I’m still trying to catch my breath from reading Conference Cupid by Eden Elgabri. The sex and the romance is a huge whirlwind that left me wanting even more. But I’m still not sure why I liked it so much.
Devin Barnett can’t believe it when he sees his old high school crush walk into his hotel for the romance writers conference. She’s just as beautiful as he remembers, but he doubts she will recognize him. After all, he was just a skinny nerd in high school. He certainly never would have entered her radar. But maybe he can finally have her.
Mark Calde is the author of Bascomville. You may remember it from his book spotlight and my review for Bascomville. Today, I am pleased to have him for an interview on Lover’s Quarrel. It’s been awesome working with him and I wish him the best in future endeavors and I hope we do get to see a sequel to Bascomville someday.
Tell us what Bascomville is about.
Bascomville is a literary romance that functions on several levels. It is the story of Max and Janice, who begin as childhood friends and gradually fall in love. It is the story of Max’s family and how he relates to them. And finally, it delves into the notion that, for better or worse, we each create our own special universe.
The characters all appear very real. Did you base any of them off people you know?
As a writer I try to be observant of the people I come into contact with, whether casually or on a more consistent basis. My characters often embody the traits I observe in others and in myself, but I avoid slavishly copying someone I know, as that hampers the creative process.
Max and Lily discuss what “normal” means. What does it mean for you?
For me, and the thesis I try to exemplify in the book, normal is what each of us make it. There is, in my view, no test-tube version of normal. It can’t be quantified or objectified. What’s normal for one person may be far out of another’s comfort range. If we all behaved in the same way and liked the same things, life would be a tremendous bore!
If we all behaved in the same way and liked the same things, life would be a tremendous bore! — Mark Calde
Out of all of your novels, which was your favorite one to write?
While each of my novels has been its own unique journey, I’d have to say that my fondest memory is of my first, Shadowboxer, a suspense novel published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Your first book is rather like your first kiss. It’s an experience that can’t be duplicated and remains with you forever.
What does a typical writing day look like for you? From idea to final draft, what is your writing process?
These are interesting questions because I’m rather an atypical writer. First of all, I have to know where I’m going, where the story is going to end. The road to that end doesn’t have to be totally in place but the destination does. Next come the names of the main characters. Those are very important to me and help me to visualize the characters. Also, I don’t do a lot of drafts. I prefer to think about a chapter a great deal before I write it, and I often wind up doing the actual writing in the evening. Of course, I hit dead-ends from time to time and have to backtrack, but largely my first draft of a book is about ninety percent of the finished product.
What are some of your favorite books?
My two all-time favorites that I’ve read several times each are The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I never fail to be inspired by the characters, the themes and the wonderful storytelling.
Keep searching for that one book that will speak to you over and over again. And when you find it, never let it go.
Are you currently working on any writing projects, or have any planned for the near future?
I would very much like to do a sequel to Bascomville. I believe Max and Janice have more of their story to tell. Also, I’m making notes on what I hope will be a young adult series. It’s something I’ve never done and I like the prospect of a challenge. We’ll see if I’m up to it!
Is there anything else you want to share with my readers?
I firmly believe that books, especially fiction, are an essential ingredient to making whatever time we have been allotted both meaningful and enjoyable. Well-written, well-plotted fiction can illuminate our lives. It can teach us, it can entertain us and it can make us think. And sometimes it can change our lives. So please, keep reading. Keep searching for that one book that will speak to you over and over again. And when you find it, never let it go.
What’s the one book that speaks to you over and over again? Let us know in the comments!
When the Norman king gives Pagan the Rivenloch keep and a daughter of the current laird for a wife, he knows it’s too good to be true. Not only is Rivenloch’s laird suffering from dementia, but the two oldest daughters are not content to take on house-making duties like most women. Instead they are skilled fighters who command Rivenloch’s army. It isn’t long before Pagan realizes why the king chose him for Rivenloch. Only the strongest, most hardened men could conquer the Warrior Maids of Rivenloch.
Deidre isn’t about to give up her power to some Norman, even if he is supposed to be their ally. She’ll marry him to spare her sisters, but that doesn’t mean she’ll make it easy for him. She’ll conquer the Norman before he realizes it.
This book took awhile to get good, but I have to admit, both Pagan and Deidre have very realistic reactions and feelings considering the situation. Pagan comes from a very misogynistic society, so female warriors are unnatural to him. And Deidre sees Pagan as another enemy invading her territory and taking control. But their irrationality them makes them unlikeable at times.
I liked them, then I didn’t. Then I liked them again. Pagan’s devout honor and chivalry is admirable. Although he thinks in terms like “taming” and “conquering” Deidre, he would never actually force her or hurt her in any way. Nor does he want women to fear him. Seeing Miriel, the youngest sister, scared of him made him feel sick. Despite his flawed yet historically accurate upbringing, he does see the value in Deidre and Helena knowing how to fight after learning about the dangers they faced. But there’s so much misogyny in him. He actually thought Deidre would prefer having a man protect her than protecting herself, and he forbid her from sparring.
Of course, Deidre resents all the changes Pagan makes to Rivenloch, even though they were changes that desperately needed to be made. She also has deeply misguided views about sex and men. She planned to control Pagan through his lust by withholding sex, even denying her own desires. During this time, she considered him beating her and forcing her, but the idea that he would commit adultery never occurred to her, even though she repeatedly told him that she would never want him. However, I did enjoy watching Pagan’s massive ego get checked.
They drove me crazy, even though their emotions were realistic. However, after they put their absurdities aside and started working together, the story immediately improved. I loved them working in harmony and the fight scenes at the end were fantastic. Lady Danger is lame at first, but is worth the wait. Medieval romance fans will enjoy this book. Read it for free on Smashwords.
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Ziva has the ability to read fortunes in coffee grounds, passed down from her grandmother. She does it for her family and friends. But then Ziva uses her ‘gift’ for herself.
Throughout her life, her talent had been freely given to those desperate for a glimpse into destiny’s promise: love, loss, life and death, and everything else along the way.
Ziva revels in the semiotic arts and their ability to bring joy and comfort to those she meets. But with the blessing of enlightenment comes the curse of knowing all that is toxic, harsh and flawed in the future. To tell or not to tell? When face-to-face with imploring eyes, begging to know what’s to come – are they sometimes better off not knowing?
Jase grinned, “you were about to tell me why you always hated Marcus?”
Sean closed his eyes. Truth, he reminded himself. He took a few deep breaths. “I envied him, Jase.”
Truth, truth, truth. “Because he got to have you, and I didn’t. Because I wanted you. I wanted to be with you. Jase, I… I think I still want that.”
Sean “Tag” Taggert’s fiancee abandoning him and their son, Cody, is a blessing in disguise. Sean had never loved her and only committed to her for Cody’s sake. He was really in love with his best friend and former college roommate Jase, and now he might have the chance to tell him that.
But there was just one problem. Jase didn’t know Sean was bisexual. And Sean had no idea how Jase would react to the news that he had been in love him for three years.
Jase is incredibly hot and I can see why Sean’s attracted to him. He’s sexy and dominant, but also sweet, and caring, and great with kids. Jase is always there for Sean and a good friend. And Jase is also very attracted to Sean. There is no question at all about that.
And damn, they have good chemistry between them. Their relationship isn’t forced or fake at all.
Jase pulled off his t-shirt and tossed in on a chair. Tag stared at him with hungry eyes, and pulled his shirt over his head as well. Jase bit his lip and held back a groan. Tag had more tattoos. There were at least three new ones that he could see, tribal patterns on each pec, and a dragon, low on his left stomach, that halfway disappeared beneath his drawstring pants.
Jase ended up hopping quickly into the bed, when the thought of following the dragon’s tail into Tag’s pants caused in him a very noticeable reaction.
Sean killed the light and climbed in next to him. He scooted over till his shoulder was pressed against Jase’s chest. Jase reached across Tag’s body and grabbed his hand. His forehead touched the side of Tag’s head. He smells like home, he thought. He squeezed Tag’s hand and whispered. “Nite, Tag.”
They are so cute together. Telling Jase is the perfect story to put you in a good mood.
But it’s not completely perfect. The beginning is awkward. Sean comes home early to hear Jase and his then-boyfriend having sex in their room and within a matter of minutes he knows for sure he’s bi and in love with Jase. Just because he got turned on by sex sounds. That felt forced and insta-love, even if most of the story doesn’t.
I also couldn’t picture Lisa as a real person at all. Even though we never actually see her in the story, she plays a huge part. Despite all of the time Sean and Jase spend talking about her and all the time Sean spends thinking about her, she remains an undeveloped plot device instead of a real character.
Despite those flaws, this story is worth 4 stars. It’s a quick, fun read that I highly recommend.
You can read Telling Jase on Smashwords for free. Please let me know what you thought of the book — and this review — in the comments. And go ahead and click on the little heart if you liked this review.
It’s not often a book can surprise me. But Same Time Next Year totally took me off guard.
Every year, for the past either years, Regina White and Tyler Harrison meet at the same hotel, in two connecting rooms for one night.
The receptionist, Elizabeth, thinks she has the whole situation figured out. But she doesn’t know what this night means to the mysterious couple. And somehow she can’t stop thinking about them anyway.
You can read Same Time Next Year for free on Smashwords.
At first I thought I wasn’t going to like this story. I thought it was about two people leaving their depressing and dull lives to have one night of infidelity and debauchery a year, like some sort of modern day fairy tale. On top of that, the “good” character, Elizabeth, is kind of a bitch who is quick to condemn and judge Regina, but smile and admire Tyler.
It’s one thing to disapprove of adultery, it’s another thing to have double standards about it.
But despite my misgivings at first, I got sucked into the very hot sex scene quickly.
“No, I don’t want champagne. I want you. Naked. And wet. And begging.”
Gotta love good dirty talk. Unfortunately the scene ends abruptly and before the couple gets to the really good part, if you know what I mean. 😉
For such a short story there is actually a lot of character development. We learn that Tyler and Regina met at a conference years ago, when they had those two hotel rooms by coincidence. Tyler loves how Regina’s strong and confident in public, but a little submissive in the bedroom. Regina loves how Tyler still wants her, and how he’s always willing to please her. They have great chemistry together and I love how they’re still attracted to each other after all those years, and always come back to the same hotel.
My only complaint, aside from the abrupt end to the sex scene, is Elizabeth. I get why she’s necessary to the story, but she’s undeveloped and unlikeable, and I wish she was gone.
You can read Same Time Next Year for free on Smashwords and I highly recommend that you do.