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Why I Write

coffee-2306471_1920Biggest reason: I write because I enjoy reading so much, but more on that later. 🙂

I write because it feels good to let my muse run wild. And I don’t have to be perfect–not on the first go. I can write and rewrite a scene until it works. I can put better words in my characters’ mouths and give them stronger motivations. Stronger hearts.

I write because I love to play with words and with plots. An English major to the end, I can’t help deconstructing movies and books. There’s a thrill that comes with uncovering metaphors, themes, and more that I hope to reproduce for my readers.

I write because I hope. That’s the essence of romance–that Happily Ever After.

My first exposure to romance was through fairy tales. I love the darker nature of true fairy tales along with the magic, adventure, and happy endings. Later, I got a taste of romance in novel form including my gateway drug to paranormal romance, L.J. Smith’s Soulmate. (Love you L.J.!) There were also the Harlequins poorly hidden in the back of the family closet and romantic movies from Disney to Dirty Dancing.

I write because I love where I live. Maybe I’m partial because I’m from NJ, but there is so much change over the landscape here. It’s more than the variations over the shore, farmlands, mountains, and cities. It’s the local color and how local–how different it can be from town to town. It’s gorgeous, white-sand pine trails and moldering, ancient, abandoned cinemas. There is darkness to my writing and the alternate Jersey (names changed to protect the innocent, etc., etc.), but it’s infused with splashes of light. With color. With hope and the strange and, of course, magic. I love to play with fantasy, tropes, atmosphere, desires, geek life, grit, and the Jersey world I grew up in to create something entirely new.

Finally, I write because I think there is a place in this world for every strange little story. There are many goals tied into writing for me, but the biggest by far is to connect with an audience who wants this mix of darkness and light in their books. I believe in happy endings and write them, but there’s nothing saccharine about then ends of my stories. Instead, I write endings that make sense with the characters and the story world. Sacrifices are made and happiness is earned.

I would consider myself incredibly lucky to connect with readers who would love romance, world-building, and the way that I twist it all together. Maybe one day. 😉

 

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THE GHOST CHRONICLES by Marlo Berliner – YA Love Beyond the Veil

The Ghost Chroncles
Image from Amazon.com

I just finished THE GHOST CHRONICLES by Marlo Berliner and had to give a shout out to my fellow Jerseyite for this incredible YA Paranormal! Berliner’s high-concept storytelling and sympathetic hero had me hooked on this title immediately.

Here’s the summary from Amazon.com:

Can Michael get to heaven before the devil gets him first, and if it means leaving Sarah is he sure he still wants to go?

Michael Andrews had everything – a loving family, a great girlfriend and a promising basketball career. That was before the accident that took his life. Now, he’s a ghost, wandering among the living, struggling to understand why he’s stuck. All he wants is to move on.

That is until he meets Sarah, an attractive young girl who died just as tragically as he did. The only trouble is falling in love and binding oneself to another soul is forbidden, for it may keep one or both of the souls bound to earth for longer than they should be.

To make matters worse, there’s also a danger in going too far with Sarah, because the “joining” of two souls in the afterlife is also strictly forbidden and they don’t know what will happen if they do go that far. Each time they touch they can feel the boundaries of their energies slipping perilously into one another.

Things get even more complicated as Michael learns he’s being pursued. Demons are after him because he’s a marked soul, a soul the devil wants very badly for some unknown reason.

So, maybe falling in love in the afterlife isn’t such a good idea.

I can’t help beginning with the setting because (holla!) a large part of it takes place in New Jersey. Michael, our ghostly hero, grew up in central Jersey. The description of this area is especially fun for local readers who can connect to the landmarks mentioned a la Evanovich.

The heart of the setting, however, is the Angel of the Sea, a gorgeous bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ that’s rumored to harbor the ghost of a teenage girl, Sarah. Love crosses boundaries of time, space, and death as Michael falls for Sarah.

Berliner pulls out all the paranormal stops by rolling explanations of other paranormal creatures besides ghosts into her world-building. I don’t want to give these pieces away, but look forward to meeting incredible creatures as well as historical figures.

Michael himself had me hooked from the beginning–a teen character who looses his life, his girlfriend, his future in basketball, and his family. He begins the book alive, so this loss is more deeply felt, and his journey to move on from his ties to the mortal world has its own perils. Travel with Michael to several historic locations as he seeks the answers to the big questions of his afterlife and flees the demons that want his soul.

Be sure to check out Berliner’s webpage!

Michelle Joyce Bond

 

 

Romance Reviews

KISSING KATIE By Babette James — Hot Jersey Author

kissing katie
Image from goodreads.com

My latest read in this series of hot authors from New Jersey is Babette James whose contemporary romance, KISSING KATIE, is the perfect balance of sexy and sweet.

Katie Vanburen and Matt Powell once spent summer after summer together in scenic Lavallette, NJ, but the friends lost touch after Matt’s parents divorced.

Years later, Matt rents the beach house that once belonged to his grandparents, noting that the house next door appears to be occupied by new owners.  He is caught off guard when a beautiful woman runs over from the neighbor’s yard and throws her arms around him.  It’s his long-lost Katie, all grown up.  A widow whose deceased husband’s memory is soiled by a history of cheating, Katie has had a hard time moving on.  Matt, a high-powered lawyer with huge offers from three different firms, isn’t sure he’ll be able to devote time and attention to a serious relationship…but soon he knows he has to try.  Once he kisses Katie, he knows he can’t bear to be separated from her again.

This super sweet romance put me right at the Jersey shore.  James’s setting descriptions are immersive, and her love story is heartfelt.  My favorite are scenes that include changing weather.  These fine brush strokes reflect not only the romantic elements of this book but the playfulness of the characters who are rediscovering their youth.  Matt and Katie felt more like real people than characters to me, and I really enjoyed spending time with them.  This is the perfect, relaxing beach read for the summer!

Here’s a link to Babette James’s website: http://babettejames.com/

Michelle Joyce Bond

Romance Reviews

COUNTRY ROADS by Nancy Herkness — Hot Jersey Author

country roads
Image from goodreads.com

Next in this series of hot romance authors from New Jersey, I bring you Nancy Herkness who turned the heat all the way up in her contemporary romance, COUNTRY ROADS.

The novel begins with our heroine, Julia Castillo, stranded on a country road on her way from the big city to a small town.  Julia has her artwork in tow, striking paintings of dark horses that won’t sell according to her manager uncle.  Handsome Paul Taggart, layer and former mayor, sweeps in to save her, getting her to town and the art dealer who is convinced Julia’s work will rock the art world.

Julia isn’t used to being outside of the sheltered world her family created for her, but she soon develops a taste for this new independence and for the man who rescued her.  Their passion roars to life with a heat that catches both off guard.  Julia, who has always been protected due to her epilepsy, worries that Paul will find out about her condition and treat her as her family did, like a broken doll.  Paul is tied to his home town by an alcoholic brother who is struggling to retain custody over his son.  Will the power of the whisper horses for which Sanctuary is so famous be able to help these lovers overcome their odds, or will Julia and Paul ultimately part ways on these country roads?

One of my favorite things about the book was Herkness’s vision of Sanctuary, a fictional West Virginian town with enough charm to make the reader want to linger and whisper horses to boot. I love fish out of water stories, so it was fun to follow the big-city artist to this place.  The perspective switches between Julia and Paul, and Herkness worked hard to make both of these characters equally complex.

So if life may be troubling you, stop by Sanctuary where the whisper horses may hear your troubles and help you find your way. 🙂

Here’s a link to Nancy’s Herkness’s website: http://www.nancyherkness.com/

Michelle Joyce Bond

Romance Reviews

UNTANGLE MY HEART by Maria K. Alexander — Hot Jersey Author

untangleNext in this series of incredible romance authors from New Jersey, I’m pleased to present Maria K. Alexander, author of UNTANGLE MY HEART.

When Edward sweeps in to help Kate and her family design a new family restaurant, Kate is completely set against becoming involved with the dashing Brit again.  But their short fling is blooming into something more as Edward is drawn closer and closer to her.  This is despite Kate’s dark past: an abusive marriage that ended in tragedy.  Kate is afraid to risk her heart again, but Edward is determined to win her over.  Her strength and the warmth of her close family are things Edward is missing in his life, the history of his own cold, British upbringing leaving wanting for something more.  Will he be able to untangle her past and win her heart?

I fell in love not only with Alexander’s complex characters but with the family life she depicts in this heartfelt, sexy novel.  There is a subplot in which Kate is considering adopting an orphaned boy that really tugged at my heartstrings.  Both Kate and Edward are working through their pasts, and it was wonderful to watch them develop together, growing into one another.

Something that really set Alexander’s writing apart was the tension created by and underlying threat that ran through the book.  Kate is being stalked, and as her past catches up with her, both she and Edward will need to fight against it.

Untangle My Heart builds to a gripping, satisfying conclusion.  Don’t miss this powerful love story!

Maria K. Alexander’s website: https://mariakalexander.wordpress.com/books/

Michelle Joyce Bond

Romance Reviews

A SPY UNMASKED by Tina Gabrielle — Hot Jersey Author

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Image from goodreads.com

Next in this series of incredible New Jersey authors, I’m pleased to present Tina Gabrielle whose historical romance, A SPY UNMASKED, delivers so much more than a smoking hot cover.

Sexy, smart, and laced with historical curiosities, A SPY UNMASKED is multifaceted and beautifully done. As the title hints, our hero has more to him that originally meets the eye…and so does the book.

Robert Ware, a spy in service of her majesty the queen, teams up with Lady Sophia Merrill, the daughter of an inventor, in order to solve the mystery of her father’s murder.  Disguised as a betrothed couple, they infiltrate a secret society of inventors, attending an elaborate, week-long retreat at the odious Lord Delmont’s estate.  Here, the safe-cracking spy and scientific-minded lady hope to uncover the clues they need to expose the killer.

One of my favorite things about this book was the fun Gabrielle had tying in technological and scientific curiosities of the time as well as a budding pre-Victorian spiritualism.  The way she describes events, characters, and settings evokes a neat precision that I really enjoyed in Gabrielle’s writing.  What’s behind the mask?  A romance that’s as smart as it is sexy.

Here is a link to Tina Gabrielle’s website.  Enjoy!

http://www.tinagabrielle.com/

Michelle Joyce Bond

 

Romance Reviews

THE RIGHT CHORD by RoseAnn DeFranco — Hot Jersey Author

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Image from goodreads.com

I’m beginning a new series of posts where I’ll be featuring some incredible romance authors from New Jersey, and I’m pleased to start with RoseAnn DeFranco whose latest title, THE RIGHT CHORD, kept me up late last night. (Super hot–had to finish!!)

DeFranco’s voice immediately leaps off the page.  She loves to stick her characters into humorous situations as well as push them to their limits, presenting them with their greatest dreams and worst fears.

Kit, a talented musician-turned-professor, returns to her home town after falling short of fame in the music industry.  Vince, her ex-boyfriend and super hot handyman, hopes to make a new life for himself and his daughter after his divorce.  Kit is determined to avoid the man who once broke her heart, but when Vince turns out to be her next door neighbor, avoiding him becomes impossible.  In fact, Vince cannot resist her, his rhythm matching hers beat for beat–stroke for stroke in music, in life, and in love.

I read this book first but will definitely go back to pick up the other books in the Audubon Springs Series.   There are so many parts to THE RIGHT CHORD that are laugh out loud enjoyable that I am struggling now not to mention in this post because I don’t want to give them away.  Check out the opening and you’ll see what I’m talking about. 🙂

Here’s a link to her site and her books: http://radefranco.com/books/

Michelle Joyce Bond