Review Excerpts

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Attack of the 14 Nights of Halloween Hop (and Giveaway!)

October is a busy time for blog hops! This time we're all talking about our favorite spooky movies and books in preparation for Halloween on the 31st. I'm glad that's the topic, and I will neither confirm nor deny already having eaten a bunch of Halloween candy....

ANYWAY! I'm not really a big fan of "scary" movies, per se, but as regular readers have learned from my recent posts and my current WIP, I do love mysteries and suspense/thrillers. If I have to pick a favorite creepy movie, I'll go with The Silence of the Lambs. I hate violence and gore on screen, so I appreciate that all of the suspense and nail-biting and general feelings of unease are all psychological. Combined with the expert acting and plotting, there's a reason why it frequently makes lists of the best movies of all time.

In addition to the fabulous prize package giveaway for this hop, I'm giving away two e-copies of Elysium. True story - many, many (many?) years ago, when I first had the idea to write a romance about a grieving widow encountering her dead husband, it was originally going to be a ghost story. Obviously the circumstances of the plot changed a lot by the time I finally wrote the story, but there's a fun bit of trivia for you! Tell me in the comments, if you could spend the day with the ghost/spirit/whatever of any one person, who would it be?

Two years have passed since April Patterson’s husband was shot and killed in the line of duty, and she’s trapped in a haze of grief and uncertainty. Having grown frustrated by all other efforts to engage her in activities where she could meet new people, her cousin pays for a date via 1Night Stand. Not thrilled with the idea, April nevertheless contacts Madame Eve and requests the impossible: a date with her deceased husband.

Brilliant software engineer Drew Monroe created his company, Elysium, to help give closure to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, through the use of virtual reality. Though passionate about his work, being constantly surrounded by heartache and death has taken a toll on his mental health. When he accepts the case of a young widow referred to him by Madame Eve, her tragic tale depresses him further, but he commits himself to programming April the romantic date she desires.

April arrives at Elysium and prepares to enter Drew’s virtual realm. Will she find the solace she seeks within? Or will she discover she doesn’t need a fantasy world to discover happiness again? 

Follow the directions below for the games and giveaways! Good luck, and happy reading!

It's that time of year again. The days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler and the nights are getting spookier. Yes, it's time for tricks and treats, goblins and ghouls, chills and thrills and huge amounts of sugary sweets. But at the Laughing Vixen Lounge blog it's also time for the 5th annual Attack of the 14 Nights of Halloween Giveaway. Join Laughing Vixen Lounge and our bewitching co-hosts The Kids Did It, The Mommy Island, Herding Cats and Burning Soup, The Hopping Bloggers, Mama Smith's Reviews and Women and Their Pretties for a spooktacular Halloween event.

Enter to win a $250 Prize Pack filled with goodies from 10 wickedly fabulous shops. All shops are offering Gift Cards or your choice of item(s) so there will be something for everyone. Many of the shops have items perfect for any book lover along with lots of unique, handcrafted and custom designs to choose from.

Visit the Laughing Vixen Lounge blog daily during the giveaway for the Halloween Movie Marathon. Test your movie knowledge with the Guess the Movie Game. Then try to solve the Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt, if you dare! Each event will get you daily entries in the giveaway plus a special giveaway for the Scavenger Hunt. Find full details for these events HERE.

 You can start by entering the Rafflecopter widget below. To experience all the games, movies, shop features, giveaway info and all around awesome fun make sure to stop by the Laughing Vixen Lounge blog HERE

The giveaway runs October 18th - November 1st and is open worldwide to anyone 18+. 1 winner will win the Prize Pack and 1 winner will win the Scavenger Hunt Prize Pack. Laughing Vixen Lounge is responsible for all giveaway details. Click HERE for full details.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall into Romance Giveaway Hop

After a hot and humid summer (that stretched well into September and even a bit of October), I'm thrilled to finally surround myself with sweaters and soup and other fall things that don't necessarily begin with S. And at the risk of sounding like a stereotype, I do enjoy pumpkin spice. To celebrate, I'm participating in the "Fall into Romance" blog hop - be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post and visit all the other stops!

I first became interested in the romance genre when someone gave me a copy of Obsidian Butterfly, from Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, for my 16th birthday. (We will not talk about how long ago that was.) Truthfully, out of the whole series, it's probably the lightest on the romance, but I liked it enough that I picked up the next book. *That* one was a bit steamier, and I was hooked and went back to the beginning.

It's hard to say how much Anita & Co. influenced my writing, as I didn't start writing my own stories until many years later. Also, the paranormal genre isn't really my thing. I have nothing against vampires and werewolves and the like, I've just never felt compelled to write about them myself. On the flip side, though, we all know how much I adore a strong heroine, so maybe Anita's creeping in a bit there.

On the topic of my own writing (excellent segue, no?), for my stop on this hop, I'm giving away two copies of Second Skin, my first 1Night Stand book. Anna and Brendan's date takes place in the summer, but they dream of meeting again in the fall, getting cozy in front of a fireplace and admiring the changing leaves in upstate New York. Read on for the blurb, and follow the Rafflecopter instructions to increase your chances of winning! I can't wait to hear about your favorite parts of fall. Good luck and happy reading!

Anna’s career as a high-level CIA operative is put on involuntary hiatus. When a trusted colleague passes along the information for the 1Night Stand service, Anna decides to take the plunge against her better judgment and seek some intimate company. But her CIA instincts can’t be ignored, and when she contacts Madame Eve, she uses an alias.

Brendan owns a lucrative manufacturing company, but he’s yet to achieve the goal of finding a woman with whom he can share his successes and joys. But beneath his polished, capable exterior hides the painfully shy teenager he’s never been able to escape. When his own efforts in the dating scene fall short, he turns to 1Night Stand.

It would be so easy to fall in love with Brendan, and Anna’s protective mask slides away, piece-by-piece, revealing more of herself than she should dare. Before she can slip away with the sunrise, Brendan shows their encounter in a new light. Will Anna take a chance on their future, or will she choose to return to her undercover, but lonely life?

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

As Seen on TV (or Movies, I Suppose)

Whoopsies, a month went by without a post. I fell into another black hole of work at the day job, and only managed to climb back out about a week or so ago. Also, due to part of that, I managed to wind up on the local news. Again. At least this time I had a feeling it would happen and remembered to slap on some lip gloss before leaving the house. Anyhoo, that's all done with (for now), and I finally have time to write! Yay!

In the past, I've written about dream/fantasy casts, or if real-life people have influenced my description of characters, and so on. It's that time again, for Seductive Suspect. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, since the character list in this book is on the long side, but let's have some fun!

Veronica - I keep coming back to Sophia Bush to play our plucky heroine, but disclaimer: I haven't seen her act in very much. Honestly, I'd be hard pressed to name something I've seen her in besides the Law & Order: SVU crossovers with her Chicago show. That said, she's a pretty darn close match in terms of physical description, and any interviews and such I've read of hers suggest it wouldn't be a stretch to capture Veronica's personality, either.

Adam - Ooooh, I've been struggling a little with my male lead. Ashton Kutcher keeps popping up, but I'm not 100% convinced. I think he might be a hair too much on the, uh, goofy side? But then again, he's taken on more serious projects recently, and I think he also has the necessary charm. Josh Hartnett is a close runner-up here.

Victor - Here's where my influence is a bit obvious, if not obscure. Back in the day, there was an episode of Frasier where Frasier decided to hire a butler, who was played by Victor Garber. For whatever reason, that was in my head when creating my own butler character. That, plus the Alias connection for Reasons, makes this one easy. Next!

Laura - This time my subconscious thoughts took a little longer to resurface. Initially I'd been thinking of a young Christina Hendricks for the "sexy librarian" character. Not that Ms. Hendricks is ancient now, but you know. I was well into writing the book before I realized I'd probably been thinking of Laura Prepon the whole time. Oops. Hey, that five years makes a difference!

Isabel - Isabel is one of the more complex characters in the book, and as such, it's been a challenge thinking of someone who could accurately portray her many facets. For now, I think I'm going with Anna Kendrick, who usually plays cheerier characters, but she might have some fun with Isabel's darker side. Also, the physical description is spot on here, though unintentionally so, I swear.

Paul - For our good-natured guy who likes to have a good time, I'm going with Chris Pratt here. Preferably when he's on the blonder side. Paul has his more serious moments, too, but I don't think anything that would be outside the realm of ability.

Brittany - For fun, I'm picking Kate Upton, though her list of acting credentials is on the short side. For my fellow Clue fans, Brittany is basically a dumber version of Yvette. Yup.

I still have one more major-ish character and a few more minor ones to solidify in my head, but I need to get back to writing!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Whoops, it's been almost a month since my last post. I'll be totally honest here - I did very little writing this summer. There are various reasons/excuses, but since I can't go back in time and change things, I'm trying not to beat myself up too much over it.

For most of my past books, I've been able to find at least one piece of music that fits what I'm writing and that I can use to help get me in the mood. I'm over a quarter into Seductive Suspect, and until the other day, I hadn't thought of anything that I felt captured the tone of the book (either parts or the whole thing). My generic writing playlists weren't cutting it, either.

Luckily, my satellite radio did me a favor in the car the other day. It's not perfect and doesn't fit 100% (few songs do), but for now, it's good enough. The radio reminded me of Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight", which I've decided, upon re-listening, is an excellent song regardless. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good piano part.

The lyrics are more in line with what I have planned for the end of the book, but it's working for now, so I'm going with it. I'll also admit that said plans include the "we might die tomorrow, let's bang!" trope that Mass Effect is so fond of. Hey, as far as tropes go, it's not a *terrible* one.... ;)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Things I Love This Summer

This post admittedly has little to do with writing, but I figure things that make me happy can lead to being in a good frame of mind to get some writing done. Also, all of these came to me as recommendations from other people, so I might as well pass them along!

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" - I'd seen plenty of articles and posts on my Facebook feed about how everyone should be watching this show and how good it is...they do not lie. It's great. I'm about two-thirds of the way through the first season on Netflix (plenty of time before Season 2 starts in October!) and it is so much fun. The characters are flawed, yet likeable, and anything that randomly segues into a musical number a couple times per episode gets all the stars from me.

Instant Pot - This popular electric pressure cooker (with additional functions) has been in my possession for about a year now, but as more and more people buy one, more recipes come out for it. (Fun fact: this year on Prime Day, Amazon sold around 120K Instant Pots. That's a lot of pressure cookers.) Thanks to the IP, I've made a ton of great stuff without having to turn my oven on, like Greek-style pork, Asian-style orange beef, and pulled pork that was ready in less than two hours. I find the end results have a better texture than what I got with my slow cooker, and I love how you can do everything in the pot, from browning the meat with the Saute feature, to thickening the sauce after cooking. Also, it's a foolproof way to steam shellfish and make risotto without constant stirring!

Lilla Rose Flexi Clips - I have thick wavy/curly hair that doesn't always behave itself. I also have very little patience for hairstyles with a steep learning curve. These are easy to use AND they actually contain my hair with less than a minute's worth of effort. With the large size, I can quickly put my hair in a French twist or bun, clip it, and it does. not. move. for the rest of the day. No extra bobby pins or anything. It is some kind of sorcery. I started with three and eventually wound up buying six more (in various sizes for various purposes). I'm finding it difficult to go back to the plastic claws or the usual spring-loaded barrettes because these are so much better (and come in a ton of different styles, which is bad for my wallet).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Out of Orbit Interview (and Giveaway!)

It's August, and I promised exciting Out of Orbit-related things! For the entire month, my featured interview will be up at The Romance Reviews. In addition to some excerpts and fun behind-the-scenes details, there's also a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card! So pop on over and leave a comment to enter!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Promo - Submissive on the Run, by Tara Quan

Time for another 1Night Stand! (I'll never get tired of this series, both reading and writing!) Today, Tara Quan takes us to the Carnivore Club for some naughty activities. She's also giving away a $15 gift card, so don't forget to leave a comment here and enter via the Rafflecopter. Enjoy!

Obscene wealth and a toxic family taught Joss Bradlee to care about no one. He moved through life in a caustic shell, fending off gold-diggers with his sharp tongue and abrasive personality. But a stubborn submissive saw past his nonchalant act, and he fell hard and fast for a girl he didn’t deserve. When she accidentally stumbled into the line of fire, he moved heaven and earth to protect her, even if it meant letting her go. Ten months later, he ensures her safety and tracks her down, finally ready to claim the one person that matters. The only problem—she wants nothing to do with him.

On the run for close to a year, Kim Tran receives a surprise call from the man who’d put her life in danger. His family hired assassins to kill her, but he’s somehow convinced they still had a chance. With their entire relationship built on a lie, she resists the instinct to sprint straight into his arms. Faced with a social divide no sane person would bridge, she cuts her losses and breaks her own heart. But the Dominant she loves has other plans, and he’s spent his entire life getting his way. Too late to run and with nowhere to hide, she faces an adversary well versed in all her weaknesses.

At the Carnivore Club, two exhibitionists meet for a battle of wills, lured by a one-night stand service, misplaced cat, and several helping hands. With the aid of handcuffs, disciplinary measures, and a capture game, a reluctant sub rediscovers the pleasures of bondage, the thrill of display, and the ecstasy of surrender.

Her fingertips tingled by the time she reached the interrogation room. Sucking air into her lungs, she flattened her palms on the entryway. Regaining equilibrium through the slight chill, she focused on spacing out her breaths. Her nipples might have tightened to painful peaks, moisture might coat her palms, but she had no doubt she’d spend the night alone.

The Dom she wanted to play with resided on the opposite end of the continent. Even if he were right in front of her, she wouldn’t—couldn’t—allow their lives to tangle again.

Squaring her shoulders, she turned the knob and pushed the heavy slab. The ground dropped out from under her the moment she spotted her date’s familiar reflection in the two-way mirror.

Joss’s mouth curved, the smile grooving his stubbled jaw. White cuffs peeked out from the ends of his gray jacket sleeves. Silvery links glinted under the white, fluorescent light. With his pale hair tied in a queue at his nape and his collar open, he embodied a modern-day Viking.

“I come in peace.” He lifted his wrists, which were handcuffed together and chained to a metal ring on the floor. Full of mischief, his jade eyes sparkled. Her reaction to his playful salutation brought an unwelcome realization. Time hadn’t muted the bond between them, their sizzling chemistry all the more potent because of the months spent apart.

The sight of him shattered her defenses. Trouble in an expensive suit, he’d worn the same wicked expression when they’d met. It was her first day working as a hostess at a BDSM club in Boston. They’d chatted, he’d swung by her station a few times, and, after her shift, he’d materialized with a piping-hot pumpkin spice latte in hand.

Even then, she’d suspected him to be more than he seemed—a ruthless man wearing the mask of a dilettante. She should have walked away, should have trusted her instincts and steered clear of someone so far out of her league. While claiming to be a corporate errand boy, he’d drawn attention wherever they’d gone, his charisma as palpable as the crisp scent of his expensive cologne.

But the heartbreaking loneliness she’d sensed had stretched their walk into a stroll along the Charles, a harmless coffee into hours of conversation and laughter. Despite her misgivings, they’d become friends. That step, she’d never regret.

“What are you doing here?” The impulse to throw her arms around his broad shoulders an obsession, she rooted her heels to the floor. All dreams must end. Hers did months ago.

Why, then, did it feel as if a new one was about to begin?

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About the Author:

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, paranormal worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Her characters, armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. To receive updates about her new releases and get a free sexy read, subscribe to her mailing list at

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