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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight with Liana Laverentz

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Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! My special guest today is friend and fellow Wild Rose author Liana Laverentz. Liana is here today to chat with us about her contemporary romance, THIN ICE, but before Liana comes out on stage, here is a little about her, followed by a blurb and excerpt:

Liana Laverentz is the author of thr ee contemporary romances with The Wild Rose Press, Thin Ice, Jake’s Return, and Ashton’s Secret. Thin Ice is a 2007 New Jersey Rom ance Writers Golden Leaf Award winner, a 2008 EPPIE winner for best contemporary romance, and was a nominee for Best Romance of 2007 at Long and Short Reviews. Jake’s Return is a 2008 Golden Leaf Award winner. Her third release, Ashton’s Secret, a murder mystery romance, has already received three five-star reviews. Liana is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Washington Romance Writers, and Pennwriters, Inc. For more information, go to www.lianalaverentz.com

Thin Ice Blurb and Excerpt

The last thing Emily Jordan needs in her life is a man, and certainly not one who uses his fists in his work. Her father hit her mother, and Emily’s already made the mistake of marrying a man who seemed to be a dream come true, but proved to be no better. An emergency room doctor and volunteer at a women’s s helter, she sees more than enough of the results of violence in the world, and has no use for anybody who contributes to it.

When she treats Eric Cameron in her ER after a bar brawl, her opinions of men in general seem to be confirmed. It isn’t until she meets Eric outside her eight-year-old son’s school after Eric gives a talk against using drugs and alcohol, that Emily learns he’s a hockey player, and her son’s newest idol. Robbie has been begging her to let him play hockey for months, and has now enlisted his new friend Eric, captain of the struggling Minneapolis Saints, to help him convince Emily to let him play.

Eric Cameron is more than willing to be Robbie’s ally. He’s never met a woman who intrigued him so much. Emily Jordan has it all…brains and beauty, a home of her own, a career she excels at, a son who adores her, and loving friends and family to help her bring it all together in a way Eric has longed for ever since he was a kid living over the ramshackle bar his mom ran when his dad ran out on them. He realized early on that hockey was going to be his only way out of spending his life busting up barfights.

Still, Eric was raised to respect and protect women, and this feisty, independent woman who wants nothing to do with him—and needs nothing from him--totally confounds him. The memory of her healing han ds that first night drives him to find the key to Emily’s heart, becaue he knows that once he wins it, he will have everything he’s ever wanted in life. But for him to succeed would mean that Emily would have to give up everything she has—her home, her career, her independence--and subject her life to the whims of the NHL….for a hockey player’s life is anything but settled.

Will Eric be able to win her heart despite her opposition to the only life he’s ever known? Or when the season ends will he move on again--alone?

Excerpt:

“I want you to kiss me, Emily.”

The fire inside her rekindled.

He released her hands and held his up in surrender. “I’ll even keep these behind my back if you want me to.”

“Eric, this isn’t necessary,” she said in embarrassment.

“Oh, but it is. For whatever reason, it is, and tonight I’m playing by your rules. Now, where do you want my hands?”

Loaded, question, that. But she looked into his eyes and found them clear and direct. This wasn’t a game to him. This wasn’t teasing. This was real. “Behind my back,” she whispered.

He opened his arms. She stepped forward and placed her hands on his chest. His cable knit sweater was soft beneath her palms, a sharp contrast to the hard strength it concealed. He spread his legs to accommodate her, then slid his hands around her down parka, linked them at the back of her waist and pulled her close.

“Perfect,” he murmured.

“How so?” she asked uneasily, thankful the thickness of her coat prevented direct body contact.
He chuckled. “Because I’ve wanted to give you a hug for weeks, Emily Jordan. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who deserved one more.”

Wonder replaced wariness. She leaned back and looked into his dark eyes. “You’re serious.”
He tucked her he ad against his chest, settled his arms around her again and closed his eyes.

“Dead serious.”

For the longest time he simply held her. Security settled around Emily like a warm blanket. She could have stood there for hours, cocooned in his arms, listening to the steady beat of his heart beneath her ear, smelling the clean, musky scent of him mingled with the faint smell of leather and the crisp chill of winter. Only the idea of her son wondering aloud to a group of strangers what might’ve happened to them made her pull away.

Eric dropped his hands to his sides and smiled. “See? Told you I wouldn’t bite.” At her sheepish look, he grinned. “Now, how about that kiss?”

Emily smiled. “Something tells me your storehouse of slick moves isn’t limited to those you use on the ice, Mr. Cameron.”

He laughed , a deep, hearty, happy sound that made Emily want to join in. Instead she looped her arms around his neck and drew his head down to meet hers, taking him by surprise.
She kissed him six times, her hands moving to frame his face and brush back his chestnut brown hair after the second kiss. Each time, she studied his face first, fascinated by the restraint she saw in his features, his refusal to take control. Shamelessly she experimented, her last kiss a hedonistic freefall that left her breathless and weak-kneed.

“Enough,” Eric moaned, sinking against the Suburban, keeping a steadying grip on Emily’s elbows. For a long minute they stood there, heads bowed, breathing uneven. When she finally found the courage to look into his face, she found not the cool mockery she’d come to expect in the past...but tenderness and open delight.

And it terrified her.

Buy Link: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/liana-laverentz-m-48.html

Liana Laverentz
Thin Ice (NJRW Golden Leaf and EPPIE Award Winner)
Jake's Return (NJRW Golden Leaf Award Winner)
Ashton'sSecret(availableNOW)
www.lianalaverentz.com
www.polkadotbanner.com
http://lianalaverentz.blogspot.com/
www.myspace.com/authorlianalaverentz

Let’s have a warm welcome for Liana Laverentz. Liana, come on out!

Liana skates across the ice, book in hand. With a thumbs up to the crowd, she snags the hockey stick from Oliver. Then she tosses her book on the ice and prepares to give it her best shot. With one swift and powerful swing, she shoots and scoooorres! The crowd goes wild. THIN ICE glides into the best-seller net! She tosses the stick to Oliver and blows kisses to her fans.

Sharon: Wow, Liana, what a goal! Welcome. Sharon and Liana exchange bulky-sweater hugs and take their seats in the parlor. With hockey season upon us, what better time to chat about Thin Ice. But before we do, let’s get comfortable with some drinks and snacks. Oh, Oliver, please bring refreshments.

Oliver skates out in his hockey gear, elbow and knee guards securely strapped. Demonstrating his agile moves to Liana, he does an impressive spin and presents the refreshments with a sweeping bow. His eyes twinkle with mischief as he pours a generous slug of Bailey’s Irish Cream over ice. Then he places a platter of cheese and crackers and mixed nuts on the table. With a wicked wink, he pulls a copy of Thin Ice from beneath his shirt. “May I have your autograph, Ms. Laverentz?”

Liana: Of course, my dear. Would you like me to sign your hockey stick, too?

Oliver swoons, kisses the book and skates off, in love again.

Sharon: Ah, Oliver, about my coffee and Bailey’s? Oliver? You do remember that auction where I keep threatening to sell you to the highest bidder, you know the one in Outer Mongolia where there are no women? Sharon rolls her eyes. Good help is so hard to find.

So how have you been since the Pennwriters conference, Liana? Unlike most of my online friends and fellow authors, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Liana in person several times. We are both members of the same writing group and attend the annual conference each spring. And by attending writers conferences, we can keep up on what is selling and what’s not. Liana, what do you find most beneficial about conferences?

Liana: I love just being in the company of people who don’t think I’m strange. But the most benefit I get out o f conferences is the networking. And the workshops. I make it a point to attend as many workshops as I can. Coffee helps a lot in that regard, since you don’t get a lot of sleep during a conference, and they’re always feeding you lots of carbs.

Sharon: Tell us about your book, Thin Ice. Many of us have read it—and the blurb and excerpt certainly draw us right into the story. But readers always like to hear an author’s brief synopsis of the book. Do dish.

Liana: Thin Ice is the book of my heart. In it, I believe I created the perfect man—oops, no offense intended, Oliver. But readers keep emailing me to tell me they “want their own Eric.”

Sharon: What made you center your theme around hockey? Are you a fan?

Liana: Yes ma’am. Used to go to games all the time, local, minor league and NHL. I’d take my binoculars and a notebook and pick one player to focus on during the game, and write down everything he did that I might be able to use in my book. I stopped going after they put the Jumbotrons up. It got too loud for me, and distracted me from the game. Then I had my son and couldn’t stay up late any more. He even played hockey for a while, so that was fun, learning about the pee wee league. A lot of my information in Thin Ice about Emily’s son’s hockey team came from those days.

Sharon: Let’s talk about your main characters, Emily and Eric. As authors, we spend so much time doing character sketches we sometime feel as if we know these people personally. Did you find this to be true with the heroine and hero of Thin Ice?

Liana: Yes, I know Emily and Eric intimately. Well, not THAT intimately. You know what I mean. They’re more real to me than a lot of people I know, because I lived with them in my head for months at a time, and know so much about the inner workings of their lives.

Sharon: You chose Minneapolis as the setting for your book. Is there a reason?

Liana: I chose it because I wanted to create a fictitious hockey team in a hockey town that could theoretically support a second team. Minneapolis-Saint Paul best fit my needs. The funny thing is, when I first started the book, Eric’s team was the St. Paul Saints. Then the Minnesota North Stars, which was to be their arch-rival team, moved to Dallas and became the Dallas Stars. So I re-wrote it again. Then the Minnesota Wild moved to St. Paul. (Passion – It’s in Our Blood. What a cool tag line.) So I had to move the Saints over to Minneapolis and go back to my original idea.

Sharon: And having a son, I’m sure you’re no stranger to kids viewing sports figures as their idols. In Thin Ice, Emily’s son considers Eric Cameron his hockey idol. Did you find this part of the story easy to write by putting a bit of your son’s point of view into it?

Liana: Oh, extremely so. My son was the perfect inspiration.

Sharon: And all those awards Thin Ice has won. Congratulations! Tell us how that made you feel? We have a celebrity among us, Oliver!

Liana: It made me feel very gratified, and validated. I had a dream for this book, and to have others accept and recognize that dream just plain made me feel good inside. I really don’t know how to explain it. It’s a very quiet sort of happiness.

Oliver struts out, blushing wildly, thrilled to learn of the awards Thin Ice has won. He clutches his autographed copy a little closer to his heart. He unveils his culinary skills, a perfectly brewed pot of Constant Comment tea and a platter of freshly baked brownies, no frosting. He pours the tea in dainty tea cups and hands Liana a corner brownie, holding it while she takes a bite.

Liana: Oh! Ommmmf…Delicious, Oliver. Thank you so much. Glances at Sharon, patting napkin to lips. I’m not used to being fed.

Sharon: That’s enough, Oliver. Go away so we can continue our interview. Liana, I must ask you about something I heard at a Pennwriters conference. I was pitching to that horrible New York agent, oh boo hiss, the one I was crying about when you met me? But one of the things he didn’t like about my manuscript was that my two main characters had names beginning with the same initial. But since he wanted no part of my manuscript, I decided to keep the names Margot and Michael. So I notice your heroine and hero are of the same initial. Emily and Eric. Did you ever hear this pet peeve from anyone?

Liana: I remember that. You were sitting in the lobby at a little table outside the coffee stand. I didn’t realize you were crying, though. You hid it well. About the names, I have heard of that pet peeve, and it didn’t even occur to me that I did that in Thin Ice until just this minute. I do, however, make sure if I have two males or two females in the same room, that they don’t have the same name. It can get very confusing for the reader.

Sharon: How would you like to be remembered after you leave this earth?

Liana: As someone who somehow made the world a little brighter. I love helping people, teaching them, guiding them, feeding them, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I try do that in my home, my work, my writing, and in my blog.

Sharon: Well, I’m afraid this brings us to the end of another Wednesday Spotlight. Before you leave, I have my three favorite questions to ask you. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and why? And last but not least, who would you want playing your romantic hero and why?

Liana: If I could live anywhere in the world, it would have to be somewhere where there’s four full seasons, with winter being the shortest. Maybe half as long as the others. My initial response was to say something like Greece, or Italy, but I think those would be better places to visit, and then come back t o all my comforts of home. I really like my house, and if it weren’t for the long winters, life here would be perfect. Then again, since I now write from home and don’t have to go out into the snow if I don’t want to, life is pretty near perfect.

Now, who would I want playing my romantic hero and why? Let’s see…my first choice for Eric would have been Russell Crowe, because he was so wonderful in Cinderella Man, and I could see Eric in that character through and through, but I just checked, and he’s 45, which would make him fifteen years older than Eric, so I’ll have to go with…Jake Gyllenhaal, purely on looks.

If I could star in any literary fiction? Sorry to say I’m not up on my literary fiction. How about commercial fiction? How about a movie? I vote for My Life in Ruins. She reminded me so much of me. So earnest and driven, with a life that just wouldn’t fall into place for her…until she learned to stop and notice what was right in front of her. Lucky woman. Come to think of it, that Alexis Georgoulis would be a good Eric, too….oh, and Oliver. Of course! Oliver! What am I thinking?? He’s right here in front of me! And he skates!

Sharon: Down, Oliver, down! Back! Back! Thank you for a lovely interview, Liana. Good luck with Thin Ice this hockey season and I hope you come back again. Until then, Oliver will cherish his copy and dreams of starring in the movie version! Where can readers purchase Thin Ice and your other books?

Liana: You can find Thin Ice, Jake’s Return, and Ashton’s Secret in print or ebook at The Wild Rose Press or on Amazon (they’re all available on Kindle. The ebook versions can be purchased at all sorts of ebook sites, but again, I’d recommend The Wild Rose Press. Especially with November being Crimson Rose month, with all suspense titles, like Ashton’s Secret, being 10% off.

Thanks for having me, Sharon. I enjoyed it. Mind if I steal a brownie? And you can tell Oliver that when the movie producers come around, I’ll keep him in mind for the role of Eric!

14 comments:

Sharon Donovan said...

Let's have a warm welcome for Liana Laverentz. Liana, skate on out! Oliver stands in the sidelines, beaming, holding up his autographed copy of Thin Ice. He sets it down for a second, skating out to serve hot tea in dainty scalloped cups and a platter of uniced brownies. So how are you today, Liana?

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Sharon and Liana - oh and Oliver of course.

You know I've always wanted to skate but we never quite got around to it (I acquired quite enough bruises from coming off horses actually, so perhaps it's just as well I never managed it.) Oh and I love the excerpt from 'Thin Ice' It's so tender and romantic.

Enjoy your day with Sharon and Oliver, they hold the best blog parties!

liana laverentz said...

Good morning, ladies and Oliver. I'm up, I'm here, and looking forward to spending the day with you. I took enough skating lessons to where I was just starting to be able to skate backwards. And then I hurt my shoulder doing something else, and couldn't risk falling on it again, so skating fell by the wayside. But I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Miss Mae said...

Hi Liana,

Great excerpt, very romantic. :)

I can't skate worth beans. I have a bad back and if I should fall...well, this would not be a pretty sight! LOL

Enjoy your day with Sharon and Oliver! :)

Terry Odell said...

Great interview, and I thoroughly enjoyed Thin Ice. Don't do much ice skating in central Florida.

liana laverentz said...

Thanks for stopping by, Miss Mae and Terry! I appreciate it. Glad to hear you liked Thin Ice. I love that book :)

Autumn Shelley said...

Hi Sharon, Hi Liana!
Sharon: I bet I could find a way to those outer reaches if you ever follow through on your threat to auction poor Oliver!
Liana: Great excerpt! I've loved hockey for years but growing up in the midwest we didn't get enough ice so I don't know that much about it, this story went on my 'to read' list!
(I'm more like Hywela, my bumps/bruises came from "emergencey dismounts" mostly from my pony when I was a kid, only a few as an adult!)
Best of luck with 'Thin Ice', it sounds great!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Lyn, Miss Mae, Terry and Autumn! Oh here comes Oliver on skates, balancing a tray of dainty teacups above his head with a plate of freshly baked brownies. What a man. Liana, I envy anyone who can skate like a champ. I was always one of those people who stuck close to the railing. LOL I took my share of tumbles, ouch! You have quite a fan club here.
Sharon

Mary Ricksen said...

That Ice is sure hard on a body when you fall. And I fall a lot when I ice skate. Great blog Liana and Sharon. good stuff!!

liana laverentz said...

Thanks, Mary and Autumn, for stopping by! And thank you, Oliver, for that fresh plate of brownies. Mmmmmm.. Just the way I like them!

Sharon Donovan said...

Isn't it the truth, Mary! Have a brownie and feel better.

Keena Kincaid said...

Hi, Liana. I missed you yesterday but wanted to come by today. Great excerpts!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Liana and Sharon,
Great interview. Enjoyed the excerpts. I won a copy of Jake's Return very early in my TWRP days and I loved every word of it.
Best of luck
And Hi to Oliver. That man can do play so many roles he should be on the stage.
Cheers
Margaret

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Keena and Margaret! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Margaret, it's hard to keep up with Oliver, isn't it? Sigh

I would like to thank Liana Laverentz for being my featured guest this week. Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.

Love and Blessings,

Sharon