Author Spotlight: Tamara Morgan

facebook twitter

Are you ready for the second book in the Montgomery Manor series? Tamara Morgan is back and here to tell you all about the life of a writer and her new book, When I Fall.

Occupational Hazards of Being a Writer by Tamara Morgan

We don’t always like to think about our jobs contributing to our health and happiness in a negative way, but every career path comes with its own occupational hazards. The most obvious one for writers is author’s butt (it’s a real thing, just ask around), but I don’t intend to spend the next paragraph outlining the ways eight or more hours in a chair every day can, er, reshape the body.

For me, the real occupational hazard of being an author has been how quickly I’ve become an eavesdropper. And not just any eavesdropper—a shameless one. I’ll pretend to read a book for hours while a couple at a nearby table enjoys their first date. I’ll convince my kid to play in the deep end of the pool so I can hear all about a distraught teen’s latest breakup. Everything about ordinary life—complicated relationships with parents and the stresses of a new job, that barista who has a strange fear of men in too-tight pants—gets absorbed and stored inside my sneaky writer’s brain.

So if you see a strange woman hanging from the monkey bars as you enjoy an early morning chat with friends, never fear. I’m just trying to get close enough to learn your secrets.

About When I Fall

when I fallBook two of Montgomery Manor

Socialite Rebecca Clare gets through life one vodka tonic at a time. Emotionally shattered after her best friend’s death, she’s cast as the latest pseudo-celebrity screwup and hounded by paparazzi 24/7. So naturally, the cameras are rolling when she gets into a scrap at a club (he started it). But then an unexpected white knight steps in.

Playing caretaker isn’t Jake Montgomery’s usual role, but Becca is his stepmother’s little sister. As they bond over their bad reputations, they find they have a lot more in common than the spotlight. When a photo of the nightclub incident goes viral, it raises protective instincts that Jake never knew he had. What better way to save Becca—and the family—from scandal than by claiming he’s her fiancé?

Becca agrees to play along, never expecting a fake engagement to feel so right. But she’s vowed never to depend on a man for happiness; how can Jake convince her that falling in love is worth the risk?


What Readers Are Saying About Tamara Morgan…


“With a fun and hot romance and a new and different plot The Rebound Girl by Tamara Morgan has gotten me hooked.” –Amazon review, The Rebound Girl



“All in all, Tamara’s a wonderful writer. She’s got humor, sexiness, family drama and awesome characters.” –Goodreads review, The Derby Girl


“With a completely fresh plot, witty and entertaining dialog, hot sexy encounters, characters who have something to prove to themselves, and dynamic writing The Derby Girl is a must read for romance lovers and an excellent addition to an already strong series.” –Goodreads review, The Derby Girl



“Tamara Morgan continues to be one of my favorite authors and If I Stay is an amazing start to a new series.” –Amazon review, If I Stay




Stay up to date on all things Tamara Morgan on her website, and be sure to follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

Music and Mayhem: the World of Cherry St. Croix

facebook twitter

By Karina Cooper, author of ENGRAVED

Whenever I write a project, I have a playlist or a type of music I dedicate solely to that project. This has made for some interesting compilations over the years, across several platforms. A lot of my contemporary and “for fun” listening playlists appear on Spotify, while I use Grooveshark for much of my fantasy worldbuilding.

Cherry, however, was different.

Throughout most of her misadventures, I relied on classical music to carry me through the bulk of it. Everything from Baroque symphonies to the Romantic Period classics, every step above the drift and below was punctuated by a score from periods past. Yet as I wrote Engraved and Transmuted, I relied heavily on three scores: The Black Swan and the combined scores of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

To be fair, when I first sat down to work on Engraved, I fell back on my classicals. What could possibly go wrong with Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and all the other greats?

Turns out, not wrong so much as not right. As I was writing, I realized something was missing. There just wasn’t enough… creep. I needed creep. So where else to turn but movie scores?

Now, as I write the final pages for Transmuted to Angels & Demons’ ‘God Particle’, I can’t help but be grateful for these marvelous composers and the atmosphere their music inspires. From the thick, devil-fog below to the gilded cage of above, from the Midnight Menagerie’s manicured lawns to the circus terrors it inspires, the misadventures of Cherry St. Croix are punctuated beautifully by the haunting, ambient scores of musical geniuses.

And there’s a side benefit to this: when I wake up to an earworm in my head, as I did earlier, then the music helps drown that out!

So if you’re reading Engraved and wondering what Transmuted will have in store for you come January, give these scores a listen. Who knows, maybe they’ll inspire your own misadventure!

Tell me, adventurous ones: what’s your favorite music to listen to as you write, read, or go about your days?



ENGRAVED by Karina Cooper

Cherry St. Croix returns to the fog-ridden streets of Victorian London, where the balance of power threatens all that she loves.

I will not wither without laudanum. Sober and determined, I have chosen another way– alchemy, and the pursuit of wellness it embodies. My name is Cherry St. Croix, and though freedom is finally at my fingertips, I return to the blackened streets intent on righting the wrongs I’d left behind.

All is not well in London low. Caught in a war between gangs, men are torn limb from limb, and I am called on to ascertain how. The immoral Karakash Veil is no doubt involved, and Micajah Hawke, a prisoner in his own Menagerie, cannot soften the danger this time.

Armed with the alchemical arts I have learned, my ever present guardian, and what few friends are left to me, I embark on a campaign to rescue the ringmaster I cannot abandon, save the Brick Street Bakers from annihilation, and finally face that which frightens me the most–my own heart.

Book five of the St. Croix Chronicles

Connect with Karina Cooper: Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | website

From Soup to Pucks

facebook twitter

By Kate Willoughby, author of ACROSS THE LINE

Because I love cooking and hockey, when I set out to write Across the Line, I thought it would be fun to pair a hockey player and a chef together and see what happened.


Alexander Klyuch via Wikimedia Commons.

I knew the hero, Calder Griffin, would play for the San Diego Barracudas, the NHL team I had established in On the Surface, the first In the Zone book. What I needed was a trendy, unique restaurant for the chef heroine, Becca Chen, and I needed it to be in an area called the Ithaca Commons in New York. After a lot of thought, I eventually decided lettuce cups—crisp, cold leaves of lettuce with savory fillings— were the way to go. An imaginative chef could create dozens of different types of lettuce cups. As I wrote chapter two, I found I needed to mention and describe specific items she had on her menu. Some of the ideas I came up with were a little out there and came straight from my imagination, like the Duck Duck Goose Lettuce Cup – seasoned ground duck and goose, scrambled duck egg, julienne carrots, zucchini, bean sprouts and hoisin sauce. Some were more familiar, like the BLT Lettuce Cup, with recipes easily found on the Internet. Speaking of Internet recipes, I thought you might like the one I found for the BLT Lettuce Cup from With only five ingredients, it’s only 160 calories! I found another one (vegetarian) from that’s only eight ingredients: Spicy Cashew Lettuce Wraps. Do you have any quick and easy recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients? (They don’t have to be for lettuce wraps.) If so, I’d love to hear about them! And if the idea of a hockey player and a chef finding love sounds good, check out my second hockey romance, Across the Line. If you prefer reading series books in sequence, start with On the Surface.

Kate Willoughby happily writes her hockey romances in Southern California. She is married and has two sons, a dog, and a betta fish. When she’s not writing, she’s watching hockey. When it’s not hockey season, she whines a lot. Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

acrossthelineCalder Griffin needs to get back in shape. Sidelined last season by a knee injury, he’s determined to return to the San Diego Barracudas and play the best hockey of his career. This might even be the year he gets out of his talented older brother’s shadow. For months, Becca Chen has poured her energy into Cups, the restaurant she owns, desperate to prove to her parents that she can succeed in the career of her choice, not theirs. But after she spends a five-hour plane ride flirting with charming, magic-on-the-ice Calder, she tells herself she needs a fling. Becca and Calder can’t keep their hands off each other, but they know the relationship can’t last. They live on opposite coasts, and they’re both too devoted to their careers. All they have to do is prevent their feelings from crossing the line from lust to love…


The Scenes that Stick With Us

facebook twitter

By Tamara Morgan, author of WHEN I FALL

There are certain scenes from books and movies that we seem to be unable to shake. Meg Ryan faking an orgasm in the middle of a diner in When Harry Met Sally, Emma Thompson sobbing at Hugh Grant in Sense and Sensibility, Colin Firth emerging soaking wet from the pond at Pemberley—these are the types of iconic scenes that stick with us months and even years after we first experience them.

It’s impossible to know, going in, exactly what kinds of scenes will stick most with an audience. While authors and filmmakers can do their best to manufacture these moments of grand romance, it’s usually the little things that make the biggest impact. Forget the sweeping gestures—it’s the hero in Kristan Higgin’s Just One of the Guys slowing down to run with the heroine, the kissing in the rain scene in Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels that really make me swoon.

In When I Fall, the scene that stands out in my mind as a personal favorite is the proposal scene. (Since this is an engagement-of-convenience story, it’s safe for me to confess there’s a proposal. Spoiler alert: it’s not real.) I won’t go into the details, since that really would spoil things, but it’s probably the least romantic proposal of marriage of all time, since the hero is mostly annoyed while he’s making it.

Every time I pick up the book to search for a quote or a passage for promotion reasons, I end up right back at those pages for a quick re-read. And then I smile. And then I get excited for readers to experience it too.

I can’t promise the scene will stick with you the same way it does with me, but I do hope you’ll find something between Becca and Jake to celebrate. They share plenty of grand, sweeping moments and smaller, quiet ones—so no matter what kinds of moments have the biggest impact on you, you’re sure to find one to fit!

when I fallWhen I Fall (Montgomery Manor #2)

Socialite Rebecca Clare gets through life one vodka tonic at a time. Emotionally shattered after her best friend’s death, she’s cast as the latest pseudo-celebrity screwup and hounded by paparazzi 24/7. So naturally, the cameras are rolling when she gets into a scrap at a club (he started it). But then an unexpected white knight steps in.


Playing caretaker isn’t Jake Montgomery’s usual role, but Becca is his stepmother’s little sister. As they bond over their bad reputations, they find they have a lot more in common than the spotlight. When a photo of the nightclub incident goes viral, it raises protective instincts that Jake never knew he had. What better way to save Becca—and the family—from scandal than by claiming he’s her fiancé?


Becca agrees to play along, never expecting a fake engagement to feel so right. But she’s vowed never to depend on a man for happiness; how can Jake convince her that falling in love is worth the risk?

 Available from Carina Press.

Tamara Morgan is a contemporary romance author of humorous, heartfelt stories with flawed heroes and heroines designed to get your hackles up and make your heart melt. Her long-lived affinity for romance novels survived a B.A. degree in English Literature, after which time she discovered it was much more fun to create stories than analyze the life out of them.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Energy on Both Sides of the Stage

facebook twitter

By Nico Rosso, author of MÉNAGE WITH THE MUSE

CARINA_0814_-9781426898792_MenageWithTheMuseBook three of Demon Rock

What happens when two very different satyr rock stars find their Muse…and discover it’s the same woman?

Musician Mia Dillon’s having the week of her life. Sharing the stage with the world’s biggest acts at a hedonistic festival is a rush, but she discovers new thrills as she frees her sensual side. A brief flirtation with sexy drummer Wolfgang quickly escalates as they lose themselves in wild music and the desert heat.

And then there’s Ethan. Silent, almost samurai-like, he’s the best guitarist she’s ever seen. He’s broken out of his quiet reserve just for her.

But Wolfgang and Ethan share two secrets. One: they’re demons. Two: they’re starving. The ancient rules of demons have shifted and if they don’t feed soon, the lights will go out for good. Mia’s energy has marked her as The One…for both of them.

 Mia’s never had two men—let alone two demons—at once. Nobody’s heard of demons sharing a Muse, either. But the three of them make a sexual melody unlike anything else. Mia’s never felt so alive, but with the enemy growing closer by the minute, it will take everything Wolfgang and Ethan have to keep her that way.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a band perform live. The music becomes more immediate. Even if you’ve heard the songs a thousand times, you don’t know where the musicians and singers might take you. Solos change, lyrics change. What might seem like a flaw in a recording studio is part of the excitement of a live show.

You’ve probably heard Tina Turner do “Proud Mary,” now see how different the live performance is (where she has what looks like a million people in the palm of her hand).

But what about the other side of the stage? What’s it like to get up in front of an audience and perform without a net, for everyone to see?

I’m not a musician, but I did some acting in high school and college and got a taste of the interaction between the performer and the crowd. Even though everything I was doing was scripted, with little room for improv, the energy of the people still had a lot to do with the way the show played out.

If the audience isn’t very engaged, the actor can try harder to pull them in, but that can seem forced. A raucous crowd, keyed to every beat of the show, can drive the energy even higher. I can only imagine what this would be like for musicians, in a performance that can change with every beat.

With the satyr rock stars I created in the Demon Rock series, they literally feed off the energy of the audience. They’ve been alive for thousands of years, drawing this life force and adapting themselves to the different trends of music. Things change, though, when a demon’s Muse shows up. She’s his one true love, the only other being he can feed from.

In the third book, Ménage with the Muse, Wolfgang is a bona fide wild rock drummer, free and reckless. Contrasting him is Ethan, also a demon, but more focused on the music in his guitar and less on the partying. They’re both aware that other demons are finding Muses, but don’t know if that kind of pairing is in their own destiny. Neither expects that Mia, a hard-rocking guitarist, is the Muse to both of them.

And she has no idea what’s going on the first time the literal energy from the audience rises up like a wave of fire and electricity during a performance, and slams into her.

So my questions for you are: what experiences have you had in front of a live audience? Did you feel the energy? How did it affect you? And if you haven’t been in font of a crowd, would you ever get up on stage? Looking forward to hearing from you!

If you want to further the discussion I can be found here: website, Twitter, Facebook

Nico Rosso was a writer in search of a genre until his wife, Zoë Archer, brought romance into his life in more ways than one. He created the sci-fi romance Limit War series, and set off the apocalypse in The Last Night. With the steampunk Ether Chronicles, he got to write more closely than ever with his wife, trading off tales that span the globe.  In Demon Rock, he takes you into the dark world of satyr rock stars and the Muses who feed them.  

What We Want—Erotic Romance

facebook twitter


August brings the heat, and we want you to bring it too!

We’re actively seeking to acquire novel-length erotic romance and what better examples than works by our superstar authors Lynda Aicher and Jeffe Kennedy! Lynda’s new Game Play series will feature h-o-t hockey player romances and Jeffe has just released her new erotic romance/BDSM series, Falling Under. We’re also excited for Emily Ryan-Davis‘s new San Sebastian Sinners series which tangles with ménage…coming in 2015!


Our editors’ complete wish lists for what they want to acquire RIGHT NOW is available here, but below are more specific requests in the erotic romance genre. Give us your passionate/kinky stories where sexy-times happen in the most daring of places! We know BDSM and club erotic romances are still hot, but we want to see where else you can take us!

Angela James, Editorial Director, is looking to acquire a dark erotic thriller that pushes the edges of exploring forced seduction, fantasy and eroticism

Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, is looking for super-sexy erotic contemporary romances, esp. military or first responders. Series potential is a bonus. LGBTQ/PoC welcome—actively seeking diverse submissions! She’s also looking to acquire envelope-pushing erotic romance, any genre.

Deborah Nemeth, Freelance Editor, is looking for erotic romances featuring badass alpha heroes, and she’d love a contemporary erotic series not set in a sex club.

Alissa Davis, Freelance Editor, is looking for erotic romance with strong dialogue and great sexual tension—bonus points for heroes and heroines who rock at talking dirty.

Mallory Braus, Freelance Editor, is looking for erotic thrillers and suspense. She’d love to see a femme fatale character. She’s also intrigued by the potential of a cross genre Erotic Urban Fantasy with a strong female lead against a strong male lead… For example: something like a Catwoman and Batman pairing.

Tina Burns, Freelance Editor, wants erotic romance for both het and LGBT. Give her it all!

Submit your erotic romance to Carina Press now, right here!

Fly, My Flock of Dirty Birdies, Fly!

facebook twitter

By Stacy Gail, author of ONE HOT SECOND

So, I have a posse.  I know, I know. Usually that sort of thing is left behind by the time you leave high school. But I’ve totally got a posse… or a flock, to be precise.  I call them my flock of Dirty Birdies, and they’re the ones I go to when I’m not feeling, shall we say, inspired.

Carina_0814_9781426898785_OneHotSecondFor instance, in ONE HOT SECOND I had to create a Norman Bates-era, no-tell motel called The Lunar.  Since it’s the only motel for thirty miles, this is the place where secret assignations happen (or not-so-secret, since this motel’s in such a small town :D ). In fact, it’s so infamous for being the place to get your freak on, the locals of Bitterthorn, Texas refer to The Lunar as The Nooner.

Sounds like a fun place, no? ;)

I knew what I wanted for a backdrop. Parker, the heroine in ONE HOT SECOND, was to be given The Nooner’s official honeymoon suite, a skanky, over-the-top room that would look good in any porn movie.  But when it came time to describe it… I went blank. Honestly, I’ve never gone so fricking blank EVER in my writing. For two days I stared at the screen, and the emptiness of it mocked me.  All I had come up with in terms of décor was a bunch of candles.

Candles, y’all.  Seriously.

I’ve learned that when I’m stuck, it helps to talk it out. So when I went to work at the ice arena (where my flock of Dirty Birdies roosts every Tuesday), I mentioned the scene to my girls, and the “décor” I had come up with so far.  They stared at me in shock and yes, more than a hint of disappointment.

“Candles?” Cathy J., the dirtiest Birdie of them all and damn proud of it, curled her upper lip in disgust and let her East Texas drawl off the leash.  “Candles???  What the hell, woman, d’you think set designers for porno movies go shopping at f*ckin’ Pottery Barn?”

I hung my head in shame. Clearly I had let my flock down. Big time. “Uh, probably not.”

“At the very least you need shag carpeting and a vibrating heart-shaped bed, a bear rug, mirrors on the ceiling and a lube and condom dispenser in the bathroom.  And a stripper pole.”

“Oh!” Another Dirty Birdie, Joanie, snapped her fingers. “And a disco ball!”

“Satin on the walls!” Another Kathy, this one with a K, chimed in.

“Don’t forget the handcuffs,” Celyne (to whom I dedicated STARTING FROM SCRATCH) added, as if handcuffs were a natural thing to be found in a hotel room.

When my flock gets on a roll, they really get into it.  And boy howdy, did they roll right over my idea of candles, turning it into the stinky road kill it was. I’m eternally grateful.

I dedicated ONE HOT SECOND to Cathy J., who started the whole shebang and got me unstuck.  The honeymoon suite at The Nooner is a true testament to just how wonderfully dirty a mind can be. :D


QUESTION:  If you were putting together a room for The Nooner, what would you have in it?

Dirty Birdies 5

From left to right: Me, Joanie, Kathy, Celyne and Cathy J.


Buy Links:

iTunes | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Google Play


About Stacy Gail: A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail began writing stories in between events to pass the time. By the age of fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a figure skating coach who was also a published romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from steampunk to cyberpunk, contemporary to paranormal at night, both dreams have come true.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | InstagramNewletter


Punching Fear in the Face

facebook twitter

By Steve Vera, author of BLOOD SWORN 

There’s nothing like an exploding geyser of panic to get the juices flowing. I don’t know why I thought I had more than three months to write an entire novel from word-one, page-one—August had seemed so far away from November—but I suspect it had to do with the fact that my brain had been put on a spit and shish kabobed while re-writing and editing the first two books of the Last of the Shardyn trilogy.

By the time my brain did make the connection, as you might imagine, my sphincter puckered. Three months? It took me fourteen years to write the first one! I calmed myself by remembering that I’d increased time efficiency from fourteen years to ten months between Books I and II, Drynn and Through the Black Veil respectively. A 1400% improvement or something (I’m a writer not a mathematician, Jim!). I had this.

Of course, this wasn’t just any novel. This was the climax, the final installment of my Last of the Shardyn trilogy—a blend of Dragonlance style fantasy and Stephen King horror, mixed with a lil Tom Clancy. At least that was the plan. ;) This baby had to be legendary. I already knew how it ended, had it mapped out and plotted. My brain felt like the converging lasers of the Death Star right before it went planet-hunting. I was ready to fire, but first—venue.

CabinI made a quick call to my dear friend Abby who’d twice offered me her father-built cabin in the woods of upstate New York. When I say artist’s sanctuary, I mean fuggedaboutit. Loft, wood burning stove, electricity, plumbing—a perfect blend of rustic beauty and functionality.

Once there, I unleashed the green lasers. Whenever my brain began to ooze out of my ears from writing fourteen hours straight, all I had to do was open the door and stare outside. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the woods at night but the dark is different there, like a presence, and would seep into the cabin rather than give way to the light. I’d step outside onto that front porch and close the door behind me, heart-in-throat. Every chipmunk rustle was a lurking Drynn.  Every breeze a shadow without a body. Ten minutes proximity to primal fear was all that was needed to infuse me with another dose of inspiration and adrenaline. I’d go back in and fire it back up. Every time I did, I’d give myself a little smile. No witnesses, just me and God. Not only had I just punched fear in the face, but I’d used it. Owned it.

When I arrived at that cabin back in mid-October, I had about 40K words written. When I was done two weeks later I had 160K, cut down to 140K when I turned it into my editor (Rhonda, you were my compass). To that point, qualifying for the Pararescue Selection Team in the U.S. Air Force had been the most gratifying thing I’d ever done. Not anymore. Allow me to introduce you to Blood Sworn.

Book three of Last of the Shardyn

CARINA_0714_9781426898754_BloodSwornOnly scattered groups of exhausted heroes remain…

Veteran police chief Skip Walkins has really done it this time. After crossing realities to fight the onslaught of the Drynn, the spawn of the Underworld, he’s one of only a few motley survivors of an epic massacre. By his blood, he’s sworn to unite with Shardyn Knight Gavin Blackburn against the armies of Asmodeous the Pale, Lord of the Underworld and ruler of the Drynn. The two must seek resistance fighters wherever they can–even in Vambrace, among those who killed Gavin’s father.

Reformed sociopath Donovan Smith has traveled to Vambrace for his own reasons–the new voice in his head claims that there he will learn how he came to be the Antimage, impervious to the deadliest magical attacks.

Donovan’s secrets may hold the key to defeating the Drynn, but they may upset the delicate alliance of the Blood Sworn in the process. And if Skip and Gavin can’t fight together as one, the Drynn will attain total victory over Earth and its magical twin, Theia.

See how the forces of the Underworld were unleashed in Drynn and Through the Black Veil.

137,000 word

I hope you love it.


Steve VeraSteve out.

Connect with Steve: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Newsletter


The (Sometimes) Famous Side Character

facebook twitter

By Joshua Roots, author of SUMMONED CHAOS

I’ve always been a huge fan of Side Characters, the men and women of fiction who help the Hero/Heroine along the way. Playing a supporting role, they’re the ones who often get to say the things the Main Character can’t or won’t. Other times, they’re the ones who find an important clue that helps solidify the MC’s theory of whodunit.

The thing is, Side Characters sometimes get the short end of the stick since they are, on occasion, catalysts for motivation. Life is probably a little safer if you’re Hammer McThunder*, but what about Charlie Von Labcoat**, his fast-talking scientist buddy? The guy decides to work late in the lab only to be gunned down by international criminals bent on stealing the latest time-travel technology he’s been working on. Next thing he knows, he’s dying in McThunder’s arms. Sure, the MC gets to utter some awful catch phrase like, “It’s time to drop The Hammer” and then spends the next 200 pages hunting down bad guys, but that’s no solace to Charlie.

Poor, poor Charlie.

But not all Side Characters are under the Sword of Damocles. Sometimes they’re there to break up the tension. Add some spice to an otherwise dark situation. One of my absolute favorites has to be Zathras from Babylon 5. Stuck on a planet tending The Great Machine and with nothing but insects for conversation/food, the guy didn’t have a lot going for him. And yet, the few episodes where he appeared made a huge impression on me because he wasn’t 2-demnsional. The character had depth and humor, something that separates an outstanding Side Character from the ones that are Just Okay.

It didn’t hurt that he had some of the best lines in the series.

Side Characters can also serve as a point of reference for the reader by contrasting with the Main Character. Watson, no intellectual lightweight in his own right, is there so that we see the true extent of Holmes’ intellect. The fact that Watson is a deeply fleshed out person with motivations and desires, rather than simply being a story-prop, makes Holmes all the greater.

No matter what role the Side Character plays, the critical component for me is the connection. During the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when Indy’s partner, David, is killed, I remember thinking, “That stinks. Oh, hey Shorty!***.” There was no development and, as such, no sense of loss.

But Obi Wan? Oh man. Talk about a huge disturbance in the Force when Vader turned him into an empty robe.

In the end, Side Characters can make or break a story/series for me. Doomed from the start, used as a humor-tool, or serving as a reference point, I’ll struggle through a book if the supporting cast is lack-luster. But give me me a handful of well-defined, strong characters that I can connect with and I’ll gladly stay up till 4AM to gobble down every iota of awesome.

So what about you? What are some of your favorite side-characters and why?


Oh look, books!



Author Bio:

Joshua Roots

Joshua Roots is a former Marine, car collector, and beekeeper. He enjoys singing with his a cappella chorus, playing video games, and reading comic books. He is still waiting for his acceptance letter to Hogwarts and Rogue Squadron. He and his wife will talk your ear off about their bees if you let them.


Connect with Josh: Twitter | Website | Blog | Goodreads

*You can almost smell the testosterone wafting from this fake name.
** Alas, poor Charlie. I knew him, Horatio! Also, another made up name.
*** Shorty!

The Kowalskis and Musicals

facebook twitter

By Shannon Stacey, author of FALLING FOR MAX

Readers who remember Max Crawford from his introduction in All He Ever Dreamed know he’s not a typical hero for me. He’s shy and a little awkward, and there’s rumor going around Whitford he’s a serial killer. (Don’t worry. They’re mostly kidding.)

Max came about while I was writing Josh and Katie’s story because I realized Whitford didn’t have a sports bar and I needed a place where they went to watch games. Enter Max Crawford, with his awesome leather couches, big-screen television, and mysterious goings-on in his basement. Because his place had become the go-to place on game days, he’d developed friendships with some of the Kowalskis, as well as other residents of Whitford, which wasn’t something that came easy to him.

He was quirky and I fell in love with him immediately. What I wanted was for a fictional woman to fall in love with him, too. But Max works from home and Whitford’s not exactly known for singles hot spots so, when he decides he’s reached a point in his life when he’d like a woman to share it with, he starts at the Trailside Diner.

Tori Burns, who works part-time at the diner, sees Max strike out at his first attempt at conversation, and she’s intrigued. Not only is he Whitford’s man of mystery, but she likes him and thinks he’s funny. It seems to her, with a little bit of coaching, Max can find the woman of his dreams.

He took a sip of his coffee, probably giving himself some time to think. “How do you think you’re going to make me more dateable?”

“We’ll spend some time together and I’ll get to know you a little better so I can help you play up your better qualities. And, like I said, we can have practice conversations. It’ll be fun, like one of those dating makeover shows.”

“So that makes you Professor Higgins and me Eliza Doolittle?”


“From My Fair Lady.”

“Isn’t that some old musical? Like from the black and white days?”

Of course, as Tori goes about helping Max become more “dateable”, she discovers she likes him just the way he is. The problem is that she might just like him a little too much.

There are a few references to My Fair Lady in Falling For Max, and my feelings about the classic musical fall in line with Tori’s reaction when she watches it. (Sorry, you’ll have to read it.) My sister, who’s currently in college, loves it. (Okay, spoiler: I don’t love it. But I’m not telling you why. You really have to read it.)

How you do you all feel about musicals? If you’ve seen My Fair Lady, did you love it or not? (I must admit I sing “I Could Have Danced All Night” a lot.) What’s your favorite musical? I grew up rewatching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at every opportunity, but The King & I will always be my favorite. What’s yours?

About Falling For Max:

CARINA_0814_9780373002290_FallingForMaxMax Crawford has reached the point in life where he’s starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he’s always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn’t help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she’s intrigued. When she finds out he’s in the market for a wife, she’s fascinated…and determined to help.

Molding Max into every woman’s dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori’s plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she’ll have to find a way to show just how she’s fallen for him…the real him.

About Shannon:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. She can also be found blogging (almost) daily on her website, and is often spotted running amok on Twitter, Facebook, and the community. Her current release, Falling For Max, is available now from Carina Press.