Monday, 31 January 2011

Formula for Danger by Camy Tang with signed giveaways


Someone wants dermatologist Rachel Grant's latest research, and they'll do anything to get it. Including trashing the plants needed for her breakthrough scar-reducing cream-and trying to run Rachel down. Desperate for help, she turns to Edward Villa, the only man she trusts. But the greenhouse owner knows too much about Rachel's research, and now he's a target, too. Break-ins, muggings, murder.the would-be thief is getting desperate-and getting closer. Edward vows to protect Rachel at all costs. Yet with time ticking away, Edward knows they have to uncover the madman shadowing Rachel before their chance for a future is destroyed.

My take:~

Camy Tang serves up another little Love Inspired Suspense gem with Formula for Danger. Returning to the familiar setting established in Deadly Intent, the Joy Luck Life Day Spa run by the Grant family, this story focuses on dermatologist Rachel Grant and her innovative research into a scar reducing cream. As always, Camy's characters shine with originality and their direct speech is always refreshing. Mix in some good old family tension, plenty of twists and a slowly evolving romance and Formula for Danger will keep you entertained from start to finish.

With thanks to the author for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Deadly Intent

What's Cooking? with Camy
Interview with Camy

Visit Camy's website and blog

Buy Camy's books at Amazon and Koorong

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Book trailer for Lisa Tawn Bergren's Waterfall

I've loved everything Lisa Tawn Bergren has written and I'm very excited about her new YA series, starting with Waterfall. I think I'll be fighting my eldest daughter over this one :)

Enjoy the trailer and buy the book!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Julie Klassen's Mariah Aubrey & Matthew Bryant

Mariah & Matthew

Julie Klassen's Austen style romances have been winning readers' hearts everywhere! Her latest has just been released so be sure to grab your copy of The Girl in the Gatehouse.

Enjoy this insight into the girl and the captain:~

Mariah Aubrey

Brief physical description

Mariah is of average height with an upturned nose, fair complexion, brown hair, and amber-brown eyes.

Actor/famous person

Mariah looks like the actress Abbie Cornish as she appeared in the role of Fanny Brawne in the movie Bright Star.

Strengths and weaknesses

Mariah is loyal, creative, and resourceful. One of her weaknesses is her inability to accept forgiveness and to realize her worth in God's eyes.

Quirk (if any)

Mariah talks to herself without realizing it, sometimes mumbling lines of dialogue aloud as she writes.

Quill and Inkwell photo by CG Sheldon on Flickr.

Your inspiration for the character

I was inspired by Jane Austen in two ways. First: Mariah Aubrey is a secret author, as Jane Austen was during her lifetime. Second: I found myself thinking about one of Austen's characters in Mansfield Park. Maria Bertram causes a scandal and is sent away with only one companion to “an establishment being formed for them in another country--remote and private.” In Mansfield Park, we do not admire vain and adulterous Maria (pronounced “Mariah” in Jane Austen's day) and most readers likely feel she earned her just deserts. But I found myself wondering, what if Maria were a character we actually cared about? Would we be content to leave her in her lonely exile? Personally, I am thankful for forgiveness and second chances in life, so I enjoyed giving Mariah Aubrey a second chance as well.

Captain Matthew Bryant

Brief physical description

Captain Bryant is tall, with an athletic build, wavy dark hair, straight nose, and brown eyes.

Actor/famous person

Captain Matthew Bryant resembles actor Ioan Gruffudd in the Horatio Hornblower movies.

Strengths and weaknesses

Captain Bryant is kind, assumes the best about people, and is a generous friend. His weakness would be his pride--his stubborn determination to “win” and prove himself worthy at any cost.

Quirk (if any)

The captain is afraid of his own horse. Having spent the majority of his life aboard ships, he is not accustomed to the animals.

Your inspiration for the character

One of my favorite Austen heroes, Captain Wentworth of Persuasion, inspired the background of Captain Bryant--along with a dash of Forester's Horatio Hornblower mixed in for good measure.

Background to the story

The Girl in the Gatehouse is about a young woman sent away from home after a scandal. Mariah Aubrey lives in an abandoned gatehouse on a distant relative's estate, where she supports herself and her loyal servant by writing novels in secret. Her plan to live quietly goes according to plan, until a wealthy and ambitious naval captain leases the estate. Captain Bryant is intrigued by the beautiful girl in the gatehouse, but he fights the attraction because he is determined to win back the woman who rejected him before he made his fortune. Will Captain Bryant risk his plans--and his heart--for a woman shadowed by scandal?

Thanks for sharing with us, Julie ~ always delightful to have you visit!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of The Silent Governess, The Apothecary's Daughter & Lady of Milkweed Manor

Character spotlight on Olivia and Lord Bradley

Visit Julie's website

Buy Julie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Save the Date by Jenny B Jones with Giveaway


Former NFL star Alex Sinclair is a man who has it all--except the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancee in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy will find her heart on the line--and maybe even her life.

When God asks Alex and Lucy to scrap their playbook and follow his rules, will they finally say, "I do"?

My take:~

You know that wonderful anticipation you feel as you open up the wrapper of your favourite chocolate to reveal that all the chocolaty goodness inside? Well, a Jenny B Jones novel will give you that same feeling without any of the calories ~ what could be better?! Save the Date is a gorgeous story overflowing with witty repartee, feisty moments and plenty to tickle the funny bone as well as touch the heart. I adore Jenny's gift for creating authentic, down to earth characters who battle pride, anger and impatience but also reflect generosity of spirit, tenderness and compassion. The conflict between Lucy and Alex is refreshingly genuine as their prejudices collide and their slow journey towards like and then something more is enchanting and entertaining. Can't wait to unwrap more fabulous novels from one of the most talented writers I know!

With thanks to Thomas Nelson for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Just Between You and Me

Character spotlight on Maggie & Connor

Visit Jenny's website and blog

Buy Jenny's books at Amazon or Koorong

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Thorn by Beverly Lewis

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Spirited Rose Ann Kauffman has long enjoyed a close friendship with the bishop's rebellious foster son. Rose's older sister, Hen--who knows more than she should about falling for the wrong man--cautions her against him, but Rose is being courted by another, and so dismisses the warnings.

Hen Kauffman Orringer's impulsive marriage to an outsider divided her from the People, a decision she regrets now that she has a daughter of her own. As Hen struggles to reclaim aspects of Amish culture, her very modern husband pushes back, and the two soon come to an impasse. Can she find a way to reconcile her longing for the Old Ways with the life she has chosen?

What I thought:

‘The Thorn’ is the first book in Beverly Lewis’ new The Rose Trilogy series. Once again Beverly proves why her books are well respected amongst Amish fiction lovers, with a surprisingly fresh approach from this inventive veteran writer.

Beverly skilfully weaves a tale filled with angst and tension between Rose Ann’s friendship with Nick and Hen’s marriage to an outsider. When I picked up this book I thought I knew what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. This book has turned all my preconceived presumptions upside down and has me eager for more.

Rose Ann is a character who will charm the reader, with her friendly acc
eptance of others and her desire to follow the beliefs she has committed to. But it was Hen that appealed to me. I am intrigued as to how her separation from her modern husband will be developed. I find myself caught somewhere between willing her to compromise and demanding that Brandon back down. There is surely no easy path to travel when caught between two worlds and the life choices made in youthful rebellion.

I am certain that this new series will quickly find its place on the bookshel
ves of those who appreciate the work of Beverly Lewis.

With thanks to Bethany House for Tracy's review copy

Guest reviewer:~ My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence

Relz Reviewz Extras

Tracy's review of The Secret

Visit Beverly's website

Buy Beverly's books at Amazon or Koorong

Monday, 24 January 2011

Character Spotlight ~ DiAnn Mills' Ember Farrar & John Timmons

Ember & John

Prolific author, DiAnn Mills returns with another historical romance and suspense novel in The Fire in Ember. If you have read A Woman Called Sage you will enjoy catching up with John Timmons again!

Over to you, DiAnn:~

Ember Farrar

Brief physical description

Ember Farrar is a young woman with honey-colored hair, large brown eyes, and a small frame.

Think Jessica Alba.

Strengths and weaknesses

Ember has the gift of song, lyrics and composing music. She also has a great capacity to love.

Her weaknesses stem from her brothers‘ bullying. They convinced her that she was worthless, leaving her afraid to trust and lacking in self-confidence.

Quirk (if any)

This is not so much a quirk but something unique about Ember. She’s always composing songs in her head. It helps her cope with life and its challenges.

Your inspiration for the character

For years I had Ember’s story dancing in my head. I could see this young woman, who looked like a boy, facing a hanging. One shot from the hero’s rifle blew a hole right through the rope around her neck.

Ember (Bert) is feisty, compassionate, musically gifted, and a hard worker. No wonder John Timmons fell in love with her!

John Timmons

Brief physical description

John Timmons is medium height, broad shouldered young man. He has thick brown hair and blue eyes.

Think Dale Midkiff

Strengths and weaknesses

John is strong in mind and body. He accepts responsibility like a thirsty man craves water. He’s helped his mother work their ranch and raise his four younger brothers since his teens.

But his strengths feed into his weaknesses. He doesn’t take time for himself and all he knows is work.

Quirk (if any)

Not really - just a workaholic and that’s not a quirk. :)

Your inspiration for the character

I introduced John in A Woman Called Sage. He impressed me then as a young man who could learn from his mistakes. He was a hard worker and determined to better himself. His role as Deputy Sheriff in The Fire in Ember is an extension of his commitment to keep people safe.

Background to the story

Some of the characters in this stand alone novel appeared in A Woman Called Sage. The setting is the same, only a few years later. John Timmons played a role in A Woman Called Sage. In that book, he was a stubborn teen who thought he could bring in a gang of outlaws who’d killed his father. He’s learned a few lessons over the years, but nothing prepared him for Ember.

As always, DiAnn, it is a pleasure to have you visit Relz Reviewz ~ thanks for sharing about your latest characters.

On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Julie Klassen's Mariah Aubrey & Capt Matthew Bryant from The Girl in the Gatehouse.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of A Woman Called Sage

Interview with DiAnn

Visit DiAnn's website

Buy DiAnn's books at Amazon and Koorong

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Ronie Kendig ~ New contract news

Readers of my blog will know how much I love Ronie Kendig's writing so I couldn't wait to share the news of her new contracts. Ronie is an amazing woman and a dear friend whose stories will take you on a fantastic adventure and emotional journey so don't miss her books out now ~ Dead Reckoning, Nightshade and Digitalis.

Now, I'll let Ronie share her news (reprinted with permission).

It is my extreme pleasure to announce that my agent, Steve Laube, has negotiated and I have signed a 3-book contract with my publisher, Barbour Publishing , for a series about retired military war dogs and their handlers entitled A Breed Apart. I have been very pleased working with the Barbour Fiction team, and I'm so grateful to my editor, Rebecca Germany, for believing in me and these stories enough to let them see the ink of publication! Without further ado, here is a bit more about the stories:

Trinity: Military War Dog (June 2012)

After Green Beret Heath Daniels survives an IED attack—thanks to his military war dog, Trinity, a Belgian Malinois—he battles blackouts from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is discharged. Feeling weak and lost, he finds hope through A Breed Apart, an organization training dogs like Trinity to aid independent contractors.

Military Intelligence officer Darci Kintz is secretly embedded with a geological survey team in Afghanistan. A deadly discovery leaves her team dead and her a captive. Heath and Trinity join the search for the military intelligence officer.

Talon: Combat Tracking Team (November 2012)

Former Marine Aspen Courtland adopts Talon, a Combat Tracking Team German Shepherd declared “excess.” But Talon is afraid of his own shadow after an attack that left his second handler—and Aspen’s brother—missing.

Former Marine Special Operations commander Dane Markoski is tasked with tracking down a rogue Marine selling military secrets in Africa—and he needs Talon to do it because the rogue was Talon’s first handler. But Talon won’t cooperate without Aspen, who has rehabilitated the canine. In Africa, the team quickly realizes they’ve been set up. But can they untangle the maze of lies? Can Talon overcome his fear, or will he shut down and put everyone in danger?

Beowulf: Specialized Search Dog (June 2013)

Handler Timbrel Hogan and her highly trained specialized search dog, Beowulf, a Mastiff mix who is as ugly as he is smart, must enter a roiling war zone to retrieve a high-value target from a prison. But once on their own with the spy who provided the Intel, Timbrel is no longer certain the story is legit. In fact, she suspects they’ve been set up.

Nikol Tselekova has more to hide that his nationality but he can’t let Timbrel Hogan, whose bite is worse than her dog’s, interfere with his mission to save his own sister from a deadly alliance.

So, there you have it. Celebrate with me!! I am really excited to begin the A Breed Apart series with Barbour!! I hope you'll enjoy these books when they hit the shelves next year.

In addition to her miltary war dogs series, Ronie joins three other fabulous authors in a 2012 new novella collection. More from Ronie:

I am so excited to announce that I signed a contract with Barbour Publishing to write one of four novellas in a collection entitled CENTRAL PARK RENDEZVOUS and will be set in (as if you couldn't figure this out already) Central Park, NY. I will be writing with some very amazing ladies: Dineen Miller, MaryLu Tyndall, and Kim Vogel Sawyer! The collection is set to release April 2012.

Here is the blurb for the collection:

Through the timelessness of the love never fails verses from I Corinthians 13, characters from four generations of one family endure hard and cruel circumstances in life, yet bring love full circle to its completion.

Dream A Little Dream by Ronie Kendig – (Afghanistan War, Present Day)

Jamie Russo and Sean Wolfe are hiding behind the mistakes of other
family members and avoiding their dreams. When a Civil War era coin changes the course of Sean’s life, he is scared and angry. Jamie feels irrevocably linked to Sean Wolfe and charged with the command regarding “love always perseveres,” seeing through Sean’s anger and pain to love him the way God does, but in doing so, she is forced to face her own fears. Can Sean break free from a legacy of pain and shame? Will they both surrender fear and dare to dream a little dream?

A Love Meant to Be by Dineen Miller – (Vietnam War, 1973)

love sweeps Alan James and Gail Gibson into a romantic journey that spans 38 years. After a whirlwind romance, they plan to reunite at Central Park after Alan returns from the Vietnam War, but the lies and deceit of Gail’s sister foil their reunion.

Thirty-eight years later, Alan’s niece, Jamie, finds Gail and brings them back
together. Alan and Gail’s plans to reunite in Central Park are finally realized in a surprise reunion that shows their love was meant to be.

To Sing Another Day by Kim Vogel Sawyer – (World War II, 1941)

When Helen Wolfe’s fiancĂ© abandons her, unwilling to assume responsibility for Helen’s younger siblings, she is forced to relinquish her dreams of becoming a singer and seek employment to provide for her family. Desperately in need of money, she pawns a family heirloom—an inscribed $20 gold piece dating back to the Civil War. But her act of desperation ignites an answering sympathy in pawnshop owner Bernie O’Day’s heart.

Will Helen allow him to become her champion, giving her a reason to sing another day?

Beauty From Ashes by MaryLu Tyndall – (Civil War, 1865)

As war’s end, Colonel William Wolfe, disfigured both in body and soul, travels to Williamsbur
g, Virginia to see his fiancĂ©. Excited to claim the woman he has fallen in love with even more through her many, long letters, William is devastated at both the sight of the worn-torn country and the repulsion he first receives from Annie. Permelia, Annie’s sister, has loved William from afar for many years. Caring not that his once-handsome face is scarred, she is thrilled to see him and accept his help on the plantation, even though he still seems stricken with Annie. But when he finds the $20 gold coin he had given Annie as a token of their love in Permelia’s possession, William begins to suspect the truth.

Will William overcome the pain of Annie’s rejection and take a risk on true love again?

I know I can't wait to read these stories ~ congrats Ronie on your contracts and also to Dineen, MaryLu & Kim :)

Relz Reviewz Extras

All things Kendig @ Relz Reviewz

Visit Ronie's website and blog

Buy Ronie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Friday, 21 January 2011

Jenny B Jones ~ FamilyFiction Plus

As FamilyFiction's Romance Correspondent it was a special treat to interview the witty and talented Jenny B Jones for the third edition of
the FamilyFiction magazine.

It's my privilege to share the hilarity of my complete interview with Jenny with you here ~ enjoy!

You write and you teach ~ compare the pros and cons of each!

Oh, gosh. I’ve never been asked that.

Writing is a very solitary job. It’s just you, the computer, and the M&Ms. And that can be too much alone time for me. So I love that teaching gets me around people, even if most of them are only fourteen. I love working with other teachers, chatting it up with them, and just being part of a team. It’s a cool experience to have people going through the same things, sharing the same ups and downs (and enduring the same boring faculty meetings), as we find in teaching.

But I like that writing is something I can do at my own pace for the most part. I can wear yoga pants for it. And while I might have the occasional review that smarts, at least I don’t have 150 sets of parents I have to keep up with. The pressures associates with both jobs are just totally different. When you’re teaching, you get instant feedback from your audience. That’s always helpful. Usually. And occasionally with teaching there is food in class. Just this week we were doing group projects, and one of the groups worked nachos into their project. “Can we bring nachos to class and serve everyone?” Um, let me think about this for a millisecond. Yes.

Save the Date stars a former pro footballer ~ are you an avid fan or did you need to research your football facts?

Oh, girl, I love me some football. The offense. The defense. The stuff they do on the field, running with the ball and throwing flags and tackling and…are you kidding? I am not a sports person. I am clueless about football. Fortunately I have a good friend who lives and breathes it (So weird! She could be reading People magazine during this time!), and she helped me a lot. I called her a lot while writing Save the Date. I would always begin the conversation, “Now promise me you won’t laugh…”

But as clueless as I’ve been about sports all my life, I’ve always been fascinated with sports culture. It’s just another version of Hollywood to me. So I can’t tell you what a quarterback sneak is, but I am familiar with the names and reputations of players. I love the drama in the athletic world. Can you imagine living a life where you’re paid multi-millions a year just for doing the thing you love the most? That is both a blessing and a curse, and makes for some interesting characters.

Why a marriage of convenience story? Aren’t they usually in the realm of historical fiction?

It’s actual an engagement of convenience. I read romance, and my favorite plot device is where an unlikely man and woman are forced to either marry or pretend to be a couple. It’s just instant sizzle and always reels me in. It’s not the most honest approach to a relationship, so I was blessed the gang at Thomas Nelson were up for it.

In Save the Date, my characters Lucy and Alex each need something desperately. Lucy needs some major funding to save her girls’ home, and Alex, who is running for Congress, needs to restore his reputation. So these two characters, who are day and night, are throw together. I love that doing that to your characters gets you instant sparks and tension. We see different people when they’re “on stage” and in public, acting like a loving couple, then when they are alone and out of the eyes of press or voters. It was a fun contrast to play with.

Your writing career kicked off with a highly successful YA series. Do you need a different mindset to write adult novels?

They are probably more alike than different. Both include romance and single girls. When I write about 30 year old women, the heroines, like the YA heroines, are still confused by boys, still have piles of stress, still need their best friends, and find moments when life is out of control. The 30 year olds just have better skin and a later curfew.

It does require a bit of switching gears though. I usually try and stay away from YA reading when I’m writing women’s romance, and vice-versa. My editors are really good at finding inconsistencies and saying things like, “This sounds too young for an adult woman to say.” I hang out with teenagers all day, so I don’t always have the most mature sense of humor or point of view. Yet another thing I blame on my ninth graders. Like my gray hair and jumbo sized bottle of aspirin.

What is the most challenging aspect of incorporating your faith into your novels?

Oh, wow. Yeah, there are definitely challenges. I think the biggest is that you can’t satisfy everyone. I can write a book that will strike some as being too heavy on the faith elements, while hitting others as being not enough. You just have to be satisfied that you did your best, listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and let the story unfold how it needed to. And all authors have their own comfort level with the faith elements too, which can be a good thing. Because the author who likes the heavier message is going to appeal to those readers who appreciate that. And those of us who write lighter fare can speak to the rest. The cool thing about Christian fiction is that there is something for everyone.

Where does the inspiration for your characters/storylines come from?

Usually desperation. Ha. Ideas are pretty slow in coming to me, so they often bloom when the clock is ticking and I HAVE to start typing some pages. I also get ideas from NOT trying to write. The plot for Just Between You and Me came to me while I was taking a break and seeing a movie. As I tuned out the movie and let my mind wander, the pieces started to fall together. And good brainstorming friends help a lot. God has totally blessed me with some awesome author friends this year. It’s been a ginormous asset.

Do you have another adult fiction on the horizon? If so, please share a sneak peek

The next book after Save the Date will be a YA. In Save the Date, Alex’s teen sister makes an appearance, and in this next stand-alone YA, she gets her own story. So it’s been fun to incorporate characters from Save the Date and pick-up where the book leaves off.

I hope you have enjoyed this FamilyFiction plus post ~ comment away!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Just Between You and Me

Character spotlight on Maggie & Connor

Visit Jenny's website and blog

Buy Jenny's books at Amazon or Koorong

Read FamilyFiction's third edition

Look soon for my review of Save the Date and a character spotlight on Alex & Lucy

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Nipped in the Bud by Susan Sleeman


Paige is thrilled to secure a landscaping contract sprucing up the park for the upcoming "Pickle Fest." But when she bickers with a town official---and a day later he's discovered dead in a mound of mulch---she finds herself in . . . well, a pickle!

With no alibi, can she prove her innocence?

My take:~

I admit I am more a suspense fan than a mystery fan but Susan Sleeman's Nipped in the Bud is a fun and intriguing read as Paige Turner sets out to prove she is innocent of the murder of city manager, Bud Picklemann. With humour, twists and turns and excellent romantic tension between Paige and her attorney, Adam Hayes, this is a read that will keep your attention from start to finish. Nipped in the Bud is my first Susan Sleeman and Hometown Mystery read and it won't be my last of either.

With thanks to the author for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Susan's website

Buy Susan's books at Amazon or Koorong

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

No Distance Too Far by Lauraine Snelling ~ Tracy's Take

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Astrid Bjorklund wants to use her medical training to serve God and feels that He might be leading her in the direction of missionary service. Smarting
from a misunderstanding with Joshua Landsverk, the young man she thought she loved, she heads south to a missionary training school, hoping to eventually use her skills in some remote outpost in Africa. When she is called home to help in a family medical crisis, a door of opportunity opens for her unexpectedly. Perhaps the “mission field” God intends for her is not exactly what she imagined. Plunging into her new venture with all her energy, she won’t let herself be discouraged by some disapproving townsfolk in Blessing. But when a certain young man also expresses opposition, she’s caught off guard. If she follows God’s call, will love pass her by?

What I thought:

Lauraine Snelling’s gift for masterful storytelling is obvious, as her second Home to Blessing novel, ‘No Distance Too Far’, continues the story of the Bjorklund family. A surprising plot and endearing characters make this a memorable read in a genre that is often characterised by plots that are predictable and commonplace.

Having not read any other books by Lauraine Snelling I was a little concerned about picking up the threads that had already begun to be woven in previous books. ‘No Distance Too Far’ put those fears to rest as I was able to quickly acquaint myself with the characters and their relationships with one another.

Astrid is a young woman whom I related to as she searches for God’s clear direction in her life. I admired her deliberate determination to seek God and to walk in whatever path He would set before her. Astrid’s frustration and confusion in her seeking was realistic and tangible and a journey that I have experienced in my own faith. I was pleased to see that the outworking and resolution of Astrid’s seeking of God ended in her taking a path she had no initially envisaged. For me, this added to the authenticity and credibility that made the story one I invested myself in.

‘No Distance Too Far’ brings out deep Biblical truths in a way that helps the reader to sort through the challenges faced when seeking to follow God’s will. God’s path often takes a circuitous route, but the route is also filled with lessons that are not easily learned any other way. Astrid’s journey illuminates these lessons in a manner that is easily understood.

With thanks to Bethany for Tracy's review copy

Guest reviewer:~ My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Breaking Free

Visit Lauraine's website

Buy Lauraine's books at Amazon or Koorong

The winner of Digitalis is...........

Rebecca B ~ congratulations!

You will LOVE this story :)
An email is on its way to you.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Irene Hannon's Jake Taylor & Liz Michaels

Jake & Liz

Irene Hannon returns with a new romantic suspense series, Guardians of Justice, following on from her highly successful Heroes of Quantico series.

Enjoy meeting Jake & Liz. Over to you, Irene:~

Jake Taylor

Brief Description

Jake is 38, 6’1”, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. As a member of the U.S. Marshals elite Special Operations Group, he’s just returned from a stint in Iraq helping secure that country’s judicial system. He’s now back in his hometown of St. Louis, where his siblings, Alison and Cole, live.

Actor/famous person

I never picture celebrities when envisioning my characters; they always take on their own unique personalities and looks. To be honest though, my publisher’s cover artists nailed the hero!

Rel: I picked Eddie Cibrian for Jake :)


Jake is a professional who handles every assignment with total dedication—even ones he doesn’t want…like protecting the wife of his late best friend. As the oldest Taylor sibling, he also feels a special responsibility to watch out for his siblings and has a strong sense of family duty.


He’s never totally recovered from the death of his wife, which he believes was his fault. Self-forgiveness is difficult for him.


He’s overly protective of his spunky sister, Alison. So sparks have a tendency to fly when they’re together.

Inspiration for the Character

As I began to research possible professions for my hero, I discovered the U.S. Marshals Service—and knew that was the place for Jake, a natural protector. But to make things interesting, I assigned him to protect a woman he intensely dislikes. I wanted to explore the issue of wrong impressions and how they can distort our perceptions. Then I threw in some unwanted romantic sizzle just to raise the stakes—and the tension!

Liz Michaels

Brief Description

Liz is 38, 5’7”, with long honey-colored hair parted to one side and green eyes. She’s an attorney and a judge, and has recently been appointed to the federal bench. Detail-oriented and smart, she’s a hard driver and high achiever who’s always been very dedicated to her career.

Actor/famous person

Again, I don’t base my characters on actors or famous people. They just appear as unique individuals in my mind.

Rel: My choice for Liz is Robin Wright


Liz is a woman with great strength and integrity. She’s a hard worker, and is totally committed to those she loves.


She pushes herself too hard and often spends too many hours on the job.


She loves to walk, is partial to her neighbor’s killer cannoli and always wears red nail polish.

Inspiration for the Character

Since I wanted to pair Liz with Jake, and he comes into the story already disliking her, I was able to take readers along as he discovers there is much more to this woman than first meets the eye. Plus I wanted to create a character who demonstrates that even successful people can harbor doubts and carry devastating emotional baggage—yet they manage to carry on.

Background to the Story

Coming off my Heroes of Quantico series, which starred three FBI buddies, I decided to feature three siblings bound by blood and a passion for justice. Thus, the Guardians of Justice series was born.

I’m having a blast with the family dynamic in this series. Think two overprotective brothers and a very independent sister. As you can imagine, there are some skirmishes. But despite those clashes, they love each other, are totally loyal and will do anything to help each other. They’re a great family, and I hope readers love them as much as I do.


So starting with that family dynamic, I added touches of humor, lots of suspense, a riveting villain and a healthy dose of romance. I hope that’s the recipe for a book that will keep readers glued to the page—and coming back for more. It will be hard to top the Heroes of Quantico—all bestsellers that garnered a Daphne du Maurier award, an RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice award and a RITA nomination—but I’m giving it my best shot!

As with all my series, each book stands alone; no plot threads carry over from book to book. But please do watch for Alison’s story, Deadly Pursuit, coming in September!

Thanks so much, Irene :) Lovely having you here again.

On Thursday the spotlight shines on DiAnn Mills' Ember Farrar & John Timmons from The Fire in Ember.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Against All Odds , An Eye for An Eye and In Harm's Way

Character spotlights on Coop & Monica, Mark & Emily and Nick & Rachel

Interview with Irene

Visit Irene's website

Buy Irene's books at Amazon or Koorong

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