Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Interview with Cherie M. Hudson, Author of Unforgettable (GIVEAWAY)

Hear hear, all ye good people! Today, for our author interview series, we are taking a trip ‘down under’ to chat with Australian author Cherie M. Hudson. Cherie has recently released her latest New Adult novel (Unforgettable, Always series #2; Momentum Books, October 22) and she is graciously offering 3 e-copies of the first two books in the series to 3 lucky followers of this blog. The giveaway is open to all countries so, read on, enjoy the interview, and don’t be shy - leave us a comment and your email address for a chance to bring the prize home.
Q. Welcome to Mina's Bookshelf, Cherie! Great to have you on the blog - we would love to know more about you, about your background, and the a-ha moment when you decided to give it a try as a published author. Was it a sudden epiphany, a dream you kept in a drawer since childhood, or mere chance?

A. It was a dream from when I was a little kid. I loved writing and would hurry away from the dinner table every night to work on my “books”. I remember at 6 years of age taking what felt like a lifetime to write a two page story about a girl and her pet dragon. That dream of making up stories of adventure and excitement never left me. One day, my husband (who was my fiancĂ©e at the time) told me to actually send one the manuscripts I’d written away to a publisher. I did, and landed my first contract. To this day he keeps telling me “I told you so!”

Q. Your "Always" series combines genres and themes that will greatly appeal to a young readership: romance and realistic fiction, a la John Green (The Fault In Our Star) so to speak. Are you comfortable with the New Adult label or you think Unconditional (Momentum, February 2015), Unforgettable (Momentum, October 2015), and the upcoming Undeniable (Momentum, February 2016) could possibly entice a larger and more diversified audience?

A. I think it the series is definitely open to a larger audience. The stories of the Always series are so diverse and the characters so different. In Unconditional, the narrator is a 23 year-old American exchange student with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. In Unforgettable the narrator is a 25 year-old Australian guy who discovers the girl he has always loved has kept a major secret from him, one that can no longer be kept and in Undeniable, the story is told by both a 22 year-old American girl who is deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other, and a 23 year-old Aussie guy who rarely takes anything seriously but is suddenly forced to do so. All the books touch on real life problems and deal with real life decisions that both young people and old people like myself (I’m the grand old age of 44) can relate to and contemplate.

Q. You have authored numerous novels under a different pen name, and in a completely different genre. Now you write romantic fiction with a strong highlight on illness and disabilities. The change of focus is radical: what brought you to such a change of direction?

A. Without sounding weird, I only write the stories that are in my heart. If I try to write something else, I turn into a horrible shrew (ask my husband, he’ll tell you). Having said that, Unconditional was the book that allowed me to write as Cherie M Hudson. Both my dad and my brother have Parkinson’s disease and my uncle had it as well. I’ve spent many many years with PD in my life, watching its horrific effect on the ones I loved. I wanted to tell the story of their strength, their struggle and the love that makes that struggle possible. That story wasn’t a Lexxie Couper story. That was the real beginning of Cherie M Hudson’s voice and Cherie M Hudson’s stories. The exploration of the medical conditions found in Unforgettable and Undeniable, I think, come from not only being a mother and wondering how I would cope if my child was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, but also from the fact my best friend is a nurse and one of her daughters has a hearing impairment. I’ve watched Caitlin grow into a strong, independent young girl but I’ve also seen her struggles. I wanted to share with the world what it takes to live with something that not only defines you, but can impact on how people treat you.

Q. How did the story of Brendon and Amanda in Unforgettable come into being? Can you tell us a bit more about the genesis of the book and its characters?

A. The story of Brendon came about essentially because I hate doing burpees. The inspiration for Brendon Osmond was my personal trainer, Brendon Osborne. Brendon loved to make me do burpees every session. One day, mid-burpee I tried to bribe him into not giving me any more burpees by promising to create a character on him. Brendon the Biceps was only meant to have a small role in Unconditional, but he ended up taking a life of his own. When the real life Brendon kept making me do burpees I promised him I was going to make his character suffer and suffer big time in his own book. Like the character he is based on, the real life Brendon is an optimist and rarely gets rattled. As a writer, I wanted to see how much I could tear apart a character like that and I knew the place to start was with the heart. So what started out as, essentially me being horribly vindictive for all those burpees, turned into a book more profound and emotional than any I’d planned or written. And honestly, all the pain of those burpees was worth it because I am incredibly proud of Unforgettable and Brendon and Amanda’s journey. Amanda was born in my head when I imagined what kind of girl would steal Brendon’s heart (someone just like him) and what kind of situation would force her to go against everything she holds dear. When it comes down to it, I wasn’t very nice to either of my main characters.

Q. As a reader and a writer, do you have a favorite genre, book, author?

A.This is probably going to sound completely weird coming from a romance author, but my favourite writer is Stephen King followed by Douglas Adams. I love King’s ability to create characters so real I feel like they are in the room with me, despite the completely unreal (and quite often, terrifying) situations of the books. Depending on my mood, my favourite King book is either IT, or Bag of Bones. Douglas Adams is my second favourite author. Comedy sci-fi with a beautiful biting satire, Adams is the author of my favourite book ever, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In every book I write, no matter if it’s as Cherie or Lexxie, I include the number 42 as a homage to Adams (if you don’t know the significance of the number 42, Google The Ultimate Answer ☺ )  

Q. Totally random question: if you could be a character from a book, who would you be and why?

A. Hmmm… from one of MY books, Heather (who is in Unconditional and Unforgettable), because she is a hyper-energetic fire-cracker who knows she’s loopy and completely owns it with pride. From a book by a different author…hmmm…Tricia Macmillian, AKA Trillian, from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. Because she gets to travel through space and hang out with the President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, who is the coolest, most frustrating character ever created ☺

Q. In 140 characters or less, Twitter style, why should we read Unforgettable?

A. Because, as NY Times bestseller, Erin Nicholas says, it’s “Poignant and raw, while heartwarming and uplifting at the same time.”
About the Author
Cherie M. Hudson is happily married to the man of her dreams, a busy mum of two little girls (one nine going on sixteen, the other five going on twenty), a proud cat owner (although she suspects the cat thinks she owns her) and an insanely manic writer. She has written over forty erotic romances under the pen name Lexxie Couper. A long time ago she gave up trying to suppress the stories in her head constantly trying to escape … Follow Cherie on her website, on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find her on Goodreads, Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBooks Store, Book Depository, and Kobo.
Giveaway (Int'l)
 Cherie M. Hudson is graciously offering 3 e-copies of the first two books in the Always series (Unconditional and Unforgettable) to 3 lucky followers of this blog. Join Mina's bookshelf via GFC, Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin, or Google+,  and leave a comment about this interview in the section below. The giveaway is open to all countries.

About Unforgettable

My name is Brendon Osmond. I'm a 25 year old post-graduate student who knows three things with absolute conviction. I know damn near everything there is to know about keeping in peak physical shape. I have a plan to make a lot of money from that knowledge. I'm an optimist who's not easily rattled. But then the girl I fell in love with almost two years ago texts me out of the blue and everything I know is thrown out the window.

Am I rattled? No. Not until I fly to the other side of the world and discover the girl I fell for has kept a very big secret from me. A secret that mocks all my knowledge of the human body and how to keep it healthy. A secret that shatters my plans for my own personal training business. A secret with my eyes. A secret who needs me more than I can comprehend. Ask me again if I'm rattled. Now ask me if I'm still in love. Perfect for fans of The Fault in Our Stars and Nicholas Sparks, Unforgettable is the second book in the Always series that began with Unconditional.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

BASKING IN THE LIGHT by Saylor Storm (Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway)

About the book

Ambitious budding reporter, Ellen Singer, grows weary of being alone and pursues a partner through an online dating site; it turns out to be the worst decision of her life. Courted by a handsome, successful author, she is abducted and held captive by his murderous younger brother on a remote island.

Ellen fights for her health and sanity while in captivity. She is forced to witness monstrous acts by her captor all the while dependent on him for her survival. Ultimately she is saved by seasoned FBI agent, Arnie Darrow, and rushed to the hospital in a fight for her life.

Family and friends stand by hoping for Ellen’s complete recovery. The young reporter pulls through only to struggle with the psychological aftermath of her abduction. Is tenacious Ellen capable of returning to her former self or is she forever altered by her horrific experience? And, what part, if any, does Arnie Darrow play in her recovery?
Basking In The Light
Saylor Storm
Published on October 5, 2015 by Storm Publishing
Kindle edition, 208 pages
Bonus material

During the blog tour - Purchase Basking in the Light, and receive the novella Reclamation FREE ... After purchase send Saylor an email at Saylor@SaylorStorm.com
Ellen and Arnie's story continues ...
In Basking in the Light, aspiring reporter, Ellen Singer, survives being captured and held hostage by serial killers for months. Reclamation takes us where Basking in the Light left off; where Ellen is left with the arduous task of rebuilding her life both physically and mentally. With devoted FBI agent, Arnie Darrow, by her side she is able to overcome her many obstacles and in the end he proclaims his deep love for the woman he has grown to admire and revere. Does Ellen reciprocate his feelings, or has her ordeal left her emotionally incapable of returning Arnie’s love?

Saylor is offering two fantastic gifts to her readers: a set of pearls and a signed copy of her latest book. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaways at the bottom of this post for a chance to win. Good luck!


About the Author

Saylor Storm takes something from real life and turns it into something fun, and perhaps a bit twisted. Reality becomes fantasy, or is that imagination turns into real life experience? Her stories include places where she has lived or visited from the beaches of Malibu to Islands of Fiji and lots of destinations in between. A fun fact, Saylor worked for nearly eight years as a Sharon Stone lookalike traveling the country as the star. Visit Saylor Storm's website or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Watch the video on Youtube
Visit Saylor Storm's website to learn more about her books and read a fun interview with Mina's Bookshelf.
a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Basking in the Light: Excerpt Chapter 6
A boy’s view of the world is affected by what the mother has demonstrated.
  Jonny meticulously swept his tiny cabin. The sand was a constant problem. Living on the beach had its benefits, but Jonny had no patience for the daily task. He grumbled under his breath as he opened the front door and pushed the sand back outside with his broom.

  He had a daily routine and did not like to alter from it. After sweeping, he took a long walk to town. Jonny wore the same outfit every day: a beige shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a pair of well-worn jeans, and a grey vest. On his feet was a pair of Keen sandals. His long hair, tousled with curls, bounced slightly as he walked. With determination he walked directly to his favorite spot with his treasured cooler in tow.

  As odd as Jonny was, the townspeople were used to him and his daily walks to the local coffee shop, where he sat every day, talking to himself and ordering nothing. People ignored him and found him to be harmless.

  Jonny returned to his small cabin, before dark, where he would prepare a simple meal and go to bed early. This day there was an interruption in his routine. When he returned to the cabin, he had a visitor.

“Where have you been?” Jim wanted to know.
  “I t-took a w-walk, like I always d-do, so w-what?”
  “You didn’t talk to anyone, did you?”
  “No, I n-never t-talk to anyone. Just like you t-told me. Why are y-you here?”
  “I have a surprise for you. I told you that I found her; she’s here, in the car. Come help me get her out of the car.”
  “D-do I get to k-keep her?”
  “Yes, but you have to keep it a secret.”
  “I will! I promise!”

  Jonny followed his older brother to the blue sedan in the driveway. Jim popped the trunk. Jonny could make out a woman wearing a white blouse and red shorts. She was tied with rope and tape and was passed out cold.

  “She is p-perfect! Why is she s-sleeping?”
  “I had to drug her. Help me get her inside.”

  The men each carried an end of the body. Jim was at least a foot taller than his younger brother. They placed her on the bed. Jim returned to the car and retrieved a small duffle bag.

  “W-what are you g-going to d-do with that?” Jonny asked.
  “Just watch.”
 Jim pulled an old wooden rocking chair to the center of the room and chained it to a hook he had screwed in to the ceiling.

  “Help me get her in the chair,” Jim instructed.

  The two men placed her in the chair and cut loose the rope and tape. Jim re-taped Ellen’s ankles and wrists together, then placed a heavy chain over the tape and secured it to a hook that he had screwed in to the floor.

  “This should hold her.”
  “W-what d-do I d-do if she w-wakes up?”

  “She can scream all she wants to, no one will hear her out here. She’s yours; you can do whatever you want with her. I’ll be back tomorrow with food and supplies.”

  Jonny smiled at his big brother, “Thank you, J-Jim, she’s p-perfect.”