Interview with Mark Calde, Author of Bascomville

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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!

Book Review: Lady Danger by Glynnis Campbell

19038544Genre: Historical

Page Count: 368 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.88/5 stars

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

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.

Just a reminder that you can save the world and promote your book or blog until the end of time now. Learn all about it here. And please tell me what you thought of this review down below. Have a great week, everyone!

Book Review: The Remnants

51c2jlnk8ilGenre: Historical Fiction

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.26/5 stars

My rating: 3/5 stars

Danny Pulbrook is a handsome and rebellious young man. Born the bastard son of a minor royal and orphaned at birth he is determined to find a new life far beyond his “pre-ordained oblivion”. His only way out – a forced enlistment into the army brings him to an inevitable confrontation with his own demons in the cauldron of the first world war.

Rose Quayle is a beautiful and confident hazel-eyed housemaid who, like her mother and her mother’s mother is employed in service at Meaford House – an expansive vice-regal estate near Tunbridge Wells. Like Danny she longs for a life beyond the tyranny of the rigid class system that defines her humble destiny.

Their chance meeting becomes the catalyst that changes both of their lives forever.

The Remnants is like a fixer upper. It’s unpolished and a bit of a hot mess, but you can still see the potential. Unfortunately, The Remnants was published before it got the TLC it deserved.

Not only is the text plagued with typos and missing punctuation, but there are too many storylines and character to keep straight. It’s a hot mess that could have been amazing.

The story starts out on a seemingly inconsequential day, with two minor characters talking. Yes, minor. They’re barely in the story but they make up the opening scene that eventually introduces Rose as a young, innocent girl going on her first car ride. So far there’s promise. After all, the boggy description will clear up when the story gets going, right?

I wish.

But it does pick up when we meet lovable bad boy Danny. Straight from an orphanage and now working at a general store, he’s a troublemaker and has never known love of any sort. He’s convinced he’s unlovable. Perfect for a love interest. I do have a thing for the bad boys. Give them a vulnerable side and I’m practically putty.

Rose and Danny have an excellently sweet and innocent chance encounter that clashes with the darkness in the rest of the book. Actually, there’s no foreshadowing at all that things will go so horribly awry when they met, or how dark most of the book is.

But dark it is. Danny goes off to fight in India, leaving Rose behind, but promising to still see her. After realizing he will die unless he deserts the army, he runs away and Rose goes to live with him in Canada

Had this been split into two or three full-length novels with the first novel ending here, I would have liked it a lot. But instead this great beginning with Danny’s and Rose’s innocence isn’t given the full detail and development it deserves, instead being condensed to the beginning of the novel.

But unfortunately it gets worse. Because the story continues. With so many characters that it’s impossible to keep them straight.

Danny’s character takes a sharp left when he feels the need to go to war again, this time with the Canadian army. He and Rose had practically just found each other and now he’s going back to fight, and after he had almost died the last time? Yeah. That makes total sense. What is he, an addict all of a sudden?

The entire story goes in a whirlwind. Danny has such a steep character arc, from innocent teenaged boy to hardened veteran, it might as well be a character cliff. Rose, on the other hand, doesn’t have that much character to arc. She’s slightly more bitter by the end, but she had already been bitter in the beginning of the story. Her lack of character frustrates me to no end.

There are some good parts to this story, though. Rose’s experience in the workplace was well-written, as was the death of Grace, Danny’s girl on the side. His war buddy, Mitch, is an excellent character and funny as hell, even if he is a bit cliched. The dynamic between Danny and his comrades is actually very good and I wish I had seen more of that and less flowery description about the war atmosphere.

While this story is mildly entertaining, well-researched, and interesting, it’s not my favorite and I will definitely not be reading it again. What do you think? Does this book sound interesting to you?

Disclaimer: I was given a small amount of money in exchange for this honest review. 100% of my compensation for paid reviews goes toward the upkeep of this website.

 

Book Review: War Bride by Elise Marion

25606218Genre: Medieval, Fantasy, Adult

Goodreads rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I’m going to earn your trust, Emery Toustain, he thought as he released her hand. Perhaps, if you let me, I’ll earn more than that. 

The first time I read War Bride was several months ago. It was so good I actually missed a call from my boss because I was so busy reading it. No, really. I didn’t even “ignore” the call. The fact that my phone was ringing didn’t even register because I was so absorbed in the book. I ended up finishing it in less than a day. 

I just finished it for the second time today, and it’s still incredible. 

Emery Calliot kicks ass.

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Book Review: Chained by Elise Marion

51trbu9hbll-_uy250_As acting high lord of the house of Toustain, it’s Lady Gwendolyn’s job to manage affairs of Dinasdale, and that includes managing her new unruly prisoner, Caden Maignart. Unfortunately it looks like the only way she’ll be able to manage him is to have him chained up in her bedchamber. 

After thirty years of peace, tensions are mounting between Daleria and Dinasdale again. After receiving reports of Dalerians massacring a Dinasdale village and Gwen’s brothers vanishing after being attacked, Gwen won’t take any chances with the Dalerian intruders found on Dinasdalian land. But she quickly realizes just throwing them into the dungeon won’t work, not when one of them is willing to stir up as much trouble as he possibly can to be freed. Chaining him up in her bedchamber keeps him secure, but it causes a whole new set of problems. Like how she can’t hide her thoughts and feelings from him. Not to mention the growing attraction she feels towards him, despite him being the enemy and her being engaged to another. 

Continue reading “Book Review: Chained by Elise Marion”

Tempation and Twilight

Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick , is a rake if there eer was one. Aside from his loyalty to the Brethren Guardians, he loves no one. That is, no one but Elizabeth York, a blind beauty that he had had an affair with and then thrown away, something he wished he could forget forever.

Elizabeth no longer see Iain Sinclair as anything but a mistake, and one not to be made again, no matter how attracted she is to him. But she longs to solve a mystery that has bewildered her for years. An ancestral diary talks about a veiled lady who she wants to learn the identity of, and she’ll even let Ian help her to do it.

This is definitely a book worth reading. Full of passion, love, and whispered promises, it’s one of my favorite steamy romances. Both Elizabeth and Iain are great characters and the passion between them was so sweet. The devotion Iain has for Elizabeth is sweet without being sappy and cliched,  and I liked the lengths he would go to right wrongs, which were by no means small. Elizabeth had good reason to be angry at him, and I’m glad that was never undermined.. Definitely a good story for anyone who enjoys hot and sexy romances.

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Morning Comes Softly

Sometimes the best things happen with some impulsive but necessary decisions, like when Mary Warner decides to give up her life as a lonely librarian in Louisiana when she answers a personals ad from a Montana rancher looking for a wife to help him raise three orphaned children. Even though she knows his interest is less in her and more in her ability as a homemaker, Mary can’t help but hope that she’ll find love.

I haven’t read many of Debbie Macomber’s books, but I know I definitely enjoyed this one. Ugly Duckling stories are definitely one of my favorites, as well as arranged-marriage-gone-right stories. However, not my favorite romance ever, because Travis was often a jerk, at least in the beginning. Granted, he had just lost his brother and sister-in-law and he had become the father of three. But the way he took out his frustrations on Mary– from mentally criticizing her looks to arguing with her made him a little too unlikable to me, even though he shaped up to be a gentlemen further on in the story.

I never had a problem with the secondary love story in this book, though. Logan is definitely a Prince Charming, but a little bit sexier. I wish they were the main couple instead of Mary and Travis, even though I eventually grew to like the chemistry between them.

All in all, I would probably give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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