Interview with debut author Lou J Bard

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Who or what inspired your latest novel There’s A Possibility?
Actually, it was a Patrick Dempsey movie called Made of Honor and I loved the plot so much, but of course I wanted to see how you could twist it to be gay. This has been in the back of my mind ever since it came out in 2008. I’m glad it’s finally out of my head and on the pages!

 

Who or what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing since as long as I can remember. I think the first time I ever realized fanfiction was a thing, I’d already been writing some for Pokémon! LOL

 

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Oh wow. I guess I’d have to go with Nymphadora Tonks from Harry Potter. She was always a badass in my opinion. Youngest Auror of her time AND a Hufflepuff. Fun colored hair. She was my idol when she appeared in the books.

 

How do you approach writing a new storyline?

Character sketches! My absolute favorite part of the story is understanding my characters and where they come from, what their purposes are and where I think they’re headed.

 

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

Mostly everyday people I live around and myself. I think I put a little piece of me into all of my characters. I try to write what I know.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

If it weren’t for my cat begging for my attention all of the time, I’d saythat it was my living room couch with lots of pillows and blankets and a hot cup of coffee. But I generally find myself at Starbucks to avoid distraction (go figure).

 

What is your writing process?

See the thing. Plot the thing. Write the thing. Get blocked by the thing. Cry over the thing. Write more of the thing. Send the thing to Editor and then cry when it returns looking like a crime scene. Finish polishing the thing. Cry again over the thing because it’s finished. Cry more over the thing when people enjoy the finished product.

 

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

I think it made me more aware of how I write, definitely with my use of adverbs and how I use the words “that” and “like” a LOT and how I need to correct it both in my speech and in my writing.

 

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

My editor. Claire works miracles with the shite I send her! LOL.

 

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

Everything from my readers is memorable. Even if it’s not a stellar review, I am happy that someone took the time to read what I wrote and at least gave it a shot. Of course, I love the great reviews, but I take all of them in stride.

 

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

Am I lame if I say Harry Potter? It was the first real set of books I ever fell in love with and have changed the way I look at books for the rest of my life. I may never be as great as Ms. Rowling, but I certainly thank her for giving me the gift of loving the written word and the magical places it can take you.

 

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

My next book is called The Sound of Silenceand it’s about a young woman who has been mute for over half of her life, falling in love with one of her caretakers and her caretaker trying to defend her own emotions against the world that thinks they are wrong.

But that’s as far as I’ll tell 🙂

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How do you take your coffee?

Cream and sugar with a splash of black coffee. Or just a soy caramel macchiato from Starbucks.

 

Lou’s upcoming book The Sound of Silence will be available on Amazon Kindle August 31st. It is available for preorder now by clicking here.

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Review of Dangerous Waters by Radclyffe

Dangerous Waters

So, everyone, I have a shameful secret. I have never read one of Radclyffe’s books. When I saw Dangerous Waters listed on NetGalley I thought I should take the opportunity to see if her books were as good as everyone says they are. I was not disappointed.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Army National Guard Colonel Sawyer Kincaid has served her time dueling with death in the deserts of Africa. Now that she’s home, the only sand she wants to see is on the beach in South Florida. Too bad Tropical Storm Leo, swiftly gaining strength out over the Atlantic, is about to draw her in to another life or death war, this time on home soil.

 

Dr. Dara Sims has too many critical patients in the intensive care units at Miami Memorial to consider evacuation, no matter how determined the battle-hardened colonel is to make her. As far as Dara is concerned, evacuate is just another word for abandon. When a state of emergency becomes a state of siege waged by Leo, all she can do is hope the rising waters relent before she loses everyone, herself included.

 

I thought that the book started off kind of slow but once it picked up I couldn’t put it down. The book is action-packed. With a hurricane barreling towards Florida there is everything keeping Sawyer and Dara apart. Yet, they are drawn to each other. I liked how both women were strong and independent. They both respected each other’s authority in their given fields.

 

Sawyers backstory was amazing. I thought it brought so much to her character. It also gave great insight into why she does the thing she does. She has great respect for the damage a hurricane can cause.

 

I found the section at the nursing home after the storm particularly hard to read. It reminded me of what happened at the nursing home after hurricane Irma. It broke my heart. I have a soft spot for older people with dementia because of my grandmother who passed away last year.

 

If you enjoy action-packed romance, you will love this book.

 

You can purchase a copy of Dangerous Waters by clicking here.

Review of When the Stars Sang by Caren Werlinger

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I have been wanting to read a book by Caren Werlinger since I first saw an interview with her on the Lesbian Book Readers Club on Facebook. I thought she was very charismatic and her books sounded amazing. When I saw her latest book When the Stars Sang listed on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to read it. Let me just say that I wasn’t disappointed.

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Nearly twenty-five years ago, Kathleen Halloran’s brother drowned during the last summer they ever spent with their grandmother on a remote island off Maine’s coast. Like a siren’s call she can’t resist, Kathleen is pulled back to Little Sister Island. She leaves her job and her girlfriend, packs up her few belongings, and moves into her grandmother’s cottage.

Molly Cooper loves life on Little Sister, where the islanders take care of their own. Kathleen Halloran doesn’t belong here, and her arrival stirs up unwelcome memories for the islanders—including Molly’s brother. Molly is certain Kathleen will pack up at the first big blow. When she doesn’t, Molly begins to see maybe there’s more to Kathleen than she thought.

Sometimes, before you can move forward, you have to look back.

This book hooked me in from the beginning. I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed how the characters had so much personality even the side characters. I liked how the island town kept to the old ways of their ancestors. It really drew me into the story. The book is so well written.  This book made me feel so many emotions and I enjoyed every minute of my reading.

The romance between Molly and Kathleen was so believable. Both women had so much to overcome in order to be together. They both needed to get over the past in order to commit to their relationship. I really liked how when Kathleen first came to the island Molly was hesitant about her. It made their relationship seem more real.

As everyone knows I am a sucker for a pet in books. This book delivered. Blossom, they stray dog Kathleen takes in, was amazingly written. He is so cute and derpy. I liked that he followed Kathleen everywhere she went. He also alerted Molly when Kathleen was in danger and helped to locate her. I also really enjoyed Miss Louisa and Miss. Oliva. I think they were my favorite characters in the whole story. The way they mothered and cared for Kathleen was amazing.

The only con for this book is that it has cut to black sex scenes. I didn’t find this to be a problem, but some readers might not like that.

I would recommend this book to everyone. It is one of the best books I have read this year. I cannot speak enough praise for it.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

You can purchase a copy of  When the Stars Sang by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack

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When I saw the novella Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack on NetGalley I was drawn to it because it was about a girl that has vasovagal syncope. This is something that hits close to home for me because my younger sister suffered from vasovagal syncope. I am also a huge fan of gothic literature and Alice in Wonderland so what is there not to like.

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Alice “Al” Liddell is from Echola, Alabama. She leads the life of a normal teen until the day she’s diagnosed with vasovagal syncope – a fainting disorder which causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly.

Her mother, the “Queen of Hearts,” is the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and a bit of a local hero. Yet, even with all her skill she is unable to cure her daughter of her ailment, leading Al into the world of backwater witchcraft.

Along the way she meets a wacky cast of characters and learns to accept her new normal.

Take Your Medicine is a southern gothic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

This book took me a little while to get into but once I got into it I was hooked. I really liked the relationship between the names of the characters and Alice in Wonderland characters. One of my favorite characters was Rabbit. I could really relate to her. Her being anxious about dancing and socializing was very relatable.

I also like the relationship between Al and Rabbit. It felt really natural. That first love type of relationship. I thought that it was very authentic that Al didn’t know how to react to their first kiss. She was just discovering her attraction. I wish there was more to this book.

 

The only problem that I had with the book was Al and her mother’s relationship. It seemed really smothering. Like Al was not allowed to have a life of her own outside of her life with her mother. It seemed that because Al was sick her mother didn’t want her to do anything other than staying home, study, and mind the garden.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Alice in Wonderland. As well as anyone who likes YA novels.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

You can purchase a copy of Take Your Medicine by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Hearts Like Hers By Melissa Brayden

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Lately, I have been hooked on romance novels. When I saw Hearts Like Hers by Melissa Brayden listed on NetGalley I couldn’t pass it by.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

No one pencils in falling in love.

 

All work and no play has Autumn Primm in the market for a little excitement. Her Venice Beach coffee shop, The Cat’s Pajamas, is her pride and joy. While she doesn’t mind the long hours, she finds herself staring dreamily out the window, imagining the life she’s yet to lead. The time has come to take off the apron and see what the world has in store.

 

Kate Carpenter needs to get away. And quick. A small-town firefighter, Kate’s been crowned a local hero for reasons she can’t quite get behind. An open highway and some time off have her fleeing the scene to sunny California to catch her breath and put some distance between herself and the unwanted acclaim. Dreamy Autumn Primm was never supposed to be part of that bargain. What Kate needs is a temporary escape, emphasis on temporary.

 

I wanted to like the book more than I did. I just couldn’t get into the relationship between Autumn and Kate. I felt like everything in their relationship moved too quickly. The women seemed to fall in love almost instantly.

 

I also had a problem with Autumn’s fertility journey. I was really excited to see someone going to a fertility clinic for insemination. I have been looking for a book that would accurately portray the process that many lesbians go through. While this book tried it did not accurately portray what happens. Everything moved much too quickly.

 

While I did have problems with the relationship and the insemination there were good aspects of the book. I really liked Kates backstory about why she came to Venice Beach. She was my favorite character in the story. I also liked the details about Autumn and her friends. Their backstories made the story stand out.

 

While I wasn’t wowed by the relationship aspect of the book. I would still recommend it to anyone who is interested looking for a lighthearted read.

 

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

You can purchase a copy of  Hearts Like Hers by clicking here.

 

 

Interview with Missouri Vaun

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Who or what inspired your latest novel Love at Cooper’s Creek?

Homesickness. I think for those of us who’ve left the Deep South because of the necessities of career there’s a part of us that always longs for home. The initial idea for this book started with a brief bout of homesickness while overseas, but then, as with all character driven stories, it took on a life of its own.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I think I’ve always written stories. My mom has some hilarious bits of writing from all the way back when I was in second grade. My childhood was spent in rural, sometimes quite remote, areas because my father was a forester. I think I began creating characters and stories for my own entertainment, so I didn’t feel quite so lonely. Not that I had a sad childhood or anything like that, but the easiest way to have friends in a remote place was to create them on paper.

Which of your books was your favorite to write and why?

Wow… that’s a tough question. The last one I finish is always my favorite. But that’s not entirely true… it’s just that the most recent is the newest to be released into the world at large. You feel attached, protective, and basically, you’re still living in that world in your head. The release of a book always, for me, comes with an immediate brief period of sadness… Like leaving friends behind and moving on to a new place, you miss the characters.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Cole from the first novel, “All Things Rise,” might be my favorite. Possibly because she was the first, possibly because there’s a lot of myself in that character. But it’s hard to choose between the rest. I try to create characters that I would fall in love with or want to be best friends with.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a converted shed in my backyard. It’s small, but quiet. My father lined the interior walls with heart pine and we didn’t seal them, so it smells great… literally, like a pine forest. When I’m in that space it’s easy to be transported to another place or time. I also have a great writing studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the back side of my parent’s property. It’s built like an old 1930s era fire tower. But I don’t get to go there as often as my backyard.

What is your writing process?

I describe my writing process as chaos.

I keep one or two notebooks of random thoughts, and about a million scraps of paper in my pocket that I eventually type into a file on my laptop… My novels don’t really take full shape until I’m about thirty percent into the book. Then I go back and rewrite everything before moving forward.

I was in Amsterdam last year and had a pocket full of notes for a story I was developing. I’d forgotten about the notes… along with the cash… and sent my jeans out to be laundered. The laundry staff very kindly returned my soggy cash along with the wet, faded, unreadable remnants of my story notes in a zip lock bag. The moral of that story? Check your pockets… always check your pockets.

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

I think the best part of working with a publisher for me has been working so closely with one editor. My editor, Cindy Cresap, has taught me so much… It sort of makes me wonder if I even had English composition in college… or if I did, possibly I slept through it.

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

Converting my backyard tool shed into a writing studio.

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

The sweetest thing a reader ever said to me was that reading my work, that my characters, made them feel less alone.

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

It’s hard to narrow that down to one book… I could maybe narrow it down to one writer and that would be, James Agee. He literally paints with words. In terms of the first book I discovered that made me fall in love with reading? It was “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” by C.S. Lewis.

How do you take your coffee?

Often. Cream, no sugar.

 

 

 

Review of Love at Cooper’s Creek by Missouri Vaun

Love at Cooper’s Creek by [Vaun, Missouri]

When I saw Love at Cooper’s Creek by Missouri Vaun listed on NetGalley I was intrigued. I have really enjoyed the other books that I have read of hers in the past. This book was no exception.

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Successful but suffocated by the demands of her corporate career, Shaw Daily walks out on it all. She returns to her grandparents’ rural property in Cooper’s Creek, North Carolina, with a plan to hide out and reboot her life to be simple and stress free. But escapism eludes her when her attentions are captured by small town beauty Kate Elkins.

Kate has spent almost her entire life in Cooper’s Creek. For Kate, the bonds of small-town life are a source of strength and comfort. When her aging mother weakens, Kate takes a leave from teaching to care for her. Romance is the last thing on her mind when she bumps into her unrequited teen crush Shaw Dailey just back from California. Long-buried feelings resurface for Kate, but all Shaw sees is a beautiful woman saddled with the responsibilities she is finally free from.

I really enjoyed this book. I also liked how the story was told from both Shaw and Kates point of view. It gave a deeper view into their relationship. I liked how each of the characters had a side story to go along with their relationship. Shaw was on a search to find out about herself and she discovers the truth about her family. Kates Story hit close to home for me because Kates mother had Alzheimer’s and my grandmother also had Alzheimer’s and recently passed away. I really appreciated Kate taking care of her mother. I also enjoyed how Shaw is portrayed as Butch. When she stands up to the redneck boys I was on the edge of my seat. This book has some of the best sex scenes that I have ever read.

I would recommend this book for anyone who loves a sweet romance and steamy sex scenes. Also, if you like strong butch women this is a great book for you.

A big thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review Love at Cooper’s Creek.

You can purchase a copy of Love at Cooper’s Creek by clicking here.