Saturday, July 30, 2011

❤ sweet home alabama

I know, I know, I've been slacking lately with the hunk alerts, but I've something (and someone!) very very special today to make up for it! I got the pleasure of working with Tripp back in March when I interviewed him at Desert Island Keepers after seeing him in Cosmo. He was one of the Hottest Bachelors of 2010 -- how's a girl to resist? -- and believe it or not, he can now be found on CMT's newest dating show, Sweet Home Alabama.

A few days ago, he emailed me asking if he could be featured at the blog, so today, in his interview, we'll be hearing about his experience on reality television, his bachelorhood, and why he considers himself a true Southern gentleman -- one that belongs in sweet home Alabama.

Here's a quick bio and stats, before we begin:

Tripp Davis is an Ironman competitor and CPA from Jackson, Mississippi. After winning the title of Cosmopolitan magazine's Hottest Mississippi Bachelor of 2010, Tripp's friends gave him the nickname "Cosmo." This traditional Southern gentleman is looking for the love of his life and says he won't date a girl unless he can see himself marrying her down the road.
Town: Ridgeland, Mississippi
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 190
CPA ID: Ironman CPA
Stephanie: How did get discovered for Sweet Home Alabama? Tell us your call story.

Tripp: I was contacted through my gmail address that Cosmo set up for me when I was 2010's Bachelor of the year for Mississippi. I did a Skype interview and that Friday I was on a plane headed for Fairhope, AL.

S: Is it the first time you've been on a dating show? Would you do it again, if asked?

T: This was my first experience on a dating, or even reality show, for that matter. I would 100% do it again, no questions asked, without a doubt, one of the best decisions/choices I've ever made in my life!

S: What have your experiences on set been like?

T: We finished filming in June, so I've been back in reality for a while now. The hardest thing for me to get used to being on the show was trying not to look at the camera the whole time and just act natural; it was hard for me to get used to having my entire day documented, but after a while, I got used to the camera and life just played out naturally.

S: Why should Devin select you?

T: Devin should select me because I'm genuine and true, I would treat her not like an object or possession, but as the beautiful woman she is.

S: Tell us about Devin and what you like about her.

T: Devin is your typical Southern Belle, beautiful inside and out. Easy to talk to, a great sense of humor and a good head on her shoulders, she'll be successful in just about anything she decides to do.

The thing that attracted me to Devin first was her eyes, they are amazing and deep; they just draw you in and you want to see what lies behind them looking into her deeper. She has a great smile and pretty amazing body. There's really nothing you could complain about being with her.

S: Tell us about some of the other guys you've gotten to know.

T: I made a lifelong friend with just about every guy in the house, except for a few I could care less about getting to know. All the country guys are my boys and I see them as brothers, they are just typical guys, no big egos (well maybe a little of an ego with some) just guys I'm glad to call friends.

S: What are you most nervous about?

T: How I'll be perceived by the public, I don't want to come off as a douche bag or as a weak timid person.

S: What are you most excited about?

T: I'm most excited about the show doing well in hopes that we can get a reunion or another spinoff series (so all your readers need to watch every week). Also the Facebook friend request and twitter Followers don't hurt.

S: If not you, who do you think will win?

T: There are so many good guys on the show, that Devin would be happy with any of us. As long as a country guy wins, I'm happy with it. If it's me, I'm ecstatic.

S: What's the funniest thing that's happened on set?

T: There were a ton of hilarious things that happened. Sadly, I doubt most will make it on TV, which might be a good thing. We were always ripping on each other or doing something to keep us entertained. The chicken fight was funny, if you step back and look at it from an outsider's viewpoint. I mean, who fights over chicken?

S: Is participating in a reality television show what you thought it to be? What did you expect, and more importantly; what did you not expect?

T: It's everything and more. I expected a few more competitions, and did not expect to find any friends on the show because I came into it with a "me against nineteen other guys" mentality. However, I found myself finding an instant bond with most guys.

S: What's the hardest part about being on a dating show?

T: Not having my iPhone or any Internet. It was MISERABLE -- no Twitter or Facebook either!

S: What's the best part?

T: Not having to worry about what I was going to do that day.

S: You're one of the country boys on the show. Elaborate on how you'd consider yourself a "country boy".

T: I went to school in the heart of the delta farm land, my grandfather is a farmer, and I'd rather be in the wide open spaces than a big city any day. Also give me grits and greens and I'm good.

S: What are the city boys you've met like?

T: Most are just like me, except they weren't raised in Mississippi and don't have the same priorities. A few are tools, but they are getting weeded out slowly. I came into the show with a few/lot of stereotypes; most of them were shattered within a few days, but some are still going strong. But I try and give everyone a equal shot because I don't want anyone judging me on my past at all.

S: What do you like about being a bachelor?

On the show, it was just the whole experience. At home, it's being able to do what I want and not have date night, ha.

S: What do you not like?

T: On the show, it was wondering what is racing through Devin's mind: does she like me, think I'm funny, into me, annoyed, am I being myself, does she like that, does she want me to kiss her, what should I do? At home, I miss the stableness of a relationship; I like just having someone to come home to and not an empty bed.

S: What's a question you always want to be asked during interviews? How would you answer it?

T: Why are you single?

Because there are 4 types of girls in Jackson:
1. Girls who can't move on to you because they are still hung up on their exes.
2. Girls who don't want to stay in Mississippi.
3. Girls who are fake or plastics (as Mean Girls would call them), with no depth nothing inside -- just a pretty face that's it.
4. Girls who are too prude to give you a chance for the fear that you'll tarnish their image.

S: What's the most interesting comment -- whether on yourself, the show, your hobbies -- you've ever received?

T: I've gotten 10 marriage proposals so far, that's kinda flattering.

S: What do you plan on doing when the show's over?

T: I'm currently back in reality (well, real reality, no cameras) -- just waking up, going to my job, living my life, and spending it with my friends. Not much has changed.
You can learn more about Sweet Home Alabama by visiting the show's official website.

Stalk Find Tripp by following him on
Twitter, friending him on Facebook, liking him on Facebook, and showing his personal site some love!

Here's a picture from the show... Devin is one lucky girl!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Only Mine by Susan Mallery

Only Mine (Fool's Gold #4)
Release Date: August 1st, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Page Count: 379
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publicist, Little Bird Publicity, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!!)

Her town’s lack of men may make headlines, but it isn’t news to Dakota Hendrix. The beautiful blonde has bigger problems to deal with, such as overseeing the romance reality competition filming in Fool’s Gold. Screening eligible bachelors is a difficult enough task, but Dakota hits an unexpected snag when a sexy stranger comes to town.

Finn Anderssen will do anything to keep his twin brothers—the perfect contestants—off the show. Despite Dakota’s better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the mysterious outsider. Like her, Finn knows about heartbreak and how a family can fall apart, so she doesn’t dare to hope for anything more than a fling. After all, even in the Land of Happy Endings, finding true love is never as easy as it looks on TV.
What Stephanie Thinks: I just love small-town romances. They're everything what you could imagine a romance story to be: sweet, real-life, and swoon-worthy, but without the bodice-ripping or (let's admit it, the embarrassingly) complex storyline.

In Only Mine, Dakota, who's never been very active in the dating game due to Fool's Gold's lack of bachelors, gets stuck managing an actual dating game: a little something called reality television. Sasha and Stephen are two of the most eligible contestants; they're tall, athletic, absolutely gorgeous—and they're twins. The audience should go crazy over them.

The only problem is their older brother, Finn, who's raised them singlehandedly since they were thirteen, as he's livid about the situation. Sasha and Stephen only have one semester left in college before they graduate, and they're leaving it all behind, for a stupid dating game. Finn needs to get them off the show, and he needs to do it now.

What he doesn't expect, is to meet Dakota, a girl unlike any other, a girl who always prefers to look on the brighter side of life. And soon, he finds himself falling in love, when he know he shouldn't.

The book is predictable, but the little moments in between are what make it so enjoyable. I really liked watching Dakota and Finn's relationship grow, from mild flirtation, to intimate friendship, to something more. Mallery's writing style isn't phenomenal or anything, but it is easy and clear. One flaw is its redundancy. All the details seem to be repeated multiple times, which I'm sure is meant to strengthen and emphasize the plot, but is actually slightly irritating. Other than that, the simple, but realistic love story she creates through two lovable, could-be-your-best-friend characters, is what makes Only Mine a fast-paced, emotional romance.

Stephanie Loves: "' ... sometimes when things are going really well, we find the one thing we're pretending we're not looking for.'"

Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

Release Date: March 29th, 2011
Publisher: HQN (Harlequin)
Page Count: 382
Source: Complimentary copy provided by Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!!!)

Just when she thought she had life and love figured out...

Divorce attorney Harper James can't catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister's destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she's being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.
Harper can't help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick's eyes, Harper's always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend.
What Stephanie Thinks: To be as straightforward as possible, I loved this book. I don't think I've read a contemporary romance that's all of heartbreaking, tearjerking, humorous, and connecting in a very long time. Higgins's voice is relatable and realistic, and her characters are lovable. So lovable, I find myself getting attached to them on a personal level. Don't you just hate it when you crush on fictional characters?

There are a few different conflicts within the story, the main one being Harper's unquenched feelings towards her ex, Nick. Nick... oh Nick. Be still my beating heart. Nick is probably the ideal flawed hero, who's intense, gorgeous, smart, sexy, sex... uh. Where was I? Oh yeah. One look at him—the first time in twelve years—and Harper knows she's putty in his hands. Another issue branches off of this one—her relationship with her now-boyfriend, Dennis. Dennis may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but he's sweet—boyishly, adorably sweet—and yes, I've gone and fallen in love with him too. Sigh. What is it with me and Higgins's male protagonists? Anyway, Harper and Dennis have been together for three years now, and he still hasn't popped the question. Pushing her mid-thirties, Harper's clock is ticking. Dennis needs to propose, and he needs to propose now.

And eventually, he does. At the exact wrong moment, that is. The plot has so many clever twists that have me both wincing and laughing at the same time. There's a more desolate story in this novel too. It involves a sad but poignant understanding of Harper's mother, who left her when she was only thirteen, and that sometimes, absence does make the heart grow fonder. But that doesn't mean the absence is damaging.

The only teensy fault in My One and Only is that Harper is a bit full of herself. She's beautiful, smart, successful—but something is a little off when she's the one telling me that.
 I understand complacency is her tragic flaw (thankfully she admits and resolves it in the end), but for the most part, I find her very annoying. To be honest, she is one of my least favorite characters. Well, she was one of my least favorite characters, until I heard her complete story. Which, by the way, is unravels slowly throughout the novel, revealing her past with her family, and with Nick, that has shaped her to be the woman she is today. By the end of the book, I was nearly bawling—for two reasons. One, because the book was over. Two, because Harper's story was over. I initially didn't like Harper, but after discovering her story—her entire story—I sympathized with her like she was a real friend, not a storybook character. And this is what makes Higgins's masterpiece of a novel perfect, perfect, and more perfect. With a fresh, sentimental voice, she creates a reality which I fantasize about—and that, as a writer, is her biggest, and most brilliant accomplishment.

Stephanie Loves: "I knew we were too young. I knew I wasn't ready. I wanted to wait. Years, preferably. But once we were engaged, Nick put on a full-court press to marry quickly, and I lost the battle on that one.
Eleven months after his marriage proposal, and six months after our wedding, we both lost the war."

Radical Rating:
 9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥: The Bride Wore Scarlet by Liz Carlyle

Release Date: July 26th, 2011
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Page Count: 375
Source: ARC provided by Carolyn at Romance Novel News (thanks, doll!)

Passion and secrets simmer behind the elegant façade of Victorian London in another deliciously intriguing novel featuring the mysterious men of the St. James Society.

Anaïs de Rohan has faced danger in her past, but never anything so great as posing as the new bride to one of the St. James Society's most magnetic—and ruthless—leaders. But Lord Bessett's bold challenge to prove herself worthy of joining his secret all-male society is impossible to resist. So she daringly agrees to travel with the enigmatic nobleman on a dangerous mission to save one of their own—a little girl with a frightening gift.

Soon intrigue swirls about them, drawing them ever closer. And Anaïs quickly realizes that the intimacy of sharing Lord Bessett's bedroom is proving a temptation impossible to resist. As for Bessett himself—well, he might be a soldier sworn to the Society, but he certainly isn't anyone's saint...
What Stephanie Thinks: This regency novel with a paranormal twist brims with witty and sexy character banter I love. The romance isn't routine, and has me rooting for it to continue, while the characters are full of life and personality. For some odd reason, however, I couldn't get into it.

The storyline is frustratingly complicated and the prose is elaborate. Carlyle may be an advanced writer, but she doesn't have a way with words; it's really difficult to follow much of the plot. I found myself trudging through a lot of the excess text, and even snoozing at some points. The story itself sounded really great: Anaïs de Rohan uses her inherited gift and utilizes Lord Bessett's special gift to help a woman in dangerous peril, as well as her small daughter who possesses a power greater than one has ever known. But it is written in a way that I just don't find interesting

At least the sex scenes are hot. The relationship between Anaïs and Geoff Bessett, however, ends up exactly the way I imagined, so there isn't anything new to it. It's really sweet how Anaïs confides in him that she is waiting for her Mr. Right, and in the end, he turns out to be her Mr. Right, though. Romances as timeless as theirs make my heart sigh.

I really, really wanted to like this book. The characters are 
strong and the romance steaming. But the biggest problem is that I didn't—and I still don't—know what the main conflict of the novel was. And I'm not too enthusiastic about rereading to find out; it's not worth the trouble. I am able to make out a basic storyline (as one thing this story doesn't lack, is detail), but as a whole, the entire concept of the Fraternitas society—which is the secret coven Anaïs attempts to join—confuses me. Therefore, I don't recommend this book at all; books like these are ones that strengthen my disfavor towards historical romances.

The one thing I can't take my mind off is how The Bride Wore Scarlet (a scarlet dress isn't even mentioned in the book...?) aptly inspires every girl that sometimes, your prince won't arrive into your life promptly on his noble steed; sometimes, your prince was there for you all along.

Stephanie Loves: "She wanted to smack him with a cracking good blow across the cheek.
She wanted to drag him to her bed, and slide her hands beneath the well-tailored façade of civility he wore. Wanted to stroke and tempt and touch until his bare skin shivered beneath her fingers."

Radical Rating:
 5 hearts: Doesn't particularly light any of my fires; I feel indifferent about this book. ♥♥♥♥♥

Friday, July 22, 2011

❤author: Jamie Lynn Braziel Interview and Giveaway!

❤ I'm thrilled to welcome author, Jamie Lynn Braziel at ¡Miraculous! today. Jamie, will you please share a short bio with us?

Number cruncher by day, author by night. I live in north Texas and work in the accounting department of a bank. When not working, I like to spend time with family and friends, reading, and writing stories, of course.

❤ Tell us about Declaring Spinsterhood and what inspired you to write it.

My novel was inspired by a Thanksgiving afternoon of good-natured teasing by my family concerning my single status. I decided to use that inspiration and write my novel during NaNoWriMo, and I met that goal. Then after looking at all the options I decided to publish the book myself. Out of the blue, I was contacted by AmazonEncore. They wanted to acquire the rights to the novel, and they made an offer I couldn't refuse. It's been a great experience working with them. The novel itself is about a 30-year-old woman who has such disastrous experiences with dating that she decides to give up and be an old maid; however, her family, especially her mother, isn't about to let that happen.

❤ How did you arrive at writing chick-lit? Is there any other genre you'd like to tackle in the future?

I wanted to write a tongue-in-cheek kind of novel, and chick-lit lends itself very well to that style of writing. Knowing me, I'll probably try to tackle most genres, and already have, except perhaps science fiction. Not really my cup of tea.

❤ How much of your actual life gets written into your fictional stories?

My life certainly influences my writing in some ways, but not much of my life is included in my writing.

❤ What are your biggest motivations for writing?

My biggest motivation for writing is to entertain myself and others.

I'll bet you'll never get bored of it, then! Writing needs to be fun first. Can you honestly say being an author is your ideal job? Do you ever sometimes wish you hadn't begun a writing career?

Actually, I think being a librarian or acquisitions editor would be the ideal job. I'm an avid reader and would love to spend most of the day doing just that. I'll admit there are times when it's hard such as when someone doesn't like your book for whatever reason. However, everything else makes it worthwhile.

Well put! How would you describe your writing style/tone?

Tongue-in-cheek comedy, certainly not all serious.

❤ Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

You don't have to be signed by a big publishing company in order to succeed as an author.

I definitely agree. Who are some authors you idolize?

I love Daphne du Maurier and Barbara Michaels. Their writing never fails to give me chills.

❤ What's a question you always want to be asked during interviews? How would you answer it?

I love it when people ask how I feel about e-books. I absolutely love this trend. I was a somewhat early Kindle adopter, and it never leaves my sight. I believe this trend will truly revolutionize publishing.

❤ What's the most interesting comment you have ever received about Declaring Spinsterhood?

I love that people have such extreme reactions to Emma's mother. She certainly elicits the most colorful comments.

❤ She is quite a character! What's next for you, Jamie? 

I've already started preliminary work on the next novel, which may be more serious in tone. It will deal with the fairytale of love and marriage that all women are told their entire lives. 

❤ Where can you be found on the web?

I have a website, but the best place to find me on the web is Facebook and Twitter. Readers can also send me an email at as well.

❤ Thank you for being here today, Jamie! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your books better :) Everyone, be sure to check out my review of Declaring Spinsterhood too.

Thanks to Little Bird Publicity, I have one print copy of Declaring Spinsterhood up for grabs. To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Have you ever been so frustrated by the pressure to commit, you've thought about declaring spinsterhood? In two words, hell no. Guys may be a pain in the ass sometimes, but I love 'em too much to give them up. 

Be sure to leave your email address with your comment so I know who to contact you when you win. No email; no entry! This giveaway is open to US readers only, and will end on August 6th, 2011 at midnight (your time).

As a reminder, following my blog is NOT required, but it is much appreciated!

Good luck!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Westmore by Carol Cassada

Release Date: April 11th, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace
Page Count: 388
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, via Romancing the Bookin exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

In the small town of Westmore, romance, drama, and suspense follow everyone.

Widow Charlotte Green vowed never to date again, until handsome Detective Bryant comes to her rescue.

Andrew Braxton is a powerful businessman who runs his company and family with an iron fist, which could cost him his wife and son.

After a divorce, Laura Reynolds moves back home, where she plans to start a new life, but her past soon catches up with her.

Join them and other characters as they experience love, heartache, and ups and downs in their everyday lives.
What Stephanie Thinks: Westmore is an extremely quick read; I bulldozed straight through it and didn't even have to skim. Cassada's style is simple and to-the-point. It's not particularly poetic or good, but it is very no-nonsense and fresh. The main problem with this book is that there is no plot structure. I mean, things happen, life happens, to each of the characters in the book, but there's no problem, no action, no climax, no anything. Things happen and then the book is over.

I will say I enjoyed reading it, just because of how easy it was, but by the end, I was wondering, What was the point of all 388 pages of that book? I hesitate to even call this a book; it was more like a chapter. It's a relief there will be more "books" in this series, because this one doesn't even have an proper ending. All books should at least have an ending. Don't get me wrong; the last few words are exceptionally tragic and have me hanging on a cliff, but nothing is resolved, no strings are tied; everything is just suspended in midair because there are no more pages in the book.

I, for the most part, like this book and am keen on reading the sequel. However, there is nothing profound about the writing, and there is no story. There are a bunch of stories all connected together, which is an interesting take on contemporary fiction, but it still doesn't make up for the lack of plot.

Radical Rating: 7 hearts: Not without flaws, but overall enjoyable. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

❤author: Emily Kimelman Interview and Giveaway!

❤ Today, as part of a NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™ blog tour, I will be hosting mystery author, Emily Kimelman with an interview and giveaway. Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, Emily! Will you please share a short bio with us?

Hi Stephanie. Thanks for having me at ¡Miraculous! It’s very exciting to be here.

I’ve always loved mystery novels so when I went to college I studied them. I graduated from NYU with a degree in the history of homicide, forensic science, and detective novels. I worked as a dog walker while obtaining that degree which gave me the idea for Unleashed. When not writing I work with my husband, Sean Gilvey, in our glassblowing studio and gallery, Hudson Beach Glass.

❤ Tell us about debut release, Unleashed.

Unleashed is the first in my Sydney Rye series. It’s a fast-paced read with lots of action, some naughty sex, and a surprise ending. It stars a tough, young woman working as a dog walker and her adopted mutt, Blue. While the story starts out with just a hint of darkness by the end Joy Humbolt, our main character, SPOILER ALERT has transformed into a dangerous woman named Sydney Rye.

I like to picture people reading Unleashed in one or two sittings. I like to think of it as a well-written story that rocks, but I’ll admit that I’m biased.

❤ You certainly have reason to be proud of it! I haven't gotten the chance to pick up my own copy yet, but it sounds like the perfect mystery novel. When and why did you begin writing?

My earliest writing dates back to when I was about 11. My family took a trip to the Alps and we were in this picturesque village, when I saw a portable accordion file in a store window. It was a dark brown leather and tied at the top with a red ribbon. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and I begged my Mother to buy it for me.

My mom was happy to buy me school supplies but could not understand what a kid my age was going to do with an expensive leather-bound accordion file, no matter how beautifully crafted. But after I explained it would hold my first novel, she quickly relented. I don’t know if I even had plans to write a novel before seeing that file system, but I immediately got to work. It was a mystery that took place in the large, rambling hotel we were staying in. I believe there was drug smuggling going on and, of course, murder. I put each chapter into the file and they are still there today.

I wrote for years after that, but in high school, I became more interested in the visual arts. I took a couple of years off before going to college and worked as a photographer, but there was just something missing from the work. My brother and a number of friends pushed me to return to writing. I think my brother even referenced the story in the accordion file as proof of my talent :)

❤ What inspired you to write your first book and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

I was working as a dog walker and felt that the profession was perfect for an amateur sleuth. I had access to all my clients' homes and yet they’d never even seen me. Also, as a dog walker, I got to know all the people who worked in the buildings and heard all the best gossip.

I had tons of support from family and friends, so it was easy to tell everyone I was going to be a mystery writer. My best friend, Mette, just couldn’t wait for me to finish so she could read it.

It took about three years to get a manuscript I was happy with. Then, I sent Unleashed to Mark Bowden who wrote Black Hawk Down. Mark is a good friend of my family and he had offered to read anything I wrote. He loved it and recommended me to his agent, Jennie Dunham. Jennie read it over a weekend and offered me a contract that Monday. It was very exciting. My future husband and I polished off a bottle of champagne and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.

However, Jennie warned me that though she loved my book, it did not fit into any category that publishers were looking for and therefore it would take time to find an editor who wanted it. Three years later we still had no offers and only a stack of very complementary rejection letters.

My brother was the first person to suggest I needed to self-publish. At this point, I owned my own business selling my husband’s high-end glassware so knew about finances, marketing, and PR. What, my brother asked, did I need a publisher for? So I wouldn’t feel like a loser was the best answer I could come up with.

It took another six months for me to realize that it was a stupid reason both personally and financially. When I started writing, I was a kid but now I’m a businesswoman and can see that self-publishing gives me much more freedom than any publishing house could offer.

I paid for a professional editor before I even submitted it to publishers and before publishing it myself, I had a proofreader go over it with a fine tooth comb. I didn’t have to change anything to make it fit better into a box and I got to pick my own cover. The illustration is by one of my best friends, the incredibly talented Autumn Whitehurst.

I feel very lucky to be starting my career when e-pubbing exists. It is so rare to have so much control over your own destiny.

Definitely something to be thankful for in competitive publishing times like these! How did you arrive at writing mystery? Is there any other genre you'd like to tackle in the future?

It took me a very long time to learn to read, but when I was about 11, it suddenly made sense to me. I went from reading See Spot Run, to Agatha Christie, overnight. My father had read me The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Encyclopedia Brown, so I was familiar with the genre, but Agatha Christie was the first author that I’d read on my own. I can still remember racing through Christie’s books; I was filled with excitement about the mystery and about how many pages I could get through in a sitting! I guess I fell in love with mysteries as soon as I could read them.

I also love science fiction and admire authors who can create such complete worlds on paper. And paranormal romance is so fun to read.

One day, I’d love to write science-fiction and paranormal romance but right now I’m still totally obsessed with mystery novels.

❤ Wow! And to think I considered myself a pro for jumping from See Spot Run to Junie B. Jones overnight :) I agree with you about your genre; a lot of my favorite books are mysteries! How much of your actual life would you say gets written into your fictional stories?

Tons. All of my ideas start in the real world and then transform themselves into fiction once I start writing. A lot of people have told me that one of the things they love about Unleashed are the descriptions of New York City. I spent years walking that city and a lot of that made it onto the page.

My mom thinks that Sydney Rye is me and while she was reading Unleashed she kept leaving me these hysterical message like “Don’t go down there. It’s too dangerous!” Mind you, I’m not nearly as brave as Sydney and could never do the things she does.

One of the great things about being a writer is, no matter what I’m going through, I can always think: “At least I can use this in a story one day”. It also gives me a great excuse to get to know strangers. I love an over-sharer. They fuel my fiction.

❤ It's amazing how you can use personal experience and knowledge to craft such wonderful fiction. I imagine it'd be a bit of a pain in the ass to have to research things like descriptions of New York City if one's never been there before! What is your biggest motivation for writing?

To get all this stuff that is swimming around in my head out. If I didn’t write, I’d probably explode. I’ve always had a really dark mind and I think that writing about scary things helps me stay sane.

❤ Who are some authors you idolize?

I am greatly influenced by Raymond Chandler and P.D. James. Whenever I get stuck, I read their work to remind me why I’m doing this in the first place. I like to think I’ve done a good job of incorporating both the literally style of James with the rough style of Chandler and created something all my own. I also think my character, Sydney Rye, does a lot of the work for me. She is the narrator and doesn’t let me get away with anything.

❤ That's a surprisingly encouraging way to keep yourself on track. Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

This might sound nuts, but it’s easier than you think. I put my book on Kindle with a cover I made myself and a crap description just to see where it would show up on searches, and to get a feel for the thing. I was shocked when I went back into work on the description and change the tags around, to see I’d sold copies. There are lots of readers out there (I’m one of them) who are desperate for something new and different. I think it is very exciting to find all these authors out there who are writing really original stuff, so original, no publishing house would take a chance on them.

❤ What and who are some books or authors you idolize?

I’ve already mentioned my love for P.D. James and Raymond Chandler. I also love Hemingway, Jane Austen (I’ve read Pride and Prejudice more times than I can count), Don Winslow (Cool Breeze on the Underground is one of my favorite books of all time), Sue Grafton (I named my dog Kinsey after her main character), Charlaine Harris, and so many more.

I think my favorite Indie author right now is Susan Bischoff. Her book, Hush Money, has me salivating for the next installment.

I idolize all these authors and any other who writes a book that takes me away from my own world and into theirs.

❤ What’s the most interesting comment you have ever received about your books?

Tyson Adams was the first person to review my book and he said that the ending surprised him. That made my heart sing.

❤ I'm sure authors enjoy all sorts of praise from readers. What's next for you?

I’m working on the sequel to Unleashed and hope to have it out by Christmas.

I look forward to reading it! Where can you be found on the web?

I have a website: I am on Facebook and Tumblr as well. You can also check out our family glassblowing business at

❤ Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

I’d love to know what your readers are looking for in a series. Do they like the character to be a rock that does not evolve like James Bond? Or do they prefer a character who is effected by what they experience like Sookie Stackhouse?

❤ Thank you for being here today, Emily! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your books better :)

 Thanks to Emily's tour publicist, NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™, one lucky reader will win their very own print copy of Unleashed. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this interview with an answer to Emily's question.

Giveaway runs through August 4th, 2011 at 11.59 pm (your time) and is open to US, Canada, and UK residents only.
If your email is not publicly visible in your Blogger profile or if you don't have Blogger profile, please leave it in your comment! If I don't know who to contact once you are chosen as the winner, your prize will be forfeited.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated :)
Can't wait to hear what you all look for in a series. Good luck!