Cover Reveal: Taking Chances by Loni Flowers

Happy Mother’s Day! If you’re a mom, I hope you’re enjoying your special day, and that everyone is remembering their own mother on this wonderful spring day.

I’m pleased to announce that my friend Loni Flowers is re-releasing her adult contemporary romance, TAKING CHANCES with a brand new stunning cover. I loooved the characters in this book (especially Alex, who made my heart melt *sigh*).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00002]

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: March 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1468184587
ASIN: B006X6FTJC 
Number of pages: 315
Word Count: 86,000+

BLURB
Turning her back on a life she can no longer deal with, Clair Davidson has been on the streets for six months wandering aimlessly from town to town. But when a hitchhiked car ride lands her back in a familiar town, and a terrifying encounter puts her in the arms of someone too good to be true, Clair almost starts to feel like she could belong somewhere again. Almost.

Alexander Frazier knew what it felt like to live on the streets, up until he received a helping hand from a stranger. After saving Clair from a vicious attack, it’s not long before he realizes she’s a lot like he used to be—lost. Alex soon learns he will risk everything to keep her safe and get her life back on track… even if it means his heart.

But fresh starts are new to Clair and not something she’s certain she’s ready for. Clair’s had her share of people walking out of her life and she doesn’t trust her heart in Alex’s hands. Can his love give her the second chance she never saw coming?

EXCERPT
Alex walked around and opened Clair’s door, helping her out as she jumped down. He followed her as she walked to the far end of the yard and sat in the grass. Lying back, she looked up toward the black sky. Alex laughed as he looked down at her.  “You know, if you’re that tired, I can get my blanket out of the car for you.”

Clair gave a small smile, tapping the grass beside her with her hand. “I miss it, ya know?”

“Miss what?” he asked, sitting beside her.

“I don’t know, the quietness, the stars. It’s just different. I know, it sounds stupid… it’s just, I’ve been on my own for so long without anyone caring. It’s a little overwhelming having someone care about me now; especially when they hardly know me. Everything Roz has done, I mean, who even does that?” 

Alex watched her. She was so animated when she talked. Her face lit up with expressions, her hands waved through the air as if she needed them to help her communicate.  Everything was light and easy going until dinner was over. Since the drive home, Clair seemed sad, but Alex let her ramble, venting whatever was bottled up inside her.

“And you,” she said, looking over at Alex, “if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here.” Clair sat up, crossing her legs up under her. “And this date—I mean, this hanging out we did tonight. It was the best night I’ve had since I left home. Thank you for that.” She picked blades of grass with her fingers, tearing them into tiny pieces. “You didn’t have to take me out, but you did it anyway.”

His eyes traveled up her arms to her neck. Her skin looked so fair and soft under the moonlight, it made him want to run his hands over it.  “You don’t have to thank me. I wanted to take you out tonight. I’m happy you said yes. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been out on date.” Yes, a date. He didn’t want to just “hang out”; no, he wanted to know everything about her. To hold her hand, touch her skin, and taste her lips. But would she want the same things as he? He still didn’t know. 

“Oh, and this,” she said, holding the charm out from around her neck, “you shouldn’t have bought me this. But I do love it. Thank you.”

Alex leaned forward, taking the charm between his fingers. “I’m glad I saw you looking at it. It looks perfect on you.” He laid the charm down against her chest. Lightly, he traced his fingers up the side of her neck, her hair cupped around her face. Alex stared straight into her eyes, dark under the night’s sky. Her lips parted slightly and Alex could feel her breath quicken on his skin. He wanted nothing more than to feel her lips on his. He slipped his hand further up Clair’s neck and heard her breath catch as if she’d stopped breathing. With his face only inches away from her mouth, he whispered, “If you don’t want me to kiss you right now, you’d better tell me.”

BUY FROM
Amazon   
Smashwords

12_21_12AUTHOR BIO
Loni Flowers
lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband; two wild toddlers, who never slow down for a second; and three couch-potato dogs, who only raise an eye when food’s around. She spends her days working full-time for a well-known bank and when Loni isn’t there, you can find her playing on the internet. Chatting on Twitter and Facebook is her weakness!

She loves to read and write, though can’t see to find time to do them both at the same time! Balance… she has none!

An easy reader, Loni loves most genre, but she’s a definite sucker for a good romance story! Contemporary romance is her writing genre of choice but she’s not opposed to writing something different should an excellent idea strike.

Some of Loni’s favorite authors include: L.J. Kentowski, Stefne Miller, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Karen Marie Moning, Nicholas Sparks, and Jodi Picoult… just to name a few.

Look for Loni at the following haunts:
Blog
Web
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

 

Mae Clair: Spotlight on PAINTED MEMORIES by Loni Flowers

Painted_Memories_ebookMy friend, Loni Flowers, has a new release I’m excited to share with you! Loni writes engaging adult contemporary romance. I loved her previous novel, TAKING CHANCES and have already snatched up my copy of PAINTED MEMORIES.

~ooOOoo~

PAINTED MEMORIES

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Date of Publication: January 21st, 2013

Number of pages: 334

Word Count: 95,000

~ooOOoo~

BLURB / BOOK DESCRIPTION
I’ve come to realize how much life can change with circumstance. One moment I was a happy sixteen year old girl with a great brother, Jesse, who I adored.

Then Jesse died.

No matter how much I wished it had been me in the accident, wishing will never change what happened. Five years later, my father’s eyes are still filled with hate and regret whenever he looks at me. I haven’t forgotten my mistake, but I’ve accepted it.

My father has not.

He may always see me as a failure, but I’m determined to make a fresh start in a new town where love promises to be more generous than the scorn I’ve left in my father’s eyes. With any luck, maybe some distance will make him see me as his daughter again. Until then I’ll find my own way.

It’s what Jesse would want.

Painted Memories is an original, contemporary romance about love, loss, and recovering from tragedy. Its characters are real. Between humor and heartbreak, it’s funny, touching, and full of redemption.

EXCERPT

When I pulled into the parking lot this morning, I caught Drew’s eye, but looked away before he could approach me. Later, when I walked through the halls during a class change, I turned a corner and ran into him… literally. My heel slipped on a wet spot and Drew instinctively grabbed my waist to keep me upright.

“I’m sorry,” I said as I pulled myself together. The words nearly stuck in my throat when a smile spread over his lips. I couldn’t look away, remembering how soft they felt against mine. Then I thought about the note he taped to my door and the ChapStick and I pushed away from him.

Drew dropped his hands from my waist. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. Thank you.” I walked around him and didn’t look back. He made me nervous and flustered and I couldn’t talk to him right then.

Later, I sat at my desk with my eyes glazed over as I attempted to grade the papers in front of me. Since I had free time while the kids went to music, then lunch, I tried, but I couldn’t seem to reel my thoughts in long enough to concentrate. The conversation between Andrea and me the day before, and seeing Drew earlier that morning stayed in the forefront of my mind. Ever since seeing him, I couldn’t get the events of Saturday out of my head, or what they might mean for the future, if anything at all. I doodled on a piece of paper while my mind wandered. There was something about him that was different than any other men I’ve dated. The way he spoke to me, soft and caring. I doodled a small heart on my paper. Then there was the way he held my face in his hands… heart… the way his lips brushed mine… heart… how he teased my lip with the tip of his tongue… heart. What the crap was I thinking?

“Hey there, whatcha doing?”

I nearly jumped out of my chair at the sound of his voice. Drew was standing in front of me and I quickly swept the papers into a pile. “Oh hey, just grading papers.”

He looked down, “Huh… you put hearts on their papers instead of smiley faces?”

“I like to mix things up.” Lie, total lie. Thank God I wasn’t doodling his name across the page like I did back in middle school. “Did you need something?” I asked casually.

“I was getting ready to head out to lunch and thought I’d see if you wanted to come. Maybe we could try that place you were raving about this weekend?”

“I can’t. I didn’t bring my ChapStick today,” I said sarcastically before getting up and walking to the chalkboard to wipe it clean.

“Oh, I take it my comment wasn’t that funny then? Did you get my note?”

I whirled on him. “No, it wasn’t funny. It embarrassed me and it wasn’t necessary. And no, I didn’t read the note. I wasn’t in the mood for another smart comment.”

“I didn’t mean for it to come out the way it did. Knowing you were going out with him may have made me a tiny bit jealous.” He looked down at the floor briefly before looking back at me. “And it wasn’t a smart comment.”

I lowered my tone. “Making you jealous was never my intention. I told you I wasn’t dating anyone seriously, and that goes for you too. Like I said, I’m not settling. If you can’t handle that, then it’s best we stick to being friends, if you can handle that.”

Drew closed the few feet between us and stood in front of me. His hands were in his khaki pockets. His navy pinstriped shirt was ironed to crisp perfection, setting off his broad shoulders. Amusement played in his eyes as he considered what I said.

“Yes, I clearly remember our conversation.” He took a step forward while I took a step back. “I’ll still be jealous.” He took another step.

“I want to make sure you know that you can date whomever you want, but I’m not giving up.”

Another step.

“I really do like you, Lilly. But being ‘just friends’ is not what I’m interested in. So if you’re not the slightest bit interested in me, tell me now.”

Another step.

My back hit the chalkboard and Drew was inches away. I could feel my heart rate picking up as his eyes drifted to my chest, briefly catching the increased rise and fall. He wasn’t going to sit idly by, waiting for me to come to him. I couldn’t deny that it thrilled a part of me.

I nearly whispered my words when I spoke. “I don’t know what I want yet. I’m still trying to figure that out.” He intimidated me, making me think and taking me off guard, all at once. It freaking turned me on and I was trying my best to hide it. Eating lunch with him now would be too much.  “I’ve got a lot of work to catch up on. I’ll have to pass on lunch today.”

He studied me another minute, his gaze moving from my eyes to my lips. “Fine. Another time then?” He lifted his hand and brushed a loose hair behind my ear. His thumb swept across my jaw and stopped on my chin.

The breath I was holding escaped me and all I could do was nod in agreement.

“Good. Until then…” Drew leaned in, his thumb brushing over my lower lip and I wanted him to kiss me. To press me against the chalkboard with his body against mine, his hands around my waist… I didn’t care who might walk by and see us. I wanted his lips on mine.

“You should read the note,” he said. Without another word, his hand dropped from my face and he was out the door.

Purchase PAINTED MEMORIES from:
Amazon          Barnes & Noble       Smashwords

12_21_12AUTHOR BIO
Loni Flowers lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband; two wild toddlers, who never slow down for a second; and three couch-potato dogs, who only raise an eye when food’s around. She spends her days working full-time for a well-known bank and when Loni isn’t there, you can find her playing on the internet. Chatting on Twitter and Facebook is her weakness!

She loves to read and write, though can’t see to find time to do them both at the same time! Balance… she has none!

An easy reader, Loni loves most genres, but she’s a definite sucker for a good romance story! Contemporary romance is her writing genre of choice but she’s not opposed to writing something different should an excellent idea strike.

Some of Loni’s favorite authors include: L.J. Kentowski, Stefne Miller, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Karen Marie Moning, Nicholas Sparks, and Jodi Picoult… just to name a few.

You can find Loni at the following haunts:
Blog
Web
Twitter 
Facebook
Goodreads

 

Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: Loni Flowers

Welcome to another edition of Wizards with Words. Today, I have the extreme, roll-out-the-red-carpet pleasure of welcoming Loni Flowers to my humble blog haunt. *happy dance* 

Loni has become a wonderful writer friend. Her debut novel TAKING CHANCES is a heart-wrenching and sweet romantic tale that is available now. If you like characters who steal your heart, then drag you through emotional ups and downs on their path to overcoming adversity, you’ll love this novel. You’ll be crying, you’ll be cheering. It’s Hallmark in a book and, like a Hallmark movie, will leave you with a warm glow when all is said and done. Before we talk about Loni’s characters, Clair and Alex, let’s say hello to Loni.

I’m so happy to have you here today, Loni. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me on my blog. Can you share a bit about yourself and how you got started writing?

Loni:  Wow Mae! I didn’t know dropping by your blog would get so much praise. I can’t tell you enough how much it excites me that you loved Taking Chances!

Hmm… A little about myself you ask? Well, I’m married to my high school sweetheart (of sorts) and have been for eleven years now. We dated in high school for a bit, nothing serious, but then I moved away to another state for a year before moving back a year later after I graduated a different high school. We reconnected and were engaged three months later. When you know, you know! We have two beautiful daughters age 3 and 6 and I have a little more grey because of them! Just kidding, they are my life; I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I didn’t find a passion with writing until a few years ago. I never even considered it as something I would love to do. Once a friend convinced me to read this series she loved (Harry Potter and Twilight) I was hooked on reading.  I hated it in school and sadly associated reading as boring. I wish someone would have opened my eyes up sooner! Anyway, once I started reading, I decided to start writing book reviews. That’s where it all started. Then I had a crazy idea about a homeless girl and decided to give writing a novel a shot. What’s the worst that could happen? I looked at it as a challenge to myself mostly. My challenge has taken to me to places I never dreamed.

TAKING CHANCES is your first novel and a truly lovely debut. Your two main characters, Clair and Alex, were both once homeless. I remember reading your explanation of what originally prompted you to tell their tale and was intrigued by your insight. Can you share it again now?

Loni:  Thank you for saying that!  First you must know my mind has a weird cycle it does when given the opportunity to think on its own. I know, it scares me sometimes too! One day on the way to work I noticed two men and one woman walking together down the side of the road. They were young, I’m guessing in the early twenties. They looked homeless with their ragged clothing and large over-sized backpacks, but I can’t be for certain and it was merely my assumption. I didn’t think about them again until on my way home that evening. I wondered how far they were able to walk in the eight hours I had been at work. I wondered if one of the men were dating the girl. Then I had this thought, “OMG! What if she got pregnant, while she was homeless?? What would she do???”

See I told you. My mind can go from one extreme to the next with the snap of your fingers.  This was how my initial idea of Taking Chances came about.

One of the things I liked best about your novel was your ability to immediately engage me in the lives of the characters. I fell in love with Alex from the moment he appeared (OMG, he’s such a white knight!) and was emotionally torn for Clair. You gave her serious trust issues that dovetailed perfectly with your plot. While Alex also had ‘baggage,’ Clair was the pivotal character who grew throughout the book. Did you finder her harder to write than Alex for that reason?

Loni:  I was actually pretty amazed at myself when I finished writing this novel. I couldn’t believe I managed to intertwine so many little plot threads and have it all flow so perfectly together. Originally this book was going to be first person from Clair’s point of view. But the more I wrote, the more Alex kept talking to me. He wanted his own part. He wanted us to see his side of things, not just read about through Clair’s eyes. For that reason, I think Clair was more difficult. I knew from the start Alex was troubled but possibly the sweetest man known to mankind. He’s strong and loving and loyal, but not afraid to tell you like it is.

Making Clair grow as a character was tough. I didn’t want her to be too whiny, too soft, or give in too easily. Trying to get her just right the way I wanted her was a lot of work!

I’m glad you gave them both their moments in the spotlight because I enjoyed having both POVS. TAKING CHANCES is layered with a good deal of raw angst, and I can only imagine some of the scenes must have been draining to write (given the rollercoaster of emotions you wrung from me)! Fair statement?

Loni:  Haha! Yes! There are several scenes that were tough to write. I don’t want to specifically name them, that would spoil it, but (and you may laugh at this) for me, the love scenes are the absolute hardest. I spent DAYS on them. We all know sex is sex, but to describe it in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re reading a step by step guide on lovemaking was tough for me. More than anything, describing how much you love someone and all the feelings that go with those moments in more ways than just a simple “I love you” is a lot harder.

I can definitely appreciate that! You also introduced two highly likeable secondary characters who added to the feel of ‘town life.’ I could easily see your story unfolding in Anywhere Town, U.S.A., which made it highly relatable. I especially loved the diner where Clair worked and wanted to drop in for a cup of coffee. Do you find it easy to ‘set scenes’ like you did with the diner?

Loni: I guess it depends on what’s coming up as I write. Sometimes I haven’t a clue what will happen next and sometimes I do. For this book, it all seemed to flow together since it all started with a Diner. I built off of that. I find it easier to create my own towns and places of interest. This way, I can make it just the way I want without a reader telling me that they actually live in X town and that is not what their street looks like. If I select a state, research basic geography, I can do what I want.

Okay, some general writing questions because we’re all curious about how others work. 🙂  Plotter, panster or somewhere in between?

Loni:  Somewhere in between. Usually I have an idea so I’ll just start writing. When I get stuck I do a very broad outline. This usually leads to me eventually writing out dialogue for a particular character and when that happens, I know it’s time to start writing.

Favorite time of the day to write?

Loni:  At night. Most of my writing is done after eight, when the kids are in bed. There is no room for concentration when those two are running around.

I love coming up with names for my characters when I’m starting a new manuscript. How do you choose yours? Any specific reasons for selecting ‘Alex’ and ‘Clair’?

Loni:  I have a baby name book left over from my pregnancy. It’s a great resource for name hunting. No particular reason for Alex and Clair… but doesn’t their names sound well together???

LOL! I like that! 🙂 What are you currently reading on your Kindle, Nook or in print?

Loni:  Oh boy!  Don’t kill me, because I know you’re a fan of the series. I’ve been trying forever to read book 4, City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. I love the series, but I find it super difficult to manage reading and writing at the same time. For now, writing has its grip on me.

I am going to have to put writing on the back burner though, because I just downloaded this awesome sounding book that I’ve been dying to get my eyes on!  It’s called Weathering Rock by some chick named Mae Clair … have you heard of it??? It’s going to be wonderful!!

You are a HOOT! And yeah, I think I’ve run into that chick and her book a time or two *big grin* Any favorite authors or book titles, you’d like to share?

Loni:  Yes, of course! Back in my book reviewing days I found a new author, Stefne Miller. She has three books out currently:  Salvaged, Rise, and Collision. They are so uplifting and awesome. I’m always encouraging others to pick up her books. You can get them anywhere.  And soon Collision is going to be made into a movie. It will be awesome. I will need Kleenex. A lot of Kleenex!!

Another book I’d recommend has stuck with me since the first day I read it. It has a taboo subject about a brother and sister falling in love. I know it sounds gross and I thought the same when I read the synopsis. But I’ve never been one to just toss something aside when I could be amazing. There were a lot of readers out there that just can’t seem to get past this taboo subject and refuse to give it a try. I understand that everyone has their own views and opinions, but this book was simply amazing. It was so heartbreaking and made me cry like no other book has before. I mean, I’m talking the kind of cry where you’re curled up in the fetal position bawling. I think when an author can invoke that much raw emotion out of their reader, they’ve done something amazing. Regardless of the tears and the sadness, the plot and the characters were so well written that the taboo subject didn’t matter anymore. Their story is what mattered in the end.

I highly recommend checking out Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma.

You’ve definitely got me curious. I remember reading Flowers in the Attic back in the day (and the books that followed) and that also involved a brother and sister. I never would have thought I’d get wrapped up in a story like that but I loved those books!

Any new manuscripts you’re working on that we can look forward to?

Loni:  Yes! I’m extremely excited for my next contemporary romance. Painted Memories will hopefully be out by the end of January 2013! You can check out the synopsis, the bookcover and even read the rough 1st draft of chapter one

Wonderful! And some quick random questions  ~

Silver or gold?
Loni:  I’m not picky… either.

Mountains or seaside?
Loni:  Oh now you’re just talking silly… seaside of course!

Sunset picnic or candlelight dinner?
Loni: Candlelight dinner

Dusk or dawn?
Loni:  Dusk

Loni, thank you again for visiting my blog and taking the time to do this interview. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share before we close?

Loni:  Mae, thank you so very much for having me stop by your wonderful blog. You’ve had so many other awesome authors over and I’m honored to be a part of your lineup.

I’d like to add a big “thank you“ to anyone who’s already read or is considering to take a chance on Taking Chances. It’s truly an honor to be selected out of the millions of books available out there in the world, so thank you from the bottom of my heart!

~ooOOoo!

To find out more about Loni Flowers and TAKING CHANCES, look for her at the following haunts:

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Read Chapter One of TAKING CHANCES and excerpts on Loni’s website HERE.

Buy TAKING CHANCES Exclusively from Amazon for $1.99: