Ample & Alluring, reviews

Ample & AlluringAll I can say is thank you. Maybe wow, also. Holy shit, you guys! The reviews on Ample & Alluring are so amazing! Thank you for sticking with me through this series. It’s been so much fun to write, but we’ll talk about that more next week!

If you haven’t grabbed it yet, read this review from Stephanie. Maybe she can convince you to check it out!

The last of its series, yet did not disappoint. Peyton and Wyatt have jobs that are high demanding. Mayor Wyatt though extremely busy, makes time for the Christmas holiday. Dr. Peyton never saw the joy of Christmas. Baffled by Peyton feelings of Christmas, Wyatt is on a mission to get Peyton to fall in love with Christmas. What they thought was a full proof plan, turns into something else completely. These two together have me laughing and crying in happiness. It’s hard to find romance that tugs at your heart strings and gives you butterflies in your stomach. Mary E. Thompson has done it again and you won’t be dissappinted when reading this book. This last book was bitter sweet. I loved this series and I am sad to see it ending. But Mary E. Thompson has a spin off to this series coming soon. I can’t wait!!!

Are you ready to read it? Go grab your copy now!

Ebook on Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | B&N | Smashwords

Print on Createspace | Amazon | B&N | Books A Million

Writing Tips: Crafting Characters

I haven’t gotten any new questions in my mailbox, so I’m back with some more advice for aspiring writers.

Today let’s talk about crafting characters. In romance, characters drive the story. If readers don’t care about your characters, the story is no good, no matter how good it is.

What you have to do is figure out how to make readers care about your characters. Want to know how I do it?

I care about my characters!

It’s simple, right? But how much I love my characters comes through. Every single one I’ve written has had a piece of me. Maybe not a similarity to me, but definitely a piece of my heart. I spend months, years, with these people. They live inside my head. I’m the only one they talk to. It’s up to me to tell their stories.

There’s more to it than that, of course, but you have to care about your characters to make your readers care. Which means you have to find characters, stories, people you want to write about.

Do you have a friend that you wish could find The One? Does your kid have a teacher you think is sweet? Maybe one of your grandkids has a coach that you think would be a great hero.

Find someone who inspires you. Yeah, someone in your world. No, I’m not telling you to write the story of a person you actually know, but to get yourself started, use someone you know to inspire you.

Puffy & PreciousI’ve written characters based on men I saw in church (Davoli brothers Matt, Mark, and John from Paradise Park), a guy at the gym (Graham from Puffy & Precious), and even my best friend (Charlie from Fluffy & Fabulous).

Once I get a feel for who they might be, who my inspiration is, I go looking for a picture. Pinterest is a great resource because it’s free, and I use the photos for my use only so it’s legal.

With my picture and my inspiration in hand, I start to figure out who my characters are. What they want, what they’re looking for, who they’d fit well with. I go through a character interview to learn more about them. I ask about their background, how they grew up, who their family is, what they studied in school, what they drive, where they live, what scares them, what inspires them, what they’re proud of, what they’re embarrassed by. I dig deep and get into who each character really is. I need to know what makes them tick, and what ticks them off.

Because at the end of the day, a book will be boring without some kind of conflict.

By the time I’m done with my interview, we’re good friends!

Which makes it a whole lot easier for me to care what happens to them.

If you’re writing a book that has a character driven story, make sure you know your characters better than you know yourself. They can’t have any secrets from you, and you have to want them to find their happily ever after. Otherwise, your readers won’t want them to find it either.

If you have a question, about writing or anything else, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

#FiveOnFriday with Iris Blobel

I’m so excited to have Iris Blobel back with us today! I think we all need to take a trip like this one day! Let’s dive in and find out about the trip, and the book it led to!

What inspired you to write this book?

I love this book. We went to the USA a few years back, travelling in a motorhome through five different states, having the time of our lives. After returning home, looking through hundreds of photos, I came up with the idea to turn our itinerary into a story. Fresh Beginnings was born. I hope the readers will enjoy this little journey and hopefully my love for the places we went to is shining through.

For first time readers, what book (of yours) should we start with and why?

Readers can start with any book of mine, but I have two series where the books can be read as a standalone, but to get a “feel” for the characters, I’d recommend to start with the first one. As for Fresh Beginnings, the first book in the series is New Beginnings

What do you hope readers take from reading your work?

I always like to use the cliché “I like to spread love”. My books are about family and friendship, something that is very important to me, and reviews are telling me that is what readers are appreciating.

What is one of your favorite quotes? What about it speaks to you?

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift.” Having finished cancer treatment only a few months ago, I’m appreciating life, try not to worry about matters I cannot change, but enjoy the little things in life as well as the big ones. I used to stress so much about all sorts of issues and had a need for success that I’d forgotten to love what I have now.

What song could you listen to on repeat and not get sick of?

I LOOOOOVE music, so picking “just” one was a challenge, but I’ve narrowed it down to three songs that have been important to me that last year: Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song”, Savage Garden’s “Affirmation”, and Louis Tomlinson’s “Just hold on”

What is your favorite cocktail or drink?

Hands down – Coke Zero (which they took off the market, quite to my displeasure ☹)

What’s next for you?

“Echoes of the Past” will be re-released later this year or early next year. But there’ll also be a book set partly in New Zealand – another travel inspired story. I’m really looking forward to releasing this book. The main character has a Maori background

Blurb

Jared Fraser, a landscape business owner in Hobart, Australia, sets out for a holiday to the USA to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome. Looking forward to his first holiday overseas, he’s excited as he prepares himself for the journey. But little could’ve prepared him for crossing paths with a beautiful hitchhiker.

Will he be able to put his past aside and grab onto happiness?

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on vacation.

But she will have to say goodbye again. And not only to Jared.

Buy Links

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/d/B074Y3KMYG/

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fresh-beginnings-iris-blobel/1120056863?ean=2940154527429

iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fresh-beginnings/id1275979573?mt=11

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/fresh-beginnings-1

Smashwords  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/744769

Check out the whole series!

Excerpt

Ivy enjoyed being with Jared. During their drive towards the Grand Canyon he told her of his home and described as much of Tasmania as possible.

“I always imagined Australia to be hot with white beaches and beautiful water.”

“That’s up in the north in Queensland,” he explained. “We have spectacular beaches as well. Tasmania is a small island in the very south. The last step before the Antarctica, so to speak.”

“That sounds cold!”

He laughed. “It clearly isn’t Queensland.” Settling his gaze on her, he continued, “But it has beautiful beaches as well. And a wonderful marine life. And the mountains. We have some stunning mountains in Tassie.”

“Tassie?”

“Tasmania.”

“It sounds beautiful.”

He agreed. “Yes, it is. One of the best places on earth.”

Once they arrived at the National Park, they found a parking spot and walked towards the edge of the Canyon. She touched his arm to get his attention. Not that she needed to. His attentive nature drew her to him, and she couldn’t get enough of listening to him.

“I feel bad that you pay for everything,” she said in a low voice.

Jared waved his hand. “Nah. It’s only money and luckily the Australian dollar is—”

“Whether you can or can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter. I don’t like it.”

He stopped and turned towards her, causing heat inside her body. Her breath caught but she kept walking, yet, it took him only a few steps to catch up with her and, by way of placing his hand on her shoulder, to stop her.

“Wanna tell me why?”

Avoiding his stare, she lifted her shoulder in a casual shrug.

“A shrug is not really an answer, ya know that, right?”

Yes, she knew that. How could she tell him that she’d left Dylan because he’d spent all the money she’d worked so hard for? She didn’t want to be in the same situation, as in spending someone else’s hard-earned money. But deep inside she didn’t want to hurt Jared, either. She was enjoying her time with him so much, she wasn’t ready for it to end because of some silly pride.

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a little squirrel in the bushes and despite some guilt inside, it was a perfect distraction.

“Look!” she said louder than she’d intended. “A squirrel.”

With great relief, she noticed how her devious plan had worked. Jared quickly grabbed his camera and kneeled down to get the best shot possible of this little creature.

Kneeling next to him, she asked, “Don’t you have squirrels?”

Still trying to get that perfect photo of the little creature, he whispered, “Nope.”

Author Bio

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.

Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.

Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Author Links

Website: http://www.irisblobel.com 

Blog: http://www.irisblobel.com/blog

Twitter https://twitter.com/_iris_b

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IrisBlobel

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Iris-Blobel/e/B00FNFP3LI/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bQ68rL

Ample & Alluring, so sweet

Ample & AlluringI love it when a man is not only sexy, but sweet. It’s even better when he’s both at the same time.

Excerpt from Ample & Alluring

“Jeez. If I knew you were going to be so bossy I never would have agreed to this.”

Wyatt barked out a laugh. “You definitely don’t like someone telling you what to do.”

“Nope. That’s why I own my own business.”

“Just one more thing to be impressed by. If only you enjoyed cooking, you’d be the perfect woman.”

“Again, what is it with men thinking we all belong in the kitchen?”

“And what it is with women thinking the kitchen is a punishment? I love to cook. I like having someone to cook with. Even if she is a whiny pain in my ass who won’t keep stirring!”

“Sorry!” I said, dragging the spoon along the bottom of the pan.

Wyatt took his shrimp away then dumped another spoonful of liquid in my pan. “Almost done,” he declared. “When that’s absorbed, we can eat.”

I stirred some more, enjoying the savory scents filling my nose with each slide of the spoon through the risotto. It looked good, and I was definitely hungry.

Wyatt came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my stomach. “What do you think?”

“About what?”

“Is it done?”

“How would I know?”

Wyatt chuckled, kissing the back of my neck. Goosebumps swept over my skin, lighting me up. I swayed into him involuntarily and felt his cock twitch.

“Peyton?”

“Hmm?”

“Are you okay?”

I nodded. “Of course. I just like it when you kiss my neck.”

“Good to know,” he murmured, doing it again.

Wyatt reached around me and turned off the stove. He took the pan from the burner and carried it to the counter on the other side. He scraped the risotto onto a serving dish then topped it with mushrooms he cooked earlier and the shrimp.

Then he turned back to me with a look I was beginning to understand well.

“Forget dinner, Peyton.”

“But I’m hungry,” I protested playfully.

“So am I.”

Get It Now!

Ebook on Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | B&N | Smashwords

Print on Createspace | Amazon | B&N 

Q&A Sunday: Reviews, part three

I’m back again for my third of three parts on reviews! Click to check out parts one and two!

This week we’re talking about how I feel about bad reviews. Lupita asked…

Do you take bad reviews personally and let it affect you or do you simply take it with a grain of salt?

I think it’s hard not to take bad reviews personally. Many authors don’t read their reviews and early advice to authors is not to read them. I learned quickly that i can’t handle reading a review that destroys my book.

I mean, really, how many jobs allow anyone in the world to openly criticize what you do and have zero consequence?

As I said before, bullying in accepted when it’s disguised as a review. I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think anyone should think it’s fair. But it happens.

If a review is bad because the book is bad, it hurts. It bothers me to read that my books have editing errors (funnily enough, I misspelled both those words!). Editing errors I can, and have, fixed. If the fundamental storyline is just boring, I can’t necessarily fix it, but it’s good to know. If the characters are frustrating, again, good to know.

But when a review goes on to say nasty things about me and assumes to know who I am, that’s going to just make me mad. I’ve read reviews (thankfully not on my books) that have attacked the author for one thing or another. I don’t know if these people know the author, or if they just think they know something, or saw something online, but I don’t think a book review is the place for that. A book review should be a review of the book, not the person who wrote the book.

Let’s face it, if we were evaluating the person, horror books would be blasted on a regular occasion. I mean, really, if you thought everything Stephen King put in his book was his true desire, he’d be locked up somewhere. Books are stories, not reflections of the author. 

But it’s still hard to walk away from a bad review without being upset by it. I want people to like my books. There are times I put things in my books knowing people won’t like it, but I know that’s the way the story has to be. Those things don’t bother me as much. Those I can take with a grain of salt.

The ones I can fix, like errors of any sort, I will correct and put the book back out.

A really bad review will ruin my day. It’ll make me question everything I write in the next book. It’ll make me question if I should be writing at all.

I love my job, but my job is dependent on finding readers. If readers hate what I write, I shouldn’t be writing.

Thankfully, my reviews overall are more positive than negative. I have emails from readers who’ve reached out to me because they loved my books so much. When I read a review that upsets me, I go through the emails I’ve save and read those. It makes me feel better, and gives me that spark to keep going.

And somehow, whenever I read a review that’s not that great, I always seem to get a new email from a reader who says she loved my book and can’t wait for the next one. That makes me forget about that bad review. And I love it!

Thanks so much, Lupita, for all your questions! It was a lot of fun to really think about reviews. No, I didn’t read any new ones of mine over the last few weeks, but it made me think about reviews, and I needed that!

If you have a question, about writing or anything else, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!