Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What I Do and Why I Do It


Thank you to my friendly, funny critique partner Nicki Elson for tagging me to answer four writerly questions! (That's her gorgeous self, on the left.) Nicki is the author of 80's romp Three Daves and sexy angel story Divine Temptation. And I'm really stoked for the upcoming release of her hilarious chick lit, tentatively titled Vibrizzio (a buzzing Italian lover hehe).

Onto the questions...

What am I working on?

I'm nearing the finish line of writing Blocked, a college volleyball romance. Spike! The story features a forbidden romance between the offspring of candidates for US President: Lucia Ramirez, daughter of the Republican nominee, and Dane Monroe, son of the Democratic nominee.  Lucia and Dane are freakishly tall scholarship volleyball players who think the opponent's political philosophy is FAIL. But they can't deny their attraction to each other.

Swimmer Matt Grevers, who's 6'8", inspired the character of Dane Monroe:

Yummy.

How does my writing differ from others in its genre?

As a psychologist, I like to bring a psycho element to romance by including mental health diagnoses and therapy scenes. In Blocked, I gave Lucia an eating disorder and Dane an alcohol problem. (Tee hee.) Naturally, I threw them into some much needed therapy with a sport psychologist.

Why do I write what I do?

I write romance because of all the feels. It makes my heart skip when characters kiss! And I write stories of healing and redemption because I love to witness them every day. I want to inspire readers to overcome emotional pain in order to reach new heights.

How does my writing process work?

Recently I've relied less on an outline, instead letting the characters lead the way. It's so helpful to share each chapter with critique partners...making writing more social is motivational for me. My one complaint about my process: it's SLOW. Waah. I wish it could go faster.

And now I get to tag four authors so they can tell us what they do and why they do it. I tag:

***Darcia Helle***

***Elisa Dane***

***Matthew Alan***

***Lisette Brodey***

Please stop by next week (6/4) for the Insecure Writers Support Group. I need your advice for self-publishing!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Blog Tour: Son of Set by @KelseyKetch


YA Bound hosts the book tour for SON OF SET! See the tour schedule HERE and be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post.

Character Interview: Seth

Today, we’re honored to have Seth O’Keefe—Setemple’s prince of chaos. 

Hey, Seth. How are you today?

SO: *Gives a swoon worthy smile and runs his fingers through his copper hair.* I’d have to say well, being here with you.

*Blushes.* Always the Charmer, aren’t you?  What do you think it is about you that makes you so irresistible?

SO: Most girls tell me it’s all about my eyes and their hypnotic color. But I’m sure there are other reasons as well.

Mm hm, and what is it about Natara Stone that makes her so much more appealing than the bevy of beauties that constantly surround you?

SO: *Laughs.* Where to start? Her amazing amethyst eyes; her smooth, bronze skin; her beautiful, raven-colored hair; the sway of her hips as she walks; and a figure that could rock—  

Okay, okay. A girl could get a complex listening to how you rave about her, but what is she really like?

SO: Are you kidding? She’s as frustrating as hell! She never listens. She never does what she’s told. And let’s not forget the numerous times I’ve already saved her pretty little ass. *Rolls his eyes and scrubs his face.* Unfortunately, all those little annoying details—all her quirks and nervous habits—are also what I find the most attractive about her. Even her little British pout is irresistible.

What has been the biggest surprise for you since you have been involved with Natti?

SO: Honestly, I think the both of us are finding out things on this trip that neither of us expected to discover. We’re both capable of so much more than we ever dreamed, and because of that, I’m not even sure if it’s safe for her to be around me at this point.

So, what’s it like to be a fugitive from the Sons?

SO: Odd, and truthfully, downright terrifying. They were my kin, my brethren, my friends. I grew up with them. I was a firm believer in their beliefs. I even craved for the day to hold a Secret Keeper’s heart in my hand. Now, I’m their enemy, and believe me when I say my father wouldn’t give a sh*t if I die. In fact, he’d probably kill me himself before dragging Natti back to the altar. That’s why we have to stay several steps ahead of him. My father has too many resources to help him get what he wants, and I can’t allow him to capture us again.

With that in mind, if you had it to do all over again, would you still have saved Natti?

SO: In a heartbeat.

Readers, be sure to check out the rest of Seth’s story in Son of Set (Descendants of Isis #2) and follow where his adventure with Natti takes him.


Release Date: 05/02/14

Summary from Goodreads:

“. . . the Sons would never just let him go—alive.”

Seth O’Keefe has broken the laws of his god. He never thought he would sacrifice his own future to protect a Daughter of Isis. But when the Sons of Set discovered Natti is the Secret Keeper, he had no choice. Now, Seth and Natti are on the run from his father, who wants nothing more than to see Seth dead. With no allies, Seth turns to the Daughters of Isis for help, hoping they would protect Natti. But when they meet the Daughters, he discovers a secret that puts both their lives in more danger. Low on options, Seth sees only one possibility for survival. He must help Natti solve an ancient puzzle and find the secret name of Ra.

Natara “Natti” Stone is having a hard time swallowing the truth. She can’t believe what she has learned in the past twenty-four hours: Seth is a Son of Set blessed with charm; she is a Daughter of Isis blessed with a sliver of Ma ‘at; the locket her grandmother gave her holds an ancient Egyptian secret linking to Osiris and Isis. That along with being tortured and brutalized by the Sons of Set, she can hardly hold herself together. Thank God for Seth’s touch! That warm, tingling sensation that drowns it all out. Yet her heart struggles to stay focused. She must quickly embrace her destiny before the secret name of Ra falls into the wrong hands.

*Note: Content for Upper YA*

Add to your Goodreads shelf.

Buy Links

Son of Set

Daughter of Isis (On sale for $.99 during the week of the tour)


Here's my review of Daughter of Isis. Loved it!





About the Author

During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate.Daughter of Isis is her debut novel.
For more information, please visit her site at 
kelseyketch.com.

Author Links:

***GIVEAWAY***
One lucky winner will get a was scepter pendant (created specially by SilverspotStudio), a hieroglyphic tote bag, and a Son of Set journal (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring into Romance #Giveaway


I've joined quite a few lovely romance authors to give away THREE Amazon gift cards! 

** TWO $50 gift cards**

**one $25 gift card**

Enter the Rafflecopter HERE

Thanks to author Dawna Raver for organizing the event.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: Hard Time by Cara McKenna

Hard TimeHard Time by Cara McKenna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hot for Prisoner

Since Shawshank Redemption and the time I met hero Michael Scofield from the TV show Prison Break, I've been fascinated by prison stories. While this novel captured some of the thrill of a forbidden prison romance, Eric Collier is no Michael Scofield.

Annie Goodhouse is woman in her mid-twenties who recently moved from her hometown of Charleston to a town near Detroit. There are two reasons for her move: 1) a new job as a librarian in Michigan and 2) an ex-boyfriend who abused her in South Carolina.

"I'd needed a change of scenery. A place with snowy winters, where the men spoke in honest, sharp-edged Northern accents, incapable of glazing their empty promises in sweet Southern honey."

One day a week, librarian Annie teaches and mentors at a local prison. There she meets tall, handsome, and quiet inmate Eric. When she helps him with his learning disability, he practices how to write better by penning her the most beautiful love letters, like:

"I like to watch your mouth when you read from that book. I can't tell you what the story's even about but I've got your lips memorized. I shut my eyes sometimes and just listen to how you talk. I've never been with a southern girl but it's like every word you say comes out rolled in sugar. I think about kissing you. Real deep and slow with our eyes closed. Maybe feel your hands on my chest or my back. As I hold your face or your hair. As I got to see if you taste like sugar to match how you sound."

Isn't that so sweet and sexy?

This book had a fantastic beginning. I felt Annie's fear and excitement about helping the inmates, and I swooned over Eric's letters. But the rest of the story didn't enthrall me as much. The author did a great job with the authentic characterization of Eric, a simple man from an impoverished, dysfunctional background, but I just didn't find him very appealing. Perhaps I need a more intellectual hero to turn me on. The sex scenes seemed almost crude at points. This is all a very personal reaction to one character, and some readers may fall for Eric head over handcuffs.

I definitely did enjoy the growth of both Annie and Eric over the course of the story. And the writing was excellent, like this passage:

"His hand closed around mine, strong and possessive. The hand that'd done unspeakable things in the name of brotherly love. A hand capable of the tenderest acts of intimacy and affection. The hand that had penned the most breathtaking letters, for my eyes alone.
View all my reviews

Questions for Romance Readers

1. How much does your individual preference affect your enjoyment of the story?
2. How much erotica do you like in a story?
3. How much "dirty talk" do you like in romance novels? 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The GoldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Development of a Criminal...The Development of a Good Man?

What a fascinating psychological study! This epic story begins when Theo Decker is 13 years old and ends when he's twice that age. Wow, does the author torture him in this story. What does not kill us, makes us stronger? I'm not so sure that's true in this case. Tragic events weaken Theo and it's unclear if he will ever regain his strength.

Theo lives with his mother in New York City after his alcoholic father abandoned them. His beautiful, fun mother has to take him to a late morning disciplinary meeting at school, so they stop in an art museum on the way. Then a terrorist's bomb explodes. The blast rips Theo's life apart when it kills his mother. In the ensuing surreal melee, a dying man insists Theo take "The Goldfinch": a famous painting.

The painting haunts Theo for the rest of the story just like the story has haunted me.

The characterization is raw, real, and detailed, and the author made me care deeply for Theo. Every time he suffers a post-traumatic symptom, I wanted to hug him. Every time he veers into drug use, I wanted to smack his neglectful father. Here's a vivid description of Las Vegas Dad, who has shifted from abusing booze to pills:

From his genial cursing, his infrequent shaving, the relaxed way he talked around the cigarette in the corner of his mouth, it was almost as if he were playing a character: some cool guy from a fifties noir or maybe Ocean's Eleven, a lazy, sated gangster with not much to lose.

Thank goodness for quality mentors like furniture-restorer Hobie, who is connected to the dying man from the museum.

Theo's Ukranian friend Boris is simultaneously endearing and infuriating. Boris is the saving grace to a lonely boy, and the loving shove to a boy perched on the precipice of a deviant, criminal life. I freaking love how Boris nicknames Popper the dog "Popchik".

The writing is exquisite. I dog-eared so many pages with impressive passages, like these:

Tormented by what was happening, yet unable to stop it, I hovered around and watched the apartment vanishing piece by piece, like a bee watching its hive being destroyed.

When I got off the phone, I felt sick -- like someone had just reached a hand in my chest and wrenched loose a lot of ugly wet stuff around my heart.

Spring in New York was always a poisoned time for me, a seasonal echo of my mother's death blowing in with the daffodils, budding trees and blood splashes, a thin spray of hallucination and horror.
(What a vivid description of PTSD)


My moods were a slingshot; after being locked-down and anesthetized for years my heart was zinging and slamming itself around like a bee under a glass, everything bright, sharp, confusing, wrong -- but it was clear pain as opposed to the dull misery that had plagued me for years under the drugs like a rotten tooth, the sick dirty ache of something spoiled.

Speaking of pain, Theo pines for a girl who also survived the museum bomb: Pippa. But she doesn't seem to requite his love.

"Well, girls always love assholes," said Platt, not bothering to dispute this.
No, I thought bleakly, untrue. Else why didn't Pippa love me?


Aww, Theo. You are quite lovable!

One of the reasons I became so involved in the characters is the impressive length of the book: 770 pages. Unlike some readers, I didn't find the story unfocused, though the end did drag just a little. I'm glad I invested the time to read this moving drama.

View all my reviews

Friday, May 2, 2014

New Release: Son of Set by Kelsey Ketch

Son of Set Release Day Banner

SonSet_CVR_SML
Release Date: May 2nd, 2014 
Upper Young Adult Fantasy

Summary from Goodreads:

“. . . the Sons would never just let him go—alive.”

 Seth O’Keefe has broken the laws of his god. He never thought he would sacrifice his own future to protect a Daughter of Isis. But when the Sons of Set discovered Natti is the Secret Keeper, he had no choice. Now, Seth and Natti are on the run from his father, who wants nothing more than to see Seth dead. With no allies, Seth turns to the Daughters of Isis for help, hoping they would protect Natti. But when they meet the Daughters, he discovers a secret that puts both their lives in more danger. Low on options, Seth sees only one possibility for survival. He must help Natti solve an ancient puzzle and find the secret name of Ra.

 Natara “Natti” Stone is having a hard time swallowing the truth. She can’t believe what she has learned in the past twenty-four hours: Seth is a Son of Set blessed with charm; she is a Daughter of Isis blessed with a sliver of Ma ‘at; the locket her grandmother gave her holds an ancient Egyptian secret linking to Osiris and Isis. That along with being tortured and brutalized by the Sons of Set, she can hardly hold herself together. Thank God for Seth’s touch! That warm, tingling sensation that drowns it all out. Yet her heart struggles to stay focused. She must quickly embrace her destiny before the secret name of Ra falls into the wrong hands.

 *Note: Content for Upper YA*

                                                                   5fb6b-addtogoodreadsblack

Available at:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg  photo smashwordsicon_zps931b0409.jpg
Book One: (Linked to Goodreads)

DaughterIsis_CVR_LRG

***Daughter of Isis is Free for Today Only at:***

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***Some Praise for Daughter of Isis***

"Daughter of Isis is an addicting and enthralling read brimming with Egyptian mythology. Readers will be pulled into the story after simply reading a page!" —Emily, Reader Rising

“I always enjoy a good book about Mythology and Daughter of Isis brings a thrilling modern day spin to one of the tales. Kelsey Ketch wove the story perfectly and sucked me right into her magnificent world.” —Naomi, Nomi's Paranormal Palace

***Excerpt From Son of Set***

***Warning: Excerpt May Contain Spoilers***

Chapter 1

Seth wrung a blood-soaked hand towel until the fabric pinched the flesh of his aching palms. Droplets of Natti’s diluted blood trickled into the running water. When the cotton began to dry, he drowned it again and wrung it out even tighter. Yet, no matter how sore his hands were, the haunting bloodstains on the towel wouldn’t wash away. Exhausted and frustrated, he tossed the towel into the basin. He slammed the faucet off, leaned over the counter, and stared at his reflection. Dark circles and black kohl accented his turquoise eyes. Large, swollen bruises coated his lightly tanned skin, each screaming with the slightest movement. Dry blood encrusted his wrists. His back ached and his knees were coated with grime. Even so, his injuries carried little pain compared to the memories he was still trying to process: his own father, Sean, drawing Seth’s Glock 38 on him at the hospital; being chained down in Set’s Temple and listening to Natti’s screams while his father dosed her with synthetic scorpion venom; watching Sean enslave her essence; seeing the ceremonial dagger poised over her breast. Seth shoved his fingers through his copper hair, trying to force the images out of his mind.

 A soft moan, a harsh groan, and then a scream echoed from the next room. Seth’s overwhelmed system surged with adrenaline. He raced into the bedroom of the hotel room. Natti had her back pressed against the pillows and headboard as she manically swiped at the old, floral bedcover. She abruptly withdrew her hand with another scream and began to cower, her knees brought up to her chest.

“I don’t know,” she bellowed. “I don’t know.”

“Natti?” Seth rushed to her side. He stared at the bedcover, trying to determine who or what she was shouting at.

Natti turned her glassy eyes to him with a gasp. She scrambled sideways, and Seth had to catch her before she fell over the edge of the king-sized bed. Her panicky screams transformed into desperate cries for help. Afraid someone would hear her, Seth quickly covered her mouth. She struggled against him for a brief moment before she finally went limp in his arms. Her silver-violet eyes were filled with fear.

“Shh,” Seth cooed, trying to keep his own heart from leaping out of his chest. He stared into the eyes that had bewitched him on the first day they met. When she looked back at him, it was like she was gazing at a stranger. He swallowed a lump that formed in his throat and slowly raised his fingers from her lips.

“I don’t know,” she whimpered. “I don’t know. I swear, I don’t know.”

“Natti, it’s me,” Seth whispered, mentally begging the gods to help her. “It’s Seth. We met at school in mid-September. I rescued you at the festival. I helped you escape from the temple. Don’t you remember?”

Her body tensed under his hold, and her gaze went wild while she scanned the room. “Oh God, please. . . . I don’t know.”

“Natti.”

She wasn’t paying any attention to him. Her eyes were beginning to dilate, and her body vibrated with fear. Seth finally called on his blessing from Set, his magical charm, to try to calm her, but her mind was too wired and her veins throbbed under his touch. She suddenly screeched and thrashed violently in his arms.

 “No. No, stop. I don’t know.” Her anxiety was building. Grabbing hold of her flying fists, Seth pinned her down on the bed. Her back arched and her legs kicked while she attempted to wrench herself from his grasp.

 “Natti, stop,” he ordered. “Stop!”

***Giveaway***

Daughter of Isis Journal and Natti Swag Pack (INT) -> 

Kelsey Ketch

During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate. For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.

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