Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Liza Reviews Rescued by Felice Stevens

Today, I'm reviewing a book completely out of my normal grazing zone. I've been so swamped that I didn't realize Felice Stevens had already published her debut novel. So off I go in search of it and HOLY COW! It is kicking ass &  taking no prisoners on the Amazon lists. #1 in it's genre and in the top #500 on the main list.


So I bought it, read it, and soon discovered 
why it is having a spectacular debut entrance. 
Here's my review:


This is the first M/M novel I’ve ever read, so I cannot compare it to the genre at large. I can only judge it as a novel in general and as such, I found it endearing, poignant, and delightful. I totally loved it.

The story does have explicit sex throughout the book, but it did not get in the way of strong emotions of the story:  the fear and pain of nonacceptance, expectations of betrayal, and most of all the desperate need to be loved. While, in my opinion, a heterosexual relationship is no easy walk in the park, the homosexual relationship has far more landmines in its path. To 'come out' remains a tremendous act of bravery, and it is the first of many that a young man will face as he sorts through players to find someone to love. It is these heartfelt emotions that compelled me to keep reading to the very end in a single setting.

Ryder and Jason, both come with baggage.
Ryder’s mother despises his homosexuality and withholds contact with his family until he ‘comes to his senses’, marries a woman, and settles down. She tries to make him think the entire family hates what he is, not just her.

Ryder meets Jason on a call to rescue pit bulls being ‘stored’ in a house that is to be restored. Jason and his older brother are the contractors for the renovations. 

Despite an immediate physical attraction to Ryder and vice versa, Jason continues to insist he’s not gay. Yes, there was an incident back in college, but since then he has dated women. Angry women, who eventually give up and move on when they realize he will never marry them.

Ryder doesn’t have the emotional strength to bring Jason out of his closet, too much risk to his already battered heart, so the relationship appears doomed from the start. The author does a fabulous job dealing with the natural fears and moments of brave honesty that ebb and flow as the relationship forms. 

Facing his true nature is not easy for Jason. Finally, he tells his family the truth and while not everyone reacts with understanding, most do.

When a young man declares his true self, he rarely know how his siblings, parents and extended family will take the news. The author does a spectacular job of showing various reactions in this book and the pain of rejections when parents disown their child for nothing other than their true nature, and the strengthening of bonds when parents prove their love is truly unconditional.

While this book has a very fine HEA, and was superbly written, it was the journey to the HEA that won me over and why I gave this five stars, or in this case puppies.
  





Monday, August 25, 2014

Banking in the Late Victorian era

Today, I'm at Kimber Vale's talking about the profession Vic intended to enter before she became a sleuth.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Liza causes Devika to stray off course...several times.


Today, I have Devika Fernando on my blog for an interview. 
Liza: Normally, when I interview an author, they are so busy, that they’ll say the funniest things without realizing it. Then I can, with great love, tease them. But I fear that’s not happening today. Devika is a very precise writer. She doesn't play fast and loose with the language. Every word she writes is with consideration.  So I’ve no idea how this interview is going to go.
Devika: Such high praise, thank you. I guess I take special care with what and how I write because English isn’t my first language. And hey, knowing (more or less) 8 languages sort of makes you careful not to make a fool of yourself.
 Liza: I’m pretty sure I’d just be silly in 8 languages. Now to the interview: Is there anything you don’t like about being a writer?
Devika: Not really. Writing is the most fun part of it, but even editing is something I like, because although it’s a difficult and dreary task, you learn something about your own writing and you get a chance to make the book better. Promoting takes a lot of time, but it can also be interesting, and I love connecting with fellow authors and readers.
Liza: This is what I mean. Your answer remains on point with no ambiguous statements I can purposely misinterpret. Also I completely agree with you, so I can’t even argue against your perception.  What part of your book was the hardest to write?
Devika: With “Playing with Fire”, it was everything that involves the police / the legal side of it. Although I read crime novels, I initially had no idea how the crime of arson is handled and how they might try to catch Felicia, the heroine who possesses fire magic.
Liza: Again, total agreement. Anything associated with the law or crimes is very difficult to get right.  Has a secondary character ever threatened to take over your book?
Devika: Luckily not. I make sure this won’t happen by either writing an antagonistic secondary character or by keeping their profile low.
Liza: Here we diverge. Devika remains in control of her characters, whereas I let mine run loose like wild cheetahs. But still I cannot tease her approach. It sounds very sensible. Seriously, have you ever tried to rein in wild cheetahs? I think not.  So how'd you come up with this story?
Devika: “Playing with Fire” was inspired by fantastic artwork I saw on deviantart.com, and it just wrote itself in my head. From that grew the idea of the “4 Elements of Love Series”. The Water story jumped right in while I was still writing on Fire, and the Earth one followed. Only the Wind one didn’t want to cooperate, but I gave it a lot of thinking and now I have my plot thought out for that, too.
Liza: I find Wind to be problematic myself. It’s always blowing things down. It took out an entire Pine forest that I had cut paths in. I went into mourning over the loss of that forest. But I digress. Hey peeps, see how nicely Devika stays on topic?
Devika: I wish the wind would tear out a pine forest here! Some political hot-shot (read: idiot) had decided to plant pine trees in huge quantities all over the island, although there are a million more useful trees he could’ve chosen. The result? Draughts!
Liza: Yes! I tricked Devika into digressing!  Thank you, pine trees. Now, describe the hero in five words.
Devika: Confident, calm, secretive, patronizing, detached
 Liza: and the heroine?
Devika: Energetic, straight-forward, short-tempered, stubborn, passionate
 Liza: I like that you give your characters both good and not so good attributes?
Devika: Thanks. I try to make them as human and credible as possible. I’m tired of reading about characters that are only bad or only good.
 Liza: You can safely read my books then. If your main character had been allowed to write the novel rather than you, how would the story have been different?
Devika: I’m sure that Felicia would have wanted more action, more steamy scenes with Joshua, and a connection to other paranormal / supernatural beings. She’s freaking intent on finding out whether there’s a whole group of specially gifted people out there like the mutants from ‘X-Men’.
Liza: I can’t blame her. If I had superpowers then I would ask other people if they have superpowers, rather like I do with ghosts. I have a ghost living in my house, so I assume other people have ghosts in theirs. I don’t understand why I get so many strange looks when I say, “You’ve a nice old house. How many ghosts do you have?”
Devika: Looks like you’d get along nicely with Felicia. ;-) Speaking of ghosts, you should come to Sri Lanka and bring your house ghosts on a holiday. This island is chock full of ghosts (if you can believe what people say here). They’d sure give the Ghostbusters a run for their money.
 Liza: And yet again I tricked Devika into digressing. This is fun. If you met an alien from outer space, how would you explain what you (as an author) actually do?
Devika: What a crazy and awesome question! I’d tell it I rule over imagination and words, and make people think, and give them a chance to lose themselves in what could be.
Liza: Congrats! You get the best answer so far award!

Devika: Thank you! *glows with pride* Do I need to whip out my Oscar / Pulitzer Prize / Nobel Prize speech?
Liza: Devika, I say this with the upmost love, but girlfriend you are way too over-prepared! Back to the interview. Is there any topic that fascinates you or a genre you’d really like to write in?
Devika: I am very comfortable with the romance genre (contemporary and paranormal), but I’d really love to write a science-fiction novel one day. None of the alien stuff, but something dystopian where nature has taken revenge on people for abusing her.
Liza: Well, let me see if you qualify: Do you know where the potted petunias in your award were at the time they said, “Oh no! Not again?”
Devika: Whoa, how clever of you to mention that! *hands award to Liza for asking something that couldn’t have been more unexpected or more brilliant* I absolutely love “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”! As for my potted anthurium (no petulant petunias, sorry), they were probably somewhere frolicking with the ghosts when it happened.
 Liza: Space! They were frolicking in space. Now tell us the stupidest thing you’ve ever done.
Devika: Not going to university though I had passed high school with flying colours and everyone expected me to become a doctor or something. Oh wait, that might also be the most intelligent thing I’ve done because otherwise I wouldn’t be happily married now, and I wouldn’t have a job as a writer and author that I love and can do from home.
 Liza: AHA! So this was actually the smartest thing you’ve done. Finally, you answered something wrong...only it’s not wrong, it was in fact, brilliant. I believed what we’ve learned from this interview is that you cannot go wrong, when you go with Devika Fernando.

And with that satisfying conclusion of a most enjoyable chat, let’s check out Devika’s book Playing With Fire.
If you’re playing with fire, 
prepare to get burned – or to fall in love.

Sparks fly when Felicia and Joshua meet. Discovering her inner fire and unleashing unimaginable powers makes her realize that all her life, she has been hiding her true self. When buildings burn and people are in danger, the tempting game of playing with fire becomes serious. Will their love and desperate struggle for control save her life, or will the fire magic turn itself against its mistress?


 Playing with Fire










Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

Legal Stalking Links for Devika

https://twitter.com/Author_Devika
https://plus.google.com/+DevikaFernando





Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Liza talks about the invention of telephones and how love helped it along

Today, I'm at Ella Quinn's talking about the invention of telephones and what love has to do with it.

Stop by, laugh, learn, & win $$.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Liza talks about the postal service of England past



Today, at 7.am, I'll  be at Sotia Lazu's blog talking about the Postal Service in the 19th century.

Come learn, laugh & win $$$

Monday, August 18, 2014

Liza interviews Kristen Brockmeyer;s book Lucky in Love

Today, we are interviewing Kristen Brockmeyer's Lucky in Love.

Liza: All I know so far is its a book with a seam down it's hose and a slip showing.

Peep Rep: That doesn't bode well.

Liza: We'll know more once it arrives. How did you arrange for it to arrive?

Peep Rep: It wanted to walk here.

Liza: Books are terrible at walking and if they fall over, they cannot stand back up.

Peep Rep: Not to worry, I gave it a shoe.


Book: God, I've never been so exhausted in my life. Next time I'm demanding a limo!

Liza: Sorry about that. Peep Rep doesn't always have the best of judgment. What would you like to be called? Luck or Love?

Book: What's wrong with my name: Lucky in Love?

Peep Rep: Liza can't type more than four letters without mangling the letters.

Book: Are you kidding me? I WALK here in a high heel shoe from Michigan to New Jersey and she can't even bother to type my name?

Liza: Oh all right, you can be Lucky. But only because Peep Rep tortured you with his mode of travel.

Peep Rep: Better than a catapult.

Liza: Good point. He's done much worse to books.
But you are here, safe and sound, so allow me to move beyond your slip showing and your red seamed hose...



Liza: Ah, this is better. So tell me about your book, Lucky in Love.

Lucky: Well first of all, Lucky, McFarlane isn't.

Liza: Lucky for you, or I'd make you change your name to something else. So tell me more about NOT Lucky.

Lucky: Her bad luck streak is as much a part of who she is as her blue eyes and her vintage wardrobe. 

Liza: I thought her clothes seemed a bit outdated. Do people laugh at her?

Lucky: All the time. She's a total clutz and embarrasses herself constantly.

Liza: I'm much the same. Don't worry, she'll get used to it.

Lucky: Not even a lifetime of clumsy accidents and embarrassing moments can't prepare her for what happens when she runs into sexy ex-boyfriend, Chance Atkins. Literally. With her 1948 Buick Roadmaster.

Liza: Did you just say Unlucky Lucky ran over her future boyfriend & hero of the story with her 1948 Buick Roadmaster? I don't even know where to begin with the questions.


Lucky: Well my Lucky's got a few questions as well. 


Liza: Okay, she can go first.

Lucky. Let's start with why Chance moved away without a word 10 years before—right after a memorable scene in the backseat of her car.

Liza: Ouch! That had to destroy her womanly confidence. 

Lucky: She has more questions. Does his return have anything to do with the disappearance of Julian, her geriatric sometimes-roommate and drinking buddy? 

Liza: It's never good when geriatric drink and disappear. Perhaps he went on a walkabout.

Lucky: Then why did someone just shoot out her kitchen window? 

Liza: Maybe they thought I was holding the interview at her house...

Lucky: And her last question, which says so much about my hopelessly unlucky Lucky: Does Chance need a license for those dimples? Because they're killer hot.

Liza: Dimples! I love dimples! This book sounds great. Can I peek beneath your covers and read a bit.


Lucky: Okay, but do not dare go changing words around.

The growl of my 1948 Roadmaster downshifted to a throaty purr as I pulled into the jam-packed parking lot of the Spring Valley Wesleyan Church. I was so busy worrying about the serious bodily harm Addy was going to inflict on me if I didn’t get in there in time to do my maid of honor thing, that I didn’t see the black and white blur that dodged out in front of me from between two cars. I mashed down on the brake but my reflexes weren’t quick enough. There was a brief thunk and a moan loud enough to carry over my Sinatra-blasting stereo.

Oh, no. I instantly panicked. Did I just hit a Saint Bernard?

Images of a bloody Beethoven lying broken beneath the wheels of my Buick popped into my brain in appalling Technicolor. I threw it in park and jumped out of the car, tears already blurring my eyes. The tears dried up fast when I realized that, instead of a giant cuddly dog, I’d run over the guy who’d taken my virginity the night of my senior prom before abruptly moving to Illinois.

I nudged Chance Atkins with the toe of my shoe and fervently thanked God that he wasn’t a Saint Bernard.

           
My morning had started off surprisingly great, which should have been my first clue that some major bad luck was in the works. I woke to the sound of birds chirping, the neighbor’s dog barking and kids playing in the street, everyone apparently enjoying the unseasonably warm April weather. Granted, I immediately knocked a half empty beer bottle over on my alarm clock, frying it dead with a sizzling, popping hiss. And shortly after that, I stepped right into a cold, slimy puddle when I swung my legs over the side of the bed to feel around for my slippers. Louie, my one-eyed stray of indiscriminate origins, was apparently having hairball issues again. But a dead alarm clock and an icky gift from Louie were small potatoes, compared to what I was used to.

I wiped my foot on the rug and stumbled to the bathroom to flip on the little coffee maker I kept in there, hotel-style. I cranked the shower on for its usual five-minute warm-up, and squinted into the mirror to take stock. My reddish-brown hair corkscrewed out in various directions. There was a pillow pattern on my left cheek. Freckles stood out in stark relief on my small, pale nose. Normally a very nice shade of cornflower blue, my eyes looked almost purple today and clashed badly with the cluster of visible blood vessels that all shouted in unison: “You had too many beers last night!”

Nothing I couldn’t work with. That was what makeup and eyedrops were for.

After my shower, I wrapped my pink satin housecoat around myself and sat down at my Formica and chrome kitchen table to sip my second cup of coffee. The table was the latest phase of my furniture rescue project and went nicely with all the rest of the hauté crap that I’d rescued from the side of the road. Garbage-picking was kind of a hobby of mine. I was constantly amazed at some of the cool stuff people threw out.
  
Following habit, and cursing as I sliced my pinkie on the Entertainment page, I flipped the newspaper open to the horoscope section. Against my better judgment, I felt optimism rear its stupid head.

The cosmic spectrum is nearly aligned with Jupiter and you will begin to reap the benefits today. Your luck is changing!

 Tell that to my poor alarm clock. But wait, there was more.

Keep your eyes open—true love will soon cross your path!

Uh-huh.

Last time I read something true love-related was in a fortune cookie. It said, “Your true love will bring you joy and happiness.” That was the night I found Brent Hall, my boyfriend of 14 months, boinking my Journalism professor on my living room couch. 

Peep Rep: Oh this sounds delightful.

Liza: For once we are in accord. So find the links!

Peep Rep: FOUND THE LINKS:


Lucky: Fabulous. Can someone call me a limo.

Liza: Sorry, I'll be keeping you three days. So take your shoe off and tell me about your writer.



Lucky: Kristen Brockmeyer is a romance writer.

Liza: That was pretty much a given when she focused on the dimples. Tell me something I don't know.

Lucky: She's currently up to her eyeballs in an awesome contemporary romance manuscript.

Liza: That's better. What else?

Lucky: She's a wife, a mom, an admin at an award-winning digital agency and a chicken-wrangling, weed-pulling, mosquito-slapping farming newbie. She enjoys reading romances, buying useless things at thrift stores, baking cupcakes semi-professionally, and hyphenating phrases, sometimes unnecessarily.

Liza: I see where her character got her dumpster diving trait from.

Lucky: She also has three kids, one husband, two dogs and a partridge in a pear tree. Well, there really is a pear tree out back, but the bird in it is probably just a chicken.

Liza: Better than three hungry kids, two deadbeat husbands and an angry cat in the dead oak tree.

Lucky: I'm going to be quiet and wait for my limo. You are starting to scare me.

Stalking Links for Kristen:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kristen Brockmeyer asks Liza O'Connor some very odd questions

 

Kristen Brockmeyer & 1 planned to flip blogs. I would have her book over to my site and she'd have me on hers where she intended to ask me some very odd questions. Unfortunately, she had to fire her gall bladder. So I told her not to worry about her questions, I'd put them here on my site a half day early. She needs to focus on getting well.

I have no idea if she'll listen to me or not. If she ignores me and puts the blog on her site I'll send you guys over there. Otherwise you can read her odd questions here which provoked me to be odder still.

Peep Rep has volunteered to ask her questions. Take it away my little imaginary friend.


Peep Rep: Have you ever done something really unbelivable, only to have no one around to see it?

Liza: I once came upon a giant 14 foot tall moose with huge antlers at least 6 feet wide. At first, I thought it was a wooden cut-out of an oversized, outraged moose, used to make people take notice of the little shack and parking lot that cut into the thick forest. However, when it stepped forward and lowered its head to make mincemeat out of my Subaru, I declared it real, and me toast. I had just crossed the Canadian border back into the US about ten minutes before. It was moose season in Canada, and I fear this guy lost a loved one or a great deal of loved ones in their hunt, for he was seething with rage.

I was on a curvy logging road. There was no way I could go forward, not with that monster claiming the road. My only choice was turn into the parking lot he’d been standing on before he decided to claim the road. I intended to turn my car around and drive back in the direction of Canada. Once I had my car facing North, I stopped to assess my chances of living through this.

The moose watched, waiting for me to try to run, so it could catch me from the back and roll my little car over and over until I was as dead as his loved ones. (I recalled the giant metal hunk that my fishing guide said used to be a pickup truck until a moose demolished it.)
I’m staring at the moose, still struggling to comprehend how it could be that big, all the while my right hand is flailing about searching for the camera. I was afraid if I took my eyes off the beast, it would charge, that the only thing that kept it still was our mooso a’ meo eye lock.  All the while, it’s getting angrier and angrier.

Then I hear a rumbling. A log truck is coming around the corner. It’s going to crash into Godzilla moose and logs are going to bury my car. My last seconds to live: I watch in slow motion as Godzilla moose turns into Bullwinkle with long gangly legs and manages to disappear into the woods right before the truck flies by.

And then my hand finds the camera.
I had just seen the biggest moose in the world and no one would ever believe it. I turned the car back and continued to the US interstate where traffic stopped due to NORMAL size moose. They looked like an entirely different species than the moose that nearly killed me.

Peep Rep: If you don't make you answers shorter this is going to be the longest blog in history. 

Liza: I promise to get to the point faster.

Peep Rep: Do you lick the lids on your yogurt or pudding containers?


Liza: Of course I do. How else can I claim it mine?

Peep Rep: What’s the most unique thing you can tell us about yourself?

Liza: I am 0% normal, I was raised by feral cats, and I cannot follow directions.

Peep Rep: I can attest to all of that being true. Oh, dear, I know the answer to this question. Please don't go on & on about it.
Do you believe in ghosts.

Liza: Since I have one living in my house (original owner) I have to say yes. At first, she was very noisy, walking about, opening doors and cabinets, but except for the moving rugs, I barely realize she’s around anymore. She still gets very upset if I let men in her bedroom.

Peep Rep: Do you have a favorite childhood memory?


Liza: Actually I do, despite the feral cat blockage.  I remember being mauled by 12 small black and tan puppies as I lay laughing on the grass. Some were pulling on my shoe strings. Some had my hair. Others were pulling on my stretched out hand-me-down shirt, and one was licking my nose. I was never happier than that moment.

Peep Rep: Pick up the book closest to you. Turn to page 12. What's the first full sentence on the page?

Liza: Houston, we have a problem. The closest book is an ebook and it doesn’t have page numbers. The second closest book is What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool and page 12 is EMPTY.  It’s the spacer between the table of content and the start of the book. So I go to the third closest book, which is Costumes in pictures by Phillis Cunnington and page 12 has a picture that looks like a woman but is titled ‘Nobleman in long tunic (13th Century).  It makes me wonder if the artist didn’t know how to draw men’s faces or like Vic does in the Late Victorian era, women were disguising themselves as men even back then so they could have a better life.  Going on the Strike 3-You’re out rule, I’ll stop reaching out for books and move on to your next question now.

Peep Rep: Yes, please! Who is your favorite author of all time?

Liza: Douglas Adams and Jane Austen…both are funny in their own ways.

Peep Rep: What are you currently working on? 

Liza: The Xavier & Vic series, and some spin offs it generated.

Peep Rep: What book have you released most recently? 

Liza: Book one of The Adventures of Xavier & Vic series: The Troublesome Apprentice

Peep Rep: Can we read a little of it? 

Liza: Here’s a bit between Vic and Xavier. Vic is a young woman who dresses as a young man because life is more interesting for men in the Late Victorian era.  Xavier is the greatest sleuth England has ever known. He recently hired Vic on as an apprentice.  Vic speaks 1st.


“Should we not have guns? The man will be armed.”

“And what makes you think that?”

“He could not even climb in a window without assistance. He’ll not be depending on his physical prowess to get him out of trouble. I imagine he carries a gun wherever he goes, but he will certainly have one on him tonight.” Vic decided Claire needed her eyes examined. Xavier was exceptionally handsome when he smiled.

“I also always carry a gun. What does that say about me, I wonder?” His right eyebrow rose in a teasing challenge.

“Given your occupation, you are constantly in dodgy situations. It is very rational for you to carry one. I should have a weapon as well.”

“Do you currently possess a firearm?”

“No,” Vic admitted.

“Have you ever fired a pistol?”

“No, but it hardly seems difficult. All one must do is point and pull.”

“Nonetheless, you will not carry a weapon until I have taught you how to shoot. Tonight, you must play a supporting role and allow me to subdue the criminal.”

Peep Rep: Where can we buy it? 

Liza:You don't know where to find my book?

Peep Rep: Of course I do. I'm just reading Kristen's questions. And it's a good question, so stop giving me grief and answer it.




FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 
Investigate these sites:



Don’t Forget to enter to win one of the two $25 Amazon Gift Cards.


Liza is at Tara Quan's talking about the Bow Street Runners

Today, I'm at Tara Quan's Blog  
In my book, an investigative firm called the Bow Runners are mentioned. They are not the Bow Street Runners. They mere stole the name. Then I tell you about the history and demise of the real Bow Street Runners & later the Horse Patrol. It's a sad story of being fired for doing a superb job.  However they did form the basic investigative work that Scotland Yard was based upon.

Stop by, enjoy, laugh at the excerpt and throw your hat into win one of two $25 dollar prizes.