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Return to Poughkeepsie Blog Blitz – Beckett is back!

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Social Media Links:

Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Amazon | BN.com | YouTube Trailer
John Quinlan as Beckett Taylor RtP

Summary:

Beckett Taylor is a murderer. His calling, his craft are destruction and intimidation—whether he wants it that way now or not. He left Poughkeepsie to keep his brothers safe, to keep Eve safe. Set up with happy lives to live, they’re better off without him, right?

But all his willpower crumbles when he hears his brother Blake’s frantic voice on the phone. An unknown enemy has moved in on his old territory, and Livia’s been taken. In an instant, Beckett knows it will take an attack only he and Eve can execute to bring her back. All his self-imposed embargoes are torn to shreds, perhaps along with the new man he’s struggled to become.

“Brother, call Eve. I’ll be there soon.”

In this emotional and action-packed sequel to Poughkeepsie, Debra Anastasia conjures a tale of love at its most raw and ragged. With Beckett and Eve, how could we expect anything less? But even when it’s messy, not magical, true love perseveres. Real love finds a way—for better or for worse until death does part.

Giveaway:

To enter, click here —> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bio: 

Debra Anastasia is busy, just like every other mom. There’s dinner, the dogs, the two kids, the two kids, and her ongoing battle with…ahem… digestive issues, which combined with her adolescent boy sense of humor makes for colorful and sometimes cringe-worthy social media updates. Her first love and crowning achievement is her thriving career as the weirdest mom on the block.

Her writing started a decent handful of years ago when–along with the animals and humans in her house–the voices of characters started whispering stories in Debra’s ear. Insomnia was the gateway to plots that wouldn’t give up, wouldn’t let go. Now they stalk her everywhere. Halfway through making lunches, a twist takes hold and–fingers full of peanut butter–she finds somewhere, anywhere to write it down.

She’s eternally grateful to Omnific Publishing, which has now published four of her books: two in the Seraphim Series and two in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series, as well as her novella, Late Night with Andres. That one is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. (So go get it right now, please!) She also very much appreciates her open-minded readers, who embrace everything she has to offer, with a focus on anti-heroes and bathroom humor.

Debra lives in Maryland with her family. You can find her at DebraAnastasia.com and on Twitter @Debra_Anastasia. But be prepared.

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Review:

A review of RtP will follow soon. In the meantime, please check out our review of Poughkeepsie here and our Q&A with the author here.

Save the Date:

Debra Anastasia will be back for another radio interview with Lori Ness (@iguestinfo) on Northwest Prime on January 6th. You can listen to her first interview here.

Special thanks to book publicist Enn Bocci (@ennbocci) for setting up the blog tour; and to learn more about John Quinlan (@JohnQuinlan), the man personally chosen by the author to breathe life into Beckett Taylor, visit his official site here.

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Sempre Redemption Blog Tour and Author Interview

Special delivery from Santa! Whoops! We mean from your Kindle! It’s finally here–the Christmas present we’ve all been waiting for…the arrival of Sempre Redemption. I’ve read it, and it captured my heart.

Sempre Redemption Cover

Ordering Information
Amazon | Barnes & NobleiTunesSimon & Schuster

SYNOPSIS

In this thrilling and sexy follow-up to Sempre, two young lovers struggle to keep their relationship intact after they become deeply enmeshed in the dangerous mafia-run crime ring they once tried to overthrow.

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco have been through a lot. Haven was taken in by Carmine’s father, and with his family’s help, she escaped a gruesome fate. However, saving Haven from the dark intentions of a mafia family cost Carmine a steep price: he was forced to swear loyalty to them.

Now, still passionately in love, Carmine and Haven must face the fall-out of Carmine’s forced service, as Haven discovers terrifying secrets about the family that enslaved both her and her mother—and why she matters so much in this intricate web of lies.

EXCLUSIVE BLOG TOUR EXCERPT

The smile fizzled from his face as he strolled through the house, heading straight for the drink table. He grabbed a small glass and filled it from an open liquor bottle, disregarding Corrado’s warning. The burn lessened the pressure in his chest, unwinding the knots and loosening his taut muscles.

He leaned against the table as he drank, his attention shifting to the front door. Hours had passed, yet the girl still stood there, as silent and still as ever. He studied her, wondering where she had come from and how long she had been trapped in Sal’s home. He couldn’t recall her ever being there before.

She snuck a peek after a moment, tipping her head up slightly so her blue eyes met his. Her brow furrowed when she saw him watching her, and she dropped her gaze again quickly.

“What’s your name?” Carmine asked curiously.

She peeked up once more but didn’t have a chance to respond before laughter sounded out behind him. Carmine turned at the noise of a clinking liquor bottle and froze, the glass nearly slipping from his hand as he stared at the badly scarred face. The familiarity took his breath away.

“Her name’s Annie, I think,” Carlo said, casually pouring a glass of scotch.

“Abby,” the girl whispered, her voice shaking as she corrected him.

“Not that it matters,” Carlo continued, shrugging. “You can call her anything you want.”

Carmine couldn’t tear his eyes away from him. Everything about the man screamed vile, from his callous words to his horrid face. “I prefer to call her by her name.”

Carlo looked over at him, studying him carefully. “DeMarco’s kid.”

“Yes.”

“Makes sense.” Carlo brought his glass to his lips. “She’s your type.”

Anger swept through Carmine. He fought to control himself, forcing his feet to stay where they were. He wouldn’t be provoked. Not here, not now. “Excuse me?”

“Ah, no reason to be ashamed,” Carlo said. “If it’s any consolation, I’ve always liked to sample the help, too. Little Annie over there is a sweet thing. Submissive. Didn’t even put up a fight. Not that any of them do. Well, except yours. Feisty one, isn’t she? Didn’t get that from her mother.”

Carmine’s rage spiraled over. “You son of a—!”

Before he could leap over the liquor table and pound his fists into the man’s grotesque face, the noise in the room grew louder as a slew of guests filtered in. They scattered through, some heading for the door while others made their way to the back den. Carlo took a step back, tipping his glass at Carmine with a menacing smile. “Nice to officially meet you, kid. I’ll see you around.”

He sauntered away as Corrado approached, grabbing the glass from Carmine’s hand and slamming it on the table. “Your ability to listen is astounding.”

“Do you know what that motherfucker just said to me?” Carmine asked, clenching his hands into fists. “He just—”

Corrado cut him off. “I don’t care. He’s made, Carmine. You don’t disrespect a man who earned his button.”

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW

We are filled with gratitude to be able to welcome Ms. Darhower to our blog! It’s such an honor to be able to promote her on a larger scale than by just a word-of-mouth recommendation. We know so many of our friends are long-time fans too!

1. We always want to know…. what was your inspiration in choosing the names Carmine and Haven?

I put a lot of thought into Haven. I wanted a name that would capture her essence, to describe her character with a simple word. A name says a lot about a person. And after going around in circles for a while, picking out keywords to describe her to try to find a name that matched, I just kept coming back to Haven. She’s a haven for a few characters, and it just seemed like the perfect name, something her mother would call her. As far as Carmine goes, he was easier. The moment it came time to give them names, he was just Carmine. It’s a fairly popular Italian name, and it sort of captures him, I think… beautiful, yet edgy. Took me all of five minutes to pin his full name down… Carmine Marcello DeMarco.

2. There are so many heart-breaking moments in the story that many of your readers will say moved them to tears or feelings of anguish. I remember feeling gutted at certain points. Which scene was the hardest for you to write? Did any of them actually make you cry? If so, which one(s)?

I tend to get emotional when I’m writing about death and loss, and yeah, a few times I shed some tears. The opening line of Redemption, when I wrote it, made me tear up a bit (writing those words were strangely hard). There’s also a letter in it that a character writes that made me cry. The hardest scene, in general for me, occurs over halfway through the sequel, when a certain character confronts the truth and finds his redemption in his own way (people who read it will completely understand).

3. We know through your writing and social media, you have tried to heighten awareness of modern-day human trafficking. Was there a particular event, news story, teacher, or something else that inspired you to base your story around this subject matter?

I can’t really pinpoint a specific event that inspired it as a whole… I just often think about the victims of human trafficking, the invisible people who exist in our society, nameless and faceless…. They’re there, breathing, and dreaming, and fighting for survival, and so few people notice them. So many people go missing, just vanishing into thin air, and we never know what happened to them; we never know their stories. So for me, writing Haven was sort of a way to say, “we see you”, in a sense.

4. We all have movie hopes for Carmine and Haven’s story, but we understand how difficult the process is and that there have been snags along the way. Are there any positive developments with the movie rights you can share with readers?

I’m afraid all I have is not-so-positive news on that front, currently. The snags seemed to be more like roadblocks and detours, and I’m not sure when or if we’ll ever get diverted back to the main road. Alas, the hope is still there, but at this point it’s not much more than an idea and a plan that’s been explored a bit. Nothing tangible. (A/N: I feel a Make-Sempre-A-Movie Twitter Campaign coming on!)

5. We had the privilege of interviewing one of our favorite book boyfriends, Bryce Thompson, (see sidebar) and know you met him at The Naughty Mafia convention this past summer. Heather from Love N. Books called into the show and told us a few authors in attendance said they’d love to have him in the movie adaptation of their books, if given the chance, including you. We’re all for that, of course, and would love to know which character you could see Bryce playing in Sempre?

Ah, Bryce… what a gorgeous, kindhearted creature with a to-die-for accent (and goodness, he smelled AMAZING). I indeed recall saying he could come be in my movie anytime. Not quite sure there’s a part suited for him in Sempre, sadly, since my main characters are all either late teens or in their forties. Although, we do have Gavin and Remy in Redemption, and they’re in their mid-twenties. Hmmm…. (A/N: It’s good to hear him described as ‘kindhearted’!)

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REFLECTION

It’s so hard to talk about this book without wanting to give away spoilers (which I don’t). I think there are too many of us who have loved this story and its characters for so long (way back from its FF roots), that every reader should have the opportunity to discover and become invested in the story themselves.

It’s intense. There are some elements I was already familiar with from the original story, but it’s been streamlined in a less-is-more and right-to-the-point kind of way. The story flows so beautifully that I was always ‘in the moment’ while reading each scene.

One of the greatest compliments I think I can pay Ms. Darhower is to say this: There are some wonderful books that I’ve read where I felt like I was this privileged audience member, looking through a window, watching the story unfold. Then there is her story, where when I was reading it, I literally felt like I was shadowing the characters–and not just the one I most identify with or the one I like the best. It’s all of them. What each character has gone through in the past and how they react along the way is very emotional, and I felt it all. And the entire time, as I continued the book in search of redemption for all this couple had gone through already, I kept remembering the words the author had offered about Sempre…

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I hope you will all not only read this fantastic sequel to Sempre, but also read it the way I did, not stuck on the sidelines watching a story, but instead experiencing all of the character choices and emotions!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JM Darhower is the author of countless stories and poems, most of which only she has ever read. She lives in a tiny town in rural North Carolina, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep passion for politics and speaking out against human trafficking, and when she isn’t writing (or fangirling about books) she’s usually ranting about those things.

Chronic crimper with a vulgar mouth, she admits to having a Twitter addiction. You can usually always find her there.

Social Media Links for JM Darhower
Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Twitter | Website

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Meet Otherwise Unharmed Cover Model The Savage Trainer

As promised in their review post here, Kassie and Lauren are back with a very special guest!

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Many readers, ourselves included, have enjoyed staring at the cover models on many of our favorite books, but we don’t normally get the chance to interact with them on a personal level, so this is a treat! The man posing on the cover of Otherwise Unharmed, by Shay Savage…The Savage Trainer (aka TST)…was gracious enough to sit down and answer some questions for us. We hope to have compiled a list of questions (with the help of some fabulous ladies and friends) that you, as readers, were dying to know the answers to.

Synopsis & Ordering Information Here

1. What is it like to be the face…errr, body…of Evan Arden?

Amazing. Such a great opportunity and I love working with Shay! I enjoy taking the pictures as well as interacting with the fans. Being the face/body of a bad ass hit man with a high level of sex appeal is an honor and I truly appreciate the positive feedback.

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2. Besides being the physical model for Evan Arden, do you have any character traits that mirror him?

Many in fact. I’ll start with being an ass man! I can’t deny that fact one bit. I was also in the military. Combat Medic in the Army. When it comes to marksmanship, I have a one shot-one kill method and always take care of my equipment. I definitely love my dogs! My dogs are my favorite buds to come home to and play with. Evan and I both have a dark side that is better left alone and kept to ourselves.

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3. When Shay first told you about her writing, were you surprised to find out about the erotic nature of the stories?

I was at first, but then the more I got to know her, I wouldn’t expect anything less! Never a dull moment or story when she’s around!

4. I assume that you never expected to become so immersed in Shay’s world.  Do you go easier on her during workouts now?

HELL NO! I train her to make progress and keep moving forward with her goals. I know when to take it easy on her, but for the most part I kick her ass with fun workouts such as “Mother Fucker Mondays,” “Wicked Wednesdays,” “What the Fuck Wednesdays,” ” Too tired to smack me,” and “Lunge me to Death” 🙂

5. We all know that you met Shay because you’re her trainer, but how did you get into personal training? Has fitness always been important to you?

I got into personal training in high school actually. I earned my first certification at 18 and loved it ever since.  Fitness became super important to me around the age of 15. I just have a passion to share my knowledge and help push other people to reach their goals.

6. Now that you’re on Twitter as The Savage_trainer (@savage_trainer), has it changed your perspective on women at all?

Not at all! My mother and 3 older sisters are all into the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series and now they’re into the “Otherwise” series, so I understand women have their needs just as men do. Men and women just do it in different ways. We’re all sexual savages at heart, it’s just how comfortable we are with sharing it that determines how Savage we are.

7. What made you decide to join Twitter as TST in the first place? The idea that all of these readers were clamoring for your pictures and posts didn’t scare you off?

Shay uses such great imagery in her writing, I almost didn’t have to make a Twitter! However I loved the idea of releasing my sexual Savage and being a tease as well. I love being able to satisfy women with their sexual needs or desires so this just allowed me to expand on that. To be honest there’s not much that scares me in life, I just saw this as another great opportunity.

8. Are we all as crazy as I feel like we are when we go nuts over your pictures?

Not at all! I love the positive feedback and comments. It allows me to continue my desire to post more pleasure pics for everyone.

9. Have you ever done any other “official” modeling?

Unfortunately no. This was my first big opportunity and I love every minute of it. I would like to continue with modeling though whenever more opportunities approach.

10. Was it a different experience taking the photos for the cover than it is sharing pictures through Twitter? What kind of “headspace” did you need to be in to pose as this character?

Taking the cover pics was a little more difficult. The fact that one of the pics was going to end up on a book was crazy and I wanted to make sure they turned out great! Twitter sharing is fun and playful, I enjoy doing that. As far as headspace, working with Shay made everything so easy! she gave great guidance and made being “Evan Arden” one hell of an experience.

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11. How did you prepare for the shoot? Did you and Shay discuss the character or any other aspects of the story to help you to be ready?

I trained and ate properly for a few weeks before the shoot so I wouldn’t disappoint Shay. We spoke a lot on the back story of Evan and she painted the perfect character for me to be.

12. You seem fairly comfortable sharing pictures on Twitter. Have you always been comfortable with showing off your body?

Actually no, not until Shay approached me did I open up to the idea. I’m normally a reserved person but I liked the idea of doing something new and rewarding.

13. Would you be interested in recording an audiobook version of this series, if it were ever a possibility?

Indeed! Shay and I will have to discuss that since it is ultimately up to her. (A/N: Yes, please!)

14. How did Shay talk you into posing for the cover?

Wasn’t much “talking into.” She walked up to my desk and just asked me. Haha, no easing in to just put it out there. And without any thought I said yes and haven’t looked back since.

15. What was your favorite part of shooting for the cover?

I’d have to say exploring Chicago and actually being at all the locations that are in the book.

16. Did you have a favorite location that you shot at?

I’d have to say by the prison and only because I got my first experience with a city rat in a trash can.

17. Did you have input into the cover?

There was none needed, Shay sent me a pic of the cover art and I was just blown away.

Now, a little game, if you don’t mind – inquiring minds want to know:

  • Are you single? No, I have an amazing girlfriend who supports everything I do.
  • What’s your sign? Virgo
  • Shoe size? 12
  • Favorite gun to shoot? Any and all! The bigger the caliber the better.
  • Do you “name” your favorite things: cars, guns, etc? Diesel truck is Brutus. Haven’t picked a perfect name for my motorcycle yet. Gun is “Back Up”.
  • Hobbies?  Other than working out, of course. Fishing, snowboarding, shooting, riding my motorcycle, eating and spending time with my family.
  • What’s your personal training motto/philosophy/words to live by?Well I have many but two of my favorite sayings are “Fuck it” and “Just sayin”.
  • What is your favorite article of clothing? What is your favorite article of clothing on women? I love wearing shorts with a t-shirt and my camo hats. Ladies, whatever makes you feel comfortable. I love a tight little black dress but sometimes its nice to relax at home in sweat pants.
  • What would be your idea of the perfect date? Oh man, so many ideas come to mind. For being a brute of a man, I have a romantic side and love being a gentleman so it depends on the weather and her favorite things. I’ll have to get back to this one but I know no matter what, I’d have to have some after dinner desserts and an appetizer 😉
  • What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Smile and attitude, ass and titts come next. I can’t find a woman attractive if I just want to walk away from their attitude.
  • How big is your…er…um….gun? That’ll eventually be released 😉 But it never misfires, is always cocked and ready to go.
  • And one last question we just HAVE to ask; have you finally read all the books? Work in progress, between work and outside responsibilities I am trying to get them all read. My family and friends are reading them now though.

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Thank you so much to Shay Savage for hooking us up with this interview and the amazing pictures. A very special thank you to The Savage Trainer for taking the time to answer our questions with sincere honesty and well thought out answers. I (Kassie) was lucky enough to spend an evening in Chicago with Shay and TST and had a blast learning the answers to some of these questions during some hysterical conversations, and it made me want to know more about the man behind the cover.  I (Lauren) am insanely jealous of my reviewing partner and her evening with Shay and TST but had a great time writing these questions and reading through the answers.  

Don’t forget to head on over and buy yourself a copy of Otherwise Alone, Otherwise Occupied and Otherwise Unharmed so that Evan Arden, in writing and on the beautiful cover, can always be within your reach. And don’t forget Uncockblockable. TST posed for that as well!

It doesn’t hurt that the books are just as good as the covers. You can also find the rest of Shay’s work here! Happy reading!

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Gabriel’s Redemption by Sylvain Reynard: What’s in store for readers and Q&A with the Author and Main Character

Gabriel’s Redemption was released on December 3rd by The Berkley Publishing Group (Published by the Penguin Group) and is already climbed Amazon’s best-seller list! (We got our paperback copies via Amazon!) We’re happy to be part of the ongoing blog tour for Sylvain Reynard’s third book in The Gabriel Series. We hope this will just be one of many of your stops on the tour!

gabriel's redemptionThese were our thoughts after getting a sneak peek at Chapter One months ago: “We’ve followed the molto bella love story of Gabriel and Julia since its beginnings. We’ve survived the Professor’s Inferno and delighted in his Rapture. We can’t wait to return to the apple orchard and seek his Redemption.”– The Fics2Flicks Chicks, Beatrices at heart

Marriage. They say the first year is the toughest!

After reading an advanced copy of Gabriel’s Redemption, one would think the novel’s author, Sylvain Reynard, had used this phrase as his motto when writing about our favorite newlyweds, Professor Gabriel and Julianne Emerson, as they navigate their way through that first year of being married. Their love is immense, but they seemed to have tons of lows caused by tempers flaring and simple disagreements followed by the highs — the makeup sex, obviously!

In starting the third novel in The Gabriel Series, I was impressed by how kind SR is to his readers by gently working in details of the history of The Professor and his relationship with Julia, basically working in a recap of books 1 & 2 into the beginning without it boring his readers with a summary of past events. Such lays the groundwork for the third book, as it extends the journey of the young couple but also ties up all the loose ends in relation to so many characters we met along the way within the first two books.

  • Still want to know what it was that The Professor did that was deemed unacceptable in Professor Pain’s world?
  • Still curious about what was in the card The Professor left on Julia’s doorstep in Toronto that she tore up?
  • Ever stay up late trying to figure out exactly what was that favor that The Professor once did for Katherine Picton?
  • Ever wonder how deep Paul’s feelings were for Julia and what he thinks about her getting married to Gabriel?
  • Want to know if Richard regrets selling his house and moving away?
  • Did Gabriel ever make amends with Paulina?
  • Does Simon change his ways?
  • And what about Christa Peterson…is there any hope of Julia being able to put Christa in her place once and for all?

Yep, all of these answers you have to look forward to in this book (and many, many more). Finally! 

So it is commonly said that  the first year of marriage is tough. And because Professor Emerson himself admits to being ‘an ass’ we knew there would be some hurtles for them to overcome in learning to live together, but who knew it would be such a roller coaster ride? And, with the lives of so many characters being addressed in this novel as well, when the Emersons themselves weren’t adjusting to married life, it seemed like family members or acquaintances were throwing them curve balls! We certainly won’t divulge anything more than this, but do be sure to expect the unexpected while reading!

As the book concludes, there’s anguish and tears and beautiful moments that confirm why readers fell in love with this story and characters to begin with, and how necessary it was for Sylvain Reynard to complete his characters’ stories with this third book. The rest of this story was everything we imagined it would be, and we want to say both thank you and bravo to SR for crafting the plot perfectly and giving fans that extra we all begged to have! SR is consistent in the story details and stays true to the characters, while allowing for character growth when it was needed most. Gabriel maintains so many of the traits that make him so sexy. When Julia remarked how he makes her feel like she is in a Cary Grant movie, we nodded. And Julia? You’ll be supportive of her as she learns to hold her own whether it be professionally or with Gabriel.

Finally, and most importantly, you’ll be reading this to see if Gabriel truly does find redemption. We won’t spoil it, but we will say that what he does find is that redemption is not in the bottom of a glass of scotch, in that next snort of cocaine, or in the random women at Lobby. It’s not in the passages of a book, even one written by Dante or in being a hard-ass at your job. Redemption is something Gabriel must earn for himself in various ways as he makes peace with his past, and though much of it is his own hard work, it has always been Julianne’s presence in his life and their love for one another that has been a catalyst and driving force for the redemption he seeks throughout this book.

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One of the wonderful parts of The Gabriel Series has been the many beautiful locations the reader gets to ‘visit’ with the characters. We’d like to highlight a few of our favorites from Gabriel’s Redemption!

**Have you ever read about Selinsgrove, PA at the VERY beginning of another book? No? Well then, we’re glad Gabriel’s Redemption is your first!

downloadA small picturesque town that we imagine has the most wonderful apple orchard we’ve ever seen beyond the backyard of the Emerson’s family home! This town actually has a rich history in the early days of colonization when settlers were at odds with Native Americans. (Don’t tell The Professor we said this, but feel free to Wiki it!)

**The couple have a lovely stint at The Malmaison Hotel while visiting Oxford University in London.

We already know some of the stories of The Professor and Katherine Picton in regard to Oxford, and now we’re happy to say that Julia  — who is coming into her own as a distinguished Dante Scholar — will have her own stories, both professionally and personally, about the historic Oxford University.

**A favorite part of The Gabriel Series is definitely how it incorporates literature and the arts with the relationship of The Professor and Julia — intertwining their shared love of each other and their passion for Dante and learning. What better place for a ‘lesson’ than at the famed Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

beautiful_sights_florence_598609[Photo SourceOh of first dates, birthday celebrations, and hot Professor-Husbands….please let there be museum sex!

**We already know Gabriel bought a home to share with Julia in Cambridge, Massachusetts close to Harvard University. It’s an area rich in history and culture and yet not far away, you can find specialty boutiques like this…

In Gabriel’s Redemption, The Professor — ever the consumer and considerate lover to his wife — takes Julia with him to make a special stop on Newbury Street in Boston to patronize their local Agent Provocateur Boutique for lingerie. Oh Professor! 

**More places you’ll ‘visit’ while reading include:  Minneapolis, Minnesota; Near Essex Junction, Vermont; NYC, New York; and Durham, North Carolina.

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We have two very short and sweet interviews today! We previously interviewed Professor Gabriel O. Emerson here so this time we chose to speak with his beloved wife, Julia. But first, we went straight to the source, speaking with the book’s author, Sylvain Reynard!

*Opens purple curtains to let light shine in, tidies up our hobbit hole of a blog and lights a vanilla candle*

Welcome to you, SR! Thank you for joining us here. We’re big fans and want to spread the joy we receive from reading your books!

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1. From the very beginning you’ve taken time to acknowledge your international readership. When you were selecting locations for the third book, did you keep that in mind? Were there distinct places along the way you wanted to share or introduce your readers to?

Hello Fics2Flicks. It’s a great pleasure to be with you and your readers. Florence is my favourite city. So it’s especially enjoyable to write about it.  But I also find Oxford fascinating, and was pleased to be able to set part of the story there.

2. Many times you stated that you wanted to explore the idea of ‘redemption’ through this story. Has writing this story afforded you any personal redemption?

Yes.  Part of what I want to do with my writing is to encourage readers to think about forgiveness and grace. In that sense, completing this series really was a redemptive journey for me.

 3. With the right timing and star alignment, we hope your books will one day be turned into a movie(s). Having said that and being so well read, would you share with us your top movie depictions of any two literary classics and any other favorite movie based on a popular book.

Thank you.  Michael Mann’s depiction of “The Last of the Mohicans,” is not true to the book, but it’s an excellent film. I also enjoy Gerard Depardieu’s performance in “Cyrano de Bergerac.” It’s a fantastic movie.

 I thought the recent adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings” series was excellent.  Although I have to admit to being somewhat skeptical about Peter Jackson turning “The Hobbit” into three full-length feature films.

 4. Give us three words that best describe your personal journey in writing these books — one word per book!

Apprehensive – Surprised – Grateful

I want to add a fourth word for my new book – Anticipation.  I’m writing a paranormal love story called “The Raven,” and it’s the first in a new series. The Professor will have a cameo role in it and readers can learn more about it here: http://www.sylvainreynard.com/2013/11/my-next-novel-revealed.html  [A/N: We are ‘anticipating’ this too!]

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And next, please welcome Julia! What an honor it is to ‘speak’ with you! You may have seen us speak inappropriately about a professor on this blog…that was a different one. Um, yeah, one from Yale. We are going to put your answers in the color gold, as it is the color associated with the first year of marriage & the golden apple!

1.  In Chapter 17 of “Gabriel’s Inferno” you vocalize this realization; “This isn’t how I imagined it. Finding you again is so different from what I dreamed.” (pg 253)

After the night in the apple orchard, when you daydreamed of meeting up with Gabriel again, how did the scenario go? Was it one constant dream or did it perhaps change over those 6 years? If so, please describe at least one for us. Elaborately. 🙂

Hello Fics2Flicks.  I hoped he’d come back to visit his family and he’d show up on my front porch.  I hoped he’d tell me that he never forgot about me and that he loved me. And I hoped that he’d kiss me … But that was the dream of a girl and not a woman. And my life isn’t a fairy tale.

 I should mention that although it took a long time for us to find one another, the reality of him was well worth the wait.

 2. Kiss Gabriel and tell us! You’ve had quite a few reunion kisses with The Professor. Which one was closest to your first kiss with him? 

Our first kiss in his apartment – the night he got drunk.  It reminded me very much of our first kiss.  He has a way of being intense and sexy, while at the same time … what was I saying?

3. It would seem that meeting Gabriel when you were 17 was doubly auspicious because it played a major role in your decision to study Dante in college and choose a career teaching. A lot has been written analytically on Dante and his works, but is there subjective matter that has led to differences of opinion between you and Gabriel?  In ‘playful debates’ over the subject matter who has to win–you or Gabriel?

Um, SR wrote about one of our conflicts in his book. So I won’t go into it. Gabriel hates to lose, but he isn’t always right. And when I’m right, I try not to gloat (too much). [A/N: Whoa! We were predicting some playful disagreements, not anything that ended with someone sleeping on a couch.]

4. Give us three words that best describe your journey through the books — one per book! 

Fear – Hope – Love. 

The last word “love,” of course, being the perfect word to conclude the sentiment of the series! We love this book and the conclusion of the epic love story between Gabriel and Julia. Thank you once again to Sylvain Reynard for answering the pleas of his faithful readers and continuing to write about these characters. There was obviously more of their journey in love to tell, as well as the journey of the characters within their lives! And, we love all of the fun in-the-know associations we have with the books that in some way add to our days and  enrich our friendships with others who have read the series, like argyle socks, fountain pens, Dante and Beatrice, purple towels, Baci, Superman, and many more!

Let us know in the comments if you’ve already read the book or if you plan to! Meanwhile, we hope you enjoyed the interviews as much as we did! May your days this time of year be merry and bright, and filled with  love and redemption…Gabriel’s Redemption. 

Special thanks to SR’s publicist, Nina Bocci (@EnnBocci) for getting us involved in the blog tour!

To keep track of SR and his argyle socks, click on the links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review of Otherwise Unharmed by Shay Savage

As promised, Chick Kassie and Chick Lauren are back with their review of the newest book in the Evan Arden series – Otherwise Unharmed. We’d like to thank Shay and her team for sending us the ARC so that the girlz had the opportunity to read it in exchange for an honest review. Although, anyone reading their reviews of the first two books (here) will know there was little doubt it was going to be a positive one…

AVAILABLE TODAY!
SYNOPSIS & ORDERING INFO HERE

So I suppose that we don’t have to hunt down Shay Savage to write a book 4 to the Evan Arden series.  Even though we still want more of one of our favorite broken heroes.  The cliffhanger she left us with in book 2 does find resolution, so I guess she’s off the hook…for now.  Doesn’t mean we wouldn’t read more of this series, if she ever decided to continue it.  *hint hint, Shay*

**SPOILERS BEGIN**

(video by the talented Jada D’Lee Designs)

The opening to book three has Evan in an extremely bad place, even worse than he was at the end of Otherwise Occupied. How, you may ask? He’s in jail. It’s not just that jail is such a horrible place, but while he’s there we learn more about Evan’s time in the Middle East and that puts him in a very tenuous place, mentally, when it comes to being locked up.  A person doesn’t need a medical degree to know that a soldier who was a prisoner of war would not do well in certain situations.

At this point, Evan had hardly slept, had just come down from a nearly full-on rampage, and yet he is forced into solitude where he is shackled on a constant basis and mentally forced back into a hole in the middle of the desert.  We know from Otherwise Occupied that Evan finds solace in having Bridgett, his not-always-so-trustworthy hooker-slash-girlfriend, sleeping with him.  It allows him to rest his otherwise riddled mind.  But she’s dead and he’s in prison, so his lack of comfort is palpable.  His psychologist, Mark Duncan, visits him as a means to test his ability to be released into the general population of the prison and, on a grander scale, back into the public.  Through their discussions, Mark’s concern over Evan’s inability to sleep grows immensely, as does Mark’s fear for Evan’s health and wellbeing, until again it’s the appearance of one person that changes so many things for Evan.  Lia arrives at the prison to let Evan know that she’s taking care of Odin and that she is still there for him, and she is able to ease his struggle by allowing him some much needed sleep – even if it is on the floor of the prison interrogation room.

We don’t have to wait long before Evan is finally released from jail. He is forced into a corner between protecting the woman he’s grown to care deeply for and turning over his boss to the feds. But Evan, being Evan, convinces Agent Trent that he can be of much better service in bringing down the Greco family, the Severinovs, and all of their Russian associates in Chicago. Evan made the argument to Agent Trent that he would be better at bringing down all of the rivals of his boss, Moretti, rather than trying to fool his former boss and associates so he could take them down. We know of only a few things Evan truly cares about – his Barrett, his girl Lia, his faithful dog Odin, and his one and only father figure, Rinaldo Moretti.

Evan is, much like all of our favorite Shay Savage protagonists, a broken hero.  He is good, although he does bad things.  His refusal to work against his boss, Moretti, is one piece of evidence supporting this fact.  The times when Moretti refers to Evan as ‘son’ are some of the proudest moments of his life.  His loyalty to this man is to be acknowledged, even if his methods are not always the most sound.  By trying to go the road alone, take down Greco and the Russians, and not involve Moretti in order to make it all look “real” to the opposition, Evan causes more problems than you’d think even someone looking to take down a mafia family would have. And that’s a lot of problems.  

It is during Otherwise Unharmed that we also see Evan realizing that his feelings might actually extend beyond the selfish when it comes to Lia.  In the beginning, for Evan, Lia is a piece of ass, a good lay, a way to get off. We see the inkling of his feelings when he leaves the note and the quarter in the cabin for her in Otherwise Alone.  In Otherwise Occupied, his thoughts continually turn to Lia, even as he’s ‘seeing’ Bridgett.  In Otherwise Unharmed, his desire to protect Lia and get her out of the insanity that is a mafia war shows his true growth, emotionally.  He truly cares for Lia, whether he wants to put a label on it or not.  He might even love her.

Lia coming back time and time again, even when Evan is at his lowest, his least proud, shows how much she truly cares for him. As much as she might not want it once she learns of his occupation, she is one of the very few constants in his life. In the end, however, she’s not there because he is forcing her to be there, as much as he might like that in some ways, it’s because she truly wants to be with Evan. He gives her an out so many times (I think we lost track of counting – lol), and yet she chooses to stay, showing how strong her feelings for him are.

**SPOILERS END**

Of course, like all of our Shay Savage reading material, this book definitely delivers on its more mature content. Let’s just say that we wouldn’t mind Evan pulling us into a dark alleyway and having his wicked way with us. We’ve been imagining what Evan looks like in our fantasies for two whole books now, and the cover of this newest edition doesn’t disappoint in bringing those images to life. Evan is much better at using his body to express his emotions than he is at using his words, and use his body he does. And we are lucky enough that The Savage Trainer allows Shay to use his body for us to enjoy as our very own Evan Arden.

While this book certainly delivers on the drama and the schmexy times, there is also comedy, like only Shay Savage can do.  Mostly it’s Evan’s inner monologue that caused us to chuckle as he struggles to identify his feelings and argues with himself about what is right and wrong. Shay has a masterful way of mixing drama, humor, and everything in between into our lovely, broken heroes.  None of her characters are one dimensional. We are thrown curveball after curveball when it comes to each character in this story. They’re not cut and dried, and that’s one of things that we find most appealing about Shay’s writing. You never know what you’re going to get.  Sometimes those surprises make you smile. Sometimes they make you cry. Either way, you’re guaranteed to feel throughout the story.   

If you have enjoyed Evan’s journey so far through Otherwise Alone and Otherwise Occupied, you will not be disappointed with Otherwise Unharmed. As with all of Shay’s work, the writing is descriptive and direct – a difficult combination to muster as an author. She is able to paint vivid pictures for the reader – pictures that pull you in and allow you to lose yourself in the world she creates. As an author, Shay has done extensive research when it comes to her characters and their world, including the descriptive locations where many major scenes take place. There are some places we personally had fun finding (as we showed you here) and other places we could only imagine in our heads. She has gone above and beyond when it comes to finding the right, and sometimes not-so-right, places for her stories. Her dedication to her craft is evident in every page, and to say we are constantly blown away by this amazing author would be an understatement. Go read! Go read, now! You won’t be disappointed!

Social Media Links for Shay Savage
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Reviews of Otherwise Alone and Otherwise Occupied by Shay Savage

Evan Arden is a hard ass – anyone got a quarter? A bad ass – watch out A-listers. Just a plain old ass – like every other man. As you’re reading, his story unfolds seamlessly. Evan is a broken man, deeply flawed, but he has a heart that keeps you invested, even if he often refuses to show or even acknowledge it. Throughout the journey of the first two books, we come to know this character in a way we do not expect.

The first piece of the Evan Arden story started as a simple novella – not meant to go any further than a short, kinky, lost-in-the-middle of nowhere romp in the hay, so to speak.  But it isn’t only author Shay Savage’s masterful grasp of the sensual that pulls readers in, it’s the mystery of Evan’s past that really has readers begging for more.  So much so, that Shay was encouraged to continue Evan’s journey and expand the story. With the release of Otherwise Unharmed (tomorrow!), the three books will be known as the Evan Arden Series.

Evan Arden Series: Book #1

Otherwise Alone begins with Evan living a desolate existence in the Arizona desert, his only interaction is with a Great Pyrenees named Odin and his daily email checks (you know, for those ever important Pizza Hut coupons).  We aren’t quite sure what has put him in the middle of the sand-filled landscape, but we know that something is surely keeping him there.

We meet the heroine of the story, Lia, on a dusty Arizona road, just outside of Evan’s small, dilapidated shack. She is lost in her own head and has secrets she is also harboring. Lia manages to bring out a softer side of Evan, a side that we truly only see with one other in this story, and that would be his faithful dog Odin.

The first book is really just a sexy, dirty, head-first dive into the world of smut that we all love so much, especially when Shay is writing it. Evan and Lia spend their night together – in the biblical sense – in his tiny, untidy bed, exploring each other’s bodies, if not their stories. But that is where the genius of Shay’s writing shines through. Even in a short novella that was really just meant to be a hot and steamy one-shot of sex, we are intrigued by both Evan and Lia, and the fan outpouring for more of these two is what really led Shay to decide to continue the story.

The mysteries each of these characters harbor creates a sense of back story that you want to know more about. Shay is able to hook readers without being obvious about it. Often, broken characters need a “but we’ll find more out later” line for readers to realize that there’s more to them. Not so with Shay. The way she develops characters, especially in so few pages, leaves readers wanting more, and in a good way. Luckily, Shay decided to give us more.

Evan Arden Series: Book #2

In Otherwise Occupied, we meet more people from Evan’s life before Lia literally stumbled into it. He becomes a man with a life, a job, friends – just like one of us – and not just the shady borderline criminal that he seems to be in Otherwise Alone. Turns out, he is still a shady borderline criminal – less on the borderline, more on the criminal – but the expansion of his character leaves us forgetting who he is and what he does, if even for a short time. But, ultimately, these things are his undoing.

We won’t tell you here how he is undone, though. That’s something you will have to discover for yourself as you read, but we will tell you it’s not something to be missed. In true Evan Arden fashion, the destruction is remarkable. The only saving grace throughout this book is the relationship Evan forms with Bridgett, but she was really just a bandaid on a gaping wound – only helpful in the most minimal way, enough to keep Evan going until he couldn’t anymore.

Both of these reviewers found themselves helplessly engaged in Otherwise Occupied, to the point where we both knocked out reading it in its entirety in just over a day because we couldn’t put it down. When we found ourselves in Chicago shortly after the book’s release, walking around the city became a treasure hunt for Evan Arden’s favorite haunts. As we accidentally walked by Sweetwater Tavern, the surprise and excitement were tangible – even to the friends we were with who hadn’t yet read the book.

Kassie Lauren Sweetwater surprise

Chick Kassie and Chick Lauren

Shay’s commitment to her craft and her desire to produce not only entertaining and interesting writing but to paint accurate pictures of the places and people within her stories, is evident in the Evan Arden Series. We were able to, based on her detailed descriptions, find Evan’s apartment building and shops and stores that are visited in the book.

LaPerla

Tiffany & Co

We were even lucky enough to have some delicious martinis with the woman herself at 676, the home of the story’s infamous peanut butter and jelly waffles (and yes, they’re even better than they sound).

Lauren Shay Kassie

Chick Lauren, Author Shay Savage, Chick Kassie

pb & jelly waffles from 676

Otherwise Occupied leaves us with an evil cliffhanger – one that better be resolved in Otherwise Unharmed, or we might have to hunt Shay down and force her to write book #4. Speaking of another book, don’t forget to come back and check out our upcoming review of Uncockblockable, a side story in the Evan Arden Series, because we know you’ll want more of Evan’s world just like we did.

Evan Arden Series: Book #3

Available December 5, 2013

For a complete synopsis and ordering information for each of Shay’s stories, please go here. And while you’re there, be sure and check out the kick-ass teaser trailers created by Jada D’Lee Designs!

Social Media Links for Shay Savage
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

We’ll definitely be back to review Otherwise Unharmed, and we may or may not be bringing a very special guest to the blog as well 🙂

chick-pink-kassie and lauren