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Exclusive Interview with Author Niall Leonard

Oh how the F2F chicks love to bring our readers a terrific interview! We’re like Elizabeth Vargas and Barbara Walters when we get together and try to come up with hard-hitting questions fans want answers to as well as thoughtful questions that invoke heartwarming answers. So we were ecstatic when Nialls Nation approached us about the opportunity to interview author Niall Leonard in anticipation of the release of his upcoming novel Incinerator, the sequel to Crusher and the second book in the Crusher trilogy via The Random House Group.


The day Finn Maguire discovers his dad bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood, his dreary life is turned upside down. Prime suspect in his father’s murder, Finn must race against time to clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him.

Scouring the sordid, brutal London underworld for answers, exposing dark family secrets, and facing danger at every turn, Finn is about to learn that it’s the people you trust who can hit you the hardest. . .

Crusher is this year’s most talked-about debut thriller.

Lisa’s Review of Crusher

Discovering Niall Leonard has been another welcome part of this journey Kitt and I have been on since finding each other in the Twilight fandom. That journey lead us to some incredible authors who are now going mainstream and the reason we first launched this blog, not the least of which is Niall’s wife Erika (aka E L James). We have enjoyed their Twitter banter for a few years now, as well as reading interviews he has done as a result of his wife’s growing fame. So when Niall got his first publishing deal, we had no doubt the intelligence and humor we had grown to love would also be evident in his writing. And it is.

It will come as no surprise to those who follow this blog that I bought the audiobook version of Crusher. It’s what I do. It’s what I live for. (Sorry. I still have Anna Kendrick’s The Little Mermaid skit on the brain. lol) Crusher is fast-paced and keeps you entertained from start to finish. There’s even a little bit of romance for our hero, and I can’t help but hope that Zoe has found her way into Incinerator too once I get to listening to the audiobook. Since Niall has helped raise two boys of his own, it’s obvious he knows his way around their head space. It’s also obvious he knows his way around a good story. We’re big on not giving away any spoilers in our posts, so you won’t find any here. What you will find is a recommendation to buy the book and fall in love with Finn too!

U.S. Release Date: April 8, 2014

Incinerator is the pulse-pounding sequel to Crusher, Niall Leonard’s debut YA novel and an Edgar Award finalist for Best Young Adult Novel.

Following the bloody deaths of his mother and father, Finn Maguire is determined to make a fresh start, running a boxing gym in the bruised and bitter heart of the city. But when loan sharks target his business partner and his lawyer vanishes with all his money, Finn is dragged down into London’s underworld once more, with only his fists and his wits to keep him alive.


F2F: It’s fantastic that Nialls Nation has been created to support your career, and we appreciate the admin including us in the opportunity to do this Q&A with you. Thank you for taking the time, Niall!

NL: You’re very welcome. I’m honoured to be asked and amazed at the efforts Nialls Nation makes to publicize the Crusher trilogy. Their work is beyond price.

F2F: Kitt always wants to know… How did you celebrate when you got the news Crusher had been picked up by Random House?

NL: I remember when I heard the news – I was vacuum-cleaning the floor in my father’s house in Ireland when my agent rang and told me that if I wasn’t sitting down, I should be. When she explained that Random House wanted to publish Crusher and its two sequels I was stunned – I understood then why she’d told me to take a seat. Of course, it was the same year Erika’s trilogy became a record-breaking publishing phenomenon, and extraordinary events just seemed to keep on coming, but I’ve never stopped being thrilled and flattered to be published, and I hope that thrill never fades.

F2F: Lisa always wants to know… Is there any significance to the name you chose for your main character(s)?

NL: Maguire was my mother’s maiden name and for me it always had a rogue-ish quality, maybe because my father used to grumble (in jest) that in centuries past the Leonards had been kings in their part of Ireland and the Maguires had moved in and taken over. I’ve used it quite often as the name of my hero in my work. ‘Finn’ is a bit of vanity because it means ‘fair-haired’ in Irish (though it should really be spelled Fionn). I’m fair-haired so it was a way of putting myself into the tale.

F2F: Did Finn start talking to you when you decided to participate in Nanowrimo, or had he been kicking around in your head for a while?

NL: He’d been kicking around for a year or two. I emphasise this to people who wonder how I wrote the first draft of Crusher in a month. Writing quickly has never been a problem for me, but the planning and working out of the structure can take a while. In fact it took longer than it should with Crusher; from the start I thought it ought to be a book, and even wrote an opening chapter, but since I hadn’t worked out beforehand where the story was going I lost momentum and put the project aside. As a TV writer I’ve always relied on knowing the structure of a piece to allow me to keep me moving; also as a TV writer I’ve had clients breathing down my neck and that kept me focused too! Since I was writing Crusher for myself it was too easy to let myself off the hook, pretending that the piece would be better if I let it ‘mature’ for a bit, which was classic procrastinating BS. Nanowrimo was the kick up the ass that I needed.

F2F: Is Finn’s dyslexia inspired by anyone in real life?

NL: One of my brothers a few years back was diagnosed as dyslexic, and realized that that had held him back academically. I thought of that when I needed a reason for Finn to have under-achieved at school, to be taken for stupid when in fact he’s smarter than most, and to be angry and have low self-esteem; dyslexia fitted the bill. Of course If I’d realised how difficult it would make my job when he’s trying to solve mysteries, I might have looked for a different flaw..!

F2F: Why mystery? Were you a fan of the Hardy Boys or Sherlock while growing up?

NL: I was never particularly into mysteries when I was growing up, or even now. I was into humour and comedy, and have always believed that being able to tell a joke is like being able to tell a story with a twist – the answer has to be hidden in the tale itself, in such a way that nobody sees it coming until the very end. I’ve written a lot of murder-mystery thrillers for TV, and learned the craft on the job, approaching the problem in a practical way; you start off with a secret that motivates the murder, and find other secrets that have a similar theme, and you wrap the real answer inside the fake ones. The audience follows the hero as he or she unravels the puzzle. When it works well, and you take the audience by surprise, it’s a real buzz. But writing Crusher I learned that it’s an even bigger buzz when as the writer you take yourself by surprise.

F2F: Your wife, E L James, famously admits that your sons have not read her books, but have they read yours?

NL: They made a start, but if either of them ever got to the end, they haven’t told me, and I’ve stopped asking. It’s a painful irony for both Erika and me that our kids aren’t great readers – maybe that’s our own fault for giving them too many other things to do when they were young. Growing up I was quite often bored out of my skull and reading was the only escape. However, many of our sons’ friends have read Crusher and enjoyed it – including the lad whose dislike of fantasy and romance novels first inspired me to come up with a crime story featuring a teenage hero. That’s some consolation. (Many of those boys have read Fifty Shades too, from a rather different motive…)

F2F: We love the new cover for Crusher, as well as the covers for Incinerator and Shredder. The theme has a very appealing Saul Bass feel. How much creative input did you have in the design?

NL: The original Crusher cover featuring the lonely figure in the dark street was deliberately aimed at the adult thriller audience for which that sort of image is a staple – it was meant to convey that Crusher was not a typical young-adult book. However, for the paperback edition we decided to go for a radical revision and tie it up thematically with the covers of the next two novels.

F2F: The Fifty Shades trilogy blazed a trail with its simple monochrome covers, blowing away all the ancient clichés of romantic fiction imagery. I wanted my book like hers to have an iconic cover that could be recognized across a bookshop, or when shrunk to a thumbnail on screen. My other basic idea was that the text of each title should be ‘damaged’ in the way the title suggested, and the cover artists took that idea and ran with it, suggesting a simple three-colour theme and coming up with the modern-Saul-Bass look everyone loved.

F2F: Daniel Weyman did a great job narrating the audiobook version of Crusher. Will he be narrating Incinerator and Shredder too? Were you involved in the audiobook process at all?

NL: For the Crusher audiobook I was sent a shortlist of actors and I have to admit I rejected them all – they had boy’s voices and I wanted the more world-weary tones of a young man. I asked for a list of older actors and listened to about twenty: Daniel Weyman came top of the list – but that was the limit of my involvement, which surprised me. I never even got to meet him. I trained as a director and the idea that you send the actor cold into a studio to make his or her own way through the text, with no hints or suggestions as to how they should approach it, seemed like anathema – but in the world of books that’s how it’s always been done, apparently. And since it turned out so well, maybe a director would have just over-complicated the process!

F2F: As a television writer turned novelist, would you rather see your books adapted into movies or a television series?

NL: I would say movies, because the stories are essentially so short and self-contained. Everyone demands so much of a TV series these days – multi-layered and deeply complex, with storylines that run for season after season. If I were writing Finn as a TV detective for a serial I’d have to do it differently…

Actually, that’s a really interesting idea. (A/N: We’ll see our names in the credits, right?)

F2F: Speaking of television, are there any British and/or American television series where you find the writing (bloody) brilliant?

NL: The dialogue in Game of Thrones zings off the screen. It manages to be convey ‘medieval’ without become stilted and self-conscious, and it’s always witty with it. House of Cards I love, even if it suggests that every politician except Frank Underwood is fundamentally honest and devoid of guile, which stretches credibility just a little. I’ve recently discovered Arrested Development, which has the merciless wit of Modern Family but none of the saccharine – although the saccharine in MF is superbly judged.

F2F: What’s next for you? Any projects you can share with us (besides trying to housebreak Mini – lol)?

NL: I am torn between a period detective novel series based an actual historical character I came across a few years ago, and a one-off novel about dogwalkers in a London park and how their lives interweave. The first will take, and has taken, a great deal of research – the second I research every day. Mini, though adorable, is a real distraction – puppies are a lot easier to keep entertained in a house with young children.

Just for fun…

F2F: Maybe not everyone knows that you were your wife’s original editor for the Fifty Shades Trilogy when it was fanfiction. Was there ever laughing involved while you pored over what you read that you haven’t admitted to her? C’mon, you can tell us!

NL: Erika literally sat at my elbow as I proof-read each chapter, and she missed none of my reactions. I edited punctuation without referring to her, often swapping ellipses for dashes and vice versa, but if I wanted to change any of the words we hammered it out between us. It was hard work for both of us, but we did laugh, and when we did we laughed together. I still find it hard to believe we actually collaborated so closely for so long without ever trying to hit one another with blunt heavy objects.

F2F: Have you ever written fanfiction and, if so, for what fandom(s)?

NL: I was going to reply ‘no’ to this question, but then I realized that when I started to write almost everything I produced was fan fiction, in the sense that it echoed the work of authors I loved. I’ve written stuff inspired by JRR Tolkien, Frank O’Connor, Sven Hassel (don’t ask) and Spike Milligan, among others. But of course many professional writers start out by emulating their heroes, and keep writing until they find their own voice. Fan-fiction is another way of doing that, with the added thrill of sharing the fun with friends and fans.

F2F: How did you propose to your wife? With each of you having such a great sense of humor, we’re thinking it might be a fun(ny) story. Although, we’re also fans of hearts and flowers 😉

NL: This is a very sensitive subject, and whenever I have told the story I’ve tried to make it funny, but Erika has never found it hilarious….

…and despite intense efforts over centuries of marriage I have never been forgiven. It seems I will just have to keep on trying… (A/N: We thank you for sharing the story with us, Mr. Leonard, but due to the unromantic nature of it, and our allegiance to Erika, we have decided not to publish it.  We support your efforts to continue seeking forgiveness. LOL!)

F2F: Who has current bragging rights for trivia night at the pub? The guys or the girls?

NL: The girls have only come to the pub quiz a few times – and the last time they finished ahead of us by a point, which was suitably mortifying for the guys. However in the last year the boys’ team has won the jackpot twice, mostly on the strength of trivia, so we have nothing to be ashamed of. Sadly however the boys’ team seems to have gone their separate ways of late. Erika and I are planning to form a splinter group, just as soon as we can agree on a snappy name for the team…Don’t anybody hold their breath.

F2F: Okay, we won’t! But chick Lisa is holding her breath in anticipation of the audiobook version of Incinerator!

Available June 2014!

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Thank you so much to Niall Leonard for entertaining us with his enthusiastic and thoughtful answers! We wish him the best of luck with the release of Incinerator.

Niall Leonard

WebsiteTwitter | Amazon

And be sure to “Like” Nialls Nation’s Facebook page! In addition to up-to-date information and working directly with Mr. Leonard, they do great giveaways!


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For more Q&A, you can also listen to a wonderful interview with Mr. Leonard conducted by Lori Ness after the release of his first book, Crusher, on NorthwestPrime by clicking here!

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100 Days of Wallbanger: EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton and GIVEAWAY

Have you missed Simon and Caroline as much as we have?! Well, the countdown is on. We’re only 100 days away from the much-anticipated sequel to Wallbanger. . .

Rusty Nailed cover


In this sequel to Wallbanger, fan favorites Caroline Reynolds and Simon Parker negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in Sausalito.

Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on an extended honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy-long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel. And with Simon, her hotshot photographer boyfriend, gallivanting all over the world for his job, the couple is heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. No complaints about the great reunion sex, though!

Then a trip back east to his childhood home has Simon questioning his nomadic lifestyle. He decides to be home more. A lot more. And he wants Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort out their relationship. Sure, more togetherness is a good thing—but does less traveling and working have to mean the other extreme? Apple pie and picket fences? With this second book in the Cocktail series, USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton delivers another delicious, frothy confection of a book, shaking up her characters, stirring in laugh-out-loud humor, and serving sizzling romance straight up!


I passed by on my way to the kitchen, and was stopped by a hand on my ass.


“Hi,” he answered, his eyes still on the computer.

“You need something?”

“Always,” he answered, maneuvering my ass so it was on his lap.

“Not always, you were sleeping earlier,” I pouted, as he swept a piece of hair behind my ear.

“I’m not sleeping now.”

“I’ve got turnovers.”

“I already like where this is going,” he murmured, his hands tightening around my waist.

“No no, I mean I have turnovers. That I need to put in the oven.”

“Wait, those are like tiny pies, right?”

“Yes, Simon, they’re like tiny pies.”



“Have mercy.”

“You know what it does to me when you go Uncle Jesse on me.”

His eyes widened, and something else hardened. “I do indeed.”

Kissed me fierce he did, and while I did my best to remind him of my turnovers, he did his best to make me forget. And I did, until the doorbell rang.

“Dammit,” he muttered, releasing me.

“Saved by the bell,” I sang out, rising off his lap.

“You know what it does when you go Kelly Kapowski on me.”

“I do indeed. And if you’re a good boy tonight I’ll give you my own special Bayside cheer later on.” I winked, and danced away from his grabby hands. “Now go do something with that,” I instructed, pointing at his enthusiasm.

He strutted away.

The Cocktail Series


  1. WALLBANGER Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Chapters
  2. RUSTY NAILED  (Expected Release: 6/24/14) Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Chapters
  3. SCREWDRIVERED (Expected Release: 9/2/14) Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Chapters
  4. MAI TAI’D UP  (Expected Release: 12/2/14) Amazon | Chapters


Want to join us and be a part of the Rusty Nailed Blog Tour? Just click here to fill out the request form. Enn Bocci will be in touch with you!


If you’re not following Alice already, what are you waiting for?

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Special thanks to Alice ClaytonEnn Bocci, (book publicist/blog tour coordinator), and Kristin Dwyer (Associate Director of Publicity at Gallery Books) for organizing this giveaway!

What the winner will receive once both books are available:

  • WALLBANGER signed by Alice Clayton
  • RUSTY NAILED signed by Alice Clayton

Just click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter. The contest is open internationally and will remain open until 6/20/14 12:00 am EST in anticipation of the release date for Rusty Nailed on 6/24/14. The winner will need to provide an email address in order to coordinate the giveaway. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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BIG DAY! Poughkeepsie Enhanced Collector’s Edition App Tour and Giveaway From Debra Anastasia

Before we get started gushing about this game changer, we want to wish Debra a very happy 40th birthday!! We know how very hard she has been working with Omnific on this passion project and that the official debut of the app could not be a better birthday present. Enjoy your day, Debra. You’ve earned it. Mwah! -Lisa & Kitt

2Poughkeepsie_ENHANCEDeBOOK copy

Note From Debra

So of course everyone wants their book to be turned into a movie. I’m no exception. I can’t imagine popcorn tasting any better than when some day I’m watching Poughkeepsie on the big screen. I think it will always be a dream of mine. (A/N: Ours too!!)

When Omnific Publishing approached me about doing the Poughkeepsie Enhanced Collector’s Edition app, I didn’t hesitate to agree. It didn’t matter that there was no template for this thing. I was going in.

I sat and made a list of must haves. It was too long, the stuff of a crazy person. Every single thing I put on that first list is in this project. In my professional career, nothing has been harder than this was. And now, nothing is more rewarding. It’s as close as Poughkeepsie will get to a movie without a film crew.

There are over 200 pictures in the app, over 20 custom made videos and a SOUNDTRACK! It plays while you read. I had a talented foley artist compose sounds to make the action more visible. There are interactive games, interviews, how to videos and two movie shorts.

That’s right, two movie shorts. John Quinlan portrayed Beckett Taylor for me in a digital film that is included. He had real guns and alcohol. The attention to detail makes me so proud. And Tiffany Hartsfield dances as Kyle. The routine is stunning, she is so, so talented.

So it’s not a full Fic to Flick, but it is super close, and I’m so very glad to have this blog on my tour. I love interacting with Fics2Flicks because it feels like a positive step towards that ultimate dream of a Poughkeepsie movie. (A/N: Aaaaaand now you went and made us cry. We heart you sfm, woman!)

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Note From Debra’s Team

Welcome to the Poughkeepsie Enhanced Collector’s Edition App Tour!

Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia has been a cult hit bestseller since 2011. A homeless guy counting the smiles of a kind train commuter spiraled into a novel that was nominated by The Rockstars of Romance as one of the most romantic stories ever and won 2nd place! It was a story that deserved getting a jumbo-sized enhancement. Extra scenes out the ying yang was, of course, a huge part of the fun. Getting to spend some of those previously undiscovered first moments with Blake and Livia or the moment he proposed was worth exploring. In Debra’s wildest dreams she imagined Poughkeepsie with its own soundtrack, anchored by her favorite musicians. When blockbuster talent Ron Pope signed on with fourteen songs and then Rustic Overtones agreed as well, she knew things were going to get crazy cool.

After almost two full years of development, the Enhanced Poughkeepsie is ready. Debra lost count of the hours spent, as did the developer poured into this. It was a beast and more amazing than she could have ever imagined. This app became the most exceptional reading experience Debra could devise for her readers.

Check out what’s in store for you:

  • This app will be available for all kinds of devices!
  • It is available now as Enhanced Poughkeepsie for iPad
  • Website for Droid, iPhones, and Computers is coming soon!

Our Review

Oh. My. God. This is an interactive reading experience like nothing we’ve ever seen before. If you thought Debra’s characters came to life on the written page, just wait until you get your hands on the app! We don’t even know where to begin!! There is a video from Debra personally walking you through how to use the app, which made us smile. There are stops along the way in each chapter (appropriate for our train station heroes btw) that give you glimpses into Debra’s thoughts, favorite lines, music that inspired her, sounds that capture a moment, videos to enhance the story/experience, and 47,000+ new words that give us the chance to revisit Blake and Livia’s world. Let us repeat… Oh. My. God.

We hope you’ll get the app and experience it for yourself. It’s amazing, as is the author who helped create it. And what drove Debra to spend literally years working on this project? Giving back to the fans she loves (old, new, and yet to be discovered). Today may be Debra’s birthday, but we are the ones who have received a gift. Thanks to Debra and the team who helped make this happen and for sharing it with us!

Our Giveaway 

eSet giveaway graphicPicMonkey CollageP and RTP no words

Thanks to Debra and Omnific, we have an eSet to giveaway. Just click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter. Entries must be received by 3/24/14 12:00am EST to qualify.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Debra’s Giveaway

PicMonkey Collage App Prizes BookdonationsCollage

As you can see, Debra is giving away a TON of stuff!! Visit her website here or click on the Rafflecopter link below for complete details. Wowza!

Rafflecopter Giveaway from Debra Anastasia

Join Us For a Social Media Flash Mob Tonight!

The fun starts at 7pm EST, and you will see this to kick things off…

WARNING: You’re about to experience the #EnhancedPoughkeepsieApp Flash Mob. Do not be afraid #FlashPoughApp

Pough App Flash Mob AV

Debra’s Social Media

Be sure and follow Debra’s social media accounts if you’re not already. She’s an absolute riot. You can also find synopses and ordering info for all of her books on her website.

Author Photo on 2-16-14 at 4.37 PM

Friend Debra Anastasia on FacebookFollow Debra Anastasia on TwitterFollow Debra Anastasia on PinterestFollow Debra Anastasia on TumblrFollow Debra Anastasia on Google PlusFriend Debra Anastasia on GoodreadsCheck out Debra Anastasia's Amazon PageSubscribe by RSSContact Debra Anastasia

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COVER REVEAL: Rogue by Katy Evans

We can’t wait for this new book from Katy in The Real Series!


He’s lickable, right?!



Greyson King…

My boyfriend. My friend. My protector. He’s the reason I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, and the reason I fall asleep limp, worn out, and aching for his warm arms around me. When we make love, he says my name like it means something. Like I mean something.


His name is Greyson King, but his alias is Zero.

There’s zero trace of him, he has zero past, and now I know that with him, I will have zero future.

He may leave no trace of him anywhere, but his imprint is in me, in my very soul—and I hate that a mere look at him commands the beat of my heart. The temperature of my body.

I’ve looked for love my entire life. I’ve waited for the butterflies, the rainbows…

Instead I’m in a free fall of emotions and there’s no one to catch me but the one man I should be running away from. The one man I thought was my prince charming.

Except this prince charming went rogue.

Greyson will stop at nothing to make me be with him. He’ll let no one stand in our way, will allow no one to threaten me, and maybe this is what scares me most of all…

What will my rogue do to keep me?


The fourth story in the new adult series that began with the New York Times bestseller Real
features Brooke’s best friend, Melanie, and the rogue she can’t resist.

Release Date: July 29, 2014

Kindle | Print

NOOK  | Print



Amazon | BN | iBooks
Amazon | BN | iBooks
Amazon | BN | iBooks


Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love, married him, and now they are hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning…


Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting: Review, Author Interview, and Audiobook Giveaway

In the world of Twilight fanfiction, there are stories that are known as “biggies.” Clipped Wings & Inked Armor is definitely one of them. So when it was announced that it was going to be published, Kitt and I were excited for the author and for the chance to watch her mainstream career take flight. (See what we did there?) Helena is also one of those authors who is very appreciative of her fans and approachable on Twitter. You’re going to love her and her words if you don’t already. Speaking of her words…


F2F: First of all, thank you for agreeing to this Q&A and for giving us the opportunity to do an audiobook giveaway of Clipped Wings. We’re thrilled to be a small part of this next step in your journey.

HH: It really is a pleasure! Thank you for inviting me to chat!

F2F: When you wrote the original Clipped Wings & Inked Armor as Twilight fanfiction, was it just something you did for fun or had you always wanted to be a writer?

HH: When I started Clipped Wings & Inked Armor back in 2009, I was taking a break from another piece I was writing. I inadvertently stumbled across fanfic (I’m not sure there’s any other way for that to happen). After reading several stories, I thought it would be interesting to write one of my own. I just wanted to see if I could write something people would want to read. I’ve always written, however, the vast majority of my stories are packed away in boxes in my basement. Until CW&IA, I’d kept my writing very private. That story changed things. (A/N: We’re so glad it did!)

F2F: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers hoping to get published?

HH: Edit. Edit. Edit. And outline. I had a very loose working outline for CW&IA when I started writing it way back when. I was about six chapters into the rewrite when my very patient, kind, reasonable friend Alex put the brakes on and encouraged me to flesh out an outline. It took about a month. I sucked at it. But eventually I got to the point where I had a very tight outline for both Clipped Wings and Inked Armor. After that, the writing process was much smoother.

I encourage writers to find crit partners and to set aside the fear of cutting scenes or chapters if they disrupt the flow of the story. In the case of CW&IA, I cut out about half the book. I was extraordinarily fortunate to have a group of women from The Writers’ Collective (here) work with me on three manuscripts. By the time we got to IA, we were all very comfortable with the process. A first draft is just that…a first draft. The hard work comes after.

F2F: Speaking of getting published, how did you celebrate once you got the acceptance news?

With tears of joy and some wine. My agent Brooks and I spent nearly a year on submission and in that time I’d rewritten the entire story. There were definitely some moments when I questioned whether it would ever happen. I took the story from 430k down to roughly 225k. It was challenging, but being able to hold the book in my hands makes it worth it.

F2F: Transitioning from fanfic gave you the freedom to pick new character names. Is there any significance in choosing Hayden and Tenley?

I picked the name Hayden Stryker long before I started the rewrite. It just fit his character. Stryker always makes me think of lightning, which is reflective of Hayden. He’s electric, severe, intense. I wanted his name to reveal that about him.

Tenley’s name is unusual, and so are her circumstances. Tenley is a unique individual – her trauma, her experiences, who she becomes during the story. I wanted her name to embody that about her. And I thought it was quirky and cool, so I ran with it.

F2F: Hayden and Tenley have deeply personal issues to overcome, issues that both help and get in the way of their growing relationship. You write their struggle so beautifully. How did their story come to you? Which character was in your head first?

HH: Their story developed as a result of events that occurred which stuck with me. A groom and groomsmen were in a limo on their way to the wedding. A tractor trailer jackknifed and everyone died, leaving a devastated bride at the altar. That kind of trauma would leave deep scars. It made me question how someone could move on from such deep emotional wounds.

I suppose that indirectly answers the next question. Tenley’s trauma was the inception, but Hayden was the one I developed first. With his own traumatic past and his poor coping skills, he was the one person who could understand and relate to Tenley in a way others might not. She was the catalyst for a change that had been coming long before her arrival in his life. The body modification acted as the vehicle for connection and healing, within and between them.

F2F: What made you decide to write the prequel novella Cupcakes and Ink as opposed to a sequel? Or can fans also look forward to a sequel novella? (hint, hint)

HH: Cupcakes and Ink was an opportunity to explore Tenley and Hayden’s frame of mind just prior to meeting. Tenley is running from a past she can’t escape and she’s in such a dark, lonely place. Hayden is on the cusp of change. Neither one of them knows what’s coming until it hits them.

If you’re referring to Cracks in the Armor, it’s about secondary characters in CW & IA 🙂 I don’t have a sequel planned for Hayden and Tenley after Inked Armor, but I’d love to write Chris and Sarah’s story.

F2F: We really love the unique covers. Did you have any input into designing them?

HH: I sure did! I had lots of ideas for the covers, and I passed them over to the art team at S&S. They did such a fabulous job turning those initial ideas into gorgeous artwork. I love the juxtaposition between the covers for Clipped Wings and Inked Armor. It’s such a reflection of the light and dark.

F2F: We’re thrilled that Clipped Wings is also available as an audiobook! How involved were you in the process?

HH: My involvement was limited, but I adore Jason Carpenter’s and Elizabeth Louise’s voices for Hayden and Tenley. Hayden’s voice is so deadpan, and it makes me smile every time I hear it. (A/N: I read the ARC, but as a self-professed audiobook addict, I will definitely be doing a “reread” by listening to the audiobook! -Lisa)

F2F: If your fics were to one day be turned into flicks, who do you envision in the lead roles?

HH: This is a question I’ve pondered at length. Midian from SMIBooks brought my attention to a tatted up model named Stephen James who is absolutely gorgeous. If he was an actor, I’d put him in the role in a heartbeat. As for Tenley, Imogen Poots is gorgeous and well suited for the role.

Hayden (Stephen James) and TK

Imogen Poots

Tenley (Imogen Poots)

F2F: Are you working on any other projects you can share with us? We know the Twilight fandom will want to know if The Misapprehension of Bella Swan will ever be published, for example.

HH: That is a project I’d love to work on! I’m hoping it’s one of the next I get to tackle. I already have names for those characters and they make me giggle. I have another completed manuscript ready to roll and I’m very much hoping I get to write Chris and Sarah’s story, because I love those characters. So yes, I have a few potential projects! (A/N: Very exciting news!)

F2F: Do you have any book signings/appearances coming up so fans can get out to meet you?

HH: I’ll be at RT in NOLA in May, LoveNVegas in October as well as the  DC Author Event in March 2015. I’ll be sure to post any signings and events on my website as they arise.

F2F: Congrats on the debut of Clipped Wings, and we wish you nothing but continued success as you find new readers!

HH: Thank you so much for making this a stop on the blog tour!

ClippedWings (2)


Their body art is hot. Their chemistry is even hotter.

From her dark hair sweeping below her waist to her soft, sexy curves, Tenley Page intrigues tattoo artist Hayden Stryker in a way no one else ever has…especially when she asks him to ink a gorgeous, intricate design on her back. Yet for all her beauty, there is something darkly tragic and damaged about Tenley that Hayden is everything.

Covered in ink and steel, Hayden is everything Tenley has never dared to want, awakening a desire to explore more than the art adorning his stunning body. Trapped by a past that leaves her screaming from nightmares, Tenley sees Hayden as the perfect escape. Although he has secrets too, if they both keep themselves guarded perhaps their intense physical connection will remain only that.

But nothing, not even passion, can keep them safe from their pasts…


Thanks to Gallery Books, we were fortunate enough to get an ARC of Clipped Wings to read in exchange for an honest review. But honestly? We already knew we were going to love it 🙂

For those of you who love your book boyfriend to be a tatted up bad boy with a big heart, you’re going to freaking love Hayden. For those of you who don’t think you would love your book boyfriend to be a tatted up bad boy with a big heart, you’re going to freaking love Hayden. And you’re going to love the way he helps Tenley tear down the wall she built to protect her heart and, in so doing, tears down his own.

With alternating POVs, Helena Hunting takes you on an emotional journey with these characters, and you will never look at tattoos (or cupcakes!) the same way again. The way she understands how deeply personal the art of ink is, and how that understanding creates so much intimacy between Hayden and Tenley, will take your breath away. These two have a long way to go to reconcile their hearts with their minds, but their souls have already started to fill in the outline.


Amazon Cupcakes & Ink
Amazon Clipped Wings
Amazon Inked Armor
Amazon Cracks in the Armor

BN Cupcakes & Ink
BN Clipped Wings
BN Inked Armor
BN Cracks in the Armor

Kobo Cupcakes & Ink
Kobo Clipped Wings
Kobo Inked Armor
Kobo Cracks in the Armor (not listed yet)

iBooks Cupcakes & Ink
iBooks Clipped Wings
iBooks Inked Armor
iBooks Cracks in the Armor


Thanks to the generosity of Helena Hunting, publicist extraordinaire Enn Bocci, and Simon & Schuster, we are giving away a Clipped Wings audiobook to one lucky winner!

Excerpt, Clip 1:

Excerpt, Clip 2 (racy): You might want to use headphones to listen to this sexy clip 🙂


Click here to enter —> a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway ends 3/14/14 at 12:00 am EST.
The winner will need to provide an email address for
instructions on how to access the free audiobook.
Good luck!


Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s putting her degree in English Lit to good use by writing contemporary erotic romance.


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Blog Tour and Giveaway: Before You Break by Christina Lee

We’re thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour hosted by our friends over at The SUB CLUB books in support of Christina’s new book in the BETWEEN BREATHS series! We can’t say enough about the way Christina Lee puts the swoon into her writing. If you’re like us, you love chick flicks. This is one series we hope becomes just that.

(Trade paperback available October 14, 2014)


A sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control…

A college baseball star isn’t supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them–something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working a suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him–or to stop herself from falling too far…

Raves for Christina Lee’s All of You (OUR REVIEW HERE)

“Hot, sweet, emotional, page-turner, awesome.” —New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy

“This is one New Adult you don’t want to miss.” —New York Times and USA Today bestselling author A. L. Jackson

“Steamy, honest, and full of heart.” —Roni Loren, national bestselling author


At the theater, we bought popcorn, Milk Duds, and large sodas. After we settled in our seats in the crowded room, I opened the box of chocolate caramel confections and dumped them in the large tub.

“Um,” Quinn said, scratching his chin.
“Sweet and salty—it’s a must-have for movie watching.”
“Yes, seriously.” I picked up a Milk Dud, flanked it with two pieces of popcorn, and then brought it to his lips. “Here. I guarantee you’ll fall in love. You’ll never watch a movie without them again.”
“If you say so. . . .” He dragged the sweet and salty mixture into his mouth but kept my fingers enclosed between his lips. I held in a gasp while he ran his tongue over my thumb and then sucked on my forefinger before releasing my hand and chewing what remained.
“Agree,” he said around a mouthful of popcorn. “Wouldn’t want to be without them ever again.”
Quinn’s gaze latched on to mine. It felt like a bundle of feathers had been let loose in my stomach. “Guess you’ll have to come to every movie from now on. So I don’t forget.”
Speechless wasn’t even the word for what I felt in that moment. Dumbfounded might have been more like it, or maybe just struck stupid, because I couldn’t even move my lips to form any coherent words.

When the movie previews began, he turned toward the screen and reached for my fingers, interlacing our hands. Then he leaned close to my ear and said, “I expect you to feed me just like that the entire movie.”


Click here for your chance to enter to win one of the following prizes in the Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by the author:

  • $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • necklace from Christina’s jewelry business Tags-n-Stones
  • ebook of winner’s choice to keep or gift

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Happy Release Day to Helena Hunting: Cupcakes and Ink Novella

Available in eBook & Audiobook formats here.


The prequel to Clipped Wings—“twisted, dark, incredibly erotic…a love story like no other” (USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton)—this emotional tale follows Hayden and Tenley as they struggle to let go of their pasts and maintain an emotionally safe distance from each other.

Tenley Page is looking for a new start: a new city, a new apartment, a new life. Her plan is to keep to herself and stay focused. But leaving her past behind and starting over isn’t as easy as she thought. And neither is maintaining her solitude. As Tenley settles into her new surroundings, she finds herself drawn to Inked Armor, the tattoo studio across the street. But it’s the gorgeous, dark-haired tattoo artist who captures her interest. There’s something about his severe beauty that captivates her—and not just in her waking hours.

Covered in the ink he inscribes on other people’s skin, Hayden Stryker has made a career out of being a tattooist. He’s got his own business and a tight circle of friends. As far as he’s concerned, that’s all he needs. At least until his aunt, who owns the antiques and used book store across from his tattoo studio, hires a new employee. At first his intrigue is based on physical appeal; hot chick equals something nice to look at. But as he begins to catch glimpses of the fiery personality under the fragile, feminine exterior, his fascination with Tenley grows. Annoyed by his inability to control his fixation, Hayden decides the best way to cure him of the new obsession is to get to know the girl under her skittish façade.

But like the ink he wears as armor, Tenley has the ability to get under his skin and stay there.

Cupcakes and Ink(Stephen James as Hayden and Janet Montgomery as Tenley)

Be sure and check out our cover reveal post here for more information on CLIPPED WINGS (March 2014) and INKED ARMOR (May 2014)!

About the Author

Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s putting her degree in English Lit to good use by writing contemporary erotic romance.


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