Friday, April 27, 2012

Author Spotlight: Alexa Bourne

I'm pleased to welcome Alexa Bourne to A Whole Latte Romance today. 

Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romantic suspense writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She is thrilled to be writing for Decadent Publishing and to have the chance to share her love of Scotland with readers everywhere.When she's not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV and thinking about exercising. She loves to interact with readers. To find her, visit www.alexabourne.com,, or follow her on Twitter @AlexaBourne.And now on to the interview :-)

1.            Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m not the average writer. I didn’t read a lot until I got to high school and then it was all about Vietnam soldiers. I didn’t write my 1st romance until I was in college. I’ve traveled a lot, taken risks a lot (some worked out, some didn’t), and I’m always looking for ways to improve professionally and personally.

2.            What do you do when you are not writing?
I like to watch TV, movies, read, exercise, travel when I have the money, hang out with friends and family.

3.            Do you have a day job as well?
Yes, I’m a teacher. I’ve worked with pretty much every grade from 2nd to 8th and believe it or not I LOVE 6th grade best. I think it’s because I’m as crazy as the kids.

4.            When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote plays for my friends to perform in grade school. My 1st book was fan fiction for my favorite show, The A-Team, when I was in middle school. It was my first story over 100 pages. 

5.            How did you choose the genre you write in?
I think my genre chose me. J The very first TV shows I remember watching were The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man. The only Disney movie I remember seeing as a child was The Rescuers. These all revolved around suspense/mystery and the bad guys getting what they deserved.

6.            Where do you get your ideas?
I get ideas pretty much everywhere. Once when I saw a cop car turn into a hospital parking lot, I came up with a complete plot for a novel about a guy who escapes on his routine hospital visit, puts the heroine in the hospital and proceeds to torture the hero.

7.            Do you ever experience writer’s block?
LOL! I think I go through that with every book.

8.            Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I just write. I start with a character and maybe one scene idea. My rough draft is where I find out about the characters and the conflicts. (I usually write 4-6 drafts per book.) I once tried to write from page one with an outline, but I got bored by page 20.

9.            Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? Stephen J. Cannell was my inspiration. He created all the TV shows I got hooked on as I was growing up and he inspired me. As an adult, I was inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. When I read that first book in her series, I knew I wanted to share my stories, and I wanted to move readers the way Gabaldon moved me.

10.        Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
LOL! How about that I began submitting in 1999 and I only signed my first contract in December 2011. I’ve had all sorts of ups and downs in getting to this point, plenty of rejections, plenty of people who didn’t believe in me, but I kept at it because I wanted it.

11.        If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would’ve liked to have my father and my grandparents around to see my first book come out. I remember sitting in my grandparents’ house during summer vacations. My grandfather would come in from work, see me sitting on the living room floor with my notebook and ask, “Aren’t you done with that story yet?”

12.   How do you market your work? What avenues have
         you found to work best for your genre?
I’m still learning all about marketing. (Anybody got some great advice????)

13.   Have you written a book you love that you have not
         been able to get published? Yes. I have one that came close to selling, but ultimately got turned down. I’m still submitting it because I really believe in the story, the characters and I believe it’s a story that deserves to be shared. It’s about a woman whose brother goes missing on purpose and he asks his old Army buddy to keep the heroine safe. The hero is reluctant to do it, but he’s a hero so he does protect her and help her uncover why her brother had to disappear.
14.   Can you tell us about your book?

Her Highland Champion, a contemporary Scottish romantic suspense, came out March 30th. Heather Winchester leads a charming life. With good friends, a beautiful flat in one of the most amazing cities in the world, and a promising future once she finishes her Ph.D, she is finally pursuing her own dreams instead of catering to everyone else’s…except she doesn’t remember any of it.

15.   Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
The story is all imagination, but the setting is based on Glenfinnan, Scotland, which is my “happy place.” I
got great assistance from the manager of the Glenfinnan House Hotel ( when I emailed her questions about the place, plus the hero’s bed and breakfast is based on this hotel as well. I’ve been fortunate enough to vacation there a couple of times.

16.   What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I had to rewrite the ending to fit this current storyline so this was my favorite part to write. The heroine, Heather, who has lost her memory must choose between her ex and the hero. She sort of comes into her own.

17.   How did you come up with the title?
LOL. It was actually the title of a different WIP, but it fit this story. Malcolm is Heather’s knight in shining armor, her champion.

18.   What project are you working on now?
I’m working on revisions for my 3rd story in my UK trilogy. Right now it’s called Novella #3 (Isn’t that genius?) and is set in Edinburgh during Hogmanay, or New Year’s. Hopefully my publisher will want this one too! The hero for this one is Ian MacKenzie who makes an appearance in Her Highland Champion.

19.   Will you have a new book coming out soon?
         Yes! I just signed my 2nd contract with Decadent 
        Publishing for another Honor Guard story. It’s called
        Fractured Paradise and I’ll be working on edits for it 
        soon! J

20.   Are there certain characters you would like to back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
        I would love to have the chance to write Meggie MacDougall’s story. Meggie is the town gossip                       in Her Highland Champion, but she’s got such a good heart and is fiercely loyal. I think she deserves a happily-ever-after.

21.   What has been the toughest criticism given to you as
         an author? What has been the best compliment?
         Oooh, this is a tough question. I think the toughest criticism was from an editor. She wanted to buy the book (not this one), but her senior editor didn’t agree. At that point I was so close and it just hurt so much to hear another “no”. Best compliment? I appreciate every single compliment I get because it’s validation that I’m doing something right, I’m affecting someone in some way.

22.   Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up if it’s really what you want. Like I said before, I started submitting in 1999 and 12 years later I sold. I kept at it, kept learning, and pushed myself because I wanted it more than anything else in the world.

23.   Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you to everyone who reads this interview, comments on it or reads my story. I appreciate your time and effort! And thank YOU for having me!

Thank you for being here Alexa! It's been a blast.

If you'd like to buy yourself a copy of Her Highland Champion (Which I'm sure you all do) you can find it at the following:

Thank you all for being here and visiting us today. Alexa and I appreciate it.

All My Best,


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Missing In Action

I know, I know I've been MIA for almost a month. Crazy I know. Things have happened in life (as they tend to do) new job, new home, new hours, etc. You know, the same things that everyone deals with, but nevertheless it has severely impacted my reading progress.

However, have no fear. I may not be doing as many reviews as I used to, I hope to start posting reviews again very soon. In fact, I'll actually be having an Author Spotlight THIS Friday. It's so exciting I know!

So to those of you who continue to visit my blog even while I've been MIA. THANK YOU! And stay tuned for new reviews and interviews coming soon on A Whole Latte Romance.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Forbidden Fantasies by Jodie Griffin

Title: Forbidden Fantasies
Author: Jodie Griffin
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: March 5, 2012
ISBN: 9781426893339
Received via NetGalley
Genre: Erotic Romance

The Blurb:

After fifteen years of marriage, Jessica Meyers's sex life is, well, a little predictable. Her handsome husband turns her on, but missionary style once or twice a week? It just can't compare to the hot new world she discovers in the pages of erotic romances. Her fantasies fuel the fire of her desire, adding a new spark to her and Alex's lovemaking. But Jess is afraid to tell her husband what shereally wants in bed-and her secrets start coming between them.

State trooper Alex Meyers is a master at uncovering the truth-except when it comes to his sweet, shy wife. She's clearly keeping something from him. An affair? She wants out? When he finally confronts Jess, he's shocked to learn she wants to turn her forbidden fantasies into nightly realities. But when he takes her to a unique B and B-Bondage and Breakfast-catering to couples and multiples, Alex is about to find out just how far he'll go.

My Take:

Jess has been living her sexual fantasies. In her head that is. She's afraid to tell her husband about the erotic books she's been reading and even more afraid to tell him that she wants to try some of the things in those books. It's a very believable fear, especially because the unknown often is scary. Alex believes the worst, thinking his wife is having an affair. She's been distant lately even after they're together and it bothers him. Until he finally confronts her and all is finally revealed.

This novella is hot, hot hot. It worked well for being so short and as such I didn't have a problem with the plot feeling too rushed etc. It was enjoyable to read and had parts that even had me blushing (and it takes a lot to make me blush.) Mostly, this type of story was right up my alley heat wise.

The one thing that I found I had a problem with was the dialogue. I had a hard time "listening" to the characters as thought the dialogue felt forced and stilted. Not believable. At least not to me. I find this to be a shame, as there is so much potential here to convey so much emotion and it fell flat in this area. I, unfortunately, found myself wanting to skim over the dialogue and get to the internalizations and "action" because it was all conveyed much better than the dialogue. I wish I could have connected to it more as I really enjoyed the story, but problems with dialogue are hard for me to overlook when reading and as such my rating reflects this problem.

My Rating: 3/5 Lattes

All My Best,


Friday, March 30, 2012

Author Spotlight: Arianna Skye

I am extremely pleased to welcome author, Arianna Skye to A Whole Latte Romance today. Her interview is a great one, and as you'll see below, we have some prizes to give away to some lucky commenters. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and without further ado...I give you Arianna Skye.

 Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m not nearly as exciting as my books. LOL. I’m a single woman in my mid-thirties who obviously enjoys writing, as                                                                                                                                                                           well as arts and crafts. I love more than the written word when it comes to creating. I also have a bit of a geeky side too when it comes to computers and technology.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Daydreaming about what I should be writing? To be honest, I enjoy playing video games.  We recently got a Wii. It can be a great stress reliever when things get a little sticky.

Do you have a day job as well?

Currently I am between jobs. The economy kind of sucks right now, but I’m remaining optimistic.       

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

My first book? It was a whole 20 page masterpiece about the woes of peer pressure. Quite a feat for a ten year old.

 How did you choose the genre you write in?

I’m not quite sure I chose it. I think it chose me. My first attempt was historical romance (still one of my favorites to read) but fantasy sort of called out to me. I always try to incorporate some form of history into my books though.

 Where do you get your ideas?

Anywhere and everywhere. Dreams, sitting in line at Taco Bell, watching people at the mall. Inspiration has no boundaries.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I plead the fifth. Haha. In times of stress, my thoughts and words can sometime get stuck. The best thing to do is just write. I’m not sure where I heard this, but it really hit home. Dreck is better than a blank page, because it can be edited.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

It varies from project to project. I see myself as a plotting pantser. I start out with a general story idea and let my characters do the walking. They may go off course every so often, but they always end up at “the end.”

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I would have to say Johanna Lindsey and Kathleen Woodiwiss really inspired me to explore the possibility of writing romance. Historical romance also helped me explore my love of history.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Wings of Desire, now being re-released, was my first published novel. Not many publishers were interested in fantasy erotic romance. And the word count—111K was way too long. Most publishers want your book between 80-90K, so options were really limited. 

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

To be honest, it was a learning experience. And we grow from our mistakes and bumps in the road. So, in that aspect, I don’t think I would have changed anything.

 How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I tweet, use facebook, and have bought ad space on sites like Manic Readers. I also have made some Romance Trading Cards, which seem to be quite popular with some readers. The best ways I’ve marketed—which is also pretty darn fun—are book signings and reader and author get-togethers. Nothing better than meeting readers face to face.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

That would probably be my Regency-set historical, A Most Unlikely Match. It’s half-finished and moldering under my bed. Not because it’s bad, but my writing has ventured off in another direction.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My current release is Wings of Desire. It’s a fantasy erotic romance set near Beltane. There’s a lot of Celtic lore in the story.
Here’s a short blurb:
Rhiannon Kinsley's ready to call the men in white coats when an intriguingly sexy man appears and insists she's a faerie princess. Cerne Silverwing has a duty to save his kingdom. He needs Rhiannon to be his consort and help defeat the Dark Faerie Queen. Will these two discover that their true destiny lies together?

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

The idea for the story is based on a  real life what if moment. Ages ago, I used to spend an ungodly amount of time in computer chat rooms. Told you I was a computer nerd, eh? I took a look at the names of people who logged in. Ares, Aphrodite, Osiris, Morrigan, and tons of other godly names. My name, included. It was storming one night, and I wondered what if someone’s computer got struck by lightning? What if someone from ancient  times was trying to summon that particular god, but instead summoned the person in the chat room instead? I clearly have an overactive imagination. I then turned the computer off and went to bed. I didn’t want to get electrocuted after all.

Ten years later, I decided I wanted to write an erotic romance. My muse, ever so helpful friend reminded me of my brainstorm. I realized it wasn’t a “god” at the computer, but a faerie. And she wasn’t just any faerie, she was a missing faerie princess. And that’s how Wings of Desire was born.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Every chapter is important to the book, so I can’t play favorites.
Chapter 7 is the most interesting chapter. Dueling Butterflies anyone?

How did you come up with the title?

Part of the plot involves them gaining their wings when they join as one. And the Desire, part… it sort of just fit.

What project are you working on now?

I am working on Sidney Ayer’s Demons Unleashed series right now. I’m putting the finishing touches on Kalli’s story.

 Will you have a new book coming out soon?

A Demon To Die For (Demons Unleashed 3) comes out in February 2013. I may have some short stories in between though.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I’ve got a kick ass idea for a regency set fantasy series I’d like to get into.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I was once told in a contest by a judge to “use my burgeoning voice on a plot we can relate to.” Kind of like a backhanded compliment. But that book sold, so obviously someone related to my plot.
The best compliment? “I love your books! I can’t wait to read the next one!” How can you top that?

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Keep writing. You’re writing skill develops with every word you write-whether you’ve only written one page or one-hundred books.

 Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I love hearing from you all. You can contact me through both  my websites at and

       Also, I’m in a generous mood today. 3 lucky commenters will win a free pdf copy of Wings of Desire. 1 lucky person will win a $20 gift card to Amazon!

Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?

I have put my shirt on backwards before, but I snuck into the restroom and quickly adjusted myself. What can I say, I’m paranoid like that.

Do you prefer fuzzy or tube socks?

I  don’t have a preference, just that they don’t have holes.

Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?

Why make a bed if all you’re going to do is climb back into it later anyway?

 Be honest, how often do you wash your hair?

Every other day.

Do you get road rage? What pisses you off the most about other drivers?

I will admit I’ve flashed the bird a few times in my life. My pet peeve is people who drive below the minimum speed limit on the expressway. Hello, what part of express do you not understand?

Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?

It depends on what kind of bug. If it’s an annoying fly that just won’t leave me alone or a spider that just decided to drop in for a visit, then I will swat it. If it’s a grasshopper or a lady bug, I will usually let it live. I’m deathly afraid of bees, hornets and wasps. I’ve done my fair share of screaming when dealing with them.

 Have you ever secretly wished you were a character in a book? If so, which character did you wish you were and why?

Who hasn’t ever wished they were Scarlett O’Hara? She’s a strong character who overcame a lot. You can see her mature as the story progresses. I always wanted to run after Rhett and give them their happily ever after. 

Thanks again Arianna for being here today. It was a pleasure having you and I wish you all the best in your writing career.

All My Best,