IWSG Day Question: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?
Use Somebody by Beck Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I Hope It’s Gonna Make You Notice…
…Someone like me, thinks Jeremy, super agent to the stars. He’s all about wooing supermodels in Los Angeles. Here he shares his methods for getting his woo on:
I can tell you how to get a woman in bed. You tell me what she likes, I’ll tell you the way into her boudoir. Is she a Midwestern girl? I bet she loves football. Find out her favorite team, fly her to their stadium, invite her dad, get a meet and greet. Ka-ching. You will score.
*jaw hangs open* This Midwestern girl is TOTALLY swooning!
But when his friend/client Andy takes him on a fishing trip on the waters of Idaho, Jeremy is out of his depth. He can’t drive his Tesla along the PCH (what a snob) and cell phone service is spotty (*gasps*). He’s so irritable he almost comes to blows with Andy’s other friend, Todd.
When Jeremy meets elite fly-fisherwoman, Macy, he definitely takes notice. She’s not impressed by him, and sasses him right back. The more she plays hard to get, the more he’s intrigued. Men.
I like the backstory of what made Jeremy so driven and ball-busting. His musings are a pleasure to read, like his insight into fake social media:
I’m sorry, but I’m not a big believer in the “here I am having a snow cone, oh look I just snapped a pic of it in the light of the sunset while I happened to be wearing a fashionable floppy hat” kind of bullshit.
…and his belief that “talent is sexy”:
Listen, hot girls are one thing, but a good-looking woman who is gifted at something? That is pure sex. Have you ever watched a really good female bartender? That is hot. So is a pilot, or a musician, or a painter, or a glass blower, or, gee, I don’t know, a fly fisherwoman.
Andy’s wife Kelly tells Jeremy, “I find you lovable but mildly disgusting because of your general lack of moral compass.”
Can Jeremy find a better sense of moral direction and land the big fish(erwoman)? Stay tuned in this delightful third book of the Fix You series.
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Today I welcome author and friend Beck Anderson to the blog to review her latest release Trouble Me (Fix You #2) and ask her about her intriguing series titles!
Trouble Me by Beck Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Love Lasts Through Life’s Troubles
Beck Anderson’s debut novel Fix You was a 5 star read for me. I wasn’t the only one who loved the story as evidenced by its nomination for two RITA awards. Its sequel Trouble Me keeps up the humor and depth, even adding in a suspense element, as Kelly and Andrew’s relationship progresses.
Boise was an unusual setting for book one, and in this story we visit the raw, rough Oregon coast as well as more urban settings like NYC and LA.
When movie star Andrew drives his girlfriend Kelly and her two sons to Oregon, he feels choked up by emotion:
I feel full to bursting. I have a family. A beautiful family. I have this girl, this glorious woman to the right of me now, who let me into her life when I probably least deserved it.
The abundance almost makes me scared.
I’ve never had so much to lose before.
That’s a great setup for what’s to come. And at that point Andrew doesn’t know he’ll have even more to lose when his family expands.
Meanwhile, Kelly continues her passion for running, which led her to meet Andrew in the first place.
Whenever I go on walks or runs, I stake out the neighborhood, figure out which house I’d claim as mine.
I TOTALLY do that! There’s one house in a nearby neighborhood I’ve stalked for years.
One of my favorite parts of the story is the marriage proposal running gag. After a lame first attempt, Andrew decides to make it fun:
He pulls out the twist tie from the hot dog bun package. It’s twisted in the shape of a ring. “Kelly Reynolds, will you marry me?”
I laugh and hold out my hand. “Where’s the Eye of the Tiger?”
“I’ve arrived at a brilliant idea. I’m going to propose multiple times — so many times you can’t stand it. And you won’t be able to tell which is the official, last, ‘real’ proposal.”
As his father says, “Andrew never can do something without a production. We knew from the time he was five he’d be an actor.” Ha ha.
The proposals are clever and funny. Perhaps a subtitle for this story could be “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”.
I also laughed at the incident in the trailer when Andrew and Kelly pull a prank on a mean actress. When the trailer’s rockin’, don’t come-a-knockin’!
Things get more serious when somebody obsessed with Andrew tries to kill him. I had a good inkling who Crazy was from the get-go, based on the strangeness of conversations between the characters. The ending was quite suspenseful.
I love the idea of titling the books after songs, and the title I heard for book three sounds great!
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And now we hear from Beck about her book titles!
Why I picked the song titles I did:
Fix You – The idea that someone needed to be “fixed” after she was broken was intriguing to me, and the song is basically how Chris Martin is trying to fix his grieving lover after the death of a loved one. I think the key is that he says, “I will try to fix you.” Everybody wants to make things better for another person, to fix it for her when she is struggling or for him when he is struggling. But what became kind of a central theme for me in the book Fix You is that all people are broken and flawed in some way. That’s the human condition – that’s what life does to us. Life’s not easy. But how you move forward is not by being fixed, but by loving someone. So that’s where that song came into play. It just really seemed to speak to the theme of the novel but in an unexpected way.
Trouble Me – Another song title that maybe feels like it means one thing initially but also means another. In conversation it means “can I trouble you for some help” – can I bother you? And the song, by 10,000 Maniacs, basically takes that meaning a step further – lean on me, trouble me and burden me with your problems when you need help. I really liked that because in a relationship that deepens, like Kelly and Andrew’s does in book two, you have to lean on each other, and you can’t keep your troubles from the other person. You have to be brave enough to be vulnerable, to be “needy.” The other connotation is that there will be trouble in Trouble Me, and I liked that, too, because things get complicated, dare I say, dangerous, in the book.
Use Somebody – There’s a theme going on here. When I first heard this song by Kings of Leon I thought it was about a total jerk who “used” women up and cast them aside. But if you listen to the lyrics, it’s actually someone who could “use somebody” in his life – he needs someone. The lyrics are actually really sweet. The person works hard to be someone who the other person could “use,” too, i.e., be the kind of person this woman would need or want in her life. Not surprisingly, I feel like this play on the phrase is PERFECT for this story, because it centers on Jeremy, Andrew’s agent, meeting a woman when the boys are on a “man-cation” flyfishing in Eastern Idaho. Is Jeremy simply “using” the person he meets or could he really “use” someone like her?
Since we’re talking about Use Somebody, here’s a sneak peek:
My name is Jeremy King, and I am one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood.
I may or may not have a best friend. I may not have any friends past that at all.
Don’t feel sorry for me, or I will kick you in the balls.
This may be why I have no friends.
But let me tell you what I do have.
I own a Tesla Model S, white. I paid cash for a house in the Hollywood Hills that Bela Lugosi built and Ava Gardner lived in. If you don’t know who these people are, you are a dumb ass and should go look them up right now if I am supposed to put up with you for the rest of the book.
I’ll wait for you to put some of their movies in your cart on Amazon. You can watch them later.
I mean, really. Ava Gardner was married to Frank Sinatra, for Christ’s sakes. Please don’t tell me you haven’t heard of him.
You should stop reading now, too, if you have any illusions that in finding any kind of love, I will change in some way and sprout a heart of gold. The only gold I have is on my wrist – Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, thank you very much.
I am a loyal friend. I take care of people who take care of me.
I am fierce, and I am the fiercest in my field. Do not cross me.
And I have everything I want.
Go away if you think I’m going to have one of those scenes where I look out at the ocean and feel all hollow and run through the rain to knock on some chick’s door and profess my love to her.
I rep movie stars, but never once for a minute have I ever thought that life works the way movies do.
Wow, I can’t wait! Sounds awesome. Thanks, Beck.
Congratulations to Nancee Cain on her debut novel! Saving Evangeline is garnering quite a few 5 star reviews.
Evangeline is the town pariah. Everyone knows she’s crazy and responsible for the death of her last boyfriend. Even her mother left her and moved cross-country. Lonely and desperate, Evie decides to end her life.
Rogue angel Remiel longs to return to earth. There’s just one problem. He tends to invite trouble and hasn’t been back since Woodstock. The Boss sends him to save Evangeline, but there’s a catch. He can’t reveal his angelic nature and must complete the task as Father Remiel Blackson.
Forced together on a cross-country trip, a forbidden romance ignites and love unfolds. A host of heavenly messengers try to intervene, but Remiel and Evangeline are headed on a collision course to disaster. Will his love save her, or will they both be lost forever?
Join Nancy at the Confess Your Love of Romance Novels Facebook event on Sunday, June 7 from 2-4pm
In Trouble Me, the sequel to Fix You and third novel from Rita finalist Beck Anderson, Kelly and Andrew struggle to stay sane within their whirlwind life. It’s a life that’s equal parts amazing and amusing, less glamorous than you might expect, and spiked with very real fears no amount of stardom can overcome. Will Andrew and Kelly stay strong at the broken places or be torn apart?
BUY IT HERE! http://books.simonandschuster.com/Trouble-Me/Beck-Anderson/9781623422219
Sign up for her newsletter! http://authorbeck.com/contact/
It’s time to celebrate The Heart Series by Mary Whitney! I loved book one (Beside Your Heart) as you can see in my review. Stick around for the interview and generous giveaway.
Beside Your Heart by Mary Whitney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Beginning of Across-the-Pond Romance
I’ve had my eye on this series for some time and I’m glad I finally read book one.
When political operative Nicki Johnson googles her high school love Adam Kincaid, she finds out he’s dating an English aristocrat named Muff.
I gaped at the photo. I’d never seen Adam dressed so well. He wore a dark gray morning coat with tails, a vest, tie, and striped trousers. Next to him, Mary or Muff or Twat — whatever her name was — wore a pale pink coat dress.
The discovery fuels a sense of longing as well as many memories of the past. Beside Your Heart explores how Nicki and Adam meet in high school. I seem to enjoy New Adult more than Young Adult these days, so I think I’ll enjoy the next two novels about their adult romance better.
Nicki’s younger sister died in a harrowing car accident, and she is mired in grief throughout the story. Coupled with what happens to the relationship between Nicki and Adam, a sad tone pervades the novel. But Adam is lovely in how he helps her through her grief.
Her grandmother explains grief well:
“At times, your grandfather’s passing is as hard for me today as it was the day he died, but the pain isn’t as constant anymore. I can go days and even weeks of going along in my life with nothing. The it can hit me out of the blue, and I feel the grief all over again. Other times, you know when a bad patch of pain is coming…birthdays, holidays.”
I loved all the Englishisms, like shagging, snogging, and spotted dick, hehe.
Overall this is a well-written story about first love.
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And now for the interview with Mary Whitney…
Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome to the blog, Mary! As you can see, I truly enjoyed Beside Your Heart. What were some inspirations for this story?
Mary Whitney (MW): Well, thank you! You’re a doll.
It was triggered by an old memory. I’m old enough to remember when ecstasy was legal back in the 80s, and I remembered going to a party the night before it was made a controlled substance. The funny thing was that no one was on X. They were all drinking. I was telling the story to a friend one day which sort of mentally sent me back to high school. My mom had also recently died, so I’d been wanting to write something to explore grief. Beside Your Heart isn’t autobiographical at all, though. Sadly in my high school, the male exchange students from overseas were never good looking!
JL: How does your law degree affect your writing?
MW: You can say people write about what we know. I’ve never wanted to write about laws, but I think people involved in law, law enforcement, and politics can be interesting – sometimes even in their boringness!
JL: I’m also drawn to writing about politics, especially romantic partners who spar over opposing beliefs. Tell us about your political romances and how politics might play out in books two and three of The Heart Series.
MW: I love a good debate, so romantic banter is just fun for me to read and write. With Nicki and Adam, their banter is driven by their differing cultures, though their political leanings are pretty similar. In my book, Compromising Positions, it’s a Republican and a Democrat, which makes for meaty, but playful conversation.
JL: I see in your bio you’ve lived all over the US! What’s been your favorite location?
MW: Honestly, I think there are great things and bad things about every place I’ve lived. Right now, I live in northern California which is pretty awesome, except for the drought and earthquakes.
JL: What are you working on now?
MW: I’m finishing up my next book, Attached. It’s true New Adult so it will be a departure for me. I’m also working on the audiobooks for No Ordinary Guy and Compromising Positions. David from Beside Your Heart is the main character in No Ordinary Guy. He’s Adam’s cheeky cousin, so the narrator is also a Brit. Compromising Positions is dual narration for both male and female POVs. Everything is out in June, so things are busy right now!
I can’t thank you enough for this interview. I’m always tickled when people want to chat! Thanks again!
JL: Thank you for stopping by, Mary, and good luck with your writing.
Amidst turmoil in vampire society, Henry returns to modern day Dublin. The Circle, a cult determined to awaken their Celtic blood god, the first vampire, is once again active.
When Henry meets a young American woman who sees past his human pretense, he fears exposure. However, his fear is overshadowed by curiosity. What is the source of the strange energy between them? Why are vampires stalking her? Determined to find answers, Henry takes Ari into his home and under his protection.
As their connection grows, Henry begins to suspect Ari isn’t what she claims to be. Their shared history may hold the answers to his uncontrollable bouts of rage and thirst. Perhaps, even a cure for his wicked blood.
She began experimenting with fiction at school and keeps the notebook containing her first unpublished novel in her desk drawer. Over three decades later, all her stories still begin life scrawled on paper.
When not writing, Carol can be found exploring history, old buildings, castles, and tombs.