Amanda Heger -- Without Borders -- Tasty Book Tours

Without Borders
A Wanderlove Novel
By: Amanda Heger
Releasing April 19, 2016  
Diversion Books

For Annie London, a month in a Central American rainforest means handing out mosquito nets, giving medical aid, and teaching children about the birds and the bees. With any luck, it will also land her application in the “accepted” pile at a top tier medical school. But as soon as she steps off the plane, Annie realizes her bug spray, feeble Spanish, and medical supplies won’t help her deal with her new feelings for Felipe—her best friend's older brother, who's much hotter than she remembers, and who also happens to be the doctor in charge of the trip.
Gawking “volun-tourists” may keep his family’s medical clinic afloat, but Dr. Felipe Gutierrez doesn’t have to like them. Or the way they make snap judgments about his practice and the people he cares for. But when his old crush, Annie, shows up to volunteer, her killer curves and kind smile fan the embers of a flame Felipe didn’t realize he’d been carrying. A flame that makes him question all his preconceived notions.
As ideas and cultures clash, Annie and Felipe must decide how far outside their comfort zones they are willing to go—both for their work and for one another.

Beth: Welcome, Amanda! Thank you for joining my blog today. Even though, we think no one wants to know... I have to know. Knowing inspires me, so--

1. Who inspires your stories? 

Amy Poehler. Tina Belcher. My friends. The guy at the bus stop. All those butts I saw last week at Thunder from Down Under. 

Basically, everyone everywhere. People watching is one of my favorite past times, and there are so many stories to be found in everyday life. I sometimes fear that I have more story ideas than I’ll ever be able to write.

Beth: "All those butts I saw last week..." Yes. Thank you. Inspiration is everywhere. I love that your story is set in Central America. Though I've never been, reading takes me there! I think all readers are like that. So, tell me--

2. While writing Without Borders, what was the most fun discovery you made about Central America?

Some of the most fun discoveries I made about Nicaragua came from my time living there. It is legitimately gorgeous, the music is fabulous, and the rum is amazing. (Bonus discovery: armadillo isn’t a bad dinner option.)

But while writing the story I discovered how much I wanted to go back. I would love to spend a few nights staring up at the stars, eating gallo pinto, and listening to the rustle of monkeys in the trees above. 

Beth: I'm looking at snow out my window, in April!! So, I totally get that. I would love to be somewhere warm, looking up at the stars. Sounds like a scene I could fit in a book... speaking of scenes--

4. What was your favorite scene to write in Without Borders? Why?

There’s a scene where Annie has to reset a patient’s dislocated shoulder. I watched seventeen million YouTube videos of people getting their shoulders reset to make it as realistic as I could. And it was amazing. Amazingly horrifying. 

By the second or third video I had have an alcoholic beverage to keep from jumping out of my skin. And by the time I actually got around to writing the scene, I’m pretty sure my blood alcohol content was sky high. (Shhh. Don’t tell my editor.)

Good thing I didn’t become a doctor.

Beth: I may need to go back and reread that scene now... ;)

3. Whose story are you working on next? Will we see Annie and Felipe again in the series?

Marisol’s story, Semi-Scripted, is out next. And honestly, I couldn’t be more excited about this one. 

When the book picks up, we find Mari in L.A., chasing a grant that she desperately needs to save her family’s medical clinic. But when her appearance on a late night talk show goes viral, she has to balance her sudden fame with work obligations. Not to mention a blossoming romance with one of the show’s interns. 

Annie and Felipe do make an appearance or two, so you’ll get to catch up with them as well!

Beth: Wonderful! I love when books are connected by the characters. It's a huge bonus to see people again, make sure they're okay. <3 Speaking of okay and happy--

5. What do you do when you're not writing?

I do a lot of the usual stuff: work, pet my dogs, read books. 

But I also do some of the less-usual stuff: wear colorful socks, quote entire episodes of Veronica Mars, take improv classes.

Variety is the spice of life and all that.

Beth: It's such a great pleasure to dig into the mind of a writer [even a little!], and I'm grateful for Amanda's willingness to answer my questions. Do NOT miss her book, Without Borders... [and then the next one, as well, cuz...dude! Books!] And get in on the Rafflecopter, as well. #giveaways are #fun!!

Fiction Friday

Today Suzanne Lazear stopping in to celebrate the upcoming release of her first novel, Innocent Darkness.

Hello, Suzanne!!! Thanks for coming in. Around here we celebrate most things in life with cake and ice cream. My virtual bakery is open so tell me what you'll have.

S: Yum, thanks for the cake.  Well, I think everyone knows how much I like cupcakes. ~launches cupcake cannon~ However, I’m partial to chocolate cake and ice cream. Everything is better with chocolate...or bacon.  But I’m not certain bacon and chocolate go together.  

Tell me a little about your book that comes out in August.

S: Innocent Darkness, which is book 1 of the Aether Chronicles, is what I call “Fairytale Steampunk.”  It’s a blend of classic fairytale elements (evil queens, huntsman, bad bargains, wishes), faeries, and of course, Steampunk.  My main character, Noli Braddock lives in an alternate version of Los Angeles, one populated by flying cars, hoverboards, and Airpirates. I adore Steampunk and it was fun coming up with things like Noli’s flying car and the alternate history explaining why her version of 1901 is steampunk. I also enjoyed mashing it up with the faery world and creating that mythos as well.  My faeries are a little different than you might be used to – my courts are elements not seasons, and the realm subsists on the blood of mortal girls. The book comes out from Flux on 8-8-12.  

When you made that first sale, how did you celebrate?

S: When I sold, I was unemployed—like my unemployment was about to run out unemployed.  So, when I got “the email” from Flux, offering me a two book deal, I took my daughter to McDonalds after school to celebrate.  She had a happy meal and ice cream.  I ate her fries.  While at McDonalds, I got “the call” from my agent.  INNOCENT DARKNESS is my first novel.

Wow! Way to go. On a first novel! So, tell me, are you a plotter or a panster?

S: I’m a puzzler.  I often know certain points in the story, but have no idea how I’ll get from point A to point B.  Usually, I come up with that as I write, though once in awhile I’ll actually have an outline.  I had an outline with INNOCENT DARKNESS, but not with book 2.  When I had to turn in my first 3 chapters and a synopsis to my editor, I actually had to sit down write the whole story so I knew how it ended.

I know how that can be a lot of work. When you're ready to take a break from work, what would be your dream vacation spot? Have you been there?

S:  I think a nice tropical beach with a hammock, the ocean, and my family sounds really good.  But I’d have to have electrical outlets because I’m co-dependent with my laptop.

What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?

S: I love learning new things about my characters.  I actually was majorly surprised by a character recently.  I was doing a final re-through of the draft of book 2 before I sent it off to my editor and all the sudden I figured something out about a character, one I’d been writing since 2009.  Since I, being a writer, think my characters are real, I was actually a little wounded that the character had never told me before. It was such a big thing.  But I’ve since forgiven said character.  I’m not going to say what or whom, because even though I figured it out, said character doesn’t actually reveal said thing in book 2. (Yes, I’m giving my fictional character privacy, lol).

Can you give me and my readers a hint about what you’re working on for your next book?

S: Well, right now I’m editing book 2, and all I’ll say is “beyond here be airpirates.  Argh!”  (After all, Noli’s brother is an airpirate, you know we’ll have to meet them eventually).

I love a series, Suzanne and I can't wait to read this one. :D I'll be watching for it! Thanks for being here.

Thank you so much for having me on.  Remember, never talk to strange faeries.

Blurb:  In a Steampunk version of Los Angeles, Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed.  If Noli doesn't die, an entire civilization will.

Buy links! 
Indie Bound, 
The Book Depository, 
and Barnes and Noble. 

Aether Chronicles series website:  author website:

Countdown Day 4 -- GIVEAWAY with Jennifer Shirk

Four days until For Love of Duty is up for sale! I can't believe how fast the days have gone. From writing this story, through the editing, all the way til now... it's been like the blink of an eye. Part of that is because I am surrounded by such wonderful friends who keep me busy.

I first met [heard of] Jennifer Shirk on the Romance Divas forum. She was a quiet thing compared to some of the members over there. After joining Passionate Critters, I soon found out it wasn't that she was so quiet but that they were so loud. haha. :D Thanks for being here today, Jennifer, to help me celebrate my book release on Friday. Now, around here we eat cake and ice cream for just about any celebration. The virtual bakery is open with anything you want. What'll you have?

JS: I love chocolate cake—actually THIS recipe is my personal fav:
(only I skip the almonds.)
My fav ice cream is Moose tracks!!

Hey! Thanks for the recommendation. We love moose tracks around here, too. Have you ever had Mint Moose Tracks?

Tell me [and my readers] a little about your latest book?

JS: Sunny Days for Sam is my newest sweet romance.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Sunnyva “Sunny” Fletcher is a firm believer in fairy tales. With the recent debt she’s acquired, the hope of something magical happening in her life is the only thing keeping her going. She needs a job fast. So when Sunny learns the sexy new vacationer in town is looking for a nanny, she starts to believe she just may have a fairy godmother after all!

Internet guru Sam Calloway is only in town for the summer and needs a nanny for his two small children. However, the beautiful and inexperienced Sunny is not exactly the kind of caregiver Sam has in mind. It doesn’t take long for Sunny’s tenderhearted and bubble-blowing ways to soon have the children—and Sam—enamored with her. She’s a dream come true. But after what Sam’s been through, he’s stopped believing in fairy tales long ago.

Sunny manages to work her way into Sam’s closed-off heart, but at the end of the summer, will the workaholic dad go back to his life in New York City, or will he decide his days are much sunnier here with Sunny?

I never did read the end of that...did I? I must have! But, I think I'm going to have to get a copy as soon as this interview is over. I love your characters, Jennifer. They are real people.

Give me some party advice for a new author. When you made that first sale--so long ago, how did you celebrate?
JS: I squealed to my critique partners first. LOL Then the hubby took me out to a nice dinner. Then when my book came out in print, he and my neighbors threw me a book release party! Now, THAT was awesome!

If there was one book [story] you could live, which one would it be?
Probably my first book: The Role of a Lifetime. It’d be kind of fun to have a handsome movie star in love with me. Just saying. J

Are you a plotter or a panster?
JS: PLOTTER. But even though I plot, nothing is written in stone and things still manage to change as I’m writing.

Oh! I know just what you mean. I feel like I have to plot, but the story sorta flows, changing things as it goes.

If you could go anywhere this month, where would it be? Tell me why!
Anywhere? I really would love to go to Italy. I’ve never been to Europe and since my hubby is half Italian…

 I knew there was a reason I liked your hubby! Half Italians are wonderful. :D

What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?
JS: I can make my own hours, wear whatever I want and don’t have to shower. LOL But I also love creating my characters—coming up with their names and quirks That’s the most fun.

It really shows, Jennifer. You have a way with characterization [that everyone should experience by reading your books]. :D

Can you give me and my readers a hint about what you’re working on for your next book?
Yes! I’m working on a book where I have my hero is a romance author—although don’t call him that. He prefers to be a called a “fictional author who puts romantic elements in his story”. J He really cracks me up. I’m already in love with him.

I can't wait to start reading.
Thanks for coming by today, Jennifer. It's a great way to spend a monday. :)

You can find Jennifer on her webpage, twitter, facebook, and goodreads.
Jennifer is giving away a copy of her book, Sunny Days for Sam.
Comment to win!! 

Sunny Days for Sam is available at
Barnes and Noble:

Countdown Day 6 -- Silke Juppenlatz

Six days until the big day, the day my book goes up for sale! Whoot. I can't thank my crit partners enough for all the love and support they've given me. ...and the help. Because believe me, I've needed some help. But, today, I've got a good friend to introduce you to...

My crit partner, Silke Juppenlatz. When I joined Passionate Critters, I met Silke over one of my WW2 novels. Being new to the group, I was all starry eyed and smiley. Well, meeting her didn't change that. :D But she did draw out my protective streak--for my work and for the group itself. I like our Silke because she truly knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff. We are a strong group of writers, and it takes a strong person to join us and stick it out. Well, I did. I stuck it out and I'm better writer because of that...and because of her. 

Now, that I've scared all my readers. LOL :D Welcome to my blog, Silke!! Thanks for joining me on my countdown to Release Day! I've got my own virtual bakery on hand because you just can't celebrate without cake and ice cream. So, what'll you have?

SJ: Favorite cake...oohh...errmm... *scratches head* I’m a sucker for the cakes my gran used to make. Träublekuchen (Which, I guess, would be Redcurrant cake) Zwetschgenkuchen (Plum, or more precisely Damson cake) and there’s also the Rabarberkuchen (Rhubarb cake). Stollen!
Damn, I’m hungry now.
PS - Paul just went into the cupboard and yelled “Did you eat all the Jaffa Cakes again?!” (Guilty as charged. If you want Jaffa cakes in our house, best eat them before I see them.) Ice cream? Not so much. I can take it or leave it. But I am partial to the “Soft” Ice cream they do here in the UK. (Mr. Whippy ftw!) Or proper Italian Ice Cream (Stracciatella!).

I married a German so I like to think Silke and I are practically related... I'm constantly inspired by how much you write. What drives you to create your stories?

SJ: My brain. *cough* It’s like an ever churning story machine, and it goes from one “What if?” to the next. I see something, hear something, smell something -- and go “What if…?” And boom. There it is. It really can be anything at all. Something someone says. Something like the smell of bacon drifting out of a window. A forgotten, half deflated beach ball stuck in some hedge. Anything.
It’s weird though. I’m a master at brainstorming and I run with it -- but I can’t do it on my own stories. In them, I get stuck.
I don’t plot. I don’t even do an outline. Nothing. It comes out of my brain straight on the page. If I plot…I don’t finish it. It’s like a disease. Every time someone asks me where it’s going, and I try to come up with something, I lose interest the moment I have worked out what’s going to happen.
After all, I already know how it ends, why bother writing it down?
First and foremost, I write a story for myself. If I know how it ends, I lose interest and don’t finish it.
That’s why I never plot. :)

Now, that is a little crazy...and interesting too. I can see your point, though.
You've got a book coming out later this summer. You want to tell us a little about it? Just a tease...? How about a one word description to wet our appetites?

SJ: One word? Yikes. Okay. “Betrayal”. There it is. :)
As for a tease… If you’ve read “Howl”, then you’ve met the heroine of “Watch Me” -- but not the hero. This is Tiffy’s story and while it follows on from “Howl”, it’s standalone and you don’t need to have read “Howl” to get what’s going on. You’ll meet characters from “Howl”, and you’ll get to meet new ones. Like…Keric, who is hot and sexy and on a mission. But his mission is set to clash with Tiffy’s fragile heart and…well. Best read it, eh?
Watch Me is scheduled for release in August.

I do have a third one in mind…but…something came up. :)

I’m working on a February 2013 release right now. It’s part of a series, and mine is Caedir (Gatekeepers - Book 2). Nope, not werewolves this time…

OMG! Are you really going to do it?! Not werewolves...does that mean?? No. Don't answer that. I love your stories....

So, tell me. When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate?

SJ: I was actually pretty gobsmacked. (Now there’s a Brit word for you.) I’d written Howl in a week (No, I pretty much didn’t sleep.), submitted it -- and had the contract land -- all in the space of 10 days. Seriously. From the first word to putting my X on the dotted line…ten days.
So yeah, I sat there with my chin on the floor, staring at that email. I didn’t think it would be accepted. I’d sent out quite a few stories before, usually targeting agents, and generally got back good feedback, but no offers.
I don’t remember how I celebrated. :) It’s all a blur lol.

Seems like it comes when we least expect it. :) Love your story, Silke.

If there was one book--of all the books and stories you've ever read--that you could live, which one would it be?

SJ: Oh wow, that’s a hard one!
I don’t think I’d want to live any of them. It would mean I’d have to give up my real life hero, and I’m just not prepared to do that. :) I have favorite books, ‘natch. My all time favorite read is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café. I think every woman should read this at least once.
It’s a book about being yourself, self-discovery, overcoming opposition and just…having fun.
It just really appeals to my inner rebel.

What a great answer! My instinct is to want to live the fantasy even if I do have a real life hero. :D

Some people have kids. Some people have dogs. You have a horse, which I've seen pictures of and it's gorgeous. Does this mean you'll be coming out to visit me soon in the wild, wild west?? I can find a stable for you...and horses too. And mountains... just sayin'.

SJ: You know…I want to visit every state in the US at least once. (Though a few I’ve done repeatedly already.) If I can afford it, I will most definitely come and visit you in the Wild, Wild West. :) That’s somewhere top of my list, actually. I want to stand somewhere in the prairie and just soak up the atmosphere. Mainly because I cannot imagine such a vast space. So Wyoming, Colorado and Montana are top of the top of the top places to go see. Arizona too. But I love the Deep South and the East Coast states and would happily live somewhere like North Carolina or Kentucky.
People always worry about what I might enjoy seeing. You know what? Package holidays and tourist attractions can go hang, as far as I’m concerned. One of my favorite memories is a Halloween spent trick or treating with a friend’s kids. I had a ton of fun. Or the summer where I got drafted into helping the trainee EMT’s at a friend’s fire station. I spent half the day being put in traction by hunky firemen lol… Then there was sitting in the grass behind some tiny out of the way ice cream parlor, munching totally spectacular ice cream. What can I say…? It beats any tourist attraction, any day, hands down. I want to see what you’d likely consider totally mundane and not worth seeing. Real life, real people. And quite frankly--I’ve never met anyone over there who wasn’t nice and helpful. Maybe I was just lucky, but I think Americans get a bad rep for no reason. I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t go out of their way to make my stay enjoyable, and that goes for all the states I’ve ever been to -- and that’s quite a few, over the years.
For that I’d like to say a hearty “Thank you. You guys are awesome.” :)
Ohh… Mountains tempt me. Having grown up in Germany, and spending over half my childhood skiing down some black run somewhere in the alps…yeah. It’s something I truly miss in the UK.
They have “Mountains” here, but erm…sorry. If you’re used to something like Mont Blanc (15,782ft) or the Zugspitze (9,718ft and a glacier), then Mount Snowdon (highest “Mountain” in Wales, a whopping 3,560ft) is more like a steep rocky hill to me.
I would LOVE to see the Rocky Mountains, but forgive me if I stay about 50ft away from the edge of the Grand Canyon…I have a fear of falling lol. (I’ll go right down the middle at low level in an aircraft, no problem.) Believe it or not, one of my dreams is to go East Coast to West Coast on horseback. If I could afford to, I'd get started tomorrow. (And if anyone would like to know my choice of horse: I'd take a Paso Fino and a Rocky Mountain. A Paso because I own one and just love his character, and a Rocky because I want one for much the same reason. Plus side? Both are gaited, and the most comfortable rides you could wish for--unless their name is Oscuro, and he has to get there really, really FAST.) 
I'll swing by when I do that East-West crossing, okay?

Yes! I can't wait...for you to win the lottery. :D 
Like you, I think I'll have chocolate cake, too when this countdown is over...and a nice glass of Merlot! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your stories with us. 

I can't wait until August! When you get a cover for that thing, come on by again that Caedir cover! It's fantastic. :D