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Monday, October 21, 2013

Interview & Giveaway with Lauren Grimley, author of Unbridled

Unbridled
Lauren Grimley

“Think Law and Order SUV meets The Breakfast Club” was Ellie’s trite explanation of what Alex had been dragged into. Add a few fangs, Fifty Shades of Oversharing, and a dash of Dr. Phil, and she was in for quite a Thursday night.

Alex couldn’t deny she had become the pint-sized poster child for PTSD lately, but she didn’t exactly expect to find a support group for teachers turned vampire chew toys in Bristol, MA. Listening to the tales of the four other females gathered to help her heal, however, she accepts that perhaps both the worst and the best of life can blossom from the unexpected.

Unbridled is a novella-length collection of four connected stories focusing on the unlikely friendships and less likely lovers of the female characters from the Alex Crocker series.


Proceeds from the sale of these stories are being donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and V-Day. See the author’s website for more information: www.laurengrimley.com
“Grace and Dignity”
Even a female whose mating has been arranged most of her life still thinks about what she wants in a mate. Not one of the qualities Sarah had hoped for were easily evident in her betrothed, the future Regan of the Rectinatti coven. Perhaps, though, there were more layers to Darian than he liked to reveal, but how does a subject unmask a prince?

“Rules and Recollections”
You can’t fall in love with someone you barely recall, but that, Vivian supposed, was the point. After a terse meeting with the Knower, a mind reader, memory manipulator, and the coven’s most notorious lecher, Vivian isn’t herself. She can’t shake the feeling that the solution to her mood lurks just below the surface of her consciousness. Only plunging into darkness, though, will bring everything to light.

“Blood and Secrecy”
The shared need for blood brought them together, but individual desires for secrecy are keeping them apart. Each already left behind a life of privilege for reasons the other likely couldn’t understand. Now both Rocky and Ellie need to decide if they’re willing to open up about their pasts in order to ensure a future.

Well we made it to another Monday everyone!  Glad to see you here!  Today I have an extra special post for you because proceeds from the sale of this book are being donated to the Breast Cancer Research Fund!  How awesome is that? And on top of the interview I did with author Lauren Grimley, she is also hosting a really cool giveaway! I tell ya, I could drink my coffee out of one of those mugs!  I hope you enjoy the post, and be sure to enter :)  Good luck!
Liz

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Interview
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Hey Lauren! Come on in and sit down for a bit! Thanks for meeting with me today!

So we are here to talk about Romance For A Reason. Can you tell us a bit about it?


Sure. Romance for a Reason started as a whim sometime last fall when I was first drafting Unbridled. I realized I was writing about women (or female vampires, but close enough) who had almost all been victims of violence, so I thought perhaps when the time came to publish I could donate some proceeds to charities that worked to help such women. Then as I was finishing the draft my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. One of the worst things about such a diagnoses is the feeling of not being able to help. It wasn’t my body and I wasn’t a doctor, so what could I do? Last time I raised money and ran a triathlon; it gave me a sense of purpose. My knees weren’t feeling that this time. But here I was sitting on a story about strong, courageous women. I knew then I wanted to combine these efforts. Less than a year later I had a completed book ready to publish, two great charities chosen, and some ideas for related posts on strong females in fiction—that became Romance for a Reason. Did I mention I also had Mom cancer-free again and by my side cheering me on? *All smiles!*

That is excellent news!  I'm so glad to hear it!  Can you tell us about Unbridled?

Unbridled has probably been my favorite work to write so far. It’s a collection of connected short stories from my Alex Crocker series focusing on the romantic tales of three of the other couples. I’m a backstory junkie, so getting the opportunity to tell the stories of some of my favorite characters and how they met their lovers was exciting. Then when I started to put it together with a fourth tale about the various difficulties the females in the series faced, I realized I had something unique. It’s not technically a novella (the word count is just shy of a novel), but it’s certainly not just a collection of separate short stories, either. But it works, I think, because it is different, yet has something to offer most readers. It’s paranormal, without focusing too much on the fantasy. It’s set in contemporary times, but has two historical stories within. It’s romance, but it’s also a tale of friendships. It’s part steamy, but humorous, part dark—and one hundred percent about kick-ass females!

How about the rest of the Alex Crocker series?

Unforeseen and Unveiled, the first two books in the series, are definitely more urban fantasy, although with a strong paranormal romance subplot. They focus on Alex, a twenty-five-year-old, who is literally dragged into a world hidden within her own. She learns she’s a Seer, a walking emotion detector and, more dangerously, manipulator. For this so-called ‘gift’ she’s being hunted by a rogue coven of vampires, the Vengatti, who’d love to use her or kill her, depending on the day. The Rectinatti coven, who refrain from snacking on humans (or Seers) are willing to help keep her alive, but, of course, they have their own agenda, which doesn’t always agree with Alex’s sense of right and wrong. Her struggles with her new life, love, and power make up the plot of the first two works.

Lauren, how come these charities?

I did my homework. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is one of the highest ranked charities in the country, currently spending 91 cents of every dollar collected directly on research and awareness. This money goes to fund a variety of studies at top research universities across the globe, and recently they’ve also expanded to helping support awareness and prevention programs, which are key to increasing survival rates. Like the BCRF, V-Day is also a highly-rated charity, which uses 86 cents of each dollar donated to directly end violence against women. It also balances global programs in countries where women have few rights and fewer advocates, with funding and leadership programs that create and sustain local charities and support groups. As an author, I was also drawn to V-Day because they believe as I do, that “Art has the power to transform thinking and inspire people to act.” V-Day began with Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monolgues, and her realization that her art not only had the potential to give women a voice, but also to act as a platform for social change. From one playwright’s pen sprang forth a movement that has aided thousands of women world-wide. How could I not choose this charity?

I think they sound like awesome choices, I'm glad you are bringing them to light here today!  
What is the best thing about being an author?

When someone tells you that your book kept her up at night. I definitely judge a book by whether it can make me break me self-imposed 9pm bedtime (I’m a teacher, so I have an excuse), so to hear that someone else got so lost in a world I created means a lot.

The dress code’s pretty sweet, too. If it weren’t for teaching, I wouldn’t own anything but jeans and hoodies!

If there was one message or feeling you wanted readers to get from your books, what would that be?

I’d like to say I knew the answer to this when I set out to write my books, but I didn’t. For me, anyways, the characters came first, then the story. It wasn’t until I was completely done that I realized I’d worked in a few themes. I think given the whole focus for Romance for a Reason, the one that’s most important to me is that real strength comes from being true to yourself, no matter your age, size, strength, or gender, and that bad things can effect even the strongest of people but it doesn’t make them any less fierce. You can be victimized, without forever becoming a victim.

Time for some fun stuff? 
Good, things were getting deep there for a minute!

If you had to be a cartoon villain, who would you be and why?

Um. Confession: I never watched too many cartoons growing up, or if I did they’ve slipped my mind. As far as other fictional villains go, though, I’d have to pick Captain Hook. Every version I’ve ever seen of him I’ve fallen for. I guess I appreciate his willingness to admit he’s a sleaze. Besides, I could totally see myself at the helm of a pirate ship, in a fancy coat, captaining a crew of petty criminals and misfits—it actually sounds a lot like teaching middle school, and I’m pretty decent at that!

What is your favorite type of candy?
Cadbury Crème eggs, for sure. What’s not to love about all that goo? And they now have them out for Halloween, which means I get my fix twice a year!
If there was one book out there you would recommend - not your own - what would it be?
One book is really tough, because I’m tempted to give a classic, but that’d be haughty and hypocritical from someone who rarely reads classics for enjoyment. So I’m going to list a new contemporary find of mine that’s great for book club discussions and a fantastic model for writers attempting to write from a first-person, adult male’s perspective: Defending Jacob by William Landay.

And if you were stuck on an island, which author (dead or alive) would you like to be stuck with?
J. K. Rowling. In addition to having a tremendous imagination (which very well could save us), she just seems like a genuinely nice person. Besides if she were trapped with me, she’d be forced to answer at least some of my burning HP questions—and I could thank her for turning me on to my favorite genre of reading and writing!
Thanks so much for sitting with me today, Lauren! It was great getting to know you :)

Genres: paranormal romance, vampire series, urban fantasy, short stories
Release date: October 1, 2013
Available formats: ebook & paperback (184 pages)
Website page: http://www.laurengrimley.com/Unbridled.html

Purchase links: 
Amazon US: 

Unbridled: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS0KF4

Or for those who want just a bite, three of the individual stories are available as well:

“Grace and Dignity”: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS0VCQ

“Rules and Recollections”: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS1FIA

“Blood and Secrecy”: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS15SK

For the other books and stories in the series see Lauren’s Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007Y5ZZSG

Amazon UK:

Unbridled paperback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0615861113

Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FIS0KF4

“Grace and Dignity”: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FIS0VCQ

“Rules and Recollections”: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FIS1FIA

“Blood and Secrecy”: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FIS15SK

Barnes & Noble:

Unbridled : http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unbridled-lauren-grimley/1117001983?ean=2940148813262

“Grace and Dignity”: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/grace-and-dignity-lauren-grimley/1117001984?ean=2940148813279

“Rules and Recollections”: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rules-and-recollections-lauren-grimley/1117001985?ean=2940148768425

“Blood and Secrecy”: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-and-secrecy-lauren-grimley/1117001986?ean=2940148768432 

The reason: Cancer and violence suck (and not at all in that sexy vampire way)
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, two issues close to my heart. As a daughter of a two-time breast cancer survivor and the teacher, friend, and aunt to so many beautiful and strong women who I never want to see suffer, I chose to use the release of Unbridled to help support two terrific charities that help women.

Romance for a Reason is enabling me to use my tales of strong heroines, fanged though they are, as a fundraiser for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and V-Day. I’ll be donating the proceeds from the collection to these charities, and hopefully, through bringing these issues to readers’ attention, can also inspire others to reach out in their own ways. Women facing illness or abuse can feel like they’ve had not just their health, strength, and beauty sucked from them, but also their essence, their spirit. It’s time we bite back and fight back—for me that fight started with a pen and some fangs. How will you help?

How you can bite back:
Read some romance. Proceeds from Unbridled will be donated to the two charities listed here.

Donate. Make your own individual donation to these two charities or choose a local charity supporting these and other causes affecting women in your area. To learn more about each charity and my reasons for choosing them, visit the Romance for a Reason page. Or click through to donate directly.


Party hard. Gather the women (and men!) of your book club or just a group of friends for a Romance for Reason party. Party ideas? Check out my blog for ideas on how to plan your gathering. Then download the Romance Reading Questionnaire and/or the Body Lingo Bingo for some fun party activities!

Share. Tweet, status update, review, or just chat with friends about the books, the tour, and the charities (mine or yours)!






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3 comments:

  1. I love discovering a new author and this is for two great causes that are close to my heart as well.

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  2. Teachers turned vampire chew toys support group. Now I have to read this! Thanks for introducing me to a new author and a book I really want to read, and for the giveaway! That's like icing on the cake:)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for hosting me, Liz! And thanks, Laura and Nikki, for taking the time to read and comment! Good luck in the contest and thanks for helping with these causes.

    ReplyDelete

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