Friday, June 24, 2016

Virtual Tour w/Giveaway: From Fake to Forever by Jennifer Shirk

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Jennifer Shirk
Released June 6th, 2016
Entangled Bliss

Sandra Moyer’s preschool is struggling, so when her sister suggests allowing a super-famous actor to research his latest role there, she reluctantly agrees. Except the actor turns out to be Ben Capshaw—a playboy who’s never serious, always joking around, and who knows zero about kids or being a parent. Case in point: his involvement in the untimely death of the preschool’s class pet…

Ben is enjoying teaching more than he thought he would, but that doesn’t mean he’s looking for a permanent position. Sure, he’s ready for more serious movie roles and less goofing off, but the buttoned-up, beautiful Sandra and her young daughter are more than he bargained for. Plus, Sandra still won’t trust him—what if it’s all an act, research for the role? As the lines between make-believe and reality blur, Ben will have to decide if love is worth casting aside the role of his life for a new role…that could last a lifetime.

Previously released as The Role of a Lifetime - (May 2008) and has been enhanced with new material.

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Ben stood up and walked over to the windows, grabbing the attention of Missy and the rest of the class. His eyes swept around the floor a few seconds, and then he finally saw it. Holy crap, how could he not? That thing was huge.
“What’s the matter, Big Bens?” he heard Missy ask.
“Nothing.” Gargantuan spider, actually. But he didn’t want to announce that in case there were any squeamish kids in the room.
It was one mother of an ugly insect and—now that it began to move—remarkably fast for possessing those thick little legs. Being the he-man he was, he wasn’t about to let it get away so it could boast to all its hairy little friends. So he grabbed a heavy dictionary off the shelf, aimed, and then let the book drop. “Got it!” he called out.

The children shrieked. His head whipped up and around, trying to sort through the sudden mayhem. He’d had absolutely no idea ten little preschoolers had the ability to create enough noise to blow out an eardrum, but at that precise moment there was enough sound to fill a stadium. But even among the loud chatter, he heard some of the kids cry out, “Herbie!”
That thing had a name?
Ben’s eyes shot to Missy for an explanation, but she just stood there like a corpse with wide eyes bulging out and a hand raised to her mouth. Oh-kay. He obviously wasn’t going to get any support in that corner. He was officially on his own.
Great. Now what? He was going to make things much worse if he picked up the book and allowed the class to see the smeared-up guts of Herbie, so he simply froze, wishing for some big hook to come and yank him away.
Then his wish was granted.
Sandra, aka big hook, appeared at the door of the classroom with her no-nonsense line of attack that stomped out all the commotion around them. Oh, man. She was not looking happy with him, either—not that he’d seen her looking any other way. More bad timing on his part. She had a way of popping in on him when he wasn’t exactly his best. Too bad he couldn’t have screenwriters helping him out with choice lines in real life, because he could sure use a witty one now. Coming up with nothing on his own, he hiked his shoulders up at her, hoping she’d take it as a white flag being waved. However, Sandra didn’t seem ready to declare peace.
“Ah, Mr. Ben, a word, please?”
Uh-oh. This was bad. She was giving him an even more snotty tone than she had first used on him. He had to be more careful with what he wished for in the future. No more big hooks. Next time, he’d be much more specific and wish for a scantily clad woman with more than a significant amount of appreciation for movie stars. But one who still looked exactly like Sandra.

Where did that thought come from?
Sandra turned and disappeared, not waiting for his response. He supposed she thought it was automatic, a given that he’d ask how high when she said jump. But he followed her out anyway. Even the wrath of Miss Sandra was better than staring into the shocked little faces of those poor kids. He obviously needed more child training than he thought.
Once they were out in the hallway, he quickly tried to make amends. “Okay, maybe I didn’t use good judgment in that particular circumstance. But I—”
“Our theme this month is bugs,” Sandra informed him, pointing to the countless decorations of various bugs throughout the hall. “Are you blind or something?”
Ben took in his surroundings and blinked, strangely noticing them for the very first time. Hmm. Well, what do you know about that? “, I saw your little bug things hanging around.”
“Right.” She shot him a withering glare before entering her of office.
He followed her in, running a hand over the top of his head. “Okay, I didn’t know. But I didn’t commit a felony, either. Like you never killed a bug before.”
“Never in front of the children.”
“What are you, some kind of tree hugger? Did you see that thing? It was a gross-looking spider.”
She whirled around to face him. “Yes, I know! Herbie, that gross-looking spider as you call it, is dead thanks to you.”
“Now, how was I supposed to know you had some kind of freaky school mascot?” he shot back. “What kind of place are you running here, anyway? Your daughter told me there was a bug. I saw it, the thing was scary and hairy, and I reacted. As an actor, I’m used to going with my emotions.”
Her arms folded tighter than a bed waiting for basic- training inspection. Her sleeveless cream-colored turtleneck accentuated her tanned, beautifully sculpted arms, and as she cocked her head, studying him—no, judging—with eyes like two deadly blue arrows, he’d never seen anyone look as captivating or as alluring in his life. And as a man—not an actor—he wanted to react to that as well.

Q & A with Jennifer Shirk
Hi, and thanks for your questions! I'm excited to be on your blog!

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

Oh, boy, so many. My first writing influence was Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She made me crack up laughing so hard that I knew I wanted to write funny too. I also was influenced by Meg Cabot, Tracey Bateman, and Lisa Kleypas.

Share a funny incident in your life.
Well, I'll share one. Although it wasn't funny at the time! At the rehearsal dinner of my wedding, our priest kept forgetting our names. So he kept just calling us "John" and "Martha". How hard is Jeff and Jennifer to remember?! I was like, "Um, can we REHEARSE with our actual names please?" Luckily, all went well the day of the wedding. Whew!

Who was your favorite hero/heroine your or another author
I have to say, I ADORE Jack and Sabrina in my book Fiancé by Fate. They were just so much fun to write and their chemistry sizzles on page as a result.

Have you ever had one character you wanted to go one way with but after the book was done the character was totally different.
Actually, YES! In my book, Sunny Days for Sam, my hero Sam was supposed to be a fun but overworked father. However, he turned kind of reserved and even began scaring me. LOL I tried to then make him quiet and serious but it turned out he was a little more "dark" and tortured. I had to tone him down a lot before publication. Funny how that happened.

What’s you next project?
Well, I'm currently writing my next Entangled Bliss book called Perfect on Paper. It is #3 and the last in the "Anyone but You" series. It's been interesting to write because it will take place at Christmas time so I've been trying to get into the holiday spirit. ☺

Your favorite book by you or another author

It's probably depends on what day it is when you ask me—it could change at anytime--but for now I would have to say Nobody's Baby but Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. It's just so fun and sweet at the same time and never fails to put a smile on my face.

Clean shaven, Scruff, beard, or mustache. Tattoos yea/nay

This really depends on the guy. But I would say more times than not, Clean Shaven--but I don't mind a little scruff if a guy can carry it. No tattoos—unless it happens to be MY name on his arm. LOL!

This was fun! Thanks again for having me!
Happy Reading,

4 1/2 Stars

What a refreshing, fun, clean  read From Fake to Forever was, it had me giggling through the whole book. I loved the banter between Ben & Sandra, you could just feel the attraction they were both fighting for each other, more with Sandra with her bad relationship with her ex, who was an actor, which left a bad taste in her mouth when it became to other gorgeous actors.  I just fell in love with Sandra’s little girl Hannah, she was so adorable, any man could fall in love with this little girl, well all except her own father. If you are looking for a great beach read or vacation read I recommend you pick up a copy of From Fake to Forever & find out why Jennifer Shirk has gained a new reader. Thank you to Tasty Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read & review From Fake to Forever.

Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.

She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Avalon Books/Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. She won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME. Recently, her novel SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM won the 2013 Golden Quill Published Authors Contest for Best Traditional Romance.

Lately she's been on a serious exercise kick. But don't hold that against her.

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Virtual Tour w/Giveaway: Heavy Hitters by Taylor V. Donovan

His toughest opponent is himself.

Caribbean Tales #1
Taylor V. Donovan
Releasing June 24th, 2016

His toughest opponent is himself.

World Boxing Champion Santino Malavé González has been fighting since he was a kid. Poverty, domestic violence, and emotional abuse were early contenders. Guilt and self-loathing were beaten into him at an impressionable age, and now machismo, an integral part of the Latino culture, rules his life. In the ring he’s undefeated. Outside the ropes life constantly hits him below the belt. It takes a sucker punch from his best friend to finally knock the denial out of him and force him to face his true nature like a real man.

A natural born entertainer, Luca Jenaro Betancur Ferrer has grown up serving God, performing, pursuing a career in music, and celebrating life among his tight-knit Catholic family under the scorching Puerto Rican sun. Singing the wrong note on stage is not a mistake the multi-platinum award-winning singer would ever allow. Falling in love with a man is not a transgression his devout family may ever accept. The ties that bind him are strong, but the pull toward his childhood best friend may just be enough to tear it all to shreds.

Anger, mistakes, bigotry, and the need to conform put up a good fight throughout their life journeys. Their religious and chauvinistic society constantly challenges their pursuit of happiness, and only time will tell if their relationship will survive the battles, or if they’ll lose each other by technical knockout. 

*Standalone Gay Romance Saga

Pre-Order Links Available Soon
Check Taylor's website for more information

Julito looked at their mom, nodded quickly, and took a deep breath before he asked in a taunting voice, “Did it ever occur to you the reason me and Héctor didn’t make it as boxers is because you’re a lousy trainer?”
Oh, Jesus, Santi thought, his gaze darting between his brother and his mom. What’s happening? What is he doing? Why isn’t Ma telling him to let it go, like she always does?
“Fuck you, cabrón,” Papi snarled, punching Julito’s ribcage. “How dare you say that to me?” He tried to headbutt his way out of Julito’s hold to no avail. “You think you could’ve done better without me? You think your brother could’ve won a single amateur bout without my guidance? You really think he can get anywhere without having me to teach him how to fight and how to be a man? Go out and try to fight again, maricón. I’ll just sit here and watch you fail.”
“I don’t need you to teach me anything,” Santi barked, even though he would’ve done anything to have his dad’s support. “I’ll show you I can win. I will win every single fight. I’ll win at everything for the rest of my life!”
“Shut the hell up!” Papi yelled. “Shut up.” The more he yelled, the more pronounced the veins on his forehead became. His face was so red Santi had no problems seeing it in the dark, and his neck was so tense it looked like it was about to snap. He punched Julito in the head and kicked his shin. “You won’t get anywhere without me.” He twisted his body and finally got away. “None of you will, and I won’t have you say otherwise in my house. This is my house. Mine. You either respect me or get the fuck out!”
Santi couldn’t be sure, but he thought he saw relief flash in Julito’s eyes.

“This is our house,” Julito said in a mocking tone. “The only reason we aren’t on the streets is because Tío Benny took pity on us and let Mami have this ranch. Did you conveniently forget you drank the mortgage money away and made us lose our house? Because I haven’t forgotten—none of us have!”
“Did you tell them about that?” Papi demanded to know, taking a step toward the bed and pointing at Mami. “Did you put me down in front of my kids?”
“She didn’t have to tell us.” Omayra snorted. “We aren’t stupid.”
“And we have no respect for you, you miserable drunk,” Julito added.
“All of this is your fault,” Papi yelled at Mami, nostrils flaring and spittle building up in the corners of his mouth. “You gave birth to a fucking pato and made me lose the respect of my kids to boot. You’re a fucking disgrace. Worst woman I’ve ever met.”
Julito’s face twisted in disgust. “You’re the only disgrace in this house.”
“Get out of here.” Papi pushed Julito and then grabbed a bottle of alcohol from the dresser and threw it against the wall. It was promptly followed by a brush, a coffee mug, and a jar of Vicks VapoRub. “Se me van pa’l carajo los tres. Get the fuck out right now.”
“I’m not gay,” Santi whispered for the hundredth time. Mami was right. He hadn’t done anything with another boy, and if he’d thought he wanted to kiss a boy it was because he was curious—that was all! “I swear I’m not. Why won’t you believe me?"
“I never meant to give you a gay kid,” Mami said quietly. “I’m sorry I couldn’t do better with him.”
Papi roared.
Julito grunted.
Santi gasped when a pair of strong hands wrapped around his throat.
“I knew it,” Papi snarled, squeezing harder. Was he trying to strangle him? “You’re dead to me, you hear me? I don’t want to see you ever again.”
Tears spilling from his eyes, Santi reached back and grabbed his dad’s head. He tried not to panic by breathing rapidly through his nose.
“Let him go,” Julito yelled. Santi’s body jerked every time Julito tried to pull Papi away from him.
“Leave my brother alone,” Omayra shrieked, jumping on the bed and grasping Papi’s fingers. “You’re killing him.”
“Please, let him go.” Santi was still trying to make sense out of his mom’s betrayal when she moved Omayra out of the way and put her hands on Papi’s shoulders. “You’ll get arrested if you kill him, and he’s not worth going to jail for,” she whispered, staring at Santi. She looked sad, but she also looked determined. “You heard your dad,” she continued. “You’re dead to him. Get out of this house and never come back.”
“All of you,” Papi yelled. “I want all of you out of my house.” He let go of Santi’s neck and slapped Mami. “You destroyed my life, desgraciá. You destroyed my son’s future, and you’re going to pay for it.”
“Do as he says,” Mami sobbed, pressing her hand to her bruised cheek. “Go!
“Ma, no,” Santi whispered. He didn’t want to leave her in the room with his dad. He might beat her badly before passing out.
“I said go,” she barked, sliding off the other side of the bed, farthest from the door. “Get out, all of you. Julito, take your brother and sister and get out.”
“But Ma, you can’t stay—”
“Don’t argue with me, Omayra.” Mami covered her face with her arms at the same time Papi’s fist landed on her head. “I love you, mamita. Now, go,” she said one more time, then she sobbed.
Julito didn’t hesitate. He grabbed Santi’s arm and rushed him and Omayra out of the room.
“We can’t leave her with him,” Omayra said, trying to break free of Julito’s hold.
“She thinks she has to stay,” Julito said as he entered his and Santi’s bedroom and pulled four bags out of the small closet. “She’s convinced it’s the only way.”
“We’ve got to do something,” Santi argued, his attention firmly focused on the noises coming from his parents’ bedroom. There was a crash. A thud. A yelp. He took a shuddering breath. “He’s going to kill her.”
“He can barely stay up,” Julito pointed out. “He’ll pass out in no time, and we’ve got to be out of here before he decides to come after us.” He handed one bag to Omayra and another to Santi along with a chiding look. “Hopefully he’ll be so ashamed of you that he’ll leave us alone for the rest of our lives.”
Santi’s eyes grew hot, and he was hit with yet another pang of nausea.
He felt like the biggest scum of the earth—like his brothers and sisters knew he was the main reason life in their house was hell, and they all hated him for it. “What’s in the bags?” Omayra asked, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
“Clothes for a few days and a pair of shoes—stuff to start us out.”
His brother had gone through his things, and he’d taken the time to light a candle before going to their mom’s bedroom. He’d been prepared. Clearly he’d known all along they’d be leaving this house.
Omayra pressed her bag to her chest. “Where are we going?”
“We can’t just leave,” Santi rasped.
Julito grabbed his wallet and shoved it in his back pocket. “We must, and we are.”
“Wants you out of here so that you can do something useful with your life,” Julito cut him off. “Should’ve kept your mouth shut if you wanted to stay in this stupid house.”
Santi swayed on his feet and hung his head—his brother’s words a hard blow to the chest.
Julito was right, though. Santi should’ve never said a word to his mom.
“But I have school,” Omayra protested. “I don’t want to—”
“You’ve got exactly thirty seconds to run to your room and get your diary and favorite books,” Julito said over his shoulder. “Thirty seconds, Omayra, or we’ll go without your stuff.”
“I’ll be right back.” She rushed down the hall.
“Put on your shoes,” Julito ordered Santi in a gruff voice, “and go wait in my car.”
Santi’s chin trembled. Tears burst from his eyes.
So this was really happening, then. He’d been thrown out. Not even his mom wanted him in the house.
Biting down on his lower lip, Santi stepped forward and started taking his Tito Camacho newspapers clippings from the wall. They were his inspiration. He wasn’t leaving them behind. “I need my bracelets, too,” he mumbled.
“Here.” Julito moved Santi’s pillow to the side and gave them to him. “You won’t care about those cheap beads in a few months, but Luca’s your best friend, so, whatever.” He shrugged. “I already put all your letters from him in your bag along with your copies of The Secret Garden and The Little Prince.”
Santi wrapped his fingers around his most precious possession without saying a word. He didn’t move a muscle as he watched Julito gather things in the dimly lit room either, but he winced every time his mom cried out.
She was getting the shit kicked out of her, and it was his fault.
The only reason I hit her is because she gave me a maricón for a son.
Santi rubbed his belly and swallowed hard. “I don’t think Tío David got AIDS, and the landslide story’s bullshit. He isn’t dead,” he mumbled, “but the family likes to pretend that he is.”
From what he could tell, the family had no idea of what had happened to Tío David after they disowned him. They didn’t give a shit if he was scared or homeless, and how could they? What kind of heartless monster acted like that? No one deserved that treatment from their own family—not even if they were gay.
Julito frowned. “What are you talking about?”
Gays are considered sexual deviants that shouldn’t be allowed around kids. His mom’s words soared into his mind and heart like a wild fire, consuming his most private fantasies and turning his decision of telling Luca about himself into ashes. You can’t be like David. I’ll die if you’re ever treated the way he was.
“Nothing,” Santi whispered, wishing he could ask his uncle if being gay and wanting to have sex with little boys were really the same thing.
But he knew he wouldn’t.
David could appear in front of him out of thin air right this second, and Santi wouldn’t ask anything related to being a maricón. His uncle would wonder about his interest, and there was no way Santi could be honest with him. It was too risky… too dangerous… too fucking painful.
He’d never tell anyone else what was in his mind and his heart. He was burying that shit tonight.

Q & A with Taylor V. Donovan
Hello, everyone!

My name is Taylor V. Donovan and I’m an author of gay romance and suspense. Those of you who have read my work already know my stories are mostly inspired by everyday situations. For those of you who have yet to read my work and have absolutely no clue what to expect, I’ll tell you that realism is my “thing.” There’s no magic penis that’ll cure anything and everything, but my characters are full of love, commitment, hope, and determination to be happy. Also, making my readers part of my characters’ journey is my main goal. The ride is never a quick or easy, but hopefully you’ll feel emotionally invested.

As you may or may not know, I was on hiatus for a while, but I *finally* have a new story coming out. Heavy Hitters has a release date of June 24th. Thanks to Eskie Mama for having me over and giving me a platform to introduce myself and announce the release. Hope you all check it out!

What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Probably J.R. Ward. I love writing ensemble stories with multiple points of view.

Tell us something you hate doing. Why?
I break out in hives at the thought of blogging, mainly because it requires talent and skills I don’t have. I can write a 200,000 words story, but I can’t manage a 1,000 words blog without thinking it completely sucks.

Share a funny incident in your life.
This one is writing related, and it was cute.
A few years ago I was at the Rainbow Book Fair in NYC with several members of our readers and authors group. We’re talking and having a good time when one of the ladies points across the room and goes “Oh, my God, looks who’s there!” So we all look, and everybody gets super excited when they see this tall, hulky, bearded guy standing by one of the tables across the room. And off they go to talk to him.

Dying of curiosity, I followed suit. The guy was super nice and posed for pictures and everything, but he looked bewildered. Then he goes, “I need to ask. How is it that a bunch of women know who I am?” Turns out the guy was Colby Keller, one of Cocky Boys most popular performers. And that day he got a crash course on gay romance. We’re expanding the genre one person *or porn star* at a time. *g*

What's your pet peeve?
Books featuring Hispanic characters where the extent of their culture is a bunch of Spanish words. No. Just…no. Mexicans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, et al, we are culturally different, not to say extremely proud of our individual heritage. Authors, please. Do your research. Stop treating us like we’re interchangeable.

When you are in writer mode, music or no music? If music, do you have a playlist?
Definitely music. I have a playlist for every book I’ve written. The one for Heavy Hitters includes reggaeton, which is one on the genres Luca sings. Check it out on Spotify!

Who was your favorite hero/heroine.
I admit my fictional favorite hero is one of my own—Cedric Haughton-Disley from Disasterology 101. He has the kind of OCD that could keep a person isolated for life, but he’s brave and determined. I learned a lot about myself while writing him.

Have you ever had one character you wanted to go one way with but after the book was done the character was totally different.
Logan Brandenburg from my first series, By Degrees. The person he turned out to be caught me by surprise.

Taylor V. Donovan is a compulsive reader and author of gay romance and suspense. She is optimistically cynical about humanity and a lover of history, museums, and all things 80s. She shamelessly indulges in mind-numbing reality television, is crazy about fashion, and passionate about civil rights and equality for all.

When she’s not writing or making a living in the busiest city in the world, Taylor can be found raising her two daughters and their terribly misbehaved furry baby in their home.

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