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British author Megan Johns visits with us

Megan, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today.

It’s a pleasure. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to connect with your readers.

Please tell us a bit about your latest release, THE PATH OF INNOCENCE.

The Path of Innocence
Format: ebook Genre: Contemporary romance Length: 270 pages Author: MEGAN JOHNS

Firstly, I would like to say that The Path of Innocence is my debut romantic novel and I am very proud to have been awarded 5 and 4 star reviews.
I particularly wanted to write a book for women who understand that life is not clear-cut and The Path of Innocence is more than just a contemporary romance. It is also a deeply emotional story about the complexity of love and its contradictions.

It is based in the UK and the main characters are Fiona and Roger, two young and naive adolescents from very different class backgrounds, who are travelling precariously towards adulthood along a path of self discovery, love and sexual awakening.

The book explores the challenges they face, following their ups and downs and the pain they suffer as a result of betrayal though misplaced trust. Along the path, they eventually meet and fall in love and, although it takes a huge leap of faith for Roger to let Fiona into his affections, they seem to finally find the happiness that has, so far, eluded them both.

Yet, they are unaware of the powerful struggle Debbie, Fiona’s mother, has with her own conflicting desires and which threatens to bring their happiness crashing down.

Debbie’s journey is an important theme and the book explores her inner turmoil as she wrestles between the contradictory emotions of wanting to care for an invalid husband, whilst also nurturing a burning sexual desire.

The dramatic consequence of Fiona and Roger finding out her dark secret threatens to shatter their beliefs in everything and the question of whether their love can survive a cruel twist of fate hangs in the balance to the final page.

Reviews:  ‘ A MUST read’ euroreviews
‘This novel shows readers that when love is strong between
two people that nothing , not even the cruel hands that fate delivers us
can stand in the way and destroy what is there.’ bkwalkerbooks

Who controls the story, you or the characters?

For me, it is always the characters who lead the way and the plot tends to evolve from the way in which they develop and interact, both with each other and their environment. When developing characters I try to let them grow, almost organically. I put them in a setting with which I feel a strong emotional attachment and then let them respond to the culture, the surroundings and each other.

On the first draft, I will have a loose plot, which I treat as a flexible guide, but I don’t write to a strict plan. I think that I would find writing to a detailed plot quite restrictive creatively and I can see how authors might get involved in battles with their characters when they won’t do as required in order to achieve a tightly defined outcome. Dilemmas and conflict should occur through characters behaving naturally.

My strategy is to keep writing until the initial draft is complete, then to go back to revise and tighten up afterwards.

What did you do prior to becoming an author and how has it helped you to be a better writer?

Prior to becoming an author, I was a college lecturer. The demands of the job did not free up much time for fiction writing, although I always enjoyed academic writing, preparing and researching papers; a discipline that has subsequently been invaluable to me. It was only when life slowed down that I discovered my creative streak. Suddenly, it was as if I found a tap inside my head to unleash all the accumulation of experiences stored inside. We are such complex characters, moulded by our unique life experiences, that once you start to delve inside there is no telling what you might find!

Why contemporary romance?

I prefer to write contemporary romance as it enables me to bring current issues/ modern dilemmas into my work. Romance is such a broad genre that it gives a writer plenty of scope to pursue so many different avenues.

How do you write, planned time or when the mood strikes?

When I am writing, I work to a schedule. I write in the mornings and set myself a daily target. Inevitably, some writing days are more productive than others, but when I am working on a project I always endeavour to write something every day, even if I know it isn’t quite right. That way, I can go back when I am feeling fresher and reappraise it.  The point is to keep writing something. I firmly believe that no effort is wasted.

Is there anything special you require to help the creative juices flow, tea, chocolate, music?

The main thing I require to help me write is silence – absolute silence- and gallons of tea and coffee.  That said, I do find that my mind will frequently drift off into creative mode when listening to music – ideas can occur spontaneously or problems might be clarified when you aren’t even trying.
Chocolate is my guilty pleasure rather than a creative stimulant, but only 80% dark chocolate taken in copious quantities in the evenings.

Of course, it’s medicinal and very good for you!


What was your favorite book as a child, teen, and adult?

It is hard to pinpoint one favourite book when there are so many… As a child in the 50s, I remember being enthralled by Enid Blyton’s adventure books. She has subsequently been lampooned for her restrictive vocabulary and for being non pc. However, the stories themselves are guaranteed to stimulate a child’s imagination. I started my own daughter’s reading habits through Enid Blyton and it really harnessed a long-term love of books. As for a favourite teenage book, one that readily springs to mind is ‘My family and other Animals’ by Gerald Durrell. I find him such a humorous author.  As an adult, however, there are too many to mention and I have quite eclectic reading tastes, anyway.

Are you currently reading anything?

Sadly, no. I am far too busy writing my wip currently. However, I am determined to make time soon to read ‘The Other Family’ , Joanna Trollope’s latest release.

Do you have a favorite historical period?  Figure?

The Regency period is one of my favourite historical times and I love Jane Austen’s works.

I love Jane Austen too…

Where would you like to see yourself in 3 years?

In three years time, I would like to have several more published works to my name, hopefully with great reviews and equally great sales!

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do, accomplish or see that you haven’t yet?

Professionally, I would like to continue doing more of what I am doing. On a personal level, I would like to broaden my travel experiences to include more of the USA/Canada. I tended to focus my long haul trips on the Far East when I was younger and subsequent family holidays were in Europe. However, my student daughter recently took a trip to Vancouver which reinforced my own aspirations to go there and journey all down the west coast.

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?

My next project is a romance based in Italy. I love everything about Italy, so I find the setting very stimulating. It is a story about a holiday resort representative who befriends her leading hotelier’s younger sister, but soon finds herself drawn into a host of unforeseen complications, made even more complex by her increasing attraction towards Giovani, the enigmatic hotelier. Needless to say, the path towards love will be strewn with hurdles and setbacks with plenty of tension, some serious issues will be raised and there will be a diverse cast of supporting characters.

Thank you again Megan for being with Manic Readers today.  I’ve enjoyed having you.

Thank you, Ivy. It’s been great being here!

OK Y’all, Megan would like our help with a survey she’s conducting…Her question is:

What do you consider to be the essentials of a romance novel?

Please go to her website to see the results so far.  She’d also appreciate answers emailed to her at:   meganjohns11@yahoo.com

Here’s a chance to voice your opinion so go for it and be heard…



The Mask of the Betrayer~Sharon Donovan & a Fun Contest!

Please welcome Sharon Donovan.   She’s sharing some insight with us regarding serial killers, her newest release MASK OF THE BETRAYER, and challenging us!  Be sure to read through to the contest rules….Lotsa fun for those creative/imaginative to pick up the gauntlet with a great prize for the winner!!

How would you feel if you realized you had just married a serial killer? Margot Montgomery faces this dilemma in Mask of the Betrayer, book one in the sequel series. When she meets the charming and devastatingly handsome Michael DeVeccio at his Vegas club, she has no idea of the monster lurking behind the mask. Here is a blurb:

When the whispers in the night, the whispers of her lover, are the whispers of a killer, will Margot escape before she becomes the next victim?

Deep in the foothills of Red Rock Canyon, a serial killer stalks. He leaves his signature—a skull mask on the corpse. But when the homicide cop realizes the crimes are the reenactment of a case never solved ten years ago–all fingers point to Michael DeVeccio. And when Margot realizes she is married to the killer, her life becomes a living nightmare.

 

What would cause a man with the world at his disposal to be such a chilling killer? According to psychologists, if a child is traumatized before the age of twelve, it can cause irreparable damage. Even though a child that has been abused may block it out by dissociating, the trauma festers in the darkest recesses of the mind and can cause the mind to corrupt and can create the very horror we know as a serial killer.

 

Who could forget Charlie Manson and the Manson murders? The book Helter Skelter still gives me the wee willies. What could have caused this monster to orchestrate such a string of violence that still shocks and horrifies society several decades later? He was neglected as a child and did not know who his biological father was and suffered from severe psychological problems as a result. During a prison interview, Manson said that his mother beat him up and stole money from him, and he in turn, beat her back.

 

Ted Bundy was plagued with fear and self-doubt from the sixth grade into high school and college. He was a very disturbed individual, and evidence suggests his trauma began when he learned his sister was his mother. The aura surrounding Ted Bundy is still a mystery to this day. How could he lead such a double life? A family man and a demented killer?

 

For whatever reason, morbid curiosity or wanting to figure out the puzzle, serial killers draw us in. We want to read about them, talk about them, study them. I am no exception. The mind fascinates me. It can bend. It can break. It can snap. I took psychology classes for this very reason, to get into the mind of a killer. And once I had all my research and notes in short order, I created my most complex character to date. Michael DeVeccio is a cold-blooded killer in my newly released novel Mask of the Betrayer. In this psychological thriller, I take the reader on an incredible journey of one man’s life and the destruction of his psyche. What could have caused an innocent blue-eyed boy to grow up to become the most chilling serial killer of his time?

 


Michael DeVeccio is a sociopath. He is highly intelligent, devastatingly handsome and charismatic. He is sole beneficiary to a billion dollar dynasty and rules the world with absolute power. Yet if anyone dares and betrays him, he will kill them with a death star and shroud their corpse in a macabre skull mask with no remorse. He has the right to decide who will live and who will die. Something so traumatic happened in Michael’s life at the age of twelve, causing him to totally dissociate and lose his identity. Michael fell victim to a domineering uncle, a feared and revered leader of organized crime who trained his nephew to be his number one assassin. I hope you will enjoy reading Mask of the Betrayer as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here is anexcerpt of when Margot and Michael meet

 

Flaming copper finials bordered the entrance of DeVeccio Plaza, drawing guests in with its regal appeal. Standing tall and mighty in a sky of midnight blue velvet, the flaming torches gleamed like shooting stars with tails. The interior of the grandest resort on the Vegas Strip gave chase to marble staircases with elaborately turned balustrades and high end sculptures behind beveled glass enclosures. Rushing down the corridor after procuring the mural she’d bid on, Margot fought the urge to kick off her high heels and walk barefoot down the plush, red carpeting.

The beckoning wail of sax drifted out of the piano bar, the bluesy sound of jazz bristling beneath her skin. After spending the better part of the afternoon negotiating at an art auction, unwinding over a chilled martini sounded like utter bliss. Seduced by the sound of sax, she sauntered up the three steps leading to the mezzanine and ordered a Pomegranate martini.

“You got it, doll,” the bartender winked.

“Whatever the pretty lady wants is on the house,”   the man approaching the bar said in a buttery soft voice. “And give me a bourbon on the rocks, Jazz.”

Margot turned around and came face to face with the billionaire tycoon of DeVeccio Plaza. His shocking blue eyes left her breathless. With his sharply defined features, full sensual lips, and all that black wavy hair, he reminded her of one of the sculptured Greek gods she’d featured last month at her gala.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” he said. “I’m Michael DeVeccio. Welcome to my palace.”

Every pulse in her body was as charged as an electrical current. Michael DeVeccio, legendary for building luxury resorts in every continent, exuded strength and power from every pore. His world renowned success preceded him. And here he stood in front of her in all his glory, one hundred and eighty pounds of raw, sexual energy. Mesmerized by his hypnotic blue eyes, she met his gaze. “I’m Margot Montgomery. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Your resort is everything it’s rumored to be, simply breathtaking.”

“Thank you.” he edged a bit closer. “I’ve always fancied it to be the jewel of the Strip. I didn’t think anything could outshine DeVeccio Plaza. But I was wrong. Nothing could possibly hold a candle to the sparkle in your emerald green eyes.”

 

MASK OF THE BETRAYER

AVAILABLE NOW!

Whimsical Publications, LLC

BUY LINK:

print and ebook:

http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/books.html

 

sign up for Sharon’s newsletter

www.sharonadonovan.com

 

CONTEST:

Answer the following question for a chance to win a download of Mask of the Betrayer.

 

What would you do if you realized you had just married a serial killer? A man you had just promised to love and cherish until death?

 

Please leave answers as a comment. Good luck. I’ll choose not by random but by most original!

Chatting with Allyson Roy~Alice and Roy

Alice and Roy, Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us at Manic Readers today.

First I wanted to let y’all know that I adore Saylor and Benita but especially Saylor. I never made it to five feet either and between my size and names, I know exactly how she felt. Madcap noir fits this series beautifully and I admit to laughing out loud in my dentist’s waiting room. Fortunately they know me and expect these kinds of things.

Thanks, Ivy. We love to hear from readers who say they couldn’t help laughing out loud. That was definitely our goal in creating two bungling, lovable characters who get themselves in over their heads — thriller content that keeps you turning the page combined with comedy that stops you in your tracks for a good laugh. Plus a bit of sexy fun.

How did y’all meet?

Roy was studying art and taking a class in life drawing. Alice was a hungry dancer who modeled in art schools and for professional artists to earn money. He liked what he saw.

Out of all the neighborhoods y’all have lived in, was there a favorite?

Roy: Manhattan’s East and West Village.
Alice: I don’t have a favorite. They all had things I loved and things that drove me nuts.

I understand that Saylor was created in response to a funk Roy fell in while writing about a boxer suffering from pugilistic dementia. How did Roy’s creation translate to Allyson Roy? Had y’all written together before Aphrodisiac?

Our editor insisted we use a female pseudonym because the book was to be marketed originally under Romantic Suspense. She was concerned a male author might put off female readers. Roy came up with the name Allyson Roy as in Alice n’ Roy. As it turned out we discovered that female readers were actually very receptive to a male and female writing team. Maybe we’ll use our real names at some point.

How many happy dances did y’all do when you found out you’d won the Daphne du Maurier award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense? That had to have been really thrilling.

Yes, it was thrilling! And very rewarding to actually have our debut novel win an award.

Morning person, night owl, when do you find you’re most productive? Do you do better when you have time to wiggle & tweak things or when it’s crunch time? Alice? Roy?

Roy: I’m a night owl and like working between 1 a.m and 7 a.m. I dread crunch time, but ironically, I do some of my best work when I have to move fast and am slightly delirious.

Alice: Roy is a high-energy person who works in short bursts. He can stay up round the clock or work out a plot problem in the grocery store. I need my sleep, prefer working in the day and need to have several hours in front of me when I sit down to write.

So y’all compliment each other beautifully then…

Stress relievers?

Alice: A juicy book that’s unlike whatever I’m working on at the time. A corny, old movie. Listening to B.B King, Alicia Keyes or Puccini.

Roy: Punching inanimate objects. They can’t sue me.

Vice(s)?

Roy: Do you really think I’m going to flip you an honest answer on that one?

Well yeah, kinda hoping…everybody has at least one.  If there’s more than one, the lesser of the evils.

Alice: Reading endlessly and telling myself it’s research when it’s actually avoidance.

Alice, favorite book as a child? Teen? Adult? Roy, likewise?

Alice: There were so many! I remember getting chills in the library trying to decide what to bring home. I loved fairy tales, Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, Tolkien, Dickens, Mary Renault, Bronte and Judy Blume. I also remember going through a phase where I read everything I could find about Cleopatra and Egypt. As an adult I’m a compulsive reader with eclectic tastes. Paranormals, Suspense, Literary, Regencies, SF&F, RomCom and books on ancient history.

We have a lot in common as far as reading tastes Alice.  I’m all over the place too.

Roy: As a child, Playboy, ur, uh, I mean, The Little Engine That Could. Later, Davis Grubb’s The Night Of The Hunter.

Everyone has a nickname. I read where Alice’s was Jocko because she was so athletic. In the interest of reciprocal disclosure I’ll fess up a couple that are particularly embarrassing Roy if you’ll fess up yours?

Roy: Since I already fessed up to you via email the embarrassing nickname my dad gave me at age six, I’ll go public with another one from my later years — Rapid Roy.

Yeppers and my lips are sealed, wild horses, water torture etc..couldn’t get it outta me….

Currently reading?

Roy: My latest unfinished manuscript

Alice: Maggie Steifvater, Nicole Jordan, Y.S. Lee

Care to give us any hints on what’s up next for my favorite intrepid duo?

The revenge of the alien psychos from hell. Or, maybe not.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see then…..
Alice and Roy, I’ve had a large time and look forward to reading more of Saylor and Benita’s adventures. Thank y’all again for taking the time to be with us today.

Thanks, Ivy. It’s been fun.

Across the pond again with Alex Sinclair

Alex shares with us why he’s where he is & a bit about his debut…….


Ever since I was young I liked telling stories. I was the kid with the big imagination and the very big mouth that could talk faster than the thoughts that popped into his head, which usually led to incoherent ramblings about weird and wonderful worlds, characters and situations.

Not much has changed!

When I left school I attempted to write my first serious novel. It turned out to be poorly written and had a story with more holes than my garden after my dogs have been on one of their digging sprees. It was a learning curve. I learned if you are going to spend many months working hard on a story then you better damn well make sure it makes sense. Over the next few years I dabbled with various books, but most of them were sci-fi or fantasy and aimed at young adults. This too was a learning curve. I think the more you read and the more you write the better you come to understand who you are and what it is you are trying to say through the medium of writing. It was here that I learned that I like telling stories about real people, which was generally how my book would start and then a emerald green fire breathing dragon would appear, perhaps a shoot out would take place, a car chase down a dark and narrow alley, a fist fight upon the top of a church during a thunder storm and so on. It meant by the time I finished a story it made no sense.

I nearly quit.

I just wanted to tell honest stories about real people. I wanted to show the good sides of human nature and the bad sides of human nature. Up until this point in my life I hadn’t been able to tell the stories I wanted to tell because I was writing in the wrong genre and for the wrong audience. This is when I moved into erotic romance and suspense novellas and novels. This genre suits me perfectly. In the past I always had to put the brakes on when ever two characters created a strong connection, but love, lust, sex and passion are all vital components of finding out just who a person is. There is nothing more intimate when you take down your walls and allow a stranger to know your mind, your body and your soul.

The Lady and the Lake was born.       Midnight Showcase

The Lady and the Lake is an erotic romance story and is part of the Sinful Delights Digest coming out with Midnight Showcase. It is the first of several The Lady and the Lake stories. The reason being is that I wanted to show how different characters react when placed in similar situations. This is my insight into the good and bad nature of human beings. Through this series I highlight the different levels of lust, sex, passion, love and connection. I want to show how people can say one thing and perhaps mean one thing, but in their heart of hearts need something more in their lives be that money, adventure, love, lust and in some cases I show that sometimes people don’t need a reason to do something good for someone else or in some cases stab someone in the back. Before I began writing The Lady and the Lake I did some research and found that many erotic stories sway from one cliché to the next. It was like the author was trying to create a fantasy so grand and amazing that the reader can escape from their world for a little while, but I honestly believe that stories don’t need to be told this way. The Lady and the Lake is based on real people, set in the real world and shows how easy it is for lonely and lost people to slip up, to find love, to make mistakes and to make great discoveries. I think the fact that people will be able to relate to the characters will give so much more meaning to the choices they make.

The Lady and the Lake is told through the eyes and mind of Nathan.

In one word Nathan is a failure. He moved out into the city to make a name for himself like his rather wealthy and successful father had done many years ago. Of course Nathan’s plan backed fired on him in spectacular fashion and now he works long hours, for bad pay and lives in a rather crummy apartment. He is in a rut. He hates his job, but doesn’t want to go back home and admit his failure; he has no friends, no girlfriend, and no money and doesn’t really have much to look forward to in the future. His father knows that his stubborn son is struggling emotionally and mentally and talks Nathan into coming up to the lake house for a joint family vacation with his father’s business partner and his family. Nathan doesn’t want to go, but his father could talk a man with no hair into buying hair gel.

When Nathan goes to the Lake House he meets Miranda. The most beautiful woman he has ever seen and instantly the two of them hit it off because their personalities are like two halves of one whole. The slight hitch is that she is married to his father’s business partner and thus the conflict begins. I do not like writing predictable stories because very rarely do you have a happy ever after in real life. The Lady and the Lake explores how far people are willing to go for their loved ones. I do not mean just their lovers, but all actions have consequences and our important people can be hurt by the things we do. Nathan has to decide between following his heart and taking his relationship with Miranda to the next level or sabotaging his own happiness so that Miranda’s family is not torn apart and the family business is not placed in any danger because it is unlikely that Miranda’s husband would want to continue working with the man whose son is sleeping with his wife.

The Lady and the Lake is about real love, real people and real passion. It shows how people that are neglected, lonely, sad and lost can find love if they are willing to take a leap of faith. It also shows that when people are at their most vulnerable they make choices in life that perhaps that wouldn’t have actually done if they were in a stable state of mind. Sometimes these choices can be bad, but then again sometimes these choices can be good. The story does not attempt to paint any of the large cast of characters good or bad. They are all human and they are all flawed. It is up to “you” the reader to decide if the choices they make were in fact the right thing to do and at what point can something be considered selfish or selfless? It asks the question how far you would go for love.

For a quick read of one of Alex’s early efforts :  Before the Dawn