Interview with author Tammy Bird

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I know you have a tale to tell about your twisty path to publication. Doesn’t everyone? 

I am certain everyone does! For me, my love for putting words together for the consumption of others didn’t start until I was in college, and I wasn’t in college until my thirties. I was a bit of a wild child and took some—well, let’s just say, less than stellar turns before I found my way back to school. I took a literature course in my second semester of community college. The instructor wore the craziest neon colors, and her hair was everywhere hair that she held semi in place with a bandana. She swept in and out like a psychedelic dream every day, and I wanted to be her. I hung on her every word. I read everything she gave us to read. I analyzed and wrote and studied like a fiend. And what I discovered was I loved every minute of it. From there, my love for words grew. By the time I was working on my next degree, I was also writing for academic anthologies and conferences. Then came short stories, and finally a novel.

 

The Book of Promises is your second thriller. Where did the idea for the book come from?

This idea stemmed from a conversation a group of students had in my class a couple of years ago. We were reading a piece of literature that was about coming out as a lesbian. An older woman commented about how good the younger generation has it now, how they just come out and, “POOF,” everyone is cool with it. A younger person countered, saying that she did not have that experience at all, and in fact she was still trying to rebuild some of her family relationships. Someone else said that her best friend’s mom kicked her out and some of their friends were bullying her. The conversation was intense. As an older lesbian, I am ashamed to say, I thought similarly to the woman who made the first comment. After that day, the ideas swirled in my head for some time. Eventually I started researching. And a year later I started writing The Book of Promises. 

 

What kind of research did you do for the novel?

I had to research The Choking Game, for one thing. That was tough. I talked to several teens who have either been involved with this or knew someone who had been. I also did a lot of research on young sociopaths. What I found would truly scare you. I barely touched the tip of the iceberg. We often think of men as sociopaths, but there are a lot of examples of women who fit under this umbrella, as well, and they were once manipulative teens and children. I did some fun research, too. I had to find out what young people on the LGBTQAI spectrum were reading and discussing and how they are treated in the worlds they inhabit. That was awesome. It was fun to compare my coming out to theirs. 

 

They say all writers should have an elevator pitch for their novels. What’s your elevator pitch for The Book of Promises?

This is a tough one. I am still trying to perfect this. I had a reader make a comment about the book that kind of stuck. I revised it a tiny bit. It goes like this: The Book of Promises is a YA coming out and coming of age novel about learning the difference between a caring friendship and manipulation, between a loving relationship and a toxic one, and about learning to hold one’s own self-worth above the noise of the world.

 

Were there any surprises for you as you wrote The Book of Promises? Character developments or plot twists that you didn’t expect?

Yes! I don’t want to say too much for fear of slipping in spoilers, but one person who I thought was going to be good, ended up not so good. I couldn’t help it. The character bucked at almost every one of my suggestions and attempts at control. LOL

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I went through the GCLS Writing Academy. I was leery about putting out that much money on a dream, but I was determined to give this writing gig a go. I have been living in this surreal dream-world ever since. I have met so many wonderful readers and writers from putting myself in a position to be surrounded by readers and writers! It is amazing. 

 

If I came to your home and looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?

Well, we are quarantined now, and we want to stay as well stocked as possible, so we just got a delivery. There is some fresh spinach, carrots, and bell peppers in the crisper, I know, and I think there is orange juice, skim milk, yogurt and picante sauce on the top shelf. My wife likely has a few beers in there, too, and we always have cheese—lots of cheese!  

 

Last question. What’s your favorite material object that you already own?

My Note 10 cell phone. It has a pen. I use it to take notes constantly. When I don’t have pen and paper, but I have an idea, there it is, attached to my hand. It doesn’t get any better than that!

 

Okay. One more. Where can readers find you and your books?

I would love to connect on any of the following platforms: https://www.Instagram.com/tammybirdauthor 

https://twitter.com/tammy_bird 

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/tammy-bird 

https://www.facebook.com/tammybirdauthor/ 

https://pintrest.com/tammybirdauthor 

https://www.goodreads.com/tammybirdauthor 

https://tammybird.com

And both of my novels are on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07MFG1YP1 

And on Bella Books here: https://www.bellabooks.com/category/author-tammy-bird/

 

Review of the Book of Promises by Tammy Bird

Book of promises

 

Thrillers of any kind always pull me in but when I heard that Tammy Bird had a new book, The Book of Promises, coming out I was ecstatic. Her first book Sandman was one of the best I have ever read. I couldn’t wait to get started.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Spencer Price is living her best life in Denver Colorado.

 

But when Jordan Rohan kisses her, and her best friend writes it in their shared book of promises, she suddenly finds herself in a struggle between duty and independence, allegiance and betrayal.

 

Soon, two things become clear: There is far more to the kiss than Spencer first believed, and the person to whom she is most connected is hiding secrets far deeper and more dangerous than Spencer ever suspected. To uncover the secrets, Spencer must question the promises of the past. But doing so could bring death, not only to herself but to those who are her future.

 

It isn’t very often that I find I book that leaves me truly in awe but The Book of Promises did just that. Tammy Bird does not disappoint. I was drawn into Spencer’s life as she fought to discover the difference between love and manipulation. Spencer just wanted the love she gave Molly to be given in return only to be manipulated and used.

Molly is a disturbing character. There were parts of the book that were so intense that I needed to set the book down and walk away. But for me, that is what made this book so great. It kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what would happen next and that Spencer would be okay.

 

The Book of Promises is not for everyone. It depicts emotional, mental, and physical abuse. There is also a section in which an animal is injured.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes psychological thrillers.

 

 

The Book of Promises is available on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Review of Death by Desert by A.E. Radley

Death by Desert

I’m a huge fan of cozy mysteries so when I saw that there was a new lesfic cozy by A.E. Radley I jumped at the chance to read it. You will not be disappointed by Death Before Desert.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

When she finds herself between jobs and out of her rented accommodation, Clara Harrington decides to take a break and stay with her beloved, yet eccentric aunt in the sleepy village of Picklemarsh, England.

 

Vanessa Harrington is an award-winning crime novelist with an impressive back catalogue. When it comes to crime, and murder, there’s not a lot that Vanessa doesn’t know.

 

Clara’s hope for peace and quiet is shattered when, on her first night at Chadwick Lodge, the local town councillor is murdered, falling face down into his dessert.

 

Finding herself in the middle of one of her books, Vanessa happily takes on the task of uncovering the murderer and drags Clara along with her.

 

Join the Harringtons as they investigate the murder, question suspects, and uncover that not all is as it seems in picturesque Picklemarsh.

 

This cozy mystery is brought to you by Lambda winning author A.E. Radley

 

Death by Desert is a cute cozy focusing on the sleuthing of Clara and her elderly aunt Vanessa. Vanessa is an amazing character. I love how nosey she is. Plus, she isn’t afraid of getting caught. I mean who would believe such a nice old lady would be doing anything illegal.

 

The romance aspect of Death by Desert was cute. I liked the buildup of their relationship with Clara not knowing if her love interest was a murder or not. I can’t wait to see how their relationship will grow in future books.

 

I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I will just say that I enjoyed the twist and turns in this book. I suspected many people as the killer throughout the book and was truly surprised at the ending.

 

I’m looking forward to reading more books in the Vanessa Harrington mystery series.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone you loves cozy mysteries.

 

Death by Desert is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

Review of Coming Home by KJ

Coming Home

Normally I’m not a huge fan of celebrity romances. But Coming Home by KJ was so much more than I expected. The twists and turns kept me wanting more with every turn of the page.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

What would happen if your regular, ordinary, safe, everyday existence suddenly became…not any of those things? When Samantha Markson, Ordinary Person, is thrust into the life of Abigail Taylor, Not At All Ordinary Person, it proves to be an experience like she’s never had before. World famous actress, Abigail Taylor, is in Melbourne filming her new movie, and is accompanied by her nine year old daughter, Grace, because Abigail wants her to experience an Australian education for three months. Sam Markson is a teacher at one of the best schools in Melbourne, and is perfectly happy doing that, thank you very much, when she’s suddenly redirected from the classroom into the job as Grace’s teacher; a move so fast that even blinking would feel like slow motion. Sam has never met anyone like Abigail Taylor, and she starts to realise that her ordinary life might actually be missing something extraordinary.

 

Coming Home is a cute slow burn romance that will have you on the edge of your seat. Sam and Abigail are perfect for each other even though they can’t see it for themselves. They are both so caught up in the fact that their current situation is temporary that neither one is willing to give into their budding sexual tension. Which leads me to the sex scene which are beyond amazing. I will give you all one tiny spoiler, Tim Tam sexy time.

 

The ending of the book is what really set it apart for me. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it had me on the edge of my seat pondering the different ways the situation could end. Personally, I feel like it ended perfectly.

 

The one flaw I found with the book is Abigail’s publicist keeping her job. I really thought after everything she said and did, she would be fired. But that is such a minor detail it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who like celebrity romances as well as anyone who likes slow burn romances.

 

Coming Home is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

Review of Mind Games by Cara Malone

Mind Games

As most of you know I’m a huge fan of true crime and murder mysteries. So when I found out about Cara Malones book Mind Games I knew it would be right up my ally. Mind Games is a mixture of murder mystery, forensic files, and romance that will knock your socks off.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book: 

A rookie forensic investigator, a seasoned patrol officer, and a crime scene that just might be the death of them both.

 

 Kelsey Granger is meticulous and careful, determined to turn her OCD into an advantage in her new job at the coroner’s office. There’s just one problem – her boss doesn’t think she’s ready. When Kelsey arrives at her first death scene to find the responding officer contaminating the evidence, she starts to wonder if her boss was right.

 

 Zara Hayes hates death scenes. She’s been on patrol five long years but her chief won’t promote her until she can overcome her fear. So here she is, just feet away from a dead body while a pretty young investigator reads her the riot act because she thinks Zara screwed up her scene.

 

 With a killer on the loose, there’s no time to argue so Zara and Kelsey team up to solve the case. As they get closer to the truth – and to each other – they must confront the mind games we play… in life, in love, and even in death.

 

Mind games is the type of books that you will want to read in one sitting. As I have said before I’m a huge fan of all things true crime and murder mystery when you combine that with romance I’m all in. While the book focuses on the suspicious death of April Messner it isn’t the sole focus of the story. The main focus is on the budding relationship of Zara Hayes and Kelsey Granger who meet at the scene of the crime as members of law enforcement and forensics. Kelsey is not your average forensic investigator. She has OCD which makes her overthink every aspect of her job, it also is what makes her so good at her job. I appreciated how the book didn’t gloss over Kelsey’s mental illness. The book discussed what having OCD meant to Kelsey and her relationship and her relationship with Zara. When boundaries were crossed, they were clearly explained and corrected. 

 

One of the best parts of this book is the inclusion of bigger girls as one of the main characters. It isn’t often in lesfic that there is a truer to life main character. Normally they are rail thin and perfect in every way. It is nice to see a character that breaks the mold. Because everyone deserves to see themselves in a story. 

 

What stood out to me about Mind Games is the sex scenes. While Cara Malone has always written amazing sex scenes this book blew me away. They were on a whole new level compared to her past books. Maybe it has something to do with the amazing chemistry between Zara and Kelsey. 

 

The only flaw this book had is that the romance seemed to develop too quickly. I wish Zara’s rakish ways would have been shown more throughout the book. It seemed to be glossed over. Overall the book was a little low on angst. But that wasn’t a huge deal-breaker for me. 

 

I can’t wait to read the upcoming books in this series which should be coming out early 2020. 

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a steamy workplace romance.

 

Mind Games is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

Review of Rising from Ash by Jax Meyer

Rising from Ash

Rising from Ash is the latest book in the new Forged by Fire series by Jax Meyer. Jax’s writing has grown since her debut novel Dal Segno. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed reading this book. Once you get started reading it will be hard to put down.

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Phoenix Murray has had enough. Enough of her incompetent boss. Enough of her addict father always asking for money. Enough of the struggle to survive. So when her aunt offers her a job as a cook at the South Pole, she jumps at it. Even when she’s asked to avoid casual sex to keep the peace in the tiny community.

 

 Astrophysicist Ashley Bennett can’t wait for her year at the South Pole. Not only will it allow her to focus on her PhD research, it’s a key step in her plan to become a Mars colonist. Avoiding the complications of dating in a society that doesn’t understand asexuality is a bonus.

 

 When Phoenix and Ash meet, they can’t help but push each other’s buttons. Phoenix doesn’t understand that her confident sexuality puts Ash on edge while Ash’s curt formality triggers Phoenix’s insecurities about her upbringing. But living at the bottom of the world means there’s nowhere to run, and as they find common ground, their differences aren’t nearly the hindrance they thought.

 

 Rising From Ash is the first book in the Forged by Fire series, a slow burn contemporary lesbian romance that shows the power of intimacy to form a new life.

 

 Note: While Rising from Ash features a character on the asexual spectrum, the story does include physically intimate scenes. However, none are gratuitous.

I was really blown away by Rising from Ash. Phoenix’s character pulled me into the story with her struggle to settle down and commit to one person. When Phoenix meets Ashley Bennett, she is drawn to her in a way that she has never experienced before, even though they push each other’s buttons. Being stuck in a tiny community of the South Pole for a full year Phoenix doesn’t want to ruin her career chances by sleeping around and causing drama. So when Phoenix meets Ash she is forced to take things slowly and develop a deeper connection than she has with any of her past hookups.

Ashley Bennett is an interesting character. I have never read about an asexual character before. It is refreshing to see different types of identities explored in romance novels. Ash’s character helped to give me a better understanding of asexuality from someone on the asexual spectrum. Ash considers herself demisexual which means that she is unable to form a sexual connection with someone until an emotional connection is already in place. Phoenix and Ash snuggle to find a happy medium between Phoenix’s allosexuality and Ash’s Asexuality.

Even though one of the characters is asexual the sex scenes in Rising from Ash stand out. Rising from Ash has one of the most intimate sex scenes I have ever read. While there is quite a build-up to sex once it happens, there is no holding back. Phoenix and Ash have amazing chemistry.

The book ends with more of Phoenix and Ash’s story to be told. I’m excited for the next installment in the Forged by Fire series.

I would recommend this book for people on the asexual spectrum as well as anyone who enjoys a slow-burn romance.

Rising from Ash is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

 

 

 

Interview With Author Lise Gold

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Who or what inspired Eastern Nights?

Thailand. I’ve been going there since I was twenty as my father lives there. I also have siblings in the North. It’s a fantastic country and I thought it would make a great backdrop for a novel, so I started writing Eastern Nights last time I was last there. It turned out a little steamier than I anticipated but I guess that might have been the heat J.

 

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

My wife and I moved back to the UK three years ago after I worked in Hong Kong for a while. I think it was the dreary English weather and the ‘same old’ office environment that made me desperate for an escape. That escape was writing, and once I started, I couldn’t stop. I resigned from my job to write fulltime in 2018.

 

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

I think Lily from ‘Lily’s Fire’ (my debut) because she reminds me of myself in some ways. I can identify with her because I didn’t realize I was gay until I was in my late twenties and met someone special either. But I also like Kate from ‘Eastern Nights’, even though we have nothing in common. If I could be one of my characters for a day, I would choose her.

 

How do you approach writing a new storyline?

I’m a pantser so I usually just sit down with a glass of wine and make sure I’m relaxed, and my mind is open for the first chapter. Once I’ve set the scene, the rest tends to follow naturally. I may re-write later as I don’t plan much, but overall, it’s an organic process. I do pick a location for the backdrop upfront though, and I choose the names for the main characters and picture what they look like.

 

Where do your inspirations for characters and their lives come from?

Travel. Before I start a new novel, I’ll travel to where the book is set, and I’ll start there. I’m usually so inspired that by the time I get home, I’ll have 50% of a rough first draft. If I travel with my wife, I’ll get up at five and write until midday, so we have time to explore during the day.

I’ll observe people who look intriguing to me and imagine what their lives are like. My side characters are usually inspired by people I know.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

The kitchen table. It’s where I spend most of my time if I’m not traveling. We recently bought a new one and it was so difficult to choose something I knew I was going to spend at least eight hours a day behind. In summer, I like writing in the garden too.

 

What is your writing process?

As mentioned, I’m a pantser so I don’t really have a process. I do have a deadline however, as I now have an amazing ‘team’ and I need to take their availability into consideration. I set myself a wordcount each morning and try to stick to it or top it, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t reach my daily target. Sometimes my wife is the first to read a WIP and sometimes it goes straight to my editor. We’ll do a couple of passes between us and I’ll re-write a little. If I’m stuck, I’ll discuss it with my editor.  After that, I’ll send the manuscript to my beta readers and they’ll come back with comments and other things they’ve picked up on. After the last edits, my editor looks over the ‘clean’ manuscript one more time before I forward it to the ARC readers before release.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes the first time around but that was mainly regarding publishing, so the whole process is much smoother now. I don’t think it’s changed my writing process though, other than the fact that I have deadlines now.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

My wife bought me a MAC. I use it every day, all day and it’s always with me wherever I go. I LOVE my MAC J

 

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

I’ve had a couple of emails from ‘straight’ people who told me they got ‘bi-curious’ and more than a little adventurous after reading my books. I’ve also had some lovely messages from people who struggle with alcoholism and told me they could relate to my characters in ‘Fireflies’, which is a love story about two recovering alcoholics.

 

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

I honestly have no idea. I’ve read a lot of books in a lot of different genres but now that I write, I find myself reading less and less because I don’t make enough time for it anymore. David Sedaris is my favorite author and I’m currently reading Clare Lydon’s ‘You’re My Kind’, which I’m really enjoying, and Jessica Brody’s ‘Save The Cat! Writes A Novel’.

 

Do you have any new books coming out? If so, what are they about?

I’m aiming to release three more books before February 2020:

-Western Shores (part 4 in The Compass Series): featuring Maddison, Hannah’s half-sister.

-Living: a novel about finding love through loss, grief and depression.

-Still Untitled (that’s not the title, it’s actually still untitled): a romance with Amsterdam as the backdrop. I can’t say too much about it yet, but the main character is a burlesque dancer! I’ll be going there this month to do some interviews and make a start.

 

How do you take your coffee?

White