I’d like to welcome Valerie Ullmer, author of Unwrapped (An Unexpected Novella) to my blog today.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
I’d like to welcome Valerie Ullmer, author of Unwrapped (An Unexpected Novella) to my blog today.
RW: Tell us about yourself, your family, where you live, etc.
VU: I started writing full-time in 2010 when I realized that writing was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I published my first book in July of 2016. I live with my husband of 20 years and our black lab mix, Maddie, the love of our lives. We live in Denver, Colorado.
RW: How many hours a day do you spend writing?
VU: I usually write 4-6 hours a day, but that includes outlining. I spend way too much time on the internet and designing book covers, but I always go back to writing.
RW: Why did you decide to write? When did you submit your first manuscript and what genre was it?
VU: I loved reading romance from high school. And while I loved each book I read, I couldn’t help but think about how I would have written it differently or changed the characters a little bit here or there. I studied writing for several years before I realized the best teacher is just to write. And that is what I did.
RW: Who are your favorite authors? Who influenced your writing?
VU: My favorite authors fluctuate. I started off with Harlequin romances but then moved to authors such as Lori Foster and Gena Showalter. For the last couple of years, I’ve been devouring M/M or the gay romance genre. I don’t have a favorite author, or even favorite books. I love them all.
RW: Who are your favorite characters among the books you’ve written?
VU: Although all my characters are my favorite, I love one’s that I’ve written who have an inner strength that comes out when they want to fight for something or someone they love. Liv from my Dark Assassins series. Ara also.
RW: What makes a good book? A great romance? Is humor important in fiction and why?
VU: Characters. Characters make the book. I don’t have to like the character in the first few chapters and I hate when they act out of, well, character, but I love characters who grow and change as the story goes along.
RW: How much does reader feedback matter to you? Do your fans’ comments and letters influence you in any way? Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?
VU: I love when readers contact me and let me know that they liked or hated the book. Constructive criticism is wonderful, but it doesn’t influence how I write my books or what the characters do in the story. When a reader tells me that they loved the characters in a book, it makes my day.
RW: Tell us about your latest book. What motivated the story? Where did the idea come from? What genre is it? Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
VU: Unwrapped is a novella following my first in the series, Unexpected. Jack and Adam have been friends since college and while Adam has been open as bisexual since then, Jack has dated exclusively women. When Jack confesses that he’s in love with Adam, they try to build a life together. Unwrapped opens at a point in their relationship where Jack is unable to come out and declare Adam as his partner and he drives Adam away. As Jack works to build back the relationship he can’t live without, he proves to himself and Adam that he can be out and happy with Adam.
The idea came from the idea that not all relationships, while wanting a HEA, are sometimes bumpy at the beginning. It is a gay contemporary romance.
RW: What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
VU: Easiest was the Unexpected book. The hardest was Xander (A Dark Assassins Book Three). I couldn’t come up with a heroine who matched Xander and what he needed, but after months of free writing, it finally came together.
RW: What is the single most important part of writing for you?
VU: Conflict. If I don’t have great conflict in a story, I have no story and I have to trash the idea.
Unwrapped (An Unexpected Novella)
Friends to lovers.
Jack does what he’s always done to protect himself. He allows fear to take over and as a result, he pushes Adam away. When Adam finally leaves, Jack understands that if he loves Adam as much as he claims, he needs to change before Adam can risk his heart again.
Lovers to forever.
Adam understands why Jack’s kept his feelings secret, but after being ignored one too many times, he leaves. But Jack won’t give up and when he proves to Adam how much he wants their relationship to work, can Adam risk his heart to the one man he’s loved all over again?
How will Jack and Adam find their happily-ever-after during the season of miracles?
“Do you…truly want out of our relationship?”
He could hear Adam breathing on the other line and held his own as he waited for Adam to answer. Jack understood entirely in that moment what he’d put Adam through over the past few months, probably the last few years. He would completely understand if Adam didn’t want to continue being hurt. Jack’s own feelings aside, he would accept Adam’s decision because if he felt he couldn’t continue with Jack, Jack would let him go and wish him all the happiness in the world. Or he hoped he could.
“No, but it hurts to be ignored.”
Jack breathed a sigh of relief. He needed to change, or he would lose Adam.
“I’m going to make it up to you. I want to prove to you I can change and by Christmas if you don’t believe I have…then I’ll let you go.”
“Is that what you want?”
“No. I can’t imagine loving anyone but you. And while we’re apart, I’m going find a therapist to work on my issues. There’s something holding me back from exactly who I want to be and be with, and I need help to find out what that is.”
There was a choked sound on the other line before Adam grew silent.
“I know I’m fucked up and the last thing I wanted to do was to hurt you, but that’s exactly what I did. I can’t get past my own mind, so I need some help. This time, I won’t take you for granted.”
“Are you afraid to admit your sexuality?”
“I suppose I am. Adam, although it looked as though I slept with a lot of women, there’ve only been a few. Mainly it was camouflage. But I felt like I found myself the first time I kissed you. I knew then I was gay, and you are the only man I will ever want.”
Adam sighed. “You’re being surprisingly open about this.”
“The moment I heard the door shut and I realized you left… It was the worst moment of my life. I could take seeing my father every day and listen to his bullshit, but I never want to feel what I felt when you left. And knowing I drove you to leave makes it worse. So much worse.”
Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary M/F and M/M erotic romances. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She’s addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character-driven romances.
Contact Valerie At:
Website & Blog: http://www.valerieullmer.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/valerieullmer
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Brandan and Joachim of Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three by Christina Weigand @CAWeigand #Christian, #Dragons, #Quest
I’d like to welcome Brandan and Joachim of Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three by Christina Weigand.
RW: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
J & B: We’re twin princes, and we’re thrust into adulthood in a world torn apart by war, kidnapping and betrayal.
We’re crowned Kings of Mahorg and Crato, and we wed powerful women, but we each deal with the loss of our parents in our own unique way. The choices we make set our world on a cataclysmic course that only loss and sacrifice can deter.
RW: Can you tell us about your heroines?
J: My wife, Maeve and my daughter, Enit and son, Airyn are my heroes. She pulls me from a very dark place and is to be my salvation. She never gives up on me.
B: On first consideration I would say I don’t need anyone to rescue me, but when I think about it further there are a couple of people who I might consider a hero. One is my brother Joachim. No matter how bad things got between us he never gave up hope that we could be a family again. I can’t tell you who the other is, because that would be a spoiler. But there is one other who makes a big difference in my life.
RW: What problems do you have to face and overcome in your life?
J: Joachim: My son has been kidnapped, my brother is missing and presumed dead, and the people in my kingdom are threatening to remove me from the throne. They don’t seem to understand, that I have to find my son and brother.
B: My biggest problem is my brother. He refuses to acknowledge the fact that I am better than him, and I should be king. His wife should have been mine and his children mine. But I’ll show him, the wheels are in motion for him to learn what I already know.
RW: Do you expect your heroes to help or are they the problem?
J: As I said before, Maeve and my children play a very big part in rescuing me from the dark place that I travel too.
B: Initially Joachim is the problem although at the end he does help. As to the other, once again I can’t say anything as it would be a spoiler.
RW: Where do you live?
J: When I am at home I’m at the Palace of the Twelve Pillars in Wyrzburg.
B: I currently don’t have a home. I do a lot of traveling around trying to figure out where I belong. I have lived in Wyrzburg with Joachim, and in Dun Dealgan, Palace of the Three Crosses, and in the mountains of Hyogo in a cave.
RW: During what time-period does your story take place?
J&B: It is similar to Earth’s medieval period in Ireland and Germany.
RW: How are you coping with the conflict in your life?
J: Joachim: I don’t cope very well. No one wants to help me find my son. All they do is threaten to remove me from the throne if I don’t stop. Even Myrria, the dragon, thinks that I need to go to the Sanctuary of Nine Dragons and find myself again. They have all abandoned me and my son.
B: Conflict? Hah! If anyone is in conflict with me I destroy them. You should see the things I am going to do to my brother.
RW: Bubble baths or steamy showers? Ocean or mountains? Puppies or kittens? Chocolate or caramel?
J & B: Steamy showers are not an option for us but neither of us like bubble baths, so an ordinary bath when we have the time. Joachim prefers oceans, he loves to swim and play in the water. Brandan is a mountain man. As for puppies or kittens: Brandan prefers puppies and Joachim kittens. Chocolate or caramel both men like chocolate with caramel.
RW: What is your secret guilty pleasure?
J: Not sure how to answer that. I guess if I have a secret it would be that I envy, Brandan. No not the evil part that wants to destroy everything, but instead the freedom he seems to have. He has no fear and takes on any challenge without worrying about the consequences. I wish I could be more like that and ignore all the responsibility of a country and family, not that I don’t love them, I just wish that the burden were lighter.
B: Secret guilty pleasure? I’m not sure it’s a secret, but I love to hurt people who hurt me or try to defy me—I guess just about anyone, especially my brother. Our father always favored him over me. So instead of accepting it I vowed to show both of them who was the better person.
RW: I can never (fill in the blank) because (fill in the blank).
J: I can never let down my guard and escape my responsibilities because there is no one else that can do it. It is expected of me.
B: I can never be just like my brother, because he is too wimpy, never takes any chances and is just overall boring.
Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a teenage daughter. She is also Nana to four granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania after a short sabbatical in the lovely state of Washington.
She has three published YA Christian Fantasy novels; Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One, Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two, and Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three. She’s also published Women of the Bible: A Study. Recently the first two books in a MG Fantasy series were published: Sir E. Robert Smythe and the School Bully and Sir E. Robert Smythe and the Lost Detective with four more to be published over the next two years. Through her writing she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.
When she’s not writing she’s active in her local Church as a lector, Bible Study, and helping children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing.
SANCTUARY OF NINE DRAGONS: BOOK THREE
Joachim banishes Brandan to the prison island of Hyogo. His infant son, Prince Airyn disappears from his cradle. A chain of events is set in motion that will pit brother against brother, friend against friend, parents against children as Brandan and Joachim struggle for control of their sanity and their very lives.
With Brandan declared dead and his son missing Joachim sinks into despair and anger, from which those close to him fear he may never return.
Is Brandan really dead and if he is, who is manipulating the Mantion and enemies of Crato?
Can Maeve save her country and her husband from the tentacles of evil pervading the land?
Joachim cringed as he thought about what he had to do. The council had decided. He didn’t agree completely, but in the end, Joachim knew it was the only way; something had to be done. Maybe Brandan would give him a reason not to send him away.
King Brandan stomped into the room. “Why, Brother, have you no throne prepared for your poor, missing brother? I’m hurt. I expected more from you and my sister-in-law. Maeve, dear, couldn’t you have helped him prepare better?” He stepped toward her, quickly grabbed her hand, and kissed it.
Joachim lunged at him, pushing him from the dais. Brandan staggered and then regained his balance and gazed at his brother. “Why such violence, especially when I am so recently injured?”
Stepping off the dais, Joachim stood eye-to-eye with his brother. “Enough! You’re no more hurt than I am. And you have no business touching my wife, or sitting on Crato’s throne.”
Brandan laughed, pushed him aside, and stepped up to claim his throne. Joachim grabbed his twin’s shoulder, spun him around, and punched him in the mouth.
Rubbing where Joa’s fist had landed, Brandan smirked. “Well, my brother has finally developed some stones.” He raised his other hand to hit Joachim.
Matthias stepped forward, sword in hand and grabbed his arm before he could hit Crato’s king. He pulled the king’s brother away, so Joachim could reclaim his throne.
Jerking himself free, Brandan straightened his tunic. “This has been fun; but as you seem to be in no mood to visit, I shall take my leave. Come to me when you’re in a better frame of mind.”
“Stop! You are going nowhere until I say you can.”
Brandan stopped and looked at his brother. “What did you say to me? Is that how you talk to a fellow king and brother?”
“Yes, it is. As of this morning, you are no longer a king, and I’m not sure I should even call you brother.”
“Why dearest brother, whatever do you mean?” Brandan asked.
“Ever since we were boys, you have done everything you could to make trouble. I was always willing to forgive you and hoped you would change your evil ways. But no more! You have pushed me—pushed this country—too far this time,” Joa thundered at him.
“What are you rambling on about?” Brandan sneered and bit a fingernail.
“Brandan, I should sentence you to execution, but there are two things keeping me from that. First: you are my brother, and I hold onto a hope, however faint, you can be reformed…”
Brandan chortled. “Not a good bet, brother.”
“Second, I strongly suspect you of making two attempts on my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough evidence to prove it was you. I punished one innocent man because of the little evidence we do have. I do not wish to make that mistake a second time.”
Brandan laughed again. “So, if we’re finished here, I’ll be leaving.”
“As I said before, you won’t be going anywhere until I say so. I may not have what I need to sentence you to death, but after your actions toward the queen this morning, I have some recourse.”
“What are you talking about? I did nothing she didn’t ask for.”
Maeve rose from her throne. Joa put his hand on her arm to stop her.
“Brandan, I suggest you remain quiet until I finish.”
“Brother, you do not have the authority to do this. We are equals.”
“Do you not see the Adept Council before you? We met and discussed this matter at length... They have given me the authority.”
“This tiresome group of old men?” Brandan laughed. “They have even less power over me than you do.”
Ignoring Brandan’s comments, the king continued. “First, I strip you of your title. You are no longer King Brandan but will henceforth be known simply as Prince Brandan.” He paused and swallowed. He didn’t know if he could continue. The lump in his throat felt as big as a koali fruit. He swallowed again. Maeve grasped his hand. Warmth and reassurance enveloped him. He knew what he had to do.
“When we have finished here, Rupert, Salochin, and Master Frederick will take you to Rupert’s tower. There, they will strip you of your magical powers. When they are finished, Matthias and Wilhelm will escort you to the Port of Wyrzburg, where you will be put on a ship bound for Hyogo, the prison island. There you will remain for the rest of your life. You are never to return to Crato or Mahorg. You will live in the mountain abbey with the monks and work side-by-side with them.”
“You’re a misguided fool.” Brandan sneered. “If you believe that by exiling me, you are saving yourself from evil—think again. You may have peace and rest comfortably for a short while, but don’t assume I won’t find a way to come back and destroy you.” He stepped up to the thrones and leaned forward, placing a hand on each. The guards on either side of the king stepped forward to stop him. Joachim raised his hand signaling them to stop.
Brandan glared at the guard and muttered, “Freisen!” The man froze where he stood.
Brandan turned back to his brother and sister-in-law. “No, Joa. This is not over and what I did to your guard is nothing compared to the evils you will suffer by my hand.”
While he was speaking, Rupert chanted a binding spell. Matthias came forward and placed his sword tip to Brandan’s back.
The king put his good hand on his brother’s shoulders and pushed him upright as he stood. “You have done enough! Matthias, escort him to Master Rupert’s tower.”
As the prince was escorted from the room, Joa slumped back into his throne. It was done, he thought as remorse washed over him. A tear crawled down his cheek as Maeve squeezed his hand.
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