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Archive for March 19th, 2013

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Writing series is a wonderful thing. It’s what I do and I do it for many reasons. One, I love large casts of characters so it’s easy to build that and keep it manageable over years and many stories. I like to write about what happens after the end of a book. To check in on a couple after their HEA to see them in many stages of their lives together.

 

I also love to write saga style stories – friends or family based. And the ability to tell larger stories about community is what I love best.

 

The Brown Family novels are such stories – not a huge meta story arc like say my Bound By Magick books, but the meta story of this group of people. I started with Erin and at this point all the Brown siblings are married and have kids, they’re all at different points in their lives and careers. The story can be richer for that. And for readers it’s nice to be able to give a glimpse of Brody as a dad to a nearly teenager and a toddler and that sort of thing.

 

The thing is with series like this is that the world gets bigger each time so while you could read one of the books out of order and understand that couple and their HEA, you’d be missing backstory. One of the plusses to series like these, though if you like to read out of order it could be a drawback as you won’t know the story of that couple out to dinner with the couple the story is about.

 

When I started the Chase Brothers series in 2006, I didn’t really know what it would turn out to be. I began to write a book about a sheriff and a school teacher, but the sheriff was sort of a dick and the school teacher was like, no thank you and ended up with his brother instead.

 

That the series turned out to be as popular with readers as it has been is such a wonderful joy to me. That with each book it gained more love, each couple has its own defenders and each story I was able to tell about small town life gave a glimpse of an idealized Main Street, yes, but of real people living real lives there.

 

So when I ended it, I was sad, but it had been a good run. Everyone got their HEA. I went out when readers were happy and not saying, “Oh my god why didn’t she quit three books ago?”

 

But Petal has never been far from my mind and when I got an idea for Nathan Murphy and a reunion/second chance with and old love, I wrote it and the first in the Petal, GA series came out.

 

The Petal books aren’t so much tied to one family or one group of friends, but the town and the lives of all the people who pass through it on a regular basis. I’ll come back as I get ideas for stories I want to tell. Some will be about the Murphys as they’re so much fun to write. But others will be about different characters, some you know already and some you don’t.

 

Readers first met Beth three books ago in Making Chase and I’ve wanted to write her story ever since she appeared on the page. Her story, much like her family, is rooted in some harsh realities. The Murphy kids, as we learned in Making Chase, had an abusive childhood. It’s formed them all as adults, as such things do. It’s made her resilient and brutally honest in ways she’s old enough to understand and accept. It made her dialog so much fun to write, even as she broke my heart sometimes.

 

Joe? Well he’s got his own crosses to bear.  A past where he was sort of a wild guy and wasn’t the best son he could have been. He’s back in town to make up for that with an ailing parent. He’s trying to be better and that’s sort of, to me, what all my HEAs are. No one is perfect so the key is, are you trying to be better? He is, though he stumbles with Beth a few times. But don’t worry too much, remember that resilience and blunt honesty I mention above.

 

I’ll be back to Petal next year. Most likely with Royal’s story. In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy this little glimpse of the Chases and Murphys and Main Street.

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For more information about all of Lauren’s series, visit www.laurendane.com. And for a chance to win Once and Again and Lost in You, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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Welcome to Book Dish. This isn’t a review. It’s Mad and Lillie honestly discussing a recent book. Book Dish may have SPOILERS. And possibly bad words. Today’s Book Dish is about Wolf With Benefits by Shelly Laurenston (out March 26, 2013)

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Blurb:

Shelly Laurenston, New York Times bestselling author and a star in the paranormal romance genre, comes the eighth book is the successful Pride series, that blends outrageous humor and sexy shapeshifters to create irresistible heroes that readers fall in love with.

Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?

Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…

Mad: Let’s do this. *cracks knuckles* lol

Lillie: Alrighty. So we have Ricky Lee Reed,wolf shifter and the slightly goofy brother of Ronnie Lee and Toni Jean-Louis Parker, jackel and big sister to 10 prodigy siblings! That’s a lot of siblings…

Mad: Her parents weren’t playing when it came to kid-making. Haha!

Lillie: Nope! And those siblings were some of my favorite moments. The fact that she trained them to help discourage men by asking “Are you my daddy?” whenever men came near her was HYSTERICAL.

Mad: That cracked me up every time they said it. Priceless.

Kyle was a hoot, I don’t know if I would have had as much patience with him as Toni did.

And that scene when he first meets Bo and he tells him what he thinks about Bo being a hockey player? Bo replies with “I wish I could say you disgust me but I understand what you’re saying” I laughed so hard at that part.

Lillie: I liked that Toni didn’t see them as perfect. The comments of “those evil bastards”, “narcassistic brats” etc made me smile.

Mad: She was their rock and kept them grounded.

Lillie: She did and didn’t realize how special that was. I loved seeing her use those same skills in her new job with the hockey team. Watching her calm Bo was a thing of brilliance.

Mad: Yes…and the scene with the bear who hated to fly? What was his name? She handled it like she needed to.

Lillie: And I loved that Ricky Lee saw that in her from the beginning. He got what was important to her, what she needed, and handled her when necassary. I don’t think I could see any other character as a hero for her. He was just so laid back and let it all flow.

Mad: Right and he seemed like he never lost his cool and just was waiting for the entertainment to come to him, as he said to Toni. 🙂

Lillie: Speaking of entertainment, almost ALL the former heroes and heroines made an appearance in this one! Irene, Miki, Sara, Gwen, Blayne. I was so happy! It was like a big dysfunctional family reunion!

Mad: I agree, I felt that the whole time I was reading it. Loved each time a previous character came into the story.

How funny did you fine that Toni could not remember Blayne’s name to save her life? It was Blane, Blank, Bane, etc but never Blayne.

Lillie: Bwahaha! Seeing Blayne get flustered by that was awesome.

Mad: What did you think of Del, Toni’s sister? That chick was a piece of work!

Lillie: I’ve rarely been creeped out by a Laurenston character but that one did it. Pure evil. And I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her. I think her and Dee Ann will be having another Come To Jesus moment somewhere down the line.

Mad: Neither do I and it’s not going to be pretty when Dee-Ann finally gets her hands on her.

Without giving spoilers, what did you think of the new shifter that was introduced?

Lillie: That was my favorite part! More than the romance between Toni and Ricky, more than past characters, I LOVED Livy! She’s awesome! And I think Laurenston has created the best shifter EVER with her. All the hints dropped about what she was then when it was finally revealed, I squealed a little. I want her book now. Right this very second.

Mad: She and Dee-Ann together scare me …. I would not ever want to be on the wrong side of them. The things they could do…..

Lillie: Yeah, those two as friends (or as close as either of them come to friendship) is a little scary. Dee has always been the ultimate badass of this series but Livy may have her beat on the oh-shit scale. She’s got that dangerous side that Dee has but also the craziness of Sara. That combo… *shudders*

Mad: True! Which brings me to Sara…she was in only one scene but she was as crazy as ever, hilarious to see her pop up like that.

What was your favorite scene? Can you even choose?

Lillie: I honestly don’t think I can. Where Bo beats the hell out of Reece again as Ricky Lee watched? Where the 3 year old twins broke the mighty king of the jungle? The Reed brothers breaking into Brendon Shaw’s apartment again just to eat his yogurt? Soooo many!

You?

Mad: The twins chasing each other with knives/scissors…the scene where Freddy wanted to see how tall he could be if he stood on Bo’s shoulders & Bo let him? That melted me when he picked him up & stood him on his shoulders. Sissy & Ronnie Lee trying to help Ricky Lee get over his ex…when he didn’t need it. lol Or when Livy jumped that lion because he was rude to her without a hint as to what was going to happen.

Lillie: I’ve liked all of Laurenston’s shifter books but this is one of my favorites. I just loved it. Final grade?

Mad: If I could give it higher than an A+ I would….I loved everything about it! You?

Lillie: Same here. Definitely a recommended read. If I didn’t have a ton of review books I need to get to, I would already be rereading it.

Mad: I love when an author does that to me. I want to just dive right back in and just start rereading this whole series all over again.

Lillie: Me too. More Laurenston books NOW, please.

Mad: Yes. I feel like telling her WRITE FASTER, PLEASE but she might cut me like the characters she writes about 😉

Lillie: Good point. We’ll just stare longingly in her general direction.

Mad’s favorite quote:

“Can I stand on your shoulders?”

“What?”

“Can I stand on your shoulders? Just for a minute or so.”

“Why?”

“I want to know what it’s like to be tall.”

Bo was about to explain that the chances of a jackal being as tall as him – a lion-polar bear hybrid – were impossible but decided against it. In fact, he could actually hear Blayne in his head telling him not to tell Freddy that. So, Bo instead crouched down and held his arm out. The boy grabbed it with both hands and Bo lifted him, placing his small feet on his shoulders. When he had the boy secure, Bo’s hands wrapped tightly around Freddy’s ankles, Bo stood tall.

“Woooooow,” Freddy sighed out. “I can see the entire world from here.”

Lillie’s favorite quote:

“I was eighteen. She was nineteen. And kind of a,” he covered his goddaughter’s ears with his hands, “whore.”

“Now, now. That’s my cousin, Ricky Lee.” When Ricky just stared at him, Bobby shrugged. “Who is kind of a whore.”

GIVEAWAY!

We are giving away 3 digital copies of Wolf With Benefits! Nook or kindle format, winner’s choice. We’ll be drawing the names on Sunday and the book will be gifted on release day. To be entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment below. What is your favorite Shelly Laurenston book. And if you haven’t read Laurenston yet, what makes you like shifter books?

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