Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Holiday Romance, Romance

5* #Review – Lucy Coleman- Summer on the Italian Lakes – Extract @LucyColemanAuth @Aria_Fiction

Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping – and steamy – love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling… Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.

So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?

Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…

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I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review

My Thoughts…

This story didn’t draw me in immediately, the tone was so negative. Since this author is known for her positivity, I decided to read on. After the first chapter, I realised the reader is in the main character’s head, and she is in a bad place. So don’t be put off, read on.

There is a lot to like in the remainder of the story, a stunning setting, which I love. Having visited the Lake Garda region in 2004, I can confirm that the author’s description really does capture the essence of this lovely region. The writers’ retreat is also interesting, interspersed with writing and publishing tips, this gives the story its authenticity.

Brie’s life is nothing like her public persona and she begins to wonder if romance exists beyond the passionate words she creates in her sexy novels. When she meets Arran, there is chemistry but also conflict. They are both emotionally raw and have seemingly incompatible personality traits. 

I liked the realistic nature of their relationship, with two characters that get under your skin, until you really want them to have their happy ending.

An enjoyable romance, full of vivid imagery and believable characters, and for the most part is positive and heartwarming.

Extract

‘All I can think of is that Brianna Middleton. Wow, that lady knows how to write a sex scene. Just thinking about the gorgeous guys she features in her books is enough to get me in the mood to jump into someone’s arms!’ She laughs and for one moment a look of horror passes over my face.

Oh, dear! Am I unwittingly killing the art of romantic love by concentrating on the intense passion and the hot sex? Isn’t that a modern-day disease, anyway? We want everything instantly and it seems that people forget that some things are worth waiting for. Wasn’t it more exciting when couples didn’t jump into bed before they’d had a chance to get to know each other? And then when they did get to that point it held more meaning. How many people wake up the next morning regretting the night before, I wonder?

‘Guess we’re all looking for a hero.’ I smile up at her in the mirror, doing my best to push aside my concerns.

‘Tell me about it! I can’t remember the last time a guy held a door open for me. Or picked up the tab for a meal out without expecting to go Dutch.’

I nod, glancing in the mirror and relieved to see that my face isn’t giving anything away.

Zena excuses herself to go and mix up the colour for the first step in the transformation. She returns wheeling a cart with two black bowls both containing a creamy white mixture. I’m keeping my fingers crossed the colours aren’t too loud.

‘Can you turn up the music, please?’ She addresses the receptionist who is manning the desk. ‘I love this one.’

Relief washes over me. It’s not a record I know but at least it curtails the conversation. I’m not being moody but the less said the better.

Closing my eyes for a moment to rest them, I’m horrified when a sudden jolt rouses me. There’s a buzzer on the shelf in front of me and it’s jumping around. I can’t believe I fell asleep.

Zena returns, and I follow her over to the basin. I’d forgotten how good it feels to be pampered and the head massage alone is a tonic. I didn’t realise I was quite so stressed out and now I’m longing for that full body polish and massage Mel and I have booked for later this morning.

After wrapping a towel around my head, Zena and I walk back to her styling station. She begins by twisting the majority of my hair up on top of my head, securing it with a clip. Scissors in hand, she turns her attention to the first layer at the back and begins cutting.

With my head tilted forward slightly, I look at the growing pile of debris on the floor. The colour looks okay but then it’s still wet and it’s hard to tell how it will look once dry. It’s been a long time since I wore my hair this short, that’s for sure. I glance across at Mel but she’s engrossed, listening to her iPod. Usually, I love thinking time, but my head is in such a mess that what I need now is a distraction. So instead I grab a magazine from the shelf in front of me and read about the latest red carpet event in Hollywood. I can identify with the sadness behind some of those fake smiles.

The cutting seems to go on forever and I lose interest. I decide it’s time to stop looking in the mirror and wait for the reveal. Eventually, the scissors disappear back into the neat little pouch strapped around Zena’s slender hips. She uses a generous squirt of mousse to scrunch up the longer hair at the front, with her hands, then the blow drying starts in earnest. My head is feeling curiously lighter and it’s a fight to avoid glancing in that mirror.

‘I think we’re done.’ Zena takes a step backwards, sounding pleased with herself. The girl from the reception desk walks by on her way to the coffee machine.

‘On fleek, Zena. A hot new look there, Ms Middleton, it’s time for a new author photo! I rang my mum and she just popped in with one of your books, so I wondered if you’d sign it for me? I have them all! I couldn’t bear to miss one of your hot, sexy heroes.’

I feel the heat rising up around my ears as my cheeks begin to burn; Zena’s jaw has dropped. Fortunately, Mel steps in, making a big fuss over my new hairdo and then whisks me off to the reception desk. I do my usual writerly scrawl just inside the front cover of the book lying on the counter while raising a smile and trying to look composed.

It isn’t until we’re out through the doors and walking down the corridor to find the nail technician that I feel I can finally breathe. I stop to catch my reflection in a glass panel and swish my hair from side to side.

‘You look gorgeous, Brie. On fleek, even!’

She looks at me with a big smile on her face.

‘I don’t feel like me. I look my age; I look like I’m ready to party.’

‘Well, after some new nails and a relaxing massage you will be. Tomorrow we hit the gym and I’ve booked us a session with a personal trainer. Tonight, we are dining in the spa’s acclaimed Nature’s Best restaurant. Nude food is the theme, as nature intended. They’ve stripped everything away and it’s all about the quality of the produce and keeping it simple.’

‘You have to let me pay for this, Mel. It’s way too much. Just the fact that you’ve organised all this is more than I deserve. I’ve been a very bad friend, lately.’

I lean in to give her a hug.’

Lucy lives in the Forest of Dean in the UK with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy. Her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Lucy won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award. Twitter Facebook

Posted in The Revenge Masquerade, Writing Journey

The Revenge Masquerade – Motivations and Inspiration-.

Inspiration Ten days ago I posted  my inspirations behind The Dragon Legacy. This week I’m sharing my motivations behind my current  release The Revenge Masquerade.

DSCN1092When I wrote my debut novel I didn’t think past the initial story.  I wanted to write about a dragon in the twenty-first century searching for the last dragon egg. His motivation? To save the dragon race and ultimately the human race from domination by evil. I wanted my fantasy/paranormal characters to have a human appearance in our world but also be part of a secret paranormal world, not normally seen by us.

When people started to read my first story most commented on two of the secondary characters JasmineJasmine, an independently minded young woman, destined to be guardian witch and Zane, the street wise wolf shifter.Zane

They were together in several scenes of  ‘The Dragon Legacy’ and people wanted to see how their fledgling relationship played out.

Readers were the main motivation behind ‘The Revenge Masquerade’ , it was great to know I’d created two characters they wanted to know more about. 🙂

Having decided to write Jasmine and Zane’s story, what came next? Defining my characters is important to me but I’d already done this with Jasmine and Zane, as they featured in my first story.

The Setting  where my characters travel on their emotional journey is an important part of what motivates me to write a story.

DSCN0763 Sometimes it’s somewhere I have visited often and love, like the  English Lake District in ‘The Dragon Legacy’. This time it was a combination of somewhere I’d visited and enjoyed and a place that epitomised several themes of my story; romance, historical and mystical worlds impacting on contemporary society.

Lakeside Path heading north towards Bardolino Taken by A W MacFadyen. released by owner to public domain.)
Lakeside Path heading north towards Bardolino Taken by A W MacFadyen. released by owner to public domain.)

THE REVENGE MASQ-LARGE

Lake Garda is somewhere I have holidayed in the past and its beauty and charm stayed with me.  I haven’t been to Venice but it was close enough to Lake Garda to include it in my story especially with its:

 With ‘The Revenge Masquerade’, deciding on the Plot  was the last of my motivations. At the end of ‘The Dragon Legacy’, Jasmine is separated from Zane. I wanted to explore what happened to her emotionally in the months that followed. Zane left to act as an ambassador for the infant dragon with the supernatural world, what happened to him? Does his still think about Jasmine and how he treated her, or is he really the player he appears to be?

Lost love,  Reunion and facing one’s destiny are all explored in the story.  The story starts one year after Zane leaves. Jasmine is in the Lake District with a new companion and strange mystical dreams.Whilst Zane reaches the final stop on his mission – Venice and  is confronted with a new evil. Can he save Larna (Lukas’ the dragon lord’s sister)? Should he contact Lukas and risk the safety of the infant dragon Tarriannah? Has he really seen Jasmine in Venice?

After the first couple of chapters I let the characters tell their own stories whilst I buckled up for the ride , peeking through my fingers whenever it got too scary. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed sharing some of my motivations  for writing and thoughts about ‘The Revenge Masquerade’. If you want to know what happens next it’s available at the following outlets:

Zane

Amazon UK

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The Revenge Masquerade - Excerpt

The English Lake District: Just over a year ago in Hallows House’s garden.

Zane shook his body until his fur lay flat against his broad back. His shift into his wolf completed, he padded across the silent garden, eager to be on his way. He paused and looked back at the house. A movement at a downstairs window drew his predatory gaze. He stood transfixed as the artificial light illuminated Jasmine’s titian hair. Jasmine leant against the kitchen window and stared into the moonlit garden. His silvery-eyed stare moved lower and devoured her hourglass figure’s perfection, barely concealed by the emerald robe she wore.

His ears flattened as a shrill whistle assaulted his acute hearing. Jasmine disappeared. Instinctively he edged further away from the house to where the garden merged with the dark hills. He waited. A turquoise streak of light momentarily dazzled him. He followed its progress and recognized the baby dragon as it flew into the room occupied by its guardian, Fleur. Zane assumed Lukas, his friend the dragon lord, was there too. He growled softly, pleased by Lukas’ happiness. Jasmine’s image flashed into his mind. Zane shook his shaggy head–she wasn’t for him.

The shrieking noise quieted and the unmistakable creek of the heavy door alerted him of someone’s approach. His hackles rose and then flattened in recognition of the scent: a mixture of flowers and spice unique to Jasmine. He resisted the urge to shift into his human form. As a wolf, their encounter would remain platonic. His mind and heart warred over the morality of his desires. He couldn’t stay. His mission necessitated he leave immediately. Was it fair to take Jasmine’s heart and leave her alone with needs mere memories wouldn’t satisfy? The wolf ignored his human conscience. Time was short and the instinctive need to brand the flame-haired witch with his mark too strong. He shifted back into his human form.

Zane leant against the jagged stone wall. His naked body barely registered the rough-hewn rock, which imprinted his skin. His abrupt shift into human form didn’t include clothes. The cool night air soothed his fevered body as Jasmine appeared. A faint blush stained her pale skin everywhere his gaze rested.

“I saw your wolf through the window,” Jasmine said, perhaps to explain her presence in the garden.

“I wanted to talk to you.” Zane enclosed her small hand in his. She offered no resistance.

“Just talk?” Her gaze darted away from his erection, taunt against his abdomen. He sighed and pulled her tight against his hardness, enjoying the contact with her soft curves. “This isn’t talking, Zane,” she said, her voice breathless.

©Jane Hunt 2014 Crimson Frost Books.

Posted in Writing Journey

The Revenge Masquerade: Writing Journey Update – Jane Hunt

 Revenge 2This weekend  I am going to sub ‘The Revenge Masquerade’. It’s five months since I started writing the second book in ‘The Dragon Legacy Series’ two months longer than I originally envisaged. If you have followed this blog since the beginning of my writing journey you will know that I’m easily distracted and find it difficult to concentrate on a single project. Too much blogging, reading books and writing reviews has contributed to the delay 🙂

I don’t see this as a bad thing since I enjoy the on-line writing community and like to take the time to read other writers’ books and review them. Sometimes writing  about an unrelated subject using a different style helps me to return to my work in progress refreshed.

Writing a book is more than just the typing of words onto a screen for me.  I thought  I would share the stages I went through to complete my second book. I would be interested to know how these differ from other writers.

The Idea

Lakeside Path heading north towards Bardolino Taken by A W MacFadyen. released by owner to public domain.)
Lakeside Path heading north towards Bardolino Taken by A W MacFadyen. released by owner to public domain.)

This includes the setting, characters and their adventure. I wanted to continue my  watery theme with the second book  as  dragons  are often associated with water. I also love Italy so the Italian lakes and Venice were an easy choice. Book two is all about Jasmine and Zane who are so popular with readers of The Dragon Legacy. Even though a second book wasn’t at the forefront of my mind when I wrote the first book. I couldn’t wait to write their love adventure.The adventure element was not immediately apparent. I don’t want to spoil the story but let’s just say  some of the things Jasmine and Zane experienced  were a surprise for me too.

The Obstacles to True Love

DSCN7297 I knew some of these at the beginning.Zane the hero was an obstacle right from their first meeting. Geography was another  and then there were other characters both good and bad who couldn’t wait to spoil Jasmine’s dreams of her and Zane together forever.I include suspense and mystery here too as I don’t like my stories to be too predictable.

The Paranormal /Fantasy Ingredient

Snake ringThis is truly what makes  a story unique. For me the fantasy  evolves without too much conscious thought it comes straight from the heart.

The Love Scenes

The Dragon Legacy CoverFor me this is the easiest and most enjoyable part of writing a romantic story. The physical expression of emotional feelings. I don’t have to think to hard about this part of the story I just let my fingers fly over the keyboard.

After the creation comes the editing. As  I didn’t have a definite structure for this story I edited each day before I wrote the next scenes. This allowed me to think about what was going to happen next, as well as checking what I’d written the previous time made sense.

I think this worked and my two writer friends who have read ‘The Revenge Masquerade’  seemed to like it too. Just hope the publisher does 😉

So what’s next… You’ll have to wait for my next post on Saturday to find out. 🙂

 

 

 

Posted in The Dragon Legacy #2, The Revenge Masquerade, Writing Journey

The Revenge Masquerade – The Dragon Legacy #2

The poll to help me decide the title for #2 The Dragon Legacy is now over.

The results are:

75% of people voted for The Revenge Masquerade.

25% for Witches Wolves Magic and Masquerade.

As The Revenge  Masquerade is my  favourite I am happy to accept the majority decision.

The working title for Jasmine and Zane’s adventure will be The Revenge  Masquerade.

Check out My Pinterest page here on my website for the latest pins  on the story.

The Rafflecopter giveaway which accompanied the poll has a winner Shelley who wins an EBook of The Dragon Legacy and the handmade necklace on The Dragon Legacy – Fleur Pinterest Board

The Dragon Legacy Covercrystal necklace

Interested in The Revenge Masquerade?

Check out my previous posts click the links below:

Italy – The Perfect Setting for a Sexy  Fantasy

 Valentine’s Day in The Italian Lakes – The Dragon Legacy #2 A Date With Jasmine and Zane

Jasmine and Zane’s Story – Update and Excerpt