Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: BREAKING FAITH by @HeyitsmeJoy #romance

Breaking Faith
Breaking Faith by Joy Eileen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Killer Characterization

I met author Joy Eileen on Twitter, where she seems fun and passionate. I'm not surprised her debut novel shares the same qualities.

Faith attends college and works at a coffee shop on campus when she meets hunky Jason, her "knight in coffee justice". Despite the niggling discomfort she feels in Jason's presence, they end up moving in together, and his control over her becomes complete. She tiptoes around trying to avoid his wrath, but he is the one responsible for cutting her down with his words and fists.

When she can't take it anymore, she escapes to meet her friends at a bar where a local band, The Jackholes, plays. Faith feels drawn the the lead singer, Killian. She jumps into help the harried waitress, in the process revealing her bruised arms (to her friends' horror). Kill gets Faith a job as server and a home at his place, to keep her safe from Jason.

Most of the time I dislike scruffy, tatted heroes, but Kill is a dream man. He's not a boorish alpha by any means. His reputation as a man ho goes out the window once he meets Faith. Faith can't deny her attraction to him, but is wary of getting hurt again. He had a sweet, vulnerable side to him he kept hidden. It was because of that side, I needed to avoid him. I already determined he would break my heart if I didn't stay away.

Their banter is hilarious.

We walked to a huge monstrous black truck. I had to practically pole vault into the cab. "Nice truck. Overcompensating?" I asked, glancing at the juncture between his legs.

Kill's laugh was amazing. The rumbling in his chest made my traitorous nipples harden.


Kill is spot on when he tells Faith:

"As your friend I have to say you have an uncanny knack for attracting the biggest poseurs, douche bags, and tools. You're like a beacon." Kill looked up to the ceiling as if he was praying for patience. "You know you look hot. It's like you added an extra strength light bulb to your douche beacon. Every douche for miles will be lined up."

The unresolved sexual tension between Faith and Kill about killed me. I grew to care about Faith and want good things for her.

I did have some quibbles about this book. It needs tightening of the plot and exposition. For how long it is, I expected more resolution of major plot lines. I don't mind cliffhangers but I think it would work better to include the excerpt of the next book as the ending of this one, to give readers some relief from the UST.

A fun, readable debut romance!

View all my reviews

Check out the Facebook release party--giveaways close August 21. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Release: BREAKING FAITH by Joy Eileen @HeyItsMeJoy #rocker #romance



***Coming soon: My rocker romance review!***


Breaking Faith

The JackholeS series part 1

by Joy Eileen

Synopsis


Faith made the mistake of giving her heart to someone who didn’t deserve her. After making the decision to leave, she sought refuge at a bar full of misfits. They accepted Faith without question, and now they protect her as if she's family. While putting the pieces of her life back together, she fights to keep her broken heart from falling for the moody lead singer of the JackholeS. A man named Kill. Killian has his own demons to battle, yet Faith brings out his protective side: a side he thought he’d buried long ago. Can Faith and Kill trust each other long enough to leave their pasts behind and find love? Or is the past too overpowering to allow anyone a chance at happiness?

WARNING: This book contains explicit non-consensual sex scenes. It contains strong language and adult situations. This book is not intended for anyone under 18. This is a series so this book does not end with resolution. Don't worry the second book is already done and the third is being created.

NOW LIVE!!

Grab your copy here:
Barnes and Nobel: http://bit.ly/1Km8LbA
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1WpLu1O

Teasers







Excerpt:

Realizing I was half naked and pressed against him, I slowly backed away. The immediate sadness from the removal of his electricity was staggering. 
His grin disappeared, and the laughter in his eyes was replaced with desire. I could see why girls all over Portland were infatuated with him. Just one fierce look, and I wanted to wrap myself around him until you couldn’t tell where he stopped and I began. 
I took the step I had just taken away from him back toward him. We both inhaled sharply when our bodies collided.
He pulled in his bottom lip, raking his teeth over it until it popped out. My attention became rapt on his bottom lip and I wanted to bite it like he had just done. 
The wet heat between my legs was on fire, and the only way I could think of getting rid of the burning ache was to have him buried deep within me. The look in his eyes, before my attention went to his lips, showed he was thinking the same thing. 
My tongue darted out, and he groaned, making his chest rumble. The sound caused my nipples to pebble, aching along with the rest of my body for his attention. 
He lowered his face to mine until our foreheads touched, our lips a breath away. Both of us were panting, the dull pain between my legs caused me to press my thighs together, trying to gain friction to help with the need building inside of me.

When I was about to break and press my lips to his, Kill turned around and stormed away, leaving me confused and unsatisfyingly hot.  

Add to your TBR on Goodreads: 







About the author

Joy Eileen is a born bibliophile who becomes deeply engaged with her characters, and has devoured more books than she would like to admit. She becomes obsessed with happily-ever-afters, and will read any genre that fulfills that requirement. Evading the library is something she has been known to do, because after befriending the characters returning them would be a heartbreaking event. Books are held hostage on her bookshelf, and any author that makes her ugly cry becomes her sworn enemy. Nicholas Sparks is one of the many on the list of villains.

As a massage therapist, most of Joy's stories come to her while working. With the sound of classical music, and snoring from a half covered hostage, characters are created. The victim (massage patient) has no idea that while their body is being manipulated, Joy has traveled into distant lands creating landscapes and inhabitants as she goes. Her patients should be wary as sometimes they are pulled into her stories and turned into characters. Hero or Foe? Well, that depends on how they tip.


Social Media Links:




Monday, August 17, 2015

Cover Reveal: Degrade by TL Smith @LsmithT #Romance




Title: Degrade
Series: Flawed
Author: T.L. Smith
Cover Design: LM Creations
 Release Date: August 31, 2015



Blurb

Zeke

One rule, only one rule women need to follow when they're with me.

Don’t ask for more.

This rule is in place for a reason, you won't get more of what’s not there to give.

Bexley

He is striking, and he's all man. He is also the devil, or so I believe him to be. I gave him my heart, not realizing I was doing so. He likes to break me down, so I'm a shell of the person I once was. He's chipping away at me, bit by bit. Though I’m not as weak as he thinks, and when I can’t handle it anymore, I will come back swinging.








Excerpt

I’m an idiot, I know this. I just can’t help myself. When it comes to him, I do as he says, do as he pleases. Even if it’s against everything, I believe in. He has a hold on me, which no other person has ever held. I don’t believe he loves me, but I love him. So that has to count for something? Right? My love is big enough. I believe it can hold onto both of us and wrap us up in a vice grip. See, I did tell you, I’m an idiot.






Author Links

TWITTER
INSTAGRAM




Giveaway

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Five Tips for #Writing #Therapy Scenes #IWSG


Time for August's Insecure Writer's Support Group. Writers, learn more HERE and join us.


Hey, everyone. I’m Jennifer Lane, psychologist/author (psycho author). I do therapy on the weekdays and write on the weekends, and I can’t decide which is more fun.

Character growth is essential in any story, and I often help my characters develop through psychotherapy. Finding the balance between authentic therapy and engaging storytelling can be tricky. Here are some tips:

1) Empathy. Otherwise known as validation or good listening, empathy is reflecting the speaker’s emotion. It’s a key therapy skill, regardless of the therapist’s theoretical orientation. Here are some examples of empathy:

Client: “What’s the point?”
Therapist: “You’re feeling hopeless.”

Client: “He’s such an ass!”
Therapist: “You’re really angry at him.”

Sounds simple, right? It’s not. A lot of times we want to give advice or solve problems, when all people need is validation. Empathic listening is quite therapeutic.

2) Boundaries. Therapists’ ethical codes discourage multiple relationships with clients. If I’m your therapist, I can’t be your friend, lover, business partner, babysitter, etc. Hollywood often shows therapists shagging their clients with no negative consequences. Not realistic.

3) Diagnosis. Though some therapists don’t put much stock into psychiatric diagnosis, it’s helpful to have a somewhat accurate diagnosis for the character. I giggled when I read Christian Grey’s initial diagnoses as haphephobia (fear of being touched) and parasomnia (sleep disorders). Fortunately Ms. James did her research for a later book, diagnosing him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Here’s a good website summarizing mental health disorders.  I also like the Writers Helping Writers Emotional Wound series

4) Progress. Is it common for a huge therapeutic breakthrough to occur? An insight that changes everything for a character? Not really. While I adore this scene in Good Will Hunting, it’s not characteristic of therapy.


Change tends to be difficult and gradual, and clients are unique in their responses to therapy. Some clients feel better merely by naming or reframing the problem. Others just benefit from a private, nonjudgmental space to talk.

5) Character Development. Therapy is a wonderful vehicle to develop your characters. Is your hero funny? Write dialogue for him that makes the therapist crack up. Does your heroine try to mother everyone? Perhaps she brings tea for the therapist, or knits the therapist a hat in the winter. Character interpersonal dynamics will unfold in the therapy relationship just like any other relationship, inserting some fun into the drama.

Have you ever tried to write a therapy scene? Hopefully these tips will help.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#Book #Signing Wrap Up: Ever After Author Affair


Today I'm over at Liberty Falls Down talking about why I love college romance. Check it out HERE.

On July 18, 2015 I had the pleasure of signing books at an event in my town, Columbus, Ohio.



How lovely not to lug books through an airport! I signed copies of college volleyball romance BLOCKED. I'm working hard on the sequel, ACED, slated for release in November.

I unveiled my new banner, purchased at Vista Print, at this event. It's uber tall!


It was fun sharing a table with YA Paranormal author Stephanie Keyes. What a sweetheart!


I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet spicy readers, like Elle from Elle's Friends and Books. She still likes to read fairy tales...they're just dirtier now.


What do you love about book signings?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cover Reveal: Breaking Faith by @heyitsmejoy #Romance




Breaking Faith

The Jackholes Series part 1

by Joy Eileen

Cover Reveal



Synopsis


Faith made the mistake of giving her heart to someone who didn’t deserve her. After making the decision to leave, she sought refuge at a bar full of misfits. They accepted Faith without question, and now they protect her as if she's family. While putting the pieces of her life back together, she fights to keep her broken heart from falling for the moody lead singer of the JackholeS. A man named Kill. Killian has his own demons to battle, yet Faith brings out his protective side: a side he thought he’d buried long ago. Can Faith and Kill trust each other long enough to leave their pasts behind and find love? Or is the past too overpowering to allow anyone a chance at happiness?

WARNING: This book contains explicit non-consensual sex scenes. It contains strong language and adult situations. This book is not intended for anyone under 18. This is a series so this book does not end with resolution. Don't worry the second book is already done and the third is being created. :)

Pre-Order Now:


Add to your TBR on Goodreads: 

About the author


Joy Eileen is a born bibliophile who becomes deeply engaged with her characters, and has devoured more books than she would like to admit. She becomes obsessed with happily-ever-afters, and will read any genre that fulfills that requirement. Evading the library is something she has been known to do, because after befriending the characters returning them would be a heartbreaking event. Books are held hostage on her bookshelf, and any author that makes her ugly cry becomes her sworn enemy. Nicholas Sparks is one of the many on the list of villains.

As a massage therapist, most of Joy's stories come to her while working. With the sound of classical music, and snoring from a half covered hostage, characters are created. The victim (massage patient) has no idea that while their body is being manipulated, Joy has traveled into distant lands creating landscapes and inhabitants as she goes. Her patients should be wary as sometimes they are pulled into her stories and turned into characters. Hero or Foe? Well, that depends on how they tip.


Social Media Links:


Teasers







Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Freedom to Read #Giveaway Hop #Books


Time for the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop hosted by Bookhounds and I Am a Reader.

*sings* I'm free, to read what I want, any old time.


I'm giving away an ebook of my patriotic college volleyball romance BLOCKED (featuring presidential candidates' offspring) and a $10 Amazon gift card.

BLOCKED now features an excerpt from the sequel ACED, which will launch in late 2015. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please check out all these other freedom lovers:

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Power Pose Your Way to #Confident #Writing #IWSG


It's July already and the rain won't stop in Ohio, waah. How can I train for swimming in a triathlon relay when thunder closes my outdoor pool? Time for July's Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. Join us HERE.



Last week I delivered a presentation to swim campers about ways to build their confidence. I mentioned the technique "fake it till you make it". In other words, if you don't feel confident, sometimes acting confident on the outside can boost confidence on the inside. Head up, shoulders back, add a smile or serene facial expression, and you're good to go.

Then I heard about a TED talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy that takes confident body language a step further. According to Dr. Cuddy, our nonverbals affect how others see us. But can nonverbals affect how we see ourselves?




Since I know you're busy and may not have time to watch the 21 minute video (it's worth it if you do have the time), I'll summarize her research.

Holding "power poses" for just two minutes can significantly increase testosterone (feelings of power) and decrease cortisol (feelings of stress).

What are power poses? Here's one:


Here are two more:


Are you mired in insecurity when writing? Knees knocking before pitching to a publisher? Try a power pose for two minutes and you'll feel more assertive, confident, and optimistic!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

THE ROSIE PROJECT by Don Tillman: #Review


My book club chose a wonderful read for June: The Rosie Project. Here's my review:


The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Man with Asperger's Delightful Journey to Love

Books like these make me appreciate my book club even more because I probably wouldn't have tried it without my friend Colby picking it this month.

Don Tillman is a 39-year-old genetics professor in Australia who knows he is socially inept but doesn't know he has a raging case of Autism Spectrum Disorder. He would like to date but his difficulties with emotions and subtleties of interactions have made that difficult. Being the scientist he is, he decides to write a questionnaire for potential partners he dubs "The Wife Project". He believes his data driven approach will weed out unsuitable candidates.

He's friends with a married psychologist couple, Gene and Claudia, and they try to help him sort out these puzzling social interactions. Sadly, Gene and Claudia are his only friends.

When Don attends a dating event, his unique perceptions of the world are hilarious.

Olivia resumed talking to me while the others engaged in small talk -- an extraordinary waste of time when a major life decision was at stake. On Claudia's advice, I had memorized the questionnaire. She thought that asking questions directly from the forms could create the wrong "dynamic" and that I should attempt to incorporate them subtly into conversation, Subtlety, I had reminded her, is not my strength. She suggested that I not ask about sexually transmitted diseases and that I make my own estimates of weight, height, and body mass index. I estimated Olivia's BMI at nineteen; slim, but no signs of anorexia.

Every time Don meets someone new, he mentally calculates their BMI. BA HA HA! I've met quite a few characters through dating but I've never had one come out and ask me my BMI--Don would totally do that if not for Claudia's advice.

Don's friend Gene sets him up with Rosie, a "barmaid". Rosie comes over for dinner prepared by the excellent cook Don.

I commenced retrieval of vegetables and herbs from the refrigerator. "Let me help," Rosie said. "I can chop or something." The implication was that chopping could be done by an inexperienced person unfamiliar with the recipe. After her comment that she was unable to cook even in a life-threatening situation, I had visions of huge chunks of leek and fragments of herbs too fine to sieve out.

Once Don discovers Rosie smokes and runs late, he automatically discards her as a candidate for The Wife Project. But when Rosie tells him she's trying to discover the identity of her biological father, geneticist Don is suddenly all in to helping her with The Father Project.

They narrow down potential fathers based on her mother's medical school class, and proceed to obtain DNA samples from over fifty men in a madcap manner.

Don eventually learns that Rosie is a doctoral psychology student who's smarter than she seems. Don and Rosie test a sample from one probable father.

"But I've never consciously thought of him as my father."

"He's not," I said.

The results had come up on the computer screen. Job complete. I began packing up.

"Wow," said Rosie. "Ever thought of being a grief counselor?"

"No. I considered a number of careers, but all in the sciences. My interpersonal skills are not strong."

Rosie burst out laughing.


Don is just so damn endearing! The funniest scene is when Don and Rosie pose as bartenders at a medical school reunion in order to swab cocktail glasses. Memorizing orders and drink recipes is where computer-mind Don excels, and he performs so well that the bar owner wants to go into business with him.

Equally funny is when Don wants to woo a ballroom dancing champion, so he practices his dance moves with a skeleton from a nearby lab. When he tests out his dance moves in front of a crowd, he learns Unfortunately, this requires cooperation on the part of the partner, particularly if she is heavier than a skeleton.

When Don decides he would like to have sex with Rosie, he talks it over with Gene:

"So why the stress?" said Gene. "You have had sex before?"

"Of course," I said. "It's just that adding a second person makes it more complicated."

"Naturally, said Gene. "I should have thought of that. Why not get a book?"


So Don buys a book and memorizes all the sexual positions. Naturally, he brings out the skeleton again for practice, and naturally, the dean walks into his office while Don is getting into compromising positions on the floor with the skeleton. *laughs*

In addition to the charming humor, there's some depth to this story about love and growth. I definitely want to read the sequel. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

MISSING MELISSA by @AlrethaThomas : #Review #Interview & #Giveaway


Welcome to author Alretha Thomas! I enjoyed her recent release Missing Melissa--check out my four star review. Then I interview Alretha, and end with a giveaway.

Missing MelissaMissing Melissa by Alretha Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Missing Twin Haunts Her Sister’s Dreams

Maddie is a gorgeous blond twenty-two-year-old about to start her career in broadcast journalism when she has a dream. A disturbing dream. She dreams her twin sister, who went missing when they were three years old, is still alive, and needs Maddie’s help.

Her parents don’t want to re-open the case, fearing they will crack open old wounds. But are they hiding something?

I thought this was a well-written mystery. Where is Melissa? Is she alive? Has she been hurt? There’s misdirection that prevented me from guessing the ending.

Maddie’s surrounded by some fun, opinionated characters, like her best friend Ruby and her dog Pepper.

I wish I didn’t have a missing sister. I wish everything was normal. But Ruby says normal is a setting on a washing machine and not what our lives are supposed to be.

Amen, Ruby! And I love Maddie’s dog Pepper. That dog’s got a lot of sass.

I remember when my parents surprised me with Pepper five years ago. He was a baby, so small and cute. I wanted to dress him up, too. I’ll never forget approaching him with an adorable pullover sweater. He snatched it with his teeth and ripped it to pieces. That was the end of any ideas about dressing up Pepper.

Ha! Maddie meets Detective Sam while pursuing her missing sister. He’s a hottie who’s sweet and steady.

”Well, one good thing has come out of all of this,” Ruby says.

“What’s that?” Sam and I ask at the same time.

“I finally got to meet Sexy Sam.”

I narrow my eyes at Ruby and try to change the subject. “So, where do we go from here?” I ask.

“No, not so fast,” Sam says. “What’s this Sexy Sam all about?” he asks, laughing.


While I loved the plot, I didn’t find the dialogue realistic. It seemed dated and cheesy to me. Characters speak in long paragraphs, and call each other by their full names to chastise each other ”Madeleine Louise Patterson!” 

I am glad I had the opportunity to read this page turner, which ends on a hopeful note.


View all my reviews


And now for the interview:


Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome to the blog, Alretha, Many of us are fascinated by the special bond between twins. What drew you into writing a twin story in Missing Melissa?

Alretha Thomas (AT): Thank you for this opportunity, Jennifer. Like a lot of people, I also have had a fascination with twins. It started in childhood. My mother and aunt looked so much alike, I would have sworn that they were twins, and I was terribly disappointed when I learned they weren’t. I was thinking about this around the time the idea to write Missing Melissa came to me. I was also reflecting on my mother’s untimely death. My mother passed away at the young age of 36. I was 14. My cousin told me that my aunt was devastated when my mother died. So those two thoughts inspired me to write Missing Melissa. I wanted to explore how the loss of a close sibling can affect the surviving sibling.


JL: I'm so sad to hear about your mother's death at a young age. One of my favorite characters is Pepper the dog. Do you have a dog? Other pets?

AT: Jennifer, I am so glad you like Pepper! I love Pepper. When my husband read the opening to the book he felt Pepper had too big of a role, no pun intended (he’s a mastiff). I purposely made Pepper somewhat of a secondary character because in a way he filled the hole that was left by the missing twin. Ironically, I didn’t grow up with a dog and I’m allergic to cats. My husband and I have been vacillating about getting a dog. No one wants to do the clean-up (smile). But we both love dogs and think they’re adorable. For the past month, my husband’s been feeding a bird that comes by from time-to-time and even the neighborhood Bobcat. I think we’re inching our way to getting a pet! BTW we have a ton of stuffed pets—turtles, rabbits, bears, and even a Kangaroo!


JL: I also loved the character of Ruby, Maddie's sassy best friend. How have your real-life friendships become part of this fictional relationship?

AT: Yes, Ruby is one of my favorites as well. I love the relationship she and Maddie have and yes, friendships I’ve had over the years did influence Maddie and Ruby’s relationship. Like Maddie, I’ve only had one best friend at a time. I’ve never had a group of girlfriends. That’s probably why Maddie only has one close girlfriend. Writing the two of them was somewhat nostalgic because their relationship reminded me of a fourteen-year relationship I had that went awry right after I got married. Like Maddie and Ruby, we were close and the feelings we had for each other were unconditional. Actually, this friend was there when I meant my future husband. I truly believe that I may not have given as much as my friend did in the relationship at the time because I was going through some challenging times. I believe I may have drained her. But by the time I realized this it was too late.


JL: I notice Missing Melissa is your eighth novel, and your other books include a contemporary romance series staring with Married in the Nick of Nine. What's next for you?

AT: Missing Melissa is my debut Mystery novel! Yes, I started out with a romance series that I call The Cass & Nick series: Married in the Nick of Nine, The Baby in the Window, One Harte, Two Loves, and Renee’s Return. I had a blast writing those books. I hope readers have an opportunity to check them out as well. That series is complete. Depending on how well Missing Melissa does, I’d love to write the sequel and I have some ideas percolating. Of course, all the main characters will return, including Pepper!


JL: Wow, I would've never guessed it was your first mystery. Thank you for stopping by and best of luck with your writing!

AT: It’s been great speaking with you Jennifer. 



GIVEAWAY

Alretha has generously offered to gift two readers with e-copies of the first book in the Cass & Nick series: Married in the Nick of Nine.

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your email address.
 


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