During recent visits, I have often found the city of Berkeley to be a garden on a hill, lush in its vegetation and breathtaking in its panoramas. In the stunning hill neighborhoods, redwoods soar from a neighbor’s yard as the eye feasts on tangled beach roses. Meanwhile, west beyond the flatlands and the bay, the blinding evening sun drops through the Golden Gate. A glass of wine in such a place is unlike a glass of wine anywhere else. The senses revel and rebel, and so do we.
When I wrote Playground Zero, a coming-of-age novel set in Berkeley during the counterculture movement of the 1960s, I wanted to convey something of the city’s splendor, along with the anarchy of those years. I wanted a backdrop that would contrast with the story of Alice Rayson, a girl growing up under fraying social norms, as large numbers of people sought to jettison the past. The lush landscape would serve to counterbalance unsettling aspects of Alice’s story, offsetting them—not only for the reader, but also for myself during the long process of producing a novel. More ambiguously, I hoped to shine the city’s light on some of the forgotten corners of those countercultural years. After all, contrast creates meaning.
Hello. I would first and foremost like to introduce myself. My name is Eve Corso and I am the author of six books in print, all contemporary romances. I have two series. The first is the Esteban & Marialena series, which contains 3 books, and the second is a Matter of Timing series, which is a 2-part series. I also have a stand-alone book called You & Me in Washington, D.C. which is loosely based on the time when I lived on the East coast.
The question has been raised to me. How has this pandemic affected my writing? You know, I think like the pandemic itself, I find myself with ups and downs during this time. I think at the beginning, there was a different kind of energy surrounding me. I thought to myself, finally, I have all this time now to write. Then, I was looking at something like two weeks being off. What I didn’t know was how long this was going to last. And the longer it’s lasting, the more my writing has fallen to the wayside. It’s not from a lack of wanting or trying. It’s mostly that I don’t feel creative as a writer right now. When I look back at my words these past few weeks, none of it excites me, and I might have to go back and scrap it all when I figure out how I want to re-write it.
Ali: Please introduce yourself. Sarah & Molly: We’re Sarah Biglow & Molly Zenk. Together we write Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, and Academy books. We have a Fairy Tale Retelling coming soon too. Individually, we write all those genres plus Sarah writes Cozy Mysteries and Molly writes Historical Fiction. Sarah lives in Boston and Molly lives in Denver. Our writing process involves each working in the same Google Doc or passing a Word file back and forth.
These are just fun questions, don’t think too hard on them; there are no wrong answers!
Ali: You can only read one book for the rest of your life, what is it? Patty: Letters to the Lost.
Ali: Would you rather have a house made out of books, or have a book in which you could crawl inside and live? Patty: House of books. Endless adventures.
Ali: Would you rather buy books from a brick and mortar bookstores, or online stores? Patty: Brick and mortar. I like to feel, and smell, and have the experience.
Ali: What book is something you think you probably should have read already but haven’t? Patty: The Diviners.
Ali: Name a book have you read that was not worthy of the hype? Patty: Caravel. What rubbish!
Ali: Is there any book you feel was far worse as a book than it was as a movie or tv show. Patty: Hmm…far worse? Miss Peregrine’s. The movie was great but the book was slow and boring.
Ali: Favorite book quote? Patty: Don’t have one really..
Ali: You can give a shout out to any person, real or fictional, who is it, and what do you want them to know. Patty: To the person who decided not to film the conclusion of the Divergent movies…talk about heartbreak! How could you devastate me like that? At least finish what you started.
Ali: Raylene I love your blog and the gallery element is fantastic. Tell me a little about Booknook Reviews. Raylene: Thank you, Ali. That means a lot! Booknook Reviews features reviews on some of the sexiest books found in the romance genre. My aim is to unite bookworms while supporting new a d established authors.
Ali: Bloggers have such a difficult job managing and gathering content. What do you most love to post on your blog? Raylene: I love posting trigger warnings so I can give other readers a heads up.
Ali: My guy suggested earlier that I am in book blogging because I’m a shameless hussy for free books. What inspired you to have a review blog? Raylene: 1) It was the draw of free books for me too. Hands down. Netgalley’s support articles suggested having a blog as a means to receive free books. 2) I needed something that was just mine. Not my husband’s or my son’s or my employer’s. Just mine.
I’ve always loved a good gothic mystery, and countless novels have inspired me. Everything from Jane Eyre to The Hound of the Baskervilles to Rebecca. Then there are the more horror-heavy gothic masterpieces including The Woman in Black, The Haunting of Hill House, The Turn of the Screw, and the sinister short stories of MR James (such as The Ash Tree). More recently I’ve been inspired by novels such as The Corset and The Silent Companions.
If you like any of these, then my novel Phantom Audition will be right up your street. It concerns widowed actress Mia Yardley, who investigates the mysterious suicide of her famous actor husband, Steven. Before his death, Steven took a film role playing famous abstract painter Edward Bingley, who also committed suicide in mysterious circumstances. When Mia discovers her husband only took roles based on consultations with a medium, she comes to suspect her husband may have buried himself in the role a little too much – to the point where supernatural forces could be involved.
Title: Steel Princess (Royal Elite Book #2) Author: Rina Kent Genre: Dark Bully High School Romance Release Date:December 12, 2019
I hate everything and everyone now.
Rina broke me again, and I want nothing more now than my cat, Xanax, and a panic room.
Deviant King is a mind screw of grand proportion full of little hints and easter eggs enough to make one bedlamite. The story is chockablock of broken characters who are far beyond repair; every damn one of them has more baggage than the Louis Vuitton outlet store. All the females are needy for love and affection but trade any hope for good things so they can live off the interest of the lies they tell themselves about the great future the could have if only they spring there trap. —Note to Elsa, Kim, Silvers, and Blair: You ARE your cage.
The only character that isn’t an A-hole of monstrous proportions is Uncle Jaxon. But don’t worry because in Steel Princess Rina breaks him too.
Both books have Elsa and Aiden considering the concepts of intuition and inevitability as their opening chapter. We return to philosophy, and Sartre: Elsa and Aiden both struggles with the ultimate existential crisis: are they the player or the game? In Steel Princess, there are references throughout Aiden’s POVs of his worldview; he’s the player; manipulation won’t work on him anymore. He mastered himself in the darkness of his childhood, nursing himself upon the suffering and pain forced upon him to create a self-possessed demon without weakness — a villain entirely in control of his victim.
But regardless of all Aiden’s encouragement, he hasn’t been able to get Elsa to stop being the game and to embrace her power. Elsa spent all of Deviant King saying bullies shouldn’t be understood. Rina has created her character with enough subconscious awareness to know that her amnesia, her scar, and her submissiveness are the seal on her Pandora’s box, and the key to it is to look into the abyss.
So in book two, our Steel Princess is born upon the sacrificial stone of Deviant King’s poolside cliffhanger; the revelation has finally come to Elsa that she needs to remover herself from the Kings’ gameboard. But it hasn’t occurred to her that all her research on strategy and attack is absurd in the light that she refuses to recognize what she controls. She is focused on the smallest most inconsequential parts of the larger picture and settles for crumbs when she owns the bakery.
This book is a rabbit hole of epiphany and discovery; admissions, confessions, and betrayals unloaded automatic assault weapon style and land like bombs. But the more you learn, the more you realize that you know nothing at all. For all of Rina Kent’s unbundling of backstory explaining what ingredients went into creating present-day Elsa and Aiden, we can’t begin to guess how two monsters will build their twisted kingdom. The last few pages only murky the waters further. I hate it. I hate how badly I want more. I want a nap.
Ali: You are ‘label-less’ in the fact that you write in several genres. Readers never know what to expect next. If someone asks, how do you label yourself?
Colleen: When I self-published my first novel I had no idea what genre to put it in. I thought I had written a drama but it turns to that I had written a romance. I’ve learned a lot since then, but I still don’t put a lot of weight in genre when I write. When your best friend is begging you to read a book, it’s not going to matter what genre it is when someone you trust is passionate about the story.
Ali: Tell me a secret about the last person you had sex with or, Tell me a lie you’ve told your best friend. Elsa: I told my best friend that I’m fine. Cole: I told my best friend that it doesn’t matter.
Ali: Rina, I’m so excited that you were agreeable to a short interview. I know you have a lot going on with pre-release. Rina: My pleasure! Happy to be here.
Ali: This is the second novel in the Royal Elite School series; how happy are you with the reception of the first book in the trilogy Deviant King? Rina: To be honest, I was blown away by all the love Deviant King received. I was always a rebel who wrote what I connected with the most. I’m so happy that many readers love my words, the characters, and the worlds I create. I can’t find the words to describe how much that means to me and my creative process.