartment—our diversion tactic that will gain me entry into my palace, where I know she’s being kept.
The glow beneath my skin illuminates brighter, reminding me of her skin. I curl my fingers into a tight ball.
The battle up ahead is only part of my plan, one that I know Kaliope will fall for. I need the reserves away from the palace. Then we’ll take care of her Nactue once we’re inside. My back molars clamp down hard at the thought of her—a mix of something like fire and nausea invading my stomach.
At one time, I felt things for the black-haired beauty. I chuckle to myself. Well, at least my groin did. Just thinking of her body makes me ache, and I have to adjust myself. But that was when I was weak, when I only thought and felt with that weakness. As much as I hated my father for thinking me too feeble to rule, he was right. I was pathetic.
Bale freed me. Released the part of me that I kept buried, locked away deep down, and I no longer fear anything. I think of everything that once made me shudder or quake with dread and laugh. It’s so simple.
Without fear, there is only freedom.
Power.
And if I free Bale completely, releasing her from within my being and making her corporeal, she’ll bestow me with even more power. I don’t care what the dark goddess does or where she goes once I restore Empress Iana’s relic. I don’t give a damn what happens to the maggoty Otherworlders or their realm.
I just want her out of my mind. And I want the power.
Then I’ll set my sights on Perinya, and on gaining what’s mine.
A deep cackle fills my head, deep and sultry.
“Quiet, woman.” I roll my eyes. We’ve come to a compromise, the goddess and I, that she may remain within my mind, but she’s to keep quiet. I got tired of her constant lectures and angry rants about her sisters. She does stay silent…for the most part. But the sooner I get her out of my head, the better.
Having a woman fill your thoughts is a weakness in itself. A sudden flash of a smiling, laughing Kal blurs my vision, and I shake my head.
There’s only one way to rid my thoughts of that woman.
Kill her.
“Burrow, leach,” I command the driver. “We’re coming up on the battle. Go underground.”
“Yes, my liege.”
Tonight, I plot. Find a way into the capital of Perinya and into my home. And then take back what’s mine. The goddess can have what she wants. I’m only interested in claiming what’s mine.
No one will ever take anything away from me again.
Don’t get in my way, Kal.
I shake my head harder, trying to quiet the pesky thoughts that always spring up when I think of her. Something left over from before—a residual feeling, an effect she has on me.
It won’t be there much longer. I smile, and Bale laughs.

***

Of Silver and Beasts (Goddess Wars #1)
Release Date:  April 19th 2013

Summary from Goodreads:
In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it, but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant reminder that she’s different.

When nineteen-year-old Kaliope is chosen as head of the Nactue Guard, she becomes the sworn protector to her empress. In the midst of an invasion on a neighboring land, Kaliope is placed in charge of guarding Prince Caben, the last heir to his kingdom. But when they’re attacked by the feared Otherworlders, Caben and Kaliope are abducted and taken below to a realm where they must fight for their life in a caged arena.

Kaliope struggles to protect her princely charge, keeping him and herself alive while battling inhumanly opponents, and trying to save the stolen, sacred relic that will restore her empress’s life force and all of Cavan. And if she can somehow awaken the goddess within her, she may save what’s most important.

New Adult Dark Fantasy: Intended for readers 17 years of age and older.

Of Silver and Beasts is on sale right now for only $.99.  Get your copy here:
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Where to find Trisha:

***Bonus Material***
Don’t miss out on the bonus scene of Astarte’s WrathBath Scene in Xarion’s POV

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

IWSG: Nicki Elson's Divine Temptation

The more insecure you are, the more you the devil can tempt you (or something like that).

Welcome to June's Insecure Writer's Support Group, started by Alex Cavanaugh! Author Nicki Elson introduced me to IWSG and has helped me with quite a few of my own insecurities through her warmth and support.

When I discovered Nicki wrote a paranormal romance, I was nervous. One of my insecurities is that I seem to be one of the few readers who's not into paranormal.

But happily, I LOVED Nicki's book Divine Temptation! A book about angels and demons seems more spiritual and less paranormal to me, I guess. And I do enjoy romance novels.

Hop over to Nicki's BLOG where I interview her about her insecurities, and stick around to read my review of her fantastic novel!

Divine TemptationDivine Temptation by Nicki Elson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deep and Affirming

Nicki Elson, author of the fun and flirty college romp Three Daves, heads in a different direction for this adult spiritual romance. I loved the realistic characters, the suspense, and the deep questions this novel provokes.

Maggie Brock is reeling after her husband Carl divorced her. Together they have a daughter Kirsten and a son Liam, and Maggie has to figure out how to proceed as a single mother. She takes a job as administrative assistant at her Catholic church, and tries to tolerate Carl's new girlfriend establishing a relationship with her children.

Nightly dreams of an angel visiting her bedroom intrigue her, until she awakes one night and realizes this male angel is real. Quiet, lean, and handsome, he invites Maggie to give him a name: Evan. It's not clear why God sent Evan to protect Maggie, but it is clear she is in some sort of danger. Eek!

Complicating matters is the arrival of a prissy, suspicious priest to oversee the workings of the church, aka the Monsignor. Maggie gets bad vibes from him. Is he the malevolent force Evan is supposed to thwart? When Maggie runs into the monsignor and he questions her, she keeps Evan secret.

For all she knew, the monsignor would attempt to incarcerate Evan E.T. style to study him.

Ha! Maggie struggles with her attraction to Evan, knowing God would disapprove of her getting it on with one of His angels. I have a little crush on Evan too, I must admit. Poor Maggie!

Evan provides this heavenly advice: "Stop trying to control what you feel and just feel it. Trust."

Meanwhile, ex-husband Carl woos Maggie back into bed. I wonder how common it is for divorced couples to sneak sex again? That happened in a recent read Blue Shoe but I enjoyed Divine Temptation far more than Blue Shoe. Maggie and Carl's sexy reunion leads her to think that maybe they can make it work again, until Carl bursts her bubble. Their ensuing argument is painful to read:

"You know what?" Maggie fumed. "Thank you, Carl. Thank you for reminding me of all the reasons we didn't work. You're absolutely right---we're so much better apart. Because you never ever did anything wrong. Ever. I t was just mean old Maggie telling you things were wrong. I just made it up in my crazy, little mind, but really, you were perfect in every way."

I love the shades of grey in the characters. Maggie's no saint--she's just trying to do her best--which makes her imminently likable. I'm impressed how Evan comes across as both sweet and powerful, matching my view of divinity. Kirsten is a whiny pre-teen who pushes the limits like a teenager but needs those limits like a child, and Liam adores video games like Mario Bros. Maggie's friend Sharon is direct and funny. Even Father Tom and the Monsignor have their obvious faults.

The plot twists and turns, leading to a creepy showdown between good and evil. This is one of my favorite quotes from the story:

"You might not believe in the devil, but do you believe evil lurks in this world?"

Wow, that gets to me. I view God as a loving force, and at times I question the presence of hell and the devil. But I have witnessed evil in this world--no question.

You can tell how much this angel story affected me. I encourage you to let Maggie and Evan into your heart as well!

View all my reviews


Monday, June 3, 2013

The Best Book Ever Giveaway Hop

I realized I hadn't participated in a giveaway for a while, so I just signed up for The Best Book Ever Giveaway Hop hosted by The Best Books Ever and I Am A Reader.


I'm new to the Best Books Ever meme, but it sounds fun. It's a place for readers to vote on the best books in a genre.

My vote for Best Love Story is a novel I recently finished: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I cried buckets reading this adult novel (here's my review).

Do you enjoy emotional reads about older teens? I'd like to put my NA/mature YA swimming romance Streamline up for two best books genres: emotional reads and older teen reads. (I am NOT claiming Streamline is the best book in those genres--just putting it up for your consideration!)

You can win an ebook of Streamline by completing the Rafflecopter form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now hop over to these participating blogs to WIN STUFF!
 


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