Monday, July 31, 2023

BREATHING IN REVERSE, by author DENSIE WEBB (out August 1st!)

A chance encounter with a celebrity, an impromptu video, and a shiny new espresso machine all added up to a juicy tale for Rachael Allen to share with friends. But when her best friend posts the video online without her knowledge, Rachael begins receiving bizarre threats from an obsessed fan.

Mick Sullivan, the star in her video, offers to help. Despite his fame and reputation as a player, he tries to stay down to earth. However, Mick has secrets. And there’s one he’s hidden even from himself.

Despite wildly divergent life paths, Rachael and Mick’s shared Southern upbringing and passion for good music create a common thread that draws them together. As their relationship deepens and the threats increase, Rachael is forced to decide if being with Mick Sullivan is worth the collateral damage.

Breathing in Reverse is the story of Rachael's serendipitous encounter with a celebrity, her brush with obsessive love, and the bittersweet gift left behind by the very person fixated on destroying her life.


"I blew through the book in just two days. It really grabbed me. And that ending! OMG—loved it. Suspense, romance, and jaw-dropping scenes all rolled into one, this book will have you on the edge of your seat." Lyn Liao Butler, Amazon bestselling author of Someone Else's Life

"Give me a book with a tortured star and a compelling female protagonist, toss in music, add a mystery along with thrilling suspense, and I'm so there! 
Breathing in Reverse is a stunning story with a fast-paced plot that makes it unputdownable. The unexpected twist at the end was a bonus. I love when that happens. Thriller, romance, and women's fiction readers alike will thoroughly enjoy this book."—Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Amazon best-selling author of the No More Trilogy and the Everything series

"Author Densie Webb pivots from her fabulous debut, 
When Robins Appear, to a suspenseful tale triggered by a chance encounter between Rachael Allen and celebrity actor, Mick Sullivan. A fast-paced, tight-as-a-drum narrative, Breathing in Reverse will keep you breathless to the very end, where a late plot twist will sear you."—Barbara Conrey—USA Today bestselling author of Nowhere Near Goodbye

An author interview with Densie ~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

I’ve been a freelance writer and editor my whole career, specializing in health and nutrition, writing for consumers and for professional journals. I actually have a PhD in nutrition and I’m a registered dietitian. I began the transition to fiction writing about 8 years ago, with the encouragement of a dear friend. It took a while to wind up, taking writing courses, reading craft books, and sharing pages to get feedback. “When Robins Appear” was published with Red Adept Publishing in 2020 and “Breathing in Reverse,” also with Red Adept is being published on August 1st of this year.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I don’t really have any hobbies, besides reading. I am studying modern Hebrew, which is hard, but fun. I love listening to music. I actually consider Spotify my muse.

Do you have a particular writing routine?

Not at all. I’m all over the place. I keep thinking I’m going to establish some kind of regular writing routine, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Is there anything major that changed in this novel from when you first plotted it out?

Not so much the plot, but the characters. The story involves a celebrity stalker and I originally had some chapters from the POV of the stalker. On the advice of my developmental editor, I cut all 26,000 words from the stalker’s POV and wrote new words from the main character’s POV. It was painful, but I think it works.

Finish this: “I can’t write without…”

Music. I know writers who need silence, but I always have music playing and I find inspiration in the lyrics.

What career did you think you’d have as an adult?

This is boring, but I ended up doing basically what I thought I would do—that is before I started writing fiction. In an 8th grade civics class we had to write about a profession, and I chose to write about being a registered dietitian (RD).

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I had a motorcycle when I was in my 20s. Kind of freaks me out to think about it now.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I still write about health and nutrition for newsletters and magazines and do consulting for industry, but am slowly shifting my time to fiction.


Where do you get your ideas, or what inspired this book plot?

I don’t have a ton of ideas in the queue. I tend to come up with one, maybe two story ideas at a time. “Breathing in Reverse” was inspired by an interview with a young actor who voiced his feelings of vulnerability because of all the sometimes crazy fans, and I ran with it.


Do you have a manuscript in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day?

No. I’m not one of these writers who has a “spare” story or two. I stick with a story until I feel it’s done and then I move on to the next one. Plus, I’m a very slow writer, which makes me fully committed to whatever it is I’m working on.


Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?

No, I wish I did. But, I’ve had a variety of critique groups and partners over the years, who have helped me tremendously along the way.


If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?

No. The time it took was well spent, as I developed some skill and learned the ins and outs of publishing. I feel grateful to have a found a publisher that is very involved with writers and works with them to promote their books. Getting your work published is a combination of determination, dedication, skill, and just plain luck. Every writer has heard the stories about wildly successful novels that were rejected dozens of times before finally being accepted by an agent and a publisher. Sometimes it’s a matter of hitting the right person at the right time.


How do you market your work?

Mainly via Facebook ads, which have worked well for me. And a small amount of Amazon ads. I tried BookBub ads, but they were relatively expensive with no results that I could see. I think BookBub is mainly geared toward readers looking for deeply discounted books. I also do author takeovers on Facebook pages, post on Instagram, Facebook, and now Threads. And, for both releases I schedule a book blog tour.


What are you working on now?

I’m about 50,000 words into a story about a relationship between a young American woman and an Irish singer. It’s a bittersweet story that alternates between the past, when they met and fell in love and the present.


What is a bestselling book you’ve been itching to read?

I belong to a Writers’ Book Club and we’re about to read “Hello Beautiful” by Ann Napolitano and I’ve got “The Whispers” by Ashley Audrain on my coffee table. I’m really looking forward to both, since I read “Dear Edward” by Napolitano and “The Push” by Audrain and loved them both.


Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

I think most writers base at least some events and characters in their stories off of real life. There’s a character in “Breathing in Reverse,” who is the mother of the celebrity who’s being stalked. She’s from Louisiana, where I’m from originally and she’s an amalgam of every southern woman I knew growing up. Her name is Cora, named after an aunt of mine.


Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I’d have to say it’s a tie between the prologue and the last chapter. The prologue is the only section from the POV of Mick, the celebrity in the story, and it paints a clear picture of what his life has been like up to that point. And the last chapter offers a bit of a twist, which I always like in stories.


Do you have a favorite character?

I can’t play favorites, but readers have expressed an affection for Cora. She doesn’t play a big role in the story, but I think she stands out.


What was some unique research you had to do for a book?

I was able to interview a psychologist who specializes in stalking and has testified in celebrity stalking cases. I couldn’t believe he gave me 45 minutes of his time. It was really fascinating—and disturbing.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

You have to be in it for the long haul, and first and foremost, don’t quit your day job. Unless you get extremely lucky right out of the gate, it can take years to develop the skills, get a book published, and develop an audience of readers. And READ! I’m always appalled when someone says they want to write a book, but they don’t read. Every book is a lesson on what to do or what not to do.


What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

I wish I wrote faster. Publishing a book every 18 months would be a lofty goal for me, but it’s something I’ll be striving for.


Favorite band or music? 

It always changes. Right now, I’m obsessed with the voice of young Scottish singer, Lewis Capaldi, as well as the lyrics of his songs.


Favorite book and/or movie?

I can never answer this question. There are too many to choose from. But at this point in time, I’m going to say, “The Light We Lost” by Jill Santopolo because it was the inspiration for the story I’m working on now. I love stories that break my heart.


Place you’d like to travel?

So many! I’d love to go to Portugal, Ireland, Croatia, Iceland and, if you can believe it, I’ve never been to Canada, so Quebec is on my list. My daughter is my favorite traveling partner. Last year we went to Rome and Naples. I’m hoping we’ll have a lot more travels together in the future.


Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

This goes not just for my books, but for any book you read and enjoy. It is so appreciated if you leave a rating or a review. A review can be as simple as “Loved this story!” It helps authors so much! More ratings and reviews means more exposure and the ability to get the next book published.

To connect with Densie:

Instagram: densiewebbbooks
BookBub: @densiewebb

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

A TWISTED LOVE STORY, by author SAMANTHA DOWNING (debuts today!)

From the bestselling author of My Lovely Wife comes a reckless, delicious thriller that gives a whole new meaning to the dangers of modern dating.

Wes and Ivy are madly in love. They've never felt anything like it. It's the type of romance people write stories about.

But what kind of story?

When it's good, it's great. Flowers. Grand gestures. Deep meaningful conversations where the whole world disappears.

When it's bad, it's really bad. Vengeful fights. Damaged property. Arrest warrants.

But their vicious cycle of catastrophic breakups and head-over-heels reconciliations needs to end fast. Because suddenly, Wes and Ivy have a common enemy--and she's a detective.

There's something Wes and Ivy never talk about--in good times or bad. The night of their worst breakup, when one of them took things too far, and someone ended up dead.

If they can stick together, they can survive anything--even the tightening net of a police investigation.

Because one more breakup might just be their last…

Reviews ~

“A deliciously clever thriller. I love Samantha Downing's books...If you haven't experienced the pleasure of reading her work, don't wait."
Sylvia Day, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Toxic relationships, dark deeds, and a cast of unreliable narrators. All the best ingredients for a deliciously disturbing read. Twisted indeed.”
Alice FeeneyNew York Times bestselling author of Daisy Darker

"Samantha Downing’s writing is pure, twisted magic…will take you from the height of sexy, crashing-into-walls obsession to utter disbelief, loving every second."
Christina LaurenNew York Times bestselling author 

"Subtle, compelling, and clever. 
A Twisted Love Story will take you on a tense and emotional thrill ride that doesn't let up until the final page. Downing has crafted a complex, masterfully written tale that will have you rooting for the dysfunctional couple while simultaneously not trusting either of them."
Jeneva RoseNew York Times bestselling author of You Shouldn’t Have Come Here

“This story about a toxic relationship spiralling out of control is dazzlingly, deliciously dark—and enormous fun.”
JP DelaneyNew York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before

Author interview with Samantha ~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

I was always a big reader as a kid, and eventually, I started writing. I started with short stories and then wrote my first book. It was something I really enjoyed so I continued doing it. Writing was a hobby for many years before I was published.

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I like storytelling in general, whether it’s a book or music or TV and movies. I enjoy studying how people tell stories, what perspective they use and how they approach the story. It’s endlessly fascinating.

Do you have a particular writing routine?

Mornings are when I write. In the afternoon I tend to work on revisions or editing, this is when I re-read what I wrote earlier in the morning.

Is there anything major that changed in this novel from when you first plotted it out?

I don’t plot my books at all. Sometimes I have a few vague ideas about where they will go, but that’s always subject to change as I write. So I would say all of my books go through major changes as I write them. That’s one of the challenges of being a pantser instead of a plotter…there’s no road map for the book, so it can go anywhere. 

It also means I am constantly revising. If I make a major change when I write chapter 20, I have to go back and revise everything that came before. I do that as I’m writing the first draft. Otherwise, I’m left with a huge mess when I finish!

Finish this: “I can’t write without…” 


If I had to spend a week on a deserted island, I would need…

The internet! But if I can’t have that I would say paper, a few pens, some books and…coffee.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I don’t know if this is surprising, but I am a completely boring person. Truly, I don’t do a lot and lead a really quiet life. I’m not a “joiner.” I don’t drink, and at parties I prefer to stand in the corner and watch everyone else. My daily life is wholly unremarkable.


Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?


Not right now.


What was the original title of this book?


My original title was Always Have, Always Will.


Where do you get your ideas, or what inspired this book plot?


Ideas can really come from anywhere. It can be someone I see out in the world, just the way they move or talk can inspire a character. Ideas can come from documentaries or news stories. Sometimes I see something and it inspires a new twist on the idea. I try to take something relatively normal—like a couple living in the suburbs—and twist it into something more sinister.


Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day?


I have a lot of manuscripts in the drawer and they will never see the light of day!


If you have written more than one book, which story would you choose to live?


Oh, I would live in any of my books. Just to watch! But after a while, I’m sure I would want to escape.


Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?


I am part of a writer’s critique group and they are always the first ones to read what I’m writing.


What are you working on now?


Another thriller, although I can’t say much about it.


Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?


Only some small things. The locations, places I’ve visited or lived, and some character traits. But I’ve never known anyone who kills people (that I’m aware of!)


Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?


I like writing about the interactions between characters. Millicent and her husband in My Lovely Wife, the siblings in He Started It, Teddy and the other teachers in For Your Own Good. In A Twisted Love Story, I really enjoyed writing the scenes between Wes and Ivy.


Do you have a favorite character?


No, they’re all my favorites!


Finish this sentence: “If I could write about anything, it would be…?”


That’s a tough one. Sometimes I have too many ideas, other times I don’t have any, so I guess it depends on what day it is. I start books and throw them out all the time. Either the idea doesn’t take hold or I can’t figure out where to go with it. But no, I don’t have one single thing or idea I want to write about.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


Be prepared to multi-task. Not only do you have to concentrate on the craft of writing, you also have to know how to market yourself and successfully use social media. It’s basically a necessity these days. My days are typically split between the two.


What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?


I would say the downfall is the need to outdo myself, and this is something I did not see coming. Ideally, every book should be better than the last, and every book should sell better than the last. That’s what a career is. By definition, a career progresses, it does not regress. So I am constantly trying to outdo, outwrite, and outsell my last book. It’s something I think about and try to achieve every single day.


Favorite book and/or movie?


I have so many favorite books, but I’d have to say Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. As for my favorite movie, it really depends on my mood!


Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Just a huge thank you for reading my books! I am so grateful to everyone who has read one (or more) of them!

To connect with Samantha ~

Thursday, July 13, 2023

THE BEAUTY OF RAIN, by author JAMIE BECK (out July 18th!)

Two devoted sisters at a tragic breaking point discover the beautiful and painful truths of being alive in a powerful novel by Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Jamie Beck.

Winning the lottery changed Amy Walsh’s life, but the cost was greater than she could bear. In the aftermath, she struggles to find joy and purpose. Only one thing feels certain now—she will never spend one cent of the prize money on herself.

Worried, her older sister, Kristin DeMarco, invites Amy to live with her family while she heals. Unfortunately, this arrangement leads to trouble for Kristin: Divided focus affects her career. Her daughter prefers Amy to her. And Amy’s unsolicited opinions provoke tension between Kristin and her husband.

Meanwhile, Amy is making drastic plans of her own, which include giving away all her money. But first she must convince Kristin not to squander her most valuable asset—time with her family.

As the sisters help each other reimagine their futures, life’s unpredictability sends them to surprising places that test their love and resilience. Will they learn to live in the now, before it’s too late?

Reviews ~

Selected by She Reads as a “Best Book Club Picks of Summer 2023”

“Heartbreaking, uplifting, and wise beyond measure, The Beauty of the Rain is a masterful tale rendered perfectly by an author truly hitting her stride. I was completely captured by the story of two sisters who each have to learn to really live—before they run out of chances. So powerful!” —Barbara O’Neal, bestselling author of This Place of Wonder

“A thoughtful and clear-headed exploration into life’s most brutal challenges. Jamie Beck insightfully dives into the intricacies of grief, marriage, ambition, and love of family in a way that will make you stop and ponder your life choices. An important and meaningful read about what makes life beautiful.” —Sonali Dev, bestselling author of The Vibrant Years

“Jamie Beck’s The Beauty of Rain is a poignant look at love and hope, grief and healing, and finding peace after life-shattering loss. At the heart of this wise, insightful book is a beautifully flawed family—sisters, spouses, children, parents—in all their messy glory. Be prepared to read into the wee hours of the night, because you’re going to keep promising yourself ‘just one more chapter.’” —Mariah Stewart, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author

Author interview with Jamie ~

What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

I love to travel with family and friends, and I love to eat at funky restaurants. I’m always listening to music (wish I had more opportunities to dance). To unwind, I love a good dramatic movie or TV show. For outdoor fun, I like to ski and hike (and recently picked up Pickleball!). And, of course, I love to read!

Do you have a particular writing routine?

I used to be more regimented, but life has gotten a little hectic lately, so I’ve learned to be more fluid. I am a plotter, though. I start with a theme I want to explore or discuss, then build a character who would struggle the most to adopt that message, and then try to set up a plot that pushes that character through the meatgrinder to get them to learn what must be learned.

Is there anything major that changed in this novel from when you first plotted it out?

The ending! That’s all I’ll say about that.

Finish this: “I can’t write without…”


What is something about you that would surprise people?

Although I’m exceptionally punctual, I’m also chronically disorganized. My desk is covered in papers (not files—just random pages of notes and such). Thank god my husband enjoys being our in-house administrator!


What was the original title of this book?


This is the original title, which was a riff off the Dar Williams song The Beauty of the Rain.


Where do you get your ideas, or what inspired this book plot?


This book is my most personal and was inspired by a health crisis that made me look at my entire life differently. I hope it encourages every single reader to seriously evaluate whether they are living each day with intention and joy/gratitude.


Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day?


Sadly, I just gave up on a manuscript that I’d been very excited about. It is difficult to walk away at 60,000 words, but it wasn’t working, and I could not figure out how to salvage it. Unless I wake up with a major epiphany, I don’t foresee this one making it to market. But never say never…


Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?


When I was a teen, I loved Danielle Steel’s books. As a young adult, I found Jodi Picoult. In a strange way, I think my more recent work is sort of a blend of these two types of novels.


Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?


Actually, yes. There are some “afterlife” encounters that are based on things I, my mother, and my daughter have experienced after losing someone close to us. That makes the book sound paranormal, but it isn’t. It does, however, touch upon the little signs we sometimes get from loved ones after they’re gone.


Do you have a favorite character?

I don’t have a favorite, but I can share which character is most like me: Kristin. I didn’t start out planning for her to mirror many of my traits and concerns, but she ended up more like me than not!


What would your dream job be if you didn’t write books? (assuming this is your dream job!)


Well, if I had any talent for it, I would absolutely love to be a singer-songwriter. Unfortunately, I cannot carry a tune (ask anyone who has the misfortune of riding along on a road trip).


Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for your time, your letters, and your encouragement and support. You have not only given me this career, you’ve made me feel like I have made a difference in your life, and that is the most precious gift. I treasure your trust.

To connect with Jamie ~